...the Life and Times of Karolyn Lewis.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

2011 Holiday House Tour

This year, I've done several new things, but it was all on the cheap.  I think I spent less than $40 this year on decorations and that's really good for me.  Really good.  

My favorite tree this year is what we call our Jesus Tree.  Normally, there are no presents under this tree, just a hay-filled manger and a burlap tree skirt.  This year I decide to use this tree as our present tree.  And I'm glad I did.  As we open presents this year, we'll sit around the tree that reminds us that Jesus was the greatest gift of all, and that we give because He gave.  

My favorite tree ever boasts a simple decor of pinecones, birds' nests, and birds.

It has a single star that sits close to the manger.  See it?

I've never wrapped presents this way before but I just LOVE them!!  

I wanted them to be simple and natural looking so I used earthy colors and textures.  For the main paper, I used a roll of craft paper I bought for the kids at Ikea.  It was less than $5 and will wrap a ton of presents.  I remembered that I had a roll of thin, brown paper that painters use to tape off trim.  It's sold with the painters tape (this kind does NOT have the adhesive on it; it's meant to be used with a roll of scotch tape and a gun looking thing). I embellished the packages with the brown paper and added twine and strips of canvas. The canvas is actually a painter's drop cloth left over from another project.  

And I'm dying over the stamped initials!!  

This is our white tree.  It has a few birds on it, some big snowballs, and fat white lights.  Before the season is over, it will be covered with TONS of that white flaky snow that sticks with ya til spring.  

This is the Kid Tree and Liliana is pointing to her favorite ornament!  Each year, the kids get a Hallmark ornament and we put them here.  It's a lot of fun pulling them out and remembering what each one was "into" at the time.  There's lots of Dora on this tree.  Lots of Dora.  And super heroes.  And High School Musical.  

Last year, Henry was in Ethiopia and we were waiting to go get him.  We bought this ornament and the kids each recorded something into it.  It was so special to hear their "last year" voices saying, "Merry Chritmas.  Come home soon.  We love you."  That precious message lasted about ten minutes this year.  Liliana tried to re-create it, but it just aint the same.  That was Henry's referral picture.  The first picture we ever saw of him!

This year a great friend made this ornament for Henry and we LOVE it!!  She also made one for Colombia and the USA to celebrate the other kiddos.  What a fun (and sweet) addition to our tree!

 Michal started a village collection a few years back and it's growing.  Truth be told, $30 of the $40 I spent on decorations was to add to her village.  It was part of her Christmas.  Kind of.  

Each year, we pull out the kids' pictures from Christmas Past and put them on the piano.  We're getting cramped, so next year they'll go somewhere else.  I love seeing my babies so little and chubby!

Isn't this the cutest?  My photographer said we could bring props.  She nearly fell out when I showed up with a Nativity.  I think she still has hay in her studio!  My super sonic niece and nephew joined in for this photo shoot.  

Even though there is nothing uniform or normal about our family, all of our stocking HAVE to be the SAME!!  No ifs, ands, or buts!  So this year I made my own stockings and they are fabulous, dontcha think?  I used a painter's drop cloth for the fabric-- a great way to get that grain sack look for really cheap.  

I'm in total envy of a friend who owns a Silhouette cutting machine.  She made these stencils for me and I drooled even more.  I need one of those babies BAD!  I used the cheapest acrylic craft paint that walmart sells for the stenciling (apple blossoms, maybe?) and they turned out sooo cute!! And they're big.  

Hopefully, I'll get 'round to stenciling mine and Lee's before next Christmas!  Actually, I'm thinking I may just leave all the decorations out and then next year it will be already done.  Then maybe I can get lights on more than just one piddly tree outside!  


Wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

As of late...

Looks like I won't be getting goats for Christmas after all...  Michal beat me to it!

Meet Ms. Brown (left) and Parker (right).

And Olive, our 3 week, old baby girl.

These are "fainting goats."  When they get scared or spooked, they faint.  And it's funny.  (Don't believe me?  Google it.)

Since they're new to the family, we've made every effort to make them feel safe and secure.  We were doing pretty well, until Michal "fainted" Parker on accident.  She tried to feel bad about it, but it was too darn funny.  I think that's the only faint so far, but I'm probably blissfully unaware.  

If little Olive survives, it'll be a miracle...

Liliana won't let her go!


My cousin and his wife are having a baby boy and I made him these adorable onesies.  You can find the tutorial (complete with templet) HERE!  I just LOVE these, I tell ya! 


In celebration of mediocrity, one of Liliana's art pieces is on display at her school.  I am extremely proud, if I do say so myself.  So is she...

Since this might possibly be the only piece of her art that is ever on display outside of our home, I had to take a few pictures and share it with the world.  Ahhh...

I'm not quite sure what it is, but it looks like a picture of Henry hang gliding. Or sitting on a bus.


And Zeb got a hair cut...

Yep, it's an extreme mohawk created by yours-truly.

He's 10 and it makes him happy.  Why do I allow such a monstrosity on my son's head?  


Henry's doing really well.  Everyone is always curious about his language.  It's amazing how fast he's picked up English.  I'm a little sad that he no longer remembers Sidama or Amharic, but this is typical.   He's growing and laughing and playing and learning just like any other kid.  This month will be 9 months that he's been home.  My heart just swells with pride when I look at him.  He's ours and we're his!  I love how this kid became such an integral part of "us."


I've just finished decorating the house for Christmas, and my next post will be a Holiday Home Tour!!  I can't wait to share with you what I've done around here.

And with Christmas in mind...  here's a super cute video the kids made last year for their homeschool project.  It starts kinda slow, but when Mary goes into labor, things pick up...