Saturday, December 26, 2015

December 2015, A FULL Month!

December is a busy month for everyone, this I know!  Besides the Christmas and Holiday activities, we get to  celebrate Hubby's birthday, which was the big FORTY! Here are the best pics of our month:

Unit Holiday Party.  And probably the last year Little Brother will want to sit on Santa's lap.

We were given the makings to this Gingerbread Nativity from our friends.  Our elves really couldn't wait to decorate it. 

 I used my new Silhouette Cameo to make some decorations. 

Hubby's birthday was a FULL one.  He had a teambuilding event (Go Kart Racing), Big Brother had a Christmas Concert at the Evangelischer Kirche, and THEN we got to do cake/gifts...

Besides the Vocal concert on Hubby's birthday, Big Brother had other musical pursuits this month: Piano Recital and Handbell Choir performance.

Here he is with his piano teacher:

Here is the video of his Christmas Piano Recital song
Here is a video one of his Handbell Choir songs

A quiet moment: Friday morning Frühstück for us (after the boys are dropped off at Grundschule). The pottery is leftover presents on the table from the Birthday party the night before.  It was too pretty to move. 

We had some fun with the Children's Choir (the Joyful Noisemakers) singing "Go Tell it on the Mountain." Our soloists and backup singers did great! We then had a Birthday Party for Jesus in the fellowship hall... 

Now that it's break time, we have a list of "fun stuff to do" as a family.  Some of the things are Thermalbad, "Brawnees," New Star Wars "Move", Museum, Tobolino... I'm sure we'll add in a few more.

"Brawnee" Baking!

One of the most beautiful Christmas Markets we've been to is right here, where we live.  The kids don't LOVE Christmas Markets, so they humored us and let us drag them downtown on a Tuesday night.  We had a great time, and their favorite part was getting Lego-shaped chocolate, and drinking hot chocolate.

Merry Christmas 2015

Well, it's Christmas, and Weihnachts Ferien!  Just enjoying the lights, decorations, traditions, and down-time is nice, but knowing and believing the Christmas Story amplifies the anticipation and wonder. Celebrating the birth of the King of kings and Lord of lords! What an amazing and incomprehensible exchange... trading heaven for an opportunity to walk amongst His own creation, become one of us. This is just the beginning of the story.  

Our family joined the community at our installation's Candlelight Service, ate a lovely candle-lit roast beef dinner (on our wedding china!), then tore into the gifts. On Christmas we hosted two chaplains in our brigade, and two little ones.  It has been a sweet time.  No homework, lazy pj days, nibbling on plates of cookies delivered by neighbors, rotating apartment doors (ours, and the two other apartments in our stairwell... the kids alternate between them all) baking, cleaning, swimming at the Thermalbad... just hanging out. A much needed time of just "being."  

Here are some pics of our Christmas Eve... Hubby is only in one... Guess that's what happens when you're the better photographer in the family. 

When you live far away from family,
Flat Rate Priority Mail Boxes make wonderful wrapping paper! 

PEZ and Star Wars.  The perfect combination for Little Brother.

Brotherly love.

He's happy about his team's TKD warmup suit.  Maybe he'll get to wear it to a tournament?

His favorite gift... air-powered keyboard.

Science Kit!

A hand-made ornament for Mom.

Kitchen towels and hand made (by my sis) ceramic mugs.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

Cozy Home 2015 Christmas!

I have been decorating for Christmas a bit, and will be turning off the lights and snuggling up with a cup of tea once I share pics of what I've done with the place so far...  It's always a work in progress, and we've got some little Elves that keep suggesting we do "festive" stuff... so who knows what kind of plans they've got for us... see below!

Nuts & oranges. A nod to St. Nikolaus, and what he leaves in children's shoes.

Nordmann Fir.  This is Germany's favorite Christmas tree.

I might make a sign that says "joy to the world!" to go by the globes...

Scored this star for FREE at the recycling center our first year here.

Hubby and I used this as our first Chrismas tree 17 years ago!  Same ornaments. ;) 
Outside the door of our apartment, I keep this branch up all year and switch out the decorations with the seasons.  

This year, I kept the birdhouses up and made them look winter-y.  

I fell in love with these wooden hanging decorations when I visited Bavaria.  Can't get enough of them! 

The star garland was made last year from salt-dough ornaments.  

This paper star was 3 Euro at Zimmerman's--the German version of Big Lots.

I knit this garland back when I lived in Alaska--2010.  It's an easy pattern, and the only knitting project I've completed! 

The stairwell at night.

Made this wreath with some garland that didn't work on this year's tree. 

12-years ago, a friend gave me this "peace" wall-hanging when I told her I grew up with
one JUST like it!  It reminds me of my Mom when I take it out every Christmas.
I added it to an old Hobby Lobby wreath and used these pine cones we collected
and spray-painted from our yard in North Carolina in 2011.  

Our kindness elves holding a note in their message basket telling us we should
"hang out" and relax for together time on Sunday.
They make many suggestions for spreading
kindness and love throughout the Advent season.
But only on day's we're not too busy.  They're good like that.