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Happy New Year…and a peek into our Christmas 2014!

Yesterday we spent the day cleaning the house and putting away Christmas.  My very favorite thing to decorate each year is the tree…..but it’s also my least favorite thing to take down.  It just takes so long to take down each and every little ornament and then to wrestle that huge fake tree back into that itty bitty box.  And will anyone else be vacuuming glitter, tinsel, and holiday fluff off your floors for months to come, like I am?  It’s okay.  Because Christmas never fails to bring so much happiness into our home… bring on the glitter again next year!


As I was looking through photos early this morning, I could hardly believe that Christmas is over.  Done.  Finished.  Boo.  It never fails…..I always get the January blues.  But looking at pictures always makes me happy all over again — so humor me while I share!


This year, we invited some of our family to join us, who all live nearby.  My parents left town (to join my sister who lives in Alaska) but 2 of my sisters, one brother, a sister in-law, a brother in-law, and 5 nieces and nephews all joined us on Christmas eve.  All the cousins who came were 12 and older… my kids were the only “believing” children in the house this year.  So it was fun to watch the older kids, watch and play and pretend with our younger kids. 


The night before, we all opened jammies.  (Except this year, Steve told me not to buy him any reindeer/santa/elf jammies because he has a whole pile of them in our closet that he never wears.  I told him I was fine with that but secretly I hated that he wasn’t wearing brand new jammies.  Next year…..back to our tradition! Haha.)  I normally buy some sort of Christmas jammies for the kiddos but this year, I got them what they really wanted.  The girls were THRILLED with their Elsa jammies and Connor thought his spiderman ones were RAD!!


Coming down the stairs Christmas morning is always my very favorite.  Finally, the wait is over.  And it’s time to see what good ol’ St Nick generously dropped off during the night.



I wish I could recreate Chloe’s reaction to her Frozen dolls sitting there on the couch. This child who always

has a lot to say……was speechless.  And stuttered.  A lot.



But finally grabbed those dollies and told us they were what she REALLY REALLY WANTED!!



Elli got a Furby Boom and a little baby Furbling.  Yes, I know, one of the most annoying toys on the planet…..but this girl LOVES them!!  And they talk to each other……perfect!



Connor was so pumped about his battle robots that you control with these interactive hand remotes (that function kinda like Wii remotes).  It’s actually a pretty cool toy!



And his cousins were happy to test it out with him.  Cool.



Oliver enjoyed several new chew toys.  Santa knows just what babies like!



And he also enjoyed being passed around the room, as the grown ups tried helping him unwrap his presents, when all he really wanted was the noisy paper.  Babies at Christmas are so funny.  And cheap!



Oh, and in case you were wondering, Chloe rarely put her dollies down.  She’d play with something for a minute and then go and grab Anna and Elsa and Olaf again. Repeat, repeat, repeat.  (She even sleeps with them EVERY single night.



One of my very favorite things this year, was to watch Elli’s excitement during the weeks leading up to Christmas.  She was so thrilled that family would be joining us on Christmas morning, so she busily made (or scrounged up things from her room) for every single person coming.  I wish I would have captured Elli’s face each time someone would unwrap one of her gifts….because it was absolutely precious.  To be honest, it created a lot of laughter……and was always a mystery what her next gift would be.  She gifted homemade necklaces, Christmas pins, an old ruler, drawings, etc.  But a crowd favorite was this hot pink felt pirate’s patch that she made for Uncle Mike….complete with an attached earring (made from blue ric rac).  It was hilarious!  And Mike was a great sport. (Oh, you should have seen her bashful yet proud little face when he put it on!)



Another treasure was this Toolbox she made for her daddy.  The funny thing is that I had been looking for my little rolls of Christmas Washi Tape days before, but couldn’t find them.  Well, here they are!  Used up on this gift!!!!



When you open up the lid, there’s a much smaller box underneath (I’m not sure why the bottom box was so much smaller and mismatched….but it made it all the more adorable), where Steve can now fit all of his tools.  And yep, more of my tape! ;)




—-> And just for fun, Steve and I created silly little gag gifts for everyone who came (from ideas we saw online).  You know, to show our gratitude for them traveling to our home! (And Steve and I love a good laugh….so we couldn’t resist.)


I realize now that I didn’t actually photograph everything — but I’ll show you the ones that I remembered.


First up — a gift for my niece Aubrey, who is in pharmacy school, making lots of big kid decisions these days.

(We found this little box at Michael’s, printed out the label for the top, added a trimmed down piece of paper, a small rock, and some mini scissors.  Kit complete!)



Next, for our other niece Camille, who we decided isn’t too old to play with Barbies (even if she is in college).  A brand new “Shave With Me Barbie”, who will help her with a serious life skill. 

(We cut little pieces from her hair, smeared Mod Podge all over her legs, sprinkled on the hair, let it dry, tied a razor around her waist, put her back in the box, and added a new label to the front, “Shave With Me Barbie”.)




For Mason, the perfect gift for the electronic toy lover!  (And yep, those are real batteries. You’re welcome!)

(I printed the label off on card stock, put the batteries into a baggie, and stapled the label onto the baggie.)




For my sister Jodi and her husband Mike…….a gift to celebrate all the years they’ve been married!

(We printed the words onto cardstock, placed it in the frame, then hot glued the spoons onto the paper.)


And uhhhhhh, yes, the reaction was priceless!



For my sister Shannon, something everyone should have on hand, in case of emergency!

(We used a shadow box frame, filled it with peanut butter M&Ms, glued the label to the front, tied on a craft hammer.  Done.)



I forgot to take a before picture of these but for my sister-in-law Dana, a cozy new pair of LOAFERS!  (And yes, that’s real bread!)

(We just used a serrated knife to cut the lower section of each loaf of bread, pulled out all the excess bread, then flattened it down a bit.  A crusty outer crust works best!)


And look, it really fits!  Almost. ;)



Oh yeah, we gave my bother Greg some Bacon flavored jelly beans that we found on Amazon, because Greg LOVES bacon.  Turns out, he HATES bacon flavored jelly beans!  Haha.


Anyway, there were a couple others but I forgot to photograph them as well. 


Good thing my family were all good sports and enjoyed a little laughter Christmas morning.  It was sure fun having a full house, especially with loved ones.  (Thank you all again for coming…..and next year, wanna join us April, Robin, Jordan, and your families??!)

. . . . .


I really hope you all enjoyed your Christmas, Hanakkuh, Kwanzaa, or whatever else you celebrate!  I truly love this time of year……and can hardly wait for next year!



P.S. starting next week, I’ll be back to normal, sharing some fun stuff I’ve been making!! :)


Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
Happy new year…and a peek into our christmas 2014!
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  1. Jillian Burrup says:

    Would you be willing to share the labels you made for your gag gifts? I would love to do the same thing but lack the talent to make them as cute!!

  2. Gina says:

    What fun ideas you had! I may have to steal some of these. Thanks for letting all of us have a peek into your Christmas fun. It looks like a wonderful time! Happy new year!

  3. Winter says:

    Love the decision making kit, brilliant! :D

  4. Ellie from Canada says:

    You had me laughing all the way through. My favorite was Shave with me Barbie! Looks like a good time was had by all! Happy 2015!

  5. Meghan says:

    The Barbie…baahahahaha…snort….bahahahaah…the best!

  6. Cucicucicoo says:

    Oh my gosh, those are hilarious idea! Christmas looks so fun at your house! :) Lisa

  7. Brandy says:

    Awesome gag gifts, hilarious! And my husband said the same thing about Pjs and I thought the same thing as you! Next year he’s getting some again!

  8. Robin says:

    Ha ha ha! I didn’t get the paper-rock-scissors gift for some time. I thought, “uhh ok random stuff put in a box… sure, that is kinda funny.” Now six hours later, I get it. It IS funny! Such a fun day!

  9. Eva says:

    Feliz 2015! Que o Senhor Jesus abençoe você e sua linda família! E que venha o novo ano!

  10. Mary S. says:

    Love the fun gifts. Very creative and original. The Shave with Me Barbie is a HOOT!

  11. Laura says:

    Holy cow! Those gifts are fantastic! Barbie totally grossed me out though, wondering who’s hair you used (HERS didn’t occur to me)!

  12. Chantalle says:

    That is so fun! My two older kids (7 and 5) go to the Dollar Store with my mom sometime before Christmas, and pick out one item for everyone who will be there on Christmas Eve. Then they wrap each, and everyone (they are the only kids) gets to open them on Christmas Eve. It’s so fun to see what they get! They have been doing this for a few years, and the presents get better each year (in the beginning I got a razor…ha, and this year they gave all the men really fun gifts, like silly string, cause they knew they would share!)

  13. Chelsey says:

    Love it! You guys are too funny!

  14. CJ says:

    I have to share this with you… My DH absolutely hated the “holiday” themed pajamas, just like your Hubby. But, the thing that turned him around was MATCHING PJ’s for him and our son. I’ve been giving them to him for a few years and he is always excited to see the new designs I come up with for Father-and-Son matching PJ’s. The 2 boys are so cute in their matching outfits. I make my own, since the pattern is soooo easy and the only changes are when my son grows too tall for the previous years’. I bet you could whip up a pair in no time flat; takes me awhile… They also sell them online, if you don’t mind the cost.

  15. Megan W. says:

    Those Gags are

    1. Megan W. says:

      Sorry about that! My phone was misbehaving.

      Those gags are great! And speaking of gags and badly flavored jelly beans, I got my kids the game Bean Boozled, which has 2 flavors per jelly bean color, one good and one bad. We were laughing Sooo hard, and I actually almost got sick, but it was hilarious!

      I love the reaction to Elsa and Anna! 3 year-olds are pretty amazing. :)

  16. Lynette says:

    I am so making that decision kit for my sister who is coming home from a mission in April. Super cute idea!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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