Christmas Family Traditions

Monday, November 30, 2020

 Woohoo! Tomorrow is December 1st! Can you believe it? This year is a weird mix of fast/short days, weeks, and months. I keep feeling like each day just creeps by with how different everything currently feels, yet I also keep saying "I can't believe it's already ____." We decorated for Christmas the first week of November 😅  So, we've been in the Christmas spirit for a while now... buttt now that the rest of the world is starting to celebrate, it feels even more festive! We were out of town for Thanksgiving so December really snuck up on me. Now I'm realizing some of our Christmas traditions start tomorrow and I thought I'd share with the rest of you in case you're looking for a few more things to add to your list. This first post is just all the traditions I like to do during the month of December. A few of these things may look a little different this year but I'm sure there are ways to make them fun still!

A Few Notes:
-I'll be doing a whole post on the Elf on the Shelf! Honestly, I just started this last year and I love it soo much. I know people have mixed feelings about it so my goal is to help you love it!
-25 Days of Christ is seriously the best! We started this a couple years ago after I started realizing my kids were focusing much more on gifts than on the real meaning of Christmas. Sure, the gifts are fun. The lights are pretty. The cookies are yummy... but I really want them to feel the REAL Christmas spirit which comes from Christ. When I wanted to start this tradition the real sets were completely sold out. Soo I decided to make my own! Personally, I think you should just buy it because it was a ton of work and their ornaments are so classy. My kids love my homemade ones for now but at some point I plan to purchase them here. Each night you learn a new story about Christ and it's just the best. I HIGHLY recommend.
-We like to make our lists in November because I do a lot of early shopping... but we love to address them to Santa and stick them in the mailbox. When the kids go to bed I take them out and hide them so I have them and they have the magic of their lists really making it to Santa!
-We usually look at lights about a week before Christmas. I love to plan out our route and give the girls a few Christmas treats. We listen to our fav Christmas tunes between streets and get out to look at the lights on really festive streets. When we get home, we make hot chocolate and watch another movie on the list.
-My mother in law thought of the tradition to go caroling and I think we'll keep with it! In my church we are assigned a few people to "minister" to so we usually do them, but I love the idea of deciding as a family who you go see. I like making a few different types of treats (Oreo truffles, peppermint cookies, and Christmas crack) and putting them in treat boxes. We also make cards for the families.
-Each year me, Oaks (cam would've come this year for the first year), my mom, and my sister all go see the Nutcracker by the California ballet. We all get dressed up, curl hair, and I even let Oaks wear a little makeup! Oaks gets to pick out a new ornament for her tree and she loves it! Afterwards we go out to eat and just have a fun girls day. This year I can't find a single showing of the Nutcracker so we may have to get creative and watch it on tv or something.
-I love finding little wood crafts that the girls can paint each year. They love to decorate for Christmas but I'm very particular about my decor so they both have their own mini tinsel trees (here's where the Nutcracker ornaments come into play) and their painted wood crafts from each year that go in their room so they can "decorate" too. 
-Christmas Sunday is a special day for us (The Sunday before Christmas) It's the day our church services feel extra Christmasy. I remember being SO excited when I found out Oaks was a girl literally for the sole reason that she would get to wear a Christmas dress, ha! When I found out I was having a second girl I got even more excited for matching dresses! The girls loveee getting all gussied up in their Christmas Sunday clothes. That evening we have a fancy meal. We spend Christmas Eve with Hunter's family and Christmas Day with my family so I love using Christmas Sunday as a day for me to do what I want for Christmas. I love making a special type of meat and lots of fancy sides like Ruth's Chris potatoes au gratin, rolls and cinnamon butter, balsamic asparagus, etc... I also love to create a fancy centerpiece from fresh Christmas tree clippings. This is also the day we make and decorate sugar cookies. It keeps them fresh for Santa on Christmas Eve!
-When the girls wake up on Christmas Eve Hunter brings festive donuts for breakfast. Then they find a present under the tree from our elf on the shelf. Inside is our matching family jammies with a goodbye letter to the girls since she goes back to the North Pole with Santa that night. Hunter's mom always does a family Christmas Eve party that evening with a special dinner, we all act out the nativity, we do a few games, and do a gift exchange. It's always so much fun! Once it's time for bed the girls get in their new jammies and Hunter reads the story of Christ's birth. Afterwards Hunter looks up where Santa is (Just look on google) and the girls do their "Santa Dance" because they're excited. After that we set out milk and cookies plus carrots for the reindeer and send the girls off to bed. After everyone goes to bed I make my Christmas morning soufflé so it's ready to bake in the morning. Hunter and I also set out the Santa present, make a letter from Santa to the girls, make his footprints, eat part of the cookies, etc... I love the feel of Christmas Eve!
-Also, this year I want to go through the girl's toys and have each of them find at least 10 toys to donate to kids in need. 

So there ya have it! There's our traditions! Let me know if you have any more questions and let me know what your favorite family traditions are! 

All my love,
Aleigh Joy 


2020 Christmas Cards

Thursday, November 26, 2020

It's no secret that I love Christmas Cards, like a lot. I basically couldn't wait to send and receive Christmas cards for so so long. While Hunter was on his mission, I straight up made a fake Christmas card of the two of us because I just desperately wanted to be a part of the Christmas card making club, ha! I was so excited the first year we got married that I could finally send out a REAL Christmas card. I loved every part of designing it, stuffing envelopes, going to the mailbox to send them, and of course the best part... opening the mailbox each day to find new cards! I just love this time of year so much and seeing everyone's beautiful families and how they've grown just adds to the Christmas joy. 

This year, I used a new company for our cards and I am SO happy with how they turned out! We used Paper Culture and the cards are beautiful. They have an awesome variety of design options with all sorts of color as well as simple cards. Each card has so much character and you are sure to find one that you love. The design process was incredibly easy. Uploading photos, placing them, adding and removing text... it was such a breeze! They printed both the recipient addresses as well as the return addresses on each envelope so I got to completely skip the hand cramping and smudged addresses, ha. The cardstock is so incredibly thick and the photo quality is perfect! I honestly could not be happier with our card!

I'm also super thrilled with the company's mission. All of Paper Culture's products are made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper. Meaning, no new trees are cut down to make your cards! They also do little things in their office like print on two sides of a paper, recycle, compost, and choose to build offices near public transportation. Not only do they do all of that... but they also plant a tree with every single order! they have planted over 1,000,000 trees! Their employees literally pick up shovels and plant trees within their communities. SO cool! 

All around, I am so impressed with Paper Culture and everything they are doing to create a better world and a better way to keep the Christmas card tradition alive. Their cards are currently 50% off until 12/10! Make sure you take advantage of this awesome deal. Trust me, you will not be disappointed!

All my love,

Aleigh Joy 



Thursday, November 12, 2020

Thank you to Sneak Peek for sponsoring this post.

 Can you believe it?? We're having another girl!

Honestly, I can totally believe it... but for some reason reading the results still took me by surprise! We are thrilled to be adding another little girl into our family! And, if you've seen the video of us telling the girls, you know they're beyond excited! Having girls feels so natural to us and honestly, I hardly have to do anything to prepare, ha! Another girl will fit so easily into our family. For whatever reason though, from the moment I saw the positive pregnancy test, I thought we were having a boy. If I'm being honest, I really had to mentally prepare for that. Having two girly girls feels really natural to me. Over time I mentally prepared to have a boy and started to warm up to the idea of a little Hunter running around. Then, came the ring test... Have you heard of this? If not, look it up on Google. Basically if you hold your ring over your hand with a piece of hair or string, it'll either move back and forth or move in a circle and that supposedly tells you the genders of your children and how many you will have. This test appeared to be accurate for every person we tried it on. My test said this baby would be a boy. So, here I was thinking we'd be welcoming a little boy into our family. I got super anxious and wanted to really actually start preparing if it were a boy because hello, we have ZERO baby boy things! Need dresses, hair bows, barbies, and pink nursery decor... I got you! But boy stuff... I have none of that. So I desperately wanted to find out the gender of this child, and fast! That's when I heard about Sneak Peek...

I have a few friends that have done Sneak Peek so I was really interested in it. The more I read, the more I really wanted tot try it! Sneak Peek is the only at-home early gender DNA blood test with results that are 99.1% accurate. It can also be taken as early as 8 weeks into pregnancy! Can you believe that?? You can now find out the gender of your baby at 8 weeks! That is 12 weeks earlier than the anatomy scan. Sneak Peek is also the safest, earliest, most accurate way to determine your baby's gender. 

I received my test in the mail and was so excited to take it. I had my mom help me because blood often makes me feel a little queasy. Luckily, my mom was super calm and helpful and it literally took us like 20 minutes. The instructions were very straight forward and I was surprised at how easy it was. You don't want male DNA to come in contact with the test so we had my dad stay downstairs and I used disinfectant  spray on the entire bathroom... I may have sprayed my moms hand after she touched her phone too... haha sorry mom. Once you mail the test back you can find out the results as fast as 72 hours after! I was alone when I opened the email and I was literally shocked! I told Hunter and he was soo excited. When I called my mom to tell her we both felt like we should go get an ultrasound just to make sure. I found a place that would take me the next day and sure enough, after looking for like 30 seconds, she confirmed that we are having a little girl! Once I received both results I felt like I could finally breathe and start really feeling excited about another girl. We're 98% sure we have her name already picked out and each passing day I get even more excited to see my three girls together. 💗💗💗

I would totally recommend doing the Sneak Peek test if you are wanting to find out the gender of your baby early. They ship everywhere in the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK. If you are wanting to try the test you can use code SPINOV11 for $10 off the standard test or $20 off the FastTrack test. The code is valid the whole month of November!

If you have any questions feel free to ask me! 

All my love

-Aleigh Joy