Last Minute Teacher Gift Idea

Merry Christmas everyone!

I know this is a frenzied week for most of us. My older two kids are in school through Wednesday, so I have a list a mile long of things I need to accomplish before they're home with me. I'm sure you do too!

But this little idea was too cute not to share. I am Nina's room parent this year, and as such I am in charge of the teacher gift! I always ask the teacher at the beginning of the year for a list of her "favorite things"(similar to one I blogged about here). I figure (as a former teacher myself!) that what she probably wants most is gift cards, right? 

A friend of mine had a suggestion to help take the gift presentation to the next level. She donated this sweet Christmas tree to my cause, and I ran around collecting gift cards to decorate the tree. Since it looked a little bare with no other decorations, I did some quick cinnamon ornaments and dried orange slices (since I wanted some for my own house anyway...!). Then I found these little brass trumpets at a local antique mall, and they were the perfect final touch to the tree.

When you put them all together, it's the cutest teacher gift ever! I always judge a gift by how much I want one of my own when it's all put together. Let's just say if someone showed up on my doorstep with one of these for me, I'd do a gleeful little dance!

So, on the off-chance that you are still in need of a teacher gift, AND have the time and energy to execute it 6 days before Christmas, I wanted to help a sister out! If not...there's always next year! :)

Merry Christmas friends!


Christmas at My House. And the Biltmore.

Merry Christmas my friends! I hope you're all staying sane this time of year. There is so much I love about this season, and every year I wonder why we try to cram so much magic into one month. If it were up to me, we'd keep our Christmas tree up until the spring flowers start to bloom, and listen to Christmas music until the weather warms up enough to have a BBQ and country music on the patio. :)

This year for Thanksgiving we headed south to see my extended family in Atlanta. Since my husband grew up in North Carolina, he wanted to take a small detour along the way to show us around. We spent a few days in Asheville, and of course you know that also means the Biltmore! Nina and Henry and I spent the afternoon at this beautiful house while Vivian took a nap at the hotel with Daddy.  You can see below how excited Nina was to have to put her arm around her brother for the occasion.

The Biltmore was all decorated for Christmas.  I mean all decorated. Walking from room to room was like being inside every decorating magazine you've ever loved. Hello blue and white pottery, I adore you.

We rented the kids' audio tour (it plays on these phone-like devices you hang around your neck) and learned so much! I got some great ideas about how to add Christmas decor to my two-story library, for example.

My phone's camera just can't do it justice. Every room was more gorgeous than the last. We had a blast!

Coming home with visions of the Biltmore in my head...this is not recommended! (Nothing like a mansion with a whole team of decorators to make a girl feel inadequate!) But I have loved putting some of the Biltmore ideas into action around my own house. I'll show you just a few. Still decorating around here as I find the time, so this is just a snippet, not the full house tour!

This year I opted for all fake greenery everywhere except the Christmas tree. (Gotta have fresh for that!) The real stuff, when not accessible to water, just tends to dry out so fast, and then I get frustrated that I've spent all that time arranging. But I have a wonderful local store that sells the most realistic-looking greenery, and last year I stocked up. I'm pretty please with my two pots on either side of the front door!

I'm gonna apologize for the lighting in some of these. As you know, trying to capture the glow of Christmas lights is just a tricky business! This pine roping on my fence is fake, though, can you believe it? I love the long needles...just like what I would buy at the nursery!

More fake greenery on the lantern by the front door.

On the front door, a fake wreath with some berries and pine cones and all kinds of things I just keep throwing on there to keep it interesting!

Inside the house, I have two little fake green trees in the two front windows. Our real tree is in the family room (in the back of the house) where we can enjoy it with the fireplace and be all cozy. But these trees make us look festive from the street!

The red ticking stripe ornaments were ones I made from this tutorial last Christmas. I just used some simple ball ornaments I found at Goodwill and some scrap fabric. The cinnamon gingerbread man ornaments were a project from eight years ago (!) for two-year-old Nina and me. Check out my long-ago post about that for a real blast from the past! (Nina is ten now, so it's a bit of a heartbreaker to see those sweet little cheeks!)

And here is my tribute to the gorgeous red poinsettias in the blue and white urns that I saw everywhere at the Biltmore! It's the little things, right? Looking at this set up in my dining room every day makes me happy.

I am still fussing and fluffing things around here, and doing the myriad of other things that need to be done, but thank you for taking a little peek into my humble Christmas house!