Decorating for the holidays

“Can we decorate the tree now?” Lexie asks for what has to be the hundredth time.

Yes, last week we finally decorated the house for Christmas. In the past, we have sometimes put the decorations up the weekend after Thanksgiving. I don’t want them up BEFORE Thanksgiving. As much as I love how the house looks, I like to finish one holiday before starting another.

Downstairs tree

Downstairs tree

So, the weekend after Thanksgiving we talked about getting our trees down – yes, they are artificial because that is what I grew up with, and Lexie would probably be allergic to the real things and yes, I did just say trees as in plural. We have one upstairs that we put all the presents under and then another one downstairs in the living room.

Upstairs/Office tree

Upstairs/Office tree

We got the downstairs tree out of the garage and up in the living room first. It is a 9.5’ slim pre-lit tree. The upstairs tree, which is in our computer room/office, is 7’ tall and much wider. It is also pre-lit and incredibly heavy. We store it in the garage on a high shelf above the garage door. We have a pulley system set up to help us get it down, but it is still always a big chore.

Next out comes four boxes of Christmas ornaments and decorations. Yes, we have a lot of ornaments. (So far we have added 12 new ones this year thanks to my mom.) Most of our ornaments are from Hallmark and stored in their original boxes, so they take up a lot of room. It also takes a long time to unpack all of them. The kids were very impatient waiting for me to do that.

P1040094A majority of our ornaments are Star Wars. Many years ago, my parents started buying my husband all the Star Wars Hallmark ornaments each year. P1040085After 19 years of marriage, those are a lot of ornaments. The kids get a few new ornaments each year from my parents too. For Jase it is Star Wars or Star Wars Lego ornaments. Lexie gets usually Disney’s princesses (this year Elsa and Belle) but also has received Batman and Curious George to name a few others.

Now the inside of the house is usually decorated first because the outside always feels like a lot of work. We typically have icicle lights on the top of the house. That is closest we are going to get to real icicles here in Texas. We also have net lights for the bushes as well as lights for the driveway as well as a two deer and a Christmas tree. Yes, pretty when it is all up, but it does take a long time to set up and for the house lights, we need to wait for a non-windy, rainy day.

So finally our house is looking ready for the holidays. The kids are excited, which makes all the work worth it. I just don’t want to think about having to take it down in about three weeks!

Customizing our Magic Bands for our trip to Disney World

As I have posted several times in the past seven or so months, my family has been planning a vacation to Walt Disney World (WDW) in Florida. About a year ago, WDW introduced magic bands.

These colorful, waterproof wrist bands are your ticket to the parks, your “Fast Pass” to the rides, your Photo Pass card, the key to your resort room (if staying on Disney’s property) and allow you to pay for meals and souvenir purchases (again, if staying at a Disney resort). They are included in your stay at a Disney resort or off-property visitors can purchase a band and have their tickets attached to it.

bands beforeThe bands come in grey, yellow, red, blue, orange and lime green. (Our original bands are shown in the photo to the right.) But what if you want something a little different? Well, I stumbled across a great thread on the Disboards about customizing your Magic Bands.

With a couple bottles of nail polish, I changed our magic bands.

CIMG2905Jase’s went from blue to purple (his favorite color). It took three coats of nail polish to hide the blue. I had purchased some glow in the dark nail polish from Amazon so that his and my husband’s magic bands could glow but that would change the color of his band too much. (The polish is a slight yellow color.) So we decided to just do the Mickey Mouse head imprint in the middle. How well this glows, we will have to see. I think it will be subtle.

CIMG2898Mine went from their blue to a pretty color called “sparkling water.” I love this color! I added some extra silvery glitter to the Mickey imprint in the middle of the band.

 

CIMG2908

My husband’s band went from grey to black. I know, not very exciting there, but it was what he wanted. His is the only band that needed the extender piece which is a dark grey piece that comes attached to every band. (You simply peel off this section for kids or for us adults with small wrists.) Again, we wanted to try out the glow in the dark polish. I did the Mickey imprint as well as the grey extender.

CIMG2901Lexie liked the original pink band, but we went ahead and painted it with a pink sparkly nail polish. She happened to see one of the bands on the decorating thread that had jewels, so she wanted those too. I pulled some out of our craft basket and used Gorillla glue to attach them. The only problem was the glue dried white and showed on two of the gems more than I would like. My husband tried to use an Exacto knife and remove the visible glue, but it still wasn’t good enough so I covered it up with a little pink sparkly nail polish.

On all the bands, I put two coats of clear nail polish.

Now on the Disboard thread, there were some people who drew elaborate pictures, added tattoos or stickers or added jewels to their magic bands. I didn’t want to spend tons of money (or time) on this. I bought four bottles of nail polish (blue, black, purple and glow in the dark) for a total of $13. I spent three evenings painting them. Overall, I am pleased with how they turned out and expect to get some compliments on our unique bands while at the parks.