Christmas Favorites

The holidays were especially good, not only because we got presents, but because it was a happy holiday. The only thing missing was snow on the ground. We got the cold temperatures back, but not no snow. It felt weird not to see the ground covered in the white stuff at Christmas, but we got a freak snow storm here on Thanksgiving. Go figure, Mother Nature messed this one up.

CAMERA RUBBER STAMPS1

I found these adorable camera rubber stamps in my stocking and I absolutely love them! I have already stamped little cameras on everything I can get my hands on!

CAMERA RUBBER STAMPS2

As you can see, I already inked these babies up really good! Putting them to good use for sure. Thanks Sweetie!

STACKABLE COFFEE CUPS

I got this coffee cup stack too, and this gift has a funny long story behind it. Without giving away the long story, all I can say is that I am happy with this awesome coffee cup stack as it is exactly what I wanted. What amazes me, is that I can create a board on Pinterest of things that I wanted for Christmas, and this gift shows up! Amazing on how that works, eh!

BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENTS EVER

All of you know that I love, love, love to work outside in the yard and garden. A friend of ours has one of these garden carts that I fell in love with while we were helping them with their landscaping project over the summer. To my surprise, they bought me one! I was so shocked and joyous and had to put it under our tree (well sort of) and filled it with all of my other presents. Thank you Jamie & Simpson for the nicest gift ever – you really surprised me with this one!

CHRISTMAS PRESENTS 2014

While we watched a Cops marathon, we opened our gifts! They were too pretty to open, but we ripped through them in style!

BELLAS NEW BLANKIE

Bella and Nikita got new Christmas blankies and as you can see, Bella tested hers out to make sure it provided the proper warmth. It passed inspection!

DADDYS NEW SWEATER

Daddy was spoiled with lots of presents and got lots of new clothes and this beautiful new sweater.

NIKITA LOVES BOXES

As we opened up our gifts, Nikita ran off with the boxes to play. Maybe we should have just wrapped up some empty boxes for her instead of buying her new toys?

THE CHRISTMAS SNARL

Here is a funny photo of Nikita snarling because she did not want me to steal her new ball.

THE TOY THAT OINKED

Bella found the toy that “oinked” when I was wrapping it up. This is one of her new favorite toys now!

DADDYS NEW FISHING ROD

All of the presents under the tree were opened, except one that was hiding behind the tree. (this kinda reminded me of the Christmas Story movie when Ralphie’s Red Rider BB Gun was hiding as the last gift to open) It was a surprise for my Sweetie, a new Shakespeare fishing rod & reel. Boy was he surprised.

All of us must have been really good this year! What was your favorite Christmas present?

It Happened Last Night

Yesterday afternoon the dogs caught me. Caught me wrapping up their Christmas toys! Dogs don’t miss anything! A simple crinkle noise from a package, sends them running to investigate. I sat on the rug in the living room wrapping up each new squeaky toy, rope pull, and stuffies, while they hoovered over my back the entire time. I was caught, but I continued to wrap!

NIKITA WATCHING PRESENTS6

But I made a mistake. When wrapping up a larger stuffie, I pushed down on it while wrapping and it “oinked”! “OMG” I thought and I turned around to look at Nikita and Bella and they were close to drooling! Their eyes were glazed over and the moved in to sniff the wrapping paper. I can’t believe that stuffie gave me away and squeaked on me! (darn stuffie)

NIKITA PRESENT WATCHING1

I did not think much about the toys after I placed them in their Christmas stockings and a few under the tree. The dogs sniffed their stocking a few times then followed me into the kitchen where I continued on with my holiday baking, and was glad to know that I got everything all wrapped.

NIKITA WATCHING PRESENTS4

Then last night after dinner, Nikita went back into the living room and never left. She just sat there, in front of the tree and her pink Christmas stocking and looked at it. I watched her as she scooted closer and closer to her stocking. Then she laid down right in front of the tree and stayed there the entire night. We thought it was the cutest thing we have ever seen, a dog who was getting excited about Christmas presents. I went over to check on her and she looked up at me with those sad puppy eyes as if to say “can I have that thing that oinked?” What a sweet dog. I tried to explain to her that Christmas is not here yet, but all she did was look at me with that sad look on her face. All she wanted was that thing that oinked.

NIKITA WATCHING PRESENTS2

It was time for bed, and Nikita was still laying under the tree, where she had been laying for hours. I had to do something. I picked up their toys under the tree and removed the stockings hanging on our stocking holder and carried them into another room. Nikita followed. I gave Nikita a hug, kissed her on her nose, and told her it would be ok. She went into the kitchen and laid down.

NIKITA WATCHING PRESENTS3

I was just amazed on how persistent she was on keeping an eye on her presents under the tree, after one of them gave themself away by oinking. (darn piggie)

NIKITA WATCHING PRESENTS5

The Making of A Christmas Sign

Viewing the numerous Christmas signs all over the place, on Pinterest boards, and in antique shops, I decided to try making one for myself. It all started because I found a little piece of scrap wood I had leftover, and I don’t throw any of these little pieces away, just in case I might need them. I had to trim the piece of wood with my jigsaw a little to make it perfectly shaped, then I sanded it really good.

Here’s what you need to make your own Christmas Sign:

  • Piece of 1/2″ plywood
  • Jigsaw & Sander
  • Create your own stencil & choose your fonts
  • Newspaper
  • White high gloss paint
  • Black high gloss paint
  • Red paint
  • Of course, paint brushes!
  • Polycrylic
  • Small string of colored Christmas Lights

Let’s get started!  You have the list of materials that I used in creating my Christmas Sign, so let’s begin the process. After the piece of wood is cut to the size you want (mine was 18″ x 9″), you need to sand down the top of your sign really well. Vacuum off all the dust particles afterwards.

Christmas Sign

Next, take out your white glossy paint and paint two coats of white on your wood. Let dry in between coats. If you still think you might need a third coat, then do a third, but let it dry thoroughly.

While your board is drying, you can sit down and design your Christmas phrase on your computer and choose your fonts.  I decided to use “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” phrase, because it is cheery. The font I used for all the words was Time New Roman, and I used the font called Riddle for the word “little”. I sized the font size appropriately so it would fit on my piece of wood. Once you get everything in the size you want, print it out on a sheet of copy paper, not cardstock.  Cut out each word and leave a little space around each word. Place the cutout words onto your board to ensure that they fit.

Christmas Sign1

Next, take a piece of newspaper and lay it under your cutout word and trace really hard around the edges of your letters. What you are doing here is letting the ink from the newspaper transfer onto your white wood. It does a pretty good job. (you could probably also use a piece of carbon paper too if you had some on hand)

Christmas Sign2

Make sure your cutout words are always straight on your piece of wood when transferring them, or you will be sad to find out that they are crooked. I used a ruler to line up my cutout words when I did my board.

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Once you transfer all of your words onto your piece of wood, you are now ready to paint the letters black. Use a very small flat paint brush and carefully paint each letter, starting from the middle of your board and work your way out to the sides. This ensures that you will not accidentally slide your arm into any wet paint!  Work your way around your board until all your words are painted black, except for the word “little”, as you want to paint that red.

Christmas Sign4

Let your words dry thoroughly. Now, you might notice that you have some ink that accidentally transferred onto the white board from the newspaper, and that is not a problem. Just use your small paint brush and touch up those areas.

Christmas Sign5a

When I was making my Christmas sign, I noticed that after I had all of the words painted on the sign, it looked good, but I felt that it was missing something. I decided to paint a small black border around the sign and that really did the trick in completing the look of the sign. It’s perfect now!

Christmas Sign6

Once all of your lettering has dried, you are ready to apply a layer of Polycrylic to seal the top of your board. Apply the polycrylic very slowly because you do not want any air bubbles. If you get any, just brush them away, or pop them with a pin as you go. I added actually two coats of Polycrylic to my sign just to seal it well. Let each layer of this step dry overnight before you add a second layer.

Christmas Sign7

The last thing that I did was add a little string of 18 LED Multi-Colored Christmas Lights around the frame. These little lights were found at Walmart.

So, there you have it, a beautiful Christmas sign to brighten your holidays!

Signs of Christmas

Signs. We see them every day. Signs tell us which way to turn. Some tell us that we need to stop. Some even tell us that we cannot enter without shirt & shoes. Then there are different signs that tell us when a holiday is creeping near, the signs of Christmas.

CHRISTMAS BULB

We all know what day it is on our calendar, but seeing the little signs of Christmas always brings joy to your heart.

FEDEX

The delivery trucks have been running non-stop up and down our street, and Nikita and Bella never miss the opportunity to bark at them, especially when they stop right in front of our house! (one word of caution for holiday deliveries – – If you can, have a neighbor pick up your packages that might sit for hours on your front porch when you are not home! We heard on the news that people are driving around & snatching up packages!)

SNUGGLING TOGETHER

Nikita and Bella have been on their best behavior because they know that Santa is watching them! They want to make sure they don’t get on the naughty list!

CANT WAIT FOR CHRISTMAS

Nikita gets all excited when we ask her what she wants Santa to bring her for Christmas!

Signs are all around us, but the signs of Christmas always brings joy to my heart. What signs of Christmas do you see?

Merry Christmas From Nikitaland

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM NIKITALAND

BELLA BOW

Santa in Sleigh Happy Holidays

NIKITA IN SANTA HAT

BELLA IN SANTA HAT

Dear Santa

santa-nikita

ANTLERS2

HOLIDAYS WEAR US OUT

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR from all of us at Nikitaland! We wish you all the best in the new year and much happiness. We are so thankful that we have all become such good friends and look forward to another year of blogging fun with you!

I Have a Confession

I have a confession.  It is not an earth-shaking one, but one that always plagues me during the holidays of my Christmas pasts.  I always wondered if my parents ever found out, if they did, they never said anything.  I probably should have got a bag of coal for Christmas, if they did find out, and that would not have surprised me. I wonder if I was the only one who ever did this?

SANTA SEPIA 2012My confession is:  I opened up my Christmas gifts when I was little!  Phew, I said it, and now feel better that I got that off my chest. I only did this one Christmas when I was younger, all because I found all of the presents hidden neatly in my parents closet. Who were they kidding, hiding the presents in their “own” closet? It’s not like they were actually hiding them, all piled up neatly on the top shelf.  I pulled them all down, one by one, looking for my name.  “Ah, here’s one!”, I proudly said to myself.

Of course, I had to climb up on a chair first to pull the presents down from the top shelf of the closet, and drag the chair all the way down the hallway from the dining room, then and only then, could I get my little hands on the wonders of Christmas joy.  I felt a little like Ralphie from A Christmas Story, but heck, even Ralphie did not unwrap his presents, he just shot his eye out.

I stood there next to the bed with all the presents piled up that had my name on them, and looked at them, and shook them, and tossed aside any that felt like “clothes”.  Now the dilemma hit me.  How do I open them without my parents knowing?  At this moment, I thought to put them all back up on the shelf because the “present inspectors” for sure would know.  Then it hit me!  I ran to the kitchen and found my Dad’s little pocket knife that I saw him use a million times to open up envelopes with, and I knew that all I had to do was to slit the tape and not the paper and I would be good.  No one would know, no one.

It was working!  That little pocket knife did the trick and slit the tape perfectly. I felt like I was in the clear, and got the go ahead green light to continue.  Ooooh, I got the game called Operation!  Awesome!  On to the next gift… then it happened.

My heart jumped, and I almost pee’d my pants.  Someone knocked on the window from outside. I walked over to the window, frightened, and opened up the curtain.  It was my sister Mary and our neighbor.  They were spying on me and caught me red-handed with my gifts all opened up on the bed.  I was doomed.  All I remember her saying over and over again was “I’m going to tell, I’m going to tell!”

I panicked and was about to just throw all of the presents back into the closet as if nothing happened, but I still had to tape up all the presents that I had just opened. For a little kid, I knew I was defeated, brought down by my own sister. I hurried as fast as I could taping up the presents and trying to get the new piece of tape to fit just perfectly over the other one, when I hit another obstacle.  I ran out of tape!  Geez, this could not be happening to me!  What else could happen I started to think.  All I knew is that I just needed to get all of these presents back up onto the shelf without my parents catching me.  I desperately searched through the kitchen drawers to find more tape, as this was my only hope for escaping being punished for opening up my gifts.

There was no one watching out for me that night, as I had used the last roll of tape and I still had more presents to wrap back up. I was freaking out. Then it hit me like a lightning bolt… go grab my bottle of Elmer’s Glue! Yeah, that’s it!  That will do the trick and seal up the packages perfectly!  It did in fact, work perfectly and I got everything glued back together.  I frantically piled up all the presents from the bed on top of each other, climbed back up on the chair, and neatly stacked them back up on the closet shelf.  “I did it, I did it” I exclaimed with joy as the last present was neatly put into its place on the shelf.  I closed the closet door and put the chair back, hid my glue and threw away the empty tape roll in the bottom of the garbage can.  No one would be the wiser.

Oh yeah, there was still one problem.  My sister.  What was I going to do about her?  She knows what I did and for sure she would tell Mom. I panicked again.  The guilt of what I had just done crept back into me. I am going to get coal for sure now.

When Christmas came, I was not the happy little kid who was excited and jumped for joy to open my gifts. I was guilty, and it was written all over my face.  I opened up my gifts, one by one, and tried to act surprised that I got the game called Operation.  I was not happy.  I was guilty, and found out quickly that guilt has a powerful hold over you when you do something bad.

My parents never found out that I had opened up all of my gifts that year, well at least I don’t think they ever did as nothing was said.  I never got coal, but I never looked at the game called Operation the same ever again.  Still to this day, when I see this game, I shudder and my guilt of what I had done years ago still lies deep in my heart.

Christmas Came Early for a Good Dog

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!  Well in this case, yes Nikita, there is a Santa and he is named Daddy.  

Ever since we rescued Nikita over three years ago, she has been allowed on the furniture, well, one couch in particular and the bed at night.  During the day, she would lay by Mommy’s feet to stay close to her, on her couch, or her favorite corner in the kitchen under the window so she could see outside.  She really never showed much interest in napping anywhere else, until about a month ago.

10-14-11-napping-on-couch

Bella has her own little fluffy bed with a nice fluffy fleece blanket that Mommy always keeps nice and clean for her.  (I really think this dog loves the smell of the dryer sheets!)  Anyhow, this is where Bella always naps. On her bed. That is how it has always been…until recently.  

NIKITA IN BELLA BED

We noticed that Nikita had started to nap on Bella’s bed.  Whoa!  Now where am I supposed to nap?  This kept going on for awhile, and we decided it was time to get Nikita her own fluffy bed.  Not sure if it was because of the weather change here, the floor being cold, but Nikita loves the cold floor, or whatever the case may be, but we felt that she needed her own fluffy pad.  Unsure if she would actually nap on it once we got it, we went ahead and got one anyway.  

NIKITAS NEW BED

Well, her new fluffy bed arrived on Monday and she has not got off of it! The look on her face was priceless as she snuggled in her fluffy wool bed. She walked around in circles, sniffing every inch of that bed, then she curled up and went to sleep. It was safe, and it is “mine”!

Bella has her bed back and it is pretty safe to say that her bed will not be visited again by Nikita, and she can keep her own scent amongst the dryer sheet smell.

Winter Wonderland

BLIZZARD 12-26-12

This is the snow cleared from our driveway today! 

We had the most wonderful Christmas with our family.  The dinner smorgasbord that Grandma had prepared for us was so wonderful and if anyone left the table hungry, that was their own fault!  Grandma made us her homemade stuffed cabbage for Christmas and we always fill our plates real high with them because they are so delicious.  The wonderful gifts that each of us received were truly practical and things that we all needed.  Gifts from the heart are so appreciated as they mean the world to us.  (Thank you Grandma for the wonderful meal!)  And, a great BIG thank you to Daddy for making our Christmas very special for all of us!  You mean the world to us!

NIKITA AND BELLA HELPING DADDY OPEN PRESENTS

Nikita & Bella helped Daddy open his gift!

Bella Enjoying Her 1st Christmas

Bella Enjoying Her 1st Christmas

Can't Wait to See What This Is!

Can’t Wait to See What This Is!

Nikita & Bella Helping Daddy

Nikita & Bella Helping Daddy

Nikita Playing with the Paper Rolls

Nikita Playing with the Paper Rolls

Nikita's New Piggy!

Nikita’s New Piggy!

Daddy Got an Awesome Alarm Clock

Daddy Got an Awesome Alarm Clock

We were so lucky that the weather held out for our travels on Christmas, because today we got hit with a Blizzard!  It has been snowing here since 9:15am and has not stopped.  The snow blower got a real workout today for sure, and so did Daddy, as we both cleared the driveway a few times during the day.  You can hear the murmur of snow blowers all around the neighborhood as everyone was digging out.  Approximately 8+ inches of snow has fallen here so far and we can’t wait to see what we will find tomorrow morning when we wake.  As for Nikita and Bella, they absolutely LOVE the snow and can’t get enough of running through it, eating it, digging in the snow piles, and running in circles all around the yard.  We just keep telling them to not eat the yellow snow!

Snowy Sidewalk

Snowy Sidewalk

Snowy Morning

Snowy Morning

Our Garden Covered with Snow

Our Garden Covered with Snow

 

Merry Christmas

Santa in Sleigh Happy Holidays

From all of us at Nikitaland, we wish you and your family a Merriest Christmas and wishing you all the best in the New Year!  We have had another wonderful year of blogging, and have met some of the most wonderful people in the world.  All of you mean the world to us and we hope that we continue to share our love & wonderful stories from our own lives.  We know that at times, each of us can get busy with life in general, and we understand, as we all have our moments of stress, and work/life balance.  We want you to know that we appreciate all of you and love the bond that we share.  We wish you all the best in the new year!

We drove around last night and took photographs of all the Christmas light displays we could find, and what we located was stunning.   I could not wait to get home to view the photographs that I had taken, and I played around in my photo editor and actually added “snow” to some of the photographs to add that special holiday effect.  The photo below is a local fire station all outlined in white lights with the most beautiful tree standing next to the drive.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS1

FIRE STATION2

A few of the light displays were animated and you could tune your car radio into a certain channel to listen to Christmas music as the lights danced to the music.  Nikita sat in the back seat of the car and watched the lights with us, while munching on some treats.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS4a

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS8

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS7

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CHRISTMAS LIGHTS9

When we returned home, our own Christmas lights looked so bland compared to the wonderful light displays that we saw, but we love our lights none the less and always smile when we see them turn on for the night.

Our House Decorated

While we were watching one animated light display, Santa Claus actually showed up and I snagged a photograph of him on the sidewalk.  I went over and asked Santa to say hi to Nikita (and if you know Nikita, she hates that jolly guy in the red suit) and Santa walked over to our car to say hi, and Nikita started growling at him from the back seat!  We laughed, as we knew what she would do.  (silly dog)

Red Christmas Trees

Santa on Sidewalk

Nikita Meets Santa

We hope that your Christmas is merry & bright and you wake to find your stocking overflowing with gifts!