It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Dear Santa

It’s amazing on how fast time does fly, as I fondly remember earlier this year planning our garden, watching things sprout, and finally harvesting what we grew – now it’s all gone, and we’re onto another season.

Garden Then and Now

We usually decorate our bushes in front of the house with lights and also hang those nice lights on the gutters too, but this year, we wanted to add something else.

Christmas Trees Using Tomato Cages

Since our garden is put away for the season, we have 10 tomato cages in the garage doing nothing, so we decided to put them to work.  We pulled them out, and flipped them upside down (large circle on bottom / metal points sticking straight up) and bent the metal points inward a bit.  Then we had some lights leftover in the garage and we just wrapped the tomato cages with lights!  It was easy to do, as we just tied the end of the string to the top of the tomato cage, and just turned the tomato cage in a circular motion as the lights wrapped around the cage.  Our light strings were long, so we have lots of lights on one cage.  We wrapped a few more tomato cages with clear and colored lights, then attached them all together.  Then, we lined them up along our front sidewalk and used some of our little U-shaped metal stakes to hold the tomato cages into the ground.

Tomato Cages2

Now, how simple is that?  If you would head into the stores to purchase those spiral lighted trees, it would cost you around $20, but our new holiday decorations cost us nothing to do, as we already had all of the material on hand.  So for all of you gardeners out there looking for some decorating tips, go pull out your tomato cages and add some lights to them!

NIKITA WREATH

I pulled out our Christmas music CD’s and usually play them in the mornings, and both Nikita and Bella think that I am crazy when I dance around the kitchen singing along to the Christmas music playing.  I am surprised that they both don’t start howling from the off-key notes I am sure hitting, but it’s the holidays and that’s what you do – you sing!

valerie-0761b

We finally got the chance to sit down and take our annual family Christmas photo the other night with Nikita and Bella and what seemed like a simple task, always turns into an adventure when your dogs won’t cooperate.  After about 15 tries, we finally got a photo where our eyes weren’t closed, or a dog was running out of the picture frame.  Phew!   Now, I just have to complete the task of finishing our Christmas cards!

NIKITA BY CHRISTMAS TREE

Everyone always wants to have a beautiful photo of their Christmas tree every year, so make sure you turn off all of your lights in the house and your flash on your camera and let the tree illuminate the room.  Also, try adding a filter to your camera to take some interesting shaped photos.  If you don’t have a filter for your camera, just cut a round circle out of black card stock paper and cut a heart, a keyhole, or another shape in the center of your circle, then tape to the front of your camera lens.  You will get different looks by how close you move in on your subject, so take a few photos to see what looks best for you.  Here is an idea of what you will see with a heart filter – pretty cool, eh?

HEART FILTER

Bella got her first taste of snow last week and it was funny on how she reacted.  When she first stepped out onto the snowy grass, she lifted her paws as to say “what the heck is this?”, but then she lowered her head to the ground and started eating it, and eating it, and eating it.  Now, every time I take her outside, she loses focus on her “duties”, rathers walks around and eats the snow.  It is funny to watch.  As for Nikita, she just loves the snow!  She runs and jumps in the huge piles I make, and she digs and digs until she reaches the grass.  Now, I can’t wait to see how much fun we will have this winter with both dogs running and playing…and, that also means more “Snow Doggies” in the yard.  (remember how we made snow doggies in the yard last year instead of snowmen?)  Well, we’ll do more of that this year too!  Isn’t Bella getting BIG?

Bellas First Snow Experience

Bella in Snow

Bella By Back Door

BELLA PENCIL SKETCH

Bella just turned five months old yesterday and has already started to lose a few baby teeth.  Both her and Nikita are getting along well and love to play together.  Bella has done a wonderful job with her new boundaries and loves running all around the house playing.  When it gets around the time that Daddy is to arrive home, I tell Nikita and Bella to “watch for Daddy”, and they both run to the front window so fast that they almost knock each other over to get to the window first – – then, when they see Daddy pulling into the driveway – – they go nuts!  Daddy gets such a warm welcome from them both and he knows instantly that he is loved.  After the dogs warm welcome and the hubabaloo of who gets to see Daddy first, then Mommy gets her turn to welcome him home.  lol

Gift Tags

I saved the best for last, and wanted to share some Christmas Gift Tags with you!  If you know me, I love making things myself instead of having to purchase them, so I created some cute gift tags that you can printout.  Click GIFT TAGS FROM NIKITALAND to download your tags, print them out on card stock paper, cut them out and make sure you cut out the top of the tag too, then use your hole punch at the top.  Tie a little string or bakers twine on the tag and your all set!  Enjoy!   (P.S. – The PDF takes a little bit to open as the file must be BIG, so be patient after you click on the link and it will open!)

Deck the Halls or Your Neighborhood

Christmas is the perfect time to reflect back, to share love with friends and family and to enjoy the holiday spirit.  Christmas is not always about the gifts, rather it’s about being together with your loved ones.  Let’s face it, we all have busy lives, the hustle and bustle of our hectic work weeks, and the holidays always brings us together for some good food, laughter, and at the end of the evening, you’ll always find the men folk in front of the fire napping and the girls chatting in the kitchen.  Ah, Christmas, memories that will always last. 

My Mommy always makes sure that the presents look so beautiful, and it’s a shame when we have to rip into them, but we do.  She designs all of the gift tags herself, and makes sure that each present is adorned with a beautiful bow.  Mommy’s are good at things like that, and I am so thankful for my Mommy.  We can’t wait for Daddy to see what we got him!  He is so special to us and loves us with all his heart! 

Christmas is special too for all of the decorations and lights that twinkle in the night.  Mommy took a walk around the neighborhood and got some great photographs of the spirit of Christmas that our neighbors have that light up so beautifully in the cold dark nights.  From lighted dogs, reindeer and snowmen all show signs of the holiday spirit in our neighborhood. (You can even see me looking out the window too!)

 

I even got a great surprise that my Daddy brought home for me.  My Auntie Rene got me a gift for Christmas!  I have not opened it yet, but I can’t wait to see what she got me.  Thanks so much Auntie Rene for thinking of me at Christmas! 

There’s not too many days left until Christmas, and we hope that you have the best Christmas ever.  Just remember, Christmas is not about the gifts or how many you get, it’s all about the love and being with the ones you love and making memories to last a lifetime.  Get into the spirit of the holidays and pick up the phone and reach out to someone this holiday season.  You’ll be happy you did! 

I also can’t wait because my Daddy will be on vacation soon so we’ll get to spend a lot of time together playing!  And, we are going to head back down to the Cleveland APL for a visit with all of our friends when Daddy is on vacation.  So, all of you at the APL – – get ready for another visit from me!  I’m coming to see you!