thinking ahead

It's never too early to start thinking about gift-giving for next Christmas, right?  Mia and I try to come up with something that's simple, delicious, and perfectly packaged for our dear friends every year.  Have we ever talked about the Christmas caroling adventures with our families?

Do you like to laugh?

Every December, we pick a night to gather our families together for soup and homemade bread...... and Christmas Caroling Rehearsal.  Each person has a very important singing part coupled with festive choreography. After dinner, we work on our dance moves and harmonies together, then head out all bundled up in silly hats, scarfs and mittens.  We visit the homes of about 10 mutual friends and bring each family some holiday hilarity.  One year, Mia sang Santa Baby while sitting on Santa's lap as the rest of us sang background ooh's and ahh's.  Another year, Jaci rode in atop Brody's shoulders for the grand finale, hanging on for dear life as he galloped right through each front door. (a real crowd pleaser!)  This year, we sang a rousing rendition of Feliz Navidad, trusting each of the little boys with a solo.  The nino's part MAY have been the highlight! Some of us didn't make it into the picture, but most of us are here.

 Our families act annoyed when we start planning the big night, but we know that they secretly wait all year for it.  And the homes we visit..... well, rumor has it they plan their whole December around our arrival!

This past year we made and gave away rolls and rolls of {oatmeal cookie dough}.

We have surprised even ourselves this year by already having a plan for Christmas 2013!  It all started when I showed up at Mia's, headed straight for her holiday treat station, and began munching on the most delicious {popcorn confection} I've ever tasted.  As soon as she told me it was the easiest thing she's ever made, we looked at each other and BOOM!  We read each others minds. Which isn't odd at all.  

The next challenge comes with the packaging of the treat.  I forced myself into Fry's this week as soon as we were down to one egg and the heel of the bread.  Somehow I found myself in the holiday aisle, where everything was 50% off.

No on the mincemeat yule logs.

No on the Christmas whoopie cushion.

YES on the slightly tacky plastic containers for $1.

Do you see a tiny glimmer of potential with that darling scalloped lid?  They had several different color combinations, some with red or green lids, but I swooped up on the white ones.  Once I had them washed and dried, I started to think.....

It doesn't take too long to think of spray paint.

Straight to Lowes.  I found a can of Valspar Color Radiance in the most beautiful robin's egg blue called Mirage.  (flat finish)  It's made for painting over wood, metal, AND plastic, with the primer already added.  With the container face-down, I sprayed two light coats over the bottom and sides.  The inside is still completely clean and food safe.

I tied it up with a festive red and white striped ribbon and stuck a live sprig of something that looks just like mistletoe and grows like a week along my fence.  Of course every package needs to be tagged, and I was happy to find these adorable {vintage inspired tags} on Pinterest.  They are a free download and come six to a page. I tied mine on with some baby pink silk ribbon.

Now, I have no idea what I'm making for dinner tonight, but I do know what treat my friends and family will be getting next Christmas!  And now so do they.  Luckily, it's worth looking forward to all year long.

If you live near a Fry's grocery store (also called Kroger in some states), you need to race over there and secure yourself some containers!  I've also seen Christmas tins spray painted that are really cute.  They are always around $1 at thrift stores.  I think I will definitely apply a finish coat of spray matte poly over the painted part to protect it from scratching.

If the sweet vintage tags aren't your thing, here are some more darling options for you to choose from.

They are all downloadable {here}, plus a bunch of other really cute designs. 

On another note, my sister had her baby the day after Christmas.  She is so tiny and adorable that I can hardly stand being away from her for more than a day!  My kids are begging to see her constantly, and the minute Andrew saw her in the hospital, he decided that she had "lady lips".  I've never heard that term before and it makes me giggle, but every part of her is perfect, including her teeny, tiny lips!  Mother and baby are doing great and we are counting our blessings that everything went so smoothly. 

Here is baby Bentley with Jaci.  I sent this picture right over to my parents in the Philippines the day after she was born.  Jaci is their 1st grandchild, and Bentley is their 20th!  A new baby is such a miracle.  Congratulations to Brett and Erica!  You certainly don't need an invitation to drop by whenever you want!



  1. I'm generally not the person to comment on blogs and I am still fairly new to the blog world but.... i have followed you all for quite some time and I LOVE YOU both. I do have some questions though- what happened with Mia's boys bunk project back during the summer? What happened with the Project group? It has been so long since we have heard about your fabulous group. Keep up the good work- you ladies always give me a chuckle!

    1. Hi there! Thanks for asking those questions..... The bunkbed project is actually mine, and it has taken a backseat to about 100 other projects. The main part is built, and the boys are sleeping there, but it has a long way to go to be finished! I have big goals for this year though, so sit tight and stay tuned! Hopefully the end product will be worth the LONG wait!
      As far as our Club Project group, we lost a couple girls but gained a fabulous addition. I guess we haven't said much about our group lately, but it is still super fabulous and we will start posting our successes more often. Thanks for the interest!

  2. Thx Jilly for the update! You all keep me inspired and my husband on pins and needles to see what I will do next(much to his dismay). I will wait patiently- keep up the good work!
    Christy in NC

  3. Can I just say that I am slightly disgusted - okay, jealous - that you already have something planned and prepped for NEXT Christmas?! Super cute idea. :)

  4. Ladies,
    Your Christmas caroling was a blast (as always) and your oatmeal cookies were fantastic. Thanks for including us in your antics. I can vouch for the fact that el nino was one of the highlights of your show. He's a cutie! Keep this blog going and have a FABULOUS 2013!

  5. Oh yes, I too make a treat every year (tons of caramel corn) to give out to friends and family. I ran out like a crazy inspired girl would yesterday morning after seeing your GENIUS container creation with all of the sources and how to info! Found those containers (now on sale for fifty cents at fry's) and the spray paint (valspar is at Lowes, who knew?). Your idea alone was amazing but for someone who is trying to recreate it I so appreciate the time you took to include the container source, tags and specific color of spray paint etc. Thanks a million and thanks to both of you for such a wonderful blog!!!

  6. I'm very happy to find this site. I want to to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely really liked every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to look at new information in your website.

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  7. I love that she has so much hair. Who would have thunk?


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Mia & Jilly

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