Over the last few year, we have got into the habit of making our Christmas gifts instead of buying them. I don't know what exactly people want and I don't want to waste my money/time (or lack thereof) trying to figure it out.

But I really enjoy making things for people. 
I think putting more time/thought than money into a gift makes it special.

I also really enjoy the packaging part as well.
This year I bought some paper tags and ended up making my own intentical ones when I ran out. 
I stamped the names and tied on bakers twine.
The tags got tied to a string that was holding a branch onto the brown, paper-covered packages.
I also stamped a few packages all over to make a random pattern.
Easiest wrapping ever.
brown paper packages tied up with string:

Now onto the gifts...

For all of the guys, I try out special recipes I've been wating to attempt and then (after taste testing of course) I stuff bags full of the assorted yummy treats.

I only took one picture of said treats this year, and it just so happened to be a fave...
the TJ's Candy Cane Joe Joe bark. 
(See all of the yummy treats I made this year here.)
and packaging them up:

I love being crafty for the ladies' gifts. It's really the only time of year that I get to craft and I totally enjoy it...but am so ready for it to be over once I'm done.

This year I made...

a wreath for my sister:

a chalkboard board book for my one year old niece: 
necklace scarves for both moms and my sister in law:
I also used this to etch my mom's initals onto a casserole dish.
Hers always get sent home with other people after family gatherings, but not anymore!

I was hoping to be a little more original and give everyone a different gift, but I feel like Christmas kind of snuck up on me and I ended up making everything just days before Christmas! 
Hopefully next year I will know some sewing basics so I can be extra creative ahead of time, which will be helpful, especially with two little muchkins running around!

Did you guys do any DIYs this year?  
This was the first Christmas that Bennett was really able to participate and he loved every second of it!
We hosted Christmas Eve with Chris' side of the family. I chose to do a brunch to keep it low key, and that it was. Not sure if I'd ever do it any other way, besides who doesn't like brunch?!

After eating we opened gifts, played games and got to kick back and relax for a bit.

B playing with gloves attatched to his hat:
 mega blocks on his new table:
 opening the quilt made for him by Chris' mom for his new bed:
It turned out so great!
(inspired by this one)
 steelcut oats bar and hot chocolate bar for breakfast:
(along with a few other options of course)
 In the evening we went to Gloria, our church's Christmas Eve service at the Schnitz.
It was amazing, just like last year.

I could stare at the architecture all day long:

 After we got home, Benentt got to open up a pair of Christmas jammies to wear that night.
He was so excited:
Christmas morning came quickly and he ran out to the tree after we woke him up.
His big present this year was his new bed/mattress but we did get him a few other things that he could play with including a wooden train expansion pack and a Rody.
He asks for Rody every morning when he wakes up!
He had a blast opening presents (and helping everyone else open theirs) this year: 
 Chris and I actually opened eachother's gifts after B went to bed on Christmas Eve, since we had to be up at my sister's house bright and early.
Chris definitely beat out my wrapping this year:
(though they were similar, he added pinecones...what a crafty husband I have!)
He totally and completely surprised me with a Kitchen Aid mixer:
(I have already broken it in with my favorite cookie recipe)
 I didn't really get him anything too fancy...just some new shirts and stuff for his espresso bar.
His parents got him a much needed ladder and now we can put stuff in our attic, clean the gutters, etc!.:
(we are dorky homeowners now, so we get excited over these things)
Christmas morning we went to my sister's house to spend time with my family.
Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the massive amount of gifts around the tree but it pretty much went to where I was standing to take the picture below.
B and his cousins:

 love his crossed legs:
 B is so hot-blooded, his shirt came off pretty quickly:

my mom's fun wrapping:
which turned out to be:
(now I just need to learn how to use it, but I'm so excited!)
 Chris putting together Barbie's dream house for my neice:
(what a nice uncle...I think it pretty much takes an engineer to put those things together anyways)
 Later in the afternoon we all loaded up and headed down to my aunt and uncle's house to spend time with the extended family for a bit. 
It was fun but we were so ready to be home at the end of the day!

This Christmas was great and I know that they are going to get even better from here on out with the brothers next year...having kids around really does make Christmas better!

I hope you are spending it with people you love!

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and we will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

Merry Christmas!

The week before Christmas is always packed full of baking an assorment of cookies for the guys in our families.
I always DIY gifts for the ladies, but what would I DIY for a guy that could be better than a bunch of homemade cookies all to himself?!

These are the yummies I decided to make this year, just in case you need some ideas:

cookies and cream oreo bark
(but instead of oreos I'm using candy cane joe joes!)

chocolate chip pecan snowball cookies

chocolate gooey butter cookies

chocolate chip peanut butter biscotti

oatmeal scotchies

martha's cakey chocolate chip cookies

classic spritz cookies

I think cookies are definitely my favorite thing to bake.
Have you guys made any irresistible cookie recipes lately?
So I have a ton of baking to do but I'm taking a break to do a post.
Anyone else feel like Christmas snuck up on you this year?

Not really many pictures from our weekend because we didn't do much, so I included a bump update as well...it's a growin'!

I felt the need to go out and buy a few new things for the baby. 
  (eventhough it's a boy and we probably have most everything we need!)
Couldn't resist these mushrooms:
 date-night-in complete with a Costco u-bake pizza and eggnog rice pudding:
(we sure know how to party it up on a Friday night)
 Chris knew I wanted to modernize some pinecones
so he dipped them for me while I was out running errands with my mom:
(isn't he sweet?)
 Chris' parents came over on Sunday for a bit to play with B 
while we finished up DIY gifts, baked, and wrapped. 
Bennett especially had fun knocking down towers with his papa:
And that's that for our weekend...told ya it wasn't very exciting.
. . .

Since my bump was pretty much non existent the last time you all saw it, I thought I'd show it off a bit. 
This little dude is growing quickly!

 (I gave up on the chalk paint pens on week 17...it's a little harder to read but takes much less effort to erase.) 
(And yes, that's a mango...don't judge.)

Okay back to baking!
Happy Tuesday (almost wednesday)!

POST EDIT: Chris just pointed out that we took two different week 17 pictures...oops!
No wonder I've been so confused on what week it is...blame it on the baby brain.
So I know all of you are waiting in suspense to find out what we are having right? 

Well Craig and Lauren threw us a little shindig lastnight at a restaurant with all of our closest friends.
(sorry for the horrible lighting)

 The party was complete with cupcakes that would reveal the little babe's gender!
 (a la the colored center icing)
 Instead of Chris and I biting into the cupcake ourselves (like what Craig and Lauren did at their party),
we had Bennett bite into it. 

He took the smallest bites ever, without even touching the cupcake (he hates to be messy).
Eventually he got to the center, revealing that this sweet thing is a...


We are totally surprised and so excited to have another Bennett around these parts!
Brothers are so sweet (and it doesn't hurt that we can re-use clothes and toys as well)!
Now we just need to find the perfect name!