What's Happening (a little bit of beach, some Christmas, and a dash of random)

*I was hoping to write a post all about our wonderful week at the beach (and it was wonderful - sweet family, amazing weather, empty beaches, and a completely legit Thanksgiving meal to boot!), but we were welcomed home by our forgotten to-do lists.  And 1,200 unread emails.  So here are the highlights from various family members' phones:

...and from the big camera:
She ate her weight in sand.  It was gross.  She survived.  So did her mama.
The week at the beach was my parents' Christmas gift to us, and it was perfect.  Thanks so much, mom and dad.  We loved it! 

 *We're almost done decorating for Christmas.  I love getting the house all dolled up, listening to Christmas music, and planning out gifts and service projects for the season.  Normally we go the day right after Thanksgiving to get the tree, but since we were at the beach this year, we were delayed until Saturday.
Gus asks for "Christmas tree" every time we get in the car now.  We've tried explaining that we only get one tree each year, but it's not working.  Also, "Christmas tree" somehow sounds remarkably like "Trick-or-treat".

*We're almost done decorating, and I'll be sure to post photos soon, but here's a little inspiration in the meantime:
I've been crushing on the mini tree look for a while now, and with the house on the market this year, I decided it was time to give it a try.  Maybe the needles will be more manageable this way?  Or at least there will be less of them.  
(All photos via my Christmas board on Pinterest.)

*My sister and mom have been gearing up for Christmas, too, and have some lovely stockings listed in their etsy shop.  Many are made with vintage details and upcycled fabrics.  These are two of my favorites: 
 So pretty, right?  The backdrop is the old front door out at my parents' farm. 
They made some for our family, too, and I can't wait to show y'all how gorgeous they are! 

*I've been listening to this.  If you like Christmas music, but don't care for chipmunks or Eartha Kitt, it's a great alternative.

*Completely unrelated to anything, but so wonderful I have to share: This homemade floor cleaner.  My hardwoods have been driving me crazy while showing the house.  2 two-year-olds and a big 'ole dog make quite the mess, and this stuff is a lifesaver.  The trick is to spray it directly on the floor (as opposed to soaking the mop) and mop with a microfiber pad.
(Not my floors, but the results are about the same.  Wonderful!)

*Also random, but fantastic if you're in a pinch: Did you know that you can make your own cookie cutters?  Out of aluminum foil?  I couldn't find any cutters I liked for Lula's party (or didn't want to spend what they cost) so I did some googling and found this.
Hopefully you can tell that they're supposed to be acorns!

*If you love Downton Abbey (and are waiting for season 3!), try Call the Midwife.  It might not be as romantic, but it's just as captivating.
It's based on the memoirs of a midwife in the East end of London in the '50s.  Soooo interesting.  

*And last but not least, G & L have been saying and singing so much lately.  This just might be my favorite:
Last week we took my mom out to lunch for her birthday and he started singing (not so quietly) at the table.  He singled out one of the waitresses and pointed straight at her as he reached the pinnacle of his "I  wuuuuuvvvv youuuu!".  It was incredibly funny and adorable.  And also slightly embarrassing.  :)

Happy Tuesday!
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