Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from MLBD...

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from our house to yours!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas cards for couples...

I love receiving photo Christmas cards. I have friends from all over the country that I don't get to see very often, so it's nice to see how they and their children have changed over the last year. It makes sense to do a photo card when you have kids but what if it's just the two of you?

The first year we were married, we did a photo card with our wedding photo. Last year, we just sent a regular card and my husband told me he wished we'd sent a picture card. So this year, we did.

Part of me felt a little strange about sending a photo of just the two of us since we don't have any kids yet, but then I thought as much as I want to see my friends who are far away, they (hopefully) want to see us too. To me a photo card feels a little more personal. 

What do you think? Photo card or regular greeting card? What about photos for couples vs families? 

Photo or not, The O'Briens wish you a very Merry Christmas! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Oh Christmas Tree... and other stuff...

Yikes, it's been two weeks since last I posted. I assure you there have been post-worthy things going on, just not enough time to post them. 'Tis the season. Last year we cut down a Christmas tree. This year due to some serious snow, we bought one from a tree lot. It's tall, it's full, it smells great.... and it's dead. Well at least we think.

As soon as we got it home, we put it in water. Then when we moved it into the house, we dumped out the water, I filled it again and that same water has been sitting there for two weeks. Oh well, Christmas is Wednesday, so it will be fine until then. And most importantly, it looks great. I've never had a tree smell so fresh before.

We don't "theme" our trees. I know some people do something different every year and they do look beautiful, but I feel like a Christmas tree should reflect your family. After all, isn't that what Christmas is all about? Making memories with the ones you love? Most of my ornaments are hand-me-downs from my grandmothers, some I have purchased and we have a few that were given to us. I love the idea of having our tree evolve every year as we collect more and more meaningful ornaments.

Speaking of trees, how many of you had one of these ceramic trees in your house growing up? They were super-popular in the 70s and 80s. My mom had one and I was so bummed when she said she got rid of it because it was missing lights. But much to my delight, I found one at a local antique store. And for just $18, I had to snatch it up.

I kept the dining room super simple. Just a jar filled with ornaments and a festive red/bronze/gold runner from HomeGoods. Over in the corner, I added a red and gold ribbon to the plant pot and dressed up some old candles I had with plaid Christmas ribbon.

I didn't do too much DIYing this year, but I did update one of my old wreaths with gold accents. I just wrapped it in a white and gold ribbon and added a gold ornament in the center. 

It hangs on the basement door and is the first thing you see when you walk in the house. It's accompanied by my favorite sign ever...

The perfect mantra for the holidays. 
Don't get your tinsel in a tangle and just enjoy the spirit of the season. 

Merry Christmas! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Tasty Taco Casserole...

Tacos are a staple in our household. We love them, but sometimes having the same thing over and over gets a little boring. That's when I came up with my Tasty Taco Casserole. You use all the same ingredients that you normally would for tacos but just in casserole form.

First brown the ground meet and season with taco seasoning. Next line a casserole dish with tortillas, then layer refried beans, ground meat, cheese, tomatoes and jalapenos.

Top with another layer of tortillas, your favorite salsa and finally cheese. Then bake in a 350 oven for 15-20 minutes. I also put it under the broiler for a few minute to make the cheese a little crisp.

Just top with lettuce and sour cream. 

Instead of Taco Night, why not shake it up and try a Tasty Taco Casserole!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas mantel 2013...

Mantel oh mantel, how you have challenged me over the years. This year my approach was more laid-back. I wasn't trying to emulate any Pinterest mantel, I wasn't set on DIYing every single element of the mantel and I tried to use decorations I already had on hand. Instead of stressing, I just let it happen and lo and be hold.... it's my favorite mantel yet.

When my in-laws visited, I found the cutest candleholders that had a cork on the end so you could stick them in a wine bottle. It's the only part of the mantel I DIYed this year, and I'll share the how-to in the coming days. 

I bought those lanterns two summers ago with the intention of spray painting them and using them around our deck. Yeah..... never got around to that, so there they sat in my office closet. I just bought some $1 red candles and they fill the mantel with Christmas spirit.  

I wanted my garland to look really full so I took two strands of garland, folded them in half, wrapped them around the end of the wine bottles and it gave me the look I wanted. Plus it was easier to work with than trying to manipulate it around all of the decorations. Then I added a faux poinsettia, a metal Christmas tree, reindeer stocking holders and the red/green/silver berry garland I've had for a few years. 

This year's mantel taught me to trust my instincts. Just go with what I like and not overthink it. I'm so happy with the results. It's starting to feel like Christmas up in here!