Jay Gee's Nook Challenge #14 & Our Family Christmas Letter

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's such a busy time of year, but we have had a really wonderful week of cleaning, baking, making Christmas goodies, listening to Christmas music, attending parties, caroling, and just enjoying an unscheduled routine.  Ezekiel finished up with school on Tuesday, had a few corrections to make on Wednesday morning, and then was home free until after the first of the year.  Woohoo!  We're all looking forward to the much-needed break.  So, anyway, I wanted to pop in here real quick, while Jesus' birthday cake is baking and before BJ is off work for the holidays, to share some simple, little, Christmas tags I made for all that apple butter we whipped up, back here, for BJ's co-workers, our neighbors, the mailman, our trash men, and family and friends.
I started  these tags by die cutting them from Crumb Cake cardstock; stamping them, in White ink, with both the frame and the ornament images (LOVE how the dotted lines mimic one another, even though each stamp is from a different manufacturer!); stamping the "Season's Greetings" sentiment, in Basic Black ink, centered just inside the frame's bottom edge; and finally stamping the holly image, in Garden Green and Real Red inks, near the top of the ornament.  I couldn't help dirtying up the edges with a little Tea Dye and Antique Linen inks.  Then, I just laced them onto Baker's Twine, which had been wrapped around the mouths of the jars, tied it in a bow, and multiplied them by about 30.  Super CAS, yet elegant, and just perfect for duplicating!
Inspiration for these cuties came from Jay Gee's Nook's Challenge #14. 
And just for fun, I had to show a couple pics of my Christmas card collection.  Lots are layered behind the pics, which tend to take precedence; a few always make their way in after Christmas; and I always get fewer than we send out, but it is truly so fun to read about and see what precious friends and family members have done throughout the year.  And what a blessing to get a few, gorgeous, handmade creations from many of you!  Thank you!
Also, while you're visiting, I'd love to share our family Christmas letter with you all, if you're interested in reading.  If not, thanks so much for being a part of my every day!  Hugs!  And Merry Christmas!  May yours be happy, blessed, and full of wonderful memories! 

December 2011

Dear family and friends,

Every year, as we get ready to type this letter, we wonder what we’re going to write about.  Then, we begin flipping back through our wall calendar and are pleasantly reminded that we truly are a blessed bunch.

Adina is full of such joy and personality.  She is vivacious and strong willed and likes to think she makes the last call.  She’s our dancer, storyteller, musician, chef, train conductor, artist, builder, and mommy, and she is absolutely irreplaceable.  The highlights of her year were getting to see Toy Story on Ice in March, making a trip to CoCo Key Water Resort in April, and celebrating her 3rd birthday, at Grandma’s, the end of October.  She also loves story time at our local library and grew nearly four inches in the last year!

Ezekiel is so smart and super challenging, but it is a true pleasure to get to watch the Lord shape and mold him into an unwavering follower of Jesus Christ.  He is learning so many scriptures from his 3rd grade, homeschool, A Beka Academy Video teacher, Mrs. Achuff; Awana at First Baptist Church of Shawnee (FBCS); and Upward Basketball through Valley View United Methodist Church.  This summer, he was our little fish; played on his first t-ball team; attended Vacation Bible School at FBCS; and celebrated his 8th birthday, in July, with one sweet friend, who joined us for our first ride on the Sky Safari at the Kansas City Zoo.  He also achieved his goal of seeing Mount Rushmore in person this year.

Aside from being super busy being a wife and homeschool mom, Jinny has continued to dabble with papercrafting and was thrilled to have her first card, of many, published in April.  She also had the pleasure of meeting several of her precious, blog friends in person this year.  She still enjoys making meals for new moms at Heartland Community Church (HCC) and had the opportunity to help with the HCC Thanksgiving meals distribution last month and the Angel Tree ministry this month.  What a blessing it is to see those that have reaching out to help those that do not!

BJ is still a project manager/estimator at Bamford Fire Sprinkler Co., Inc. and enjoyed a trip to San Antonio, Texas, in September, for the American Fire Sprinkler Association National Convention.  He is truly thankful for not only a steady job in a crumbling economy, but also for how much he is continually learning, about his field, on a daily basis.  In June, he had the opportunity to build another home, alongside a group of teenagers and adults, for a family in need, in Mexico, through the Casas por Cristo organization.  On top of everything else, he continues to serve as a pastoral elder at HCC, assists with Ezekiel’s Awana class, and coaches Ezekiel’s Upward Basketball team.

Together, BJ and Jinny enjoyed taking a parenting class this year and got to make a solo, weekend trip, to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, in celebration of their 10th anniversary.  As a family, we rejoiced in the marriage of BJ’s sister, Hannah, to her new husband, Johan, in Dallas, Texas; celebrated Jinny’s Dad’s retirement from Flint Hills Technical College; enjoyed a summer visit from Jinny’s little sister’s kiddos; prayed some sweet family friends off to the mission field; tried to keep our sanity through not only the demo and re-carpeting of our loft space, but also the renovation of our little, dilapidated bathroom; labored over the extension of our backyard patio; picked apples at Pome on the Range Orchard; took a family vacation to the Black Hills in South Dakota; enjoyed Jinny’s extended family’s annual, camping trip to Council Grove Lake; and remembered the full life of BJ’s grandfather, Wayne Newlin.  And that’s just the big stuff!

It has been a year of things for which we find ourselves, again and again, saying thank you.  First and foremost, thank you to our Heavenly Father for all he has given to us, both spiritually and physically.  Thank you to one another for the privilege it is to grow, learn, laugh, cry, and share in all the things that make us who we are.  And thank you to you all for remaining a sweet part of our lives, throughout the year, whether it be in a big or small way.  May thankfulness, benevolence, and unending joy fill your hearts and homes this Christmas season and be your fulfillment in 2012. 

God Bless, BJ, Jinny, Ezekiel, and Adina Newlin 

{Supplies & Tools}
Stamps: Classic Christmas - ornament & RetroGirly Christmas - sentiment (Wplus9); Sweet Scallop Tag - frame (Verve); Holiday Tag Team - holly (SU) Paper: Crumb Cake (SU) Ink: White, Garden Green, Real Red, & Basic Black (SU); Tea Dye & Antique Linen (Ranger) Other: Baker's Twine (Clean Country Paper Supplies); Sweet Scallop Tag die (Verve); Big Shot (Sizzix)


Savannah O'Gwynn said...

OHHH! Those are some beautiful tags--I really need to get some of that crumb cake paper! LOVE the way you display your Christmas greetings! I really need to get into the decorating and I probably should send out some Christmas cards sometime!! LOL!

LOVE the letter--I really enjoy year letters--great way to get caught up!!! Merry Christmas and Happy birthday JESUS!!!!!!!!!! <3

Jay Gee said...

These tags are awesome Jinny and that apple butter looks so yummy! Thanks so much for joining us at Jay Gee's :) I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas.

Robin said...

Happy Christmas and wishing you all the best in 2012!

farmhouse-story said...

adorable tag, jinny! wishing you a wonderful xmas:)

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Ok... I need to be YOUR neighbor!!! WE LOVE APPLE BUTTER!!!!! We can only find it at Cracker Barrell for wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much $$$$!! I loveeeeeeee the tags you made!! Loved reading more about you and your family!! Merry Christmas! :):):):):):):):):):):)

Becky said...

The tags are beautiful and I love what you did with the Christmas cards!