A Very Pinterest Christmas

Here is a post that I recently found. I guess I forgot to post it right after Christmas. Better late than never!

I absolutely love to give gifts that are handmade and/or sentimental. When I joined Pinterest I knew this would be my go to place for handmade gift ideas. So here are some of the personal gifts that were given this past Christmas.

Photos on Canvas:
Now that we have a child, gifts for the Grandparents are easy...pictures! But I didn't just want to give them plain ole' pictures in a frame, so when I found this tutorial on Pinterest I knew it would be perfect.

The black & white canvas is 12x12 and the color canvas is 8x10.

Camera Strap:
I was super excited when I found this tutorial on Pinterest. I knew this would be the perfect gift for my mom. It was such an easy project that I made two. Every woman needs options!

Washer Keychain:
It seems that Dad's are so hard to buy gifts for, especially my Dad. So when I saw this tutorial on Pinterest I knew I would have something unique for our "Bubba".

Lucky Penny Keychain:

I made this keychain for Mike. Unfortunately, when I found this on Pinterest it wasn't a tutorial, it was a link this Etsy shop. So with a little help from my dad I winged it and came up with a very sentimental gift. The bottom copper disc says "Lucky Us" and there is a 2003 penny and a 2011 penny. The 2003 penny represents the year Mike and I were married and the 2011 penny is the year McKinley was born.

Favorite Baby Products: Hand Wipes

I am in LOVE with this product! I actually came across BabyGanics Hand Sanitizing Wipes by accident. A few months ago I was making my normal order on Vitacost.com and I needed to add a couple dollars more in product to qualify for free shipping. So I browsed the baby section for something small to add to the cart. I found these wipes and thought I would try them out.

Best decision ever! I am a huge germaphobe and I always have sanitizing wipes within reach: the car, purse, & diaper bag. It wasn't until McKinley got a little older and started putting things in her mouth (hands, fingers, toys, really anything) that I really thought about what was in the wipes. Yes, they were killing germs and that was great for the adults that don't put their hands in their mouths, but for McKinley it would mean that whatever chemicals/products were in the wipes would end up in her mouth also. She would probably be better off with the dirt and germs on her hands rather than the products in the wipes...yuck!

This product is definitely a "must have" in my book. Of course good ole' soap & water is the best for cleaning dirty hands & toys, but these work great when we are on the go.

Favorite Baby Product: Amber Teething Necklace

This is my favorite baby product of all time (so far:). If you have a child who is teething or will be in the near future, order one NOW! I am a true believer in doing things the natural way and this is as natural as it gets.

At McKinley's 6 month well visit we were talking with the Doctor about what to expect when M started teething. We were told that the teething process would possibly cause disrupted sleep, low grade fever, excess fussiness, excessive drool. I then asked the Doc what she recommended for relief of those symptoms.

Her very first recommendation was to purchase an Amber Teething Necklace, followed by letting her chew on a frozen wet washcloth & teething toys. If those things didn't give any relief she recommended Hyland's Teething Tablets. Finally, she said as a last resort we could use Tylenol.

I went home and started researching teething necklaces. I really liked what I was reading. I was very impressed with the customer reviews and testimonials and knew immediately I wanted to order one. I purchased M's necklace from Amber Artisans (***If you order from Amber Artisans the necklaces ship directly from Lithuania, so allow extra time for shipping***). Here is a little section from Amber Artisans website talking about why Baltic Amber is so great:

•Immune boosting properties

•Reduction in teething pain

•Calm a baby without resorting to drugs

•Anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties

•Recognized by allopathic medicine as a natural analgesic

Baltic Amber has some of the highest concentrations of Succinic Acid found in nature, and this is what makes it so special.

I ordered the longest length available because I didn't want McKinley to grow out of the necklace too soon. She wears the necklace around her neck while she is awake and then it goes on her ankle when she goes down for her nap or for bedtime. Because the benefits of Amber aren't just for teething issues, M wears the necklace even when she is not teething.

McKinley is 8 1/2 months old and has 4 teeth (bottom 2 & top 2) and another one that should be cutting through any day. Other than a tiny bit of diaper rash, M has shown no other signs of teething. Her sleep pattern was never affected, she never had a temperature, there was no drooling, and we never had to give Tylenol...knock on wood!

Who knows, maybe McKinley is one of these babies that isn't really affected when cutting teeth or maybe this $20 piece of jewelry was the best purchase a momma could make. Either way, M wears her necklace everyday and whether or not it makes her feel better, I think she sure looks pretty cute:)

McKinley's 1st Sink Bath

When packing for our Holiday Vacation to Searcy, I knew I needed to take only the necessities when it came to all of McKinley's baby things. One item I decided to leave behind was her bath tub. I figured that my parents kitchen sink would work just fine. What I was not expecting was how well it worked! It was so nice not to have an aching back or hurting knees from bending over a tub. I might just pack away the baby tub for good.

Of course you can't expect my child to have her 1st sink bath and it not turn into a photo shoot.

Annual Johnson Family Photos 2011

I know you have all been waiting for these next set of pictures:) So without further ado...

The Annual Johnson Family Photos:

McKinley's First Christmas

This Christmas will always hold a very special place in my heart for two reasons, it was our first Christmas as a family of three and it was also McKinley's first Christmas.

As fun and exciting as this Christmas was, I can only imagine what each additional year will bring as M starts to understand and enjoy this holiday even more.

Mike and I tried not to go overboard and thought we did a pretty decent job at keeping presents to a minimum, but this kid still made out with some pretty great loot! Our Families are the best! Thanks for making McKinley's first Christmas special!

Christmas Eve:

McKinley loved to help unwrap all of her presents.

I was really proud of this gift. I found it for $10 at a consignment sale. It doesn't have a scratch on it!

This next picture was obviously not taken on Christmas Eve, but I needed to include a picture of M's suitcase from her Grandma & Granddad Organ. I love this suitcase! It is so cute!

This little girl must be loved because both sets of grandparents got her a suitcase/overnight bag anticipating her coming to visit.

There was one other gift that M received from Uncle Phil, Aunt Amy & Easton that I can't wait to try out. They got her the Cloud B Twighlight Ladybug Constellation Night Light. We didn't get a picture of it, but I know M is going to love it once we move her to the nursery.

Christmas Day:

Outfit #1

I was super excited that M got several toys that were just like the toys I had as a little girl.

Her first Barbie!!! Thanks Aunt Sara!

She loved her Cinderella clothes. Thanks Uncle Rob, Aunt Maya & Serkan!

Outfit #2

This is the overnight bag M got from Grammy & Bubba Johnson. When we opened the bag we found a note!

The note in the Zebra Bag read:

To Our Sweet McKinley,
Whenever you are ready to come see us just load up you Zebra and tell Mom & Dad that you are packed and would like to go to Grammy & Bubba's house. We will always be ready and waiting to give you a big hug.

With all our love, Grammy & Bubba

Yep, this is her 3rd Christmas outfit of the day and it is not because we were wanting to have a fashion show. I will just say that I did a few loads of laundry that day:)

Johnson Christmas 2011

Christmas Day was spent with my family. We did our normal Christmas morning routine: opened a few gifts, ate breakfast, opened the rest of the gifts.

My Aunt Sara and her boyfriend came over mid-morning to spend the day with us. We spent the rest of the day eating, laughing, opening our stockings, and of course taking lots of pictures. The annual Johnson Family Photo Shoot was a lot of fun (I will reveal those photos in a later post), but the most exciting thing this year was finding out what was in our stockings.

In the past years it always seemed like everyone was always scurrying around last minute to buy junk to fill the stockings. So this year we started a new tradition. Instead of buying things to put in every one's stockings, you could only fill the stockings with items that were free. They could be re-gifted items, buy one get one free items, free samples, etc., but they had to be FREE!

Last Christmas we drew names so each person would only have to fill one person's stocking. That gave us a full year to find our free items. Some of the stocking stuffers were hotel toiletries, single flavored tea bags, restaurant mints, lotions, tools, a $25 Chili's gift card, fishing lures, food items such as hot sauces, soup mix, BBQ sauce & rub and that's just to name a few.

It was so much fun to see what people came up with to put in the stockings. There was a ton of great & creative things. I wish I would have thought to take a picture of all the free loot. Oh well, there's always next year.

Anyway, here are some pictures from Christmas Day:

First picture of the morning. It is a horrible picture of Mike and I, but McKinley was obviously excited that Santa had come!

Another "not so great" picture, but what do you expect when everyone first rolls out of bed.

Another new tradition we started this year was "Finding the Pickle". Again my Mother's idea, evidently this tradition started in Germany. Someone hides the "Pickle Ornament" in the tree amongst all the other ornaments, then whoever finds it Christmas morning wins a prize. In our case, the prize was $20, but we decided that the winner should sign & date the $20 bill and then store it with the pickle that way we will always know who found the pickle each year.

This was actually a lot of fun. We had all forgotten about looking for it until my husband thought he would try to be like one of the sneaky people on Survivor looking for an immunity idol. I thought Mike had gotten up to go get more coffee until I look over and see him searching the tree. He probably had been looking for a good 4 or 5 minutes before any of us caught on. I can only imagine what it looked like to have 4 adults scouring this artificial tree for a pickle. In the end Mike was the winner.

This year there were several handmade gifts given. My sister learned how to crochet and made these matching Infinity Scarves for McKinley and me. They are so cute!

My sweet husband surprised me with a "Little Blue Box"!

This is McKinley's 2nd outfit of the day.

Our last picture of the day and McKinley's final outfit of the day:)