Our Family Christmas

It’s no secret… We love celebrating big, and the holidays are no exception to that! I know it’s popular these days to slow down and simplify everything so you don’t lose sight of what Christmas is all about, but we have loved filling our days with holiday activities, creating new traditions and watching our kids truly enjoy the magic of the season. We thought it would be fun to give you a peek into our holiday home and share some of the traditions, old and new, that are special to our little family.

Part 1: Trimming the Tree

I’ve always loved decorating for Christmas. Even as a college student I chose to spend my money on Christmas decorations rather than buying required text books for classes; a decision I still fully stand behind! With every tree we set up and every garland we hang, the joy of the season seems to fill our home even more.

One of our traditions is to hand-make the garland on our tree. Over the years we have done everything from paper chains to even making a garland out of paper clips and fancy tape! This year we chose to make a classic popcorn garland. While slightly tedious, we found it relaxing and enjoyable, especially with a holiday movie playing in the background. If you want to give this garland a try here are a few tips we learned along the way: Pop your popcorn the day before you want to make the garland, so it can become stale and more styrofoam like. This makes the popcorn more firm and less likely to crumble. Use a sharp needle threaded with fishing line, and only work with four to five foot sections at a time. Also, make sure to leave enough fishing line at the end of each garland section so you can tie the ends together as you place it on the tree. It takes a little bit of patience, but it really was fun to see it all come together.

Part 2: A Tree of Their Own

I love having multiple trees throughout our home. When Jamie and I lived in a 632 square foot apartment, I somehow managed to squeeze eight Christmas trees into that tiny space. Out of control? Maybe a little, but the more the merrier right? With that mindset, we added a new tradition this year of decorating small trees for each of our kids in their own room. Grey has decorated, undecorated and redecorated his tree more times than I can count, and I just love watching his creativity blossom. He picked out his own ornaments and has clear opinions about where each one should be placed. I think we have a budding wedding designer on our hands!

London’s tree is filled with everything pink and girly to match her room. Each time we turn on the tree lights when she wakes up, she’ll wave and point to her tree and say “wow”. So until she has a voice and an opinion to tell us otherwise, we are really enjoying all the pink that has entered our home since she was born!

Part 3: All Decked Out 

In the same way that we deck the halls for the holiday and make our home a little fancy, we also love to get a little dressed up throughout the season. While I fear some might think this is pretentious, that is really not our heart behind it. Dressing up is not something that happens on a normal day, so getting all decked out feels special and makes this time of year feel even more extraordinary.

We started yet another new tradition this year. Every year we are going to get dressed up and head to downtown Seattle for a family date. This year we went to an interactive concert for little kids at the Seattle Symphony and then we stayed at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel where we visited the Teddy Bear Suite, enjoyed a classic holiday tea in the Georgian Room and then visited Santa. It was such a special day for our family and the start of a beautiful tradition I am excited to see unfold each year. I think my favorite part was when Grey discovered that his personal tea sandwich tower also had macarons on it, he declared at the top of his lungs (for all to hear!) “It’s a macaron Da-Da!”  Meanwhile my 10 month old baby quietly sat next to me delighted to be eating her own scone.

We also continued our annual tradition of hosting a dress up holiday party. I started doing this in college for all of my friends. Instead of studying for my finals, I would spend the week baking and preparing for my big Christmas party at the end of the week. I loved spoiling them with abundant food, desserts and drinks. It was my gift to my friends, and a way to cultivate a deeper sense of community by using my talents and passions to serve the people I love and care about. Eighteen years later, our holiday party looks a little different, but the heart and purpose behind it has not changed and it remains one of my favorite holiday traditions that I look forward to each year.

In keeping with the tradition I mentioned earlier in this post, we also made our lunaria garlands. I’ve been a bit obsessed with lunaria as of late; I love how natural it is while still feeling ethereal and whimsical. I had a pile of it left over from a wedding, so I decided to put it to good use in our home for the holidays. We created the garlands by cutting down the lunaria bundles into smaller bundles, and then taping them together with classic masking tape. We then taped those little lunaria bundles to a long piece of wire, overlapping one bundle on top of the next until we reached the length we needed. This was also a bit tedious and time consuming, but worth the results. We didn’t put many ornaments on our tree this year as we loved the statement of simplicity that the lunaria made.

Part 4: Let Them Eat Cake… and cookies and every other treat! (in moderation of course)

We love to bake. It’s almost therapeutic to me… well until I see all of the dishes I need to wash! During the holidays, we make marshmallows, caramels, pies, cakes in addition to rolling out countless sugar cookies and gingerbread men. Another yearly tradition for us is to host our friends for a cookie making party. It might take months to clean up the last of the sprinkles that fall to the floor, but it is totally worth it for the joy that comes from what we create together!

This year we are sharing our soft gingerbread cookie recipe. It is absolutely the best! You can control how crisp your cookies become by adjusting how long you bake them, so make sure to experiment with your first round! You also need to think ahead. This recipe is best when you let the dough rest in the fridge overnight before rolling them out. I have found this to be the perfect recipe for the holidays and we hope you enjoy it too!

Whatever your traditions may be and no matter what holidays you choose to celebrate, our family wishes you a season filled with joy, love, laughter and perhaps a few gingerbread cookies.

photos: Alanna Maria Photography

calligraphy and recipe design: LaHappy

download and print our gingerbread cookie recipe

Christmas with Grey

sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-50sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-2sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-3 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-4 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-5 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-6 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-7 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-8 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-9 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-10sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-11 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-12 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-13 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-14 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-15 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-16 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-17 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-18sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-19 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-20 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-21 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-22sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-23I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas. This has been such a fun season for our little family. We decked out our homes, baked loads of cookies, took a quick trip to Disneyland, visited Santa (dare I say with lots of screams and tear filled eyes), watched toy trains go round and round, hosted a cocktail party, played in freshly fallen snow, braved the malls with an independent toddler, and danced around the fire place with Christmas music playing in the background. We have tried to make the most of this magical time of year, and have created memories we’ll cherish for our lifetime.

Next year we’ll be hanging another stocking, adding another dancer to our routine and trying to keep two more little hands away from sneaking another cookie. In just a few short weeks we will meet the newest member of our family, and our life will forever change as our hearts expand to experience a fuller love than we can possibly imagine right now. The reality of our growing family feels more real every day, and we are so excited.

But for now, it’s only the three of us and so we are celebrating and savoring sweet moments with just our one little person, and treasuring life the way it is.

From our growing family to yours, we truly wish you a Merry Christmas, and a wonderful holiday season.

photography: Alanna Maria Photography 

A Chance Encounter and a Beautiful Friendship

sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-1Do you ever think about all of the people you pass daily? Who are they? What is their story? What are they going through in life? Where have they been? What are their dreams? How would your life be different if you knew them? What would happen if you stopped and had a simple conversation? sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-2 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-3Several years ago we missed a ferry we were trying to catch so we could get home after a long wedding weekend on an island. I was frustrated when I realized we had to wait a couple hours before the next ferry would be available. We decided to make the best of the situation and found a cute little restaurant to grab a bite to eat. The only problem was that every table was full and there was nowhere to sit and enjoy our meal. We wandered for a bit and eventually found a quiet courtyard that was empty, except for a young couple with the most beautiful little girl.

sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-4 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-5 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-6 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-7 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-8 Typically, the day after a wedding I am exhausted and all I want to do is sit in silence, mindlessly scroll through social media and get a little bit of alone time so I can recover before quickly starting the production of our next event. This day was different. As Jamie and I watched this little girl joyfully run through the grass, we started talking about someday having kids of our own and wondered how we would possibly manage having a family and our business. We were so intrigued by this little girl and her family. As we finished our lunch I politely complemented the couple on their daughter, thinking it would just be a passing comment. The next thing I knew we were in a full conversation talking about life, careers, the beauty of having kids, finding each other on social media and making plans to connect. sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-9 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-10 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-11 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-12 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-13The conversation that started that day with Christiana and Todd has evolved into a beautiful, cherished, life-giving friendship. Life has changed so much for both of our families over the past several years with the addition of three (almost four) babies to the mix, but one thing that has remained steady is our genuine excitement to spend time together whenever we get the chance. This is especially true when it involves our annual Christmas tradition of baking and decorating sugar cookies together.sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-14 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-15 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-16 For the past several years, before Cove was thought of, Grey was born, Cruz could walk and Isola was the only child that could participate, we have rolled out and cut cookies together, squeezed out mountains of icing, finished them off with “toppers” (more commonly known to others as sprinkles) and consumed way too much sugar. This tradition is one of the things I look forward to the most during the Christmas season. Yes, the kitchen becomes a disaster and we might find “toppers” floating around the floor for the next year to come, but the mess is worth the price, because of the joy that comes from the time we spend together and all of the memories that are being created. sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-17 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-18 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-19 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-20 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-21 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-22 I love that our kids will grow up together with memories of this tradition. Even more, I love the friendship that we’ve developed over the years. I value having experienced parents that we can lean on for support. I feel safe knowing that we have friends we can confide in and talk freely with, never worrying about any kind of judgment. I feel comforted knowing we can always just be ourselves. True friendships like these are hard to find, and when you do find them you realize what a gift they really are.sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-23 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-24 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-25 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-38sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-36sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-26 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-27 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-28 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-35sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-29 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-30 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-31 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-31bThis Christmas I am thankful for that missed ferry ride and serendipitously meeting beautiful-hearted people through a chance encounter at an island café. I’m so glad we started a little conversation that day, as now I can’t even imagine life differently. It leads me to wonder what would happen if we were more aware of the people we were passing each day and intentionally took the time to slow down and just start a simple conversation. I have a feeling there would be a lot more sugar cookies with too much icing and sprinkled “toppers” on kitchen floors.

sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-32 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-33 Oh- and can we all agree that the kids did a beautiful job decorating their cookies? I honestly prefer them to the more detailed ones I created! sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-34

Thank you to Jenny Cookies, another good friend of ours, for allowing us to share her amazing cookie recipe on our blog! If you are in the Seattle area, and don’t feel like baking cookies of your own you can head to her bake shop and pick up a batch of freshly baked treats! For more of her recipes and a whole lot of inspiration, pick up a copy of her book, Eat More Dessert! (And no… this is not a sponsored ad/ post- we love supporting and celebrating our friends’ dreams, endeavors and businesses!)

You can follow the adventures of this beautiful family through Christiana’s Instagram feed

Photography: Alanna Maria Photography

Amazing cookie recipe: Jenny Cookies

Calligraphy and Design: La Happy 

Download and print Jenny Cookies’ sugar cookie recipe here

sinclair_moore-sugar-cookie-recipe