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Our End of Year Letter

Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Here's how my Christmas letter would go if I actually sent one.

Greetings Loved Ones,

This year has been full of adventure! We have had so much fun!

Homeschooling is going so wonderfully for us this year. We do regular schoolwork every day, on time, and it's usually pretty perfect. The kids NEVER complain about it, nor do I ever lose my patience and have movie days.

We've done a lot of traveling this year. I don't want to list all the places we've been to because that would take up so much space! However, when we do travel, everything goes really smoothly. We never fight, everyone is always in agreement on what we should do, and we never get lost.

Jackson is the smartest kid ever but he still gets mad if he doesn't get to play the computer that much. He has a hard time wearing clean socks, but he brushes his teeth SUPER well. In fact, he only had 1 cavity this year which he had filled WITHOUT being numbed. Rockstar.

Sadie is into drawing... on everything. It's endearing but also frustrating when I still find hearts on random places in my house. The other day she decided to copy an entire Dr. Suess book (they're long) with our printer. We now have no more black ink (which is on our wish list. Ink in general. HP 564 please). She is also incredibly smart but hates saying prayers outloud. She has had no cavities this year.

Genevieve is our threenager. There's too much to say about this one. She is not super great at going to bed, but sleeps in once she gets there. She is incredibly hilarious without even meaning to be. She says she has banana colored hair and her Rockstar name is Oney. She had one cavity this year which she too, did without numbing.

David still jumps out of airplanes on purpose. He wears the same thing to work every day and occasionally sleeps in that outfit too. I see him every once in awhile and when I do, we hug. David had one cavity this year.

Chelsi is still with us and we have a fight every other month or so which is actually pretty amazing considering that we are sisters. I mean, could you live with your sister for longer than like a week and not want to.... hug her supppper tightly? She brushes regularly although her current dental status is unknown. We love having her here.

I am trying to redevelop my keen sense of creativity in the form of blogging more often, being crafty, and other things. I recently have obtained the status of karate mom and dance mom and I relish it except when I can't find white belts and/or Nevie doesn't want her hair in a ballerina bun.  I have had no cavities this year but a ton of other dental problems.

We are so thankful for you in our lives. We love you a lot but not enough to actually send you a card and/or a picture. You have to beg for that (yours is coming Marlene :-)).

Can't wait to see what this next year will bring!

Sincerely,

The Nickle Family, but really just Lisa because mom's always write the Christmas letters

There Is So Much Good

Friday, December 18, 2015
We just got home from the most magical vacation which I promise I will tell you about. I also promise I will post my Christmas Letter. It's also pretty magical but definitely not in the same way.



I have probably 1000 pictures to sort through and the same amount of words to say on this vaycay but tonight I would like to focus on the people of Porto.

My heart happens to be super full and also really emotional right now and I can't help but think about the Portuguese people and how freaking kind they are. I told David as we walked to the car today after our flight that my hope in humanity has been restored, at least for a little while.

It started at the airport where there were workers whom I think were meant to help people like us navigate the Metro. Without prompting or even having to ask, one came up to us and helped us figure out where we were going and what tickets to get.

It happened again when we got off the Metro at Trindade (a larger station) and were obviously looking a little out of place with our 4 suitcases, and blonde little Nevie (she was quite the star this trip). A woman stopped to help us out but not only that, she walked us to our next connection.

From there, our host from Airbnb picked us up from our stop, helped us with our luggage, and showed us around in his car, spent probably an hour or so giving us a little tour and then in the apartment, showed us maps, gave us all the best info, and told us not to hesitate to text him. He went up to his other apartment just to grab toys for the kids. He also even helped Jackson clean off some yucky stuff (crap) from his shoe saying in Portugal, it's good luck. :-) I don't think a lot of those things are required from hosts but he went above and beyond. It was by far the best experience I've had with Airbnb so far.

We were eating one night and a cook from the back, a sweet older woman came out, and kissed each of the kids' heads. Nevie even gave her a hug. She didn't speak any words really. Just loved on them.

The tour bus driver broke the rules for us and allowed us to split our ticket so we could separate when he shouldn't have. He literally split our receipt in half, wrote some words on it and signed his name. This is all such a different thing for us because in Germany they very much obey the rules regardless of what they are. My favorite saying of the Germans is "It's not possible". lol.

Another night, David and I went to eat and we stopped at this super cute store to pick out some magnets. The woman didn't speak English that well, yet we still asked her where her favourite restaurant was located. She wrote it down for us, gave us a cute little reusable bag and sent us on our way saying "I hope you like". The food was delicious and her smile was infectious. 

On our way home one night, we must've looked lost again because this other sweet woman walked us pretty dang far to the Metro. I'm talkin' uphill. Down the elevator, and most definitely out of her way. I swear she was our guardian angel because we saw her later at the market.

Chelsi and I ate at a little café on the corner and the service was excellent. He came to our table probably 6 times to check on us, making sure everything was just right. It was so wonderful!

On our trek to the Metro today for our flight home, Jackson was having trouble with the stairs. This small lady didn't say anything, she just picked up his suitcase and carried it 2 flights up the stairs.

It didn't even end there. There were so many other events but I am overwhelmed by these. I am writing them down mostly for the sake of remembering but also because I want to remind myself to be the kindness even in this crazy holiday season! I'm crying as I think about all of these small acts of kindness, most of which were done without words. I definitely have something to strive for. Thank you Portugal!

What is a small and simple act of kindness that has made a difference to you?

My First Christmas Market in Germany

Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Someone once told me that if I want to feel at home for Christmas, go to Germany. Or some quote like that. lol. Basically it meant that Germany is homey feeling at the holidays. It is true!

I wish I would I have written this the night it all happened because as we were driving home, I was overwhelmed by how awesome the whole day was! It was honestly kind of magical. It may have been the sugar high, who knows?

Before I get to the other stuff, one important order of business. It's my birthday week! Thursday is my actual day. And I have already felt super important. Thank you Chels and David!

First we went to Ikea, which is always fun because...meatballs. and 2 hours! of uninterrupted shopping time. Just kidding. Sadie didn't go in the play place and Nevie wanted out about 25 minutes in. And of course my beeper thing went off when I was quite possibly the furthest from the play center.

Secondly, the sunset in the parking lot. Unbelievable. Indescribable Soaring, Tumbling... oh wait.


Thirdly, Nuremberg Christmas market!

 



 




 

Chelsi had a taste of the traditional gluhwein

We had expensive hot chocolate (we kept the mugs!)

Nevie had Sbux hot chocolate (less spillage and way less hot!)





Fourthly, Almost Chipotle! Seriously. The best thing since Frankfurt's actual Chipotle. Everyone go to Mr. Burrito in Nuremberg! Thanks Pembey's for the recommendation!



I may have had to erase an inappropriate something in that heart .


 
And lastly, Dunkin Donuts! No pictures there. But really, what could have made this night better? I'm not sure there was anything we missed except maybe the kids section. haha. And maybe a little less people (it was insane!). Otherwise, we loved it! Where do you visit that gets you in the mood for Christmas? Target? Christmas Tree stands? Your living room?

The Best Ugly Sweater Party Printables

Thursday, December 3, 2015
Are you in a pinch? Need last minute printables for your Ugly Sweater Party? You've come to the right place for all things modern Christmas Sweater Party.

If you're interested in a customized version of this printable, contact me here.
 
We hosted a last minute sweater party (last year) and it ended up turning out SO well. It was tons of fun! We are planning on making it an annual event. So hopefully as time goes along, it will get better and better!




If you're like me, you already have a bunch of random 80's themed decor anyway, so use it and use it on purpose! Own that!

We played some fun games. We played the paper plate game. Instructions can be found below. It was really fun!
Bean bag toss, also served as decoration!




Found cheap ribbon at the Euro store and attached it (with tape) to the printable below.


The winner from the voting got a ribbon and a gift card. $10 for first and two $5 for second place. It was a blast! Let me know your ideas!


Award Download can be found HERE.
The Welcome Sign can be found HERE. I recommend just printing the PNG as shown. I'm having trouble with the full Welcome showing up. Weird.
The Ballots Go Here can be found HERE.
Paper Plate Game can be found HERE.