Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Making Holiday "Crackers"

Last night, I made my girls some holiday "crackers" to add a little something special to their New Year's Eve celebration. I have to say, they were super easy and they look adorable (if I do say so myself!) -- and best of all, they did not cost me a dime! My husband stopped at the grocery store last night to pick up a few things for our New Year's celebration, and I asked him to check out the party supply aisle for some little trinkets to add to the crackers -- plastic necklaces, plastic rings, whatever. He came home with nothing -- couldn't find anything! So I scrounged around the house and this is what I found:

- Hershey's kisses (bought for Christmas, never opened) -- I put 3 in each cracker.

- (2) plastic beaded necklaces left over from past 4th of July parties -- 1 necklace for each of my girls.

- (2) star-shaped plastic princess wands, pulled out of the "Rainy Day Box", and left over from birthday goodie bags -- again, 1 for each girl.

- Stickers -- again, from the Rainy Day Box -- I had a few different kinds for each of my girls.

- And finally, I took a little strip of paper for each girl and wrote a fortune on one side and "lucky numbers" on the opposite side -- the fortunes were things like, "You will do very well in school this year" and the lucky numbers were their ages and their birth dates.

I took a cardboard tube from a roll of wrapping paper and cut 2 smaller tubes, just long enough to fit all of the goodies (you can also use toilet paper or paper towel rolls). Then I took some tissue paper that I had left over from my gift wrapping supplies (last year I think I used wrapping paper - use whatever you have!). I rolled the stuffed tubes up in the tissue, and tied the ends with some curling ribbon. Finally, I marked an initial on the outside of each, so that I knew who to give them to -- the goodies are the same, but the fortunes are different. I think they came out great and I know my girls will love them!

How will you celebrate New Year's this year?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Getting Ready for New Year's Eve!

I'm still recuperating from the hustle and bustle of Christmas -- we had a wonderful time with my husband's family, who came out from Long Island, and I will post some pictures and share our holiday fun later. But for now, it's time to get ready for New Year's Eve, and I had so much fun making "crackers" for the kids, that I thought I'd share that post again for anyone else that wants to try their hand at it.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and I would love to hear all about it! I'll share my stories soon!

Friday, December 19, 2008

After the Playdate!

The other day, my littlest girlie and I enjoyed a playdate with two of my friends and their daughters. We invited them over for a little lunch and a lot of fun playing with all of the toys, listening to holiday music, and some grown-up girl talk! They are all getting to the age where they can actually play nicely together -- hence the time for the girl talk!! Here's how the kids looked by the end of the playdate -- it was obviously nap time, and they were ready!! (So were the moms, to be honest...)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh, How the Years Go By!

When we were preparing the nursery for our youngest daughter, I found this great mirror that I asked my husband to hang low to the floor so that she could crawl over and see herself in it. (Was she not the cutest little fuzzy-headed thing?) Lately, I've been thinking that it's probably time for us to raise it up a little higher for her.

Well, one of the perks of having family coming to stay with us for the holidays, is that we start to get little things checked off our "to do" list. My husband started on his list yesterday, and one of the things he did was raise the little mirror...

Needless to say, I was NOT prepared for how choked up I would get when I went into her room last night and saw the mirror in it's new place on the wall!! My baby is growing up too quickly! Is there a name for the phenomenon where time virtually stands still when I am sitting at my desk at work, and yet my children are growing up at the speed of light?

My sister-in-law, Jess, mentioned the other day that my husband's sister had 8MM home movies from my mother-in-law's childhood put onto dvd for her birthday. Jess said that they watched them at Mom's birthday party (in Long Island) and Jess was feeling sad that she had put off getting a video camera for so long. She said that what she used to think of as the high cost of the camera, was not nearly so valuable as the years that she has missed video-taping her two children. I was lucky enough to get a video camera before our first daughter was born, and I have quite a bit of video, but I am vowing to be even better this next year -- when we go to visit family out of town, or when we are at a family party -- I am vowing to TAKE THE CAMERA OUT OF THE CAR! You heard it here first -- my first New Year's resolution!! (I think I'll start it early -- at Christmas, when the family is in town from Long Island!)

Are there any little signs that make you take stock, and realize how quickly the years go by?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Can You Feel the Blog Love?

I am proud to say that Christine at "Living Beautifully, Frugally" has awarded me this lovely blog award, which I feel is justly deserved! (Ok, she's my best friend, but really, this is a nice blog!) If you haven't checked out Christine's blog yet, be sure to check her out -- she is currently a stay at home mom who chose to take a break from her career in exchange for valuable time with her daughter before she begins elementary school. Christine has a thoughtful and witty way of sharing her ideas for being frugal, while still enjoying life.

The rules for this award are to list 5 of your addictions and 5 Blogs you would like to recommend for this award!

First, my "addictions" (these are in no particular order...):

1) Wegmans -- our fabulous local grocery store -- unfortunately for my checkbook and my waistline, I am always enticed by their beautiful displays and their fantastic marketing -- I walk in for 2 things, and walk out with 5 bags!

2) Holiday Decorations -- for any holiday -- no discriminating over here! I have an abundance of Christmas, Halloween, Easter, and 4th of July decorations in particular, but I don't want the other holidays to feel left out, and I am trying to show them the love as well! Truth be told, I say that I am decorating for the kids, but I enjoy it as much as they do!

3) Blogs -- before Christine started blogging, I didn't even know what a blog was! Now, I have my favorites that I check almost everyday!

4) "Home-Making" -- I love trying to make my home more inviting for my family, in particular, and our friends who visit. Whether it's trying to keep up with my little mess-makers, or working on decorating this room or that (I'm talking home decor now, not holiday...) -- I love making my house feel like a home!

5) Toile! -- And in keeping with the home-making theme that I just mentioned -- I am currently WILD about toile! Love it! I have managed to work toile into my upstairs bathroom, my dining room, and hopefully this week my guest room and downstairs bathroom! If I could find toile Christmas ornaments -- I would be in heaven! I promised my husband I would lay off his office though -- no toile is allowed to pass through that door...

And now, on to the blogs that I frequent (not including Christine's, who I read daily!):

Cherry Hill Cottage
Tina from Cherry Hill Cottage shares wonderful recipes and her beautiful cottage home decorating ideas.

A Soft Place to Land
Kimba from A Soft Place to Land shares her great home decorating and craft ideas and she loves making home a haven for her family. Also, this woman is not afraid of paint, and I love her for that!

Stretch Marks (aka Really Bad Hair Day)
I just love reading Melissa Lee's blog about her life with her husband "Attorney General" and their 2 beautiful children. She will have you laughing out loud -- just ask my officemate who reads her blog on lunch!

Nesting Place
The Nester is amazing! What that woman can do with some feathers and some rags -- unbelieveable! She has me hooked on tassles (more home decor -- don't get fresh!) and rag garlands. She is all about "Mis-treatments" as she calls them -- beautiful window and home decor treatments with the fuss and muss of sewing -- her trusty assistant? Her glue gun!

The Painted House
I love to read Angela's blog about life with her husband and their 3 children. Her husband successfully battled cancer this past year and to help him out with that the whole family went vegan -- she has lots of recipes on there, and I have to say, everything looks delicious! She is also a talented artist and I love to see her home decorating ideas!

So, while you are on your blogging travels -- check out some of these amazing women! And thanks again, Christine!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Winter Wishes Garland - Craft for the Kids

Disclaimer: I saw this adorable garland on one of the many decorating-themed blogs that I read, and for the life of me, I cannot figure out whose it was -- so forgive me, fellow blogger, if you read this and it was your idea, please let me know so I can give you credit for the inspiration!!

Anyway, I saw this Thanksgiving garland that someone brilliant made and it was leaves cut out of paper and they wrote all of their blessings (I believe...) on each leaf, strung it together, and hung it on their fireplace mantle. Totally cute idea, but as usual, I found it a little too late to try it out for Thanksgiving. Instead, my daughter and I made our own version for the rest of the holiday season -- "Winter Wishes" we are calling ours, and we thought we'd share it with you!

I scrounged some construction paper that my girl had miraculously not already drawn on, and I drew a mitten and a stocking -- both very simple, very basic. I cut them out and used them as templates to make many more stockings and mittens, all in different colors. My girl and I both took turns writing the name of some family members or friends on one side of each mitten or stocking, and then on the other side, we wrote a wish for them -- ex. "We wish that Ci-Ci would have a safe trip to our house for Christmas", "We wish that Emmy would get all A's on her test" (that was my girl's wish for her cousin!), etc. We took a single hole punch and punched a hole in the top of each "wish" and then I strung them together on a piece of twine. Alas, I do not have a mantle over my fireplace (yet!) but I do have these weird poles in my entryway, and I was able to make them look much more festive by tying our Winter Wish garland to them! And, now our family and friends can feel even more welcomed into home, when they walk in and see their name and their wish!

This was an inexpensive (I had all of the supplies!), fun, and easy craft to do with my daughter -- those are my favorite kinds of crafts!