Friday, December 31, 2010

Be Resolute

res-o-lute/ 'reze,loot/
Adjective: Admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering.

I generally don't like New Year's Resolutions because I always make mine too lofty and unreachable, which means I ultimately fail and just get frustrated and give up. Does this happen to anyone else?

So...the last few years I've tried to make very attainable goals with stepping stones. Small goals which will get me to my large goal. So...what are your resolutions? What are you going to be admirably purposeful about?

I love that - admirably purposeful.

I think I will be admirably purposeful about...getting back into shape after I have baby #2 (which is only a few weeks away - super exciting!)...I want to learn more, thirst for knowledge. I think I'll start with that. Two attainable goals - now to make a plan to reach those goals...

Vote on the sidebar - let me know which direction your resolutions are taking and we'll have great posts about those subjects for the entire month of January! With plenty of awesome guest bloggers since I'll be *hopefully* on a maternity leave of sorts.

Have a great New Years!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Kid-Friendly New Years Party

Although Little Miss won't be staying up till midnight (I'm not even sure if we will, lame...) - we still want to party! Here are some of the things on our list for New Year's Eve...
  • Make Some Noise!
We'll be taking some of these...
    And adding some of these...


    To make our own homemade noise makers to ring in the new year! You could also use rice, marbles, any small hard object you have lying around.
    • Homemade Party Hats



    I love the monster face ones. You just need some construction paper - or any stiff paper, glue/tape/stapler, scissors, crayons/markers, ribbon, glitter - whatever you want to use to decorate you hats!
    • Kid-Appropriate Bubbly
    You can either buy the sparkling cider or just add some ginger ale to your apple juice. I prefer the apple juice + ginger ale - this way I can control the flavor a little more.
    • A Family Flick

    We love to pile up pillows and blankets on the floor and watch a movie as a family while eating popcorn...okay, so we've only done it once, but we loved it! And we will be doing it again. It's a special treat for Little Miss because we really don't watch all that much TV, let alone a full length movie. So it will be something special for us to do on New Year's Eve.

    I'm leaning towards Despicable Me - since none of us have seen it - but I need input. Is it appropriate for a 2 1/2 yr old little girl who takes everything literally? Example: we can't let her watch Toy Story 3 because of the scary toys...

    What are you doing with your kids on New Year's? Or are you and your hubby flying solo?

    Friday, December 24, 2010

    Brownie Covered Oreos

    Looking for an easy last minute holiday treat? These should NOT be allowed...I stumbled across the recipe last night and made mine with the Cool Mint Oreo variety - so good! Have some milk handy! You can find the recipe here.


    Have a wonderful Christmas!!

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    How to Make the Best Snowflakes Ever!

    These beauties are currently hanging in our front window - love them! Never mind the ugly power line...


    The best and easiest way to make snowflakes? Buy coffee filters! We got 100 for $1.99 - that's years of snowflake making in our house for a couple of bucks!

    Why coffee filters? They are the perfect size, no pre-cutting necessary. They're slightly thinner than normal paper, so - easier for little hands with little safety scissors to cut through layers of folded paper. Also, they're slightly translucent - so I love the airy effect you get when the sun hits them.


    We even took crayons to some of ours before cutting to add a little color.


    **Sidenote: Check out your local dollar store first, I saw a 100 pack there today. Can't beat $1!! Even better! Wish I'd looked there first.

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Dreaming of a White Christmas

    In Phoenix, dreaming of a white Christmas is just about all you can do…because our Christmases are pretty green…or brown. And for a 3 year old who is dying to play in the snow, this is problem. All the Christmas movies and songs portray this holiday being centered around a snowy setting. So for those of you in the warmer regions of the world, here are a few ways to make your holidays white.
    • Make a "snow" man

    Spray some shaving cream on the table, and let your child mold their own mini snowman. Add some facial features and arms using things you have around the house. I used pipe cleaners and googly eyes. Other ideas: toothpicks, pom poms, noodles, sequins, beads, Q-tips, etc.
    • Decorate your home with snowflakes

    Make your home a winter wonderland by making dozens of paper snowflakes with your children. For a great tutorial, go here.
    • Have a "snowball" fight

    Crumple up pieces of white paper to use as snowballs. You can even make “snow” forts with big blocks or hang blankets on chairs, then let the snowball fight commence! Dress up in warm clothes (you can find mittens and hats for $1 at Target and Walmart) to add to the atmosphere.
    • Sip hot chocolate around an open "fire"

    Make your favorite hot chocolate recipe, use your best mugs, and sit around a homemade fire. Dim the lights and put on Christmas music for added affect. To make this fire, simply paint 3 or 4 paper towel rolls brown, then glue them together in log formation. Add some yellow, orange, and red tissue paper and voila! (I got this picture from here where they were making a campfire…feel free to omit the marshmallow roasting sticks.) Put on your favorite holiday movie make an evening out of it.
    • Go sledding

    Instead of sleds, ride in laundry baskets around the house!

    Other ideas: make “ice” sculptures out of blocks of vanilla ice cream; eat snow cones (my favorite are at Bahama Bucks – they also sell snow balls if you want to have a REAL snowball fight!); go ice skating at a local ice rink.

    May your days be merry and white—wherever you live!
    ________________________________________________________________

    Marie is a stay at home mom of two adorable kiddos who keep her super busy! She has a dual degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education and continues to use her degree everyday of her mommy career!

    Marie is one of my good friends and someone I look up to very much as a mommy. She has tons of fun ideas for things to do with your kids - so keep an eye out for her future guest posts.

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    Peppermint Bark

    This recipe is so easy and so good! All you need is...

    • 1 lb white chocolate
    • 1/2 tsp peppermint oil/extract (to taste)
    • Crushed peppermint candy (I usually do 2 regular size candy canes)
    Melt the chocolate, stir everything else in - then spread thinly onto a wax paper covered cookie sheet and cool. Once it's cool you break it up into these random jagged pieces.

    Last week while making it I had a stroke of genius and thought - why not have a thin layer of milk or dark chocolate underneath?! So I did it. And boy do I love it! We didn't have any dark, so I used milk chocolate - but next time I would for sure do dark. I love my dark chocolate.


    I melted the chocolate, spread it thin, and placed the cookie sheet in the freezer to do a flash chill. Once it was solid I very carefully spread the hot white chocolate on top. Then flash chilled again. So tasty! I'm too impatient to wait for it to cool on the counter.

    The easiest way to crush the candy canes - place them in a thick freezer Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to hammer them down. Don't use a regular sandwich bag - it'll break open and you'll have peppermint powder everywhere!



    Enjoy!

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Reindeer Family: Crafting with the Kids

    Here's a little project that we all got involved in for family night - making a reindeer family.


    You'll just need some brown & black construction paper - how you do the rest is up to you. First trace your hands on the black, and then one foot on the brown. Cut out, glue antler-hands in place, and adorn the face however you wish. We just used red construction paper for the nose and coloring crayons for the rest. However, they would be super cute with googly eyes!


    Still not quite sure why Little Miss's fingers look like daggers...

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Spirit of Giving, Not Getting

    So many kids are spoiled rotten - you know the ones I'm talking about. Being a parent it is so hard to not buy your kids everything, especially this time of year. There are so many things I want to get Little Miss for Christmas - but I'm not. I don't want to raise one of those kids. Besides not raising a spoiled brat, I also want to enstill in my child a love of giving - not just getting.

    How does one go about doing this? Especially with very small children - Little Miss is just 2 1/2.

    At the beginning of the month I explained to her that some mommy's and daddy's work very hard and don't have a lot of money to buy their kids toys for Christmas. Then I asked her if she thought it would be a good choice (we talk about choices a lot) to go through her toys and pick some out to give away to those kids. She said yes "that would make Jesus happy!"

    So...we set out with en empty box and I ended up having to reign her in - she wanted to give away just about everything in her room!

    With older children - volunteering at a soup kitchen would be great!

    Or door bell ditching a jar of change you've collected throughout the year, or groceries you buy as a family, to a family in need. I think involving your children in the process is key.

    What are some other ways to teach children the joy of giving during the holidays?

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Holiday Kid Crafts

    Need something to do with your kids this holiday season? Here are a few craft ideas:
    • Hand Print Tree

    Trace your child’s hand onto green paper to make 9 handprints, then glue the hands in layered rows. Add a star and some ornaments, and voila!
    • Paper Bag Rudolph

    Take a brown paper bag, and add pipe cleaners for antlers, googly eyes and a pom pom nose.
    • Cotton Ball Santa

    After coloring Santa, glue on cotton balls for his beard and hat.
    • Snow Globe

    Turn an empty baby food jar into a snow globe by attaching a holiday item to the inside of the lid then filling the jar with water and glitter. Glue the lid on with hot glue—inside and out around the edge of the lid. To finish, add some holiday ribbon along the edge of the lid.

    Happy Crafting!
    ________________________________________________________________

    Marie is a stay at home mom of two adorable kiddos who keep her super busy! She has a dual degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education and continues to use her degree everyday of her mommy career!

    Marie is one of my good friends and someone I look up to very much as a mommy. She has tons of fun ideas for things to do with your kids - so keep an eye out for her future guest posts.

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Cute & Comfy CushionKnee: Sponsor Spotlight

    I love this idea - so brilliant! A cushioned kneeling pad for bathing baby (among other things), that has a washable cover...I know my preggo knees would love one right now!!


    "This comfy knee cushion is soft and cozy on your knees when you are bathing your child.  It will protect your knees and make bath time more enjoyable.  Your child would also love having a personal sitting mat for reading a book, watching TV, playing a game, or just having a snack. Also great for gardening, house cleaning, exercising and more.  The cute washable fabric is stylish and perfect for anywhere in your home. Perfect for a baby shower gift too, just add some shampoo and lotions and you have a gift for MOM/DAD and the baby."



    Each cover is made out of 100% washable fabric, extra soft lining inside, all fabric is hand-selected, pre-washed & dried, durable non-absorbent knee pad, actual size is 8"x18". Depending on the fabric used, each kneeling pad is around $15 - not too shabby!!


    Head on over and check out the different fabric choices at Cute and Comfy CushionKnee!

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

    First - I love the song. Second, I love the look. Really wanting to wrap my presents like this - this year and every year after. My mom said she thought it would be boring for Little Miss and future kids to come...I think it's classic and meaningful. Reminds me of simpler times - when presents bought at the dollar store, or homemade, meant more than any expensive present ever could...what do you think? Like, or dislike?


    I love the splash of color added below...


    What a great way to give your neighbors and friends treats at Christmas! I love that it would hang on a doorknob...




    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Holiday Treats

    A few of my favorite's...

    Homemade Caramels


    Eggnog (although I can't take is straight - I have to cut it in half with milk)


     Hot Chocolate - preferably stirred with a peppermint stick (which also can be fun in the eggnog)


    Peppermint Bark (I'll post the recipe next week - so good!)


    Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bears - so yummy!


    Chocolate Covered Pretzels...probably chocolate covered anything...


    What are some of your favorite holiday treats?

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Trim the Tree

    Some of my favorite tree ornaments are homemade. Not only are they something fun to do with your child, but a great way to bring a homey feel to the tree. They are a treasure to save and look back at, or can also be great gifts for teachers, grandparents, and friends. Without a doubt, there are hundreds of ideas, but here are just a few.
    • Holiday Wreath

    First, take a small paper plate and cut out a hole in the center to place your picture. Then take squares of crepe paper or tissue paper, wrap it around the end of a pencil, dip it in glue, then adhere it to the plate. Repeat until the plate is covered. This is one I actually made in elementary school. Your finished product should be 3-dimensional….mine is a little flat, on account of it being two decades old…
    • Hand Print Santa

    Trace your child’s hand on a piece of red craft foam, then on a piece of white. Cut the white one off at the thumb. Glue the white piece on top off the red. Add googly eyes, a pom pom nose, and a mustache cut from white foam. Draw a smile with puffy paint, then add a cotton ball brim, and another pom pom at the end of his hat. Attach a pipe cleaner for hanging. I received this from one of my kindergarten students, and it was my favorite gift that year!
    • Jar Lid Photo

    Take an unused mason jar lid and drill a hole in the top and attach a photo to the front. Add a little glitter for d├ęcor, and if desired, have your child draw a holiday picture and attach to the back. Thank you, dear sister, for letting me use this photo of your awesome 80’s hair-do.

    Happy decorating!

    ________________________________________________________________

    Marie is a stay at home mom of two adorable kiddos who keep her super busy! She has a dual degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education and continues to use her degree everyday of her mommy career!

    Marie is one of my good friends and someone I look up to very much as a mommy. She has tons of fun ideas for things to do with your kids - so keep an eye out for her future guest posts.

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    DIY: Homemade Cloth Diapers

    {guest post by my amazing niece, and new mommy - Dianna, tips on how to make your own cloth diapers}
    ____________________________________________________________
    As much as I love the ease and convenience of a disposable diaper, I don’t so much love the price of them. I decided I’d probably do some cloth diapering to offset the price of disposables, but even prefolds are expensive. Fortunately, you can make your own!

    I picked up some fleece fabric from a secondhand store for about $2. I also picked up a towel from the store for about $2 as well.

    First thing you need to do is measure out the liners. I used the towel for my liners since I figured they’d be most absorbent. For my project, I used a 5 inch by 14 inch piece, but you can experiment with sizes. If you are using towel for the lining, it’s a good idea to use a serger along the edges. If you don’t have a serger (I don’t), use a zig zag stitch. If your liner is made of non-fraying fabric, you can probably skip this step.


    Then you need the fleece cut out for the cover on the liners. These pieces are 23 inches by 15 inches.


    Next up, fold the cover over so that the 15 inch edges are together (or “hamburger style” if that helps) and place the liner with a 14 inch edge against the cover’s 15 inch edges.


    Sew these edges together. You should be able to do this with the diaper after you’re done.


    Next, shift the liner so that it is in the middle of the cover. It will look like 3 sections: cover, liner, and cover.


    Sew up the top and bottom of the diaper, making sure to leave a hole to turn it right side out. The liner doesn’t have to be sewn down into the top and bottom seams, but it can be if you like.


    Now turn the diaper inside out. You’re going to sew two lines down each side of the liner. The best place to start is by following the seam from the first time you sewed the liner down. The second line can be done by eyeballing the first line, or measuring it out if you’re a perfectionist.


    Remember to sew up the hole, and ta-da! You’ve made a diaper!


    The best part about making your own diapers is using whatever fabric you have around the house. You can be creative and experiment with different liners for the most absorbency – t-shirts, sheets and blankets, old towels, I’ve even seen some people use old jeans for liners.
      _______________________________________________________________

    Thanks Dianna for that great step-by-step! And just because I love you and my new little great nephew - I have to show off a picture of him...

    I really want to try cloth diapering, but am also kind of a sissy about having to clean them. However - I do think cloth diapers would be a great addition to emergency supplies for those of us who aren't brave enough!

    Have any of you amazing readers done cloth diapering? Have any tips to share on how best to use/clean them?
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