Friday, December 31, 2010

happy new year!

Tonight we are going to an adult pajama party to ring in the new year. I was thinking that espresso martinis would be fun- but, since I am pregnant, I made a dessert version instead. My friend gave me a very simple recipe for chocolate mousse. Since I love a good presentation, I found some gold martini glasses and a gold tray at the local party store to serve it in. I even found some edible gold star glitter for the top! All the best for 2011!
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

frosty the snowman

My son is a little obsessed with Frosty the Snowman right now. So, for his library holiday party I thought these snowman pretzels would be the perfect snack. I found the idea and directions here. I bought the red and white gummy rings at Marshalls and the holiday colored gumdrops at the local grocery store. The scarves are strawberry fruit roll ups. My son loved them and so did his friends!
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Nollaig Shona Duit

My daughters pre school asked if any parents wanted to come in to share a family tradition. Since my husband comes from Ireland I decided to go in to share an Irish Christmas tradition, decorating with holly. Since holly is poisonous I brought some in to show the children but used faux holly for our project. I found these wonderful clear, plastic ornaments at Michael's craft store. I also picked up the silk holly and red glittered berries along with some white glitter. At school I showed the children pictures of houses decorated with holly, taught them how to say Merry Christmas in Gaelic, and then gave them directions for making the ornaments. The children painted the fabric holly leaves with watered down glue and sprinkled them with glitter. When they had dried I pushed them in the ornament with a long wooden skewer and added some red ribbon and "Nollaig Shona Duit." I also brought in some Irish Christmas music to listen to while they nibbled on cupcakes that I decorated with candy holly (spearmint leaves and red m&m's.)
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

teacher gifts

Another one of my "go to" gifts is the LL Bean Bag. This year I am giving them to my daughter's pre-school teachers. As I have mentioned before she has 5 teachers. So, this year we went in on this gift with two other families. I had them monogrammed with the first letter of each teachers last name so that anyone in their respective families would be able to use them. I added a sheer tartan ribbon and heart gift tag to add a punch of color and inside each I tucked a red poinsettia.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010 fast as you can!

I often find that my gifts start with inspiration from a picture book. For this family of four it was no exception. I saw this book called "The Gingerbread Pirates" and designed the rest of my gift around it. A gingerbread onesie for his baby brother, a bottle of Baily's Irish Cream with a "gingerbread man" drink recipe for the dad and some gingerbread girl bubble bath for the mom. I wrapped everything with cellophane and used silver glitter initials so they could identify which gift was for whom. I love when I can find a theme that works for a whole family!
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

the stockings were hung by the chimney with care

I picked these petite red and white stockings up at Joann Fabric last year after Christmas. I thought they would be perfect for presenting gift cards or tied to the backs of chairs with some holly tucked inside. Recently, I decided to fill them with silverware and perched them on top of a plate for a festive decoration at a holiday dinner. I don't know if they are carrying them this year at Joann's but, I did see something similar in the dollar bin at Michael's craft store.
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

i ♥ candy canes

I found these pink and green mini candy canes at Target. Aren't they adorable? Then I remembered an idea I saw in a Real Simple article that turned mini candy canes into hearts. They suggested using them to top cupcakes for Valentine's Day. I thought they would make cute additions to my holiday packages. The directions can be found here. They are really easy to make and only take a few minutes. They would also make a great gift if you bundled them in a cellophane bag with some mini marshmallows and cocoa.
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

deck the halls (and door)

(photo courtesy of Pier 1)

I bought this wreath for our front door back in Sept. I wanted something autumnal but thought that this was more versatile than a leaf wreath that I was originally planning on buying. For Christmas this year I put a larger evergreen wreath behind it and added some festive ribbon. If I had gone with the leaf wreath I would have had to take it down for the holidays. Since the berry wreath was fairly expensive I am happy that I can use it a little longer. If you are interested in purchasing the berry wreath it is on sale right now! Just click on the link above.

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forcing bulbs

Every year around Thanksgiving I always buy and force paper white bulbs. It is so easy to do and I love having them blooming all over the house at Christmas time. You can use almost any container and all you need beyond that is some small pebbles. I just get them from outside our house or driveway. You fill the container with rocks, nestle the bulbs in, and add a few more pebbles to hold them in place. Give them a drink of water and voila! The bottom picture was an amaryllis kit I found at Target for $10. I planted the bulb and added a pretty ribbon and gave it to someone as a hostess gift. This would also be a lovely Christmas gift for someone.
Last year I made a Paper white themed gift basket for a little girl. You can read more about it here.
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