Monday, December 31, 2012

happy new year

As I have mentioned before my daughter's teacher is our neighbor and lives two houses down.  On Christmas eve we heard a knock on the door and were surprised to see her husband and daughter standing in front of us with a beautiful plate of homemade cookies and a Christmas card.  It was such a sweet and thoughtful gesture.  We thought we would return the favor with some New Year's cookies.  I got the idea for these cookies from my blogger friend, Anna.  She made some 100  day cookie time lines to celebrate the 100th day of school! 
Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and SWEET New Year. 

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Friday, December 28, 2012

merry christmas

We had such a lovely Christmas.  On the 23rd we took a trip on the Polar Express.  It's always magical and the kids love it.  So do we!
On Christmas Eve the children spent the morning making cookies for Santa.  We went to church at 4 and then my parents came over for dinner.  I made a baked shrimp scampi that we served over some red, green and white pasta.  We also had a delicious Cesar salad and some crusty bread.  For dessert we had peppermint stick ice cream with some homemade chocolate sauce.  While I was making the chocolate sauce the kids enjoyed decorating their homemade gingerbread houses. 

They also decided to make homemade chocolate milk for Santa.  They were so funny adding the chocolate to the milk and test tasting it until it was "perfect!"

Santa wrapped the children's gifts in different paper and left their stocking in front of their piles so there was no confusion. 


We had a traditional Irish breakfast with sausages and Irish beans and I made a baked french toast casserole.  It was delicious.

And we were all thrilled to wake up to snow!  It truly was magical.

Hope that you all had a magical Christmas too. 
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

christmas "tree"t

Yesterday was my daughter's last day of school.  We thought it would be nice if she gave a little something to each of her classmates.  Since they are studying trees we decided tree shaped lollipops would be perfect.   We also found some letter stickers made out of branches.  My daughter used a sticker for the first letter of each of her classmates names and then wrote the rest with a pen.  We added some green ribbon and put them in a glass tree shaped jar to deliver to school. 
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grinch party to go

I love living in a small town in Connecticut where my daughter's teacher is also our neighbor, my son's teacher's two daughters are our favorite babysitters and the local librarian has become a dear friend.  When someone in our town is sick or needs help everyone pitches in.  There is a wonderful website called mealtrain that organizes dinner for families that need it.  We made dinner for a family last night and with it I decided to give them a "Grinch party to go."  
I included supplies to make a Grinch ornament......
A personalized basket filled with "The Grinch" movie, popcorn, drinks and snacks......

And some green Grinch cupcakes for dessert.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

that's a wrap

When wrapping gifts in non traditional Christmas paper or colors, add a spring of greenery to instantly make it look more festive!  I just cut some branches from our yard, but I love the effect it gives to the gifts pictured above.
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Monday, December 17, 2012

thankful for teachers



I don't usually address current events on my blog, but what happened on Friday has truly hit home;   as a former first grade teacher, a parent to a current first grader, and a resident of Connecticut.  Even though I didn't know any of the families, this feels personal.  As I wrote on my facebook page...."In my humble opinion, First grade is the most magical year. The world begins to open up to new readers, a sense of growing independence and curiosity about the world unfolds and yet these young children still maintain a sweet innocence about them. To all of my former students, colleagues, family, and friends I wish that the magic of First grade will live on in your hearts forever in memory of all of those sweet, innocent first graders whose magic and wonderment has disappeared forever."
If you follow this blog you know that I always try to appreciate teachers, and all of the people that are involved in my children's lives for that matter, for every holiday.  This seems even more important after the tragedy in Newtown on Friday.  This year for Christmas we went in on the class gifts, but also gave cupcakes to all of them.  I had Jessica from Tulaloo make some adorable gift tags.  They say "Have yourself a Merry Little Cupcake" and she put our name on the cupcake pick.  Adorable!  Our local bakery packaged their delicious cupcakes in these cellophane bags, but you could also make your own cupcakes and buy the bags here. I also attatched a cupcake ornament. This holiday season make sure you appreciate teachers everywhere.  A hand written note or even an email of appreciation is the best gift they could ever receive. 

**Tulaloo has designed a new collection - titled "Breathe Love" - and 100% of your purchase price will be donated directly to the school. All donations will be used to provide gift cards to allow school administrators and teachers to purchase supplies and materials to spruce up the temporary school they are moving into and make it feel warm and welcoming as the students return. You can purchase 8x8 posters and note card sets here. **
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

that's a wrap

A fun gift idea for your friends and neighbors with kids is some homemade sugar cookies and a decorating kit.  I found personalized plates (sometimes you can find them for sale on Zulily) and put some homemade sugar cookies on them.  I included frosting and a container of sprinkles.  I attached the recipe for the sugar cookies to the plate and I found a plastic light bulb shaped ornament that I filled with sprinkles to attach to the decorations.   

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

a very vineyard christmas

This past weekend we were invited by some friends to spend the weekend in Martha's Vineyard!!!  We had the most amazing time.

We saw a parade!

Did a little shopping.

Had fun at the beach.

And saw the sights.

We can't wait to go back!
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Friday, December 7, 2012

hello kitty christmas

This week my daughter had a friend over for a play date.  When I was at the store recently I saw this pink Hello Kitty gingerbread house and knew my daughter would LOVE it so I grabbed it.  I thought it would be a perfect activity for the play date.  To make it even a little more special I made some cute straws with Hello Kitty's signature bow and put out some more candy and frosting for the girls to use.  Unfortunately the cookies were a little soft and broke before we were able to get the house together.  So we improvised and decorated flat house shaped cookies instead.  The girls didn't care one bit and had a blast together and that is all that matters. 
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

that's a wrap

One of my former colleagues and friends is celebrating a big birthday later on this month.  I have always admired these monogram wreaths from Ballard Designs and thought that would be the perfect gift for her.  I wanted to give it to her early so that she would be able to enjoy it all month so, while she was away on a little vacation last weekend, her daughter snuck over and hung it on her front door for me.  The card read from "A to Z here's to 60!" All I had to do was add a pretty ribbon and a card.  This is a lovely gift for a December birthday, as a special hostess gift, or even as a Christmas gift.  The wreath form was so thick and the greenery was just wired to it, so it can definitely be used year after year. 
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Monday, December 3, 2012

brown paper packages tied up with strings

Some of our dear friends recently moved to Colorado.  We always used to go get our Christmas trees together so I thought it only fitting to send a gift with a "going to get your tree theme."  I packed fleece hats for the little boys so that they would stay warm.  Cocoa with marshmallows and some mini peppermint schnapps nips for the parents to add to their cocoa.  A CD of Christmas music to play in the car and a homemade ornament to hang on their tree.  I just printed a picture on some vellum paper and stuck it in a clear plastic ball.  I figured if we couldn't go together to get our tress that at least they would know that we were thinking of them when they went to get theirs.  I popped it in the mail the day before Thanksgiving because they were in Connecticut celebrating the holiday and I wanted to make sure that it made it to Colorado before they got home and went to get their tree.  What about you friends do you have any fun traditions around going to get your Christmas tree?  I'd love to hear them! 

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

glimpse of our weekend

On Thursday we hosted Thanksgiving. This is our second year of doing it.  Since there are 12 of us all together with my parents and brother and his family we set up two long tables in our dining room.  We lit a fire and had candles glowing and it felt very cozy and warm.  For the centerpiece I glittered one pumpkin and painted another.  Both of them took less than 15 minutes to make and were perfect in the center of our table.  My daughter made the place cards.  She used gold ink and thumb print to make turkeys and then wrote every ones names with a gold sharpie.  We put all of the food on the dining room table and set up a drink station (with a delicious cider sangria) and a dessert station so that I was able to enjoy myself too!

I was planning on writing a quote or our menu on the chalkboard but when I went in to the dining room I saw that my husband had written a note instead.  It was too cute to erase so I left it and then later found that my dad had added to the sentiment! 

On Friday we went and got our Christmas tree.  We cut down our own and that had some hot cider.  It was such a beautiful evening.  Some friends came with us to cut down their tree and then they and two other families came over to our house for soup, baked brie, and tree shaped brownies.

On Saturday we decorated our tree.....

 And on Sunday my sister in law and I went into NYC with my daughter to see The Rockettes and the Christmas Spectacular! 

After the show we took a quick trip to the American Girl Doll Store so she could add a few things to her Christmas wish list and then had lunch at a restaurant in Rockefeller Center that looked out on the ice skating rink!

We had a fabulous (and very busy) weekend filled with family, friends and lots of fun! I hope that you did too. Today it is snowing and I'm listening to Christmas music.  I have beef stew cooking simmering in the crock pot and I am enjoying a quiet day to catch up and get organized for Christmas!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

that's a wrap

I found some paper cocktail napkins that read "Gather Together, Give Thanks, Drink Wine." So I thought they would be cute wrapped up with a tiny bottle of wine.  These would be perfect with a big bottle of wine for a hostess gift or wrapped individually, as I did, for favors or small gifts for your guests and/or friends.  Today I will be cleaning, cooking and setting my table in preparation for tomorrow.  I have so much to be thankful for.  I hope that you all have a wonderful day tomorrow and that it is filled with delicious food and that you are surrounded by all those that you love. 
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

that's a wrap

Since my daughter's class is studying trees this year and it is also her first grade teacher's birthday this month I thought that I would organize a thankful leaf wreath like I did last year for my daughter's Kindergarten teacher.  I am having so much fun reading all the things that the kids are thankful for in regards to their teacher.  It makes me feel so lucky that my daughter is in her class!  To thank the kids and their families I am giving each of the students a pencil that resembles a piece of wood.  I put them in clear cellophane bags with a thank you note and tied them with twine. 
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Monday, November 12, 2012

turkey pop

Today we are going to check out the colorful turkeys at Gozzi Turkey farm.  This week I am volunteering in my son's pre school classroom and always like to bring a craft with me.  I got these lollipops for 50% off after Halloween and thought they would make perfect turkey pops. I traced my son's hand and used that for the feathers, then added some googly eyes and a paper beak.   These would be adorable at each place setting at the kids table or as a favor for your guests. 

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