Tuesday, December 31, 2013

happy new year

As is our tradition, we are spending New Years as a family with a bunch of other friends and their families. It is always a great night. Since I was asked to only bring a salad I thought it would be fun to make a little favor to bring too. After a quick search on Pinterest I found two quick and easy ideas with free pintable's! After a quick trip to a local shop for Hershey kisses and ring pops you should have everything you need!  I loved the idea for "midnight kisses." I didn't love the tag when I printed it on plain white paper, so I used some silver paper that I had here at the house and loved it. You can make little individual bags or just place a jar of kisses, with one of the tags, for people to help themselves.  I thought the kids would love the ring pop favors. I happen to have those little clear boxes here at the house, but you could just attach the printable to the ring or put it in a little cellophane bag and it would be just as cute. Hope that you all have fun wherever you may be ringing in the new year.  Here's to a sweet 2014!

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

Wow! Christmas came fast this year and yet we still managed to cram all of our traditions into the short period of time.

We made homemade gingerbread houses and had fun decorating them. I use them as our centerpiece for Christmas eve and the children enjoy munching on them during dessert. We also make homemade hot fudge sauce and serve it over peppermint stick ice cream, just like my mom always did for me when I was little! Delicious.

My husband and I attended an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party which was lots of fun! I brought some coconut cupcakes and put them in some push up pops that I dressed in ugly sweater (ornaments) too.

The children got their new Christmas pajamas.
They wore them on the Polar Express!

We decorated sugar cookies for Santa!
And they made some reindeer food too. It was their own recipe which included shredded carrots, coconut, oatmeal and some glittery sugar sprinkles!

We made and delivered gift to our neighbors.
(Oreo cookie truffles with a chevron trey, wrapped in cellophane with a whisk attached and filled with Hershey kisses. The card said: "We Wisk you a Merry Kiss-Mas!")

(A rosemary tree with rosemary lemon sugar cookies attached and potted in a mercury glass container)
We made it to church on Christmas Eve and enjoyed presents and a traditional Irish breakfast on Christmas morning. The children played with their new toys.
 Later in the the afternoon we went over to my parents house for a delicious roast!  The kids opened more presents and enjoyed playing with their cousins. It was a lovely Christmas and one that I will always remember.  We will spend New Year's Eve with friends like we do every year. Check out the fun cookies I made for the party last year.
It's hard to believe it, but I am already switching gears and trying to plan my son's third birthday party which is only two weeks away! The good thing about the timing is that I can usually find some great deals for his birthday on all of the after Christmas sales!
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year too. 
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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

may your days....

......and bright, and may all your Christmases be white!
Hope you all have a magical day. Back soon with all the details form our Christmas!

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

that's a wrap

I have gotten a lot of action on my blog from people searching for teacher gifts. As a former teacher, I always thought it was nice to get a group gift from a class and so I often find myself organizing them for my children's teachers. This is the present that we are giving my daughter's teacher on Friday. One of her hobbies is cooking and she always does cooking activities with the children at school.  I ordered the book "Christmas Cookies, Bite Size Holiday Lessons" and found an adorable cookie jar to go with it. The class donated money towards a gift certificate to Sur La Table where she can find all sorts of fun cooking utensils or even sign up to take a cooking class! Another parent offered to make a personalized apron for the teacher and red and green fortune cookies with personalized fortunes from the students! The apron, gift certificate and cookies are inside the cookie jar.  This would also be cute if each family wrote down their favorite cookie recipe to stick inside the cookie jar.  I wrapped the book in paper and the whole thing in cellophane and will present it to the my daughters teacher on Friday to let her know how sweet we all think she is.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

the nutcracker

Yesterday my mom and I took my daughter to see the Nutcracker.  It's a tradition we try to do every year. It always gets me in the spirit of Christmas and yesterday was no exception! Especially since we got a beautiful snow storm the day before.

I am also planning a nutcracker themed party for my son's kindergarten class.  The cups were the inspiration and I thought the nutcracker theme would appeal to everyone.  I found some cute ideas on Pinterest (see my samples below) and even ordered a nutcracker shaped cookie cutter.

Our elf made a visit this morning and brought the children tiny, elf sized Hershey kisses (aka chocolate chip.)  They loved it! He even put them in a tiny jar that was just like the jar we had our regular sized kisses in! So fun.  Another great Pinterest idea.

And lastly, I thought I would share some photos I snapped with my phone while I was out and about this morning.  I used to think that the fall was the most beautiful season in Connecticut, but I am starting to think that Winter is now in the running.  The trees are sparkling, covered in ice, and are such a contrast to the beautiful blue sky. It truly is breathtaking.

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Friday, December 13, 2013


 A few weeks ago as I was dropping my older children off at school and one of them asked me why a police officer was sitting in the parking lot.  I quickly responded that he was there to keep everyone at school safe.  After drop off it got me thinking about how thankful I was for the police officer that sits there every morning, even a year after the Newtown tragedy. And, that made me think that I wanted to do something to let him know how thankful I was.  After a quick inquiry we found out that three officers take turns sitting there each morning. I quickly sent a message to some friends and before I knew it they all wanted to contribute to something too.  I ended up buying gift certificates from dunkin donuts and put them in oversized mugs with a snowman cookie from Starbucks. I threw in some Hershey kisses and attached a note that read "thanks for keeping our children safe and for giving us all peace of mind." I signed it from all of the families that participated. So, in the spirit of giving, don't forget about those people that work to keep our neighborhoods safe and happy too.
We are expecting quite a bit of snow this weekend and I couldn't be happier. Everything just seems so peaceful and lovely when it snows and really makes me feel like Christmas is almost here.... We are planning on making a huge new England pot roast and sitting by the fire. Whatever your weekend plans, may they be comforting and full of love.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

that's a wrap

I don't know about you, but I often find myself thinking about Newtown as we approach the one year anniversary. My heart is breaking all over again.  And, as I mentioned last year, I find it important to thank all of the significant people that are in my children's life, especially around the holidays. It need not be a gift, a note of appreciation is often more meaningful.

This year for all of the special teachers, secretaries, the nurse and principal at my children's school I ordered these glittered letter ornaments from Pottery Barn.  I packaged them in red gift card holder boxes.  I  also ordered these custom cards from Jessica at Tulaloo.  The inside reads "Wishing you Christmas Blessings from A-Z!" I attached them to the box with some dark green grosgrain ribbon.

And, for our bus driver, I found a cute sandwich sized lunch box and tucked a gift certificate into it for lunch on us! We are so thankful that he keeps our children safe on the way to and from school each day.

And for my daughter's religious ed teacher I usually give some sort of an ornament. This year it's an angel ornament and I tied on some chocolate angels to the package.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

the smell (and taste) of christmas

As Christmas creeps closer we have been enjoying all of the tastes and smells that come with the holiday season. We enjoyed some gingerbread waffles over the weekend. They were delicious and easy to make. The recipe can be found here.

The children have been enjoying visits from our elf, Jack. The other day he left a message made out of m&m's. They loved it!

My husband and I have been enjoying eggnog martinis! They are very easy to make.
Today it's snowing and the children are home from school.  We are baking our gingerbread houses. the house smells divine. I love Christmas!
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Thursday, December 5, 2013

jack and coke

I was commissioned to make some favors for a guys 40th birthday party.  His favorite cocktail is a jack and coke so I thought it would be fun to attach little nips of jack to glass bottles of coke with some twine.  I also stuck in a paper straw. At the party they were displayed in a vintage coke crate right next to an awesome Guinness glass shaped cake!  

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Monday, December 2, 2013

weekend in pictures

We had such an amazing and wonderful holiday weekend filled with good food, family and friends! We are truly blessed and have so much to be thankful for.
We started Thanksgiving morning with some turkey! I made some waffles and apple slices into the shape of a turkey. The kids loved it.

We watched the parade and set the table. My mom leant us her beautiful green and gold plates which I wanted to highlight on the table.  I like a clean look so I used the pumpkins I painted gold and some small gold votive candles.  I put the silverware in some gold polka dot paper bags.

The kids got dressed up and my daughter even requested to have her hair curled!
We ate delicious food and were thrilled to have family with us to share it.
On Friday we went with some friends to cut down our Christmas tree! It was a beautiful, cold evening and the sun was just about to set.

I made some homemade cocoa and brought cups, whipped cream, sprinkles, candy canes and some peppermint schnapps for the grownups.  It really hit the spot!

On Saturday we took all three kids to see Frozen! It was really fun. We also took them out for dinner which was a fun treat.  On Sunday we put up the tree and decorated it and also had some friends come visit from NY. We made a big pot of Irish stew and lit the fire. It was wonderful.

We also took out and started our Advent calendar. It's hard to believe that December is already here!

I hope that all of you had a lovely weekend with good food, family and friends too!

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

that's a wrap

This was the gift we gave to the children's teachers. The note read "we are nuts about you!" Inside the take out box was a chocolate acorn. I attached a glass acorn ornament to the outside with twine. This is a wonderful time of year to let teachers know how thankful you are for all they do.

I am hosting my family here tomorrow so I'm spending this rainy day finishing the food prep and  last touches for the table.  One included spray painting some pumpkins we had left over from Halloween with gold spray paint. It could not have been easier and I love how they turned out!

Thanks so much for stopping by and for all of your kind comments this past year. I am so thankful for the people I have met through this blog and continue to be inspired by so many that I follow.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

that's a wrap

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Are you trying to check something off your list? I thought I would share the class gift that I have organized for my son's Kindergarten teacher.  My first plan was to purchase an advent calendar and then fill the boxes with Christmas wishes and some gift certificates from all of the students in her class, but the advent calendar arrived damaged and the boxes were tiny and would not hold much of anything. So, plan b was that I decided to make an advent calendar wreath instead! I purchased a fresh green wreath from Lowes for less than $10.  Then I bought some gift certificate boxes that look like tiny presents and attached them to some clothespins with my glue gun. I numbered them and attached them to the wreath. I also sent home tiny white cards and envelopes that the children are writing their Christmas wishes on. I will number them and attach them to the wreath in between all of the boxes. We are going to put some gift cards/other small gifts in the boxes and then give it to her when they start back at school after Thanksgiving vacation.  I even bought a command hook so that she can hang it on her classroom door or on a wall/chalkboard. I think the students will enjoy having her open the envelopes every day and hear the wishes that they have written for her. I tried to make the gift boxes on weekend days or vacation days so that the envelopes and wishes could be read out loud during the day. The parents in my son's class were appreciative that I organized a class gift AND that we can check it off our list before December has even rolled around. Win, win.  I will try to take a photo of the finished product when its done.

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

caramel cranberry bars

This evening we are going to a party. I decided to make these easy and delicious caramel cranberry bars. Instead of cutting them into bars I used a round shaped cookie cutter and then put them in mini red/white polka dot cupcake liners. I placed them all on a red charger and I think they look quite festive. You can find these chargers at most stores for a few dollars and they come in red, green, gold and silver. I have also been playing around with place settings and will be using gold chargers for our Thanksgiving table!

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

that's a wrap

Saturday was the last day of the soccer season for my son. There was a little party afterwards and I was asked to bring cupcakes.  I made mini ones for the kids and a normal sized one for the coach. I used a grass tip and homemade green frosting and placed a sugar soccer ball on top. I packaged the cupcake for the coach in a cellophane cupcake bag and tied it with some twine. The kate spade notecard said: "Small card. Big thank you."  I tucked a gift certificate inside for Dunkin' Donuts.  Just a little token of our appreciation for his willingness to volunteer every Saturday morning and for making soccer a wonderful experience for our son.
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