Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Relaxation in a Jar

My office mate at work recently had a birthday. To celebrate, I decided to refresh one of my most popular blog gifts - pampering in a jar!

I created a printable, to go along with it and updated the contents. Here is what I included this time around:
  • A gift card to a coffee shop for an afternoon break from her desk
  • Chocolates
  • A small cucumber hand lotion
  • Relaxing face mask

Feel free to download the relaxation in a jar printable label!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

You Blow Me Away: Valentine Bubbles with Free Printable

This year Grace will be exchanging Valentine cards with her little friends at daycare. With allergies and more than enough sugary treats on Valentine's Day, I wanted to do something different. I was inspired by my mom. My birthday was smack dab in the middle of the Christmas season when there is no shortage of sweet treats and my mom would always find something affordable but unique for me to hand out.

I found a pack of 24 bubbles at Target for $3. There were enough for Grace's classmates and enough left over that her cousin will also be giving his daycare friends bubbles for Valentine's Day.

Feel free to download the "Valentine, you blow me away" printable.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Free Chocolate Tasting Party Printable

Who doesn't love chocolate? I know it is a favorite in our house. I was recently trying to think of a fun at-home date night for my husband and I to do after Grace went to bed and after some brainstorming, I came up with a chocolate tasting! Although I used it for an at-home date, it would also be great for a girls get together! Here is how it works.

Purchase six pieces of chocolate. Because it was just the two of us, I splurged on some really good pieces from a local chocolate shop. But it would be just as fun with chocolates picked up at Target.

I placed the chocolates on a tasting mat/scoring sheet I made with a few lines to write notes about the chocolate to help you remember it and what you liked or disliked about it. Once we tasted all of the chocolate, we ranked all of the pieces based on how much we liked them.

If you want to indulge in some chocolate, feel free to download the chocolate tasting printable!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

HouseWARMing - Perfect Winter Housewarming Gift

 photo Housewarming4.jpgI had a good friend move into a new house in early December. Just thinking of moving amid the holidays stresses me out. Thankfully she is move flexible than I am! Because it was winter, I wanted to do something winter themed instead of my traditional Home Sweet Home housewarming gift.

After a little brainstorming, I decided to focus on the "warm" in housewarming, choosing a blanket, hot cocoa and a Christmas ornament to mark the occasion. Who doesn't love hot chocolate? And who can't use another blanket? Especially when you have boys like my friend does - they are always building forts! I ordered the ornament from Need More Heart on Etsy.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

5 Ways to Celebrate St. Nicholas Day

This is the first Christmas I've really put some thought into traditions I want to start with my family. With Grace old enough to get excited about lights and the tree (I'd take a little less enthusiasm around the Christmas tree!), I wanted to start some traditions.

I wrote earlier about our Advent wreath. Another tradition from my family that I wanted to resurrect from my childhood was celebrating St. Nicholas Day. His feast day is Dec. 6, and he is the inspiration for our modern day Santa Claus. He used his inheritance from his wealthy parents to help the needy and became known for his generosity, especially his love for children.

We used to get candy in our shoes and set up our Christmas tree on St. Nicholas Day. I wanted to find some things that were meaningful yet simple enough to do with a toddler, and on a week night for those years when we're not lucky enough to have St. Nicholas Day fall on a weekend. So, setting up the Christmas tree was clearly out. Here is what we did instead:
  1. Filling shoes: I had to put the items under her shoes due to their rather small size. I included a piece of chocolate, an ornament and a Christmas book. I wanted to focus on things we could use during the rest of the Christmas season and would reinforce some of the things St. Nicholas represents.
  2. Donating toys: We visited a local story that is a collection point for Toys 4 Tots to pick out and donate some toys.
  3. Doing a craft: We kept things pretty simple. I just printed off a coloring sheet for Grace.
  4. Reading a story: I read a simple story I printed out online about St. Nicholas.
  5. Saying a prayer: We swapped our normal bedtime prayer with a prayer about St. Nicholas.
The St. Nicholas Center website was a great resource for ideas and materials. I got the coloring sheet, story and  prayer for there. The site has a lot of other great ideas as well as recipes, information about St. Nicholas, traditions and more.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt

We hosted Thanksgiving at our house from my husband's extended family this year. I was a little concerned about my turkey making abilities, so I wanted to make sure I had something to keep the kids busy if it took a little longer than expected to cook the turkey, so I created a scavenger hunt.

As things turned out, I was freaking out that morning because the turkey was done early - two hours early! Visions of the National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation turkey flashed in my head. My husband stepped in, told me to calm down and thankfully the turkey was acceptable.

Due to my miscalculations on turkey cooking, the scavenger hunt took place after the Thanksgiving meal.

Part of the scavenger hunt included coloring a turkey coloring sheet, so I also put together a little "coloring station" buy putting colors, colored pencils and markers together in a basket.  

After completing the hunt, everyone got a prize bag with stickers, chocolates, cereal bar and hot chocolate.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Advent Wreath Tradition with Reflection and Prayer Guide

Growing up the Advent wreath was always part of our pre-Christmas traditions with a prominent place in the middle of our dining room table. I wanted to start the same tradition with my family, so I made an Advent wreath this year. I tinted small canning jars purple and rose and arranged them on a cake plate with some greenery. 

I also tried to find some history on the Advent wreath. The beginnings of the Advent wreath are uncertain. However, it is known that Christians adapted the tradition by the Middle Ages. While the history was a little unclear, I discovered a lot about the various parts of the wreath symbolize that I'd forgotten over the years, including:
  • Circular shape: With no beginning or end, the circle symbolizes God’s unending love for us.
  • Four candles: The four candles symbolize the 4,000 years (1,000 years for each candle) from Adam and Eve to Jesus' birth.
  • Evergreens: Signify continuous life.
  • Purple candles: Reminders that this should be a time of prayer and preparation.
  • Rose candle: Rejoicing that the light has won out over darkness with more candles lit than not lit (3 vs. 1).
Each Sunday in the four weeks leading up to Christmas, an additional candle is lit on the wreath. I created a "cheat sheet" with Bible verses, prayers and symbolism to reflect on as I light each candle. I thought I'd share it with others who are interested in starting a tradition of their own. 

Download a printable Advent Wreath guide


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