Monday, December 31, 2012
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.
Friday, December 28, 2012
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.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
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.
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.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
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.
Monday, December 17, 2012
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. **
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
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.
Friday, December 7, 2012
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.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
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.
Monday, December 3, 2012
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!