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Archive for the ‘holidays’ category

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

The Year of Awesomeness Jar

Happy new year, everyone!

I hope your holidays were fun and festive!

I wanted to share a new tradition we started this year called the Year of Awesomeness Jar. I actually had this in my brain last year but it didn’t find its way out until this year :)

First, you think about all the great things that happened to you and your family in the past year. The sky’s the limit here… did someone do great in school or sports? Did anyone volunteer? Was it a year of trying new things? Did your sports team rock it? Did you adopt new pets or did you keep the family fish alive for another year? Did you travel to favorite places or discover new ones? Were you eating homegrown tomatoes into November? You get the idea.

Then, typeset them on the computer or simply write them on paper. Then fold them in half and place in a jar or hat or any container. You can even add some confetti or streamers to liven up the presentation. Do it all yourself as a surprise to the family or have everyone contribute their own.

On New Year’s Eve, have each person take turns pulling one out and reading it aloud. It’s fun to be reminded of good things from the past year and how much awesomeness you have in your life, if you pause to recognize it.

 Thank you 2013, for all your moments of awesomeness. May 2014 follow in your footsteps!


Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Wrapping Money

If you like searching for the perfect gift then giving money is probably not your favorite thing to do. But as kids get older, this seems to be a popular request. Just because you’re skipping the hunting and gathering doesn’t mean you still can’t have a little fun with giving money.

Oh Happy Day has a variation on the Pass the Parcel game in which the lucky recipient unwraps multiple layers of wrapping paper, revealing a little more money in each layer. Make them earn that cash while stretching out the experience!

One great tip: use twine instead of tape to close the layers, so nobody will accidentally tear the money bills.

Looking for other creative ways to give gifts? Check out these posts:

Follow the Spool

Surprise Balls

There’s what you give, and there’s how you give it.

The Gift of Experience

Big Ideas in Small Packages

Merry Making Via the Mail


(image courtesy Oh Happy Day)

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Thanksgiving Centerpieces

Thanksgiving is now less than two weeks away! If you’re hosting for the holiday, then the menu is probably at the top of your to-do list. But before the hustle and bustle in the kitchen starts, now is a good time to think about what kind of a centerpiece will set the stage for your beautiful meal. Consider going all natural with your vases by using squashes and pumpkins. For large varieties, cut a hole near the top with a mini saw and insert a container to hold water. Or use a votive candle holder for smaller ones. You may need to trim a little off the base so it sits flat.


(image courtesy Martha Stewart Living)

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Thanksgiving Activity

Happy November, folks! It’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. This year I’d like to continue the tradition we started last year of finding fun ways to think about all we have to be thankful for. I’m still working on this year’s activity but in the meantime I wanted to share what we did last year.

The night before (of course it had to be the night before!) I decided to cut a big pile of leaf shapes out of construction paper. (This was your run-of-the-mill tear drop shape, not anything complex). Then I punched a hole in each and tied a yarn loop. Lastly I collected a few bare tree branches from outside.

The next day everyone wrote what they’re thankful for on the leaves and then they hung the leaves on the branches. I was excited to see them all hanging beautifully in the late afternoon sun and the way the bare branches gracefully bent, heavy with all our blessings.

Later that night, I was thinking how one could take this a step further by creating a game out of it. Guests could take turns reading one and guessing who wrote on each leaf. We didn’t end up doing that, but I did enjoy reading the leaves after everyone had left. It was an eclectic mix of heartfelt and humorous sentiments, by kids and adults alike.



Friday, October 4th, 2013

Pumpkin Decorating

If visiting a pumpkin patch is on your fall agenda, you’ll want to check out these inspiring decorating ideas! Tired of taking the carved pumpkin approach? These ideas don’t involve carving tools OR pumpkin guts. The best part? You’ll get to enjoy them much longer than the carved ones which begin to decay a few days later.




















(Midwest Living)


(Midwest Living)


(Midwest Living)


(Midwest Living)


(Midwest Living)


(Midwest Living)


(Midwest Living)


(Midwest Living)


(Midwest Living)

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Happy Fourth!

We’re excited for the annual parade on our street that culminates in a block party at the cul-de-sac. Traditions like these really remind us how quickly time flies, things change and kids grow up. It’s hard to believe that we started this tradition nine years ago, holding our one month old daughter. We have pictures of her at the same event, getting bigger with each passing year. A couple years ago, a new addition was added to the mix — cousin Aidan (seen below). And now this year, a brand new cousin and a new addition at our household, Cooper, an 11 week old Golden Retriever. We can’t wait to see how he’ll react to the water spray off the fire truck and all the kids and treats. It will surely add a new dimension to the event. And that’s the great thing about traditions — they, just like our kids, continue to grow bigger as the years go by.

Have a safe and memorable weekend!


Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Easter Prep

It’s hard to believe that Easter is just a week away, especially with the cold weather we’re still having. But the calendar doesn’t lie! And before Sunday’s events, there is some egg coloring to be done!

For some eggcellent inspiration, check out my new finds below, as well as some posts from the archive. Enjoy!


For an eggstraordinary lunch:


And for ideas for fun basket stuffers:






(all images courtesy of the links above)

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Countdown to Easter

Want to enjoy an Easter countdown without adding too much stress to your schedule? All you need is an egg carton and 12 plastic eggs.

Cut the lid off of an egg carton and fill it with eggs. Starting on day 12 before the holiday have your child open one egg per day. Ideas for egg fillers: fruit snacks, candy, poems, silly notes, riddles, small trinkets, coins, you get the idea. Have fun and don’t let the small size get the best of you!



Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Valentine’s Games for Home and School Parties

If you’re doing last minute prepping for a Valentine’s party at home or at your child’s school, here are a few fun ideas.

For the first game, you’ll need conversation candy hearts, straws and some small containers.

You start by having the hearts in one container and then each child must transfer the hearts into another container, using a drinking straw and creating a vacuum that allows the heart to stick to the straw. This can be done with individuals or teams, with the winner being the first person who finishes or the person with the fastest time transferring all their hearts.

The next game is a Valentine’s version of the classic, Twister, found on We hosted a party this weekend for neighborhood friends and the game was a big hit.

For a quiet, sit down game, try a famous pairs match up, using cartoon/movie characters, or our version, which included food pairs (mac and cheese,  spaghetti and meatballs, etc.)

Last but not least, all that effort was rewarded with some lovely treats.

For quick but cute table decor, check out Target for plates, napkins, cups and…

… these adorable paper woodland creatures which hold small amounts of candy.

They also had these groovy striped paper straws…

… as well as some cotton candy popcorn. Pink rules!

For a take home treat, I made Perler Bead owls for everyone (yes, our household is still obsessed with the tiny beads!)

What are you planning for the little lovelies in your life?

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Valentines Inspiration

After the buildup surrounding the holidays, Valentine’s Day has a way of sneaking up on us. Instead of the usual, check out all of these fun ways to show someone you care. Creating a unique and heartfelt gesture will long be remembered after the box of chocolates has been eaten!

Who knew a snowy cold day could warm your heart?

(Design Mom)

Create a heart tree garland outside someone’s window.

(Oh Happy Day)

A lovely lawn job!

(Oh Happy Day)

A heart attack!

(Oh Happy Day)

A hearty homecoming:

(The House That Lars Built)

A great start to the day:

(You are my Fave)

Work AND play:


For hearty appetites:

(Lil Sugar)

Lunchbox love notes:


Got cabin fever? Host a heart hunt around the house:


Or host a party for small sweethearts:


Send goodie bags in for your child’s classmates:


Send your love long distance!

(Oh Happy Day)