New Year New Ideas

Happy 2015 from your fellow sisters! It’s a brand new year, out with the old, in with the new and starting fresh. Many of us have been preparing to send our wee ones back to school and leave this delightful two week vacation behind us. If you’re anything like me, a part of you is happy to be back on a regular routine while the other half is completely dreading it. I’m really not looking forward to rushing in the morning, school traffic, but worst of all making school lunches. This is my least favorite thing to do!!! As many schools, my sons is completely nut free. This isn’t a huge deal, but it can present some difficulty when preparing a diverse menu. I do my best to give him something different everyday. Today he had a Turkey and cheese roll up on an organic spinach wrap, Baby Carrots and a clementine. And some yogurt as a treat. What are you sending for lunch these days?

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Day 2: The Final Countdown

 

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Day 2: The Final Countdown is here!

So, this is it! It’s finally come. For some, a bit sooner that you may have wished, but regardless it’s here! Today is the day to tie up any loose ends, last minute shopping, gift wrapping, baking or cooking for the big day.

Many times, we wait until Christmas Eve to get all of our things done. Then you’re up half the night and, if you have kids, you have zero time recoup that much needed sleep the next day. So you’re miserable on Christmas! Believe me, I did this for years! But for the last few, I’ve really been trying to get everything (or almost everything) done before the 24th. This way, I can enjoy my day with my family without feeling rushed.

My favorite thing to do on Christmas Eve is to bake Christmas Cookies. More on that in tomorrow’s post (plus some really good recipes). But for today, spend a little extra time getting your stuff done, so tomorrow it’s all behind you and you can enjoy your day to the fullest!

 

Day 3: Boredom Busters

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Day 3: Boredom Busters with a holiday twist.

Schools out, and your kids are already bored. The weather may or may not be cooperating and you don’t want them in front of the TV. Not to mention you’re probably running around like a chicken with your head cut off preparing for the holiday. Here are a few quick, easy and fun holiday themed crafts to do with your little ones. Best part is, you’ll have most of the materials on hand:)

Reindeer Food
You will need:
Oatmeal
Glitter (any color)
Container with a lid or a zip lock bag
Materials for decorating (markers, stickers, glue)

1.In a small bowl mix together 1 cup of oatmeal and a few Tablespoons of glitter(I don’t really measure the glitter. Add as much or as little as you want.)
2. Decorate your container any way you’d like.
3. Transfer the oatmeal mixture to the container and seal it tightly.

On Christmas Eve, sprinkle the food all over your lawn to make sure Santa and his reindeer don’t pass your house:)

Sugar Cookies
What you need:
1 package of pre-made sugar cookie dough (or mix or if your feeling up to it, homemade. Just be sure you have all of the ingredients).
Cookie cutters (if you don’t have any, you can always use a drinking glass flipped upside down)
Frosting
Food coloring
Sprinkles

1. Find a large workspace where you don’t mind getting a little messy.

2. Prepare dough if it isn’t already and roll it out on a floured surface until dough is about 1/4 inch thick.

3. Press cookie cutters into dough and place on a prepared baking sheet.

4. Follow the baking instructions on the package.

5. Allow to cool completely in a wire rack. Once cookies are cooled have the little ones decorate with frosting, sprinkles and candy.

6. Save at least one cookie to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Cookies and Milk for Santa
What you need:
Paper plate
Paper Cup
Markers
Crayons
Stickers

1. Have your child draw a design on the plate and cup for Santa. Be sure to use this on Christmas Eve.

Optional- if you have time, buy an inexpensive plate and mug from the dollar store and a Sharpie Paint Pen. Have your children decorate the plate and mug. Place it in a 200* preheated oven for 12 minutes. You’ll be able to use these for the many years to come!

 

Day 4: Relax

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Day 4: Kick back and Relax

Ok, we’ve made it this far, and now it’s the home stretch.  It’s the last day of the weekend and we all know this week is going to be a crazy one.  Why not kick off your shoes, put away the wrapping paper and enjoy this holiday season with the ones you love.  Cuddle up on the couch and watch some holiday movies.  Check out the ABC Family 25 Day’s of Christmas Schedule.  Enjoy some down time before things get crazy!

Day 5: Easy DIY Decor

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Day 5: Easy DIY Décor

Expecting guests for the holidays?  Or just need a kick start to get into the holiday spirit.  Why not make a simple DIY blub bouquet to spruce up the place.  Follow this simple How To for some holiday magic!

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What you will need:

Christmas Bulbs [You can use any colors, shapes or sizes]

Fishing line or ribbon

Scissors

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1.  Cut pieces of your fishing line the same length.

2.  Tie one piece to each of the bulbs.

3.  Group all of the bulbs together and hold the fishing line together at the top.  At this point all of the bulbs should be hanging at the same length.

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4.  Arrange the bulbs in a manner that you like and adjust the length of the line by pulling from the top.  Make some short and some long for a layered look.

5.  Tie a knot at the top and hang it from a place that everyone can admire!

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Day 6: DIY Gifts

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Day 6: DIY Gifts from the heart

For some people, store bought gifts just won’t cut it.  But the thought of a homemade gift can be intimidating and sometimes downright scary.  With all of those “how-to’s” out there, you would think that it would be easy.  Many times, they are hard to follow.  Or in the long run you find out it doesn’t go as planned.  Furthermore, you don’t want to give a gift that will only sit an collect dust.  For me, I would rather make a gift that they can use.  This year, I think that we accomplished a gift from the heart that can also be put to good use.  Best of all, it was super easy.  Here’s an easy to follow How To.

Holiday Hotplates

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IMG_7662What you need:

Plain tile with smooth surface [Home Depot or Lowes]

Paint

Felt

Clear finish spray

Craft Glue

1.  Design your tile with paint.  You can do hand/footprints or just have your child draw a picture.

2. Let the picture dry completely.

3. Spray the clear finishing spray evenly over the entire tile.

4.  Measure out the felt to fit the entire tile.  Cut and glue to the back.

That’s it!  Hopefully you will find this as easy and fun as we did!

 

 

Day 7: Appetizers & Finger Foods

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Day 7: Recipes to Remember – Appetizers & Finger Foods

One of the biggest stressors of the holidays is the food.  To make things a little easier, here are a few recipes to throw together.  Don’t worry, they may be easy but they will wow your guests!

Crockpot Crab Dip

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In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 can Bumble Bee White Crabmeat [drained], 1 Brick [8oz] Philadelphia Cream Cheese, 1/4 cup Sour Cream, 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise, Garlic Salt to taste [be careful, don’t put too much].  Transfer to a mini crockpot and cook on High for 1-2 hours.  Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve warm with crackers, pretzels or pita.

Caprese Pops

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Slice cherry tomatoes in half, cut mozzarella cheese into small squares, and chop fresh basil leaves into bite size pieces.  Layer onto small sticks; tomato, cheese, basil and top with tomato.  Lay the pops down on a platter and drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve chilled.

Veggie & Cream Cheese Pizzas

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Buy a premade flatbread of any variety  [whole wheat, multigrain, garlic & herb].  Spread cream cheese over the top.  Chop your choice of veggies into small pieces and sprinkle over the top.  Cut into squares, and serve chilled or at room temperature.