Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Christmas List- Stocking Stuffers

Stuffing the stockings may be my favorite part of Christmas! I have so  much fun planning and buying each item that I give Trevor.

Here are the staples- as in each year he has these things: 

1. New Toothbrush
2. Underwear - lately he's gotten really into boxer briefs so I'll probably buy those. I like these ones pictured from Old Navy, get them HERE 
3. Socks. Kids can never have enough socks (and no matter how many pairs you have, you're always still missing one) These ones from Payless are cute and what boy doesn't like Spiderman- get them HERE
4. Candy Cane (or two)
5. One other piece of candy, usually the Lifesavers Christmas Collectibles (My Grandma Smith used to get these for us kids when we were little, so it's like a gift from her :) )
6. Something homemade. One year, I hand drew a coloring book for him with all his favorite movie characters and superheroes (it was a 20 page book). Another year, I made drew him as a superhero in his own Comic Book. 

Then there are a few other fun things I add such as a new box of crayons or small toys. Last year I raided Target's Dollar section and got a bunch of their Christmas toys, he had a Santa yo-yo and rubix cube, Santa straws and cups, etc. 

These are some of the things I'm considering this year: 

1. Silly String. Trevor loves Silly String. He asks for it all the time. ALL THE TIME. Plus it's cheap for such great entertainment.
2. Mini Lego set or two. Trevor loves legos (I even made him THIS lego table to play at) and has well over 2000 pieces, but he always asks for more. These mini sets are perfect stocking stuffers. 
3. Coloring books- Trevor is a mini-artist. He loves anything art. 
4. Playdough- he's got 2 or 3 of those playdough playcenters, but the dough itself is dried out. I may make this homemade in several colors!
5. Glow sticks- Every day can be a rave at our house. NBD. 

What are some of your stocking stuffer ideas? 

Monday, November 25, 2013

DIY Inexpensive Christmas Gifts

Everyone has those people that they want to get gifts for, coworkers, neighbors, babysitters, etc but you're not sure what to get. That's where Pinterest comes in. Pinterest has everything holiday related from decorations to food to gifts.

Here are a few I want to try out this year:

1. Cinnamon wrapped around candles. This would be a good gift for neighbors or family or friends.

It would be cheap and easy to buy cinnamon sticks and vanilla scented candles and ribbon. I'd hot glue the cinnamon to the candle to ensure that it stays together.

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2. Candy Sleighs: This might be my gift to Trevor's classmates. It'd be cheap and easy to make 14 of them.

This requires candy and hot glue. Cheap and Easy. Glue a Kit Kat to two candy canes to form the base. Use any other candies to fill up the sleigh, but 10 mini hersey's candy bars fit perfectly into a pyramid on the sleigh. Neatly tie with a ribbon. Done.

3. Coffee Cups: This would be a good teacher gift.

Buy a coffee mug, inside include either a hot cocoa packet, individual coffee mix, $5 Starbucks gift card, candy cane. Customize with a cute Christmas-y label. Done.

4. Candy Bottles: This would be a good gift for the little ones in my life. I have three cousins under 7 years old who would love this. And you could even just give 1 bottle per person and use as a stocking stuffer.

5. Holiday Dough: This would be a great stocking stuffer for Trevor.

Roll up some $1 bills and create the label. Easy Peasy.

6. Hand Santa-tizer: Coworker gift. Easy. No one likes germs around the office. Goes with the season and is practical.

Just buy the bottles of hand sanitizer (purse size is the perfect size as it's easily portable) and create some custom paper wraps.

7. Coasters: Family or Neighbor or Friend gift. Even works for a teacher.

Simply buy some plain white tiles at a hardware store, and either draw with sharpies, use a Silhouette to cut a pattern, or paint a design. You can also try to modge podge pictures onto them. (Ask if you want more detailed instructions, as I've done most of these methods before).

8. Hot Cocoa Snowmen: Neighbors, Friends, Teachers.

These are baby food jars. The bottom of one is glued to the lid of the next. The top is filled with marshmallows, middle with the hot cocoa mix, and the bottom with peppermints. Then Make a hat and scarf (felt would work for these). Use a sharpie to draw the face and buttons on the jars.

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Who's on your gift list this year? Do you have any creative gift ideas for teachers, neighbors and coworkers? What about for kid's classmates?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Faves!

Time for the Weekly Five on Friday post! Woo!


Snow. Ew. It snowed here yesterday into the night and let me be the first to say I hate snow. This was mainly a light dusting, but either way, it's cold, wet and white and I'm not a fan. Let me just hibernate through winter. Wake me up when it's Spring.


New boots. I got two pairs of  new boots for under $40 because I used online promo codes and coupons. Originally both pairs were well over $70. Which means I saved over $100. #Winning.


New coats. I was not a huge coat fan until a few years ago. Now I love me a good coat. Tonight I'm going coat shopping to get at least 1 or maybe 2 new coats for this winter. Not sure what I want yet. Any suggestions?

[cuatro] Christmas. I have no idea what I'm going to get Trevor this year. Normally I'm really prepared, buying presents a few months in advance, this year, it looks like they're all going to  be bought last minute.... I have no idea what to get the most spoiled person in the house. (gift idea post coming Monday!) I have only bought him a book and a movie so far. The book is one of the search and find books (like Where's Waldo) but with the Avengers, and the movie is Phineas and Ferb meet the Avengers (do you see a theme here?)


Weekend plans! We have a busy weekend filled with lots of friends and family and birthday parties and just all around good times. I'm looking forward to it!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chicken Broth Recipe

I make my own Chicken stock/broth when making Chicken noodle soup and definitely could have used some this past weekend when I was sick. Instead, I had to settle for canned, store bought broth. Definitely wish I had my own homemade.

Here's my recipe (which was what my Grandma Smith used, which I believe was from the Taste of Home): 

2 pounds bone in skinless chicken
2 Celery ribs- cut into chunks
2 medium carrots- cut into chunks
2 medium onions- quartered
2 Bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (i'm lucky enough to get this and the rosemary from my stepmom who has an herb garden)
8-10 whole peppercorns
2 quarts cold water


1. Place all ingredients in a soup kettle. Slowly bring to a boil; reduce heat. Skim foam. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.

2. Set chicken aside until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones. Discard bones; save meat for another use. Strain broth, discarding vegetables and seasonings. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Skim fat from surface. 

Yield: about 6 cups.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Christmas Wishlist- Decor

I love Christmas decorations, but I prefer simpler, classical whites and silvers and reds. I don't like a lot of over the top decorations that you see these days. I don't need a rotating tree with colorful fiber optic branches. I don't need a 2,000 piece Santa's village with moving trains and lights. I don't need a 12 foot tall inflatable Santa in my front yard. I don't need lights from the top of my house to the bottom and everywhere in between. Basically I don't need (or want) this:

If that's you, then great! If not, that's great too! It's just not me. 

Last year we didn't even put lights outside (I know shameful of me). This year, it will probably be traditional white lights, probably the icicle ones since I love how they look at night after a snowfall. This is what the interior looked like last year: 

All of these pieces were my Grandma Smith's who passed away before Trevor was born, they're the only ones I'll ever own, because I just can't see myself buying more. I put them out more in honor of her than for me. 

We actually had two small trees, one in the living room and one in Trevor's room. The one in Trevor's room (on the left) is actually just the top of our big 6.5 foot one that we chose not to use this year. 

We also had garland and lights on the banisters on the stairs, our stockings hung, pictures and some small knick knacks but that's about it. 

Like I said, simple but still Christmasy.

This year, I have a small wish list/inspirational list of sorts for decorating (which I'll be doing next weekend!!!!) to keep with the simple, classical look and here it is: 

Clockwise from Large Photo on Top Left:  Mantle: via, Candles: via, Cutlery: via, Canvas: via, Wreath: via, Cinnamon Candles- Source not found

I think these are all simple ways to bring in the holiday look and feel without going overboard and look forward to recreating/re imagining some of them for our house this year!

What are some of your staple decorations? What's on your decor wishlist?