A Christmas gift you’d actually want to receive.

Okay so we’ve made the list and checked it twice, now what to give them???  This holiday give a handcrafted, home-made gift you, your neighbors, and family/friends will love.  This easy, creative DIY Christmas gift is oh so fun to do with your kids as well, (home-made teachers gifts, can I get a booyah!) mine enjoyed a little craft time with mom, and who am I kidding I loved to spend time with the kids this crazy season. The best part is these gifts are under $5 so it is a win win for everyone.

 

These are the unique, retro looking teacher gifts my kiddos made. I bought  flour sack towels and pom-pom trim and started by sewing the trim on one end of the towels.  These towels are a great find as they are great for all kinds of crafts, and you get such a steal for $1 each towel!!

Next, (you can honestly reverse this step and the last, it doesn’t really matter) I stamped on some festive Christmas stamps in fabric paint. This is where my kids really enjoyed the craft, I let them pick the stamp and color for their teacher and they went to town.  We staggered our design in a zig zag pattern on our towels.  Make sure to rinse your stamp off and clean it well as the fabric paint, (which I love, I have used a few brands and this seems quality to me) can get sticky and “gunk” up your stamps for future crafting.  Let your fabric dry 72 hours, before washing or ironing.

Next we made some DIY ornaments to jazz up the wrapping of our gift.  I found these clear plastic ornaments and placed some faux snow inside the ornament.  Next I placed some mini frosted trees  inside with the snow.  I had to cut, using my wire cutters, the bottom wood base off as it wouldn’t fit in the ornament.  I was sad to have to do this but still think it looked just as cute without it.  Next with some leftover pipe cleaners I had lying around, we created our name stick.  I ordered alphabet letter beads to spell out our friends, teachers, and neighbors first or last names on the pipe cleaner.  There isn’t enough room to spell out really long names or both first and last names so choose what fits best for your gift.  After stringing the pipe cleaner with the letters needed, place it inside the ornament and close it up.  I would recommend using pipe cleaners for the name stick, it is just full enough with fibers so the beads don’t slip around.

I cleaned out my local Targets dollar section.  I love the retro design Christmas soap to go with our flour sack towels.  Best part is the $1 price tag.  While I was there I also found (I can seriously spend days in that section…so many fun items!) some fun ornaments to use in place of the more personal ornaments we created.  Honestly, I don’t know all my neighbors last name (I know sad, but in my defense we only moved here a short while ago), so the DIY ornament was a no go as I couldn’t spell out all the family members first names on one pipe cleaner.  So the Target score of $1 ornaments in a variety of designs as well as the $1 soap still kept me under $5 a gift….YIPEE!  Thank you Target for the section at the beginning of the store that I always have to stop by even if I am “running” in for “just” milk!

Tie the bundle all together with some cute twine, and wish all of yours a Holly Jolly full of DIY love Christmas.  Would love to see what creative gifts you made for your “nice” list.  Share your ideas as I love new inspiration….never too late to start planning for next year.

The Christmas Table

The Christmas table, the gathering place, the centerpiece…..need I say more?  Every year I always stress about what my Christmas table will look like (or what I hope it will look like).   Will it be kid friendly for my littles but still be chic and festive…. does that even exist?  Every year time seems to fly by and before I know it I am scrounging up matching sets of napkins, chargers, clean utensils and what ever is in reach to decorate the table.  This year I decided to plan it out a little, look for some good deals and try (with an almost $0 dollar budget) to pull off a Christmas table worth gathering at.

 

I wanted to create a table that said to me Hygge, a table that celebrated coziness, warmth and family.  A feeling of content with an emphasis on finding joy in everyday.  So in other words something organic, something you can find in your own backyard.  Like your own trimmings from your Christmas tree or clipping some sprigs from your trees right outside.  Inserting pinecones from your nearest pine tree, candles from your candle stash and a few festive items from my favorite go to shops…Target and Amazon.

We will start out with my favorite pieces this year.  Simple festive plates that are just so simple yet chic.  Four plates with ‘merry’, ‘joy’, ‘gather’, and ‘peace’ in the center.

Lets not leave out the black charger plates.  They really help to make the smaller plates “pop”.

This runner is very simple, comfortable  and can be used all year long, (currently planning a new years table with this runner incorporating nicely), with matching napkins.  I am definitely feeling the Hygge vibe with this runner/napkin combo as it is cozy for any occasion.

Garland, the piece that brings it all together and give it the touch of festive.  I love this garland as it has some added pine cones and different sprigs of faux tree sprigs adding complimentary shades of green.  I really like how easy the branches spread out to fill out the center.

How about this glass cloche??  Adding this cloche center piece made this table fill with elegance.  I had these miniature trees from last year but found some similar trees here.  If you don’t have trees to place inside other ideas would be to use candles, sprigs from a tree in your yard, ornaments, so many possibilities.

I found this great ribbon to tie all my pieces together with a simple yet cozi black and white theme.

In sticking with my simple, organic theme, I chose to use a black and white twine to tie up my napkins with my pinecones (I bought a bundle of the smell good ones), for a unique setting.

A few more shots of my Christmas table.  I want to remember this moment as long as I can…..it won’t stay like this forever.  Would love to hear about what Hygge means to you and how you use it to inspire your Christmas table.  Thanks for reading!!  Happy Hygge!

 

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links meaning I could make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Oh Christmas tree!

Hey there, just wanted to share a family fun experience we had the other day when purchasing our tree.  In our family trees have been purchased, chopped, and ripped out of a box.  Having done them all, I would have to say this year’s experience was the best.  We currently moved to the beautiful city of trees, (which only makes since I found the best Christmas tree yet this year) Boise, Idaho.  Christmas tree tradition in our family is to put it up the day after Thanksgiving, so we usually trek out on frightful BLACK Friday to claim our beloved tree.  I know the recommendation for purchasing a “real” tree for Christmas is usually to wait until mid December if you want it to last through the holiday season, but…..I have found that I can purchase a tree the day after Thanksgiving and by keeping up on the water( no brainer but I still struggle with that) and placing the lighting in a certain way( please read my post ‘Give yourself the gift of frustration free tree lighting‘ to read my secret technique) as not to dry the tree out.  So, there we were headed out on our mission when I did a quick google search of Christmas tree lots.  The prices are usually a “tad” bit better at the big box stores but honestly I feel they never have a good selection to choose from unless you are in the market for a one type tree.  Not to mention the lack of magic you could have experienced if you headed to a smaller mom and pop lot.  When I came across a tree lot called “Seatpea’s Christmas Trees”  I knew it was the right one.  I mean who doesn’t LOVE that name to begin with.  We pulled up and I knew we hit the right spot.  From first view it looked to be in someone’s large backyard.  The whole family seemed to be running around helping customers.  There was even a dog there to greet you!  I spotted two or three trees and spent my time trying to decide.  A darling young girl offered my family hot cocoa at no extra charge….I mean c’mon they already had me at Sweatpea’s!  They helped us to drill a hole, saw off the bottom of the trunk and help tie it up to our car.  As if this all isn’t a one of a kind experience I was able to go through a pile of premium Christmas tree trimmings for all my house decor needs.  You truly can’t have a Christmas tree experience like this at any box store, or for that matter chopping your own down.  We did that route one year and it was actually a lot of work with littles, maybe when they are old enough to do the “chopping”.  The whole ripping out of the box is easy, fast and usually looks pretty great from afar, but you don’t have the smell or chance to get out and support a local group like this. I am so glad we came by and will definitely be back next year.

Thanks so much Sweatpeas!!!

 

 

I encourage you all to find and support your local tree lot and share with me!  I loved making our experience a memory that will last for years!  Happy hunting!

Festive porch decor

First impressions are everything and the first thing your holiday guests see is the porch.  Whether it is a quick drop by, a holiday gathering, or simply just passer by er’s, your porch is front row and center.  I have always spent so much time and energy making the inside of our home perfect for the holidays, I often have neglected the front porch.   This year I swore I would not let this happen again.  Being in a new home for the holidays will always get you back on track accomplishing those Christmas decor wishes that had fallen short in the same ol’ rut routine.  I am going to share my festive, yet frugal, Christmas porch.  My ideas produced not only a porch to be noticed but I was able to style my porch with no time at all.  This time of the year has sooo little “time ” that I literally don’t know how I function ( if I even do).   So the fact that I accomplished a long (and I mean long) time goal and didn’t break the bank or loose sleep over it is a Christmas Miracle.  So here are my steals I found on Amazon ( love prime shipping… delivers to your “porch” lickety split all you have to do is unwrap) so you don’t have to spend anymore time doing anything but sitting back and admiring your Christmas styled porch.

Here is the full view of my porch!  Simple yet tasteful.

 A colorful entrance.  Find my checkered rug here.

Find my colorful rug here.

Show stopper wreath.  The bells are such a nice touch.

Find my wreath here.

Christmas pot.  So simple and easy to take care of!  NO having to water!!  Bought the cute burlap tree here, and threw some Christmas tree trimmings underneath to fill in pot.

This lantern I have had for years but I found one similar here.   Tied a festive colored ribbon to the handle.  Added a candle and threw some more Christmas tree trimming inside to fill it up.  So cute!

Some garland to bring it all together in the same green shades as my wreath and Christmas pot.  I really like the added color and pinecones in this garland to feel full and life-like.  Get the garland here.

Joyful buckets!  Without noticing it until now I think my porch theme is Joy!! Found these cute Joy buckets here.  Also found some affordable faux birch sticks (buying a “real” bundle of birch logs cost a fortune to ship)! Had the last of my Christmas tree trimmings to stuff inside the buckets for a fuller look.  If you don’t have any Christmas tree trimmings use something out of the yard, like other possible tree trimmings or sticks.  Pinecones would be cute as well.  The best part about finding them outside is its for free!  Also craft stores tend to put their faux Christmas flowers and such on sale frequently.  Combine that with a coupon and you can have them for a steal.

Well there ya have it.  A quick festive porch that didn’t break the bank!

I would love to see your Christmas styled porch! Please share the steal’s and styles you have found.  Merry styling… Christmas!

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links meaning I could make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Christmas class P-A-R-T-Y

Okay all you room parents lets get this party started.  This year I am room mom for my daughters class which means I am in charge of putting together a class celebration for Halloween, Christmas, Valentines and year end.  Halloween planning for the most part was pretty smooth and easy as there were so many Pintrest pins to choose from.  I had more than enough choices and information to choose from.  So when I started my search for Christmas party ideas it seemed slim pickins.  All I could find was the same ideas just a different theme.  Well to me this seemed boring and if it seems boring to me it must be for second graders.  So I challenged myself to find different games and such.  I came up with a pretty great class party that I wanted to share with you all to help save you the time of scouring the internet.  When time is so precious this time of year I hope this helps cross one more thing of your list.  Enjoy and have fun celebrating.

Food and snack ideas for class party:

Thanks to bettycrocker.com for this festive healthy way to celebrate.  Maybe the kids will actually eat their veggies…bawhahaha!

Thanks to christmas.snydle.com for these cute Grinch Kabobs!

So many ideas how will I ever choose?  Thanks somethingswanky.com!!

My mouth is already watering! Thanks womansday.com.

 

Games, games and more games…

Many thanks to mrsrichardsonsclass.com for this diffetent yet easy game. This time of the year we all seem to be getting more and more cardboard boxes with online shopping. Save one, find sticks in the yard, make pipecleaner rings (or use some from another game if you have them) slap on some eyes and a nose and there you have it. Also helps the classroom to look festive…. so you nailed it!

Thank you homegrownfriends.com for this fun alternative to playing bingo.

kidfriendlythingstodo.com

lovechristmastime.club Thanks to these last two ideas that are similiar but yet oh so fun. I would pick one and go with it.

Christmas craft time….

So cute! Thanks onelittleproject.com!

Thanks artycraftykids.com!

diyhomedecorz.com

 

Large scale festive classroom decor…

livinglocurto.com

Would love to hear how your class party planning is going and if you have found any unique and festive ways for the kiddos to celebrate. P-A-R-T-Y on!!!!

Give yourself the gift of frustration free tree lighting.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Or so the story goes….but when it comes to lighting a real Christmas tree it is the most dreaded time of the year.  I know, I know most of my friends say why don’t you just get a pre lit tree and be done with it?  They are up in few minutes and then you have time for “other” important things. Sometimes I question this myself (I question a lot of my decisions) but in the end I am always so happy to have the Christmas smell in my house and the satisfaction of getting the job done.  In my opinion you can’t go wrong with a good ol’ family trip to the local mom and pop tree stand where the fire is burning and the hot chocolate is flowing.

So you guessed it I was faced with yet another tree and no time to light it up. It usually takes me half of the day to get my tree lit the way I want… until I discovered a new no brainer way to go about it and get the job done in a reasonable amount of time. As long as you don’t mind a little (by little I mean a lot) of sap in your hair then you will love this trick.

I picked a tree that was not too full, yet just full enough. By this I mean picking a tree where you can see the trunk easily (you are the judge of how visible you like your trunk but the more you see it the easier this method is).  I always tend to go the Charlie Brown Christmas tree route so for my tree this year I feel it is more full. When we got our tree home and watered I prepared to start the conquest.  First I started by wrapping only the trunk with a strand of lights starting from the bottom.  I plugged it into the wall and started wrapping from the bottom where the branches begin.  I wrapped around the trunk while dodging in and out of tree branches (hence the sap, you gotta get in deep) until I reached the absolute top.  This took one 21.5’ strand of lights.

Now to be honest I really liked the look of this when I was all done. It was different and somewhat minimal which always feels right these days. By putting less of your lights on your branches you can help slow your tree’s drying.  So not only can you give your tree longevity and a unique look but you can make your wallet a lot happier too. With this tree being about 7-8 feet tall and only taking two strands of lights at $2.50 a strand, I can now justify the cost of my tree (or the experience of buying the tree at the tree stand versus big box stores or a fake tree). Here is the look of my tree with the trunk lit up…..Oh happy

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Well I think I may have some of the Griswolds in my gene’s because when it comes to Christmas lights I always tend to think more is better… so I decided to add a bit more. Here is where it gets really quick. With the trunk being lit and illuminating the inside depth of the tree I now can focus on wrapping from the top down in circles rotating the tree on just the outside perimeter of the tree. For me this is where I saved the most time. I use to spend hours, and I do mean hours, going in and out almost every other branch on my tree to ensure the perimeter and interior of tree had enough lights as well as balanced placement of lights. Well with the tree being lit on the interior already, this took out the need for balancing and configuring lights on each branch. I literally just went around in circles placing the strand in the branches about half way in to help disguise the cord. I used an additional 7 strands of 21.5’ lights to circle my tree. All in all this only took me 1 hour versus the 3-4 hours it use to take me. When I stepped back to admire my tree I felt there was something more I could add to still try and give it a unique look  where it doesn’t seem like every other lit tree out there. That’s why I enjoyed the first look with the trunk lit so much… it was different and I like different.  So I found a 6’ strand of lights with a different “white” clear bulb and wrapped only the base of my tree trunk. I stayed high enough above the water but below the lower branches wrapping over and over and then tying off.  In the end I felt I finally achieved the look I was hoping for.  The brighter lights at the bottom of the tree seemed to really stand out giving way to the more classic yellow/white lights through the tree differentiating the bottom of the trunk with the rest of the tree. Hallelujah I had my own personal, unique, fresh, Christmas tree that didn’t take me all day to do.  That is a win in my book.  In the words of Clark Griswold “Looks great, little full, lotta sap.”

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Thanks for stopping by and visiting my site.  I would love to hear if you all have a special, unique yet easy way of lighting your Christmas tree.  Merry Christmas!!!

 

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All done!!