Let it snow

Monday, November 28, 2011

Not that much snow outside as we just enjoyed 65 degrees today. And yet with holiday season kicking in there is snow everywhere. In the decorations, gift wrappings, products boxes, holiday cards and pajamas. A while ago I read about using dried coconut as snow and when staring at my simple gift bags I had the idea of upgrading them with some fake snow. The variations are endless, and it is a lot of fun making these.

You will need a bottle of white school glue or anything similar, dried coconut (my version was finely grated without sugar), red ribbon and plain paper bags (these last two items I got at Target).

First you make your picture by placing your paper bag flat on a surface and squeezing the glue bottle letting a small stream of linear glue fall as you move it around forming your shape. If you want you may first draw it with a pencil but for simple designs, I find it easier just to do straight with the glue bottle. For the wreath I made two circles, one inside the other and with the tip of the glue bottle I spread glue in the area between the circles.

After you have draw your picture with the glue, sprinkle dried coconut on top of the areas where the glue is located. Right after that, lift it up on top of a plate and gently tap the paper bag to let anything that is not on top of the glue fall. You don't want to leave the coconut too long outside the glue area as it will taint the paper with its oil. Let it dry on a flat surface. (the coconut that fell off the bag can be used again for another project)

For the ribbon part, just cut your ribbon and glue it to the place you wish. You may also try with white sand instead of the coconut.
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Sunny Thanksgiving

It was a sunny Thanksgiving. Grandma's house filled with running and jumping kids. Voices of laughter, of singing, and sometimes, of crying. Table filled with flavors, hearts filled with memories, mouths filled with tastes.

And maybe, just maybe, a new traditions started. Campfire. Marshmallows. Hot dogs.

To end it all, a sleepover, camping under the stars. Daddy and Luke, the men of our house faced the cold and darkness to build one more memory: camping after Thanksgiving. Of course, mommy and baby Mark had other plans: a warm bed and soft blankets (as I have enough winter camping memories in my memory book!)

All in all, so much to be thankful for!

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A last minute hostess gift

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Just wrap a wine or apple cider bottle with thin wrapping paper (you can roll from one corner to another). Hold the top with an elastic band, cover with a lace and glue the label in place. Done! Free printables for the labels from here and here. (Thanks for Children Inspire Design blog for these free gifts). 
Well, wish I had more time for a longer post, but it is getting late and the Turkey awaits!! Hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

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DIY: Fall leaves

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fall leaves are everywhere spread on the ground. Silently staring at me as I walk around town. Am I going to rescue them before they disappear? Am I going to bring them home and spread their beauty around captured inside my DIY craft projects? Very tempting to kidnap Fall's beauty so I can privately sip of it a little longer.

Last week I gave in and rescued a few leaves. On Saturday I made a little DYI birthday card with one of them for Luke's friend that was having a princess birthday party. What about you, do you take advantage of the abundance of leaves in the Fall to create interesting crafts?

Well, here is the lucky one:

And here are some pictures of Hoboken that I took on our walk back from the birthday party:

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Bowling Party

Thursday, November 17, 2011

When I was a child my mom would make a cute and simple cake and some sweets. My friends would bring gifts wrapped in thin wrapping paper, and we would run around playing hide and seek until it was time to blow the candles and eat the cake. That was it, simple and fun. 

Last month, as I started searching online for bowling party theme ideas for Luke, I became aware of a complete line of knowledge that transforms a few years of life celebration into a wedding style party! I was overwhelmed by so many tutorials, crafts, decorations, printables and themes. They all looked gorgeous, but I felt as if I had missed the party planning class in school; a very essential life skill. So I decided to change that. Not going crazy, I started to dip my feet into this new line of knowledge for the fun of it.

I did not want to pursue the perfect party, however I was intrigued by the challenge of creating something new, like in art class. Could I, an illiterate in party planning, squeeze out of my brain a few ideas? I have to say I copied a lot of things, but somewhere along the way I felt good about creating something out of nothing. And if that counts, then I would say it was a successful start.

For the party favors I got this vintage camera printable on Etsy and after printing, glued to a card stock paper. Next, I rolled it and tied with a red ribbon. Then I printed a picture of the vintage camera and stapled it with an instructions note (something like this: go to Spotify.com and select a song, make a cup of hot chocolate - I placed a hot chocolate mix package inside each roll -, and assemble the camera). The thank you note card flags are made by cutting the rubber of the back of a pencil into a triangle shape and using it as a stamp (another idea I saw in another blog, wish I had taken notes where it was)

I also carved a pumpkin and 3 holes and painted it black to look like a bowling ball. Inside I placed the cake pops that I made out of a yellow cake mix with fresh cranberries. You can find cake pops recipes all over the Internet.

The T-shirt I painted first using the freezer paper technique, but because it bled a lot I had to fix it by hand after. So here it is, a few ideas to share.

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Creating winter memories

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My childhood was packed with summer memories. My grandmother's backyard was the stage: swimming, climbing trees, mud playing, eating mangoes, riding bikes, hiding and seeking behind bushes, sun bathing, playing house, eating grandma's treats, and the list goes on and on. As for winter memories, well living in a tropical country, my winters did not last that long and it wasn't cold enough to have snow or ice. So when it comes to creating winter memories for my kids, I will have to google for ideas!

It is raining and cold outside, as it has been all day, and here I am sipping a spicy hot chocolate (quite delicious), should this be a new winter tradition? For the past 7 years I have been wishing for summer all winter and dreading winter all summer! But this year I feel that it is time to embrace winter with its good and bad, therefore, welcome winter traditions!

Do you have any winter traditions or memories? What about a tacky sweater party? Camping night in the living room? Winter cabin weekend? Bake and decorate cookies? Skiing weekend? Finding the perfect sledding spot? Candles only night with hot chocolate and marshmallows? Lantern and popcorn Christmas movie night? Wrap a gift for the teachers? Make a snow man together with all the right accessories? Create a pine craft? By Spring I will let you know how many of my winter dreams became memories...
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How cool is that? Bike Bells

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Luke is asking for a bell for his bike. When I showed him these three, he chose the ice cream, I wonder why...!
Hand-Painted Bike Bells
Sold here
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10 Sips for the Weekend: Shopping for Health

Friday, November 11, 2011

locally gathered goldenrod flowers infused in local MA honey
I have heard this past week, popping everywhere around me, enough sneezes and coughs to make me run to my health cabinet in search for anything health boosting. I guess sneezing season has started and as my kids got a mild cold this week, I was sent back to my primary career in life (before I had a real job like blogging...): registered nurse. That is what my diploma says, so I guess I better put all those years of study to work.

Two mornings this week I felt as I was the next one on the "cold's" black list and then after taking all sorts of bad tasting potions, I was back to health. I don't know for how long I will be able to trick this one into staying outside of my body, but I decided not to give up on this battle anytime soon.

So here are the 10 health sips that I am taking (not all yummy sips) to boost my health this sneezing season (I won't go into scientific reasons just because this blog is not a medical guide, and if you do follow any of these tips, be advised that you do on your own risk: I am writing as a blogger and not as your health professional. These tips are mainly for adults; for kids, safety and dosages change).

  1. Green tea: Two cups a day will keep the doctor away. If possible, choose the organic kind. 
  2. Probiotics: Put the little guys to work for you. Try to find ones that are of a good blend and with at least 5 billion CFU. I take first thing in the morning and wait about 20 minutes before eating (just enough time to get showered and dressed). Remember to keep the bottle refrigerated (if the instructions say so). My favorite probiotic
  3. Olive leaf extract: Found out about these magic drops this year and they seem to give the ultimate kick to keep the cold away. I use this one.
  4. Raw honey: If honey is good, raw honey is even better as it is unprocessed. If you can find a local one, even better, it may protect you also against allergies. Right now I am using one from this apiary.
  5. Propolis: A very sticky solution that you can drop on top of the honey in a spoon and swallow everything at once. I use a 70% solution.
  6. Multivitamins: I like to take one that resembles the way vitamins and minerals are found in foods: as synergistic compounds. Mine is pink, for girls only. 
  7. Vitamin D: After having my blood checked and finding out that my vitamin D levels were low, I started to take this supplement in the winter. I guess my tropical born body is still getting adjusted to the lack of sun (maybe I should ask the doctor to prescribe more vacations at tropical places instead; more fun than taking pills). I am getting a total of 3000 units, much more than the FDA  recommends, so discuss with your doctor the amount that would work for you.
  8. Iron: Ladies that are monthly reminded that they are ladies may have a problem with iron levels. My levels are just on the border so once in a while I take this easily absorbed supplement. Be aware that iron can be fatal if overdosed, specially for kids, so follow dosage and keep it away from the little one's reach. (and check with your healthcare professional to know about your iron levels).
  9. Sleep: No, this one they don't sell online, or send to you with free shipping. I think that this is the hardest of all to follow, specially if you have small kids that like to play the alarm clock joke every night.
  10. Blog: Did you know that journaling boosts your immune system (also called poetry therapy)? So go ahead, start a blog and share your words for good health.
Have a healthy and good weekend!
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Bubbles: a love story

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I grew up with showers. No bathtubs in the houses I lived. It was too hot to sit in warm water. But last year I fell in love with bathtime. Not with my kid's bath time, that is cute too, but I mean the mommy bath time. Do you ever get that: mommy soaking time? Time to fill the bathtub with lavender bubbles, sprinkled with healing salts, a candle flittering away Enya's voice? And the force within you blocking the to do list from popping up and just focusing in the warmth of the water knowing that outside the wind is fierce but in this mommy sanctuary you are safe and in peace?

Apparently I am not the only one around here falling in love with bath time. Luke decided that if it was up to him he would take 3 baths a day. And the bubbles, he just loves them, to the point of pouring half of the bubble mix, without me noticing, inside an already bubbly bathtub. Last week there he was, a few minutes after I  got him dressed up to go to school, naked in the bathroom ready for a bath.

And as things go, Mark is following his brother's steps running to the bathroom as soon as he hears the water running. He does not mind either when Luke pours water over his head. It seems as the bubbles are magically pulling all of us inside its slippery walls.

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How cool is that? Printable toys

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Internet is an ocean of ideas for the lazy crafty mom. With two sick kids in the house I decided to make new toys appear out of thin air. My resource? Free printables. Made by Joel is an oasis of fun printables and crafty ideas. The book on the back is a favorite in our house: A street through time. The road is an old coffee table painted with chalkboard paint.
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The future is not new: it is old

Sunday, November 6, 2011

There is a line of thought that keeps coming back to my head. It is a really hard concept to internalize. How do you explain that a modern world, where most people in this country spend a big chunk of their time in front of some kind of screen, is producing an Internet filled with blogs that are all about going back to the past?

One of the most popular apps for the I-Phone is to help make pictures look vintage! Think about it! Don't we always wait for the next most recent I-Phone? To look more vintage? Hard to rationalize!

Think about online magazines, for example, one of the most futuristic ways of reading, and yet most of them are bringing back the old, the natural, the simple life! Funny, isn't? I don't think it is a bad thing. But it is hard to understand. The future was suppose to look like the Jetsons. Not like families living in a farm, raising goats and chickens, eating whole foods and yet designing beautiful blogs.

So here are two examples. Two beautiful online magazines with so much nature and vintage that you almost think that you are reading a magazine from the consignment store.

Have you heard about Babiekins? It is like entering a child's fairy tale.

Have you heard about Kinfolk? Another magical world.
Picture via this website
So Sit, Read and Relax. Welcome to the new old world!

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10 Sips for the Weekend: Shopping for Boys

Friday, November 4, 2011

Picture via this shop
I can almost hear the bells ringing and that reminds me of one thing: the crazy holiday season is approaching and it is time to tight the belts and dive in before it is too late!  So lets start with boys' gifts (as they are usually harder to find). Here are 10 great boys' treasures made with love and no plastic! Enjoy!
  1. A is for art
  2. London in a bag?
  3. a soccer ball that won't crack your TV
  4. wish your child knew how to open tie a Windsor knot, open and close buttons, faster a D-ring belt, negotiate a clip and rip open a velcro? Wish no more.
  5. Bowling anyone?
  6. Fishing?
  7. Got a crafty one
  8. More of a farm boy?
  9. What about pirates?
  10. Or maybe just a cup of hot chocolate for bed time?
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We are the 99 percent

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

We are the 99 percent.
We are getting kicked by our kids.
We are forced to choose between sleep and shower.
We are denied privacy in the bathroom.
We are suffering from environmental noise.
We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, and we are working it all.
We are getting nothing while our kids are getting everything.
We are the 99 percent that love the 1 percent too much to protest!

Disclaimer: This blog is not about political statements, just motherhood statements. The above information is  for entertainment purpose only.
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Made with love or ordered with love?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The scene unfolds like this: Already stressed out mom, cranky kids, the clock that was stuck in time during playground time starts to speed up like crazy and there is no dinner in view. Mom runs the options through her head: pasta (already made yesterday), omelet (out of eggs), pizza (already ordered twice past weekend), chicken nuggets (husband will not be happy with the Mickey Mouse shape), what to do? What to do?

As she stuffs cheerios in the baby's mouth to keep some silence in the house and plugs the older kid on a video, she starts the race against time to transform the old ugly veggies or the ugly frozen ones, the canned something and the bottled something else into a mix that resembles dinner. As long as it is made with love, right? But do stressed out moms making dinner have time to love? Isn't it easier to order with love?

Of course the above scenario is completely fictional and all of us organized moms already know on November 1st what we will have for dinner on November 16th. And not only the main course, but the side dishes and the desert. And our kids don't even know what the word "take out" means!

So here is the end of the story above. Mom decides to organize her life (the other option would be to check in the psychiatric unit), plan meals before the week starts and shop for ingredients only once, cook lunch instead of dinner (while older kid is in school and baby is napping) so it CAN be made with LOVE and also PEACE! And husband doesn't mind reheated lunch for dinner, as it tastes better than last minute meals out of old canned ingredients!

And they lived happily ever after!

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