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Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

July 3rd, 2014 at 9:00 am

Why I Love the 4th of July

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The 4th of July has always been my favorite holiday. When I was a kid, I woke up early and sang songs like the Star Spangled Banner and This Land Is Your Land at the top of my lungs.  I would unroll the family flag and my sister and I would have a flag ceremony where we would march from the back door to the front flag stand. We would hang the flag and then say the pledge of allegiance.

Here are some of the reasons I love the 4th of July…..

  • the colors – red, white and blue
  • parades
  • patriotic music played by bands
  • kids waving flags
  • decorated bikes and strollers
  • pinnacle of summer
  • barbecuing
  • s’more brownies
  • fireworks
  • lawn games
  • special outfits  to show patriotism
  • my mom wears her flag pin
  • snow cones
  • family gathered together
  • water games
  • God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood

What are your favorite things about the 4th of July?

 

 

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June 26th, 2014 at 7:47 pm

4th of July Desserts

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Fourth of July fun is only a week away and chances are you’re thinking about what goodies to make for the occasion. Keep a BBQ simple with the standard staples like burgers, hot dogs and side salads, but make sure you WOW with the desserts! Red, white and blue, stars, sprinkles and more, there are tons of festive dessert recipes that are as lovely to look at as they are to eat. Check out these great 4th of July desserts…which one will you make this year?

Sparkler Cupcakes 

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American Flag Strawberry Shortcake

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Jell-O Firecrackers

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Spangled Ice Cream Sandwich Pops

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Stars and Fruit Bowl

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Inside American Flag Cake

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4th of July Trifle

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Strawberry Firecracker Cake Balls 

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Star Spangled Ice Cream Pie

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Red, White and Blue Tie Dye Cake

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June 9th, 2014 at 9:08 am

Handmade Father’s Day Cards

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Father’s Day is a great day for your kids to show everyone how much they appreciate what their Dad does for them.  A simple but special treat for Dad is a handmade card. Below are some examples of everything from printables to handprints, and even specially cut cards. Your little one will enjoy being creative, and Dad will love a card lovingly created by them.

Fishing Card

Footsteps Card

Daddy’s Little Monster Card

Collared Shirt Card

Dad Jokes Card

Fathers Day Letter

Printable Cards To Color

Fingerprint Monkey Card

Dad Typography Glasses

Grilling Card

Dollar Bill Father’s Day Card

Football Father’s Day Card

Father’s Day Coupon Book 

Another great option is a tie card. Fold a sheet of paper in half cut into the shape of a tie. Decorate that tie and have dad “wear” it for his special day.

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June 5th, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Unique Father’s Day Gifts From Etsy

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Father’s day is right around the corner, and my sisters and I were just discussing what we’re going to get our father this year. It seems that, over the years, it has gotten harder and harder to find gifts for our closest family members. Last month, Kim did a blog post about great mother’s day gifts from Etsy, so I decided to check it out. The great thing about this website is that there really is something for everyone…and you find tons of handmade and unique items you won’t find anywhere else. Here are my top 10 Father’s Day gift ideas from Etsy.

Dad and Baby Dinosaur Matching Tees from Zoey’s Attic

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Personalized Toiletry/Travel Bag from Designs By Daffy

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Custom Photo Keychain from Too Too Posh

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Personalized Leather Wallet and Money Clip Combo from My Personal Memories

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Charging Stand and Valet from Improve Results

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Personalized Grilling Apron Set from Monogram Envy Boutique

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Personalized “Daddy” Picture Frame from Custom Wood Engravings

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Father’s Day Hot Sauce Gift Set from In Nonna’s Kitchen

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Personalized Postcard Pillow from Olive Handmade

(Great for military dads!)

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Guinness Truffles and Dark Chocolate Covered Bacon from Champagne Chocolate

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May 22nd, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Memorial Day BBQ Planning

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Memorial Day Weekend is almost here! Usually the first big weekend for pools and BBQs, we’re following the tradition and inviting friends and family for a good old-fashioned cookout. BBQs can be pretty simple to plan with some burgers and hot dogs, but if you want to really make a splash, consider some of these ideas during preparation.

  • “Make Your Own” Stations - The best part about hamburgers and hot dogs is the many ways you can customize them to your taste. Consider setting up different stations. Grill chicken, sausage, hot dogs, and hamburgers as the base. Put out a variety of breads and toppers (different kinds of cheeses, sliced onions and tomatoes, pickles, sauerkraut, etc.) and all the condiments you can think of. Add a chalk board “menu” of ideas so your guests have some inspiration (see our recent hamburger post for some great recipes).  You can do this for drinks, desserts, etc. as well.
  • Signature Drinks – It’s easy to throw some beer, soft drinks, and bottled water into a tub of ice and call it a day, but you’ll wow your guests if you offer some delicious and refreshing mixes. Some ideas: A sangria with fresh fruit, a lemonade/iced tea mix, a fruit punch, etc. Walmart has a great drink dispenser with an ice core, so your guests can help themselves.
  • A Fun Music Playlist – There’s nothing like a good playlist to get a party going! Consider fun, upbeat classics and top 40 that guests of all ages can enjoy. Try searching for some summer playlists online if you don’t know where to start, or ask your friends what some of their favorites are!
  • Lawn/Outdoor Games – We don’t have a pool, so we’re planning on setting up a few games to pass the time. Bocce ball, badminton, horseshoes, beanbag toss, and frisbee are some great choices. For kids, a slip and slide or water balloons can provide hours of fun!

Do you have anything special planned for your Memorial Day BBQ? Share your ideas with us on our Facebook page!

Photo Credit: “Burger Bar” - http://www.lovethispic.com/image/14660/burger-bar

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May 8th, 2014 at 11:10 am

Mother’s Day Experiences

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As we get older, it becomes increasingly harder to choose gifts for our parents (or for our own children and significant others to choose gifts for us!). Earlier this week we talked about some unique, handmade gifts for Mother’s Day from Etsy, but sometimes it’s nice to offer a fun or new experience instead of an item. Here are some ideas for experiences you can give your mom (or your children can give you) this Mother’s Day.

  • Homemade Lunch at the Park – Check out some gourmet-style recipes for things like pasta salad and sandwiches, pack a yummy picnic, a blanket and some portable games and treat your mother to lunch in a nice outdoor setting. She’ll appreciate the time you spent preparing, as well as the time she can spend with you!
  • Day at the Spa – Everyone likes a day of relaxation. You can take her for a day at the spa or nail salon, or save money by doing the treatments yourself! It doesn’t have to be professional to be enjoyed…offer a nice manicure/pedicure with massage, or if you’re feeling ambitious, research how to give a good DIY facial or body treatment.
  • Daycation – No matter where you live, there are usually a few nice places to spend a full day that are within a few hours of travel. Plan out a day of fun, whether it be shopping and a special restaurant, a tourist attraction you know she’d love to see, etc. Consider botanical gardens, beaches, zoos, aquariums, museums, etc., and work around that to create a full day of quality time with her.
  • Tasting Menu – You likely know what type of foods and beverages your mother likes best. Treat her to a unique tasting by offering 3 or 4 mini-portioned variations of her favorite things. Include a drink menu, appetizer menu, main course menu and dessert menu. It sounds like a lot of work but it will excite her to try different things. You can always pay for tastings at wineries, breweries and restaurants if you don’t want to make them yourself.
  • Weekend Getaway – Thanks to deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, weekend getaways are more affordable than ever and often come as packages with activities, meals, or credits. There’s something for everyone and it’s nice to treat yourself too!

What experience would YOU love to get for Mother’s Day?

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May 5th, 2014 at 7:51 am

Mother’s Day Shopping on Etsy

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I love when my family gives me unique gifts for Mother’s Day. Whether it be a handmade item that my boys made or a handpicked item someone else made, it always holds a special place in my heart. I love Etsy because you can buy things that are unique, and it has that craft fair or boutique shopping feel, as well as TONS of items to choose from!

I also love to pick some favorite things that my husband can help the boys purchase for Mother’s Day, my birthday, Christmas or just because! I keep an Etsy “wish list” that has lots of great gift ideas from artisans all over the world.

Handmade, Hand-Stamped Necklace with Children’s Names

Family Tree Necklace with Birthstones

Infinity Ring

Hand-Stamped Birthstone Necklace

Mom Wood Sign

Mom’s Garden Flagstone

Soccer Mom T-shirt

Here are some great gifts for your own mom:

Custom Map Print

Wood Block Sign

Magnetic Picture Board

Looking for something else? Be sure to check out the Etsy Mother’s Day collection. Share some of your favorite Etsy items in the comments and on our Facebook wall!

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May 1st, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Cinco de Mayo Recipes

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Cinco de Mayo is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and the United States, in remembrance of Mexico’s victory over the French army in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862. The holiday is rich in Mexican heritage that everyone can appreciate, including delicious traditional dishes! Whether you’re looking for something authentic and true to the culture, or you want something more Americanized, check out these great dishes to try for Cinco de Mayo!

Pork or Beef Tamales

Chalupas Poblanas

Chicken in Mole – Puebla Style

Chiles en Nogada

Enchiladas Verdes

Enchiladas Suizas

Spicy Chicken Empanadas

Carne Asada Tacos

Churros

Tres Leches 

 

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April 18th, 2014 at 10:20 am

Making Hard Boiled Eggs for Easter Egg Decorating

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My boys’ favorite part of Easter, next to looking for their Easter baskets, is dyeing eggs. Every year we make five dozen hard boiled eggs to paint, dye, color, and shrink-wrap. The hardest part of this is learning how to effectively hard boil eggs. Here is my method:

Tip: Eggs that are several days old are easier to peel.

1. Lay the eggs in a single layer in a pan covered by at least and inch or two of cold water, which will help with cracking. Turn the heat up to high to bring the eggs to a boil.

2. Once the water starts to boil, remove the pan from the heat. Reduce the heat to low and return pan to burner. Let simmer for one minute. If you miss the eggs starting to boil then you can skip this step because they have most likely already boiled for a short while.

3. When a minute has passed, remove the pan from the heat, place a cover on top and let sit for 12 minutes. Remove the eggs and place in a bowl of ice water until the eggs are cooled. Strain the water and store the eggs in a covered container. Hard boiled eggs last about 5 days in the refrigerator.

Once the eggs are made you can use various methods to dye them. There are many different egg decorating kits available at stores that are easy to use. Last year, I covered a slew of ways to decorate your eggs. I made the egg in the picture simply by dyeing it yellow and using sharpies to make it into a chick. See what fun you can have with your eggs?

How do you like to decorate your Easter Eggs?

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April 17th, 2014 at 9:22 am

Easter Bunny Visit

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Easter morning is almost here and the kids are so excited! On Christmas morning there are presents under the tree, stockings have been filled, and cookies have been eaten. But, if the Easter Bunny hides all the presents, how do they know that he or she has arrived?

When I was younger, all the empty candy dishes on the dining room table were magically overflowing with treats. My mom had a huge sweet tooth, so it wasn’t a problem having all that candy around our home. I am not a huge candy fan, so I came up with alternatives. At our house, the Easter Bunny leaves two empty buckets with a note of how many eggs to find. You can also leave some carrots on a plate and in the morning, the kids will wake up to see the Easter bunny has taken a bite!

Here are some other fun traditions for you to consider:
Easter Bunny leaves paw prints
Easter Bunny decorates breakfast table
Easter Bunny forgets to flush
Easter Bunny colors your milk
Easter Bunny dyes your breakfast eggs
Easter Bunny leaves a message
How will your kids know that the Easter Bunny has visited?
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