Looking Back…

It’s here.  Tonight is the night when we cheer and laugh, raise toasts, some will play games, some will attend parties, some may fall asleep long before the bells start to ring,  but either way it is the last day of 2012 and 2013 begins.

2012 has been a wonderful year, for me personally and for this little ol’ blog.  I wanted to do a little recap of some of my favorite posts and some of your favorite posts throughout the last year.

In January I shared this Splish Splash Baby Shower Gift Basket and interestingly enough it is one of the most popular gift baskets I have done to date.  I guess everyone loves the smell of a warm, clean baby as much as I do!

February was a busy month for us as we started packing up our stuff to move to a new apartment that was closer to Sam’s new job.  It also brought lots of little treat tags like the Hug & a Kiss Tags, Honey Bun Tags, and the Tweet Toppers.

March also brought one of the most popular gift baskets in the form of the Couch Potato for a day.

In April I was able to share some of the decorating I had finished in our new place and offered some tips on decorating your own bookcase.

In April I also shared what was to become my most popular post.  When I posted this simple, five ingredient recipe I had no idea it would quickly become the most viewed post on this blog, or that it would be so controversial.  Here’s a hint: If you have a thing against “cream of soups” than don’t read it and don’t send me nasty emails, mkay?  Thanks.

In May I did one of my favorite before and afters, and it is also one of the quickest and easiest as well!  The tray re-do might be a simple, little project but we use this tray almost every day and it makes me happy.  :)

In June Sam and I celebrated our 6th anniversary with a trip to New York and the Lion King on Broadway.  This guy right here.  I sure love him.

July brought in the Olympics which is one of my very favorite things!  We talked about hosting an Olympic activity and all that you need to get ready for the big event.

I also decorated my holiday shelf with some bright and fresh colors perfect for a seaside summer.

In August my blog took a big step forward when I moved from Blogger to WordPress and started off with an all new site design.  It’s been one of the best things I could have done for this business.

After the move we had some fun cooking up cakes in an orange, and getting ready for football season with a football kick-off kit.

We were busy in September working on different home projects like our DIY entryway bench that we made from mostly scrap wood.

I also made some pillows out of dish towels for the bench which was a cheap and easy project!

In October things got spooky and sparkly around here with some colorful Halloween decorations complete with spell books you can make yourself!

We got ready for Thanksgiving and all the upcoming holidays with some Party Planning 101

and I shared some fun printable placemats that you can use for your kids Thanksgiving table.

And December brought in lots of Christmas crafts like my Winter White wreath and lots of red and white decorations all around the home.

It has been a wonderful year and I cannot let it end without giving my heartfelt thanks to YOU, my readers.  I so appreciate you following along with me on my DIY-ing and crafting journey and for all the support you send.  I hope that each one of you has a safe, happy, and wonderful New Year!

January Visiting Teaching- LDS

The message for January is on Missionary Work and the entire message can be viewed here.  We are reminded that we don’t need a formal call to share the gospel with those around us.  “Others whose lives will be blessed by the gospel surround us, and as we prepare ourselves, the Lord will use us.”  You can download the PDF handout to take or mail to the ladies you visit teach.

January 2013 VT

Wishing you a “Sparkling” New Year

Did everyone have a very Merry Christmas?  I sure hope so!  Our Christmas was wonderful spent with Sam’s family and we are enjoying our little vacation with them.   I hope your week is going just as lovely.

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Can you believe that in just a few days time we will be ringing in 2013?  Time to say goodbye to 2012 and celebrate the good times to come.  These bottle toppers are a fun thing to add to a gift you are taking to a New Year’s Eve party, or an added little decoration for a party held at your own house.  Or run a bottle over to your neighbor or friend just to let them know you’re thinking of them.

So grab your favorite sparkling cider or whatever bubbly drink you’re going to use to ring in the new year and let’s celebrate!

These are really easy to make.  Just print out the PDF, cut out the topper and cut out the circle in the middle.  Fold along the line and place over the bottle.

Download the PDF.

Holiday Wassail

A couple of weeks ago our church had a Christmas Wreath Party for all the women in our church and their friends and neighbors.  It was a fun evening with a gorgeous musical program, yummy treats, beautiful decorations, and lots and lots of wreath making!  This was the 49th Wreath Party and it was a pretty big deal so I was really nervous when I was assigned to make the Wassail.  Our local congregation is all about their traditions and having Wassail is one of the favorites for some of them.  And I had never even tasted Wassail, let alone made it!  Thank goodness I was given a recipe that they have used for years and thank goodness it was fairly easy.

Fun fact: Wassail (pronounces Woss ail) means “be well or be whole” and is usually toasted to everyone’s good health.

To make this warm, sweet drink you need 1 gallon of apple cider, 1 quart of orange juice, 1 large 46 oz can of pineapple juice, 1 cup sugar, 6-10 whole cloves, and 2-3 cinnamon sticks.  Mix all the ingredients in a large pot and simmer for 30 minutes.  Do not boil.

Before serving strain out the cloves.

Download Printable Recipe

For our activity I had to make 150 servings and I also had to keep it warm over a long period of time so I made mine in crock-pots.  I placed several crock-pots on the table and “cooked” the drink for 2 hours.  It was warm and yummy and worked with the large quantities I needed.

Here’s a few snippets from the big night.  The smell of the fresh boughs was to die for.  This was my first time making a real wreath and while I need some practice it was fun.  I can’t wait to see what they pull together for the 50th next year!

Printable Initial Gift Tags

We’re finishing up some last minute packing and gift wrapping before we head out to be with the hubby’s family for Christmas and I was looking for something cute to put on top of the gifts.   Something that will also travel well and won’t get squished while the baggage handlers gently place our suitcases carefully in the cargo hold as they are known to do.

So I made some cute polka dot initial gift tags that look good and will also identity who the gift is for.  If some of your family members have the same first initial then you can use multiple tags to do all their initials or spell out the whole name.

For the bow I plucked off the tops of some dollar store carnations and glued them on.  I’m hoping they will be more crumple-resistant than regular bows. *fingers crossed*

I’ve made the entire alphabet in these red little tags and put them into two PDF files.  The first has the letters A-P and the second is Q-Z and some generic shapes.

Download them here:  Initials A-P and Q-Z+Shapes

Decorating with initials for gift tags can be lots of fun and there are a lot of great ideas out there.  Rebecca from Older and Wisor is hilarious and creative as always and has tons of initial gift tag examples here and here that I highly suggest you check out as well.

Is everybody ready for Christmas or have you waited until the last minute to get it all done?

 

Who brought the pair of old socks?

White elephant gift exchange parties are always lots of fun, and let’s be honest…they give us a good way to get rid of that junk we’ve been keeping in the back of our closet.  :)  I have come home from a party or two with a pair of old socks, crutches, and a hand painted Santa tray that someone’s second grader made.  So yeah… those were fun.  Someone was taking the under $10 limit VERY seriously.

There are a lot of different ways to do the actual exchange part and this is a fun twist you may have not tried before.  My family did this years ago and we had lots of fun with it.  Everyone starts out holding the gift they brought and then someone reads the following story.  As the story is read every time the word RIGHT is said you pass your gift to the RIGHT.  And the same with the word LEFT.   When the story is over the gift you are holding is the gift you get!

Story:

Christmas was almost here and Mother RIGHT was finishing the baking.  Father RIGHT, Sue RIGHT, and Billy RIGHT returned from their last minute errands. “There’s not much LEFT to be done,” Father RIGHT said as he came into the kitchen.  “I’m glad we finished all our shopping,” said Billy RIGHT.  “I don’t have any money LEFT.” The telephone rang and Susan RIGHT went to answer it.  She rushed RIGHT back and told the family, “Aunt Sarah RIGHT LEFT a package for us RIGHT on Grandma RIGHT’S front porch.  I’ll go over RIGHT now and get it.” she said as she LEFT in a rush. Father LEFT the kitchen as well and brought in the Christmas tree. By the time Susan RIGHT returned, Mother RIGHT, Father RIGHT, and Billy RIGHT had begun trimming the tree.  The entire RIGHT family sang carols as they finished the decorating.  Then they LEFT all the presents arranged under the tree and went to bed, hoping they had selected the RIGHT gifts for their family. Now I hope you have the RIGHT present for yourself, because that’s all that’s LEFT of our story…except to say Merry Christmas, isn’t that RIGHT?

If you’d like to print off the story for yourself you can download the PDF.

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