Monday, December 19, 2011

Trail of Lights

The town we live in has a small natural science center and wildlife sanctuary.  We became members there about a year ago, and have enjoyed trips to visit the exhibits and walk the trails.  This weekend is their annual trail of lights event, where they line the trail with red and white Christmas lights, as well as some trees and the animatronic dinosaurs that are currently on display.  We decided to check it out, working to make great holiday memories with our family.  We enjoyed the evening out, spending time among people who are in the Christmas spirit is always fun!  The weather was perfect, in the 50s so it was just cool enough to warrant a coat, but not so cold that we didn't enjoy being outside.  We walked the trail while snacking on popcorn, then stopped for a while to drink some hot cocoa and listen to the community band play Christmas carols.

After our stroll along the trail, we picked up a pizza and drove around to look at lights.  Eating pizza while light-seeing might be a new tradition!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

One lump or two?

Last week, our American Girl Club had a tea party in one of the historic homes in the little historic village downtown.  We are currently studying Samantha, a doll whose story is based in the Victorian era.  The house was all decked out for Christmas, and the girls wore their tea party attire.  It was really cute to see everyone dressed up and enjoying a special activity.

Our hostess presented a brief lesson on tea time & etiquette, and the girls enjoyed fruit, tea sandwiches, and cupcakes.  After tea, they had the opportunity to walk upstairs and see the bedrooms and a replicated pharmacy.  They also looked at a display filled with timeless toys.  Everyone seemed to have a great time, my two tea partygoers loved it!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Coffee, please!

Several months ago we ditched our traditional coffee maker and purchased a Keurig.  I cleaned out the cupboard that housed the coffeemaker and found a HUGE supply of coffee filters.  I didn't get rid of them, I knew there were many crafts to create with those filters.

One of our favorites is the tie-dye coffee filters.  We have made Valentine's hearts using shades of red and purple, Easter eggs using pastel markers, and countless other shapes and creations.

Today, I was looking for something to decorate the section of the fireplace that would normally be covered by stockings.  We have adorable stockings and adorable stocking hangers, but we don't match them together until we go to bed on Christmas eve.  (A couple years back, my nephew pulled his stocking down to look at it and the metal hanger fell, clonked him on the forehead, and landed him at the ER meeting up with a plastic surgeon.  We're hoping to avoid a copycat situation.)

I'm accustomed to seeing decor flanking the entire fireplace, mantle and hearth.  That's the way I roll.  It feels cozy and exudes Christmas cheer.  I called my crafty elves to the kitchen, handed them red and green inking tools, coffee filters and a spray bottle.

And they created this...and we love it!

While they worked on these, I tested a similar project that we're saving for next month.  Can't wait!

Sunny days...

After two days of rain and clouds, we didn't care how chilly it was...we were ready to soak up the sun!!! With the temperature at a balmy 52 degrees, we headed to the park. Our first choice park (because it's 2 minutes away) was water logged, and we decided it would be too difficult to avoid the massive mud puddles. Instead, we headed to our neighborhood school playground. The girls had fun burning energy, and I danced around in the sun trying to stay warm. :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A party inspired by Winter...but not the season

This year, Punky & Belle had bookend birthdays, on either side of a busy weekend.  We discussed having one big party, but since they're six years apart it was kind of difficult to plan something that would fit both of their preferences.

Belle started out her party planning with a camping theme.  We were going to meet at a local park/campground, play games, eat camping food, and then stay overnight with families who also enjoy camping.  That theme went away as soon as she saw the movie "Dolphin Tale" twice in one weekend. She was in love, and wanted a dolphin themed party.  Off I went to Pinterest.  There wasn't as much information there as I'd hoped, so we broadened our search to include "under the sea" and "ocean" themed parties.  I also called in my trusty co-planner, my hubby.  He is good at coming up with clever food names.  Belle has always wanted a swimming party, so we reserved party space at the local indoor pool...good thing because it was really rainy and COLD on party day.  

Everyone had a great time, and after most of her friends had departed, we let Belle and Sunshine climb the rock wall.  They love doing this, and it is so great for them.  They got lots of exercise and gained a lot of confidence, too!

And I am SO glad the weekend went off without a hitch!