Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Last week we made Opal's Christmas Tree Ornament.  This week we're having fun making some for Sapphire and Pearl.

Wanna see how we made them?

I bought some miniature clothes pin dolls at the $ store.  I also purchased some clear plastic jewelery cord.  Tie or glue the plastic cord to the doll's head and lower inside the clear glass or plastic ornament.  I also added a few curled ribbons to the bottom.  It's so cute, very inexpensive and I triple dog dare you to name a girl who wouldn't love to receive this ornament.
The total project cost me $5 and I was able to make 8 ornaments.  How is that for a great deal?
What a great gift to give a teacher, friend, godchild, niece or anyone else you can think of. 

 Have a great day everyone!  I'm off to witness Sapphire's 1st reconciliation (first confession).  Yikes, wonder what she'll confess to! 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Did you miss me?  I've definitely missed all of you!  {Group Hug}

Wanna see what I've been up to?  It's what I call, Making Memories! Genuine, tug on your heart strings, memories.  Investing in my family!
It doesn't take a fancy trip or lots of money.  All you need is TIME!  Something your children crave from you!  I guarantee, it will bring more happiness to your children, then any toy you'll ever purchase.    

Have you spent quality time with your family recently?  What activities would you want to place in a time capsule?  Although it wasn't Thanksgiving this past weekend in Canada, I made certain I was thankful for EVERYTHING I have!  Especially my family!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What do you do with your kid's letter to Santa?

Did you know that the history of letters to Santa Claus can be traced back to the 1200s, when children would write letters to the real St. Nicholas?{thanks wikipedia}

Here's today's community question:

What do you do with your kid's letter(s) to Santa? 

I decided a couple years ago, when my children started writing their own letters, that I wanted keep them.  They're pretty much priceless, don't ya think?  Really they hold as much importance for me, as does a lost tooth.  I guess some how they represent my kid's innocence.  I decided the best place to store these artifacts would be in the frame of their annual picture with Santa.

Here's Sapphire's letter.  Actually, this is draft # 6.  She's revised and recopied her letter at least 6 times already this year and it's not even December.  I stashed one of the copies and she'll mail her final copy to Santa.  

Dear Santu,
i wont a 
cat toy
barbe doll
zu zu pet carage
i have been realy good gurl 

My poor spell checker is quite frustrated with me for not fixing Sapphire's spelling mistakes. Her whole list has red zig zag lines beneath it but I'm going to ignore it because I love how she wrote it.   

So what do you do with the letters?  Send them in the mail, file them in the recycling bin, stash them with the decorations, soak up the spilled cereal milk, line the kitty litter box? 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Highlighted cookie of the week. Peanut Butter Cup Cookie

Unfortunately, I had to pass on the cookie exchange that I was invited to this year.
Wanna know what I would have brought with me?  A Santa sack full of these.

Peanut Butter Cup cookies!!!!! 

BTW-Bet ya didn't know the Cookie Monster and me have many similar attributes!
No joke!  We're both carb-craving, delightful characters who erupt into tears when confronted with the horror of an empty cookie jar.  Mmmmmm!  I can't think of anything more satisfying then a chewy cookie and a cold glass of milk!

Here is the recipe snatched from Priscilla Bakes.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Jiff® Creamy Peanut Butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 package (13 ounces) miniature peanut butter cups
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon creamy Jif® Peanut Butter
2 tablespoons shortening

In a large bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle. Roll into 1-1/4-in. balls. Press a miniature peanut butter cup into each; reshape balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. For drizzle, in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Yield: about 3 dozen.

Here's a thought!  When you dive into your "Christmas Wrapping Marathon" why not have a few of these on hand, to give you an energy boost?


Monday, November 22, 2010

Two more christmas crafts to make with the kids

F.Y.I. to all  3 Jewels readers~ The holidays have taken over this blog!  I'm seriously trying to post on other subject matter but I quickly find myself reverting back to holiday crafts, food and decor.  My brain is full of great ideas and I can't seem to pump them out fast enough.  I promise to present other blogging material just as soon as all the gingerbread cookies have been baked, the tree has been trimmed and the gifts have been packaged.  In the mean time, if you're feeling "grinch"~ish then be sure to check out any of my past posts via the link within widget or my sidebar.  Why not?  You're already here so you might as well stay awhile!         

Yesterday we capped off a great weekend with a trip to our local Santa Clause parade.  There really are no words to describe the magic you feel when you stare into the eyes of a child who still "believes".
This picture makes me wonder how much longer Sapphire will BELIEVE.  

Today we busied ourselves with a couple Christmas crafts.

Opal was home with me today, so I had to be sure that the crafts we made were geared around a little boy's interests.  

We started by making a helicopter Christmas tree ornament

Step 1  Gather a clear plastic tree ornament, pom poms, popsicle sticks, ribbon and glue gun
Step 2  Glue popsicle sticks to tree ornament
Step 3  Fill with pom poms and attach ribbon to hang it with

Next we decided to dress up like RUDOLPH the reindeer.

Opal loved that his nose could light up like Rudolph's nose.  To make this nose, we painted an egg carton brown and added gold glitter.  We poked a hole in the center and inserted a battery powered tea light.  Next we attached some pipe cleaners so that we could wrap it around to the back of his head.  Finally, we attached some brown pipe cleaners to a headband to create antlers.  Fairly effortless and it created lots of fun for the afternoon

Hope you all had a great weekend and a nice start to the week.  Hope to see ya back here tommorow!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Trade up your holiday crystal candy bowl for this cute alternative

There's just something warm and welcoming about seeing candy displayed, for guests to indulge themselves,  during the holidays.  Somehow it reminds me of my "younger years".  I distinctly remember sneaking candies from the beloved crystal candy dish, that sat upon the dining room table at my grandparents house.  I think every grandparent has a crystal candy dish, strategically placed somewhere in their house.   Just like every grandmother has a bag of scotch mints hiding in her purse. 
There's nothing wrong with a traditional crystal candy dish.  In fact, I have several in my china cabinet.  I just think that sometimes it's nice to mix things up.  Put a little spin on a traditional item like the crystal candy dish.  


Here's a cute alternative~Why not use your cookie cutters to display your candy?

 Simple, sleek and inviting!

What about 3 silicone baking cups displayed side by side on a white platter?

By the time I got to this shot the candies were getting a little sparse!
What can I say, my creativity is fueled by chocolate!  

And of course, the nurse in me wants to remind you to put a cute serving spoon next to your candy display. 
It's never fun getting sick over the holidays because of a party you attended. 

I hope you consider getting a little creative with your holiday traditions this year. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Make some motivational posters to motivate your kids!

Do you ever feel like you repeat yourself over and over and over again?  Sometimes I feel like I harp on my kids about the same silly things on a daily basis.   That's why I decided to make motivational posters to remind them of what behaviors are acceptable in our house.  (I also needed an excuse to try out my new SLR Canon Rebel T2i)

{Of course I had to eat every last cookie and drink the glass of milk, after the photo shoot had ended}

You'll make much more of an impact if you use props from around the house to get your point across.  I snapped a few pics then processed them on the Big Huge Labs website.

  What other things have you done to motivate your kids lately?   
I'm abusing the "Santa Threat" for the next 37 days!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What's for dessert tonight? Snowpeople of course!

Why not surprise your gang tonight by serving up these snow people for dessert?  They're super easy and totally adorable.

I made a kabob out of three powdered sugar timbits. {For my friends south of the border~Timbits are donut holes}  I added a orange Mike and Ike candy for the nose and black frosting for the eyes, smile and buttons. 

I had a great time making them and my kids had a blast eating them.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Parenting tip #25~ Shiny, pretty, expensive Christmas decorations are sure to attract tiny fingers.  That's why I've decided to put away my most precious heirlooms for a couple of years.  I've quickly realized that this "curiosity stage" will soon pass and that I'll be able to enjoy the finer things in life once again.  You may be thinking to yourself, "Why not teach them not to touch your things?"  My answer~ Pick your battles.  There are countless other situations that cause me stress and concern that don't involve trying to protect my "lovelies", all the while exhausting the words "no touch". 
The good news is that you don't have to sacrifice holiday decorating on account of your kids.

Check out these beautiful sparkly Christmas cones I made.  Yep, they're completely child proof.
Wait...retract that last statement!  Nothing in this world is completely child proof.  My children are evidence of this.  Anyway, you get my point! 

I used some glittery craft foam and card stock then adorned them with
pretty stickers. 

These will be added to my Christmas 2010 Lovelies collection

Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope this craft idea inspired you to make something!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

How to make a Jingle Bell Christmas Wreath

Well, after a long week at work, I'm back doing what I love~spending time with you and crafting!

Today we started crafting this year's Christmas decorations.
Check out this beautiful Jingle Bell Wreath that we made.

I saw a similar wreath at Michaels craft store recently.  I fell in love with it instantly but I hated the thought of spending $29.99 on it.  That's when I decided to make my own.
I purchased my supplies (from the same store) and in the end it only cost me 1/3 of the original selling price to make it myself.  {I'll do the math for you so you don't have to think ~ it only cost $10 to make!!}
I'm totally loving beautiful things that don't cost a lot of money. 

Here is my step by step tutorial so that you can get started making your own.

Gather your jingle bells and wire

 {We started with this garden wire ring but I couldn't bend it once I had the bells strung on it, so I switched to a more pliable wire that I found in hubby's garage}

String your bells on the wire or better yet, enlist the help of your kids for this part

Twist the ends together then adorn with ribbon and your decoration of choice.  I chose a pretty white butterfly and a pink ribbon bow.  I used my glue gun to adhere the decoration.

Once again, here's my wreath after I completed it

This was such an easy project that I'm thinking of making several more to give away as Christmas gifts.  
Have you considered making handmade gifts for Christmas?  

Monday, November 8, 2010

Last minute handmade gift idea

Here is a simple, yet elegant, gift to make for someone dear to you.


This week I had to purchase several gift cards for some dear friends of mine.  Gift cards can be a very practical gift to give, however, they can be received as somewhat impersonal.  
I wanted to add a little personality to the gift cards, without having to spend anything extra.
I decided to make these cute "inspirational stones".  
With each gift card, I included several stones, that represented the receiver.  For instance, one friend received some stones that said, "nourish" "make" "cook" "love"~ This friend has a deep passion for cuisine.   
These stones can be given to practically anyone.  Teachers, new moms, friends, neighbors etc.
They are extremely simple to make and cost next to nothing.  In fact, Sapphire (my 7 year old) did most of the work. 

The glass pebbles cost me $1.99 for about 100.  Here is the printable pdf file I used. 
I cut out the words and Sapphire glued them to the back of the pebble.  We finished them with a coat of modge podge.


Is it not amazing how you can describe someone in as little as 5 words?  
If I were to make stones for you, what words would you pick to describe yourself?

Planning a holiday party?

Good morning everyone,
Hope you're all having a great start to the week. 
Well, Christmas is on the horizon which means I've had to pick up a few extra shifts at work {actually I'm working full-time for the next three weeks}
 I'll admit to going somewhat overboard at Christmas.  What can I say, I LOVE TO SHOP.  Unfortunately, to spend it you have to make it!
What I'm trying to say is, I'll be pretty busy for the next couple of weeks so I've scheduled several guest bloggers to help me out in the interm.
I'm always very excited to see what fresh new ides a guest blogger has to offer.   

Speaking of Christmas, Jen B is here to help us plan our holiday party(s). 

Planning a holiday party?

No matter your theme, location or number of people- everyone loves to get together during the holiday season for beverages and munchies!

The task may seem daunting, but the good news is, there are tons of resources out there.  Remember to PLAN EARLY and pick a date.  The holidays are already very busy with work parties and childrens’ stuff.

Martha Stewart (I love her), has a great party planning checklist. Just print it out, and follow the directions! I am going to use her checklist as a guideline to give you some ideas and resources:

Party-Planning Guide

1 Month Before:

□ Choose the type of party you want to host.

□ Set the date.

□ Prepare your guest list.  Decide if it will be "adults only" or family-oriented. Make sure this is clear in your invitation.

□ Mail or e-mail invitations, or call guests to invite them.   Check out Evite for a great paperless alternative to traditional invitations.
Or, a budget friendly option is to print your invite on fancy paper from the dollar store.

3 Weeks Before:

□ Choose the menu; organize recipes for easy reference. Check out great recipes sites like the Kraft Site or All Recipes.  They even have holiday sections.

□ Create a time line for preparing your chosen recipes. Figure out what will take longest, what you can make ahead, and what appliances you will need.

□ Read through recipes and make lists of the ingredients you need to buy. Stock up on pantry items, such as sugar, flour and other non-perishables.

□ Try out any new recipes you want to troubleshoot.

□ Prepare any items that can be frozen.

□ Arrange to borrow, rent, or buy serving pieces and other items that you might need, such as platters, glasses, flatware or table linens.

□ Hire a bartender if desired. Or just volunteer your partner.

2 Weeks Before:

□ Purchase wine and liquor, and arrange to have cases delivered to your home. We don’t have delivery, so again, you may have to volunteer your partner.

□ If you’re throwing a potluck, or if friends have offered to bring something, let guests know what to make.

□ Set the table, as a trial run, to make sure you have all the dishes and serving utensils you’ll need.

1 Week Before:

□ Call or e-mail guests who have not yet RSVP’d.  Also, it's a good idea to  follow up with guests who have offered to bring a dish.

□ Make space in the refrigerator or freezer so you’ll have room to store groceries.

□ Prepare recipes that keep well up to a week.

4 Days Before:

□ Purchase all remaining non-perishables.

2 Days Before:

□ Wash serving pieces, plates, flatware, and glasses, and polish if necessary.

□ If using cloth napkins or tablecloths, iron them.

□ Place frozen food in the refrigerator to defrost overnight.

1 Day Before:

□ Purchase any perishables, such as salad greens, fresh bread, and seafood.

□ Pick up fresh flowers {or have them delivered}.

□ Assemble any foods that can be made in advance.

□ Wash and prepare salad greens and other vegetables, and blanch vegetables for crudites (keep these wrapped in paper towels). Refrigerate all separately, in airtight containers.

4 to 7 Hours Before:

□ Set up the bar, if it isn’t already done.

□ Place flower arrangements. Poinsettias are great because they are relatively inexpensive and and take up alot of space. Also try something new, like a bowl full of water and floating cranberries.

4 to 5 Hours Before:

□ Chill white wine and sparkling wine.

Up to 1 Hour Before:

□ Finish preparing food.

Thank you Martha! Just awesome- she forgot to say, get yourself ready (and your husband and kids) before people start arriving.

Remember to have fun, relax and enjoy some social time with friends and family!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A craft activity to help your kids understand the meaning of Remembrance Day

As veterans day approaches, there is no better time to teach your kids about heroism and bravery.
Today I asked Opal what Remembrance Day means.  His response, "You wear a Poppy to help you remember things.  Like, buckle your seat belt and brush your teeth."  Very cute response, but of course I followed it up with a proper explanation of why we celebrate Remembrance day.  
Our conversation ended but I still felt as though I needed to offer him a tangible way of understanding "Bravery".  Fortunately, today I had the perfect opportunity to do just that.  We just so happened to have had a Dr.'s appointment booked today.  Opal was scheduled to get his 4-6 year needles.
I made sure to recognize his fears as well as honor his bravery.

                                  Of course I made sure he wore his Superman shirt to get his needles

 After supper tonight we had an award ceremony!  Opal was awarded this "Medal Of Bravery" for getting his needle today.  This activity is a wonderful way to discuss with your children their concerns and fears.
It also gives them a concrete way of understanding why we celebrate Remembrance Day
                       ~To honor those who so bravely risked their lives to protect us~

In case you're wondering, I found the printable bravery medal pdf here


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Five Solutions On How To Handle Leftover Halloween Candy

OK, so now that you and your little goblins have devoured your fair share of Halloween candy,  you may be wondering how you should handle the leftovers. {There are leftovers, right?}  

Today I'm going to share Five Solutions On How To Handle Leftover Halloween Candy

 1. Embrace your evilness (this is Halloween after all) by hauling your kids' stash of candy into your workplace, extorting it on coworkers who don't necessarily need it.
2.  I felt slightly guilty about my last suggestion so I'll follow it up with this one!  Donate your candy to the Candy-For-Cash program or the Halloween Candy Buy Back initiative.  The Candy For Cash program was started by Calgary dentist, Dr. Kindal Robertson, three years ago.  The dental center will give your children $1 per pound of candy donated.  Last year, almost 900 pounds of candy was brought into his office.  "Kids are actually enthusiastic to give away their candy for money", said Robertson.  Unfortunately, they chuck the candy unlike the Halloween Candy Buy Back initiative who donates the candy to troops who are deployed overseas.    The Halloween Candy Buy Back also offers children $1/pound.  You could also encourage your dentist to register for these programs if they haven't done so already.  Opal and Sapphire participate in their school's "hard candy drive" that puts together shoe boxes filled with treats.  Their school sends these boxes to the fortunate kids living in third world nations.
3.  Do you have a cookie exchange on the horizon?  Want to experiment with a new recipe that involves mini chocolate bars?  I suggest you visit a website called The Recipe Goldmine
4.  Encourage your kids to empty the candy into a airtight container that can be used for decorating gingerbread houses next month.
5.  Finally, it would be totally immoral to get rid of all the candy they worked so hard for, so why not ration some of it.   You can mix it into healthier snacks such as popcorn and raisins.  Use it as rewards.  Make a Thanksgiving or Christmas pinata and fill it with the leftovers.  Mold the chewy taffy, tooth decaying, candy into creations.  Make jewelry out of it {candy necklaces or rings).  Make Christmas tree decorations (OK, this idea calls for a separate blog post-stay tuned).  I think you get my point so I'll stop!  There are hundreds of ideas and I want to hear yours.  Let me know what you plan on doing with all your kids' leftover candy!

Our snack for tonight!  

Combine popcorn, raisins or dried cranberries, smarties, crackers, hemp hearts.  You could also combine nuts and granola/organic granola bites for a high fiber/protein snack.  This is a healthy alternative without making your kids you feel deprived (let's be honest, we're just as concerned about our ability to resist the candy)
BTW- This would be a great time of year to make this craft with your little ones!