Friday, December 23, 2011

Fa-La-La Favorites!

Wow! I can't believe that it is almost Christmas! Where has December gone?

Remember the Photo Trash Cans that I posted about last time? They were a hit. A huge hit. My friends loved them. Now I'm excited to do more things like that (tabletop? memory box? shelf?).

I decided that for this Fa La-La Friday post, I would share some of my holiday favorites with you (including a recipe and a craft idea... keep reading!). This is what my family likes to do each and every year. What are some of your favorites?

Favorite Cookie
Peanut Butter Kisses- these couldn't be easier. Start out by making some peanut butter cookies. You can use the store bought roll of dough or make your own family recipe. Up to you. Then while they're in the oven, start unwrapping Hershey Kiss candies. You won't have time to unwrap later, so do it now! Once the cookies come out of the oven, imediately (as in, before they even come off of the baking sheet) pop a Kiss onto each cookie. Let cool as usual. Enjoy!

Favorite Movie
There are a lot of good holiday movies out there. But my all time favorite is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I love the Christmas Spirit that just oozes from every second of the movie. I love the fuzzy green guy. But most of all, I love the message. "Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more".

Favorite Song
The Christmas Shoes, by Newsong. Mostly because it is just a beautiful (and tearjerking) song. But also because when I was younger (10-12ish), my three best friends and our mamas went to like 3 (maybe more) Newsong concerts. They played this song at every one. Even the one that was in the middle of July. Those concerts gave us girls some amazing memories. Here's a link if you haven't heard it. Warning: Have a tissue!!

Favorite Decoration
Our tree. It's a special tree. My grandma bought it and had it for several years before giving it to us. It was at our old house and we still have it at our current house. It's not like other trees. It's fuller than most trees you see these days. Like really, really, really, really full. It's the fattest, fullest tree I've ever seen. And I love it. It has plenty of room for all of our ornaments. They're all pretty special, themeselves. I love getting the boxes out each year and looking at the ornaments again and remembering all of the special memories that each one has. My mom's favorite is the handprint reindeer that I made in preschool. Wanna make one with your kids? It's simple! Just paint their hand brown and have them make a handprint on paper. Add googly eyes and a construction paper nose. The fingers are the antlers. Make sure to date it! We also have a ton of Hallmark ornaments. My grandma buys each of us a new one every year. Last year, she got me a kitty cat themed one since it was Bella's first Christmas. I love it! But not nearly as much as I love our special, special tree.

Well, friends, that's all for now. I hope that you have a great CHRISTmas weekend!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fa-La-La Friday (Err, Tuesday)

I am a few several days late on my Fa-La-La Fridays post. That is because when it was actually Friday, I was working on the oh-so-cute craft project that is mentioned in this post. I'm sorry for the delay.

My three best friends and I exchange gifts every year, and this year we decided to do homemade gifts. Yay! I love crafting. My most favorite type of crafting is quilting, but I really didn't have time to crank out three quilts in a matter of a week. So I came up with this fun idea: Photo Trash Cans! They couldn't be simpler to do. Each one took about an hour to make, and I actually had fun doing it.

First, get your supplies ready. You'll need a trash can without a design (I used clear), scissors, Mod Podge, sponge brushes, ribbon and LOTS of pictures. The cat is optional.

Start trimming your first picture to your liking. I found it to be better to trim the pictures one at a time, rather than all at once. That way, you'll be sure that they all fit well. You can get really creative with this part. For some of the pictures, I just cut squares or rectangles. For others, I cut sillouhettes around the subjects. Once your first picture is ready, spread Mod Podge generously on the back with the sponge brush.

Then, stick it wherever you like on your trash can. It's definitely easier to start at either the top or bottom, rather than the middle. Make sure you hold it down for a bit and squish out any air bubbles. The corners of the picture will try to pop up, with the trash can being so round and all, but if you hold it down for a bit, it will stay. Promise!

Add another picture, then some more!

Once your trash can is completely covered with pictures, go over the entire thing with a top coat of Mod Podge. Then, once that's started to dry (but is still a little bit wet), add a ribbon to the top. The still-drying Mod Podge will help it stick. I had trouble getting it to stay in place at first, but like with the pictures, it will stay down if you hold it for a minute or two. I folded the ribbon down over the lip of the trash can so that part of it is on the inside, but you certainly don't have to do it that way. You can put it all on the outside if you like. Your choice!

And that's it! Let your trash can dry completely, and then watch your friends' faces light up! My mom even suggested writing "Our memories can never be thrown away" on the card, which I find to be completely adorable. I encourage you to get really creative with this project, and think of some other things besides trash cans that you could do this on. I have also considered doing the top of a small white end-table I have in my apartment. I'll post pictures if I ever actually do it. Here's what the trash cans looked like when they were completely done:

Thanks for reading, and I hope that you have a special friend that you can make this fun keepsake for. Let me know what you think!

PS: For old time's sake, here is a picture of my best friends and I, one of many featured on the cans. Bonus points if you can figure out which one is me!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fa-La-La Fridays!

Hi, Friends!
I love Christmas. It is my absolute most favorite time of the year! So, I decided to do something fun on my blog to celebrate! It's a new series called Fa-La-La Fridays. Every Friday from now until the end of the year, I will share some of my favorite Christmas traditions, recipes, gift ideas, songs and more! I guess it will kind of be like the Super Summer Saturdays series that I had going all summer, but it will be cooler because it's Christmas!

Today I'll share one of my favorite traditions with you.

You may remember reading about my little cousins and the fun times we had together when my college hosted Sibs' Weekend last February. You may have realized that I really, really like doing fun things with these two cute little girls pre teens. Our most favorite thing to do together is our annual Christmas party.

We started this when they were quite small. It started as just an afternoon spent together making Christmas cookies and watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas (our favorite!!).

The next year, we made it a sleepover. More time for crafts, games and a few additional movies.

Then we started tacking several hours onto both the beginning and end of the sleepover, making it practially two full days. We made fun crafts, like fun holiday pillows. For the pillows, we used two pieces of fleece and put them on each side of a plain white 12x12 pillow. Then they used the cut and tie method that you often see people use to make blankets. They tied their fleece all around the pillow, and they turned out so so so cute!

We also always included a trip to Burger King. (If you read the Sib's Weekend post you'll know that we went there that weekend too. We really like Burger King!) After our lunch, we went to Dollar Tree (everything's a buck) so that the girls could pick out gifts for parents, friends and siblings. The things that they purchase always bring a smile to my face. The very first year we did this, Riley, just 3 at the time, picked out a Disney Barbie for her mama and a red bowl for grandma. As they've gotten older, they really, really think about the recipients interests and pick out the most thoughtful gifts that they know will be a hit.

It makes me sad to say that my freshman year of college (Christmas 09), the party did not happen. I was just so ridiculously overwhelmed with the new life chapter that I didn't have time to plan anything. I felt so awful.

Last year, I was still pretty busy, especially since Ihad taken a new job that took up a considerable abount of my free time. But I still wanted to do something for them. I knew it had to be easy to plan (for me) and more grown up than the past parties (for them).

I decided on a lunch at Applebees. My best friend was working in a nursing home at the time, and already knew that she would be working the morning shift on Christmas Day. I decided to use that as an opportunity to bring a smile to someone's face, plan a fun craft for the girls and teach them about giving as well. We decorated cards for the residents. I asked my friend how many we would need and counted out an index card for each person. Then I gave the girls crayons and Christmas stickers and let them go to town. They worked on these while we were waiting for our food. I told them how some of the residents don't get a lot of visitors, and my little empathetic sweethearts worked so hard to make them smile. I gave the cards to my friend and she delivered them on Christmas morning. She said they brought lots of smiles! :)

I'm not sure what our get together will entail this year, but I'm sure it will be fun!

Well, that's my favorite tradition! I'm a tradition girl, for sure. I can't wait to start some traditions with my own babies someday. I already know that I want do do Elf on the Shelf with them. I also want to give them new matching pajamas on Christmas Eve.

What are your family's favorite Christmas traditions? Stay tuned each Friday this month for more fun traditions, recipes, activities and more! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful for Them

Today, like every day, I am thankful for many things. But I am especially thankful for these incredible people.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Swooning Over a Sparkly Vampire? Psh NOT Me!

Welcome to Not Me Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head on over to her blog to see what she and everyone else have not been up to this week.

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

This past weekend, I definitely did NOT go to the movies to see The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1.
I did NOT get weak in the knees and sigh multiple times. I especially didn't feel my blood boiling during certain points. NO way. I don't let pop culture get me that emotional.

I also did NOT (very boldly) declare my allegiance to a particular "team". Nope. I'm not one to pick sides like that.

Even if I did to to this movie, I most certainly would NOT have gone twice.

And on the off chance that I might have gone twice, one of those times absolutley was NOT the midnight release. NO way. You know I need my sleep.

Nope. I definitely didn't. I would never, ever jump on a bandwagon and participate in something as popular as this. Especially when it was written for teenagers. No way. Not me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shame on Me. Alternatively titled: Catch Up Post

Shame on me for not keeping this blog updated. Shame on me for taking forever to reply to comments. I've been insanely, ridiculously busy. But now I am on Christmas Break. Yep, you read that right. I don't have school until January. Have I mentione that my college is the best one ever?

Speaking of "best college ever", we celebrated Halloween a few weeks ago. We celebrate Halloween big. By "big" I mean that we have largest Halloween Street Party in the country. Here are some pictures of the night. It was SO SO cold (like 28 degrees! eek!). Usually I adore cold weather, so for me to admit that it was freezing, you know it was pretty cold.

In other news, I have officially completed my first full day of teaching.

Bella the Kitty is just as sweet as ever. I put up a little Christmas tree in my apartment the other day and she's pretty excited about it. She thinks that Mommy brought home a brand new toy just for her. I taped it to the table so she can't knock it over but that doesn't stop her from batting ornament after ornament to the ground. When I take her home for Break, she's probably going to go extra crazy for our big family tree. Last year was her first Christmas and we couldn't keep her out of it. She climbed it daily. Here's a picture that we took of her snooping around about halfway up it. It just might be our Christmas card this year.

She loves Christmas. And so do I.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I'm the type of person who has been planning her wedding for her entire life. I want it to be at Disney World with a Cinderella dress, a crystal carraige and white ponies. Hopeless Romantic, perhaps.

But in addition to planning my wedding, I have names for my kiddos picked out too. I want many.

I think about my future kids a lot. More than a lot actually. I think about the looks on their little faces the first time they walk down Mainstreet USA towards Cinderella Castle. I think about cute crafts we will make together on snow days and I think about the fun games we'll play at the park. I can't wait to be a mama.

I like talking about these names with my real life friends so I figured I'd share them with you all too.

  • Lennon Patrick (Patrick is the first boys name I ever picked out, way back in elementary school. But it's kind of popular so now I think I'll just use it as a middle name. And well, Lennon kind of speaks for itself. I'm sure you can tell who I'm naming this lil guy after. Phenomenan musician. Beautiful soul)
  • Roman Carlisle (just because I like both of those names and they sound good together. I think it sounds strong)
  • Cullen Robert (Robert after my dad)
  • Princeton Isaac (Sounds smart)
  • Finn Edison (No specific reason. I just like it).
  • Makynli Faith (Makynli is pronounced like McKinley. Saw it on TV and fell in love with it)
  • Cadence Rose (Cadence as in the marching band cadence. Reflecting my band geek past, which has had a profound effect on my life. I've mentioned it on this blog many a time. And Rose just sounds good with it)
  • Harleigh Ryan (I like using "boyish" names for girls, especially when adding the "leigh")
  • Lyric Isabella (Lyric once again reflecting my music obsession. Isabella is the first girl name I ever picked out, way back when, but it is so so common now and I like unique first names)
This is my list for now (no, I'm NOT pregnant). What are your favorite names?

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    A Weekend of Normal

    This weekend, I went home. As in home home. As in not my apartment home.

    It was nice.

    Bella the Kitty came with. I wish you could have seen how excited Hershey was when I got Bella out of the car.

    Last night I went to our high school's band contest. Band is one thing about high school that I actually miss. I love the sense of unity that we had. I felt so connected to everyone in band. So I really enjoyed watching the contest. One band did a Harry Potter themed show. I was amazed, because, well, you know how Harry obsessed I am. Our band got a high II rating. The highest you can get is a I. The lowest is a V. But I have never seen that rating given, not ever, in all the years I've been watching band contests. If you get a I you qualify for State. We did it my junior year and it is one of my best memories from high school. We worked so hard for that. I hope the kids this year get that same experience. They still have a few more chances to earn that I. Good luck guys!

    Today I taught Sunday School. I teach the preschool class. Today, it was just me and one little girl, C. We colored pictures and learned about King Solomon.

    Then, I went back to the house and just chilled. It was nice. Sometimes you need to just chill. I am back in my apartment now, still chilling. Before the crazyness of Week 6 begins.

    I hope you all had a nice chill-filled weekend, too. Thanks for reading.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

    Not-So-Wordless Wednesday: High School

    While searching through my pictures for something to post for Wordless Wednesday, I found a folder of pictures from my sophomore year of high school. It was an emotionally draining year with lots of tears, but I do have lots of pictures of the good times that I had. Here are some of them. This post is going to be anything but wordless! Thanks for reading! 
    My very first car! I still have it, too! I was so, so so excited! I just sat in it for hours because I couldn't believe it was really mine.

    Sophomore year of track. We won our league chanpionship!

    Can you believe that this little cutie is now TEN years old?

    With mom and dad, sophomore year

    New Years '07

    Saturday, September 24, 2011

    Twenty Mini Stories

    Sorry I haven't updated lately. I have been crazy busy with work, class and partnership. I haven't forgotton about my little blog, though! I thought I'd use today's post to update on some things that have been happening recently. So, here are twenty little things in noparticular order. Enjoy and thanks for reading!

    20. Bella is adjusting to life in the apartment very well. She enjoys looking out my window that faces the soccer fields.
    19. My high school's football team is currently undefeated. Five games down, five more to go. Go Bucks!
    18. I spend every Tuesday and Thursday in a local elementary school for the Early Childhood Partnership. My sweet 1st and 2nd graders remind me time and time again why I chose this major.
    17. There are currently two movies that I want to see in the theater: Lion King 3D and Dolphin Tale.
    16. I miss my Hershey girl more than words can explain. I still see her on weekends, but not seeing her every single day is tough.
    15. I'm loving this cooler fall weather!
    14. I'm planning a tie dye themed sleepover for my cutie cousins, M and R. Check out my posts from February (right sidebar) to see pictures from our last big sleepover. I'll post pictures from this one too!
    13. I'm going to be Minnie Mouse for Halloween. I mentioned in a previous post that Halloween is a HUGE deal at my college ("huge deal" meaning that we have the biggest Halloween Street Party in the country). I've also said several times that I am a obsessed with all things Disney. So this is a perfect costume for me!
    12. I got a leash and harness for my cat today because she LOVES to go outside, but I can't let her out alone here like I can back home. She seems to like it and is glad to get some fresh air!
    11. My first graders seem to have shared some germs with me, which is making for a very sniffly weekend, but I still love them so much.
    10. I'm not working as many hours this quarter as I have in previous quarters, which is a gigantic weight off of my shoulders and so much less stress.
    9. Last weekend, I had some friends over for a Harry Potter themed party. I've talked of my love for Harry Potter on this blog many times. I also adore planning theme-y parties and going all out with the decorations and games. So this was fun for me. We had a costume contest and my friend Dayna dressed up as Bellatrix Lestrange and won! Her prize was a hand knitted Gryffindor scarf made by another friend who attended, Colete.
    8. I'm really excited for the Kappa Delta Pi year to start (Wednesday!!!) and I can't wait to get to know our new members! I'm on the exec board this year, too. Philanthropy Chair! It's busy, but worth it!
    7. My aunt got a new puppy and he is one of the cutest things I've ever seen in my entire life.
    6. It makes my day when I get mail here in my apartment.
    5. Easy Mac is a college student's best friend. Cheap and fast!
    4. There's a new restaurant in town that I'd love to try.
    3. I've met many of my neighbors, and they're all so nice!
    2. This is my best year of college so far.

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    Still Haven't Forgotten

    I still haven't forgotten.

    I know you haven't either.

    I still haven't forgotton that September morning when our country changed forever.

    I still haven't forgotton exactly where I was.

    I was in 5th grade. Ms. G's homeroom. A 6th grader who had arrived to school late came through the halls shouting something about the World Trade Center being on fire. At first the teacher thought he was kidding. She said he was crazy.

    And then she turned on the TV.

    To this day, I have not forgotton the look on her face when she said "Oh my gosh, he's right".

    For the rest of the day, we sat in silence, watching the news unfold.

    When I got home from school, mom made me watch Nickelodeon because it was the only channel that wasn't showing news coverage.

    Today, a decade later, I still haven't forgotton that day.

    I know you haven't either.

    Join me now and remember the men, women and children who lost their lives on that September morning.

    Never forget.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Back To School Roundup

    School started today! To celebrate, I'm sharing my favorite back to school links with you! *Note: I do not take credit for any of the information in these links. All credit goes to the respective page owners. I am merely sharing the links.

    -These adorable cupcakes look like chalkboards. Whip up a batch and have them waiting for your kids when they get off of the bus! I made some for the officers of Kappa Delta Pi, an honors society for education majors that I'm in. You can find the link here:

    -This book is one that I read in one of my college classes. It's something that I plan to use in my own classroom someday. It provides advice in words that young children can understand, plus who doesn't love DW? You can buy it here:
    -This is the sweetest book ever, hands down. It shows that the bond between mother and child is forever, even when school time comes. You might even consider giving your child his or her own kissing hand after reading this heartwarming story about love and growing up. It can be purchased here:

    Lunch Tips:
    -There are many, many places on the internet that give tips for packing healthy lunches that children will actually eat. This one is by far my favorite. I LOVE the way each meal has a kid-friendly theme. Kids will love that each one also has a treat included. Try one in your child's lunchbox today! Here's the link:

    I hope some of these Back to School links will be useful for you and your family. Do you have any links that you refer to year after year? Let me know about them in the comments! Happy New School Year!

    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    BIG Life Changes

    Big changes happened this week. I moved out of my family's home for the first time. I'm now in an apartment that's just steps away from my college campus. It's definitely different, but I think I'm going to like it. Bella the Kitty, who makes frequent appearances on my blog, is here too. The first day, I think she was a little bewildered. She just paced and meowed. But she's doing better now. She likes to look out of my sliding glass door.

    I wanted to share some pictures of my apartment with you today. I'm sure I'll blog about this new change more in the future as interesting adventures start to unfold!! :)

    Thanks for reading!