From the category archives:

Holiday Projects

Cyber Monday. EEK!  Here I am just recovering from too much travel and pumpkin pie, and I need to start shopping! I actually have been compiling ideas for you, dear readers, over the past few weeks, and I will write about them ASAP, so that you can hopefully have a jump start on your shopping and not completely be a basket case once the holidays finally arrive. Do I sound like I am already a bit scroogy already? The holiday season for moms is so stressful, as let’s face it: we do everything – decorating, shopping, wrapping, shipping, baking, or pretend baking (more on that later) …I’m already starting to sweat just thinking about it all.

However, one  of the fun things Mom bloggers get to do is try products. These are some Wii games my son helped me review. They would make great holiday gifts or even a special stocking stuffer. You may not be a fan of computer games, but my feeling is that in moderation, if it is a game that is not too violent, these games can really provide the kids with some fun. (And you some peace and quiet.) These selections sent over by the folks at Disney have been tried & recommended by my best tester and resident fun expert, my 7 year old son. I list them in order of his preference.

Wii : Lego Pirates of the Caribbean

When I asked why this game is fun? He says:

“It’s cool and action packed, and you can get a sword and Jack Sparrow and find lots of new enemies. But if you do go under water you do really cool stuff. If you pass the algae you get eaten by a shark. There’s nothing scary about it.”

Wii: Phineas & Ferb

My son is a fan of the cartoon so again, being able to play interactively with the characters was a treat. He says:

“This game is cool because you get to build stuff like slings shots and a platypus, and  you get to go to different dimensions.”

Wii: Cars 2

The Cars movies are some of my sons all time favorites. I can’t tell you how many times we saw the first one. I know  nearly every line! Of the video game, he says:

“The game is cool, but a little trickier than Phineas and Ferb. But I like it because you can become the fastest racecar ever. Not scary at all. I like Mater, he’s my favorite.”


x-mas111_053Do you ever get through the holidays and think, what happened? I was going to put lights outside the house, and send two hundred holiday cards. I was going to bake star cookies and frost them with glaze and give them to the mail man. I was going to make fruit baskets for the homeless, and have a caroling party. So many seasons have come and gone full of good intentions, with me just hanging on to the edge of Santa’s imaginary sled trying not to lose my mind during this frenzied time of year. I often start with a New Year’s resolution which is something like this: This year I will get it right. I will shop in August, picking up gifts leisurely at craft fairs. I will wrap them in October and ship them by Halloween. December will be spent decorating gingerbread houses with my children and making hand made ornaments for our tree out of painted walnuts. I will be relaxed. I will enjoy the holidays without stress. I will embody the spirit of the season. Shall I tell you how it’s going so far?

I did buy a few gifts in the summer. But I still have many more to collect, wrap and ship Back East. I still have cards to mail – okay I mean design, order, and mail. I am feeling extra pressure about that because last year came and went with us sending no cards at all. Frankly, each card that we received I felt mocked me, and reminded me of my lack of organization. The photo cards were the worst. My kids are adorable, but never at the same time in the same photo! Plus, I fear that if we send no cards this year we will be cut from our friends’ lists, and possibly drop off the face of the earth for good.

We do have our tree, but it is half decorated. We did spend an afternoon putting white lights outside, but after it rained the other night they stopped working. My one real source of pride is that we also have an adorable gingerbread house that I decorated with the kids. I’d like to tell you that I made the gingerbread from scratch and rolled the dough and baked it and decorated it, but it came from a kit at CVS for ten bucks. Race over there and get one, if they still have them. We had a blast. The four of us glued the sides together with frosting, pressed gumdrops on the roof, it was so much fun. They also sell a Gingerbread Train kit, which we also made. The kits are inexpensive, adorable, easy, and quick. Perhaps most importantly, taking the time to do a holiday project like that with the kids, and watching them laugh with delight as they saw their lopsided sugary creations, really did fill me with the magic of the season. What do you and your family do to create holiday memories?

You can order these kits on line at: The Online Candy Shop for 19.99$ or CVS had some less expensive ones in their holiday decorating section .

Create a Treat Gingerbread House Kit



Eco-Friendly Holiday Wrapping

by Lee Rose Emery

img_3595As I look at the amount of packaging, boxes and wrapping paper scraps in our overflowing blue bin, I feel a little disappointed in myself. I could have said to the store clerks, “I don’t need a box for that or, no thanks on the tissue paper.” It is habit really that I did not. Also, I think wrapping paper is pretty, and festive, and boxes are easier to wrap. I like boxes and I do tend to use them for storage. But I will do better next year. Jessica Tuck of EcoPerks inspired me. Here are some holiday gifts Jessica wrapped. Jessica is the content editor of EcoPerks, a green web site that is full of eco-friendly tips, which I sometimes write for as well, and she is also an actress. She wrapped her gifts in newspaper, and brown bags, and tied them with ribbons made out of her old VHS tapes. She shredded old scripts and made gorgeous bows. Here are her wrapped gifts. Pretty, festive, and green. Thanks Jess for your creative inspirations. Next year our bin will be easier to close, that is my first New Year’s Resolution.