Archive for November, 2007

Entertaining For The Holidays

Holiday parties and open houses.  They sound imposing, but really, they are quite easy to pull off.  All you need is a theme and a few ideas, and you can be the star host or hostess as well! Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Decorating Ideas

My house was cleaned today. I mean CLEANED. Top to bottom, every room, all in one day. I treat myself once a year to someone “professional” coming in and cleaning my house. It is just too difficult for me to accomplish with little “helpers” around all the time. So, every year, right around Christmas, I have a friend, who also happens to clean houses, come in and clean away!

Of course, this also means that it is time to pull out the crates of holiday decorations I have in the attic - all nine of them. Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Greetings Made Special

‘Tis the season!

Many people use this time of year to catch up with friends and acquaintances that they haven’t heard from all year.  Special cards, letters and photos are exchanged at a rapid rate.  At our house, we usually send out about 150 holiday cards and letters, and we typically receive a similar amount.  So, how can you make your card stand out this year?  Here are a few ideas to create some unique and special greetings: Read the rest of this entry »

Small Touches Speak Volumes

My husband travels a bit for his job.  His work takes him to several locations, and at each place, he stays in a hotel.  He is quickly becoming quite an expert on creating the “at home” or personal touch that makes his stay more enjoyable.

Whether you are running a bed and breakfast, are outfitting a full service hotel or resort, or just entertaining guests from time to time in your own home, there are a few things you can do to make the experience more personal and enjoyable for your guests. Read the rest of this entry »

Make Dining Out Fun For Children!

Having an 8 year old and a 2 year old makes for interesting choices when we dine out.  More often than not, our choice has an indoor play yard and a value menu, but sometimes my husband and I get lucky and manage to squeak in a “real” meal, complete with menus and waiters!  And, when those chances occur, we are eternally grateful for the activity placemat.

A disposable placemat created with children in mind, the activity placemat has multiple functions.  While it obviously acts as a placemat, it also provides children with a mode of entertainment while they wait for their meal to appear.  Quite often, the activities that are available on children’s placemats can be educational with word finds, puzzles, and activities geared toward using a bit of brain power.

There are a variety of mats to choose from.  Want to go with a sports theme?  Try disposable sport ball mats.  How about larger, rectangular activity mats? There are also mats that are more durable, made of plastic and available in a couple of styles.  The infant/toddler version comes with a pocket that hangs in front for catching spills and other objects, and it can be adhered to the table to keep the child from pulling their food off of the table.  It also has wipes and bibs that accompany the placemats.  Older children will like the plastic activity mats as well.  They, too, have a catch-all pocket and a sanitary wipe, but they also come with a set of triangular crayons to boot!

One of the most ingenious ideas to go with the placemats is the use of triangular crayons, also known as crayangle crayons.  While triangular crayons eliminate the issue of crayons rolling off of tables (and as a parent, yes, this is an issue), they have another bonus.  As an educator, I look for crayons such as these because they promote correct handwriting positions, regardless of whether the child is right- or left-handed.  So, while the parents can be content that they aren’t chasing crayons off the table, they can also appreciate the educational perk to the shape of the crayon.

Catering to the “younger crowd” may mean a few extra supplies, but the rewards from the parents are ten-fold.  As a family, they will enjoy visiting again and again!

The Finishing Touch On The Sack Lunch

The one thing I pride myself in doing for my children is packing their lunch for school.  First of all, I can pack a lunch for both boys for less than it costs to feed one of them in the school cafeteria.  And, I’m all about saving money.  I can also make sure that my kids are getting the nutrition they need with the things they like.  And, it is a chance for me to send a little bit of me to school with them each day.

I write a little note to each boy on the napkin I put in their lunch box.  For my younger son, it is usually something simple, such as “Mommy loves you” or “Happy Tuesday!”  With my older son, I usually write a few sentences about our afternoon, plans for the evening or reminders about school.  The boys love to get their notes (although my older son tries to pretend like he doesn’t) and I enjoy writing them.  It is a good way to connect with my boys while they are away.

And, I love the festive flair my napkins give to their lunches.  I’m all about the theme.  So, for the next couple of weeks, we have Christmas or holiday napkins.  Then, in January, we’ll move to snowflake napkins, and snowman napkins. February will bring a need for Valentine napkins, March will, of course, mean shamrocks, and so on.  We just finished our Thanksgiving napkins, and I have a few Halloween napkins left for next year.

My kids look forward to seeing their note each day on a themed napkin that brings a smile to their face.  And, it lets them know I am thinking of them while they’re away!

GOBBLE GOBBLE!

Are you looking for a way to make a crafty and easy centerpiece for Thanksgiving?  Why not make a unique turkey centerpiece?  It is quite simple (and edible!). Read the rest of this entry »

Easy Autumn Decorating Ideas

I love to decorate for just about anything - holidays, seasons, a change in the weather or even just because.  But, I’m also all about frugality and making wonderful things to save a few pennies.  Here are my top three activities for decorating for fall: Read the rest of this entry »

Plastic Tablecloths Are A Plus With Little Ones!

I am quite possibly the laziest housekeeper known in the Northern Hemisphere, if not the world.  It absolutely pains me to clean the windows, tidy up the playroom and vacuum the living room, never mind mopping!  If I can find away around the mop, I am certainly going to run with it! Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Ideas For The Entire Family

One of my favorite holiday activities is preparing home-baked goodies for my neighbors.  My children and I have a great time baking and creating, and then the boys do the delivering.  It is an easy and timeless tradition in which we participate each year.  Read the rest of this entry »

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