Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Marry Christmas Ornaments

If you have followed our blog for a little while, you will know that these ornaments are something that I will continue to make and post about every holiday season. It is a fun annual project and I just love gifting the ornaments to couples who are celebrating their first holiday season as newlyweds!

I created one of these for a friend a few Christmases ago after finding her wedding invitation in my desk. It was a simple, inexpensive project but more importantly, it was a personal and sentimental piece that her and her husband can enjoy every Christmas. It is also a nice surprise gift after all of the wedding madness has died down.

- Empty craft bulbs
Note: I buy a box of four or six on sale after Christmas each year. But you can also get them individually on sale throughout the holiday season.
- Paper cutter or scissors
- Wedding invite 
Note: Get creative! You could use a baby announcement, Christmas card or save the date. 
- Any other decorative objects that you desire
Note: I like to use a matching ribbon to tie on the top of the bulb.

Check out my previous post for full instructions on how to make these marry Christmas bulbs!

Last year, I even experimented with a few other ornament ideas including using dried petals from wedding day bouquets. See my previous post for more DIY ornament ideas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Dinner Details

When it comes to a formal holiday family meal, Thanksgiving usually inspires beautiful tablescapes.  Christmas parties, on the other hand, tend to lean towards a more informal atmosphere where the focus isn't so much on the food but instead, families enjoy present exchanges and games.

But this year, we decided to step it up a notch and decorate for a more formal Christmas dinner. That means breaking out my family's beautiful wedgewood china, the fancy silverware and assembling a breath-taking centerpiece that would only enhance a dinner conversation.

Since we had so much fun with our Thanksgiving Tablescape, Lisa and I decided to make a go at a Christmas tablescape.  Using our combined pieces,we were able to pull together a really stunning dining table set up. With an air of formality, it is functional, beautiful and absolutely perfect for a family Christmas!

Place Settings

- Twine
- Baby's breath
- Arborvitae leaves


1. Pick or buy some greenery. Lucky for us, we did not have to venture out farther than the backyard for the arborvitae leaves. They smell superb and provide a softer look than the typical evergreen needle branch used frequently this time of year.
2. Choose a small flower, such as babysbreath, that will pop against the greenery.
3. Secure the flowers and greenery together by tying a small twine bow.

It's that simple. That fresh. And that beautiful!

Place Cards

We chose to spruce up our place cards by attaching a mini bow in the corner. Adds that extra festivity!

Other place card ideas: bells, mini presents, ornaments or stockings.


For our holiday color palate, we relied on silver, reds and greens. These colors allowed the tablescape to be a dining room showpiece up until Christmas dinner.  If elegance is the goal, in lieu of the brighter reds and greens, go with deeper hues.  We leaned towards cranberry for our red but a wine color would be lovely too. And those forest and evergreen colors just shout, "Christmas time!"

For our Christmas centerpiece, we mixed various greenery, pine cones, ornaments, berries and candles.  The Cranberry Mason Jars can make up a centerpiece all their own, as arranged in a previous blog post, but here they blend in to pull the whole look together.

We posted two looks for the dinnerware arrangement. Three of the china plates were stacked together for one look. This works best if the china doesn't have much pattern. In the case of my parent's wedding china, the three tiers really make a statement.

The other arrangement is to tie in more of the red by placing a napkin between the largest plate and underneath the two smaller. That little pop of cranberry effectively pulls in the centerpiece, and solves the question of where to place a linen napkin.

Wishing you a very happy Christmas and holiday season to you all! 
~ Lisa and Marie ~

Table Cloth//Tuesday Morning
Candle Holders//Tuesday Morning
Mason Jars//Target
Mini Christmas Bulbs//Target
Floating Candles//Michaels
Place Card Bows//Michaels
Evergreen Sprigs//Michaels

Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Party Treats

Anyone else feel like Christmas has been sneaking up on them this year?! Most of us are frantically trying to finish Christmas shopping, bake cookies, write cards, clean our houses... the list goes on and on. Well, good news! We have a few simple party ideas and easy-to-make desserts to help that long list not look quite so daunting.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels
- Large pretzels
- Melting chocolate (Six bars needed)
- Sprinkles or other toppings (ie. Nuts, crushed candy canes, candies)

1. Melt chocolate in microwave until smooth.
2. Dip pretzels in chocolate and place on some wax paper.
3. Add sprinkles or other toppings before the chocolate hardens.

Christmas Tree Brownies
- One box of brownie mix
- One tube of frosting
- Sprinkles

1. Follow the directions on the brownie mix. Bake brownies and let them cool.
2. Cut the brownies into triangles.

3. Add frosting to the brownies and sprinkles to make the brownies appear as Christmas trees.

The Poinsettia
- Champagne
- Cranberry juice
- Honey and crushed peppermint for rim garnish

1. Dip edge of glass in honey and then rub in crushed peppermint.
2. Mix the champagne and cranberry juice. Pour into glass.
3. Add a paper straw or festive garnish like cranberries or cinnamon stick!

To display our holiday treats, we set up a buffet table full of festive details. We set up a few Christmas trees on the edges and then used apothecary jars to display mints and vase filler. Paper straws are always great to bring in pops of color and look great in our stemless champagne glasses.

To add to our look, we added a cute printable from Pinterest in the center of the table accented with some greenery. The final detail was a bow of greenery above the buffet table.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Thanks a Latte Holiday Gift

Holiday gifts for coworkers or vendors can be tough sometimes. You want to find a gift they will enjoy and it is nice to have a set budget. I recently was brainstorming some thank you ideas for a vendor and came up with the following little gift that also works great for a holiday gift!

Thanks A Latte

- Large coffee cup, top and straw
- Coffee shop gift card
- Instant coffee or hot chocolate packets
- Other little food or gift items
Note: I used Jelly Belly packets (The Star Wars jelly beans were my favorite!) but you could also fill with chapstick, nail polish, pens or candy!

I filled up the Starbucks cups with the gift cards and goodies. To top the cups off, you could add some tissue paper to look like whipped cream or add a bow to the straw.

We used the holiday Starbucks cups for a festive holiday look and the vendors loved them!!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Holiday Read: Chronicles of Narnia

The writings of C.S. Lewis are always enjoyable this time of year.  His messages of faith, and what it means to be a Christian serve as valuable reminders in this holiday season.  Below are a few of my favorite quotes:

"To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you."

"The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God."

"You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." 

 "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

"There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind."

"In your world I have another name... you must learn to know me by that name.  This is the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there." -Aslan

His series, The Chronicles of Narnia, I thought were definitely worth mentioning as a must read series.  Consider them when gift giving this December.  You could also pair the books with the few movies that are out, so that after the children read the books they can also watch them!  What makes these books great is younger children can read them with their parents, and can prompt good discussions.  Of course, more avid elementary and middle school readers wouldn't need parent involvement, therefore watching the movies would allow the family to make connections together between C.S. Lewis's stories and his faith.

So this holiday season consider grabbing a copy, or the whole series of The Chronicles of Narnia, and share the experience of being transported into another world.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Building a Baby Basket

Okay, confession time. I may or may not have started to cave on buying baby items.  I wouldn't call it baby fever, but in order to curb my desires to find good deals and cute itsy bitsy items I've started a new "hobby." This new enjoyment of mine has resulted in me building baby baskets and trunks.

I honestly love the whole process. I like the shopping, getting deals, arranging items to really showcase them, then donating them to the church or school for auctions. Baby baskets always make great auction items. Plus, I get the satisfaction of knowing they're going to go towards a mommy-to-be who will continue to enjoy all the cuteness!

And of course it's great to make them if you're attending a baby shower! New moms love getting baby baskets since every item, including the basket/trunk, serves a purpose! Plus, it's a blast to create themed baskets.  If you didn't already know it, I L-O-V-E themes. You can match the themed basket to the theme of the baby shower, or go with the classics. Such as, Stripes & Polka Dots, Safari, Ducky, Elephants, Neutrals, etc.  

Just this week my 10th graders and I made baby baskets for the nearby Pregnancy Center! With everyone chipping in we were able to create three adorable and useful baskets. I used the list below to spurr purchase ideas for students. It was definitely an eye opener for those that had no idea the price associated with certain baby items. We thought that with Thanksgiving coming up, the pregnancy centers can be passed over with more focus turning towards food shelves, so we made this our November project. And of course I forgot to snap pics, but I can atest to their cuteness.

Below I included a list that make great items to put in baskets.  Baskets that include a variety of items that serve different purposes are always more popular so it's best to mix a few from each category.

For baby:

  * Onesies
  * Sleep Sack
  * Mittens
  * Booties
  * Receiving Blankets
  * Burp Cloths
  * Wash Cloths
  * Bath towel
  * Formula
  * Pacifiers
  * Stuffed Animal
  * Plush / Mini Toy

For nursery:

  * Crib Sheets
  * Changing pad cover
  * Blankets
  * Hangers
  * Diapers
  * Lotion / Shampoo
  * Soothing Music CD
  * Book
  * Canvas art / quote

For Memories:

   * Baby's Firsts Calendar
   * Baby's handprint / footprint kit
   * Monthly Growth Stickers - for monthly photos
   * Frame for baby's sonogram
   * Frame for first 12 months pictures
   * Christmas Ornament

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Meringue and Berry Dessert

Happy Sunday!! I hope everyone is enjoying a relaxing weekend.

We were invited to dinner this weekend and we were asked to bring dessert to share. Since our weekends are usually packed, I like to have a few recipes in my back pocket when needing to bring a delicious but easy dessert. This recipe is at the top of that list! Between activities, I made a quick stop at the grocery store to grab a few ingredients and then we were set. This fruit and meringue parfait is always a crowd pleaser and super simple.

- Meringues
Note: I grabbed my mini almond flavored meringues from Lunds
- Fruit
Note: I usually opt for whatever is in season and colorful
- Heavy whipping cream
Note: You can always use a cool whip if you don't have time to whip the cream
- One can of pineapple chunks
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Optional: Leftover monogram napkins from your wedding and sequins for your serving table :)

1. I started by whipping my cream until it was very thick, almost like butter.
2. I then added the honey, several pineapple chunks and a douse of pineapple juice to the whip cream to sweeten the mixture. Mix in with beater or by hand.

3. To avoid the meringue melting, do this next step right before serving. Add the fruit and a meringue to the bottom of a small dish.

4. Add a dollop of whipped cream.
5. For an optional touch, I also shook a few raspberries in some powdered sugar for a frosty effect.

6. Top with more berries and more meringues. Serve and enjoy!!