Monday, November 29, 2010

Welcome, Christmas!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and despite my best intentions to take a lot of pictures to share...I didn't. Instead I cooked turkey for my family at home, took a nap and went to a movie! It's a family tradition to see a movie on Thanksgiving Day, so we went to see Disney's Tangled. This is one movie you need to see, people~ it was darling and delightful, and I may have even shed a few tears. But if you know me, that's no surprise as I cry at Campbell's Soup commercials...

The day after turkey day found me alone at my house for a few hours (a mother's fantasy!!) so I took down my fall decor and started on the Christmas trimmings! What was usually a stressful event (with the whole family) was actually a peaceful and enjoyable evening spent with the music cranked up unwrapping each treasured ornament. I didn't actually put up the tree (that's the hubby's job), but the "seasonals" are out and I am actually looking forward to the holidays! Maybe that's because I slowed down long enough to "Welcome Christmas into my heart".
This sweet card is one we made at the Christmas Stamp-a-Stack a few weeks ago. This could be one of my new favorite color combinations: Certainly Celery, Old Olive, Real Read and Marina Mist. And guess what? The stamp set used is Northern Hearts, a hostess level 1 set that you could choose free with a $150 order...and don't forget that shipping is FREE for two more days on a $150+ order during the Online Spectacular, where you can save up to 50% on some of our most popular items!

So if you are "Cyber Monday" shopping, be sure to check out some of the great gifts you can buy in your jammies at the computer! Here's a list of Stampin' Up! gift ideas for everyone on your list:
  • For the Quilter/Fabric Crafter: Designer Fabric Bundles (Half Price today!) Check out my apron made with the Candy Cane Christmas Fabic here
  • For the Scrapper: A Simply Scrappin' Kit or My Digital Studio (50% off during the Online Spectacular...unbelievable!) makes a gift they will appreciate! See some of my digital pages here
  • For the Decorator: Get a bundle of our luscious 1-1/4" Striped Grosgrain Ribbon for 40% off through November 30 or a piece of our vinyl Decor Elements to change the look of any room!
  • For your Best Friend (or Wife): A Simply Adorned charm with a personalized set of inserts (or pictures of their children!) says "I cared enough to stamp the very best!"
  • For the beginning crafter: A Simply Sent Card Kit, stamp set and ink pad makes paper crafting so easy, a caveman could do it! (and for less than 30 bucks!)
  • For Grandma/Grandpa: A personalized calendar or Birthday Calendar will bring a smile to their face all year long! Make one from scratch starting at $7.95 or make one with My Digital Studio that you bought for yourself :)
  • For your Husband: The Decor Accents Date Keeper helps keep track of the days, weeks or months until a special event (a vacation? your anniversary?) and can be personalized with stamps or photos!
  • For the kids: I don't know of a child who doesn't love to get creative with stamps and ink...and a few of our most popular sets for kids and teenagers are 30% through November 30th.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Spectacular Savings (through November 30th!)

Spiritual Gifts

Here's a sweet (spiritual) gift...from an adorable little girl with a great talent for teaching the Word of God!
"...and a little child shall lead them." Isaiah 11:6

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Change Time, Change Batteries or "Learn from my mistake"

A few Saturdays ago, we made and bottled Apple Pie Filling until 9:30 p.m. (see below for a great recipe given to me by my best friend, Kelli). We were pretty exhausted, the husband and I because you see, we had been up since 3 a.m. (a story for another time). But the last batch we made was beautiful! We cleaned up the canning kitchen (which is in our basement), mopped the floors and turned out the lights. As we were preparing for bed, one of the smoke detectors started chirping because the battery was almost dead. 

This may be as good a time as any to explain that we had already removed 3 dead batteries (from the 5 total smoke detectors in our home) and had never replaced them. That annoying chirping when the battery dies ALWAYS starts in the middle of the night causing one to lose sleep!!! AARRGGHH! And of course, once one has had a good night's sleep, one never thinks to replace the battery, because that would require going to the store and buying some 9 volt batteries, which one never happens to have just laying around.

Back to the story: We promptly removed the battery from the second-to-last working smoke detector (ensuring an uninterrupted night of rest!), said our prayers (thanking God for safety and protection, of course...all the while He's shaking His head, I'm sure..) and went to sleep.
At 1 a.m., we awake to the blare (NOT a chirp or beep) of the last working smoke detector screaming that there is a problem! Remember the old movies about how to be safe in a fire? You are supposed to feel your door to see if it's hot, right? Who remembers that when the alarm is piercing your groggy brain? My husband flings open the door and 3 feet of smoke billows in on the ceiling. Suddenly I remember that I forgot to turn off the hot water bath with the last batch of Apple Pie Filling!!
We were lucky...the water had burned off and 3 bottles had burst, allowing the apples and sugar to start smoking and were able to get it out the door before it started to burn! 

So take it from me, folks...when the time changes, CHANGE THE BATTERIES IN YOUR SMOKE DETECTORS!!! And here's another little life lesson: Don't Google "smoking pot picture" if you are looking for an image of a burning pan in the kitchen...
Now to the good stuff! Here's the recipe for bottled Apple Pie Filling (thanks, Kelli!)

24 pounds (1/2 bushel) Apples, peeled, cored and sliced 
Mix together: 5 c. water, 6 c. sugar, 12 T cornstarch and 3 T cinnamon. Heat and stir until clear (it will still be brown, but not opaque). Add sliced apples and stir just 'til hot. Pour into jars and process in hot water bath for 25 minutes (REMEMBER TO TURN OFF THE STOVE WHEN FINISHED). 
To make a pie: Pour into pie crust and bake 45 minutes at 425 degrees.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Royal Blog Tour: Peaceful Season

Thanks for making the Royal Blog Tour a great success! While the tour is officially over, I'm leaving up the samples to inspire your holiday stamping :) Scroll to the bottom for Blog Candy Winner!

I've prepared some breathtaking samples using the *Exclusive* Level 2 Hostess Stamp Set, Peaceful Season from the Stampin' Up! Holiday Mini's not too late to contact your demonstrator to host a workshop to earn this set FREE (hint, hint)!
Have you seen the adorable mini gift bags in the Holiday Mini Catalog? Here is just one simple way to dress up some homemade caramel popcorn or a small gift:
 I love this card created with the Big Shot, Scallop Square die and more of the Deck the Halls Designer Series Paper that looks like a present on the outside...
 ...and when you open it up, you pull the greeting from a pocket on the inside of the card! 
It could be both a card AND a gift if you glued a gift card on the insert :)
I wanted to share a home decor project, too, so here is a simple luminary using the Fancy Favor die, the new Decorative Label punch, some vellum and a battery-operated tea light from the dollar store!
Finally, a simple and elegant greeting you can create in seconds with the Northern Flurry embossing folder from the Holiday Mini Catalog (and one of the cards you can make at my Christmas Stamp-a-Stack on November 20th!).  Isn't that Marina Mist blue beautiful?

BLOG CANDY!! Would you like to win a "Dasher" Instant Christmas Card Kit (just add ink!)? 
You must do TWO (2) simple things to qualify: 
1. E-mail me ( with your name and e-mail address (so I can contact you if you win!) and 
2. Leave a comment telling for which holiday you send the most cards (Christmas? Valentines? Birthdays? Other?)

November 9~THE TOUR IS OVER and the winner of Dasher Card Kit is (thanks to #54:

OpenID ilchezhead said...
Great blog. I love the snowflake card and luminare. I send out the most cards at Christmas, by far. Approx 100. I didn't make them last year, but have started this year's. Thanks for sharing. Sandy

Monday, November 1, 2010

4 Things for Christmas

As a mother of 4 teenagers, I'm beginning to consider the holiday season with a critical eye. As my children grew bigger, the gifts they wanted got smaller... and more expensive! I've watched as "receiving presents" became more important than "giving presents". We've tried a few things in recent years, including simply giving them money and taking them to the after Christmas sales (I loved this but hubby hated it). We have stopped giving gifts to one side of the family and instead take all the cousins/aunts/uncles shopping for a family in need (slowly growing in popularity with the kids). For my immediate family, I've really been pondering what we can do to make Christmas MEANINGFUL, JOYFUL and SIMPLE.
In the Victorian Era, there was a simple mantra for Christmas Giving:
"Something they WANT, Something they NEED, 
Something to WEAR and Something to READ"

In thinking outside the box, I found a few thoughts about what children REALLY WANT for Christmas by authors Jo Robinson Jean C. Staeheli of "Unplug the Christmas Machine": 
  1. A relaxed and loving time with the family. Children need relaxed attention. During the holidays, slow down and spend quality time with your kids.
  2. Realistic expectations about gifts. Kids enjoy looking forward to gifts and then having their expectations met. The key is to manage their expectations. In this economy, it may be wise to focus on things you can make for each other and to talk to your children about what to reasonably expect.
  3. An evenly paced holiday season.  Note to self: Pace yourself! Reserve some nights at home for low-key fun with the family. The authors suggest starting the season later or stretching the celebration through to New Years Day.
  4. Reliable family traditions.  The things I remember most about Christmas as a child were caroling with my family on Christmas Eve, shopping with my cousin for gifts on Black Friday and the food (with me, it's always the food!). I am considering traditions I can continue or create this year with my older kids. 
What do you think?