Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
It's Christmas Eve and besides wondering if they're on the naughty or nice list, kids want to know where Santa is. With the help of satellites, we can now keep a constant track on old Kris Kringle. There are two sites that make this possible. The first is santaclaus.net. With comprehensive knowledge of the North Pole from it's weather to receiving a phone call from Santa, it will help your kids be more informed of Santa's happenings.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Christmas and New Years are the greatest time of the year. Why are they so great, though? There are so many reasons, that it's difficult for most to choose just one. I've compiled a list of the top 15 reasons to love the most wonderful time of the year to bring some cheer!
Snow! Snow! Snow! SNOW! If you can't hear Bing Crosby when you read that, then something is wrong. You might be slowly turning into a grinch. It's time to get in the Christmas spirit! There are so many amazing things you can only do in the snow. Snowball fights, forts, snow angels, snowboarding, skiing, watching pets and little kids have fun struggling to move through it and most of all: waking up to a blanket of white on Christmas morning. Wake up your inner child and go enjoy it :)
I know it's something you can do in the snow, but this one extra special. It's the only time of year you can rocket into soft powder just by sliding. This is a fun, free activity for everyone in the family. My entire family goes every year, no matter what age. We're slowly making daredevils out of my little nephews, which we started to do at the age of 2 :-)
3.) Christmas Tree
O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum, how lovely are your branches. There's nothing quite like going to get the tree together, weather you cut it down yourself or buy it from a lot. No matter if your family fights strapping it to the roof or getting it through the door, everyone always comes to together for fun to pick it out and decorate it. You'll remember at least one year for your entire life, even if it is something like Ralphie saying "oh, fudge". Also, I love how the Christmas tree stays up through the entire holiday season, for weeks before Christmas until New Years Day. That give plenty of time to fill up your home with scent of pine tree and a constant glowing reminder of the season.
4.) Christmas lights
Each house lit up in a different array of lights, manger scenes, Santa on rooftops, red ribbons on lampposts and so much more. As with the rest of the list, it’s only done once a year, and it lasts the entire season from beginning before Christmas and lasting through New Years. Christmas lights truly have to embody Christmas itself.
5.) Watching classic Christmas TV shows/movies
I don't know about your family, but mine has a tradition of watching certain movies and TV shows every Christmas. We have to watch A Christmas Carol, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, It's a Wonderful Life, A White Christmas, The Little Drummer Boy, A Christmas Story, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, A Very Mickey Christmas (we recorded 15 years ago, commercials and all) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. They bring you back to childhood instantly, almost like a time capsule. Everyone loves Christmas favorites, and it's great to pass the tradition to the young ones.
The songs you only hear one time a year. I love singing songs that I know have been sung for hundreds of years, and my entire life. If you don't want to sing, it's also neat to just listen to carolers make their way down the street singing sweet melodies and wishes to all who hear.
7.) Seeing old friends
Most people head home for the holidays, back to their hometown where they grew up. It's always great to see people you've spent your entire childhood, or at least part of it, with; to see what they've done and how they have been since the previous year. And you may just run into a long lost friend that you haven't seen in years.
8.) Family together
This best time of the year brings one the greatest things people can have: family gathered together. If you're fortunate enough to be able to have your entire immediate or extended family together, enjoy the greatest gift you have in life. Time with them may sometimes be annoying or trying for you, but look deeper and see how precious it really is to be with the only people you're related to. After all, is is the time to be together and it only comes once a year.
So many festivities this time of year! There are office parties, parties with your friends, some with your parents, some for homecomings, and of course, the biggest party on New Years Eve. It truly is the season for celebration and togetherness.
10.) The meals
Part of the greatness of parties during this season, coming home and just Christmas overall is the food. For some, it's the one element of Christmas they look forward to the most. Usually, people have a big feast on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas. In my family, we have a banquet on Christmas Eve of seafood, steak and sides then eggnog french toast and eggnog on Christmas morning. I look forward to it all year every year. Christmas just wouldn't be right without these meals. So, make Whoville and roast up a roast beast :-)
11.) The presents
Everyone loves presents, and this aspect of Christmas. Giving and receiving are part of what makes the season so grand. And there's nothing like little kids shooting out of bed that one day of the year and jumping for joy and the sight of filled stockings and gifts under their glowing tree. Now that I've relatively grown up, I love seeing my nephews' reactions as they sit under the tree with the presents waiting to open them and their excitement when they do. And, I love to see each person's face when they open my gifts and the ones that were exactly what they wanted as well. It's great to get what you want, even greater when it's from your family and the greatest when you give that perfect gift.
To me, the sweets are better than the meals. Like the other things on this list, there are things you will only get one time of year. Sugar plums, candy canes, gingerbread cookies, bread pudding and countless other sweets help to make the season bright. Of course, I look forward to this. And it's heat-warming to give and receive a plate of goodies from your friends and neighbors.
13.) Shopping on December 26th
It's the most wonderful deals of the year, with the store doors jingle belling and every shopkeeper telling you " here is a steal!" It's true, the absolute greatest discounts of the entire year occur on December 26th. Not to brag, I've actually gotten a brand new wool winter coat for $25 marked from the normal price of $200. It's thee day to do any necessary returns and exchanges or just shopping in general to get the most bang for your dollar.
14.) Not working/no school
Hopefully, you're part of the majority of America that gets Christmas Day off. And if you’re really fortunate with your career, you’ll have the entire week of Christmas off. If you’re a student, you get at least 2 weeks off around Christmas and New Years. It’s always good for everyone to take time away from the hustle and bustle, especially all together.
15.) Jesus is born!
Above all the great things of Christmas, it is ultimately the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Considering that most of the Unites States and the western world is Christian, it’s our greatest celebration time of the year. A time to rejoice and gather at church with family and close ones.
I hope you can find 15 things, if not more to love about the holiday season. We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Here is recipe for us at Inspiring Pretty to say Merry Christmas to you!
2/3 cups butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
5 oz butter
1 cup powder sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp hot water
2 inch peppermint sticks
desired food coloring
any other decorations you wish
For brownies, preheat oven to 350º. Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla flour, cocoa, baking powder and butter together in large bowl. Bake for 20-30 minutes until no longer gooey. Let cool completely for approximately 30 min. Once cool, cut 7 rows of triangles, with 3 triangles in each row.
For frosting, beat together eggs, butter and sugar with electric mixer. Once thoroughly mixed, add in vanilla and water. Beat until smooth and creamy. Then add about 5 drops of your desired food coloring
Decorate brownies only when completely cooled. To frost, cut a tiny hole in the corner of a ziplock bag. Put frosting inside and use this to pipe frost the brownies! Stick peppermint sticks approximately 1 inch into the bottom of the tree!
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
This is one of my favorite elements of the wedding, and I don’t know why. It’s such a simple and seemingly minor detail, but it actually shows a lot of the personality and the overall feeling of the wedding. Place cards are the guests’ welcoming to the reception. It’s their first impression of what the atmosphere will be for the part of the wedding that they can actually participate in, mingle with people, and just do as they wish. And most of all, it’s the one thing that every person at your wedding is guaranteed to look at, because they need it to find their seats. Like other elements in the wedding, the main trend is abandonment of pricey showing off and for a sweet, simple elegance. This component has a lot of room for variation though, and possibility to incorporate each couples' own style. Take advantage of this part of the wedding to show off your originality.
Place cards are no longer simply folded cards in a row with fancy writing on them. They're now an chic display setting the tone of what to expect in the reception. The main trend is to find new original displays, while keeping the theme simple. The most popular arrangement used right now is the the display of cards or paper tags strung on a clothesline with clothespins. This is obviously quite simple, rustic and very sweet. It also allows for much variance, so you won't be like other couples that have used it. The clothesline can be strung between trees, on an actual clothesline, a wooden frame, along a fence or anything else your imagination can come up with. The cards can also differ greatly, using one design or several, and one type of paper or several. One of the cutest setups I've seen was simply doilies strung up on a vertical clothesline. I loved it because it was intricate, unconventional yet classic, and it can fit almost any wedding no matter what the motif.
A cool fad becoming more popular is origami place cards. This could mean an origami holder for the place card or the actual place card folded into origami. It's a new modern twist, which is rare as classic becomes more popular. Know though, that this choice does not work for every wedding motif. If it does suit your wedding, blend in your own style. This could be by using several colors or paper or patterned paper, as it fits your wedding.
The last major trend that has emerged in recent years is to include natural elements in the place card array. This usually is done by using grass, flowers, fruit or other plants. It gives a very simple, down-to-earth return to old-fashionedness, homey feel. To make it unique, don't place the cards in rows, but scatter them around the table (keeping tables together of course) and make them appear to be growing out of the ground among the grass/flowers/fruit. Another cute idea is to place the cards on picks in plant pots to appear as if they're growing. Although this is becoming a popular fad, it's never overdone, because using natural elements can really almost never be overdone.
A few of my all-time favorite place cards displays are not quite trendy yet, but just starting to emerge. I love the easy idea of writing the seating charts with a marker on a window frame. It's rustic, simple and unique. If you want a touch of elegance, a great idea I've noticed bundle a few wine corks together with ribbon, string or straw and then to put the place card in the the middle of it. It's very stylish yet old-fashioned again. If you want a whimsical feel, punch a hole in the place card and use straw or ribbon to tie it around a pinwheel. The last of my favorites was a truly original one. It's not chic, but it's definitely personal and simple. The display was a picture of each of the guests and their table number posted on the picture. So all the guests had to do was find their picture on the wall to know where they were sitting. It's a tremendous way to show your consideration for each guest and a great way for them to start talking to each other by seeing pictures of each other.
No matter which place card arrangement you choose for your wedding, make sure that it is welcoming to your guests and that it shows off your personalities and personal touches. Use your own style and careful consideration for your special day and it will surely turn out great!