How to Bake the PERFECT Christmas Cookie

Christmas Cookies

I'm FINALLY in the Christmas spirit and in the mood to bake a few batches of our favorite cookies.  We don't bake much the rest of the year, but I always find time to bake cookies with the kids in December.  You probably won't stumble upon my recipes pinned on Pinterest or on the pages of a magazine, but I make the PERFECT Christmas Cookies!!  Do you want to know my secret? First, go to the baking aisle of your favorite store and pick up a few packs of morsels that look good to you.  I couldn't find our favorite mint chocolate chips from last year, but I did find some red & green morsels and a pack of toffee chips.  At least that will make up some good chocolate chip cookies, right!? Next, think really hard about what other key ingredients may be missing from your kitchen.  I know I needed eggs and I thought I was out of stick butter so I chunked those in our cart.  I can't possible think of anything else that I'm out of so we head to the checkout. After dinner is over and ... [ Read More ]

Sea World’s Christmas Celebration 2015

Sea World Christmas Celebration

This past weekend we were invited to Sea World's Christmas Celebration to get a glimpse behind the scenes and to learn more about the special Christmas performances going on around the park.  Unlike some of the other area theme parks, Sea World includes their Christmas performances with your regular park admission.  Plus, kids get in FREE through the end of December with a paying adult. Sea World will always hold a special place in my heart and the Christmas spirit just enhances that love of the park and the work they do to help preserve our natural world. I found myself a little teary eyed during some of the performances.  Even if you only go for a few hours, here is my list of 5 things you don't want to miss at Sea World in December. 1. Polar Express - Sea World has once again transformed the polar exhibit into a train ride on the Polar Express that takes you to the North Pole to meet Santa Clause.  The experience is based off the popular Christmas movie, the Polar Express. ... [ Read More ]

Sea World Orlando Christmas Celebration #seaworldchristmas

shamu miracle

If you are in Florida and are looking for a special holiday event for your family you should really visit the Sea World Orlando, Christmas Celebration.  The weekend before Thanksgiving we decided to get into the holiday spirit a little early and see what wintery wonderland awaited us at Sea World. Any day you visit between now and Dec. 31st you can enjoy Sea World's Christmas Celebration with your regular daily admission.  This will get you full admission to all the holiday events including the Polar Express Experience, Shamu Christmas Miracle, O Wonderous Night, and the Winter Wonderland on Ice. Lucky for us it was actually a chilly day in Florida (rare in the Fall/Winter) so it felt almost like Winter being surrounded by Christmas music, Santa Claus and lots of sparkly lights.  By the evening we were even wishing we had brought heavier layers. We started the day experiencing the regular Sea World adventures, shows and rides.  My oldest braved Manta (over and over again ... [ Read More ]

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Toddlers and Kids

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Are you looking for one more gift for your toddler or small child?  Looking for a cute stocking stuffer?  Here are a few items that my kids (or I) would love to unwrap on Christmas morning. iPieces Air Hockey - I found this several months ago while attending the BlogHer conference.  You download an app on your iPhone or iPad to use with these game pieces.  It instantly turns your iPad into an air hockey rink!  Kids and adults will love this game.  I just wish it had a small carrying bag so I wouldn't lose the pieces. Handstand Kids Cookbook Kits - If you have a young child who likes to help out in the kitchen this would be a fun gift to add for them.  In addition to the cookbook the kit also includes some kid sized kitchen tools.  Both my son and daughter would love one of these. Jellystone Designs Owl Pendant - Do you have an owl fan in your family?  Kids and adults will enjoy this adorable pendant.  Moms can use it for teething babies.  Older kids will enjoy showing off ... [ Read More ]

Shutterfly Photo Books Make Great Gifts

If you are like me you take a million (and one) pictures but you probably have them all stored nicely on your phone, camera, or computer.  I use to be so good at scrapbooking before I had my second kid but I don't think she has a single scrapbook of her own.  I don't even think I have an album for her at all and she's almost FOUR!  I guess it's time I start working on some photo books. Both my parents and my husbands parents love showing off their grandchildren to their friends.  There is still a few more days for me to create a photo book for them with pictures of the kids from this year.  With Shutterfly I can import my favorite photos from the year right into a photo book and have it printed in a snap.  The 8X8 is small enough that our mom's could carry them in their purses or leave them on their desk at work for their friends to flip through. Would you like to create your own Shutterfly photobook?  I'm giving away 2 of their 8X8 albums to 2 lucky readers.  Keep reading to ... [ Read More ]

The Gift of Wine

Give Wine from the California Wine Club

You may recall me talking about the California Wine Club before.  I received a 2 month subscription to their program back in mid-November and I'm going to be sad when my subscription is over.  (Hint: Need a gift idea for me??)  My November delivery was from Robledo Family Winery and my December delivery was from Daniel Gehco.  Both from California and both were absolutely divine! We cheered over the Daniel Gehco Merlot and Chenin Blanc over Thanksgiving with my husbands family.  It was a nice addition to our holiday celebration. Have someone on your Christmas list who is difficult to shop for?  Do they like wine?  The California Wine Club has memberships available starting at only $49.95.  Each gift membership comes with: 2 bottles of wine.  You get to choose if they are both white, both red, or one of each. Subscription to Uncorked! magazine. Personalized gift message. Bonus Gift: a handy wine tote. Bonus Gift: a gift credit for $25 off their next order. I've ... [ Read More ]

Upcycled Tshirt Wreath

Upcycled Tshirt Wreath Tutorial

When decorating for the holidays consider upcycling materials from around your home instead of buying new.  I have a million and one old tshirts that I saved for crafting and couldn't wait to try making an upcycled wreath.  This project was inspired by the upcycled wreath that I made for my daughters room using a bed sheet. Supplies:  2 large tshirts, foam wreath form, and scissors or rotary cutter Time:  1 hour for med-large size wreath Directions:  Cut fabric strips approximately 1-2" by 6".  Tie each strip onto the wreath form with a simple knot.  Continue tying strips to the wreath until you fill up the entire form.  Embellish with a fabric flower. (Directions for the tshirt fabric flower can be found at Emily's Little World blog.)  I used tshirt scraps and braided them to for the hanging ribbon for this wreath.  You can use straight pens to attach the braid to the back of the wreath. Hang your wreath and enjoy!  Happy Holidays!   ... [ Read More ]

Oldie But Goodie – Upcycled Magazine Christmas Tree Craft


Please enjoy my Oldies But Goodies while I take a break from the computer and enjoy my family and other things that I’m THANKFUL for this year.  New content will return next week! I know you want to learn how to make this cute upcycled Christmas Tree from magazines and mail catalogs…. …but you’ll have to visit The Mommy Blog for complete directions.  I’m a featured guest blogger over there…thanks to the kind invitation from Cinella.  Please visit and leave comments both here and there about your ideas on turning trash into useful Holiday decorations.  ORIGINALLY POSTED DECEMBER 2009. ... [ Read More ]

Eco-Holiday Quick Picks 2010


  Do you have an eco-junkie to buy for this year?   Know someone who doesn't like stuff?   Looking for something non-toxic to get a special child?   Here are my top eco-holiday quick picks - with something special for everyone on your list.   1. Itsabelly Guide to Going Green With Baby - By Melissa Moog & Jennifer Lo Prete   2.  aden + anais Organic Muslin Swaddlers - Lil's blankie of choice is now available in even more varieties and colors.  3.  Global Green Pals - These eco-friendly dolls will become your child's new best friend.   4.  Piggy Paint - Project Earth - Safe nail polish for that tween in your life - now is Glow in the Dark too!  Use coupon code ECO10L to save 10% on anything at Piggy Paint through December 31, 2010. 5.  One Life Jewelry - A personal favorite homemade from a friend down the street from me whom I don't talk to enough. XOXO!  6.  Recycled Koby Jewelry - Made special for TerraCycle from 100% recycled silver by Canadian jeweler, Arthur ... [ Read More ]

Tiny Prints & Christmas Cards


Every year our family gathers together to take some photos that we'll use on our Christmas cards.  I'm usually a last minute person and don't get them done until long after Thanksgiving has past.  This year I was provided an opportunity to use tiny prints to order our Christmas cards as part of a blog partnership.  I've seen their ad in magazines and drooled over their stylish cards for years but like I said I usually run out of time.  With a little incentive from tiny prints I dressed my kids up in their Sunday best and after church one Sunday we stayed on the grounds and took some photos. I like to pretend that I have some photography skills and I usually end up with a few photos that look really nice.  Out of about 50 pictures I found a few that I loved and decided to play around with PhotoShop.  I'm still learning that too.  Finally I sat down one evening and started looking through the thousands (yes, really - over 2,000 designs) of card styles that tiny prints offers.  I ... [ Read More ]