Monday, November 26, 2012

An Advent Calendar Without Candy or Gifts?

I was looking for something to put in my advent calendar that wasn't candy or small gifts because I feel completely overloaded with both of those things this time of year.  I don't want my kids to get sucked into the idea that the holidays are all about GIFTS.  Yes, gifts are a fun part of the holidays, but so is being around friends and family and DOING things together.  There are so many fun things to do in and around our community and I love that this time of year we have even more opportunities to be around our wonderful friends and neighbors!

Well, thank you Pinterest for leading me to Kim McCary's amazing blog post with just the idea I was searching for!  Usually a huge time sucker, Pinterest has come through with some pretty awesome ideas and this one is fantastic.  Kim does an "Activity Advent Calendar" with her family, and we are totally adopting that idea this year!  I can't wait to start!

Here is our cute little advent calendar just waiting to be filled with activities:

Here are Kim's little cards with some of the activities she does with her family:

Our activities will be different. We are axing the "sledding with Dad" one since it's usually 75 degrees in December here and adding things like our community golf cart parade and a horse-drawn carriage ride through the vineyards we do every year (which is GORGEOUS with Christmas lights on the vines).  The boys are helping me come up with ideas which has been a lot of fun in itself!  My oldest is 6 and VERY into traditions and holidays so he is having a great time and really excited about all the fun activities we'll be doing together.

Now all we have to do is wait for December to get here! This early Thanksgiving this year is throwing me off!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The BEST Holiday Book List For Kids

Yes, I am up to my ears in fabric and half finished projects, but I had to take a break today to swap out the kids bookrack books...out with the fall books, in with the HOLIDAY books! Woohoo!  We have a large cabinet that holds all their books, but each season I switch out the books we put in their bookrack so new books are always on display.  It keeps them excited about books they already have but maybe haven't read in awhile, and it's a fun way to welcome new seasons.  Here's a picture of our fantastic bookrack from Pottery Barn Kids:

I stalked it for months before it went on sale, at the EXACT moment I got a PB Kids coupon in the mail.  Clearly, that was a sign it was meant to be MINE! :)

Our holiday/winter/Christmas book collection is actually a LOT bigger than I thought (see, even I lose track of the fantastic books we have when they are hidden away in a cabinet where only their spine can be seen).  When I was talking to a couple friends about holiday books, it was fun to see the different books we have (mine mostly come from our local library's used bookstore) so I thought I would share this list of our favorites.  You might have all of them already, or find some new fun ones to read this year!  I tried to include links on most of them so you can easily find more info on them if you're interested.  Happy reading! :)

The BEST Holiday/Winter/Christmas Book List for Kids begins....NOW: ;)

2. Redbird at Rockefeller Center by Peter Maloney (this is an absolute FAVORITE in our house...and we get to talk to the kids about some of the places in our old stomping ground...NYC!)

4. The Bears' Christmas by Stan and Jane Berenstain (the old school one, where Papa Bear is still goofy and hilarious...I don't like the new Papa who is wise and mature.) :)

6. The Penguin that Hated the Cold (we had to find this one on ebay, but the kids LOVE it)

9. The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers (We take the kids to see the Nutcracker ballet every year and reading the book first really helped them understand what was going on in the also helped my husband who after the 3rd year finally admitted he had no idea what was happening in the ballet.) :)

Well, I stopped at 10 but there are LOTS more where those came from. :) Let me know in the comments what your favorite holiday books for children are.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful Thanksgiving (and black friday/cyber monday coupon code!)

We're so thankful to all our fans and wonderful customers so we want to give something back!  Just enter the coupon code "BlackFridayBLOG10" for 10% off EVERYTHING in our cute shop! WOOHOO!  

And just for our Facebook and Blog fans it's valid starting....NOW! Yay!  

We have so many fun gifts and stocking stuffers....and crayon roll ups and car wallets are seriously the BEST idea for keeping kids entertained during holiday travel (and waiting for dinner at Grandma's house). :)

Thank you thank you thank you!!  
We are having so much fun creating beautiful things for you and your friends and family.  
We couldn't be more grateful.


Monday, November 19, 2012

New items just listed...especially for GIRLS! Mermaid shirt and Aqua heart

We finally have some more adorable items up in the shop....especially for GIRLS! Woohoo! With 3 boys in my house, it's been lots of fun playing with pink fabric for a change :)  Check out these adorable heart appliqued shirts that can be personalized for $8 with an embroidered name or monogram.

Sweet pink mermaid shirt

Adorable aqua heart with red and pink berries

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I love this time of year! Can't wait for Black Friday shopping with my mom! Our little 4am tradition. :)

Robin's Nest Facebook Feature

Our burp cloths were featured on the Robin's Nest Facebook page today! Yippe! It's always so exciting when someone appreciates something that my mom and I made with our own 2 (well....4) hands. :)

Check out her post here.

These are the sweet burp cloths she featured:

Thank you so much Robin! We're so glad you stumbled upon our little shop! :)

Handmade for the Holidays

I'm so excited to see more and more people pledging to buy handmade gifts from independent craftspeople this holiday season! WOO HOO!

Here are some reasons to buy handmade from local artisans right here in the USA!

1. You support local artisans, and therefore their local economy and community.  Supporting local business has a huge list of benefits all to itself, far too many to list here, but it’s a good thing, trust me.
2. You get high-quality items that are built to last, not all the stuff that has the “How cheap can I produce this?” mentality.  It’ll probably fall apart in a year or two, but handmade items have longevity.  Artisans have pride in their work, and want it to last.  Even the materials are hand-picked by an individual, and what big manufacturing company can say that?
3. Your gifts are the best on the block.  Cool, trendy, unique, and usually one-of-a kind, you can find some really awesome handmade stuff that’ll make everyone ask “Where can I get one?”
4. Customization!  Since each and every item is made by hand, and you are usually talking directly to the person making it, you can tweak the color or size of something you are interested in, or even get a fully commissioned custom order done.  This avoids you having the excuse of “it was all the store had left.”  Want a cool case for your new gadget, but maybe you have some weird size the store doesn’t offer?  Get is custom made to your exact dimensions!  The possibilities are endless really.
5. You’re helping the environment.  It’s always a nice feeling to ‘go green’ isn’t it?  Handmade items aren’t made in a waste-producing factory and shipped halfway around the world using fuel and energy.  Buying handmade (especially locally) can greatly reduce your carbon footprint on the world.
6. You gain a unique connection with an artisan.  You can be in direct contact with the person who made the item with their own hands.  For some reason this is just really cool.  I mean, think about how awesome it’d be to meet your favorite clothing designer, artist, author, or chef.  It’s kinda like that feeling, but on a much smaller and more intimate scale.
7. Let’s not forget the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing you helped support someone very directly.

For amazing handmade gifts check out our shop and all the wonderful artisans on Etsy!