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Monday, December 30, 2013

New Years Eve Tables, Party Ideas and Resolutions.




































Balloon Drop

Aside from the part where you have to blow up enough balloons to nearly pass right out, this is the perfect celebration element for a New Year’s party. I thought these instructions were the best I found. Of course, you can always go with the ready made kits like the one pictured above, which is for sale at Target or any number of other retailers this time of year.
These are a few of my favorite ideas for enjoying my kid’s school break. Maybe we won’t do all of them, but doing just a couple of them will make great memories for our friends and us.

Confetti Cake

Because cake is how you know it’s a party (and any gathering without a cake is just a meeting), confetti cake – or piñata cake – is the way to go for a New Year’s bash. I think it would be fun to paint a big “12:00” or “2014” on it with icing!

DIY Photo Booth

EVERYONE has a phone/ camera phone these days. And we love taking photos. Surf the web for fun ideas to DIY a photo booth at home. You need only a small designated space. Then do something as simple as running streamers from the ceiling and provide a basket with printable photo booth props.






source: www.gpb.org


Each January, roughly one in three Americans resolve to better themselves in some way. A much smaller percentage of people actually make good on those resolutions. While about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, less than half (46%) are still on target six months later, a 2002 study found.

It's hard to keep up the enthusiasm months after you've swept up the confetti, but it's not impossible. This year, pick one of the following worthy resolutions, and stick with it. Here’s to your health!

Most popular new year's resolutions, but most important is stay true always.
Lose Weight
Volunteer to Help Others
Quit Smoking
Get a Better Education
Get a Better Job
Save Money
Get Fit
Eat Healthy Food
Manage Stress
Manage Debt
Take a Trip
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Drink Less Alcohol



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Monday, December 23, 2013

Vegan Holiday Cookies

I found some great cookies that Ava Rose would enjoy making that are vegan friendly and good for kids with an egg intolerance. Ava Rose loved making the gingerbread men or women as she called them! 





Gingerbread Men/Women Cookies 
(Gluten Free Vegan)


gingerbread cookies
  • 2 3/4 cups Sarah's gluten free flour blend
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, soft
  • 1/4 cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract


    simple icing
    • 2 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar
    • 2-3 tablespoons So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In medium bowl, sift together flour blend, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In bowl of stand mixer, beat together powdered sugar, molasses, coconut oil, coconut milk and vanilla until smooth. Add flour mixture and continue to mix for 1-2 minutes. Use hands to knead dough until it comes together. Form into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour. 

    On counter, lay out large piece of plastic wrap. Place one disc of cookie dough in the center and top with another piece of plastic wrap. Roll with rolling pin until dough is about 1/4" thick. Cut dough using gingerbread man cookie cutter or desired shape. Carefully place cookies on prepared baking sheets (place dough back in refrigerator if it gets too soft to work with). Bake for 7-8 minutes. Do NOT over bake, as cookies won't turn golden brown. Remove cookies from oven and place on cooling rack to cool completely.

    While cookies are cooling, make simple icing. Mix together powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons coconut milk. Stir until smooth. Add more coconut milk as needed. Place glaze in piping bag with round tip. Pipe onto cooled cookies.

    Source: www.sarahbakesgfree.com


    Sugar Cookies (Vegan Friendly) 

    makes about 3 trays full of cookies 



    5 cups all-purpose flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 cup earth balance
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    2 eggs worth of egg replacer or 1/2 cup applesauce
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp maple extract 
    1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp non-dairy milk

    1. Mix together 2 cups of the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
    2. In a large bowl, cream together the earth balance and sugar. Then beat in the egg-replacer, vanilla, maple and non-dairy milk.
    3. Stir the dry into the wet and gradually add enough remaining flour until the dough is stiff enough to roll out. 
    4. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. 
    5. Preheat the oven to 375º and roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/8" thickness.
    6. Cut out into pretty shapes, then re-roll and repeat until all the dough is used up!
    7. Bake the cookies on an un-greased cookie sheet for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

    Frosting:

    2 tbsp earth balance
    2 cups powdered sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/4 cup soy milk

    1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and mix on high until smooth and creamy.
    2. Divide into separate bowls and mix a couple drops of food coloring into each bowl.

    Once the cookies are completely cool, decorate them with frosting and sprinkles and place them on parchment paper to let the frosting set.

    Source: www.thatssovegan.blogspot.com




    HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    Holiday Entertaining



    Christmas Cookie Bark




    Ingredients:
    • 14 whole Oreos, broken up (get the Christmas ones if you can)

    • 1 1/2 cups pretzels, broken. (long skinny ones work great)

    • 1 cup Christmas colored M&M's.

    • 1 lb white chocolate or almond bark.

    • Christmas colored sprinkles.


    Printable Holiday Tags.
    Adorable and Unique tags we found, we just couldn't resist
    Downloadable PDFs

































































    CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE FILES




    Christmas Trivia Game
    Keep your guest interested. 
    You can give out little prizes like $1 scratch offs or stocking stuffer type prizes. 
    Everyone will get a laugh and loosen up a bit.

    Q1. Who created Rudolph, the most popular reindeer of Santa Claus?
    Robert L. May, created Rudolph in 1939, when he wrote a Christmas-themed story-poem to attract customers in his department store.


    Q2. Who was the star of the Christmas movie 'Jingle All the Way'?
    Arnold Schwarzenegger


    Q3. What is the first name of Scrooge, the principal character of the novel, A Christmas Carol?
    Ebenezer


    Q4. How many reindeer drive Santa Claus' sleigh (counting Rudolph)?
    Nine


    Q5. Who once stole Christmas?
    The Grinch


    Q6. Who was the author of 'A Christmas Carol'?
    Charles Dickens

    Q7. Who was the star of the movie titled 'White Christmas'?
    Bing Crosby


    Q8. Which Christmas carol did Jimmy Boyd make famous when he was just 13 years old?
    I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus


    Q9. Which country was the first to use the tradition of Christmas trees?
    Germany


    Q10. Who invented electric Christmas lights?
    Thomas Edison in 1880


    Q11. The legend of Santa Claus is associated with which saint or monk?
    Saint Nicholas


    Q12. Which was the last US state to declare an official holiday for Christmas?
    Oklahoma


    Q13. Which was the first country to issue a Christmas postage stamp?
    Canada


    Q14. When was the world's first Christmas card sent?
    In 1843, the same year Charles Dickens wrote, A Christmas Carol.


    Q15. When was Christmas declared as a federal holiday?
    1870


    Q16. Which country has a tradition of a witch dropping gifts for children through the chimney at Christmas?
    Italy


    Q17. Which of the following is not the name of one of Santa's reindeer - Dasher, Donner, Doppler, and Dancer?
    Doppler


    Q18. What is Santa Claus called in France?
    Père Noël


    Q19. Which country is the largest exporter of Christmas trees?
    Denmark


    Q20. Which American President banned Christmas trees in the White House?
    Theodore Roosevelt


    Q21. How many days do we have between Christmas and the Epiphany?
    Twelve


    Q22. Which country follows the tradition to light candles on the graves of relatives, on Christmas eve?
    Finland


    Q23. Where did the Nativity take place?
    Bethlehem


    Q24. Which of these was not a gift given by the 'Wise Men' to Baby Jesus - gold, silver, myrrh, or frankincense?
    Silver


    Q25. Which company made the concept of Santa Claus popular worldwide?
    Coca-Cola





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    Friday, December 13, 2013

    Tour Our Home for the Holidays

    We are so excited this year because a top magazine came to shoot our house! It was such an honor and as soon as we can reveal we will. For now enjoy a tour of some of our decorations. Ava Rose and I enjoyed decorating each room. Our wonderful friend Dawn from Hydrangea Home helped put on all the finishing touches as well as create our favorite Welcome to Rose Cottage sign. Nancy, for those that know her from the store and from living locally helped us dress up the outside with lots of greenery and wonderful ideas. It was so great to work with such talented women. I feel honored and blessed.  Not every year has been easy with the ups and downs of life but this year we are making it special and enjoying every single day. Beyond the decorations and shopping we are enjoying friends and family. Ava Rose and I are watching old movies, baking and just keeping to old traditions. I like to savor each day. It is so easy being in retail to make this season flash right by but not this year. This year I am slowing down and enjoying every moment. Ava Rose's 1st school play was so great as well as her first big school trip to see Frosty the Snowman, her fun crazy Christmas sweater day was today. This weekend we are going to try ice skating. Life truly does go by so fast. The only way I learned to slow it down is live for the day and make each day a little fun. I hope this holiday season no matter where you are, and no matter how you decorate and celebrate you are blessed as well. You can tour our home and projects on our website.






























    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    Finding the Perfect Pet Proof Slipcovers



    With a house full of pets and a 5 year old that loves to snack on the sofa my quest for the perfect slipcover began. It was not easy. I did hours of research on what fabric will be Harry proof (our rescue dog that likes to eat the sofa when he is left alone), Ava proof (my five year old that likes to snack on the sofa), Cat proof for our kitties that think it can be a scratching post.

    I love a well designed home that is livable. I do not want to obsess about the slipcovers. I do not want to ever dry clean. I want to throw them in the wash and dryer once a week. So my search for the perfect fabric began. I wanted a solid this time as I currently have Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic slipcovers, I wanted that relaxed look and I wanted them to be soft to touch and easily removable. I considered cotton duck, twill and chenille. I read article after article on how pets can destroy all 3. I don't use leather and I do not want any micro fiber. 

    I am my pickiest customer! After a solid week of research I selected Sunbrella. I read countless blog posts and message boards how Sunbrella will hold up with pets and children. Easy to wash and easy to spot clean. So my fabric is on the way. I will let you know how it works out for us in the next few months. Hopefully these slips are bulletproof! 

    Lavender Fields offers Sunbrella fabrics and also custom slipcovers. 
    Contact us to speak to a designer on staff. 






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