Archive for the ‘How To’ Category

Did it work?   Leave a comment

I am sure you all have been anxiously awaiting my post concerning the week long leg slimming exercises. Did they work? Did I keep up with them? Am I still walking? That sort of thing….

The answers in summary are maybe, sorta and yes!

I’m delayed because we had our most awesome birthday weekend for Steve, followed by the Fourth of July….. lots of Daddy time, trip to Orlando and other coolness. I may do a post about it since it was pretty much the “cool thing” for LA and me for the week unless I do something else in the next few days.

So the exercises…. I definitely felt that the first two were the most effective of the bunch. There were a few in there that didn’t make me “feel the burn” or anything. I was very concerned that I would be sore doing them daily but there was only minimal soreness.

I really tried to keep up with them daily.

Thursday I rocked!

Friday I did all but one set and I did them right before having some girls over for Book Club…. dedication.

Saturday I woke up battling a migraine so I did all of them except the floor exercises but I felt like they put a strain on my neck/back a bit.

Sunday…. I did them all!

Monday…. I had a super productive morning so the universe had to compensate and send another migraine my way so I didn’t do anything 😦

Tuesday …. I did only the standing ones, because I was afraid of the migraine returning.

Wednesday I did them all.

Thursday…. I did nothing.

Friday (I added an extra day in there because I was a slacker) and I did the standing ones again.

I really felt like the standing ones did the most for me…. but also for some reasons the floor work ones made me feel like they were inviting pain. This is nothing new. I have read in every migraine book and pamphlet that exercising is supposed to help migraines. Some even say if you feel one coming on to go for a walk. But, besides the occasional walk, it seems to be the opposite for me. I don’t know if it’s my body’s self defense mechanism as it fights exercise or if I’m totally doing it wrong. But it’s true… not an excuse. And it is especially true of anything involving “floor work”…. this is explains why I have less than spectacular abs. Or at least why I’m offering up that I have less than spectacular abs.
Also LA tends to think I’ma jungle gym whenever I lay on the floor to exercise.

I did pretty good watching what I ate. Resisted the ice cream and had fruit instead.


My weight stayed the same… went up a pound or two actually (or could be that I’d just eaten, I don’t remember).

When I started I measured my thighs and they were 20 inches and 22 inches in different locations. When I remeasured after a week they were 21 inches in both locations. So I’m not sure if this counts as a success….. hmmmmmmmm

BUT WAIT!!!! Then I read a blurb in Parents Magazine that says:

Danish scientists found that women with skinny thighs had a higher risk of heart disease and premature death than those with meatier ones.

At this point I’m thinking… ok so there is a benefit to my chunky thighs! Yes!!!!
I continue reading….

A circumference of 24.4 inches was most protective.

Not gonna lie… my first thought was “Yes! Danish scientists think I have slender thighs.”

I reveled in that for a minute before I realized, “Danish scientists also think I’m going to die prematurely! Yikes!”

But in all seriousness I am still on a somewhat fitness kick. I’ve looked into Paleo diet, but I’m not sure I can forego bread. I am working on a new exercise plan and I will be posting about it here too…..
Still need nagging! πŸ˜‰


His First Coffee Mug   Leave a comment

So the week before last I took LA to a paint your own pottery location to create a mug for Steve for Father’s Day. Conveniently this also counted as my “something cool and unusual” for her because of my resolution (in case you were keeping track).

I figure he will get lots of crafts and probably lots of mugs but this will be his first.

When we first walked in I immediately panicked a bit inside because there were SO many breakable things in the ceramics store… go figure!

Of course, she immediately wanted to run around and play. This was SO not happening.

She helped me pick out a mug and the lady brought us our paint and we went to town. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted it to look like… good thing I’m flexible because it ended up looking totally different.

LA was happy to paint and switched from color to color. She saw me painting the bottom inside of the mug (which I was trying to do as prep for her to have a base to color on… this did not work) so she tried to do the same. The inside of his mug may even be more decorated than the outside.

She concentrated really hard on her artwork.

At one point though she saw some ceramic painted pumpkins. The child is obsessed with apples so naturally she assumed they were apples and had a mini meltdown because I am mean and would not let her have them.

(oh yeah, we aren’t perfect… we have tantrums because mama won’t let us eat ceramic pumpkins disguised as apples)

Thankfully a nice lady who works there saved the day by providing a cookie… crisis averted.

Her favorite part of the project was when I painted her hands and she got to do hand prints on the mug.

A very successful project for Daddy. He liked it.

By the way, I really wanted to post this earlier because I think it’s such a great idea for something to do with really little ones for gifts. But since my husband reads my blog I couldn’t risk it πŸ˜‰

Also, for this past week I did keep my resolution for us both. Steve had a conference in Miami and we tagged along. For me I got to take a nap by the pool when LA did and enjoy room service. LA and I got to have nearly two days of just us, no distractions, no cleaning and no work. She also got to be the center of attention every time a hotel worker came around… seriously she was the belle of the ball so to speak and she loved it. I think she got totally used to the pampering even though we were only there two nights!
I got used to it… I’ve officially decided that we should be rich. I like room service and pool boys who bring me cool drinks and amazing views.

AND we made French Bread today from scratch… so this counts for LA because she got to make a bit of a mess (although she cried when she couldn’t get dough off her hands) and it counts for me because I am a bread a holic (although I cried a bit when she got dough in her hair and I couldn’t get it out!).
PS I am not seeking help for my addiction, it is too delicious.

Theme Parks…Tips   1 comment

We had a lovely vacation recently involving two fantastic Disney days and one blissful do nothing hotel day. Because my husband is fabulous I spent over an hour just enjoying this….

And we both got to relax because LA knows how to properly enjoy a vacation and did this….

He’s great… and that’s why we were celebrating four years of marriage … see how cute we are?

But enough about the relaxing portion of our vacation… I’m writing about the nitty gritty of taking a wee one to the most Magical Place on Earth. Which will also help you if you are taking your child to a really fun place that charges an exorbitant amount of money to ride their rides, stand in line and over pay for glorified fair food πŸ˜‰ (but dontcha love it!)

We are lucky enough to have a wonderful Auntie in the family (by adoption) who takes us to Disney… she is wonderful and we love her. LA is going to love her more than me someday because she is lovely and sweet and fun … oh, and did I mention she takes her to Disney πŸ˜‰

So, after some inquiring questions from friends, I figured I’d offer up what worked for us and what didn’t…. I also have another post just a bit about the rides and lines and such here.

We went back in October when LA was 14 months old. I was terrified about her having a meltdown while we waited in line… that was my number one concern. So I packed our back pack with a ton of snacks and small distractible toys, several new junk things from dollar store. There was also our camcorder and camera. A change of clothes for her and all the diaper paraphanelia. Plus snacks for Daddy and me. I also brought our Ergo carrier, the plan being that when we had to hold her still I could try to back carry her if she got wiggly. She wasn’t yet at the stage where she wanted to walk all the time but if carried she prefers to be moving. However, at that stage she was very against the Ergo (now she loves it) but it did not get used a lot.

Both trips were a success but I think our second trip went even smoother because we learned more. Much more streamlined and prepared… and there was only 4 months really in her age so even though she’s grown up a bit I think it was because of how we prepared.

It seems the easiest way to tell you what worked for us is to make a list…. so here you!
1. Stroller- We had a brief debate on taking the quick little stroller vs the big snazzy stroller. We went with the big snazzy because really the only time it was a pain was getting on the tram at the beginning and end of the day…. otherwise it was nice to have the little shelf underneath and a stroller with a recline for nap time. I felt bad seeing some kids laying back in very uncomfortable positions in the Disney strollers that do not recline. Also, I don’t think LA would have slept as long in that type of stroller.
While she slept we took turns going on more adult rides πŸ™‚
So for us big stroller was the way to go… better/longer nap, happy baby, and room to carry some of our junk.
So if you don’t mind a brief struggle on and off the tram the big stroller is the way to go!

2. Claim it– No matter what stroller you have identify it! I clipped a bright monkey toy thing to the handle of the stroller. This made it SO much easier to find when coming off a ride. The Disney associates move your strollers sometimes so you cannot guarantee that it will be where you left it.
I know it was a good idea because on the second trip to Disney we forgot the monkey toy and it was MUCH more annoying to find the stroller.

3. Bring a carrier!

Ok so for our first trip we hardly used it. LA was in a stage where she didn’t like it very much, so we definitely could have done without it for that trip.
And for our second trip we only used it a little bit…. but it was nice for me to know in the back of my mind that it was there as an option. We did use it a bit and I was glad we had it. If your child is happy in one you could even have them nap in it! (but then you can’t sneak on adult rides! )
There are probably even some children who could do the whole day just with a carrier and not a stroller. Personally I like having something to dump my stuff in and LA likes to have her on space on occasion so we needed the stroller. But I liked having the Ergo.

4. Leash them?Β  Personally, I’m pretty opposed to those leash-y things that you put toddler in so they can walk around but still be “attached” to you. Not judging anyone… I’m just not a fan (especially when I see parents use them at random locations and seem to use it as an excuse to ignore their child)… but that’s just me.

I wrote previously about how I broke down and bought one for our Texas trip because I had images of having to chase her through and airport and leaving my luggage behind, not good when you are on your own.

However, Disney would be another place I could see them being useful. The bonus is that if you have a super independent child it can let them walk a bit and wander in some areas. BUT Disney is so crowded they could still be run over or hurt…. so it’s a catch 22. But there are areas that it could be helpful.

LA is pretty good about holding our hands, she seems to understand it is the price she pays for walking on her own.

btw this is her adorable new little walk… she walks/runs like Phoebe from Friends (if you haven’t seen that episode check it out, it’s hysterical)

And walking with Daddy at 14 months πŸ™‚

5.Bring some distractions but not too many! The first trip we were overflowing with distractions and we really only used a fraction of them. So for our second adventure I packed far less and was wise enough to pack smaller ones (stickers, beads, etc)…. Disney is so full of stimulation it’s really not too hard to distract them with what is around you. We mostly used them when we were trying to buy ourselves some extra time to eat in the restaurants.

And even in the restaurant there are things for distractions…. like straws… LA loves straws!

6. Bring snacks! The greatest toddler distraction of them all!

I tried to bring some that were healthy. I knew there would be very few veggies at Disney so I bought some of the pureed veggie pouch things. LA loves them and we don’t have them often so they are kind of a treat. She also loves apples and pears so we had those. Cheese was good. Crackers and goldfish, obviously. But we were on vacation so she got some illicit pleasures…. like cheese puffs and M&M’s. LA loves M&M’s…. this is her face when she first realized I had them…

And the relief on her face when she realized I was going to give her some….

M&M’s are our big guns…. if we need more time or a big distraction. I do not recommend this trick for all occasions but it works for Disney because it’s a. a matter of survival and b. it’s supposed to be the happiest place on Earth πŸ™‚
So whatever your big guns are… bring them

7. Pack water… the night before I put a couple bottles of water and a sippy cup with water in it in the freezer. They slowly thaw out during the day time so you have cold water… for free! Not to mention it will keep your fruit and cheese cool in your bag.

8. Pack lunch/dinner!! I always forget that Disney lets you bring in food. We totally did not do this in October but we did this last time. Just some easy sandwiches and chips but it was worth it. It meant we only had to buy one meal at the park a day. That saved us like 30 bucks… worth it! Plus as you eat and snack your bag gets lighter!

9. Getting there- The first time we went we drove over in the morning and got there about an hour after opening. It worked fine for us… LA slept on the way over so she was fresh and ready to go. We were a bit tired.
The second time we went we stayed overnight at a hotel the night before. That was obviously nicer πŸ™‚

10. Leaving- The first time we stayed all the way through the end. We watched the Electric Light parade and the fireworks afterwards. LA really liked both. I really think she would have liked them even more the second time we went but we didn’t stay until closing that time…. we were so tired.
But the other reason we didn’t stay was the horror that happens after the Electric Light Parade…. so BE WARNED! here is what happened.

We waited to the left of the castle about 45 minutes before the parade. We thought that would be enough time… it wasn’t really. It was an ok spot for us to watch from because we could see a straight shot down Main Street but we were not close and there were a ton of people. Immediately after the parade there was chaos. It seemed everyone was either trying to get out of the park down Main Street or to go to the other side of the park. It was bumper to bumper strollers and people were NOT nice. I struggled to keep up with Steve and LA in the stroller. I worried about LA getting smacked in the face with people’s swinging bags so I carried her. Then Steve was paranoid about someone knocking me over with her in my arms (and rightly so). It was awful… it took us over a half an hour for us to get from the castle to the opening of Main Street.

We stopped at the Baby Station to change her and leave… but we had taken so long the fireworks started so we watched those. I then nursed LA and we tried to leave the park. More stroller deadlock. Then a REALLY long wait to leave the park with a ton of very pushy, tired people.

I’m not saying the fireworks and parade are not worth it… they are awesome. But either be prepared to deal with what we dealt with (and we were there in the off season) or plan ahead.

Here is what our plan will be for next time (when we are definitely doing the parade and fireworks)…. We will stake out a good comfy spot on the curb at the head of Main Street. A good spot near the entrance to the park with a straight view towards the castle. We will stake it out about one and a half to two hours before the parade is scheduled to start.

Mommy is going to bring a book and take one for the team while Daddy takes LA on another fun ride. Mama will hold the spot for them. They will come back with food and we will sit and eat until it’s time to watch. If baby gets fussy we will take turns looking in shops with her while the other holds the good spot. This way we can all see the parade and we are in a good location to just duck out and avoid the chaos afterwards. Feel free to steal our plan!

11. When to go- From my personal experience and our inside Auntie information October, February and the first part of March is the least busy time to go. It is also, coincidentally, the nicest weather in Florida… it’s a win win!

12. Know when to leave- If you are park hopping time your visit for nap and lunch. On our October trip we just did one day. This last trip we did Hollywood Studios and Disney on Thursday and then Animal Kingdom and Disney on Saturday. We left our lunch in the car in a cooler. LA napped and we ate between parks. Less to carry, a good nap… a little break for us. A win win.

If you can afford to stay on site go to the hotel and take a nap, it’s worth it.

If we had season tickets or several days I would probably recommend going over in the morning and exhausting the kids. Bring them back to the hotel for a nap and go back after dinner…. if you go back at all. All depends on what you can do.

13. Put your baby to bed! I made this mistake… on our between day we rested at the hotel. I should have put LA to bed at her normal time. But it’s vacation I stupidly reasoned and let her take another swim in our giant jaccuzzi tub in our room. The next day we paid for it. On our first day God was with us and we had a perfect day. Our second day, when we did Animal Kingdom/Disney it was the opposite. LA had meltdown after meltdown, the crowds were awful (it was a Saturday vs a school day), and it was so hot…. oh, until it rained. I really wish I’d just put her to bed.

Steve and I both feel like doing two days in a row would be suicide. He is sure that just doing two park days over a three day vacation is a bad idea…. I think it’s doable if you make sure to rest on the between day and put the baby to bed early the night before! Don’t make my mistakes!

14. Use those fast passes! They are amazing…. do some research when you go and don’t waste them. You can only have one at a time on your tickets. So don’t get one for something like Small World, which moves quickly and during certain times of the day has little to no line at all. Use it for the big scary lines.

15. Strategize!– Take some time and look things up. Apple has an iPhone ap that tells you what each ride is and who it’s aimed at. You can get an idea of which have longest lines because it posts wait times.

For example- When we went to Hollywood Studios Auntie C told us that Rockin Roller Coaster and Toy Story have the longest lines in the park. We arrived shortly after the park opened. Auntie C took LA to get fast passes for us all while Steve and I went and rode Rockin Roller Coaster. When we went in the line was 20 minutes long… by the time we came out it was over an hour.

Auntie C got us fast passes for between 11 and 12:30… we walked past the ride about a half an hour later and the fast passes were already being given out for 7 n the evening! So just be aware of which rides have the longest lines and will need fast passes and plan accordingly.

If you don’t want to do the research yourself I can be bribed for some nice cookies or a large Coca Cola to tell you all of my secrets πŸ™‚

16. If you can… get a hotel-Β I really loved having the hotel… it made it feel more like a vacation rather than a really exhausting, fun day that still ends up back at home. Also, we live about 90 minutes from the park so it’s easy to drive over there and back in a day… in all probability the baby will sleep on the way there and back. So not much difference for them… but huge difference for the adults.

There are a TON of cheap hotel deals. We stayed at a nice one called Mystic Dunes Golf Resort… we had a one bedroom villa with a full kitchen, a hot tub in the bedroom, leather furniture, 4 pools, giant sandbox, free use of putt put golf, ping pong and bicycles for 85 a night.

If you keep an eye on groupon you can get some other amazing deals if you are willing to give some of your time.

There are websites for Time Share deals (search Time Share Disney deals or something)… I’ve seen ones that are two nights in the hotel and two Disney passes for 150 dollars… which is great. You juts have to commit to hear their 2 hour spiel or what not. You can usually only do this once a year, but that works for us. My husband, however, hates going to the spiel… I don’t love it but if you want to give me cash, tickets and a snazzy hotel so you can talk to me about something I cannot afford all while I munch on your free breakfast/lunch… by all means go ahead.

For example our hotel had a deal of they would give you 50$ cash, two tickets to their expensive golf course, and two more nights at their hotel for listening to their pitch. To me, that is worth 2 hours of my time….

If you don’t stay overnight before or after or both… bring PJ’s in the car for your children. Make sure they have a fresh diaper (if necessary) and are cuddled up with whatever they like to sleep with in PJ’s and head home. If you are lucky they will transfer to bed and you can pass out yourself!

17. Remember it’s supposed to be fun… I can’t tell you how many parents we saw shouting at their child or looking annoyed or run down or unhappy. I think there is pressure to get your money’s worth (and with good reason) and to make it this amazing time that it can get to you. You are trying so hard to make things perfect that you snap. Just make a short list of things in your mind that you’d like to do and everything else is extra… and relax. I know, easier said than done… but just remember you can always come back.

So…. those are the best tips I can think of…

This is a really long post and I actually wanted to tell you about the rides and lines and what not… I will put that in another post πŸ˜‰

If I remember more tips I’ll post them… if you have more I’d love to see them.

Handmade Christmas successes- Coasters   3 comments

So another project that I felt turned out well was homemade coasters.

I purchased white tiles from home depot for 10 cents a piece (I think!). I made coaster sets of four.

I also had to buy Modge Podge, acrylic sealant and regular glue…. this was the most expensive part. If you are planning on making one set of coasters (as I originally was) this is not cost effective. If you will use these things or will make lots of coasters (or use them for future projects) than it is πŸ™‚

Then you need fun paper. You can use anything. I happened to use some cool scrapbook paper I had. You could even use family pictures which is fun!

You need to cut the paper until it is slightly smaller than the top of your coaster.

Then you paint on a layer of modge podge and set the paper in the center of the tile. Paint another thin layer on top and let it dry.

repeat this 2-4 times or until you feel it’s firmly “on”…. The modge podge will dry clear not to worry.

When you are done and they are dry you need to spray them with the acrylic sealant… this will make them waterproof, and effective coasters πŸ˜‰

I took mine outside to do this and I did several layers as well.

Next you cut out felt and glue it to the bottom… voila!

I failed to take completed pictures but you can get the general idea I think.
I was pleased with them, those who received them as gifts seemed to like them. My only complaint was even though I let them thoroughly dry the felt seemed to stick to the coaster underneath when you stacked them….
But they were cute πŸ™‚

Handmade Christmas successes- wine glasses!   3 comments

I saw this idea on pinterest and just loved it. The idea is you take wine glasses and basically bedazzle them. Steve says I should not call it bedazzling because it brings up tasteless 80’s references… and he’s right. But it is the most accurate term I can think of.

I bought the glasses at the dollar store and I collected the beads and stones from various sales. The best being the Borders going out of business sale. I also bought someΒ tinierΒ beads at Joanns and I had some on hand from some old project or another.

You need glass sealant. The kind from home depot used for aquariums is waterproof and dishwasher proof (reportedly, I have not tried it although I feel I will have to).

For this first set I used black, frosted and clear stones. Some small pearl and black faceted beads as well as some metal rolling, rivet style beads.

You definitely need rubber gloves and a protected base for working.

Next you take the acrylic and mush it all over the bottom of the wine glass and then apply the beads and stones in any pattern you like. I started with the large ones and then worked my way down in size filling in spots, using the tiny ones last. A toothpick was very helpful to get them in nooks and crannies.


I was and am… very pleased with how they turned out. These pictures don’t even really do them justice. They did take nearly a half an hour per glass to complete, so not a quick thing.

I made a couple black sets like this, one blue set for my mom, a green set, an amber set. My grandmother gave me some vintage wine glasses that are petite in size…. I bedazzled those and they look adorable. A few people got them as gifts.

Now here is the thing… I’m actually thinking of opening an Etsy shop selling these as well as other things. I read once that to make money on Etsy you have to be selling something that no one else is making. So I did an Etsy search and there is one mosaic glass seller, she takes teeny tiny pieces of glass and does mosaic, very pretty. But not the same.

The great thing is I could make them special order so I wouldn’t have to have sets of glass piling up everywhere and the possibilities are endless. I could bedazzle the whole glass with pink or sparkles for bachelorette parties etc.

So I think I’m going to do it…. the question is what should I call my shop? Steve suggested Wine by the Glass. Which I think is adorable, but it does limit me to the wine glasses. My mom thought Art by Angel, which I like as well. Any thoughts?

Also, can someone come up with a better, classier term than bedazzling lol?

PS my brother is going to take some fabulous proper pictures of the set

Posted March 4, 2012 by etainl in Arts & Crafts, Cutting Costs, How To, Stay at Home Mom

Handmade Christmas- successes! Plum Wine   Leave a comment

One of my favorite things that I made this year was plum wine. Yummm πŸ™‚ I thought it was too strong and needed to be diluted with sprite or another mixer but some of the other gift recipients drank it straight and were happy with it.

Plum Liquer Recipe:

Makes 3 1/2 liter jars


2 1/2 lb.s of small Italian prune plums

2 cups of sugar

1 cup of water

2-in. long cinnamon stick

5 whole cloves

1 1/2 cups of vodka

Buy small just slightly larger than walnuts (I used old spaghetti jars).

Prick each plum 2 or 3 times with a darning needle.

Combine the sugar and water in a high-sided 10-inch skillet and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add half of the plums to the syrup; they should fit comfortably in the pan in one layer. Return the syrup to a boil and cook, pushing the plums around in syrup with a wooden spoon, for 2 to 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, gently transfer the plums to a 9 by 13 inch glass baking dish. Repeat with the remaining plums. The trick is to boil the plums without tearing the skins too much. Cooking the plums in one layer and using a wooden spoon to push them around in the syrup minimize breakage.

Pour the hot syrup over the plums, now in a single layer in baking dish, and cover immediately with a sheet of plastic wrap. Leave the plums overnight in the syrup, turning them once or twice.

With the Slotted Spoon, transfer teh plums to sterilzed jars, filling the jars 3/4 way full.

Transfer the syrup to a saucepan, add the cinnamon stock and cloves, bring to a boil. Continue to boil until slightly thrickened. You should have 1 1/2 cups left.

Strain the hot syrup, pour it over the plums, filling each jar about 1/2 full.

Let cool and pour in the vodka. The liquid should cover the plums completely. Seal and store in cool, dark place. Leave to rest for at least 2 months before opening. Gently tilt the jars every so often to mix the syrup and the vodka.


Homemade Christmas- planning   1 comment

So last year I posted about the food gifts that I made for homemade Christmas. My standby is Apple Butter, I make a mean apple butter, and I tried something new, Red Velvet Cake balls, which were amazing. I also always make chocolate covered pretzels, I think Steve snuck that in our marriage vows so I have to.

This year I did not make the apple butter, and I did miss it a bit. I made one batch of chocolate covered pretzels, pretty much just to keep Steve happy πŸ™‚ Then I tried to make one batch of red velvet cake balls…. it took forever! Last year LA was immobile and if she got fussy I could talk or sing her out of it long enough to clean my hands. This year having my hands covered in cake and goo was a dangerous, dangerous game. So pretty much the only time to work on them was while she was sleeping and I had other homemade gifts to work on so it took forever!

I never really went back and posted what I made last year for homemade Christmas so let me tell you now πŸ™‚ I never really took pictures either, very neglectful of me.

I made homemade sugar scrub, which turned out really well, even had two recipients ask for the recipe so they could make more. The only issue I had with it was something to put it in that held it well and was nice for presentation.

Another popular thing I made was Skittle Vodka… yum!!! Pretty much all the boys on our Christmas gift list got this. It was easy but a bit time consuming in separating the Skittles and it took WAY more skittles that I imagined. We needed 8-10 skittles for each ounce we made. Then you soak the skittles in the vodka. I used mason jars because shaking them up occasionally is necessary to really help the waxy part dissolve. Then you strain the wax part from the vodka and voila! The straining part was annoying, they recommended cheesecloth or coffee filters, which is what I made and the straining took forever! I made a batch of purple, red, green, etc… and then each flavor was bottled individually. They were yummy…. although the yellow was super strong and vodka-y. Everyone who received them seemed to really enjoy them πŸ™‚

I also made the family little photo frames with LA footprint, a poem and her picture.

I am thinking I made other things but I can’t remember what they were. In fact I’m certain I did, perhaps it will come to me. Unfortunately one of the main things I remember about last years Christmas season was being stressed to finish the homemade gifts. It was lovely giving them and everyone seemed to enjoy them and it did save us money… but whew!

Oh and I made LA her own Taggie… πŸ™‚ she seemed to like that!

So fast forward to this year….

I learned my lesson, I decided to start early. A group of similarly minded mama friends created a Facebook board of ideas (mostly from Pinterest) of homemade Christmas gift ideas. I got A LOT (if not all) of my ideas from them, which was great because I had no idea what to do for this year.

There was a really great group created on Facebook where people posted ideas and helped people with suggestions. We also each created a list of who we were going to make presents for and what we were going to make. Mine was fairly ambitious but I did accomplish most of what I planned.

Here is said ambitious list…. If I crossed it out I made it.

Steve- Husband- 33 years old. Techie, Gamer, sometimes plays golf with his friends.

This is the hardest one! I was thinking of making him the “I love you because” dry erase board. I think he’d get a kick out of it, but I also feel like it’s more a family gift than one for him.

La-DD- will be nearly 16 months old

Mom- loves history, travel, archaeology, very sentimental. Also need to make her a b-day gift for a few weeks before Christmas

Fan family tree from Pinterest

Going to transcribe some old family movies onto DVD and make the covers and labels all professional like.

Going to make a photo book and DVD of La’s first year.

Maybe something like this

And maybe this or an ornament for her birthday- photo wreath

Step Dad- tailgating, techie, cooking (former chef)… probably my hardest person to buy or make for after my husband


Going to transcribe some old family movies onto DVD and make the covers and labels all professional like.

Going to make a photo book and DVD of La’s first year.

He might like this book safe

Step mom- loves spa things, interior design, reading…also have to make her a birthday gift for a month before Christmas

Think she’ll like this, the decorated wine glasses

And then maybe a spa package

milk bath-

lavender eye pillow

I also thought of the coasters….

and considered the basket

Grandmother- very sentimental…. likes music, wine… always saying she doesn’t need anything

Going to transcribe some old family movies onto DVD and make the covers and labels all professional like.

Going to make a photo book and DVD of La’s first year.


Brother- 30- professional photographer…. loves his dog, adventure, traveling etc

BIL- 36- loves to cook, technie, into mechanics thought about cooking something but not sure….

MIL- loves to garden, cook, history… tinkering

Going to make a photo book and DVD of La’s first year.

thought maybe something for her garden….

also thought of these wine glasses

Various close friends- definitely thinking the wine glasses

or the coasters

also thought of the jewelry stand


Usually get gift for best friends husbands too as they are my hubby’s closest friends.

Also usually make cookies, brownies, candy for co-workers and acquaintances…. usually something a little bigger and nicer for Steve’s boss…. last year did sugar scrub.

Maybe Plum Liquer or Blackberry Wine (my hubby could get on helping me make either)