Month: December 2012

13 fun holiday activities to keep the kids occupied all week long

If your kids are anything like mine, they’re dogging your heels and sneaking under the Christmas tree to peek at presents any chance that they can get. So I’m desperate to find anything to keep them occupied for the next 24 hours until Santa arrives–and frankly, through the rest of winter break. Here’s a handy round-up of some of the crafts, activities, fun apps, holiday movies, and other ideas we’ve featured that are sure to keep your kids entertained while you finish up your gift-wrapping, or start your own thank-you note writing. Which, by the way, is one of...

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A babysitter for New Year’s Eve? No problem! A comparison of the top two caregiver websites.

I’ve personally had good fortune finding babysitters using both Sittercity.com and Care.com, national services which help members match up with trustworthy child care providers. In fact, that’s how I found our current beloved nanny who’s been with us for two years. Now it’s rare that my husband is home for any of the major holidays given his work (including Christmas, unfortunately). But this year, he’s going to be home for New Year’s Eve. This is big news, people! And big enough for me to start hunting down a babysitter so that we can ring in 2013 outside of the...

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5 tech picks you won’t want to miss this week

Whether you need last-minute gifts or a way to make the tech under the tree extra special, here are some of our favorite picks from the past week. 1. Giving the gift of a fancy tech gadget? Take this extra step to make a tech gift truly special and unique. 2. Want a personalized visit from Santa in your own home? You won’t believe what this app can do, and the website version is free! 3. Maybe the best ever free holiday tag printables we’ve seen. Seriously. 4. When is a Silent Night not actually silent? We have three...

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Add some mad, merry scientists to your Christmas tree

My kids are finally at the age where I can outsource most of the tree decorating duties to them and still be pretty darn pleased with the results. It’s true: I haven’t tweaked a single strand of lights or rearranged the glass balls. But I just discovered that my tree is missing something: these super cool scientist ornaments. Brooklyn-based Eavesmade creates laser cut wood ornaments featuring scientists whose specialties range from astronomy and ecology to chemistry and engineering. I was thrilled to see old school greats like Galileo, Copernicus, and Tesla on the list, along with accomplished female scientists...

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Sugar Wish: a last-minute gift that’s super sweet

I love candy. But being a bit of a candy connoisseur, I’m very particular about my sugar. Personally, I like a combination of sweet and sour, with just the right amount of gummy. But it’s hard to know what will delight someone’s particular sweet tooth, you know? That’s why Sugar Wish is such a cool way to give sweets to your favorite sweeties. When you gift a Sugar Wish, you choose a recipient and a box size. You write a sweet message (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) and then, boom, your friend’s inbox lights up. He then gets to...

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The prettiest 2013 calendars for the prettiest walls

If you’re like me, you tend to get your brand-new 2013 calendar sometime…say, in March, when it’s on sale. Or you can be smart (like I’m trying to be this year) and get ready for January by starting now, with one of these gorgeous 2013 calendars. –Liz I am so taken with this beautiful modern 2013 wall calendar by Wendy Chung of Etsy’s Dozi. Printed on cover weight paper, just hang the binder clip on your wall or bulletin board for a quick glance at the days and weeks. ($22) Ana Bond’s handpainted designs for Rifle Paper Co. are...

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7 make-ahead Christmas brunch recipes for a no-fuss, all-delicious morning

Now that I have kids, breakfast has become my favorite meal of Christmas day. I want it to feel special–a quiet, cozy time to wind down after a whirlwind of gift opening and before a whirlwind of family–but making a special Christmas breakfast can feel like a serious chore. Who wants to be in the kitchen while everyone else is opening presents?Enter make-ahead Christmas day brunch recipes. These seven Christmas breakfast recipes can all be made, or at least prepped, ahead of time. Do the work the night before, pop a delicious breakfast in the oven, and spend the...

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The best last minute gift for a mom, dad, grandparent, best friend, or just someone you really love.

I get it–you’re busy. We all are. Sometimes the people we love most in the world are the hardest to shop for so we put it off; or sometimes they just get relegated to the “last minute gift list” after all the earlier deadlines with teachers and coaches and sitters. If you’ve got a few moments this weekend, a truly special gift doesn’t have to require a ton of craftiness or even a ton of money. Rag & Bone Bindery, makers of some of my favorite ever journals, photo albums, and baby books, has taken care of both. I...

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9 free, fabulous printable gift tags to top off your Christmas gifts

It’s never too late for more awesome free printable gift tags. In fact, I’m pretty certain I will be in good company this weekend when I start–and finish–all my wrapping for Christmas. There’s still time to stock up on tape, double check the gift wrap supply, and print out some of these lovely (and free!) gift tags to top off those thoughtful gifts. –Christina I adore how these printable bauble gift tags from fellow fellow look like they were printed on kraft paper, but were really just printed on regular card stock. So festive and pretty in muted colors, plus...

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5 of our favorite Pinterest pins this week

Obsessed with Pinterest like we are? Follow us and find goodies like this every day. 1. Last minute holiday gift tag printables–got you covered! 2. Some awesome baubles for New Year’s Eve that are affordable, and give back in a beautiful way. 3. 6 babysitter gifts that you can still get together this weekend–don’t forget your caregivers! 4. The most gorgeous homemade holiday lollipops–and you can make them too. 5. Great holiday music from an unexpected source. (Sick of the traditional stuff yet?)...

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What the Mayans got right: hot chocolate

Well, we here are beyond happy to know that the world is still around today, Mayan calendar apocalypse warnings notwithstanding. It would be so wrong for it all to end before we get a chance to dig into Season 3 of Downton Abbey.  So we were thinking, if you’ve got a friend with a sense of humor–or you just need a delicious last-minute holiday gift–we think a homemade hot chocolate in honor of the Mayans who originated the drink in the first place might be just the thing. This Mayan hot chocolate recipe from Hello Giggles is my kind...

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Web Coolness: Snowflakes for Sandy Hook, DIY Christmas villages, and gift wrap inspiration

Here are some of our favorite links from around the web this week. We hope you like them too! We have been heartbroken all week over last week’s tragedy. Here are links to some of the best online responses to Sandy Hook that put into words a bit of the deep sadness we feel, even as we try to maintain a sense of normalcy for our children. In addition, What Six Looks Like is an achingly beautiful reminder of just how young and full of life this age is. Such a pretty DIY Christmas village can be made out...

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O, joy! The sweetest aromatherapy of the season

Several years ago, we introduced you to a new line of wonderful aromatherapy-based skin care products from hellomellow. All this time later, I still really like their body butter–and the room spray, which I’ve used more than once in my girls’ room to “ensure good dreams.” So I’m happy to check back with the company and find out they’ve expanded the line with some lovely new scents and some fabulous gift sets–just in time for the holidays. The Joy scent sounds perfect for the coming months–a blend of juniper berry and sage (yum) which comes in everything from a little lip...

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Snowflakes for Sandy Hook

I just got wind of the most beautiful idea – a group putting together a mountain of handmade snowflakes from children everywhere, to help decorate the new halls of the brand new school where the Sandy Hook elementary students will be returning after the holidays. The information is on the National Parent-Teacher Association Facebook page, but the gist is simple: Send handmade snowflakes to: Connecticut PTA, 60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden, CT06514 Now obviously not every parent has talked to their children about the recent tragedy, nor should you. I think you could still get your...

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Hey, good-looking! 10 attractive gift cards you’ll be glad to give

We admit it, we’re not the biggest fans of gift cards as holiday gifts. It can seem somewhat last minute and impersonal. Then again, there are some great gift cards out there, and if it’s for the right store or service, a gift card may be exactly what your loved one is hoping for. Fortunately, there are so many pretty gift card designs available from many of our favorite places. We rounded up some of the most attractive ones, so that you can find the right way to help someone splurge (and help you feel better about going the...

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Heifer International gifts: Buy the cow. And the goat, and the flock of chicks.

We love end-of-year charitable donations (or any time of year) to deserving organizations, and we’ve always been fans of Heifer International. Especially now that they’ve made it even easier to help a family take care of itself through your donation–and it happens to make a fabulous Christmas gift too. Heifer International is an amazing nonprofit that for years has been working to end world hunger by giving milk cows, goats, and flocks of chicks to impoverished communities–all to help the communities help themselves. And this year, they’ve added their own Christmas Wish List that makes it really easy to find...

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10 easy, edible holiday gifts that kids can help make

Shipping time is running out and shopping time is ticking down, but there’s still plenty of time to whip up an edible gift handmade with love. These holiday treats are easy enough to make with the kids’ help–and so much easier than dragging them through crowded stores! And they’re totally delicious to boot. Like hot-fudge-rocky-road-sugary-maple-bacon delicious. No scary fruitcake here, promise. –Stacie If you and your kid feel like baking, take a break from cookies to give these pretty Peppermint Cream Squares (above) a try, thanks to our friends at The Kitchn. I can’t get over how festive they look. Edible...

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DIY Star Wars LEGO ornaments: perfect for your Hothmas tree

This is no mere ornament. It’s a LEGO ornament. A LEGO Star Wars ornament that you can DIY. And it’s going to look great hanging on your tree, along with a LEGO Millenium Falcon and TIE Fighter. Besides, isn’t pew pew pew more fun than ho ho ho? These three sweet Star Wars build-it-yourself LEGO ornaments are the brainchild of author, artist, and photographer Chris McVeigh, who has thoughtfully provided step-by-step instructions on buying the right bricks and putting them all together. He also offers tutorials on sleighs, gingerbread houses, and a perfectly roasted LEGO turkey, but you know...

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You don’t need a blue Easy-Bake Oven to get boys to bake

Although Easy-Bake ovens are now coming out with “boy-friendly” versions (what, girls don’t like blue?), there have always been lots of options for boys to cook–really cook–with the help of great products and cookbooks for kids. Handstand Kids is a longtime favorite company of ours. We love that they have an inclusive baking book that doesn’t have smiling girls holding pink cupcakes on the cover. In fact, any budding bakers in the family will want to get their fingers all over this book. The new Handstand Kids Baking Around the World cookbook is perfect for any kid at all...

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Coffee gifts? Don’t mind if I do. Give, I mean.

I admit it. I used to settle for a cup of coffee from just about anywhere, then quickly douse it with milk and sweetener. Then I had a proper cup of joe, which was like the pigeon describing a hot dog to the duck in Mo Willem’s beloved The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog: “They are a taste sensation. Each morsel is a joy!” Thanks to this new monthly coffee subscription service that’s all about coffee, that joy is now yours to give to others. Purchase a gift subscription to Tonx [edited to add, Tonx is now Blue Bottle Coffee]–I...

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