Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Gifts even the smallest of kids can make.

photo credit: family fun

Each year I try and find gifts that come from the heart. Those that I know myself, my husband and family members will treasure for years, they are those that are made by my kids.

Here are a few idea's that perhaps you can use to share with your family members too! I promise they will cherish them more than anything you can buy!

1. Framed Museum pieces

a. first look for your children's most colorful artwork that they have done either at home or school and take it to Kinko's and have it reduced and color copied to either 4" x 6", 5" x 7" or 8" x 10".

photo credit: pottery barn

b. look at your local craft stores for matted frames or another great place to look is pottery barn.

c. open the frame, take your child's artwork center it and glue it to the back cardboard, place the glass on top and secure. This makes a wonderful gift for years to come!

photo credit: Martha Stewart Living

2. Button Wreaths

Being the avid scrapbooker that I am I have tons of stock in buttons and my daughter used to spend hours playing with the buttons and one year she came up with a button wreath.

These directions come from our friends at Martha Stewart:
Tools and Materials
Needle-nose pliers or wire cutters
16-gauge copper wire, or 22-gauge green floral wire, cut to 9-inch lengths
72 buttons for each wreath
Satin ribbon, 1/8 inch wide and 6 inches long
Seam binding for decorative bow

Button Wreath Ornament How-To
a. Using pliers, make a small loop at one end of the wire.

b. Thread buttons onto the wire until you have enough to form the size of the wreath you want. Our wreaths are 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

c. Using pliers, bend the plain end of the wire around the looped end. This will form the wreath.

d. Use the satin ribbon to make a loop for hanging the wreath; tie the ribbon in a knot about 3 inches above the wreath.

e. Tie a bow of seam binding to decorate the wreath.

16-gauge copper wire
22-gauge silver-plate wire
Available at local craft and hardware-supply stores

22-gauge green floral wire
Available at local floral-supply stores

photo credit: the container store

3. The gifts for the tummy!

My kids always love "playing" around in the kitchen and a few years we came up with this delicious recipe they made up which makes up nice batches to share with loved ones.

4 bags of white chocolate
3 cups crispy rice cereal squares
3 cups crispy golden graham cereal
2 cups of craisins
2 cups thin pretzel sticks
2 cups cashews

a. place the white chocolate and heat it in a double boiler.
b. place all of the rest of the ingredients in a bowl
c. when the white chocolate has all melted mix it with the ingredients in the bowl
d. spread out on a cookie sheet with parchment and put in refrigerator.
e. break apart and put in a cool storage bag or sealed container.

No matter what you make this holiday season, I hope it is a happy and healthy one shared with your loved ones; even the smallest of children whose gifts can be the best and most cherished for years to come!
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thanks and Giving...

photo credit: St. Jude's Thanks and Giving Campaign

Each year as I look at my two beautiful daughters grow and watch them blossom into fine young ladies, I reflect about just how lucky we are to have both of them happy and healthy.

My girls were both born prematurely at 34 weeks due to pre-eclampia/toxemia which I somehow managed to get twice.

Many of you know Sarah is now a senior in college and ready to graduate and jump into the world. My other daughter Hadley was not as fortunate; when she was six days old she suffered a bilateral grade 2 intracranial hemorrhage which left her with a seizure disorder and cerebral palsy. Her life is much different than Sarah’s however; we have learned and grown through understanding Hadley’s disability. I thank god everyday for Hadley and all that we have learned from her. I suppose around the holidays we tend to get a bit sentimental and think about all of our blessings and try and help those less fortunate then ourselves.

It is because of this that we have chosen to step up to the plate so to speak and help St Jude Children’s Hospital. I know many of you have heard of St Jude’s but this is a short paragraph or two from the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital about their background…

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, is one of the world's premier centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases. Children from all 50 states and around the world have come through the doors of St. Jude for treatment, and thousands more have benefited from the research conducted at St. Jude—research that is shared freely with the global medical community.

Working together, St. Jude physicians and scientists have pioneered treatments that have helped push the overall survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20 percent in 1962 to 80 percent today. The survival rate for the most common form of childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, has risen from just 4 percent in 1962to 94 percent today.

That was the vision of Danny Thomas when he founded St. Jude, thanks to an answered prayer to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes. "Show me my way in life," Danny prayed as he sought direction in his life, "and I will build you a shrine."

Danny's prayer was answered, and he soon became one of America's most beloved entertainers. Even after he achieved fame and fortune, Danny always remembered his pledge to St. Jude.

Today, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital stands as the embodiment of that pledge and has served as a symbol of hope for children stricken with catastrophic diseases since opening in 1962.”

Here are a few quick facts:

* It is amazing that all patients accepted for treatment at St. Jude are treated without regard to the family's ability to pay. This is what is so critical about this hospital; it services so many children from all across the country whose families cannot pay, or they do not have health insurance for one reason or another.

* St. Jude covers the cost of everything—food, travel and lodging for patients and a family member.

* In 2009, Parents magazine named St. Jude the No. 1 pediatric cancer care hospital in the country, based on the magazine's survey of more than 75 children's hospitals nationwide.

I am asking you to look at your own healthy children and give thanks that they are healthy by helping those who aren’t. Please take a moment to give $5.00 today instead of your daily latte, it will not only good for the hospital but it will be good for your heart!
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