Holiday Ideas

Holiday Home 2014

We're going minimal in a major way with our holiday decor this year. And our reason? It's a secret!

Remember last year when we participated in our town’s holiday home tour? (if not, see here, here and here). Well, this year’s Christmas decor is decidedly minimal in comparison. We have our reasons, but they’re a secret, at least to our children. So when I found out that my son asked my husband last night “when are we going to decorate for Christmas,” I felt a little guilty.

We can’t tell him why, but I’m willing to bet, on Christmas Day, he won’t mind a few less wreaths on the walls and significantly less glitter on the floors.

Aside from our gallery of past Christmas cards posted here, the pics below tell the extent of our Christmas decor. I’m not entirely comfortable with the minimalism myself (which is really saying something), and I may end up sneaking into the storage room one of these nights.

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Weekend Snapshot

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Decorating gingerbread houses is an annual holiday tradition in our family. This year’s two-house event was definitely scaled down compared to last year’s village creation, but we still had a messy fun time and Jason’s house definitely achieved a new record of colorfulness. Before we began, I separated all of the green, red and white Jelly Bellies from the rainbow of colors … to maintain a common palette, of course. Somewhere along the way, however,  Jason discovered the banned colors and covered his roof in them. And I have to admit, his house is my favorite one yet. (more…)

Flower Shop: Floral Arranging with Kids

Ideas and tips for letting your children create floral centerpieces for holiday meals and other family gatherings. Such a great way to get young children involved in holiday gatherings.

Last year, we visited relatives for Thanksgiving and my aunt had a perfect activity to involve my then-five-year-old daughter in the preparation of the Thanksgiving meal: making flower arrangements for the table. My first thought was, scissors, glass, water? Been around young children much? But then I watched my daughter carefully pour, cut, and arranged to her heart’s content. She loved creating the centerpieces, and it turned out to be a simple and easy way to involve her in what is often a hectic day of kitchen mayhem.

This Thanksgiving, I brought back the tradition of Jenna-created floral centerpieces. And it was such a hit, I think she’s officially in charge of all future floral arrangements chez Dyer. (more…)

Countdown to Christmas: Teaching Kids to Give

Instead of an advent calendar, I'm sending my kids secret letters that will encourage them to give back this holiday season.

Now that Thanksgiving is a wrap, we’re turning our attention to Christmas, which immediately brings to mind the subject of advent calendars. While I love the way advent calendars weave holiday excitement into the month of December, I’ve never been a big fan of giving our children extra gifts leading up to a day full of even more gifts.

This year, I’m trying a new way of counting down to the big day – one that I hope will place more emphasis on giving than receiving. I’ll share the details of the plan on the Tiny Prints blog next week. In the meantime, I’ve posted a free editable Photoshop template here and be sure to check out the Tiny Prints holiday collection

Update 12/1/2014

Check out the Tiny Prints blog for more details on our approach to counting down to Christmas this year, including top ideas for getting your children involved in charitable giving. (more…)

Thanksgiving Table: Last-Minute Name Card Ideas

Simple last-minute place card ideas for your Thanksgiving table.

When I wrapped up this project for my recent guest post on Modern Parents, Messy Kids, I was feeling well ahead of the Thanksgiving curve. Our linens were hand-stamped, our turkey napkin holders were created, and we still had several weeks to wrap up any outstanding details.

Now we’re less than 2 days from Thanksgiving, and the possibility of my daughter creating place cards using post-it notes is becoming more likely. Sadly, it wouldn’t be the first time she made impromptu name cards with post-it notes.

To avoid this fate, I’ve assembled a few ideas for super simple place cards, all of which use easy-to-find materials. Now I just have to choose a favorite.

Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

 

Holiday Gallery Wall

Add an easy-to-install / easy-to-remove gallery of Christmas Pasts with this simple tutorial. We do this every year.

Christmas Photo Cards are an annual tradition in our family. Last year I framed all of our past cards and displayed them in the kitchen during the holiday months (and maybe a few months after). This year, we’re continuing the tradition, but the addition of this year’s card caused us to exceed the wall space in the kitchen. Luckily we have a living room with completely bare walls just waiting to be filled. (more…)

Slime Specimens for Halloween

Make this simple, all-natural slime. A perfect classroom activity or gift for kids this Halloween.

 

Last weekend we made slime – slippery, stretchy, silky slime. Jason and Jenna loved it, and I realized it would make a great classroom gift or party activity for Halloween. I was thinking about packaging small samples into bags or clear jars and using Halloween labels like these or these. What child wouldn’t want some chopped bat brain or fresh rat heart specimens for Halloween?  (more…)

DIY Skeleton Princess Jewelry

Easy and inexpensive ideas for making skeleton princess - or other spooky costume - jewelry for Halloween. #costumes #children #halloween

Jenna has asked to be a skeleton princess for Halloween. While past years have been filled with ladybug, kitten and other sweet costume themes, this year is the first time that something on the spookier side has been requested. Kind of a turning point, I think.

In addition to her dress (which we purchased here), she’s also asked for matching jewelry. We decided to make the jewelry ourselves, and last weekend we got started on a few rings and necklaces. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out, and even if I don’t dress up this year, I’ll definitely be sporting some matching skeleton princess rings.

Halloween Raven Wreath

 

Create this modern raven-themed wreath for Halloween. So simple.

Over Christmas, I fell in love with a set of white feather wreaths from West Elm, and after purchasing them, I realized that they would have been really easy to make using feather boas. With Halloween coming up next month, I decided to try out my idea by using black feather boas to create a raven-themed wreath. (more…)

Glow-in-the-Dark Easter Egg Hunt

Glow-in-the-Dark Easter Egg Hunt: Tips for Hosting a Night-Time Easter Egg Hunt with Glowing Eggs

Last night we held our very first nighttime Easter egg hunt using glow-in-the-dark eggs, an idea shared by my aunt in her comments to something I posted last week. Genius! I knew we definitely had to try it out.

Glow-in-the-Dark Easter Egg Hunt: Tips for Hosting a Night-Time Easter Egg Hunt with Glowing Eggs

The concept is extremely simple – glow sticks inside of eggs – so I think I underestimated the amount of prep work involved. If you’re considering a night-time Easter egg hunt, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Proportion: Consider the size of your glow sticks in relation to the size of your plastic eggs. I purchased bracelet-sized glow sticks and tried to use the mix of small and large plastic eggs I had on hand. The sticks were nearly impossible to cram into the 2-inch eggs, but fit easily into the larger 3-in eggs. I recommend using all large eggs or purchasing these mini glow sticks (wish I had seen these at the craft store yesterday). As a last resort, tape is your friend.

Material: Similar to the size issue, I had a mix of transparent/textured eggs and the more traditional solid color eggs. Not surprisingly, the solid color eggs were better at giving off a “glow” in the landscape than the transparent eggs.

Timing: Since you have to “turn on” the glow sticks, there isn’t a lot of opportunity to prep this activity in advance. It took my husband and me almost an hour to place glow sticks into approximately 36 eggs and hide them in the backyard. I had planned on having our hunt just after dusk so that there would still be a bit of natural light for photos. But the prep took longer than expected and we ended up taking the kids out just past their usual bedtime, in full-on darkness. If you’re going for optimum glow effect, however, this is the perfect time for your egg hunt. Seeing the eggs glowing around the yard was definitely a very cool sight!