Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Cupcake Craze

I don't know if you've noticed, but cupcakes are all the rage lately. (Wikipedia claims the cupcake craze started in the 1990's, but here in the midwest we didn't find out until we hit the new millenium.) It used to be that cupcakes were just a kid's treat, but they've taken a giant step up to become a gourmet food. There are entire bakeries devoted to the sweet mini cake, and both professional and home bakers are now creating miniature works of culinary art.

I think making and decorating cupcakes is a great activity for kids and adults. There are both simple and complicated decorating ideas for almost every holiday and season. I absolutely fell in love with the turkey cupcakes that my friend Anne made for a girlfriend get-together yesterday. She told me about two great cupcake books, Hello Cupcake and Martha Stewart's Cupcakes with all sorts of decorating ideas. Next time you're looking for a unique and tasty treat to make, try cupcakes, even better yet, make it a tradition.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wrap Your Christmas Gifts in a Pillowcase

Yesterday when I was waiting in line at the craft store to get my fabric cut I eavesdropped on the conversation of the woman in front of me. She was buying several yards of cute Christmas fabric. She told the clerk that every year she sews her grandchildren pillowcases and then uses them to wrap their gifts. What a great Christmas tradition! Personally I hate wrapping gifts, I'm definitely more of a bag lady myself. But now I think I could occassionally find myself a pillowcase lady. I'll have to see if I find any cute pillowcases on sale. Or maybe I could even sew them. I'm taking a beginner sewing class next week and I'd have to guess that pillowcases are easy enough that even a beginner could do it. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A New Thanksgiving Tradition

I made a trip to Joann's today to pick up things for two projects (more info later). Boy, that the craft store is sure a dangerous place for me. There are a ton of things on which I could spend lots of time and money. Given that fact, I was amazed that I got out of the store with only a few more things than I actually had on my list.

The first project on my shopping list was fabric. I was so happy that I found the exact color of microfiber (raspberry) I was looking for AND it was on super sale. The fabric will be used to create curtains in Stella's room. She already has a cute valance and blinds, but I think too much light comes in during the day making it difficult for her to nap, plus the curtains will keep out any cold that might come in through the window this winter.

The second thing on my list was supplies for my Thanksgiving aprons. I bought fabric paint and simple black aprons. My plan is to use Stella's hand to make "turkeys" on the apron. Each year we'll add another handprint turkey with the year. In a few years I'll have an apron full of turkeys and will also be able to see how Stella's hand has grown. (Shhhhh..... don't tell the Grandma's, but I'm planning to make them Thanksgiving aprons too. I plan to get the handprints of the other grandkids too!) I'll post pictures when they're finished. I think it's a great new Thanksgiving tradition for our family and it doesn't cost much either, the aprons were about $5 and I spent about $7 on a few different colors of fabric paint.)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Sheets for the Season

The Pottery Barn Kids catalog that arrived this week has some adorable snowman sheets that are perfect for creating a winter-themed bedroom. Wouldn't it be fun tradition to change the sheets in your child's room, your own room, or maybe the guest room to match the season or the holiday? I'm not talking about going crazy with a dozen sheet sets or anything and I don't think it's necessary to cover all the holidays or seasons, but covering some of the big ones would certainly be easy and fun to do.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Tis the Season for Traditions

I received the Pottery Barn Kids catalog this week and what do you know, they're talking about holiday traditions. One of the traditions that they highlight is having kids leave a note in their Christmas stocking for Santa. Sounds like a great idea to me and a good time to take thank Santa for all the gifts he's about to deliver. This tradition and the PBK catalog reminded me that I need to find a Christmas stocking for little Miss Stella. I would like to find something special that she'll have for many years to come. I'm also trying to figure out if John and I should both get new stockings too so all three of ours will match. It's so hard to decide what I want, there are so many cute options from which to choose. The Pottery Barn catalog has some nice stockings that can be embroidered with our names, and the stores are full of lots of options too. One other thing I'm considering is finding someone to make our stockings. Etsy is full of great handmade Christmas stockings. Now I just need to make up my mind, it will be time to hang the stockings on the fireplace before I know it.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Birthday Ring Tradition reader Christina submitted a new birthday tradition that I have never heard about before but that I hope to introduce into our family this summer when Stella celebrates her first birthday. The tradition is using a birthday ring. For those of you, like me, that have not heard of a birthday ring, it's typically a wooden circle with 12 or 16 holes. The holes are filled with a candle to represent each year (similar to candles on a birthday cake), the rest of the holes are filled with small wooden figures or cut-outs.

When the tradition was submitted, I quickly did a few searches to find out more about the tradition. It seems to be an old European tradition that originated in the Waldorf School. I also found a few blogs that told more details about their birthday ring traditions. Visit the following blogs for more information: Uncommon Grace and The Wonder Years.

Buy a Birthday Ring and start a new tradition in your family. Birthday rings are available online at these stores: