Pinterest Favorites - New Years Eve Style

Happy New Years Eve! This last Pinterest favorites post is in honor of the fabulous way we end each year. Celebrations, time with friends and loved ones and of course a little shimmer. See below for details on these NYE inspired pins.

- Earrings - I am loving this style of earring right now. Bigger than a stud but not a hoop or a dangle. But it still packs a lot of punch. And gold is so warm for the holidays. Perfect!
- 2012 - This is a great, festive idea. Wrap tinsel around cardboard numbers (or letters for another holiday).
- Cell Phone Case - This shimmery case is perfect for a night out on the town celebrating the new year. Plus it won't get lost among the rest of the phones - this one sparkles all on its own.
- Sparklers - I don't think you can see a sparkler and not think celebration. They are a staple on the 4th of July, more and more people are using them at their weddings and now NYE - what a perfect way to light up the night!
- Champagne Bubbles and Dancing on the Table - A traditional NYE isn't complete without a little bubbly. And sometimes the bubbles can lead you to do things you wouldn't normally do. Like dancing on the tables. Let loose and have fun!
- A Festive Toast or two - Whether your night involves living it up on the town or movies at home snuggled up on the couch, a toast to reminisce the special moments of 2011 or one to dream and wish about 2012 is always in order.
- The Dress - If you are ringing in 2012 out on the town, a fabulous dress is always a must. And this sparkly number is a hit!
- The Shoes - Need I say anything about these shoes? FABULOUS!

Hope this inspired your night!

Happy Celebrating!

Organizing Kids Art Supplies

Our kids love doing art projects and crafts and we have started quite a collection of art supplies.  I constantly find myself pulling a set of crayons out of the box, moving them to a container it is easy for the kids to use and when they are done, moving the crayons back to their original box. Not a very practical system. I needed a way to organize everything so it was easy to use and also in a contained, organized location. A way we could just grab and go. I wanted to eliminate the shuffling back and forth. Our nanny suggested Ikea and some of their storage solutions. Off we went!
This is what I started with - all shapes and sizes of crayons, markers, window crayons and markers, dry erase crayons and markers, colored pencils, finger paints and watercolors.
At Ikea I purchased these drawer storage organizers. 6 drawer organizers.
 Here are the drawer organizers opened.
I also purchased these mini storage bins with snap tops. I bought two packs. 
I put like items in the small boxes - regular crayons, large and jumbo crayons, dry erase crayons and window markers.
 Larger items like the paint tubes and bottles and animal crayons went in the bins on their own along with markers and colored pencils. All of the drawer organizers fit in one clear bin I also purchased at Ikea. The large clear bin fits easily under the bed.

Now we can pull out one container at a time and we are ready to craft. My kids aren't old enough to have open access to their art supplies. When they are older we will have to come up with a solution where they can easily get to the supplies on their own. But for the next few years, this should work out just fine!

Happy Organizing!


Organizing Kids Toys

If you have children, you understand the never ending process of trying to organize and store their toys. I am always in search of new ways to keep the toys together and keep my house looking somewhat tidy. I decided to do a complete redo of our toy storage the day after Christmas. Our little ones received lots of wonderful new toys for their birthday and Christmas and we needed a place to put them.

Operation Twin Town & Twin Gym was under way! A little history - we renamed our family room Twin Town shortly after they arrived and we realized our home would never be the same with the amount of stuff these little people required. A year later they claimed another room and that was named Twin Gym because of the foam mats, ball pit and slide. With two rooms to organize it was double the work but double the satisfaction when it was complete! 

My Top Three Tips for Organizing Kids Toys:
1. Keep toys easily accessible for the little ones. This way they can get the most out of their toys. Store toys in bins that are low and easy to reach. Same goes for books so they can reach them and read as much as they want.
2. Keep like items together. This gives the little ones a sense of order. They know when they pull out the doll bin, it will have all dolls and doll accessories. Or the train bin has all of the trains and train tracks. Plus it makes clean up a breeze!
3. Go through toys frequently and move out toys they no longer play with. It will be help keep things de cluttered and easier to play with because they won't have to weed through the items they no longer are interested in.

Twin Town Storage - You can purchase the storage container on the left at Target and Fred Meyer/Kroger. And you can usually find sales on the colored bins. The organizer on the right is from Target. My husband anchors the shelving into the wall so it cannot tip over on the kids.

I love having books easily accessible for them. They have another shelf in their room filled with books. I have always been an avid reader and we hope to instill that trait in them too.
There are a few shelves under our TV in the armoir and I use every bit of shelf space I can. These bins are from Container Store.
Twin Gym Storage - same shelf unit as in the other room. See below for more on the puzzle racks.
 These are pictures of some of the bins we have. Some items are easily grouped - cars, blocks, stuffed animals, trains and train tracks, pots and pans and cooking utensils. Other groups are a bit more random - view masters with cell phones and cameras, all Leap Frog items, small character figurines, etc.

Under the TV I have two bins filled with all of their musical toys. It makes it easy to pull out one type of toy and have a musical play time. Or pull out all of the play food and they play at their table and kitchen set.

Also, if you have small items like the little board books in the upper right corner of the collage, put them in their own container. It helps keep them together and it is easier to store that way.
I have seen a version of puzzle racks like this for sale from Melissa and Doug. These were from my scrap booking days. Not to say I have officially retired from scrap booking, it is just my need for 12 x 12 paper is not as important as it used to be. I felt like the kids weren't getting as much use out of their puzzles as they could be. They were in bins under their beds and were hardly ever touched. This way they are organized and easy to see and play with. I got these racks 10 years ago on EBay from a woman who was selling her scrap booking store. Here is a link to a place you can buy the Melissa and Doug racks.
I remove all of the puzzle pieces from each puzzle and put them in zip pouches. We store all of the pouches in one of our colored bins. I found the pouches at Office Max. This helps so we don't lose puzzle pieces and it makes it easy to grab a few puzzles and pouches and put them in the suitcase for travel or take them on the road with us.

Hope this gives you a little inspiration for your toy organization. If you have any great toy organizing tips, leave a comment. I would love to hear them! I am always looking for new ideas.

Happy Organizing!

Reindeer Kisses

I made Elf Kisses in early December. You can see the recipe here. They were tasty but didn't end up looking exactly as I hoped. This recipe was the perfect solution to my issues with the way the Elf kisses looked. Reindeer Kisses. Another simple and delicious treat!

Square pretzels - they look like a small grid
*M&M's - I used the mint holiday version.
* The mint M&M's were perfect for two reasons - neither of which I knew when I purchased. It was pure luck! These M&M's are a little fuller, not as full as peanut one but bigger than a regular. The size was perfect. And the hint of mint really made the treat.
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
- Unwrap all Rolos and place on pretzels on a cookie sheet
- put in oven on the top rack for 3 minutes
- remove from oven
- place an M&M on each Rolo and push down slightly. The M&M fits perfectly on the top of the Rolo
- place entire cookie sheet in the fridge to cool down.
- Enjoy!

I am going to make these for Valentine's Day with red, white and pink candy. Versatile, simple treat!

Happy Baking!

Welcome Back!

I am back! The holidays got a hold of me for the last few weeks. Between everything Christmas and our twins turning 2 right before Christmas, we have been busy. I think everyone gets that way at this time of year. The hustle and bustle of the season sucked me in this year. Next year one of my goals will be to SLOW down and make things more relaxing (we will see if that happens).

We did have a wonderful holiday and are looking forward to enjoying the upcoming long weekend. I hope your holiday was special and meaningful too. I have one more holiday treat I am going to blog about and then I am shifting gears - organization! One of my favorite hobbies!

Best wishes to a fabulous 2012. Let's make it a fabulous year!


Attempting to Duplicate the TJ Pretzel Slims

These are my favorite new Trader Joe's item. They are fabulous! I think this is the first year they have had these. It is WAY to easy to eat a lot of these. After we had finished two bags at our house and it was still early December, I decided I would attempt to make my own version.
I bought the three ingredients - deli style thin pretzels, peppermint and white chocolate chips.
I melted the chocolate in the microwave, dipped both sides of the pretzel in the chocolate and then sprinkled with crushed peppermint.
Mine didn't look as pretty as theirs but they tasted pretty similar. And they were easy to make!

Happy Baking!


Reindeer Chex Mix

Another easy and delicious treat. I don't know about you but holidays are synonymous with Chex Mix for me. I cannot think of a Christmas season that went by without having Chex Mix. I really enjoy the traditional mix but I also wanted to try some of the new fun mixes. This is simple, quick and it makes a lot.
Ingredients needed:
6 cups Corn Chex
1 bag white chocolate chips
1 box of peppermint candy canes crushed (place unwrapped canes in a plastic bag, seal and tap with a metal spoon - easy, tidy candy cane crushing!)
Melt white chocolate. I melted mine in the microwave. You can also do it on the stove in a double broiler.
Pour the melted white chocolate and half of the crushed candy cane over the cereal. Mix until completely covered.
Spread out on a cookie sheet or wax paper on a flat surface. Sprinkle the rest of the crushed candy cane over the mix.
Wait until it hardens (you can put it in the fridge if you are in a hurry). Break into pieces and you are done!

Great for neighbor gifts. Put the mix in cute to go boxes and tie with a bow. Or perfect to have in easy to reach bowls at a holiday party. People will devour it!

Happy Baking!

Elf Kisses

These are SO simple. The most time consuming part of the entire recipe (if you can call it that) is unwrapping the Hershey Kisses. My kind of recipe.
Unwrap an entire package of Hershey Kisses. I chose the white chocolate mint flavored. Any of the solid kisses will work.
M&M's. Any of the flavors work as long as they are the plain M&M's, not the peanut or almond varieties.
Heat oven to 275 degrees. Place the kisses on top of the mini pretzel twists.
Put in the oven for three minutes.
TIP - put your cookie sheet on the top rack. This worked the best.
Press an M&M into each kiss right as it comes out of the oven.
TIP - Put the entire cookie sheet in the fridge to cool as soon as your M&M's are pressed into the kiss.

Ta Da! You are done. They are perfect bite size treats. Place them in a festive bowl for people to grab at any holiday gathering.

Happy Baking!

Weekly Pinterest Favorites

Pinterest has yet to disappoint. It is still as fabulous as ever. Holiday ideas are bursting at the seams. The creativity and community feel spark the creative side in (almost) everyone. If you haven't tried it out, email me and I will send you an invite. You will LOVE it!

Window  - Love the wonder of the season. So many possibilities of excitement just by peeking through the sparkle of the tree.

Party Bark - What a fun idea to brighten up white chocolate bark for a birthday or other celebration. Easy and cute!

Colored Tags - So many ideas. Gift tags, labels, handmade greeting cards, possibilities are endless!

Red Dress - Party Fabulous! This is the perfect holiday dress. Classy, flattering and the flair of the season.

House - The natural light is amazing. Would love to have that many windows in my kitchen!

Eiffel Tower - Paris. New Years. Enough Said.

Quote - Well said.

Craft Room - I have been in a major craft kick lately. This pin inspires me to reorganize by craft supplies.

Bow - Fantastic gold bow. Kate Spade all the way. Perfect hair accessory for holiday festivities.

Cookie - Sweet idea to decorate cookies for the season.

Happy Pinning!


White Chocolate and Friends - A Great Mix!

My fabulous friend Alissa came over for a fun night of chatting and baking. We went on a blitz and made four different types of holiday treats! All are simple to make and tasty. We made these to package up for neighbor gifts but they would be perfect to throw together for a cookie exchange party or any holiday gathering you may have at your home.

Theme of the night - white chocolate and peppermint! Yum!
All of the supplies. Candy canes, tons of white chocolate and almond bark, sprinkles, pretzel sticks, Peppermint Jo Jo's and red hots.
I found these adorable aprons at Crate and Barrel.
Let the crushing begin. We used a heavy duty gallon size zip lock bag and tapped on the candy canes with the back of a metal spoon. They crushed very easily. And by using the heavy duty bag you don't have any pieces poking through the plastic.
Fresh crushed peppermint. Pretty and it smells good! Each recipe we were making used peppermint as one of the main ingredients. We needed a lot of peppermint!
I went to six different stores looking for peppermint sticks and couldn't find them anywhere. My husband suggested I cut off the cane part and cover that end in the chocolate and no one would know. Brilliant! (He was probably tired of driving all over town with me looking for peppermint sticks and was desperate for an idea!)
We scored the cane with a knife and then broke the pieces in two with our hands. Once you score the cane, it snaps apart very easily.
First recipe: White chocolate dipped peppermint sticks with white sprinkles. We melted the chocolate in the microwave and it melted so much better than using the double broiler we tried at first. We just dipped the canes in the chocolate and sprinkled with the white dots. I found these sprinkles at Michael's. They were pretty difficult to find.
Perfect hot cocoa stir stick!

Next up was the white chocolate dipped pretzel sticks. We dipped the sticks in melted chocolate and then sprinkled with a variety of different festive sprinkles. We laid them out on wax paper and it was perfect once they cooled to easily peel them off the paper.

Peppermint Jo Jo's Dipped in White Chocolate and Crushed Candy Cane - My favorite recipe of the night. I got these cookies at Trader Joe's. They have them each year and they are delicious right out of the box. But I love to dip half of them in white chocolate and then roll them in crushed candy cane. They are delicious and look adorable packaged up with a red bow. Once I get my goodies packaged I will add more pictures. YUM!

Last but not least - Peppermint bark in the shape of Christmas trees. I used a Christmas tree mold and we poured in the melted chocolate mixed with peppermint. We waited for them to chill and then popped them out of the molds. Perfect little trees.
All of the goodies!

Baking holiday treats is always fun but doing it with a friend makes it that much sweeter!

Happy Baking!

Organizing Holiday Baking Items

I have been doing so much baking for the holidays and I am enjoying every minute of it. I have accumulated so many baking items over the last few weeks. I decided to put them all in a bowl to help organize them a bit. It makes it so simple to grab the bowl (you could use an old shoe box if you have one) and get to baking. The holiday items are all there and within reach and my pantry doesn't look like a bomb went off because the items are contained!
Check here for some of my favorite recipes of the season!

Happy Organizing!


Letter Ornament

This project is so easy and the finished product is adorable! By changing the paper and ribbon you can completely change the theme of each letter. These are great for gifts and/or for yourself. I made one letter with our family name and one with each of my kids first initials. And now I am working on more for holiday gifts.
Supplies needed:

- wooden letters (found mine at Michael's)

- scrapbook paper (I used the holiday package I had on hand)

- Modge Podge

- paint brush & scissors

- small screw in hook (I bought a set of 4 types of hooks and hangers at the dollar store for 79 cents!)

- ribbon of your choice
I like greens and vivid pinks for holiday pops of color. You can use anything that works with your theme.


1. Flip your scrapbook paper over and trace the front of your letter on paper. Cut out the letter.

2. Apply a light layer of Modge Podge to the face of the letter. Apply the scrapbook paper. Make sure all edges are attached.

3. Screw in hook to the top left corner of the letter. This makes the letter hang on an angle on the tree. If you do not like that style, insert your hook in the top center of your letter.

4. Tie ribbon through the hook. Double knot and tie a bow. Voila! You are done!
My letters.

On the tree!

Happy Crafting!

Organizing Kids Seasonal Crafts

I keep the majority of our craft supplies in an upstairs closet, but I keep a few things downstairs easy to access for spur of the moment crafts. We like to do lots of projects and having these supplies within reach makes it so simple to start a project. And because the items are right there, you don't feel like it is an undertaking getting everything out.

I like to change out the supplies each season or holiday. See below for details on the items I have out for Christmas. Once you get a few containers and a designated area for your spur of the moment crafts, it is easy to switch the items out each season. I move the old items up to the craft closet and store them for next year.

If I have a specific project in mind I know we will be doing this season I will make sure to include those items. For example my little people love sparkle bottles and we will be making Christmas themed ones so I have the shimmer glitter and marbles in with the supplies. And who knows, maybe we will find other uses for those items too!
My seasonal craft supplies for the kids take up small areas of two shelves. I bought the plastic paint can storage bins at Michael's and the brown bin at Target. The brown bin also stores my kids busy bags. They are easy to grab and throw in my purse as we are heading out the door to an appointment, dinner, etc. Easy accessibility is key! It helps you use your items more and simplifies your life. Win win!
 I begin collecting items as I see them on sale or in the stores throughout the year. By the time we get to the holiday or season I usually already have quite a collection. These are the items I have for this years Christmas season: foam wreath kits, stickers, foam stockings and trees, festive colored sparkle pom pom balls (huge hit!) stickers, sparkle glue, little plastic Christmas lights, red and green plastic jewels and sparkle ornaments.
I collect lots of mini storage containers from places like the Container Store and Target and I always get rid of the packaging for things like the jingle bells, pom poms, etc. They store so much nicer and take up less room than attempting to save the plastic bags they come in. Plus you can reuse the containers for new supplies down the road. Bonus - your items do not pour out of the package and make a mess!
I buy stickers whenever I see them on sale. And I keep them with like stickers by attaching them together with a binder clip. When it comes time for the season, I just pull out the specific seasons clipped bunch and we are set. My kids love stickers so I always have lots on hand. They can use stickers with so many projects.
Simple organization that enables lots of quick, fun Christmas crafting!

Happy Organizing!