family feud

Holiday Party Games

Soooo….every year my husband is in charge of the holiday games at his grandmother’s annual family Christmas party.

And every year we are on top of it….every year, except for this year.  The party is in two days and I’ve got no ideas…

Here are a few of the games that we’ve done in the past:

A holiday version of Family Feud where I polled the people on our Facebook Page for the answers to the questions….

family feud

It was a lot of fun!  And since it was a family party we had the teams split into generations with the older crowd battling it out against the younger crowd.

Then there were all the Minute to Win it games….

minute to win it family games

We love these kinds of games and have done them several times, always with new challenges, and they are always a hit.

We’ve even set up a photo booth with these printable props:

Santa Beard Photo Prop

And then of course we’ve done Holiday Jeopardy, Seasonal Pictionary, and a ton of trivia….aside from a slew of mixer games that I’ve made up…but this year I’m coming up empty…

Maybe it’s the weather…or my trips to the doctor…but I just haven’t felt very Christmasy….and I need to snap out of it.  ASAP.

I want to come up with something fun and new and different…the games above really are a lot of fun…and if you haven’t played them at your family party I’d say give it a try.  (Really they are great.)

But as for me…I’m in a holiday party rut….and I’ve got to get out of it.

Any ideas…for the games???  Or how to get out of my rut???


black skirt holiday outfit

The Little Black Skirt–Holiday Outfit

black skirt holiday outfit

I am not sure why but I am feeling so behind this Holiday season.  I really wanted to sew everyone something for a fun holiday picture, but I am so running out of time.  So, last week I picked up a few things for the boys and hurried and made one outfit that is always simple but still has cute style.  I decided to do black, white or red for everyone this year–because classic is always good in my opinion ;)

I decided that I was going to wear and older black dress and I made the little black skirt for Hannie to go along with it.  The skirt is the same tutorial that I always use for a tightly gathered skirt–The Vintagely Modern Skirt TUTORIAL– and the only difference is the side invisible zipper that you can see in the above picture.  Now that my girlie is getting a bit older, I am finding myself putting in a lot more zippers, but when she was so little and growing out of clothes every six month, I sometime felt zippers were a waste.  I have an invisible zipper tutorial that I use all the time to show you how to put one in if you need it.

The fabric is black cotton from Michael Miller Fabrics and has a great drape.  It holds its shape so well and makes for a very full and twirly skirt.  I used just about 2.5 yards for this skirt and she does have a full slip under it to puff it out a bit….and I love the way it looks with the fitted blouse.

Speaking of that blouse…

vintage blouse image

I used a vintage pattern for it that I ADORE!!!!  I think it turned out so, so, so cute and really really want to modify a blouse pattern in my size.  I know it’s vintage, but I think the shirt looks so modern and fresh.  The fabric is a stretch cotton sateen that is brilliant and

Although do you see my mistake?  It’s what happens when I sew in the wee hours of the morning.  The sleeves are sewn on backwards!  See how the placket is in the front?  ARGHHHH….and I didn’t even realize it until I started editing these photos ;(  So, for now my blaring mistake is staying…until January…

Are you still sewing for Christmas?



7 Toys That Your Kids Will Actually Play With

With Christmas coming Elizabeth and I were talking about the toys our kids have loved and which ones definitely didn’t live up to the hype.  And what we found is that our lists are very similar…especially in the “most played with” category.

So if you still have some last minute shopping to do…here are a few toys that, from experience, we would suggest:

FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD (like ages 3-6)



It’s big fun for the little artists without a big mess.

(And my kids also love it’s cousin The Magnadoodle as well…Ruth plays with hers all the time!  I love it because there is no mess, a big area to draw on and the magic pen is attached so it won’t get lost.  Genius.)



ALL of my kids have loves these…so much so that we’ve purchased several sets.  They are jumbo size (the balls in the picture are roughly the size of a tennis ball) magnetic building pieces.


shopping cart

All of our kids, and their friends who come to play have used the pretend food and the shopping cart.  It is a classic toy that is always a hit.


Conductor Carl Train Set

There are many wooden train sets to choose from, and really they are all very similar.  But the bottom line is it won’t matter what brand you choose, your kids will love them.

We have one set up under the tree right now because Ruth kept dragging it around and I wanted a place to set it up and leave it up for a few weeks.  Elizabeth on the other hand has hers set up on permanently on a table in her basement.  Her boys have loved their trains!


Fisher Price Medical Kit

This is one of Grace’s favorite toys right now.  Thanks to Doc McStuffin she regularly checks up on all of her animals, baby dolls, and sister.


baby doll stroller

All of our girls have worn out their baby strollers.  Around the house in the winter, around the yard in the summer, they are always a hit.


tea set

Our girls have all been big into tea parties.  Grace has this exact set and LOVES it….especially the tray to carry all of her party items on.

FOR THE “BIG KIDS” (around ages 7-12)



This may be one of the most played with item in the house.  It has been on our fridge and magnet boards for years and no one can leave it alone.  Anyone who comes over just has to move the pieces around and try running the marbles through it.


Snap Circuits Jr.

Our boys have eaten up these Snap Circuit sets…and they are really amazing.  It is always fun to set them up and get the fan to turn or the bell to ring.  Simon even figured out how to use to change the frequency on his alarm clock radio with these things!  They are so much fun and there are several different kits to choose from.



Our kids have just rediscovered what I used to love as a kid…spirograph.  It’s fun and quiet and cool.  All your kids will need is this and a stack of paper to keep them entertained for a long, long time!


fashion plates

This is another blast from the past that has been redesigned and that Elizabeth’s daughter has been loving.  (And why wouldn’t she?  I had a set of these growing up and I used them ALL. THE. TIME.)


ant farm

This was one of the coolest gifts ever.  My mom gave Simon one of these and the whole family ate it up!  We ordered ants twice!  It was so interesting to watch the ants dig and work.  (We already have another one on it’s way!)


bead kit

If you have a tween girl then you already know they are all about the crafting…especially with the beads…or at least they are around our homes so these kits are like a prized possession.

***And here is where our list should end but we just need to add a bonus..because our boys (ages 12 and 10) are both wild about these right now….



These little hand held wooden toys have suddenly become all the rage.  It’s a simple game of skill for one person to practice….but if someone is playing kendama…then everyone has to try…even me…because I know if I just try one more time….


So there is our list.  We should tell you at this point that they all link to amazon because they are one of our affiliates but, we also want to say that we do really love all of these toys…because our kids love and play with them.  We own all of the exact items that we listed above.  Some we have even purchased more than once because they really do get played with.

With that said, happy shopping…to you and me.  I literally have nothing ready for Christmas (except for a pair of roller skates for Grace and I) so I need to get my act together…and Elizabeth tells me that whatever I order on line I can still have shipped to my house before Christmas.  So I need to get to gettin’!

See you all tomorrow!


felt Christmas pillow

Felt Christmas Pillows with Tutorial

felt Christmas pillow

I needed some easy teacher’s gifts for the Holidays this year…and have kind of made it a tradition to do a handmade gift and then a gift card for school supplies.  So when the Jo-Ann’s #MakeItGiveIt campaign came along, I knew it would be the perfect match.  I wandered through the store and found some amazing cream premium wool felt and knew it would make the perfect pillows for my kids’ teachers.  And since pillows are easy….it was a perfect afternoon project!

Here is what you will need if you want to make some easy felt Christmas pillows too!

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poinsettia clip

Poinsettia Hair Clip DIY

poinsettia clip

Today we have a simple and easy gift or craft that you can make in an afternoon and you probably have all of the supplies at home to make them!

Do you know those loose silk poinsettias that sometimes hang out in the bottom of the Christmas bins?  You know the ones that fell off from the year before?  Well, now you can use those to craft with! Here’s how I used some leftover poinsettia flowers to make this easy DIY Poinsettia Hair Clip…

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Quilting Frames with SS

My Own Quilt Frames

I love quilts.

I always have.

Even as I’m writing this I am snuggled under a quilt made by my mother-in-law.

If you were to come into my home right now you’d find it littered with handmade blankets….they are on my children’s beds, on my bed, thrown over chairs, left on couches, filling my closets…and they range from no sew fleece blankets to pieced and hand quilted heirlooms.

And I love every single one of them!

I think it may have something to do with being raised by a mother and grandmother who made blankets…for babies, for weddings, for graduations….basically any of life’s milestone’s called for a quilt.

I have vivid memories of playing under quilt frames set up in front rooms and of watching my mother and grandmother tacking the fabric and turning the quilts…so you can imagine my excitement when recently my husband finished making a pile of these:

Quilting Frames with SS

And because the very first set he finished is for me I am more than excited!

This weekend I plan to put on my own quilt in my my own family room and hopefully help my girls make some of their own memories of playing beneath the quilt frames.


stocking stuffers for the sewer2014

Stocking Stuffers for the Sew-er (all under $20)

 stocking stuffers for the sewer2014

This post is for you….well, not really, it’s really for your husband.  And my husband.  And liZ’s husband.  See, all we have to do now is casually leave this post up on all of our computers (well, that’s my plan—he seldom reads what’s going on over here) and maybe one of these items will magically appear in my stocking ;)

Do you think it will work?  (I have my fingers crossed.)

So, some of items are things that I have used over the past year…and some are items that I have on my “want” list.  And the best part is that each of these gifts cost under $20—so even if the budget is a bit tight—these stocking stuffers for the sew-er definitely won’t break the bank.

**(Just so you know that the links below are affiliate links–we do get a percentage if you order through the link—but we only picked things that we thought were super well-priced and things we actually use or would endorse ;)**
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20 gifts that cost nothing to make

20 Gifts that Cost Nothing to Make But Just Might Be Priceless

 My husband and I are very lucky…my husband teaches school and I am a stay at home mom which means that we are both currently doing exactly what we want to do.  Like I said, we are very lucky indeed.

But around this time of year we notice (to put it delicately) that we aren’t as well off financially as we would have been if we had chosen other career paths.  And that makes it difficult to buy gifts for others.

Which means year after year we make a pact with each other not to spend any money on ourselves (so that we will have funds to spend on our kids and other family members).  But this pact hasn’t stopped us from finding a way to have something to give each other on Christmas morning.

And after 16 years of marriage (we married young!) I feel that our holiday financial situation may have been a blessing in disguise..we’ve been forced to think about each other and what is most important.  Sure, one of these years I’d love to have iPads, televisions, bikes, and the like under the tree but I can say without any reservation that even though we don’t have money I have never gone to bed on Christmas night feeling poor.

So this year as I’ve been thinking about what to do for my husband I thought maybe I would share with you some of the gifts, we’ve given to our kids, our family members, and each other.  Because when I reflect on my most favorite gifts they are the ones that have cost virtually nothing.

The following list is a collection of some of our favorites:

20 gifts that cost nothing to make

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