Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions

Post by Nick & Aleah Valley of Valley & Co.

It’s hard to believe that we’re in the thick of the holiday season and that Christmas is next week! While we’ve sure savored every moment, we still have reindeer and Santa to visit, cookies to bake and movies to watch! As it’s Ava’s first Christmas, seeing the excitement and the magic of the season through her eyes has reminded us to slow down and enjoy the little things that make this time of year so special.

Creating new traditions for her has been so important to us for each holiday thus far, and we have made some great family traditions for this holiday season, like searching for our family tree in the snow, adorning a darling little Charlie Brown Christmas tree for her nursery, sewing satin stockings that will forever hang above our mantel, decking out our ceramic village, and throwing a cupcakes and ornaments party! Here are some scenes from our get together, complete with snow globes, wintry scenes, and lots of goodness from The Land of Nod.

Throw an effortless and festive kid-friendly cookie, cupcake or tree trimming party this weekend with our tips:

Make easy cupcake toppers with gumdrops and toothpicks – simply skewer two or three glittering gumdrops through the pick end of the toot pick and insert into a cupcake

Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 39  Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 15

Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 37Lay out soft ornaments atop each kid’s place setting for them to take home.

Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 43 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 41 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 35 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 34 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 33 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 13 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 6Set place settings with jars, snow and little bottle brush trees and creatures for kids to make wintry scenes to take home.

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Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 7 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 3 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 12 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 32Aleah’s mom {Ava’s grandma} made Ava these beautiful floating houses {inspired by a Land of Nod display she saw earlier this year} and they’re perfectly dreamy for a table top focal point.

Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 11Dress up glasses of milk or water with birch paper straws.

Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 9 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 38Create a gorgeous {and easy} centerpiece with fresh cut evergreen sprigs and nestle in ornaments.

Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 14Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 23 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 24  Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 10Happy Holidays!

Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 17 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 18 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 19 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 20 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 21 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 22 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 25 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 26 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 26 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 29 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 30 Creating Holiday Entertaining Traditions 42 Party design: Valley & Co. || Photos: Dennis Wise || Cupcakes and Party Room: Trophy Cupcakes

Nick & Aleah Valley are the husband + wife owners and operators of Valley & Co. Lifestyle, based in the beautiful Emerald City {Seattle}. They love to make life grand and believe that any occasion, whether small or large, is cause for celebration. They believe that entertaining at home welcomes memories and laughter. Follow them on their blog and Instagram.

O (Crafty) Paper Christmas Trees

Post by Rae Ann of Rae Ann

Christmas Craft: O (Crafty) Paper Christmas TreesIt might be a little late in the game to be making Christmas decorations, but there are lots of days ahead where a kid friendly craft will come in handy so I wanted to share this simple paper Christmas tree project. Here’s how we did it…

Christmas Craft: O (Crafty) Paper Christmas Trees SuppliesFirst download and print THESE TEMPLATES. Cut out and trace onto various shades of green card stock. You could also print onto white card stock and then have the kids paint or color in their trees.

Next, cutout along your traced lines, shape into a cone and glue or tape in place.

Finally, embellish with whatever decorative art supplies you have on hand (an artist’s surplus art jar would be perfect for this!). We used mini pom-poms, pipe cleaners, washi tape, buttons and a gold marker.

Christmas Craft: O (Crafty) Paper Christmas Trees 2Full disclosure, I was the main crafter of the trees pictured because most of my kids were in school. However, i left all of the supplies out for them to make their own when they got home and I have to say their trees were far more fun and creative than mine! Also an added bonus, the project kept them and a couple of their friends busy for a good hour which is always handy this time of year!

Happy crafting!

{Images by Stacy Jacobsen}

Rae Ann blogs at Rae Ann Kelly and is a kid wrangler, graphic designer, food & craft nut. Her blog features little tidbits about her day to day life & design projects, tutorials for DIY’s, free downloads, yummy recipes, lots of kid friendly ideas and outfit inspiration.

DIY Stocking Stuffers

Post by Michelle Sterling of Avery and Augustine

DIY Stocking StuffersIf you’re stumped on stocking stuffers this year, here’s the good news: I’ve got two DIY stocking stuffer ideas for you, inspired by one of my all-time favorite blogs, Lovely Indeed.  And you might have some of the supplies for them in your house already!  The first is a collage kit, which can be used for making art, and the second is a mini jewelry kit.

DIY Stocking Stuffers - Reindeer Cups DIY Stocking Stuffers - 1 DIY Stocking Stuffers - 3 DIY Stocking Stuffers - 4The collage kit includes blank tags, bits of ribbon, ric rac, twine, washi tape, solid and patterned paper, a couple of pages from an old letterpressed calendar, pom poms, mini cupcake liners, feltfetti, round labels and leftover label frames.  The jewelry kit contains beads of different shapes, sizes and colors, beading cord, twine and ribbon, so the gift recipient can make whatever strikes their fancy.  Packed in cute reindeer cups (sorry! They’re all sold out at The Land of Nod!) and finished off with cellophane bags and striped twist ties, the kits are ready to go.  These kits can serve as party favors or party activities as well.  We had so much fun putting together these stocking stuffers and hope they inspire you to create a few of your own!

You can see Michelle’s work and read about her two young children and their first forays in cooking, art and everything in between at Avery and Augustine.

Festive DIY Holiday Projects

Post by Courtney of The Chirping Moms

Festive DIY Holiday Projects - Reindeer Milk Bottles The holidays are here and it’s time for some festive ideas for DIY holiday projects. I always enjoy decorating the house for Christmas and doing fun crafts with the kids. This year, with a brand new baby, my time for DIY projects has been very limited. I decided to order a few holiday items from The Land of Nod for both inspiration and a head start on supplies. Below are four projects I came up with using my Land of Nod picks. They are all quick and easy but still fun and festive!

Land of Nod items I started with:

DIY Holiday Project – Reindeer Milk Bottles 

Supplies: glass or plastic milk bottle, brown pipe cleaners, google eyes, red pom poms, red and white paper straws and glue

Directions: Glue the google eyes and red pom pom onto the milk bottle to make a face. Cut a brown pipe cleaner in half. Then cut about an inch off each half. Use the small piece to twist around the top of the large piece to create an antler. Glue the 2 antlers to the bottle. I used hot glue for this project, but if you want to let the kids help, use craft glue instead. Fill the finished reindeer bottle with chocolate milk and your reindeer is complete!

DIY Holiday Project - Reindeer Milk Bottles 2DIY Holiday Project – Paper Straw Garland

Here’s a fun one that the kids can help with!

Supplies: Red yard, paper straws, green loop cereal (we used Apple Jacks) and a small piece of tape.

Directions: Cut the paper straws into pieces that are about 1 to 2 inches long. Cut the yarn to the length garland you’d like. Wrap the small piece of tape around one end of the yarn to help you thread the garland. Then, string the pieces of paper straws and the green cereal in a pattern you like. Last, hang on the tree and admire you’re work!

DIY Holiday Project - Paper Straw Garland DIY Holiday Project – Personalized Stockings

Supplies: Stockings, felt, scissors and fabric or masking tape

Directions: Cut the letters out of felt and use rolled pieces of masking tape or fabric tape to stick the letters to the stockings. This is the fastest, easiest way I know to make personalized stockings! If you have time and like to hand sew, you could stitch the felt letters onto the stocking instead. This will ensure they last from year to year. A tip for cutting out the letters: print out the letter you need in block font. You can make the letter as large as you want before printing. Drawing letters and cutting are not my strong point, so I asked a friend to help!

DIY Holiday Project - Personalized StockingsDIY Holiday Project - Personalized Stockings 2DIY Holiday Project – “Deck the Halls” Instagram Banner 

I wanted a new holiday decoration to hang in our hallway. I had also been trying to think of something to do with all of my 2014 Instagram photos. I came up with a “deck the halls” banner for the hallway with some of our favorite photos. To make it really come together, I added the star ornaments. The gold and glitter really light up the hall!

Supplies: Christmas Wishes Mini Garland set (or twine and cut out own gold letters), Nightfall star ornaments, gold card stock paper, square photos printed from Instagram and tape

Directions: Cut squares out of the gold paper, slightly larger than your square photos. Tape the photos to the gold paper. Cut or punch holes in the top of each gold paper square. Thread the photos, gold letters and stars onto the string. Hang and enjoy seeing your favorite moments of 2014!

DIY Holiday Project - "Deck the Halls" Instagram Banner For more fun, festive holiday ideas, visit The Chirping Moms. Happy Holidays!

Courtney Byrne is a mother of three little children. She has two girls that are 3 and 4 and a brand new baby boy. Courtney is the Co-Founder of the popular blog, The Chirping Moms. The blog share adventures in motherhood along with great activities for kids, crafts, recipes and ideas for family travel. You can keep up with them on Facebook, Pinterest and as @TheChirpingMoms on Twitter and Instagram. In addition to writing The Chirping Moms, Courtney is also a contributing writer to the Four Seasons family travel site Have Family Will Travel and has been featured on The Huffington Post and What To Expect.