Celebrating New Year's Eve with Red Stamp | this heart of mine

This post is sponsored by Red Stamp. Thank you for supporting our sponsors.

Christmas might be first but at the end of this month, we get to celebrate the ending of an entire year (which also happens to be my birthday). It’s one more chance to gather with friends, reminisce and stay up way too late. We partnered with Red Stamp (A hometown business. Go Minneapolis!!) to bring you some inspiration to ensure you ring in 2015 fabulously. Did you know they sell party decor now? Yes! Balloons, bags, banners, the cutest cut paper flags and so much more. Alexandra Hedin, our resident weeknight party girl, got everything set just right and all you have to do is ‘oooo’ and ‘ahhh’!

Celebrating New Year's Eve with Red Stamp | this heart of mine

Get inspired by the full post over on Alexandra Hedin.

And if you’re ready to get your supplies for New Year’s Eve, we’ve got a discount code for you! Order now through December 10, 2014 and get 20% off at RedStamp.com using the promo code CHEERSTO2015. Party!!

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Recipe: Easy Peppermint Ice Cream

The easiest peppermint ice cream recipe ever! | this heart of mine

Ice cream isn’t a typical first choice winter dessert. At least not around here where the windchill was -10 last evening. That being said, this easy peppermint ice cream captures the flavor of the season and is deeeeeliiiiicioussssssssss. It begs to be eaten all winter long. I have a thing for ice cream with crunchy bits and this recipe hits the crunchy bit spot. As a child, I remember trips to the real ice cream shop. I loved the bubble gum ice cream with the bubble gum bits inside. It’s like getting a present with another present inside. The peppermint candy bits soften just bit in the ice cream and it’s so refreshing.

The easiest peppermint ice cream recipe ever! | this heart of mine

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Setting a Holiday Table

Setting a holiday table using stuff you already have!! | this heart of mine

This post is sponsored by Glade. Thank you for being supportive of our sponsors.

There are certain aromas that really take me back in time, especially this time of year. A blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves reminds me of when my mom used to boil the spices on the stove to make the house smell delicious. I can see her working in the kitchen, in her red sweater, managing way too many things at once. The aroma of hot chocolate usually reminds me of my sister’s birthday the year it dumped like three feet of snow. It was November 1st. We played outside all morning because school was cancelled and when we came in, wet from our snow play, we enjoyed hot chocolate in the dining room. During Christmas, we decorated with more candles than usual. It was tradition, a few times a season, to light them all, plug in the tree, turn off all the other lights and listen to soft Christmas music and just be. It was magical.

I even have aromatic memories of setting our large holiday meal tables. Before the guests would arrived, we would put on Christmas tunes, light a few candles and prepare as the meal aroma filled the house. Mom was the director, choosing which plates to use, along with which place mats, napkins and cutlery. We tried lots of different centerpiece ideas and some years we even made place cards for every guest. Setting a table for the holidays continues to be an enjoyable task for me. Our daily table is not fancy so I enjoy spending extra time fixing it up for a special meal.

To inspire you, I put together six easy table settings using things I found around the house. Craft supplies, holiday decorations, plus a few ‘real’ items – everything is possible. Now I have a little bit of a lot of stuff, mostly due to this blogging thing. So even if your wares don’t match (like mine), you can still set a beautiful table.

Setting a holiday table using stuff you already have!! | this heart of mine

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Winter Family Photos | this heart of mine

It’s that time of year again: time for family photos! After sharing tips last year on DIY holiday photos, I’m here with a story that even if you follow the 5 tips, things can go wrong and not end the way you imagined. Our story does end well, thankfully. :)

We got snow early this year. Instead of hoping it all disappeared before taking photos, I embraced it and started pulling together parts for a winter family shot. Snowy background, expansive sky and our family, bundled up in winter apparel. Most of the clothing I purchased are items we actually will use this winter: hats, mittens, (homemade) scarves and clothes for the holidays. I find coordinating the items for a picture much more enjoyable than just shopping for shopping sake. Yes, I am no fun.

All our gear was assembled and I made plans with a photo friend of mine to snap a few shots of us. The morning of the day when we tried to get our photos first was lovely. Blue skies, not-unbearably-freezing temps and plenty of snow. Unfortunately, about 30 minutes before our go time, the sun disappeared behind thick, overcast clouds, the temperature dropped and the wind picked up. It was awful. Not only did my photographer’s hand almost freeze off but in the few shots we did get, my babies look as though they are being punished. Haha!

Winter Family Photos | this heart of mine

 

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Advent Calendar Boxes

Advent Calendar with Mini Boxes | this heart of mine

Advent calendars can be made of almost anything, just check Pinterest. When I saw sweetly patterned mini boxes in the Michael’s dollar section, an advent calendar was the first thing that came to mind. Since the boxes already looked good, all I did was add a numbered tag. Easy easy. I am excited to set them up, all in a row, and open them each morning with my children.

Advent Calendar with Mini Boxes | this heart of mine

I have so many ideas/options for filling the advent calendar. Love Bug suggested candy. Sweet J agreed. Unfortunately for them, my vote conquers all and I said no. :) I’ve wondered about putting in little paper slips with different parts of the Christmas story (good for my little reader) mixed in with some ideas for holiday family together time. Another option is to unpack a piece of a nativity set each day. I need to do some searching for that though because I am really limited on size. :)

Advent Calendar with Mini Boxes | this heart of mine

I have a few days left until the official start date so tell me, what do you do for your advent calendar? I would love to hear some ideas.

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