Friday, December 16, 2011

Got Winter Break?

The kids are out of school... what to do, what to do? Have no fear, I have a comprehensive list right here! Luckily, here in Atlanta were are having some record high temperatures. For example, yesterday we experienced a high of 69 degrees! I saw an entire family in shorts like they were headed to the beach.
So don't suffer from cabin fever this holiday break and lose your sanity before 2012, when you don't have to! Majority of the activities are my girls' favorites.

Disclaimer: Be sure to check each respective sites for any changes to events or holiday hours.

I have a few great outing ideas...

Christmas Lights and Tree Display
Fernbank Museum of Natural History - Winter Wonderland
Lake LanierMagical Nights of Lights: Coupons available @ Publix
Clayton County International Beach - Festival of Trees and Lights
Stone Mountain - Snow Mountain: Coupons available @ Kroger
Centennial Park - Holiday in Lights display and Ice skating
Christmas on Peachtree - A nostalgic holiday festival at the old Macy's building (currently, 200 Peachtree ). Here is a printable coupon for a free Child's ticket.

County libraries and Storytelling
--Check the event calendars for the library branches are lost of great FREE, wholesome holiday fun! Did I mention that it was free?
Clayton County
Cobb County
Douglas County
Fayette County
Fulton County
Gwinnett County
Wren's Nest - Storytelling Saturdays 1pm; Adults $9, Kids $6

Mindless Fun and Cheap Movie Theatres
--Be sure to check the site for promotional coupons. I don't enter one of these places without a coupon in hand. Why pay too much, when you don't have to!
Monkey Joe's
Chuck E. Cheese 
Venture Cinema 12 - Duluth
The Picture Show at Merchant Exchange - Marietta
Cinemark Movies 10 - Fayetteville; (770) 460-0308

Science and Outdoor Fun
Fernbank Science Center - The Sky Tonight. Saturdays 11am; Adults $4, Kids $3. Free with Fernbank Membership
Panola Mountain - Afternoon and Night Hike recommended for children older than 10. Admission $7, parking $5
Autry Mill Nature Preserve - Exotic Ecotherms $3/person or $5/family
Imagine It! Children's Museum - Exploring the World of Fairy Tales
Zoo Atlanta - There have been several recent births at the zoo.
Lowe's - Build and Grow Workshop

If you have any other activity recommendations, please leave it in a comment box.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cool Earth-friendly Christmas Wreath Ideas

I have created 2 really cooool Christmas wreaths made of repurposed items.

The first wreath was my bright idea but I am sure that it isn't a new one. I used all the Christmas cards that I have been saving for the last 2 years and created a wreath. You are probably wondering why I saved them? I like receiving mail so for people to go out of their way to send me a Christmas card, I felt the cards were too special to chuck into the trash. You will need about 30-40 Christmas cards, a glue gun, ribbon (optional) and some double-sided tape. I created my initial freeform wreath shape with a few cards. Then I stacked the other cards on top slightly overlapping the first row so that you could see the designs on each of the cards.

Here is the final product:

My second wreath made of repurposed items came from a lunch and learn day at my local library. The wreath consists of several 4.25"x5.5" sheets of paper rolled into cones and glued (or stapled) to a 4x4 square cardboard base. Any kind of paper can be used: wrapping paper, craft paper or magazine pages. In my example, I used paper from an old book and old calendar sheets. You will need to make at least 40-50 cones to start.

Next, draw three equidistant rings on the cardboard base. The rings will determine where you start each layer cones. Once you have drawn the rings on the cardboard piece, divide the cardboard piece into quadrants. Start layering each quadrant by placing one cone in the center of each quadrant, starting at the outer ring. Continue to add more cones by further dividing each quadrant until you have completely filled in the first layer.

At this point, you add more cones on top of the first layer but at the center ring. So on and so forth until you reach the innermost ring. Now that the tedious part is over, the fun begins. You can customize you paper wreath with ornaments hot glued to the center (like mine). Use the wreath as a table centerpiece by adding a hurricane vase and candle to the center. The possibilities are endless and can be created for any holiday or special occasion!!! 

Final product:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

All good things...

I had planned to keep my blog light-hearted and jovial but unfortunately, it is that reflective part of the year when I pat myself on the back for the things that I did right and try to improve upon the things I did wrong. So here goes...

All good things must come to an end... I was part of an amazing organization that lead me to meet people that I probably would not have met formally eventhough we had several commonalities and our paths crossed several times in the last 14 years. There is one bad thing about good experiences, they don't last forever. More often than not, they end miserably. Especially when you try to hang on because you had some really great times and you genuinely like the people that you have intimately grown to know and care about. Sometimes you have to know when to say when and leave the relationship in a respectable place, so that all parties involved can at least be amicable. The more I type about this, the more it sounds like a marriage that has went wrong ending in a messy divorce.

There is a point of no return in any relationship where you have invested enough time and if something goes wrong, you will be hurt. I am going to have to walk away from something I truly enjoyed because my feelings are now tarnished or crystallized. Crystallization is a term I learned from reading T.D Jakes' book, Reposition Yourself. Crystallization is the point where deterioration has taken its toll. This is where I am right now. I have to make my exit soon but this means that I will have to leave a few people behind because I have issues with them and the friendship didn't get a chance to flourish before the trouble started. So sad but true.

Let me briefly elaborate on the remaining stages of progression in any relationship or situation from the Bishop Jakes' book. First, there is revelation. This is the stage of discovery for new possibilities or potential . Next is inspiration, the point when you decide to commit or take it to the next level. Formalization is the next step and involves the acceptance of your decision. Basically, you sign on the dotted line. The step that comes before the final stage of crystallization is institutionalization. Here is where the trouble begins and the "honeymoon" is over. I am sure you are probably checking off every friendship or relationship you may have ever had and where they fall within these stages of progression.

I can say that I am thankful for the really great times because I forged great budding friendships that I pray last a while because quite frankly heart can't take another break. So the lesson here is... when something is really good, dive in and bask in the warm and fuzzy goodness. Cherish the friendships that you make because you don't know what may happen next (good or bad). This lesson is totally different from my basic instinct, which is steer clear of all human contact and say, "Why bother? Because I know where this is going." I will close with a quote that continues to come to mind. " 'Tis better to have loved and lost, then to never have loved at all" from In Memoriam: 27 by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Who knew?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Great Purge

Currently, we undergoing a massive undertaking at home.... purging things we no longer need or use. Don't cringe yet, just keep reading.

Here is the catch, it HAS to be done before the new year. I can be a little obsessive about timelines, so get over it. I have instructed the hubby but I think he isn't taking me seriously. My kids have noticed because their toys and clothes are disappearing every time they blink :). We already have a standing rule around here regarding toys: Every time a new toy comes in the house, one toy must be given away.

My reason for The Great Purge is quite simple... less is more (more in this case involves space) and plus I realized how much stuff goes unused, underused, ignored or even worse, saved for another time or place. I don't want be consumed with stuff. During the holiday season, irrational behavior sets in as consumerism rears its ugly head and devours the money of everyday citizens. Americans are consumed by having lots of stuff and this "recession" isn't going to get in the way of people accumulating more stuff, now is it? It doesn't matter what the stuff is along as they have IT! I could take the time right now to talk about my most recent Black Friday experience but that should probably be another post. Just for the record, I bought only a 5 items and slightly went over my $50 budget.

I have already tackled the "guest" bedroom, which is no longer a guest bedroom because no one comes to visit regularly enough to warrant an entire room for their use. I have taken the bed apart, it is waiting to be hauled away and I have organized the closet. There are a few more things left to sort through but it isn't anything major because the hard part is done already. I have changed that space into a multi-purpose room (crafts, sewing, play or workout), it just depends on who is using it.

Next, on the list is my hubby's closet, not looking forward to that battle. I see items in there that still have tags. I will save that joint task for last. Finally, the office file cabinet... Yikes! This task makes me itch just thinking about it because I saw papers in there dated 2003, which means that paperwork have been in there since we bought this house. I wish you could see the goosbumps on my arms.

I am determined to lighten the load around here just for the sake of having one less thing to think about or task that I wish I could have completed already. I am pushing forward into 2012 with an empty to do list in search of bigger and better things where I can devote my time. So as you take in everything I have rambled about in this post, consider joining me in The Great Purge and you can thank me later.