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The Graham Cracker Death Trap (A Gingerbread House FAIL)

Gingerbread House Fail

I’ve been dreaming about this day for years.  

The day we would sit together as a family, creating beautiful gingerbread houses that would make any Pinterest goer green with envy.  Oh, yeah. I got this.  Except not.

Gingerbread House

I was so excited to be able to share this special time with my toddler, making gingerbread houses for the first time.  Something I hoped we would be able to turn into an annual tradition. But now, my hopes and dreams have been forever ruined because I realize that I suck at making gingerbread houses.  I mean, I’m terrible at it.  I mean, it’s pretty bad. Like really bad.

Gingerbread House decorating

Let’s backtrack to earlier in the weekend when I  braved the crowds in hell at our local Walmart for some wine and gingerbread house making materials.  Somewhere in the store, nowhere near the candy and graham cracker aisles (because, you know, it’s Walmart and nothing makes sense), I saw actual gingerbread house decorating kits. “Pffft! PAH-LEESE,” I said to myself, “That’s for idiots who don’t know how to decorate their own houses. Not me!” And so I spent more than I care to admit on candy, frosting, graham crackers (which I used, instead of making gingerbread, to save time), and various other little treats that we could adorn our lovely homes with.

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As we sat down at the table to start decorating our homes, I was thrilled.  Mostly at the idea of documenting our awesome journey in gingerbread house making to gloat about on Facebook (yeah, I’m awesome) but also because it’s our first year doing this.  I actually cannot remember the last time I decorated a gingerbread house.  It may have been never.  I consider myself to be a relatively crafty person so I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to rock that shit.

Gingerbread House Decorating

My toddler lovingly placed rainbow sprinkles across her rooftop.

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She was so careful and meticulous about placing the decorations on her house.  I was so proud.

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My husband’s craftsmanship.  He is, perhaps, one of the least artistic people that I know and in this particular case, it worked to his advantage.  He was extremely proud that he created something that looked somewhat like a house and actually remained intact as he completed the project.  HOORAY lowered expectations.

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Pretty quickly after I started constructing my gingerbread mansion, I realized that I’m not cut out to be a contractor.  I have no idea what it means to create vaulted ceilings and it’s safe to say that no gingerbread men will be hiring me to play a part in the construction of their homes.  I opted for a flat roof with Kit Kat solar panels on the roof (because, you know, being environmentally conscious is important to me and it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I was incapable of making a structurally sound roof).  It looks more or less like a safe house that would harbor a wanted terrorist for interrogation rather than a comfortable environment for any loving gingerbread family.

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At some point, through no fault of her own, my daughter’s house came crashing to the ground. Presumably crushing all of its gummy bear residents under mounds of sweet, sweet rubble.

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Here they stand…our condemned gingerbread neighborhood.

Next year we’re buying a kit.

Culture, Daily Life, Parenting, Pictures

Hippity Hoppity Easter!

Egg Hunt

Hippity Hoppity Happy Easter!

Beautiful weather, Easter egg decorating, and time with family…could you ask for anything more?!

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An Easter mishap has led to a new tradition in our household. I, ermm, the Easter Bunny forgot to pick up plastic eggs from Target yesterday so I made hardboiled, undecorated, eggs this morning and hid them outside with some fun signs I picked up last year on clearance. While C was laying down this afternoon to rest, the bunny delivered baskets and a fun note letting us know that the eggs were hidden outside. Once we found them we came inside and had fun decorating. Take a look….

Easter Family Traditions

Easter Egg Hunt It's An Ordinary Blog

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Easter Egg Hunt It's An Ordinary Blog

Easter with It's An Ordinary Blog

It's An Ordinary Blog Easter Egg Hunt

A toodler's Easter

Egg Decorating

Easter Eggs

Eggs

Toddler Easter

In case you missed my post about C’s Easter basket…you can find it here: Non-Traditional Easter Basket

Children's Books, Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Parenting, Tutorials

The Easter Basket

Do you remember when I asked on Facebook for some Easter gift basket ideas for C?! Well…Here’s the finished product!

Easter Basket Ideas

My husband and I are not big fans of candy ourselves and want to be careful about how much exposure our own daughter has to sugary sweets. Let me preface this by saying that I don’t judge other parents who give their children sweets, it’s just not a choice that we make for our child and, in my opinion, it’s a lot easier to prevent a problem than to try to stop it later on down the road. For that reason, we don’t keep it in the house. One of the biggest sellers on Easter, it seems, is the candy that comes in the eggs and in the baskets that children enjoy each year so for parents who don’t want to give their children sweets, it’s important to find other alternatives for their baskets. Armed with your fabulous ideas and a $25 budget, I went out on a mission for C’s 2013 basket.

Extra Small Heart Box from Target

Rather than spending my money on a basket that will either be thrown out after we use it or that will sit in the closet collecting dust until next year, I wanted to take a more logical approach for our “basket” this year. So I found this adorable Circo XS Heart box at my local Target for under four dollars. It was the perfect size for the goodies I put inside it.

Non Traditional Easter Basket

One of C’s latest obsessions is painting (any kind of craft, really) and so I picked up some blank paper that we can use for quick projects at home. Since it is the tallest/largest item, I placed it in the back of the box.

Easter Basket Ideas for Toddlers

Then I added in an adorable picture frame that I found on clearance for $3.98 and a fun pool toy that we can use in the coming months. We’re getting ready to convert C’s nursery into a big girl room and I thought the picture frame might be the ideal way to have a picture of my husband and I in our daughter’s room (so we can be with her while she sleeps).

Non Traditional Easter Basket Ideas

I had a coupon from Target for $2 off two American Greeting cards and knew I wanted to find the perfect card for C.

Unconventional Easter Basket Ideas

I finished the box with some detangling spray, sidewalk chalk, leg warmers, and an Easter book before adding in the pink crinkled paper to give it that finished look. The pink “grass” will go into a ziplock bag and into my holiday box to be reused next year. If you’re using that kind of fake grass this year (it’s only .50 at Target) I would encourage you to do the same…or to recycle it when you’re done.

Non Traditional Easter Ideas for Toddlers

I can’t wait to see her face when she opens it on Easter morning!

What are your plans for Easter?!

Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Mad About It Mondays, Society

Why I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions

New Years 2013

If you’re a regular reader, you’re probably wondering where the Mad About It Monday series has been the last two weeks…in honor of the holidays, I wanted to take a pause from the sarcastic complaining and focus on other things. Have no fear, the series returns on Monday January 4th.

Today is the final day of 2012. In looking at my Facebook feed, there seems to be a lot of mixed feelings about the end of this year. Some are grateful for the things that have happened in their lives this year while others are ready for 2012 to be in the rearview mirror, never to be seen again. Personally, this has been a pretty good year for our family. We celebrated C’s first birthday in February and got to experience the many marvelous aspects of her journey from infanthood to toddlerhood. Parenting this year was, by and far, my greatest joy. As we embark on 2013, I look forward to making many more memories with her.

I wanted to take a brief moment today to talk about resolutions. Every year, I witness friends and family waiting until the New Year to make changes that impact their day-to-day lives. The resolve to make those changes is always stronger around the first day of the new calendar and, more often than not, that resolve weakens as the weeks and months pass. Gyms become less full by March and all of those wonderful goals vanish until the end of the next year, when that resolve comes back again.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we wait until a new year, the beginning of a new era (so to speak) to start what really should be started today? Why do we say that we resolve to spend more time with our loved ones, or visit the gym more often, or quit drinking, smoking, or anything else in our lives that needs improvement?

I stopped making resolutions at New Year’s because I think it’s important to evaluate where you are in life and what you should be doing throughout the year…not just when it ends. The fact of the matter is that we’re all on a clock and not one of us knows when our clock runs out so what are we doing wasting our time putting off the things that could be said or done until the New Year?

I think it’s great to make goals, I really do…and I have some goals that I would like to complete in 2013 but I wouldn’t go so far as to call them “resolutions”.

All that said, I wish you all the very, very best in the coming year. I can’t wait to share my life, my story with you.

2013

Happy New Year,

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Culture, Daily Life, Parenting, Pictures, Society, Uncategorized

Toddle Along Tuesday: Holiday Traditions

Happy Hanukhristmafestivus!

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Everything from that first snowfall of the season, the random caroling, wrapping gifts for loved ones, to baking with care I love everything about the holidays. Now that I have a toddler in the house, it’s important for the husband and I to establish those all important holiday traditions with our little one. Establishing these traditions, like anything in our life, is a work in progress and I’m sure we’ll tweak what we’re currently doing and maybe add new things throughout the years.

Neither of us is particularly religious and so when C was born we had some decisions to make regarding how we intend to raise her on a spiritual level. The husband is ethnically Jewish (stemming from his mom) but we both grew up in Christian households (though neither of us classify ourselves as Christians as adults). We know that eventually we’ll have to have discussions with C about life’s biggest questions (who we are, where we came from, where we’re going, and why we’re here) and we’ll probably have things figured out by the time that becomes an issue. For us, in our current station in life, the biggest hurdle is how to handle the holidays. In order to honor the history of our families, we decided to celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in our house each year. 2012 marks the second year we’ve celebrated both. It goes without saying that we also celebrate Festivus because, let’s be honest, we’re awesome. I thought I’d share some photos of our holiday decorations this year…enjoy.

It's An Ordinary BlogOne of my favorite things about the holidays is decorating the tree. It seems so silly to spend so much time putting up decorations only to take them down a month later but it’s worth the effort to have this beautiful, glowing tree in our living room. We had a blast putting up the ornaments. Pictured below are some of my favorites:

Christmas Ornaments

Menorah

Please excuse the missing candles…I didn’t replace them before I took the picture. I want to mention that I purchased this Menorah at Target last year. I’ve only seen Hanukkah decoration (and a Menorah) offered at Target and Pottery Barn (/Pottery Barn Kids) and it makes me proud to shop at both stores because I appreciate that they are more diverse than their counterparts. There is a Menorah I’ve had my eye on but I may need to wait to purchase it until it’s a better fit for our budget.

Holiday Decorations

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Don’t forget to share your Holiday Traditions post with Growing Up Geeky’s Toddle Along Tuesdays.

Daily Life, Tutorials

Gift Giving for The Hard to Shop For

I’m sure you have someone in your life that’s nearly impossible to shop for. We all do. There is always someone who either has everything they want or could possibly need or that doesn’t really want anything in particular. That person, for me, is my dad. Every year for his birthday and Christmas I put my thinking cap on and try to figure out what I can give him that he’ll enjoy. This year I wanted to do something a little extra special. Why? Because I love my dad and I wanted to find a way to tell him. So I decided to give him an envelope for every day between his birthday this year and his birthday next year (2013) with something special: a memory, a picture, a “coupon” (for a hug, a home cooked meal, a movie out, etc), a good quote, or a random fact. My goal was to give him a daily reminder of how much I care about him and how special he is to me.

Let me be the first to tell you that this idea is a labor of love. If you want to go with the 365 day route, give yourself a lot of time, because I had to change my plans after the first five or so hours into the project. I didn’t start my dad’s birthday gift until the day before I gave it to him. I was also cooking our non-traditional Thanksgiving feast so I was, regretfully, short on time. I ended my dad’s birthday gift at 100 days, which I still think will be good.  I purchased a box, envelopes, and index cards from my local Target and went to work.

Working on this gift for my dad was really fun for me. It was really nice remembering events, conversations, and other memories from my childhood but it was also really great to look back at the pictures that I shared with him. I incorporated some of his favorite candy into the box so that he would have something other than just a box full of cards to enjoy on his birthday.

Here’s the finished product:

He’ll be celebrating his birthday today and will (hopefully) open up his first envelope. Happy Birthday, Dad!

Now I just have to figure out what to do for Christmas…