Projects Completed!

No matter how much you plan and prepare yourself for the Holidays, it never fails to creep up on you! I mean, can you believe Christmas is just 5 days away?! Wow… it just seems like the year started yesterday! .

It’s only been 11 days since my last posting, but it’s been so hectic that it feels like I’ve neglected you for longer than that! I beat myself up when I can’t post twice a week like I had planned to, but I wanted to share with you what I’ve been up to. Between painting frames as gifts and a big Christmas order with just 8 days to complete and deliver, I will tell you I’m happy to be able to lay back and have some Coquito* while looking at the big pile of already wrapped gifts! Here are some of my Christmas Projects/Gifts!

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Hand Painted Nail & Thread Art on solid wood. This one is for our bedroom in our new house but it will be available in my shop by January!

This was an order for 130 Tags/Greeting Cards to be done and deliver in 8 days! That’s including individualized mailing address labels for each 130!

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Hand Painted Irish Blessing on Canvas. Perfect gift for anyone with an Irish background!

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Another Hand Painted Nail & Thread Art on solid wood. I had so much fun using this technique I had to make a gift out of it!

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A sweet little gift for the new baby! Hand Painted on Canvas.

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There’s a gift for every personality! Hand Painted on a canvas.

I promise to have my shop ready by next year, right now is a work in progress! Enjoy all your Christmas parties and preparations! See you next week!

*In case you were wondering, “Coquito” is a national Puertorrican Holiday drink made with coconut and rum among other things, it’s 10 times better than eggnog!

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Gift Wrapping Made Simple!

One of the many things I love about Christmas is the abundance of gift wrapping, yeah there are other occasions during the year were you wrap gifts, but during Christmas, you get to wrap “tons” of gifts! I’m sure that I probably stunned a couple of people with that statement because not everybody enjoys this, but the truth is that when you give a gift, presentation is key. It just means you cared enough to take a couple of minutes and tried your best, nobody expects you to deliver professional results, but nobody likes careless wrapping either! For me wrapping a gift is therapeutic! I just enjoy finding new ways of folding paper or making a bow, if it was up to me I would set up a “Neighborhood Gift Wrapping Center”! I’ve added a new Pinterest Board under the name of “Gifts” to help you out with simple, original ideas to wrapping gifts not just for Christmas but through out the year. Long and forgotten are the days that nice gift wrapping was only done at Macys!


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Repurpose an old sweater or anything knitted! Beautiful, elegant & simple!

"Gift wrapping is not the problem is the bows!" No worries, a roll of yarn will do wonders!

“Gift wrapping is not the problem is the bows!” No worries, a roll of yarn will do wonders!

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“Gift wrapping paper is so last decade!” Then packing paper it is; it only cost $1!

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No time to shop for everybody? If baking is your thing, check out this Printable Template  to wrap cookies!

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“Gifts Cards for everybody!” Sure, why not, but… do you have to put it in a card? Now that is definitely “last decade”! Try something fun!

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Now who doesn’t like cash?! Switch the chocolates for dollar bills and insist they open the box! The look on their face is totally Facebook worthy!

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Now what is a party without a good bottle of wine?! Here’s another use for that sweater you got last year, plus check out more ideas on my Pinterest Gifts Board.

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Need a gift box? Do you have some cereal in the house?!

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Want to give bow making one more try?! The link to this tutorial is no longer available but the pictures are actually pretty straight forward.

 

A Trip to the North Pole!

Christmas it’s truly the best time of the year. How we celebrate it varies from family to family and it all comes down to our traditions. Whether they were passed down to us or we have started them ourselves, we find comfort in sharing them. I will admit that I am a Christmasholic and I’m eager to share with my son so many beautiful traditions in the years to come. Right now he is still too young to understand the true meaning of Christmas, but none the less we decided to start small.

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It’s always hard to explain to kids which gifts are from Santa and which gifts are from mommy and daddy, grandma, etc. Or “Why did Santa leave my gifts at someone else house?” Another famous one is: “Isn’t that godmother’s handwriting on the label?” Since I’m always up to some sort of project I know Jaden will grow up seeing mom’s “tricks” left and right; I can fake any handwriting and I looove to wrap (and make) gifts for Christmas and he’ll know all of that by the time he’s 6! So…. how can I buy, make and wrap gifts in front of him without ruining the whole “Santa experience” for him? A crate specially delivered from the North Pole on Christmas Eve with the gifts from Santa! What ever is on the crate is from “Santa” and that way there’s no dilemma if he’s sees me putting something under the Christmas tree!

Now onto the crafting part…


Your materials will vary depending on the technique you choose to use. There’s are many ways of transferring unto wood, a Pinterest search will prove that, but I can tell you by experience that it can go either way: really easy with awesome results or totally frustrating and not worth your time. I’ve included some of the most popular ones along with some personal notes, you can also find them in my Pinterest Techniques Board.

Wax paper method. Simple enough if you can manage your printer to print without jamming the paper. Paper jams happen 9 out of 10 times and are serious enough to damage your printer.

Wax paper method. Simple enough if you can manage your printer to print without jamming the paper. Paper jams happen 9 out of 10 times and are serious enough to damage your printer.

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You actually can use this method without the Spray Adhesive. The key here is transfer right away or the ink will dry. Paper jams are less frequent but likely.

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ModgePodge Gel Medium method. Great way to transfer images if you don’t mind the white paper residue in your wood.

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The success of this depends on the quality of your printer ink and/or paper. It works depending on your printer: laser printers work great for this but it doesn’t always work on inkjet printers.

If none of these work for you, there’s always the “good old hard way” of transferring images to wood: hand painting them. I know this might sound intimidating but surprisingly, hand painting my crate took me far less time to do, than all the time I spent fighting with my printer. After spending so much time designing my “North Pole Freight Co” logo, I was determined to see it on my crate, so I went old school and traced over the printed image with a carbon paper between my paper and the crate.

Logo

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Once that was done (it took about 5 minutes tops), I grabbed my fine brush and some craft paint and started coloring my drawing. This part literally took me about 15 minutes that included Jaden climbing on top of me and me reading him two story books. The fact that you can still see the carbon trace lines trough the sleight was not intentional but totally adds charm to the image!

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I couldn’t stop with the “North Pole Freight Co” logo, I had to add “North Pole Post Stamps” to my crate as well! I mean; it’s a special delivery after all! Originally I had planned to transfer these onto the crate, but when that didn’t work out, I figured I would print, cut and glue the “stamps” onto the crate. This actually turned out to be a great thing because now I have another new tradition! I have to designed new North Pole Post Stamps every year! -I did mentioned I was a Christmasholic didn’t I?!-

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Looking back I can say this project would have taken me a total of 1 hour had I gone straight to hand painting from the beginning. Lesson learned? my printer is not as cooperative as I thought! Though I wasn’t successful at transferring my design by using some of these techniques, I do encourage you to give it a try, your printer might not be as temperamental as mine! If you manage to print on wax or freezer paper, your possibilities are endless!

Next year we’ll add “Santa’s footprints” near the box! Until then all I have to worry about it’s where to hide the crate during the rest of the year! And in case you are interested, here is the printable file to our 2014 North Pole Post Stamps!

A New Kind of Snowman!

0ccacf234536d721e02d10329ffddf9bAnd so now we put away all things Fall and unto all things Winter! Of course, that also means all your pumpkins; unless your pumpkin is in excellent shape and like me, you feel a little guilty for throwing out a perfectly good un-eatable pumpkin! Last year our pumpkin lasted barely a week before it started rotting, this year I decided to try the “Soak in Clorox Water” method. Our mini pumpkin still didn’t last more than 2 weeks, but our “bigger” pumpkin is as good as new! And so there lies the dilemma, throwing it out would be wasteful, but eating it, is completely out of the question! …Crafting it is, and since in Florida there’s like zero possibilities of making a snowman, my pumpkin seemed like the next best thing!

Let’s go back a bit, this is our pumpkin back in October:

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And this is our pumpkin now! Or, should I say snowman!

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It’s actually fairly simple, all you need is: white craft or acrylic paint,  permanent black marker, and black paper (cardstock or construction paper would do). You can decorate the hat anyway you want, my advice is: look in your Christmas ornament bin and use those pieces at the bottom of the bin, something always falls apart no matter how careful you placed it last year! Need a little more help?! Here are some helpful tips/ideas:

Snowman Face:

You can actually go all out and paint a beautiful vintage face or choose a more simple look, either way I warranty you, it will look beautiful. With so many faces and styles to choose from, you can’t really go wrong, and if you make a mistake, just paint over with white and start again! Here are some ideas to inspire you!

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Nose:

Anything will work: a small carrot, button, felt, stick, etc. Search around your house and have fun!

Hat:

Making the hat is pretty easy, I got the idea from this Pinterest Post

If you prefer, you could use the same pattern and stich together a felt hat instead of a paper hat. I would’ve gone that route but I honestly didn’t think of it until after I was done with my paper hat, by then Jaden had woken up from his nap, and that was the end of “Craft Time” for me! It shouldn’t take you more than 5 to 10 minutes tops to stich it together, plus, you can put it away and re-use it next year!

In case you are wondering why does it seem that my snowman’s hat has plastic around the edges, I can’t explain why it looks like that on the picture (lack of time didn’t allow me to take another one!) but I can tell you that in real life he has fake snow on his hat and it actually looks pretty cute!


Here are some inspiring ideas for those pumpkins!

Beautiful! Felt hat and bow tie!

Beautiful! Felt hat and bow tie! by Angelina Berg

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Got more than one? Make a Snowman Centerpiece!

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And of course Olaf has to be a pumpkin snowman too! He seems to be everywhere these days! by Crystal Owens

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Simple is still nice!


After this, I will be more than happy to throw again my pumpkin guilt free! Enough with the pumpkins until next year! Don’t forget to post pictures of your projects in the comment section! Next post: “A Trip to the North Pole!”

DIY Ornaments for the None Crafty!

Hi everybody! After missing one blogging week, I’m happy to be back again! My little one got sick and the rest is history, long tiresome, craft-less week! But I have some cool things in store, including a new approach to remaking a metal vase! (more on that on Friday!) But today, I’ll share with you some neat quick tricks to making (and having) really nice expensive looking ornaments without spending $4 to $14 for each of them. Best of all, you don’t have to buy any extra supplies and it’s a great project for all my friends who call themselves “none crafty”!

Ever go to the store and browse through the aisles with individually sold Christmas ornaments, and think to your self: “I would have to spend a fortune just to buy enough of these for my tree”? You end up buying the ones that come in bundles and think to your self: “I’ll stick with the cheap ones”. No need to settle! those are exactly the ones we are going to be working on, and by the time we are done they will look like we hit the lotto and bought from the fancy aisle rather than the cheap one!

First off, here is what you’ll need: affordable flat ornaments, craft scissors and any glue that dries clear (but not school glue). I found these ornaments at Wal-Mart, they bring them every year, and always add up new shapes and designs. They are very affordable at just $2.98 for a pack of 12; meaning we will get 6 fancy ornaments for just $2.98. Who doesn’t like a bargain?!


Pretty Stars

You will need 2 stars per ornament. The process is fairly simple, just cut an opening on the bottom of one and another opening on the top of the other. It’s the same concept we used when making paper stars as kids, only these look a lot better and are more sturdier.

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Make sure the opening is big enough to interlace both stars, you want them tight not loose.

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Once you have done that, just add some glue where the opening touches the other star. I wouldn’t advice adding glue before you interlace them just because you want to keep glue residue to a minimum. You just want to add enough glue to secure to ornaments together.

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There you go! a fancy star ornament in less than 5 minutes!

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Christmas Tree

You will need 2 trees per ornament to make 6 fancy ones.

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Using a slightly different technique we will achieve the same result. There are some ornaments that can’t be cut like the previous one because they are held together by a common “thread”, and they will break in two. In that case, you will cut them in half from the start.

bUse hot glue, it dries almost immediately and it adds sturdiness to the ornament. Glue the two half’s onto the other ornament in order to achieve the same result as with the Pretty Stars.

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If you’d like, you can even add more “half’s” to your tree to make it even prettier. In this case you will need to use 4 trees (1 whole and 3 cut in half) to achieve this look:

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They actually sell ornaments like this one for $4 a piece with a crystal tear drop in the bottom!

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Delicate Village

Christmas Villages always give your home a beautiful touch, but if you haven’t been collecting them for years… let’s just say you will spend a few bucks. This is a simple solution to a lasting simple village that can actually match with your tree décor! I chose the white village look (it will look beautiful by the window on a blanket of snow), but they come in all colors; aqua, violet, black, red, brown, etc.!

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For this little project you’ll need a piece of cardboard or foam board, use what you have at home; I used foam board because I had some left over from a previous project. Cut a piece as long as your ornament and two smaller pieces to give it support on the sides. Make sure the bottom piece is wide enough to fit a tea light candle.

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Glue the base and then attach the “Church” ornament to the front and back. Your end result is an elegant village of six for $2.98!

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For a more elaborate village, use 4 ornaments instead of 2. Trim the edges off of two of them.

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Cut a cardboard piece big enough for all four ornaments.

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Glue the trimmed pieces first and then finish by gluing the front and back piece. You can use tea light candles or battery lights. Using four pieces per ornament will give you a village of 3 for $2.98!

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Hope you find this useful! You can use these techniques and make your own unique ornaments! Don’t miss the next post for  a great project! Have a great week!

Thinking of Christmas…

Even though I admit I’m a planner, I will confess I was a bit surprised to see tents for Christmas Tree “Shops” already set up. I mean I love it, but it was quite a chocker. I remember that no more than 5 years ago, you couldn’t find fresh Christmas Trees until the week of Thanksgiving! If you thought that it was too soon to talk about Christmas, let me tell you that Santa’s Work Shop is already open for pictures at the mall! Incredible as it is, are you ready?! Have you decided on a Tree theme this year, or are you going for the same décor as the last 3 years?! I’ll share with you my favorite Tree Trends for this Holiday Season in hopes of inspiring you to get your “Craft On” and decorate for me, since I can’t do any sort of inside décor this year. Remember my realtor “no clutter” rule?! yeap, bummer, but… no worries, I’ll bring down the house next year, that I can warranty!


Hanging Tree

This trend started as an idea for people with little space, and it has quickly develop into a Modern Trend with several choices to work with. I love that despite the fact that its a space saver idea, you can still add presents under the tree on Christmas morning and have free space immediately after. Plus, you have the eye catching tree factor with the hassle free cleanup; you can literally put this away in a box without having to take the ornaments off!

Wooden &/or Stick Tree

For a more cleaned up look; a tree without foliage! The fun thing about this trend is that anything can be used to make a tree: wooden stairs, wired or natural branches, and any sort of wood; craft or recycled. Minimum décor is needed and originality will definitely attract people towards your tree even if you are still using the same old ornament for the last 5 years. Chances are, you already have everything you need to make one of these!

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Use LED decorative branches attached to a natural branch.

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Buy or DIY?!

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Tree on the Wall

Another space saving trend! No room for a tree and not too keen  of Table-Top trees?! No worries; have a big tree, just use a wall! With these ideas your tree doesn’t have to look like the classroom tree the teacher use to put on the wall!


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Ornaments only please!

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Drift wood or branches

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Draw using chalk & decorate!

Less is more 

Believe it or not, trough out the years less has become more during the Holiday Season; even if some, still cling to the idea of “more is better”. Using only the same type of ornaments or using no ornaments at all, can make for some really eye catching trees. In some cases the tree just looks awesome on its own! The key with this trend is to use less!

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Ornaments only.

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Have any Bears?!

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Originality with very little!

Just perfect!

Just perfect!

Traditional

And of course, one of my favorite trends, the traditional fully decorated Christmas tree! It does require more time, patience and decorations, but what can I say, it’s a classic! Year after year you can always find new styles and ideas for your tree; these are just but a few that are just breath taking!

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So there it is! Just a few of my favorite trends! Remember to re-use what you have and just give it a “facelift/makeover”! If you need ideas, just check out my Pinterest Christmas & Winter Board! Don’t forget to add some pictures of your Trees in the comment area, once you’ve set it up! I’ll be giving away a Price to the Best DYI Inspired Christmas Tree, I’ll announce the winner on December 26! So start crafting and don’t forget to post!

Seasonal Survival Guide!

Technically we can cross Halloween out of out list, so what’s next?! It’s time to get ready for what is sure to be a cold hectic winter! I know you’ve heard this year after year, but the best advice right now is: prepare ahead of time! Shipping always gets crazy, stores are always crowded, people should be at their nicest but unfortunately they are not, stock is low, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera! This weekend, put 1 hour aside, sit down with pen and paper and write your action plan for the Season, at least you’ll have an idea of what to expect and hopefully start getting ready early; that way you are sure to be more relax and enjoy the beauty of it all. That’s why I’m calling this our Holiday Season Survival Guide!

  1. Party and Event Planning

Usually by now most company parties have already been announced, and if not, you are very likely to hear from them within the next week or so. Set  those days on a visible calendar so you don’t have any “double booking” issue later. Make sure you write from now all those important dates like your child’s recital, school play and volunteer days. These are days that are scheduled ahead of time with the only purpose of giving you a chance to plan, if you write them big, bold and visible you will know when your schedule is full and when is time to say “no, I wont be able to make it”.

Christmas-calendar

    2. Gifts

Apart from those unexpected gifts that come up every year, your gifts list remains pretty much the same. Family and close friends make the top of the list; then teachers, coworkers, service personal, neighbors, etc.  Write all of the names on a list and if you already know what you would like to get them, write it next to their name. Do keep it simple; you want them to remember you and fall in love with their gift, but simplicity goes along way. For me, the key to a beautiful gift is the wrapping (more about that on another post!), simple gifts with detailed wrapping! Since you already have an idea of how your schedule is looking, then take some of those spare November days and start shopping, what’s the point of waiting for sales if you can’t find what you’re looking for or lose your mind while you shop! If you are planning on making some of your gifts, start now and check out my previous post on DIY Gifts for All. It’s also a good idea to buy a couple of extra generic gifts for those unexpected party invites or guest. Wine or Seasonal candy are always a good gift; keep them nicely wrapped and tucked away so it doesn’t seem like you just decorated them while you were in the kitchen!

    3. Decorations

Yes, the Holidays are here, that means lights, wreaths, ornaments and all! Don’t wait for the hectic days in order to start decorating your house. The truth is, we all have these big ideas of how we’d like our house to look, usually once we start decorating it goes something like this: I forgot to buy milk, the baby is crying, the lights don’t work, can’t find what your looking for, it’s broken!… sounds familiar?! Start early, even if you are the first one on the block! Make it a family affair and skip the movie night. In our house we’ve made its traditional to put up the Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving, we mostly do it on Black Friday evening. Choose a tradition that fits your family and write it down on the calendar so no one makes any plan for Decoration Day!

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     4. Dinners

Family dinner are always a most and so are friends get togethers during this time of the year. Since you can’t really ask them to set up the day from now (some might have the day already but some might not), just leave some space on your calendar for those dinner plans you know, will pop up. Take the time to set your family dinner day from now, that way  you can let family members that travel know so that they can make arrangements. If you invite people with just a week noticed, you can’t get offended when they don’t show up, during the Holidays unfortunately that sometimes is too late.

If you are planning a dinner, write down from now what your meal plan should look like, nothing solid, just a draft. If you are planning on asking friends and family to bring something to the table, you might want to let them know about a month ahead of time. Avoid trying new recipes on the day of your dinner party, nobody wants to sit through a dry turkey! Try your recipes with you immediate family ahead of time, they are you own personal Ginny pigs!

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It does say British Turkey but it’s pretty much the same as in the US, great graphic!

     5. Traditions

Never forget your familys traditions, sometimes with all the hecticness, we forget to light our candles or sing our Christmas Carols. Set time aside to have those moments and cherish the Season for what it really means. Your kids and friends will appreciate the warmth of not just the food but the Christmas Spirit in your house. There are tons of beautiful traditions both cultural and fun that you can incorporate (I’m actually writing a book about that!), just keep in mind your family’s personality and what the Season means to you; and above all, have fun! Traditions shouldn’t be boring, your kids won’t carry them over if they don’t care for them, they should be meaningful and fun.

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That’s it! Five simple tips to survive the Season with peace of mind and a happy heart!

Enjoy your Trick or Treating and be safe!