DIY Summer Boredom Busters for Tweens

DIY Summer Boredom Busters for Tweens

My sister Kelsey and I are 8 years apart; when she was heading into her pre-teen tween years, I was still a toddler. My parents did an amazing job of keeping us (and our brother in the middle) entertained during the long, hot summer days by coming up with things that we could all do together. Often, these activities could be separated into four categories and were scattered throughout the days of the week to keep boredom from…

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How to Plan a Neighborhood Block Party This Summer

How to Plan a Neighborhood Block Party This Summer

When I was growing up, we’d pack into my mom’s car and venture from our home in the countryside exactly one hour north to my auntie’s house in the suburbs. We’d arrive at her cul-de-sac in the warmth of a late summer afternoon, kids outdoors playing basketball or hockey and the sounds of laughter floating out from backyard swimming pools. More often than not, the sweet smell of barbecued burgers and hot dogs was also permeating the…

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The Best Gifts for Your Husband’s Birthday to Show Him Love

The Best Gifts for Your Husband’s Birthday to Show Him Love

Like an over-eager child, I anticipate the celebration of any and all birthdays. I owe this to my mother who, on each birthday, would decorate the house with the same Happy Birthday sign, balloon-print napkins and plates, a bundle of helium balloons by the fireplace, and a rectangular homemade cake with sprinkles. It was nothing extravagant, but it was a tradition. A tradition that celebrated us individually, and as a family. Today, as I begin my own…

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DIY Summer Wedding Favors Guests Can Take Home

DIY Summer Wedding Favors Guests Can Take Home

From outdoor receptions under the sun to an ice cream cart for guests and bouquets filled with peonies and lavender, summer weddings fill the air with a refreshing warmth and relaxation. As I daydream about my own wedding, I’ve started to love the idea of DIY summer wedding favors for guests to take home—a tiny tidbit to remind them of the day and to thank them for coming. From foodie favors, like mason jar jams and herbal…

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Celebrating National Sugar Cookie Day With Recipes That Kids Can Make

Celebrating National Sugar Cookie Day With Recipes That Kids Can Make

Comedian Gary Gulman said it best when he said, “Every cookie is a sugar cookie. A cookie without sugar is a cracker.” Sugar cookies have a reputation for being a bit basic in the baking world but, for me, they conjure up all sorts of delicious food memories from my childhood. There were the long days spent at my grandma’s house, when my mom would send me over with a box of sprinkles and all the makings for…

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Canadian-Themed Party Food and Game Ideas to Celebrate Canada Day in the USA

Canadian-Themed Party Food and Game Ideas to Celebrate Canada Day in the USA

On July 1st 1867, the nation of Canada was officially born with the enactment of the Constitution Act. Today, the country celebrates July 1st with all things red, white, and Canadian. And 2017, the holiday mark[ed] Canada’s big 1-5-0 birthday party. Celebrating the holidays of other nations, from Israel to India is a fun way to explore pieces of history from an array of cultures that abound around us—like our red and white neighbors up north. Let’s help our friends celebrate with Canadian-themed party food and game…

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DIY Father’s Day Gifts from Daughter: Easy Last Minute Homemade Gift Basket Ideas

DIY Father’s Day Gifts from Daughter: Easy Last Minute Homemade Gift Basket Ideas

  “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person — he believed in me.” – Jim Valvano When I think of my father, there are poignant and particular things that come to mind: There’s the beep of the coffee maker when it’s finished brewing, and his hands pouring the hot coffee into his favorite sunshine yellow mugs from Hawaii; the countless warm San Diego evenings spent on the front patio where he barbecues…

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Pet Lovers Gift Basket Ideas for Dog and Owner to Dig Into Bonding and Adventure

Pet Lovers Gift Basket Ideas for Dog and Owner to Dig Into Bonding and Adventure

Growing up, we had a good-natured yellow labrador named Woody who happily traipsed through the trees and rolling hills of the neighborhood with us as if it was all his backyard. Being the youngest in my family, I had a habit of often pretending that Woody was my little brother or sister when my siblings weren’t around. I’d dress him up in tiaras when I wanted to play princess fairytales, capes when I was more in the mood for superheroes,…

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Tech Gifts for Teenage Guys: The Benefits of Social Media on Interpersonal Relationships

Tech Gifts for Teenage Guys: The Benefits of Social Media on Interpersonal Relationships

When I was about 10, technology began to infiltrate my childhood when we got our first computer. We’d already been venturing to my grandma’s, who had a slow giant of a desktop stationed in her dining room, whenever my sister needed to write her high school papers or when my brother and I wanted to create books on story software. But having our own home computer at our fingertips, along with all of the forms of technology that would follow…

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Teaching Generosity to Kids: The Giving Tree Party Ideas for a Fun Lesson on Kindness

Teaching Generosity to Kids: The Giving Tree Party Ideas for a Fun Lesson on Kindness

“Once there was a tree, and she loved a little boy.” ― Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree Over 50 years ago, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein took root in the world. It’s a small, green library classic that has since been gifted at birthday parties, baby showers, and graduation celebrations countless times. Though the exact meaning has been debated, most of us can agree that the overarching lesson is an important: Teaching generosity and kindness to kids. When I…

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Creative Hostess Gift Ideas: Easy DIYs Offering Gratitude at Summer Dinner Parties

Creative Hostess Gift Ideas: Easy DIYs Offering Gratitude at Summer Dinner Parties

“I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer—its dust and lowering skies.” – Toni Morrison As the sensations of summer loom on the horizon—the blooming of roses, strawberries making their way to the stands at the farmers’ market, spring sweaters staying put in the closet and being replaced by sundresses—I begin to daydream of summer dinner parties. As with each new season, my favorite part of summer tends to revolve around gatherings, time…

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Patriotic Party Ideas for Your Memorial Day BBQs and Backyard Block Parties

Patriotic Party Ideas for Your Memorial Day BBQs and Backyard Block Parties

Memorial Day signifies the unofficial start of summer when light sweaters are replaced with swim suits and backpacks are replaced with beach bags. Growing up, this often meant holidays spent around a beach bonfire with roasted s’mores, grilled hot dogs, and homemade flag cakes. Some years, the holiday was spent at large backyard gatherings of close friends, with music, swimming, barbecues, and water balloon fights to fill the day. However you celebrate this weekend, in honor of those who have…

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Mother’s Day Party Game Ideas and Family Activities That Are as Unique as Mom

Mother’s Day Party Game Ideas and Family Activities That Are as Unique as Mom

“Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.” —Stevie Wonder On Sunday May 14th, we celebrate mothers, motherhood, and all motherly bonds. This year, as a way to pay tribute to Mom and all the holidays she’s planned, prepared, and beautifully hosted, we’ve rounded up some ideas on how to throw a Mother’s Day party complete with game ideas and…

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Last Minute DIY Mother’s Day Gifts: Elegant Breakfast in Bed Ideas for Mom

Last Minute DIY Mother’s Day Gifts: Elegant Breakfast in Bed Ideas for Mom

The smell of coffee, morning sun streaming in through the window, the tang of freshly squeezed orange juice—there’s nothing quite as special as a thoughtfully prepared breakfast in bed to fill a soul up with happy content. The older I get, the more I can comprehend why moms enjoy—and very much deserve—a luxurious sleep-in every so often. They get to stretch out, ignore the alarm clock, and not have to think twice about cracking an egg, flipping a pancake, or…

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DIY Mother’s Day Flower Arrangements Picked Fresh to Surprise Mom with a Classic

DIY Mother’s Day Flower Arrangements Picked Fresh to Surprise Mom with a Classic

“A mother is one who fills your heart in the first place.” Amy Tan Flowers are so naturally and intrinsically linked to Mother’s Day gifts. When I was a kid, I can recall using every last piece of pink and red colored tissue paper in the house to create a special faux flower bouquet for my mom, Nini. One year I tried to perfect the art of piping frosting in the shape of her favorite flower, plumerias, on top of…

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Whimsical English High Tea Party Ideas for a Non-Traditional Spring Birthday Celebration

Whimsical English High Tea Party Ideas for a Non-Traditional Spring Birthday Celebration

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” – Thich Nat Hahn I love everything that tea parties stand for—the warmth, the conversation, the feel-good nature of them. I have similar feelings about birthday parties, so once I came up with the idea to combine the two, I was one happy gal. I threw an all-ages high tea gathering for my sister’s…

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Spring Fresh Picnic Party Food Ideas and Inspirations for Your First Outdoor Gathering

Spring Fresh Picnic Party Food Ideas and Inspirations for Your First Outdoor Gathering

“The Earth Laughs in Flowers.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson When spring comes, promising sunshine in the skies and the budding of fresh flowers in the garden, I am exuberant. There’s a magical aura surrounding the first season that comes after the chill of winter. Warm soups are replaced with salads. Fresh fruit and vibrant vegetables flourish at the farmers’ market. And folks gather together to eat outdoors and celebrate the invigoratingly magical spell of the equinox with spring parties of all sorts . When the blossoms bloom…

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Eco-Friendly DIY Earth Day Gifts for a Clean and Green Kitchen This Spring

Eco-Friendly DIY Earth Day Gifts for a Clean and Green Kitchen This Spring

For the last few years, my fiancé Nick and I have taken a creative approach to celebrating Earth Day. One year, while living in San Francisco, we crafted a kitchen composter out of a coffee canister. The next year we were hunkered down in Orange County so took a trip to Roger’s Gardens, followed by an afternoon spent planting sunflower seeds in our front yard. Then came our spring in Portland, and a rainy day walk through Forest Park. We…

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The Gifting Garden: Offering Spring’s Bounty as Homemade Gifts and DIY Edible Crafts

The Gifting Garden: Offering Spring’s Bounty as Homemade Gifts and DIY Edible Crafts

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?” “It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…” —Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden In the four years that my fiancé Nick and I have been together, we’ve lived inside the flow of many changing seasons. When we first met, it was a cold winter in San Francisco and days were filled with warm cioppino stew and big pots of tortilla soup. Autumns…

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A Sorbet Soirée: National Nutrition Month Party Ideas for Creative Ways to Serve Fruit

A Sorbet Soirée: National Nutrition Month Party Ideas for Creative Ways to Serve Fruit

Growing up on an avocado farm in rural San Diego, fresh fruit was almost always in season. Our property was filled with pomegranates, blood oranges, apples, bananas, lemons, limes, cherimoyas, and, of course, our beloved, creamy avocados. Early on, my parents instilled in my siblings and me a passion for fresh fruit that still runs deep. When we get together as a family, all of us “kids” often end up in the orchard, eating oranges straight from the trees, letting…

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A Wondrously Wordy “Good Morning, Dr. Seuss” Read Across America Gift Exchange

A Wondrously Wordy “Good Morning, Dr. Seuss” Read Across America Gift Exchange

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!” – Dr. Seuss As a toddler, my mom would drop me at my grandma’s house early in the day before she went to work. I’d spend those mornings with my nose buried in Green Eggs and Ham, Fox in Socks, and The Cat in the Hat, sipping hot chocolate while cozied up on the couch. I would sit, enthralled,…

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