Make Putting Up Your Christmas Tree a Grand Event

Are you getting ready to put up your Christmas tree? Make the tree decorating a family fun event. (Yes, your dog counts as a family member). Spend an afternoon or evening decorating your Christmas tree together.

Ways to Make Putting Up Your Christmas Tree a Grand Event

Due to the ongoing pandemic, most community events will not take place this year. But you can quickly turn Christmas decorating into a grand affair. Check out the following list for ideas to make lasting memories while merely putting up your Christmas tree.

  • Homemade Ornaments: Make homemade ornaments for your tree. For example, salt dough ornaments are simple to create. Before putting up your tree, make a batch of salt dough ornaments. You and your family can easily cut the decorations into specific shapes with cookie cutters. Bake, paint and date your ornaments as directed. Then, on the day of putting up your Christmas tree, you can hang your new ornament creations.
  • Special Ornaments: Purchase a new ornament for each family member. If you are on a tight budget, dollar store ornaments work wonderfully. Date or add different embellishments to your decorations to create a one of a kind appearance.
  • Make Your Garland: String popcorn, create paper chains, or use other materials to create your tree’s garland.
  • Play Christmas Music: Set your radio on the Christmas music channel or create playlists full of your holiday favorites.
  • Listen to an Audio Book: Listening to children’s Christmas stories is always fun. Playing the stories in the background will add extra fun to your Christmas tree event.
  • Watch Christmas Shows: Play old classic Christmas shows while decorating the tree. Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Polar Express, or A Charlie Brown Christmas are all wonderful holiday programs for your whole family to enjoy.
  • Bake Christmas Goodies: Before setting up your tree, bake holiday-themed goodies. Cookies, pretzels, hot cocoa, or other treats help make putting up your Christmas tree a grand event.
  • Countdown Ceremony: Before plugging in your Christmas tree, have a countdown ceremony. Children love the hype of a countdown ceremony.
  • Photo Time: Wear matching holiday pajamas or ugly Christmas sweaters to pose in front of the tree. Creating a new Christmas tree ceremony selfie can be a new tradition for you and your family.

Remember to take lots of pictures while putting up your Christmas tree. Print your photos and create a special scrapbook. 2020 is definitely a year to remember.

 

Simple Halloween Ghost Cookies

Halloween (or any holiday) is an excellent time to start new traditions. Whether you are staying close to home due to the pandemic or avoiding the cold weather, making simple Halloween ghost cookies is a great way to celebrate. Anyways, who doesn’t like warm, gooey marshmallow cookies?

Grocery List

  • Cookie dough or the ingredients to your favorite cookie recipe.
  • Marshmallow shaped ghosts
  • Halloween sprinkles (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven.
  • Bake cookies as directed.
  • Remove at the proper time.
  • Place the ghost marshmallows and sprinkles on to the warm cookies. The marshmallow begins to melt from the heat.
  • Serve warm.
  • Enjoy the extra sweet, gooey goodness of simple Halloween ghost cookies.

These simple but tasty Halloween ghost cookies are a perfect snack for family movie night.

Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July at Home

Are you staying home for the 4th of July? You are not alone. Finances, the weather, social distancing, or health concerns are keeping many people at home this year for Independence Day. Staying at home doesn’t necessarily mean a boring holiday. With little preparation, you can make this 4th of July memorable for your family.

Ideas to Celebrate Independence Day at Home

Enjoy being at home with your family on Independence Day. Create new family traditions or expand on older ones.

Food and Treats

One of the best parts of any holiday is food. The 4th of July is an excellent time to get outdoors.

  • Host a BBQ: Whether you host a BBQ for just your family or a few friends, grilling out on the 4th of July is a tradition. In addition to grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad, macaroni salad, beans, and chips are perfect for hosting a BBQ.
  • Picnic: If you want to stay close to home but get outdoors, go on a picnic. Local and state parks are open. Being outdoors is a wonderful way to get fresh air and enjoy the sun.
  • Sundae Bar: Buy a couple different flavors of ice cream and all the fixings. Red, white, and blue sprinkles are a perfect holiday topping. Whipped topping, chocolate chips, flavored toppings, and nuts are other welcomed favorites for ice. Allow your children to create their own masterpieces.
  • Piñata: Buy a piñata as part of your holiday celebration. Your children will enjoy the candy and prizes.

Games

Keeping children busy on the 4th of July helps produce lasting memories. If the weather permits, play games outdoors. Do you need some ideas? Go old school.

  • 3-Legged Race
  • Burlap Bag Race
  • Water Balloon Toss
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Crafts
  • Slip and Slide
  • Playing in the Sprinkler

Crafts

Are you looking for a low-key 4th of July celebration or a place for children to relax in the shade? Setting up a craft table is simple. Just remember to stick to the red, white, and blue theme.

  • Tie-Dye T-Shirts: Purchase red and blue dye to add color to white t-shirts. Provide rubber bands to make different markings on the shirts. A tie-dye t-shirt is a perfect take-home gift or memorable experience.
  • Make Necklaces: Red, white, and blue pony beads are inexpensive. Provide trays of beads to all your children, and guests make necklaces or bracelets.
  • Make Crowns: Posterboard, glitter, red, white, and blue construction paper are great for making crowns.

Bonfire

Host a bonfire. Roast marshmallows for S’mores and enjoy an evening under the stars.

Fireworks

With many fireworks canceled, you may want to set a few off for your family to enjoy. Sparklers are always a fun tradition for the entire family to enjoy. If you are setting off larger fireworks, be courteous, and let your neighbors know your plans.

The 4th of July is a time to celebrate freedom. But there is no right or wrong way to celebrate Independence Day. Ordering pizza and watching fireworks on television can be a fun-filled night for your family.

Local Event Review: New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in St. Johns

Most of the time on New Year’s Eve, I stay home with my pets. Living in Michigan, the weather is not exactly great for hanging outside around midnight. Leaving my house at 10 pm is just not something I do. Yes, I realize this behavior makes me old. This year in St. Johns, Michigan, there was a ball drop event.

Watching the ball drop in New York is one of my items on my bucket list. I realize our little local ball drop is nothing in comparison. But the event was still fantastic to attend.

Favorite Part

I admit, there is something special about a group of diverse people loudly counting down to midnight to usher in the new year. The bright colored ball with 2020 shining brightly against the dark sky was perfect.

Least Favorite Part

Even though the local bars were still open for business, I personally would have loved to seen local vendors set up. What can I say, an elephant ear or fried cake would have been an excellent addition to the evening.

Will I attend the event again? 

Yes, most definitely.  The ball drop did not occur properly due to a  malfunction. I would like to witness the ball drop as the count down happens. Of course, I am still hoping for an elephant ear covered in powder sugar.

What you need to know if you attend? 

If you attend in the future, dress in warm clothes.  The Michigan nights are cold. Even with the close proximity to everyone, the night air was chilly.

 

Host a New Year’s Day Blessings Buffet

New Year’s Day marks a new beginning, a new year. Moving into 2020 brings a new decade. Celebrating New Year’s Day is easy with a Blessings Buffet. Basically, gather your friends and family together to wish everyone good luck, health, and fortune for the new year.

Invites

Yes, this close to New Year’s Day, you still have time to plan a blessings buffet. Simply start planning now. Send emails, messages, texts, or call your family and friends who want to come. Once you get a headcount on the number of people coming, you can start planning your menu.

Menu

The menu is entirely up to you. A buffet-style or potluck is easy to serve and maintain if guests drop in at different times on New Year’s Day.

Traditionally, certain foods represent good luck for the new year.

  • Pork: Serving pork as part of the buffet, symbolizes prosperity for the upcoming year. A pig will root forward, which is why the meat is thought to be lucky.
  • Long Noodles: Eating long noodles on New Year’s Day represents long life.
  • Cornbread: The same color as gold, cornbread represent good fortune. Many believe eating cornbread on New Year’s Day will bring extra spending money for the year.
  • Green Veggies: The same color as money in the United States, green symbolizes good luck. Serve kale, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, green beans, or collards.
  • Peas and Beans: Traditionally, eating lentils or black-eyed peas means luck and prosperity for the coming months. Many believe black-eyed peas resemble coins.
  • Cake: Everyone likes cake. Eating round cake or pastries on New Year’s Day represents coming full circle. In some traditions, the cake may contain coins. The person who receives the piece of New Year’s cake with the coins will have extra luck in the coming year.
  • Fruit: Eat pomegranates for good fortune and prosperity. In fact, many believe the more seeds in the pomegranate increases your luck. For those who wish to become pregnant within the year, eat figs. Figs represent fertility in the new year.

Activities

The decision to have activities is entirely up to you. For many, New Year’s Day is a time to relax and watch football. Enjoy each other’s company. Laugh about the antics from New Year’s Eve. But if you decide to host activities, consider the following.

  • Play cards
  • Play board games
  • Play multiplayer video games
  • Relax and binge-watch your favorite movie
  • Create a craft area to keep children busy

Regardless of your menu or activities, enjoy New Year’s Day with family and friends.

Family Night: New Year’s Eve

Are you staying home with your family on New Year’s Eve? Use the evening for quality time, host a family night. An impromptu family fun night will turn your New Year’s Eve into a lasting memory.

Ideas for Your New Year’s Eve Family Night

Not only does this New Year’s Eve ring in a new year, but it also brings a new decade. Celebrating with your family is a perfect way to usher in the new year.

Food

Party food is essential but does not need to be elaborate.

    • Pizza: Order pizza. Or make homemade pizzas to fit everyone’s exact tastes.
    • Finger Food: Make finger sandwiches. Even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into fours is an excellent treat for New Year’s Eve.
    • Sweets: Bake cookies or brownies.
    • Celebration Cake: Make a 2020 cake. The cake does not need to be fancy. A simple cake with white frosting and 2020 in writing does the trick.
    • Ice Cream: Create a sundae bar. A gallon of ice cream, different toppings, and whipped cream make a simple sundae bar for the entire family to enjoy.

Drinks

Serve different family drinks for the evening activities. Of course, water should always be on the menu. But consider sparkling cider or punch for a midnight toast. Homemade hot cocoa is another delicious idea to add to the celebration.

Activities

Plan different activities leading up to midnight.

  • Games: Play board or card games. Sitting together and talking is great for quality family time.
  • Do Crafts: Make paper crowns or hats for the New Year’s Eve celebration. Create themed decorations or art.
  • Movies: Binge-watch your favorite movie or series until midnight.
  • Scavenger Hunt: Hide clues throughout your home to lead to a final treasure.

Making Memories

The best part about spending New Year’s Eve at home is making lasting memories.

  • Photo Booth: Create a photo area. Use a blanket, sheet, shower curtain, or large piece of material for a backdrop. Place different props out. The accessories can be homemade. Make a point to take pictures every hour leading up to midnight.
  • Time Capsule: Create a time capsule. Ask your family or friends questions. For example, what do you want to do when you grow up? The question is simple. But when opening the time capsule, you may find the answer amusing or inspiring.
  • Make Memory Cards: Index cards work well for this type of activity. Ask each of your family members to write out favorite moments in 2019. You may need to help younger children. Encourage drawing. Each card is a perfect addition to a scrapbook or photo album.

Regardless of how you celebrate, enjoy the evening with your family. You only get to ring in 2020 once in your lifetime.

Celebrating World Photography Day

Did you know August 19th is World Photography Day? Starting with film and advancing to digital, cameras have been around for decades. A camera can catch a glimpse of reality before passing away into history. From haunting disasters to daily routines, every photo tells a story. 

Ways to Celebrate World Photography Day

Photography is your personal journey. Taking pictures is the best way to celebrate World Photography Day. Do not be afraid to show others your view of the world. 

Unplug from Your Computer

Unplug from your computer or other devices during your lunch hour, for the afternoon, or the entire day. Grab your camera or mobile phone and head out to take some pictures. Find your personal inspiration.

  • Go outdoors. 
  • Go for a nature walk. 
  • Take your dog for a hike. 
  • Enjoy the scenery.
  • Photograph a meal.
  • Set up a scene.
  • Photograph your family, pets, or friends.
  • Photograph from different angles.
  • Make your photo adventure a family activity.

Buy a Good Camera

If you enjoy taking pictures, consider investing in a high-quality camera. 

  • Do your research to find the right fit for you. 
  • Ask friends or family members for input.
  • When you go to purchase a new camera, ask questions. 
  • Hold the camera. 

Remember a camera is just a tool. True photography comes from your inspiration and personal viewpoint.

Learn the Rules

Photography has rules. Composition, exposure, balance, and lighting are just a few of the common areas. 

  • Take a class.
  • Attend a workshop.
  • Go to the library or local bookstore for photography books.
  • Join social media groups.

Break the Rules

Yes, photography has rules. Do not be afraid to break them. Every person views a subject differently. Your pictures are your own personal viewpoint. Let your personal inspiration shine through in your photo. 

When you get to caught up in the right way to take a photo, you miss out on the experience. Have fun. Photography is an art form, your art. Never let anyone diminish your art.

August Photo Prompts

August is National Back to School Month and Family Fun Month. Incorporating these themes into your photo prompts to make a wonderful way to celebrate August. 

31 August Photo Prompt Ideas

  1. Selfie (always start the month with a new selfie)
  2. Current view
  3.  Beach
  4. Besties (Friendship Day)
  5. Green
  6. Beverage
  7. Something down low
  8. Skyscape
  9. Friday Fun
  10. Bonfire (S’mores Day)
  11. Relaxation
  12. Something up high
  13. Flowers
  14. Black and White
  15. Small
  16. Large
  17. Water
  18. Sunset/Sunrise
  19. Wish
  20. Travel
  21. School Supplies
  22. Signs
  23. Love
  24. Favorite Meal
  25. Ice Cream
  26. Clouds
  27. Rocks
  28. Nature
  29. Activity
  30. Vintage
  31. Good-bye to Summer

Use the prompt list as a guide to photographing the month of August. For additional fun, make the photo prompt quest a family activity. Or gather your friends to do the photo prompts and create a social media page. The photo possibilities are endless. Use your imagination and set out for an August adventure. 

90 Summer Bucket List Ideas

When most people think about a bucket list, images of faraway places generally come to mind. A summer bucket list is simply a way to enjoy each day to the fullest. Creating a list with your family or friends is a wonderful way to inspire a fun-filled summer.

90 Bucket List Ideas for Summer

  1. Plant flowers
  2. Keep a summer journal or scrapbook
  3. Attend summer activities including VBS, Science Camp, Library Events, or Art Classes
  4. Learn tennis or other summer outdoor sporting activities
  5. Play in the rain
  6. Visit a state or national park
  7. Go berry picking
  8. Make tye-dyed shirts
  9. Listen to a free, outdoor community concert
  10. Play a game of catch or Frisbee
  11. Take silly selfies with your family or friends
  12. Go to the library
  13. Ride a Ferris wheel
  14. Watch fireflies
  15. Read a book under a tree or on the beach
  16. Try kayaking or paddle boarding
  17. Go camping
  18. Roast marshmallows or make S’mores
  19. Attend a festival or fair
  20. Go to an amusement park for the day
  21. Go on a canoe or boat ride
  22. Play hide-n-seek
  23. Walk your dog or volunteer to walk dogs at the local shelter/rescue
  24. Try rollerblading or skateboarding
  25. Nap in a hammock or lawn chair
  26. Visit a waterfall
  27. Throw pennies into a wish fountain
  28. Create a summer playlist of your favorite songs
  29. Take a tour
  30. Go to the park for the day
  31. Watch a parade
  32. Visit a splash park or splash pad
  33. Try a Pinterest craft
  34. Go to the zoo
  35. Volunteer
  36. Make Root beer floats
  37. Go to the lake
  38. Go for a bike ride
  39. Have a water balloon fight
  40. Visit an aquarium
  41. host a scavenger hunt
  42. Go swimming
  43. Make sandcastles
  44. paint rocks
  45. Host a movie night
  46. Make homemade popsicles
  47. Go on a day trip
  48. Make homemade lemonade
  49. Host a photo shoot in your backyard
  50. Go Geocaching
  51. Do sidewalk chalk art
  52. Eat banana splits
  53. Watch a sunrise
  54. Make homemade playdough or salt dough
  55. Watch fireworks
  56. Use sparklers
  57. Visit a historical site
  58. Go to a drive-in or outdoor movie night
  59. Eat watermelon
  60. Go to a farmer’s market
  61. Avoid social media for a day or week
  62. Play in the sprinklers or on a slip-n-slide
  63. Go bowling
  64. Make homemade ice cream
  65. Play laser tag
  66. Fly a kite
  67. Host a BBQ
  68. Host a rainy day craft day
  69. Go on a picnic
  70. Watch a sunset
  71. Go horseback riding
  72. Go miniature golfing
  73. Go tubing, float down a river
  74. Lay out a blanket and star gaze
  75. Go on a nature walk
  76. Make a YouTube video
  77. Host a family board game night
  78. Join a summer reading group
  79. Paint picture of something in nature
  80. Make and host a paper airplane flying contest
  81. Make sun catchers out of Pony beads
  82. Go hiking
  83. Go to your local botanical garden
  84. Try a snow cone
  85. Eat a funnel cake or elephant ear
  86. Collect and send postcards
  87. Blow bubbles
  88. Go on a train ride
  89. Spend an afternoon visiting family members
  90. Sit outdoors and just listen to the sounds of summer

 

School’s out. The weather is warmer. Have fun and enjoy the upcoming summer days.

 

30 Picture Ideas for June

Long summer days are great for being outdoors. Enjoy the warmer weather by taking photos of your surroundings.

30 Photo Prompts for June

  1. Selfie
  2. Pet
  3. Landscape/Waterscape
  4. nature
  5. Current View
  6. Something Yellow
  7. Signs
  8. Best Friends
  9. Seashells or Beach Sites
  10. Iced Tea or Other Refreshing Beverage
  11. Down Low
  12. Up High
  13. Favorite Snack
  14. Flag (Flag Day in the U.S. is today)
  15. Clouds
  16. Father’s Day Inspiration
  17. Something Green
  18. Memory
  19. Oreos
  20. Ice Cream or Other Frozen Treat
  21. Summer
  22. Strawberries or Other Fruit
  23. Flowers
  24. Garden
  25. Water
  26. Sunglasses
  27. Weather
  28. Something Blue
  29. Street View
  30. Skyline

June is a wonderful start of the summer months. Take pictures, print them, share online, or make a scrapbook.

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