Wednesday, November 24, 2010

{Being Thankful}

As Thanksgiving approaches, I find myself pondering my blessings and things I am thankful for a little bit more than usual.
Here is a little list of what I am thankful for today and as you will see, each one varies in degree to the grand scheme of things.

1. Today is my 14th Wedding Anniversary! I am so thankful that God chose me to marry Prince Charming!

2. I am thankful that my daughter has the week off from school. We played Monopoly yesterday and watched old ShirleyTemple movies this afternoon.

3. I am thankful that the Shirley Temple song, "Animal Crackers in my Soup" is finally out of my head this evening.

4. I am thankful for the package I received from family in Denmark.

5. I am thankful that the new lipstick I bought without even trying it on first ended up being a super fabulous color on me.

6. I am thankful for the roses my husband surprised me with this afternoon.

7. I am thankful for the kind words my younger sister shared with me today.

8. I am thankful for a wonderful evening out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. (I wore the new lipstick)

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

{Learning Good Citizenship}

This is a pic of Saylor pretending to vote. My lil' citizen had already voted in private on her own in the poll booth with the curtain closed and placed her REAL vote in the ballot box. However, being the mom that I am, the type who takes lots of pics of her kid even pics of her pretending to do things she has already done in case something was missed in the original moment. Yup, that is the type of mom I am.

It's never to early to learn about good citizenship. This Fall, my daughter's class learned about the voting process, campaigning, and how our leaders are elected into office. A few kids in her class ran for Class President. They campaigned, created slogans, gave speeches, made banners and signs showing off their campaign slogans, and handed out goodies and literature encouraging their classmates to vote for them. They did everything short of kissing babies. In November, just before the Thanksgiving holiday break, the kids entered the impressively homemade poll booth to cast their vote in private and then entered their vote into the ballot box. A convention party was thrown. The kids danced to music like Born in The U.S.A by Bruce Springsteen and Party in the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus. They had sweets and patriotic punch. They will learn who received the most votes and elected class president when they return to school after the Thanksgiving holiday.
My daughter came home everyday after school talking a mile a minute with complete excitement over the class campaigns. Bravo to their teacher for getting the kids excited over the voting process and good citizenship!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

{Patriotic Party Drinks or How To Be a Popular Mom in Your Kid's Class}

My daughter's class learned all about the voting process and how our leaders are elected into office. The class even had a convention party. How cute is that!?! I volunteered to make the drinks. I wanted a drink that was red-white-and-blue and very patriotic.
So here is what I did---
Buy clear plastic drinking cups, and just as you would when making margaritas, wet the edge of the cup with a lemon or lime slice and dip the edge in red sugar crystals. Pour in a blue beverage such as blue Hawaiian Punch. Garnish with a strawberry and American flag toothpick. Easy Peezy Lemon Squeezy! The kids and the teacher loved these drinks which made me feel like the most popular mom of the day!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Monday, November 22, 2010


When we found this driftwood on the beach the other day, my 3 year old nephew reacted as though we had discovered some sort of washed up pirate treasure. Maybe he was right. I'd like to think so.

I love driftwood for it's simple smooth aged look. It reminds me of dinosaur bones displayed at the museum. My husband knowing me so well will say, "You want me to take the driftwood home." not as a question, but as a statement.
I like to ponder which shore it came from. Perhaps it traveled from a far off coast where a child once spent a summer climbing a tree to which it belonged. Or maybe it was once part of a tree that provided shade to an old fisherman as he lived out his old age on the shore in his beach house feeding sea gulls in the morning. Or maybe it came from just an ordinary tree on some other coast and wasn't anything special....until I found it.

"At the beach, life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun." --- Unknown

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Sunday, November 21, 2010

{Einstein, Santana, & My 8 Year Old. Or Aging and Relativity}

Everything is a matter of perspective and like Einstein said, Everything is relative. Point of view is relative and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My 8 year old, while stretched out on the family room floor coloring fashion designs, saw Santana perform on American Music Awards this evening and said, "Oh My Gosh! Look at that guy playing the guitar. He is soooooo old. He is like 50 or something. He needs to be in a retirement home and NOT playing the guitar."

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving TV Bingo

How super cute is this idea???!!!!???!!! Printable Thanksgiving TV  Bingo Cards for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and also for football games from Family Fun Magazine .

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Cinnamon Swirl Cake

I love how we stop to ponder all the blessings in life time to time and recognize what or who we are thankful for....especially at Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for my daughter's 3rd grade teacher and what better way to say thanks than with CAKE!
To be more exact---Cinnamon Swirl Cake with Apples and Almonds.
   I collect cake pans from Williams-Sonoma. They are my grown-up toys. Truthfully, I am obsessed with novelty and classic cake pans and love how easy it is to make just about any cake look fancy shmancy just by using any pretty shaped cake pan. Plus, with the right type of pan, you can just decorate with berries, nuts, fruits, etc. and skip frosting all together. I love frosting---okay, I think frosting is one of the best things known to the human race ever and I will lick a spoon of frosting in less than a second---sorta like those sci-fy movie scenes when a swarm of locusts attack a corn field and devour the whole field in one minute. That is how it is with me and frosting. HOWEVER, big HOWEVER, I do not always like frosting a cake. Plus, I think that when certain shaped cakes are left unfrosted and decorated instead with fruits, glazes or a once over with powdered sugar, they can look rather sophisticated and worthy of being the centerfold or front cover of Gourmet magazine .

Now back to the feelings of Thanksgiving, I feel truly blessed that my daughter has such a fantastic teacher. My daughter and I decided to make her a cake for her to enjoy over the Thanksgiving holiday. I wanted to make a cake that looked sorta Autumn-ish and had typical Fall flavors to it like Apples and Cinnamon. I am very pleased with how it turned out.

Here is what I did....
Follow the directions on the back of a Betty Crocker Decadent Supreme Cinnamon Swirl cake mix . Spray cake pan generously with non-stick baker's spray. Pour in the batter and bake according to package directions. When done, remove and let cool.
While cake is in oven, core and slice 3 gala apples. Keep skin on. It isn't necessary to skin the apples. Gala apples, in my opinion, have a thin skin which becomes really tender when boiled. Plus, I think the skin makes the apples look more farmish, rustic, homemade.
Place slices in a medium pot and fill with water about halfway to the top of apples. Also add some dashes of cinnamon and sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter. Boil the apples over low heat. Stir gently and avoid making the apples mushy. Allow water to reduce itself slowly. Once apples are tender, remove from heat and set aside.
Once cake is cool, place apples decoratively on cake and use sliced almonds and powdered sugar as a finishing touch!!! Easy Peezy Lemon Squeezy!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Coffee Loves Winter and Vice Versa

I am the type of person who doesn't need an excuse to drink coffee (Note: I am also crazy about Starbuck's Skinny Green Tea Lattes). My husband, however, is worse. He treats every cup of coffee like it is a zen experience or a sippable portal to Utopia. The only reason he has cut back lately on his java addiction is because the doctor told him to. He was this close (pinch index and thumb together) to seeking a second opinion. We both come from the school of thought that Coffee is Great-Cold Weather makes it better. OR, Cold Weather is Harsh-Coffee Makes it Better. So here is a small list of times when these two thoughts are very very true this time of year.....

1. A cup of coffee is grand in your hand when you have forgotten to wear your gloves at an outdoor winter event.

2. Cold chilly mornings, warm pajamas, socks, and COFFEE!

3. Favorite Christmas CD playing (in my case, that would be Harry Connick Jr.), Christmas cards that need to be signed and stamped spread across the kitchen table, and a hot cup of coffee!

4. A cup of coffee is soooo therapeutic while waiting in the longest line ever so that your kid can see Santa Claus.

4 1/2. Coffee for Santa to keep him jolly. C'mon, there is no way St. Nick stays that happy on milk and cookies.
5. Coffee is a MUST on Christmas Eve just before heading out to midnight Mass.

6. Coffee is a MUST on Christmas Morning--- especially after a late night of product assembly (if you catch my drift) to keep you from looking like the Grandma who got ran over by a reindeer.

7. Coffee to go, Christmas music on the car radio, and a drive together as a family to check out Christmas lights.

8. Coffee so that you're not the parent snoring in the back row at your kid's Christmas program.

9. Coffee in your system makes it easier to plow over---I mean, shop, with all those rude gabillion people who are out at this time of year. 

10. Perhaps my favorite---- a cold winter day strolling the beach, (in my case, the Atlantic), warmest clothes, the salt spray, my husband and my daughter, gloves, and COFFEE!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Danish Butter Cookies and Nostalgia

These tins don't just contain cookies, they contain memories. For as long as I can remember, a tin of Danish Butter Cookies has always been a part of Christmas when growing up. It most certainly has to do with the fact that I am half Danish---my Dad is Danish. An entire half of my family lives in Denmark---Uncles, Aunts, Cousins. My grandparents (now deceased) had 4 boys, the oldest being my Dad. He caught wanderlust(probably inherited wanderlust from his gypsy grandfather, my great-grandfather, which is a whole 'nother story) early on and is the only one from that side of the family in the United States.
 Growing up, my mom would save the empty tins to store sewing supplies, barrettes, bows, or coupons. I would use the empty tins to stash away stickers, photos, notes, interesting articles cut from newspapers, or a cross stitch pattern or latch hook pattern that I would have been working on at the time.
Today, when I see these tins filled with little Danish butter cookies, I can't help but go down Memory Lane. Not only do these tins contain yummy buttery cookies, but they also contain sweet memories.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fairy Gifts

My daughter, the Queen of Fairies and Mermaids, left this little gift, which she made, for her little fairy friend named Faye. Faye and Saylor have been friends for a few years now. I have never seen Faye except maybe once out of the corner of my eye. My daughter, on the otherhand, is the lucky one when it comes to spotting Faye and other fairies.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

We have a huge collection of sea shells. So many that I don't know what to do with them. I often think of sea shell projects, but end up with a been-there-done-that attitude towards any project ideas I come across. That is until I saw this! I love this idea from Coastal Living Magazine . Plus, it looks easy peezy lemon squeezy! I like the "star" topper on the top of the shell topiary. However, I think I will use starfish.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Crazy About This Ornament Idea

I am so gonna stock up on these glass globe ornaments. I am already thinking of all the pretty trinkets and treasures I can place inside each ornament. We live on the northeast coast of Florida, so I am thinking it would be a great idea to fill some of these ornaments with our pretty white powdery sand from the beach and a few shells and send off as gifts to family in Texas.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Peace Dove

I can't wait to start decorating for Christmas! I love doves and all that they represent which is why I love this Peace on Earth  tree. It is simple and yet, really pretty. Also, notice the scattering of white feathers below the tree limbs? I really like that little extra touch.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Paper Flowers

Who remembers making paper flowers as a kid and spritzing them with your mom's favorite perfume? On many occasions, I would make paper flowers as a kid in my room and present it to my mom or a teacher as if it was an award winning rose. I used Brawny paper towels at the time. haha. These flowers also make me think of a theme park that once existed in Houston, Texas called Astroworld. There was a kiosk booth which sold these large colorful paper flowers. I use to have one balanced on the top drape in the window of my bedroom.

*Here is a fun quick
easy peezy lemon squeezy
way to make Paper Flowers*

First: Stock up on some party napkins in your colors of choice. I chose Fall colors in shades of burgundy, orange, yellow, and brown. Party supply stores are the best place to find a variety of colors at a low price.

Second: Open one napkin flat on a surface

Third: Choose one or two more colored napkins. Open and layer on top of first napkin. In the photo I off centered the layers to illustrate directions. However, make sure each napkin is even with the one underneath when doing this.

Fourth: Fold the napkins into an accordion/fan style fold

Fifth: Use a sturdy cord to tie the fan in center. I used Bowdabra Bow Wire from Bowdabra .

Sixth: Using scissors, cut a "V" shape or inverted "V" shape at the end of each fan. Use either "V" shape to create a variety in petal styles.

Seventh: Separate each napkin layer on both ends to create the flower.
And then Tada!!!!! There you have it---Paper Flower Palooza
I used these and filled a basket next to my fireplace for Fall and I also used one to decorate the top of a Get Well Package for my daughter's teacher. I think the paper flower possibilities are endless. I plan on making some Poinsettia-style paper flowers in December in reds, whites and pinks! Some will decorate my house and others will be perfect for adding on top of Christmas presents!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten


Bike Ride

My daughter on that last bike ride of the summer just before the start of Autumn. It was one of those late afternoons where we could smell and see the season changing and summer trying to hang on for one last final big Hoorah. To think that I took this photo just a few weeks ago and now here I am thinking about what size Thanksgiving turkey I should buy this year and putting together my Christmas card list. If only everyday could be like the lazy days of summer through the days of my daughter's childhood.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Friday, November 12, 2010

Apple Cider Stand

Just as we were ready to call it quits and go home after bearing the cold wind from our first official cold front of the season, we came across a hot cider stand. Hot cider for $1.....and as it so happens, face painting too.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Biscuit Donuts

I know I am not the only one who grew up with homemade donuts. Who remembers these yummy treats? When I was a kid, my mom use to make homemade donuts for us using a can of biscuit dough. She would use a soda pop lid to create the hole in the center of each biscuit. She would fry up the "donuts" and also the "donut holes" in a skillet with oil and then sprinkle some with powdered sugar and others with cinnamon sugar. One of my older brothers, who was often in his room sweet talking to girls on the phone, somehow always made an appearance in the kitchen when Mom made these yummy warm homemade donuts.
Many years later, I enjoy making them with my daughter. I found a donut cutter at Williams-Sonoma . However, I think mom's way with the soda lid was better and funner.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Pretty November Things

Pretty November things I spotted at the grocery store
 which make me smile.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

You Are My Sunshine

My daughter was on the Sunshine Committee this past week in her classroom. As part of this highly coveted position, one of the things to do is bring a treat to share with the class. I stayed up past midnight making 16+ heart-shaped Rice Krispy treats with sunny yellow frosting and little pearl sprinkles. Nothing says motherhood like staying up late making sweets for your child's class. My daughter was very pleased with these very sunshiny and Doris Day-ish treats. I was feeling more like a lunar eclipse rather than a ray of sun the next morning after staying up so late. However, the smile on my daughter's face, as she proudly carried her heart-shaped treats into her classroom, made it all worth the while! She is my sunshine!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten