Friday, December 14, 2012

Giveaway Time!!!!

What would make your holidays more jolly?  How about a treat just for you?  Jen and I are doing our first giveaway!  Keep reading to find out more....

I did a post awhile back on family traditions, but let's talk about mainly about Christmas traditions.

As my children get older and they are able to do more, it's important to my husband and me to formulate traditions that our kids will remember for years to come.  In our family we watch one Christmas movie each week, we all decorate the tree together, make ornaments, and other crafty things. Then my mom and I will make a boatload of sugar cookies and we all get together with the kids, sisters, husbands and have a cookie decorating contest.  We lay them all out on my mom's kitchen island and anyone who comes over has to vote for the best cookies.  My mom, and sister Molly ALWAYS win.  No, I'm not bitter at all.   These are not earth shattering traditions, but they are important to us.

I would love to hear what your traditions are during the holiday season.  And here is where our giveaway happens!

 Go to our Facebook page, "Striving for Elegance."  "Like" our page if you haven't already, then post your favorite family tradition.  For posting your tradition you will have you name entered ONCE into the drawing, if you also post a picture of your tradition, you will have your name entered TWICE!!!  All entries must be received by Thursday, December 2oth. We will do the drawing on Friday, December 21st and announce the winners.  You could win a gift card  to Starbucks, or Target.  So break out those cameras, and let us know what your favorite family Christmastime traditions are.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Snowman Soup

Good Afternoon, Readers!
I wanted to first of all share how delighted I am that several of you have added ribbon to your christmas trees after reading my last post! I've received text messages, emails, and FB comments letting me know that you've added ribbon to your tree and are loving it! yay! It's always good to get positive feedback.

Today I want to share with you a simple idea for a stocking stuffer, child's class christmas party gift, neighbor gift, etc. The great thing about the idea I'm about to share, is that it is totally customizable and you can make as many or few as you need. Drumroll please..................................................................

SNOWMAN SOUP! Snowman soup? That's what my son said. Although he's helped me put together Snowman Soup in the past, he didn't remember it. Snowman Soup is a fancy term for hot chocolate. I got this idea originally from Christy Jordan at If you haven't checked out her website, you really need to. She is as down-to-earth as one can be, and she is always sharing wonderful, economical ideas for your kitchen. I've made Snowman Soup for several years now, the kids and I just finished putting together 65 Snowman Soup kits. Ack!!! We needed little gifts for my son's class, plus 45 stocking stuffers for a christmas party with all the little kids from our congregation.
If you are looking for a cute, inexpensive little gift...look no further. You can come up with your own label or find the one Christy has provided on her website at: In the search engine, type "snowman soup" and you will be redirected to the post she wrote with the link to the labels. That's what I did, and I just love 'em. Here's what they say: "When it's so cold that you holler and whoop, it's time to bring out the Snowman Soup! Pour the packet in a mug. Add marshmallows, too. And throw in these kisses from the snowman to you. Now add some hot water and use the cane to stir it. Sip slowly and soon you'll feel the warm winter spirit!"

This works best if you gather up your little chicks and have them do all the work. Ha! Yes, my 5 year old and 3 year old had a blast putting these kits together. It's a little something they are big enough to do and helps teach them that gifts do not have to be name-brand, fancy, or expensive.

You will need: Hot Cocoa Packets, Candy Canes, Hershey Kisses, Marshmallows, Ziploc bags, Snowman Soup tags.  Inside each ziploc bag we put: 1 hot cocoa packet, 1 candy-cane, 2 hershey kisses, and a handful of marshmallows.

After you've completed putting all of the Snowman Soup kits together, staple on a label and Voila...simple, perfect little gift. Enjoy! ~ Jennifer

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Unique Ribbon Technique for your Christmas Tree

Hey Everybody! I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I know our family had such a great time. I'm super thankful for all of the family that came to visit and for all the fun we had playing cards, listening to the cousins make-believe, singing, laughing, and of course...EATING! I'm really glad I had made ahead a large batch of chili and 2 lasagnas for my freezer. It was so nice to be able to just pull those out and whip up a couple things to go with them and, VOILA...two simple, delicious meals. We are going to be hosting my side of the family for Christmas, so you better believe I will be doing some freezer prep in the next week or so to get ready for that.
Today I want to share with you a super simple, yet unique way to decorate your christmas tree with ribbon. I saw this technique done on one of the trees in a fellow church member's home a few years ago, and I've been storing it away in my brain ever since. Well, this year I finally put it to use, and it couldn't be easier. Here's a picture of my finished tree. I just LOVE it.

For this simple, yet elegant project, you will need your favorite christmas ribbon and pipe cleaners (chenille stems). Oh, and don't forget the scissors. :)
I used two large rolls of ribbon, about 2 1/2 inches wide, and this did a pretty good job of covering my 9 foot christmas tree. I bought white pipe cleaners, because my tree is flocked, but you may want to use green if your tree is not flocked. This picture shows what you are going to make:

Cut the ribbon into 12 inch strips. Holding a ribbon strip in one hand, place the pipe cleaner in the middle of the ribbon and twist to secure. Repeat process until all of your ribbon strips are secure on pipe cleaners. Strategically place on your christmas tree. Step back and marvel at the beauty! How cute and inexpensive is this? And, it has big impact. My sister-in-law was here for Thanksgiving and she LOVED this ribbon technique.

If you already have your tree decorated perfectly for this year, then just store this idea in the files of your brain for next year. Enjoy!