Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Goals

Are you busy making New Year's Resolution? 

I'm not the biggest fan of resolutions.  They seem like punishments - quite possibly because I associate them with getting rid of vices rather than working towards achievements.  Resolutions always seem to be a huge commitments too.  However, I do like resolutions as a way to evaluate and refocus your life.  Typically, if your goal is to pay down your debt, you take the time to assess your debt and budget.  Sure, we should all have the commitment to do this at any point in the year, but nothing says {fresh start} quite like January 1st.

Over the past few years, I have adopted a new way to make small commitments to myself that not only make me feel as though I'm achieving great things but also enrich my life.

I introduce to you my {Personal Goals} sheet.  This sheet focuses on tangible and finite achievements - so instead of "workout more", I put "run a sub-10 minute mile".  It helps with the focus and the sense of satisfaction.  For the categories such as movies and books, I select pieces that I feel I should have seen or read by now.  For instance, when I was 21, I put down "The Godfather".  This year's list included "To Kill a Mockingbird".  Both answered a lot of pop culture questions I had.

My favorite category is the food section.  Three years ago, my goal was to try swordfish.  Sure enough, we took a trip to Seattle in the summer and I got to try it out.  {Loved it!}  It's a great way to start exploring foods if you aren't adventurous.  Even if you hate it - at least now you know!

Skills to Master is where I put a lot of my crafting hopes and dreams.  Last year included Mod Podging and sewing.  Pretty sure I have those down by now.  ;)  Next year, I really want to focus on heat embossing and embroidery.  Sometimes this category travels outside the sphere of crafting - this year I also put down "memorize the order of the presidents".  {Yeah, yeah, keep the "Don't you have a bachelors in History" jokes to yourself!}

So I hang this goal sheet up on a corkboard {to always be a reminder of my goals} and mark items off as they are achieved.  I've learned to love it over the years.  Thus, I pass along to you the {Personal Goals} sheet.

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 - Year in Review

2012 was a big year for The Creative Cubby.  
Lots of changes, lots of learning, lots of growing.  
Take a walk down memory lane with me.  

The logo went from this:
{Ugh, can you believe that?!}

To this:

My Etsy Shop launched in September and did better than I expected.
{Have you visited?  Check it out here.}

One of my projects was featured in The Arizona Republic, the largest distributed newspaper in Arizona.
You can read about it here.  

And I had a LOT of fun crafting!  Check out the projects!

Here are the 5 Most Viewed Posts of 2012

Here are the 5 Least Viewed Posts of 2012
{Did you miss some of these?}

Thank you all so much for taking this incredible journey with me.
I can't wait to share what's in store for 2013.  

Have a fabulous New Years celebration weekend.  I'll catch you next year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and your family!
I hope you all have a wonderful day together.

Thank you for your continued following and support.
I have enjoyed sharing my projects with you more than I had expected 
and look forward to an exciting new year ahead.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes to you all!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Traditions - A Pirate's Night Before Christmas

I'm a huge sucker for family holiday traditions.  I hear of friends who wrap their siblings' gifts in a very difficult way every year or get "magic" pajamas every Christmas Eve that allow Santa to visit them and I'm so jealous.  Growing up, we didn't really have holiday traditions.  That's a lie... our family tradition was experiencing car trouble on our many miles of travel.  We would travel to Southern California and then up to Las Vegas to celebrate with family and inevitably, something would go horribly wrong.  It would always end with Dad saying, "Next year - they're all coming to us!"

Other than that, my mom and I didn't bake cookies together every year.  There wasn't a special gift exchanged between my brother and me.  Christmas was a lot of traveling... we didn't really have time for traditions, in the cheesy, heart-warming sense of the word.

Therefore, when my husband and I celebrated our first Christmas together, it was important for us to have a tradition that was uniquely ours {aside from the argyle sock exchange}.  I found the book "A Pirate's Night Before Christmas" at Barnes and Noble and knew this was perfect - it's fun, quirky and absolutely adorable.

So, after we got home from Christmas Eve dinner with his family, we changed into our pajamas, cuddled under a blanket at the base of our lit tree and Chris read aloud the tale.  He even did voices for the different characters!  After the tale was over, we tucked the book away, turned off all the lights and went to bed giggling.  It was the perfect way to end the day.

Every year since then, we have read the story together on Christmas Eve under the tree.  It's a sweet moment for the two of us.  I just can't wait to share the tale with our future hypothetical children - I only hope they love Pirates and Christmas as much as we do!

What are your family's Christmas Traditions?

You can buy "A Pirate's Night Before Christmas" on Amazon, here:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wood Sled Picture Frame

I just have to brag!  Check out this ultra cool gift from my mom!  She used a wood sled, wood picture frame, and wood letters to make this adorable seasonal picture frame for us.  My mom is so creative!!!
All supplies were purchased at Michael's Stores.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Favorite Holiday Movies

About 8 years ago, I started amassing quite a collection of holiday movies.  I simply love movies and if they come packaged with winter warm fuzzies, even better.  I basically have a holiday movie for every mood and pull them out throughout the year {yes, throughout the year} to give myself a little jolly jolt.  Here is a list of some of my favorite holiday films to add to your collection.

Christmas Classics
A Charlie Brown Christmas - Good grief!  Who doesn't love this classic tale of the true meaning of Christmas?  And really, do yourself a favor and buy the entire Peanuts holiday collection.  Totally worth it.
The Original Christmas Classics Collection -  Two words... Rankin... Bass.  Nothing says Christmas quite like these tv specials. 
Miracle on 34th Street - Oh, yes, the new version - not the old.  I know this sounds like blasphemy but here's my reasoning.  1.  The Santa Claus is cuter.  2.  The love story adds to the warm fuzzies.  3.  Mara Wilson is both precocious and intelligent.
White Christmas - Few movies delight men, women and children quite like White Christmas.  You have the love stories for the women, the sentimental (but manly) army story line for the men, and the brilliant dancing and singing for the kids.  Win, win, win - pass the popcorn!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas - It's amazing how someone so... Grinchy can bring Christmas cheer!  This classic still thrills kids of all ages!
Jack Frost - Rankin Bass really hits the nail on the head bringing this wintery hero to life.  The tale of Jack's wish to be human is delightful and funny.
The Year Without a Santa Claus - Personally, this is my favorite Rankin Bass production.  Santa, Mrs. Claus, Elves, Heat Miser, Cold Miser, Mother Nature!  What more could you ask for?! Oh right, there are two more films on the disc!

Ho-Ho-Hilarious! Holiday Films
Elf - Like him or not, Will Ferrell delivers as Buddy Elf.  Arguably one of the most quotable movies of our time, this movie is hilarious for all ages - though some jokes may be over little ones' heads.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation* - I had to include this one.  It's only one of two "not for all ages" film on the list but it's a family tradition to watch this one multiple times each year.  Everyone can relate to Clark Griswold's frustrations with the holiday season but persistent desire to make it perfect.
*Strong Language
Home Alone 1 & 2 - Sorry, 3 & 4... the first two Home Alone movies speak for themselves in family fun and laughs.  Who doesn't want to defend their home (or their uncle's home) against these two bandits?  And let's be honest, 2: Lost in New York is a great fantasy.  You know at least once you've dreamed of having with your dad's wallet in the Plaza Hotel all on your own!  Plus, save money by getting the double-disc set.  Keep the change you filthy animal.
8 Crazy Nights* - This one is PG-13 and that's because it's an Adam Sandler film - but man, is it funny!  If you don't like Adam Sandler, skip this one.  Trust me... he voices multiple characters and it's very much so his style of comedy.  If you do like Sandler, then buy immediately!  You'll be delighted.
*Strong themes

Romance for the Holidays
Borrowed Hearts - Who remembers this made-for-tv shiny bit of gold?!  This is a holiday must in my household.  I can't get over the magical situation they find themselves.  Ah, love.
Love Actually - Love... Actually... is actually a Christmas movie.  Don't you dare try to tell me otherwise.  And it's one of the best Christmas movies ever made.  I can't decide which story line I love the most and I try to figure it out every year!  What's yours?
The Holiday - The only movie with Jack Black that doesn't make my skin crawl.  In fact, I root for him in this one!  Such an adorable movie about finding love in the most unexpected places - but also, you get your dose of female self-discovery.  A little self-empowerment - a few meet-cutes. Awesome.

Christmas for the Kids
A Very Perry Christmas - Phineas and Ferb!!!  We love Phineas and Ferb in our house and you should definitely love them in yours.  The boys try to find a way to thank Santa for all the wonderful things he does while Dr. D tries to destroy Christmas.  Bonus!  You get a bunch of Phineas and Ferb episodes featuring Perry.
Prep & Landing - A made-for-tv movie gone Christmas classic - Disney hit the ball out of the park with this beautifully done digital animation story of the elves that prepare for Santa's arrival.  Again, this is a double-disc feature that includes the follow up hit "Naughty vs. Nice".
Yes, Virginia - This story is based around the tale of a young girl writing to a newspaper asking if there is a Santa Claus. Adorable and fabulous animation.  A tear-jerker too!
Eloise at Christmastime - Julie Andrews plays Nanny to the precocious six-year-old Eloise who terrorizes the Plaza Hotel.  This adventure is both romantic and adorable.  Little girls will LOVE Eloise!
Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas - Another brilliant production by Disney, this bundle of Christmas joy delivers on three classic holiday stories (The Gift of the Magi, Christmas Everyday, and The Spirit of Christmas).  Mickey, Minnie and the whole gang have roles in this amazing collection.
Mickey's Christmas Carol - This collection has four Disney holiday specials but two of note.  One, Disney's rendition of A Christmas Carol.  Two, Pluto's Christmas Tree - you know, the one where Mickey and Pluto bring the Christmas tree home and Chip and Dale are inside.  Yup, this is a household must!

Festive Flicks for the Whole Family
The Santa Claus 1, 2, & 3 - I love every single one of these movies.  Sure, the first one is the best - no doubt about that.  But the second one has a love story and the third one is about a jealous Jack Frost.  It's a great marathon of movies to watch while wrapping gifts.  Plus the music is pretty great.
The Muppet's Christmas Carol - Speaking of great music - this can't be beat!  The magic of Jim Henson meets the magic of Charles Dickens in a version of A Christmas Carol that sticks as close to the true tale without freaking kids out.  
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Again, like him or not, Jim Carrey is briiiiiilliant in this movie.  Yes, it expands (and deviates slightly) from the original tale, but come on!  Who didn't wish there was a bit more of a background?!  

From TV to You
The Simpsons Christmas - This was recent purchase for me and it turned out to be amazing!  You get a disc full of Simpsons holiday tales of good tidings in one place.  What more could you ask for?
Holidays with Spongebob - Here's the great thing about this collection - it's HUGE!  You get Halloween, Christmas and Valentines-ish all in one set.  Yes, Spongebob is annoying, but we love him and this will be spongey overload!
Nick Picks Holiday - 2 Rugrats tales, Spongebob, Fairly Odd Parents, Teenage Robot and Danny Phantom and Chalk Zone.  Even if you don't know the name of those cartoons, you'll realize how awesome this collection is when you put your kiddos in front of it and they are sucked in.
**If you're looking for older Nickelodeon shows, check out iTunes.  You can find specials from Doug, Rocko's Modern Life, As Told by Ginger, etc. available for download.

A Flintstone's Christmas Collection - This collection includes two Flinstone's classics - The special where Santa sprains his ankle and Barney and Fred have to save Christmas.  And the special with Pebbles and Bam-Bam all grown up.  

Now that I've inspired you to spend hundreds of dollars on movies...tell me...
What's your favorite Christmas/Holiday movie?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blogger Day of Silence for Sandy Hook Victims

Today, I am taking a break from crafting to honor the victims and heroes of the Sandy Hook tragedy.

Donations are being gathered for the Newtown Connecticut Youth and Family Services.  

Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinicand youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve theirhighest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, supportgroups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.


To Donate, click here.

Thank you very much for your donations and reflection.
Please remember the heroes and the sweet children.

May your family be healthy and safe this holiday season.

xoxo Jen

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday with Martha: Last Minute Gift Ideas

Are you panicking yet?
Need last minute Christmas gifts with a personal flair?
Check out these fabulous ideas from the one and only Martha Stewart.

Good luck with your projects and shopping.
Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pinspiration Friday: Holiday Treats

White Chocolate Covered Pretzels

These holiday treats take no time and very little money... and they are ah-dorable!!!
Got a party coming up?  Or need to put together a quick gift? 
Here's your pinspiration.

Homemade Almond Joys 

Candy Cane Blossoms

 Crispie Treat Coal

Russian Teacakes 

Candy Cane Fudge

For more Christmas Inspiration,
follow my Christmas Pinterest Board.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

You've Been Elfed!

Santa's Little Helper is sneaking around leaving gifts and treats!  
Elf your neighbors and coworkers using the printables below.

But remember!  Don't get caught!

**See the updated You've Been Elfed Printables here.**

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sprinkle Star Candies

To add a little patriotic flare to the holidays and use the candy melts I had leftover from 4th of July, I decided to make these star shaped candies.  I love this star mold but I wanted to add a little something extra to really make these stars pop!  So I experimented - and they turned out great!  All you need are a star mold, candy melts, and sprinkles.

Here's What You Do

1.  Melt candy melts according to package directions.

2.  Fill bottom of the mold with sprinkles.  I used just enough to get the general shape of the star.

3.  While candy melts are still warm, fill molds.  The heat will cause the sprinkles to melt into each other a little.

4.  Put into refrigerator to cool.  Mine took about 15 minutes.

5.  Remove from refrigerator and carefully turn mold upside down on countertop to remove.  There will be some sprinkle casualties but you'll still get the overall effect.

I really ended up liking the red and blue mix sprinkles.  They remind me of fireworks.  So much so that I was annoying my husband by singing "Baby you're a fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirework!!!" over and over.

Overall, I'm very glad I was able to bring some patriotic spirit to the holidays and I can't wait to make these for our Independence Day party next year!

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