Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

I can't remember a time when I have been so happy to have a year behind me but I have to say that 2012 is a year I'm not too sad to say good-bye to.  As the saying goes 'it was the best of times, it was the worst of times'.  It was a roller coaster year for us for sure.

So with that I wish you all a very happy, healthy 2013!

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.

~Oprah Winfrey

Sunday, December 30, 2012

12 Most Popular Posts of 2012

As the year comes to an end, I always like to look back to see what I worked on over the year and what themes or ideas were popular here at September Acres.  I love reading year in review type posts and there are a ton of them out there right now.  I hope you will enjoy reading (or re-reading) my most popular posts from this past year.

  1. 31 Days of Organization-Day 1- This is where the series starts.  It has links to all of the posts for the month (a few of them are also on the top 12 list).
  2. Home Management Notebook - Also part of the 31 Days series.  The notebook has been such a useful tool for me.
  3. DVD/CD Storage - Even with MP3 players and the like DVD & CD storage can be a bear.  This solution really helped keep our home looking a bit neater.  This was also part of the 31 Days Series.
  4. Organizing Basics - Yet another in the organizing series.  
  5. Key Lime Bar Recipe - We spent a week organizing our kitchens and I loved taking a break to use our clean space by making this yummy recipe.
  6. Holiday Home Tour - I could spend hours touring homes, especially when they are spiffed up for the holidays.  And I love sharing mine as well.  If you haven't taken the tour yet, I hope you'll stop by. 
  7. Shades of Grey - the one where I show you my newly painted guest bathroom.  I didn't do too many home improvement projects this year (I hope that changes in 2013) but this was the biggest.
  8. Kitchen Gadgets - My most loved, most used kitchen gadgets.
  9. Girl's Bedroom Re-do - A new look for LM's room.
  10. 10 Things to Do on Black Friday Besides Shopping - A list of ideas that are way more fun than standing in lines.
  11. A New Look for an Old Dresser - See how just a little change of knobs can change the entire look of an old piece of furniture.
  12. Junk Mail - Part of the 31 Days Series.  Some quick tips to help tame the junk mail.
I am working on ideas for 2013 now and hope to be able to share some DIY projects, recipes and inspiration for you to use in your own homes.

I'm linking up to Jennifer Rizzo's Creative Friday Linky Party.

Thank you for stopping by to see the goings on at September Acres.  I appreciate each of you.  Have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give  you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.

~Author Unknown

From our family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas filled with love and the wonder of a child.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hot Cocoa Bar....

Hot Cocoa Bars are all the rage now.  Hot Cocoa is the perfect treat for after school or at the end of a hard day.  Adding mix-ins and marshmallows makes it an experience.  Just what you need to warm up on a cold winter's day.  We set up our hot cocoa bar this weekend and it's been a hit (I know it would be).

I found this cute printable sign here.  There are many other printable signs out there and most are free (you have to love that!)

I stocked our hot cocoa bar with Swiss Miss packets but you could make your own mix and store it in a pretty jar instead.  Keep plenty of mugs on hand for your thirsty crew.

Be creative with your mix-ins.  Of course we have marshmallows on hand as well as candy canes (they make the perfect stirrers), peppermints and chocolate chips (white and milk).

Our resident artist has been drawing up a storm since school has been out and this seemed the perfect spot for a picture of Timmy the Elf.

A Hot Cocoa Bar is easy to set up and very festive.  I know we'll be enjoying it well into the new year.  Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

Have you set up a hot cocoa bar?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Last Minute Gift Ideas...

In my book, if you're shopping on December 21st for Christmas Gifts, it's pretty much the last minute.  Many of the toys, electronics and clothing that are the HOT gifts this year have been snapped up by the early birds.  But that doesn't mean that it's socks and underwear for everyone on your list.  Here are some fun, thoughtful and quick gift ideas.

Photo Gifts and Books- There's still time to download your photos and make cute gifts for everyone on your list. offers a few same day gifts: prints on canvas, calendars and photo books to name a few.  Download your photos online and pick up your personalized gifts today.  Snapfish also offers store pick up on some gifts at places like Walgreens & Duane Reade.  Photo gifts look like you put much thought into what the recipient likes yet most sites are very user friendly.  The hardest part is picking out the perfect photo.

Gift Cards - I know what you're thinking, "how personal is a gift card?"  I'm not saying get a Visa gift card (unless that's what someone asked for) and toss it in an envelope.  But if you're sister has a bad Starbucks habit she'll love a gift card from there.  Pick up a cute gift box or mug from the dollar store (you will be shocked at the cuteness of the Dollar Tree gift wrap options, really) and put the card in there with some chocolate or mints.  Shopping for a teen? Pick up an electronics store gift card and some ear buds (find them at the dollar store). Your brother is renovating his kitchen?  Find out where is is buying his supplies (Lowes, Home Depot) and give him a gift card to help him out with his project.  Buy a small bucket or paint tray, some brushes and painter's tape and wrap that together with the gift card.  Cute, right?  And thoughtful.  Be creative and think about what the recipient likes or needs and it will all come together before the big day.

Wine/Liquor - Again, don't just toss the bottle in a bag.  Add some wine or martini glasses (again, check the Dollar Tree before you hit the department stores), cheese & crackers or olives and you can put together a great gift.

Magazine Subscriptions - Buy the current issue of the recipient's favorite magazine and add a note saying that you have ordered a subscription for them.  This is a gift that keeps on giving and you can do REALLY last minute (Christmas eve shopper?  This is for you).

Baked Goods - I always keep baking supplies on hand and some tins and containers for homemade gifts.  People love baked goods and it's even better for some people if they don't have to do the baking.  A cute container and lots of ribbon makes for a pretty presentation.

Most of these ideas can be done from the comfort of your own home or at the grocery store. If you are hitting the stores this weekend though I've heard of a couple of great sales:

  • Kmart- 50% off jammies for the entire family.
  • Aeropostale - 60% off everything for your teen and pre-teen.
Happy Shopping!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts: The Message of Christmas

This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone.”

~ Taylor Caldwell (1900-1985), English novelist.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Movie Marathon

One of my favorite things about Christmastime is the movies.  I love watching them over and over each year.  The classics like "It's a Wonderful Life" and newer ones like "Four Christmases" are equally popular here at September Acres.  I am especially fond of the hokey Lifetime movies ('it's a wonderful lifetime')  You know the ones: there's usually a female lead named Holly or Noel and a male named Nick or Chris as well as a Santa type character.  They're very predictable but so fun to watch on a Saturday afternoon.  Grab some popcorn and join me as I list my very favorite Christmas movies.  You'll probably find a few of these are some of your favorites.  And maybe you'll get some ideas for new ones to watch this year (and beyond).

I've broken the movies up into categories since some are family (kid) friendly and some aren't.

Family Friendly Favorites

  • Home Alone -  Slapstick comedy at its best. I am fond of the original one.  I don't like to mess with a good thing and this is definitely a good thing.  It's not great for the really small kids but about 7 or so is a good age to introduce it.
  • Elf - I call this family holiday favorite a 'new classic' as I think our great-grandchildren will be enjoying this one.
  • The Polar Express - Based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg (which I also recommend), this is fantasy and positive messages all mixed into to one good movie.  
  • Arthur Christmas - Just out on DVD, this movie answers the question we all get from our kids, 'how does Santa deliver all the gifts in one night?'  
  • Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas -  I haven't seen this one yet but Laurie says it's 'vintage Muppets at their finest.'  
  • A Christmas Story - I saw this for the first time (really) this past weekend.  We Tivo'd it and LM and I have watched it twice.  A really cute movie.
  • It's a Wonderful Life - Released in 1947, this is the quintessential Christmas movie loved by old and young alike.  

After You Put the Kids to Bed Favorites

  • Four Christmases - Vince Vaughan and Reese Witherspoon show us why sometimes we don't want to be with the family at the holidays.
  • Christmas Vacation - Always funny.  Every year.  
  • The Holiday - Jude Law and Ed Burns (in a very small role).  Reason enough for me to watch.  Add in the English cottage of Kate Winslet's and this sweet romantic comedy is a winner.  I watch this one over and over.
  • The Family Man - A wonderful life-ish movie about a Wall Street broker playboy who wakes up married with children.  
  • When Harry Met Sally - This is such a great movie and I included it on my holiday movie list since there's the whole New Year's Eve scene & that makes it a holiday movie in my book.  Back in the day (way back) I recorded this on my VCR when it was on network tv (commercials and all) and watched that recording over and over and over.  I now own the DVD.

It's a Wonderful Lifetime (also includes Hallmark Movie Channel )
  • Moonlight and Misteltoe - Candace Cameron Bure and Tom Arnold.  Good stuff. (Hallmark)
  • Comfort and Joy - Nancy McKeon (Jo from 'Facts of Life) gets knocked unconscious in a car accident on Christmas Eve.  (Lifetime)
  • On Strike for Christmas - Just like it sounds, Daphne Zuniga goes on strike because her husband and sons aren't helping with Christmas preparations.  If only... (Lifetime)
  • A Christmas Proposal - Nicole Eggert and Tom Arnold.  A legal dispute brings Lisa Donahue (Eggert) back in contact with an old beau.  (Lifetime)
  • Holiday Switch - Nicole Eggert.  After she falls in her dryer (yes, isn't that great?), Paula Ferguson (Eggert) gets to see how her life would have been had she married someone else.  Hokey at its best.  (Lifetime)
  • Matchmaker Santa - Lacey Chabert (Party of Five).  I loved this one!  The title tells you all you need to know.  (Hallmark)
I plan to watch every one of these this season.  Some I already have but I'll try to mark more off my list this weekend. 

Are your favorite movies on this list?  What do you recommend?    

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Is it Time to Re-gift the Gift Exchange?

I am over at Momma Be Thy Name today talking about Gift Exchanges.  I think you either love them or hate them.  You can see my opinion here.

Don't forget to leave a comment on each post of Momma's 12 Days of Christmas for a chance to win and Elf Pack and a Keurig Elite.

Friday, December 14, 2012

12 Days of Christmas & a prize!

On Sunday, my guest post will be live at Momma Be Thy Name for her 12 Days of Christmas series.  I am super excited about this opportunity and I am loving the first few posts so far.  It's right about this time in the Christmas prep that I enjoy a good laugh and these posts have been just what I needed.  

Because I think the Elf on a Shelf is creepy, I really enjoyed Mary's post yesterday.  It's not for the faint of heart but you will laugh until you cry - if you're not an Elf fan.  I honestly thought I was the only one who wasn't a fan (and LM who, thankfully, thinks he's creepy too) but apparently, I am not alone.  

Head on over to Momma Be Thy Name to read these great posts as well as enter to win an Elf pack.  In the Elf Pack are these fabulous gifts:

  • Hallmark Keepsake 2012 Snowflake Ornament
  • $25 Macy’s Gift Card
  • Arthur Christmas on DVD
  • $100 Mpix Gift Certificate
  • iHome Portable Rechargeable Mini Speakers (If you’re extra nice, you will receive Glow Tunes LED Color-Changing speakers!)
  • Godiva Chocolatier Ultimate Dessert Truffles (including Chocolate Lava Cake, Chocolate Éclair, Strawberry Crème Tarte, Red Velvet Cake, Tiramisu, and Crème Brûlée)
  • $15  iTunes Gift Card
  • Yankee Candle Sparkling Snow 14.5 oz. Jar Candle
 Fabulous, right?  There's more: 
The grand prize is a Keurig Elite Brewing System.
Readers can enter once a day by leaving a comment on each day’s post. Just ONE entry per day, please. Winner must reside in the US or Canada and provide a valid email address along with each entry.
I hope you'll head over to Momma Be They Name and join in the fun.
And I'll let you know when my post is up!  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Home Tour 2012....

Welcome to our 2012 Holiday Home.  I switched things up a bit from years past but I  didn't buy any new decorations this year except for the wreaths for the front door. I'll let you look around a bit.  Enjoy!

Printable available here

Smokey & I hope you enjoyed the tour.  Thanks for stopping by!

2012 virtual Holiday housewalk party

I'm joining in on the 2012 virtual Holiday housewalk party at Jennifer Rizzo's. Check out all of the beautiful homes there.

I'm also at the French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday & Kelly's Korner for her Christmas home tour. More loveliness!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts: Christmas

It came without ribbons.

It came without tags.

It came without packages, boxes or bags.

Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.

Maybe Christmas,

means a little bit more

~The Grinch

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree...

I found a super cute idea for a Christmas tree decoration in a book a while back and decided to recreate it this year.  Not only was it cute, it seemed really simple and used only a few supplies:

  • Paper Cone type Christmas tree, any size.
  • Scrapbook paper (I used a pack of paper with coordinating prints)
  • Adhesive
  • Circle punch (mine was 1 3/8")
  • Ribbon - I used a fairly wide one but I think you could use whatever you like

Punch out circles of scrapbook paper.  I started by punching out 125 circles and ended up punching about 25 more to finish the tree.

Starting at the bottom of the tree, glue the circles to the tree with your adhesive of choice.  I used glue dots but I've had to re-glue a few of the circles after they fell off.  When I re-glued, I just used good old Elmer's glue & and haven't had any of those fall off so maybe that's how I should have started. :)

Work your way up the tree, overlapping a bit with each row.

Add a ribbon to the top.

And you're all done!  I did this while watching a movie.  It would also be a fun project for kids that are a bit older (8-10 or so)

I really like how it turned out.  The colors are a little different - I really love the black - it's something I really never thought of using in Christmas decorating or crafts until I saw this paper.

I have the tree sitting on the little corner above my kitchen sink. It's always fun to add a new little decoration each year. And, other than the cone/tree, I used items I had on hand.

I'm linking up to Kate's Holiday Craft party.  There are some amazing craft ideas - go see for yourself.

Monday, December 3, 2012

...And Caroling Out in the Snow

I'm one of those people who could listen to Christmas songs most of the year.  Call me crazy, but I love them.  I get really excited when, in mid November, XM Radio switches on the Holly station.  As we move into December, more stations pop up with different styles of Christmas music, like country & pops.  They even have Radio Hanukkah, which starts on December 7 (along with Christmas country & pops).

While I will listen to almost any Christmas carols, I have some favorites:
  1. Silver Bells
  2. The Little Drummer Boy
  3. Winter Wonderland
  4. Frosty the Snowman
  5. Silent Night
  6. Mary Did You Know
  7. Let it Snow
  8. The First Noel
  9. Grown Up Christmas List
  10. Candy Cane Christmas
'Candy Cane Christmas' is a fairly new song by Darius Rucker.

Have you ever wondered how the custom of Christmas caroling started?  You can find a little history about that here.

What are your favorite Christmas Carols?