‘Tis the season for snuggling up with your favorite tribe and some favorite Christmas movies. It’s a regular weekend activity at our house during the holiday season, to dust off a favorite Christmas flick, pop some popcorn, and get all comfy cozy on the couch or the bed. Flannel pajamas are optional but strongly recommended. We’ve assembled a small collection of our family favorites to share with you, so put on your fuzzy slippers and get ready for a holiday movie night.
Disclaimer: I know, Die Hard isn’t on the list. It was a matter of some debate at my house, so feel free to use your own discretion in putting it on your own list of family Christmas movies. I did try to stick with those of our favorites that have the most universal appeal and broad window of age-appropriateness. So now, in no particular order, our own list of quintessential holiday films.
1. If you don’t like Home Alone, I’m not sure we can be friends. I mean, we can, but maybe not besties. We love it not just for it’s great quote-able lines like “Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!” but because it’s just right for all ages and not too saccharine. My kids … >> find out more...
If you’ve never made your own cranberry sauce, you’ve been missing out. It’s my most favorite side dish to prepare on Thanksgiving, in part because it’s soon easy, in part because it can be made well in advance of the kitchen madness come mealtime, and in part because it’s so pretty! This recipe is my own favorite homemade cranberry sauce and I’m happy to share it with you today. It’s such as cinch you may never go back to the canned stuff. It’s the perfect, delicious pop of beautiful red color on your dinner table, and the perfect pop of sweetness and tartness to accompany your main event. And on a turkey sandwich the next day? Just so so so delicious. Perfection. So, put that can down. Just put it down, and let’s get saucing.
- A 12 ounce bag of fresh whole cranberries, rinsed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup raspberry jam–homemade, store bought or seedless, any kind will do
- Zest and juice of 1/2 an orange
- Dash each of cinnamon and salt
If you like your cranberries extra sweet, just add a bit more sugar or jam. If you like them a bit spicier, add a bit more cinnamon. … >> find out more...
This week’s quote of the week is a small soft spot in a sea of fear and anger and sadness. There’s been so much hateful dialogue across the internet this week in the wake of the terrible tragedy and heartbreak in Paris and other, less reported parts of the world. When I wrote about my husband’s story as a refugee and why I think it’s our responsibility as fellow humans to help others in times of crisis, I was genuinely shocked by the hate mail I received, and by the mean, bitter comments on Facebook.
I understand that we all have differences. Different life experiences, different political views, different religions. I really, genuinely understand fear. But what I don’t get, and I hope I never do, is hate. I can’t abide with it. So, at the end of a long and exhausting week, I leave you with some wise, hopeful words in the form of a Maori proverb. Have a lovely weekend.
P.S. love always wins.
Petit Elefant Quote of the Week
Turn your face
to the sun
and the shadows
fall behind you.
– Maori Proverb –
If you’re just starting with this series, or need … >> find out more...
My husband is a refugee. A refugee whose family sought political asylum in the United States in the 1980’s in the face of the stuff of nightmares. The details are personal, but the bottom line is this: my husband’s life, and the lives of his family were in imminent danger; fleeing the country was the only option. They had two choices: America or Libya. They chose America, and the difference in that choice turned out to be everything.
It’s interesting, this thing about refugees. Syrian refugees. Brown refugees. Refugees from “undesirable” places. Refugees of “undesirable” or threatening religious backgrounds. It’s so easy to hate someone who didn’t get born into your fate.
My husband was young enough when his family escaped from Poland that he doesn’t have an accent. He doesn’t look that different, unless you get up close and personal. He seems just like a “regular American guy” because he is. He’s a dual Polish and American citizen, a process which, despite what you’re probably reading in the news, is not just a matter of “opening doors” for people to pour in. It’s a lengthy, nightmare of red-tape political process most natural born Americans wouldn’t want to wade … >> find out more...
Have you ever made a DIY oatmeal bath? Oatmeal is so great for dry, stressed out, rashy, and irritated skin. We used to buy the lovely packets made by Aveeno, but they get pricey if you need a soothing oatmeal bath more than once a year, so I made my own DIY oatmeal bath mixture for pennies!
Check it out.
How To Make A DIY Oatmeal Bath
- 1-2 cups oats (any kind: old fashioned, instant, etc)
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- Mix together 1-2 cups of oats. (Use 3-4 cups if you have a big bathtub)
- Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to oats.
- Blend oats and baking soda in a blender until they blend into a fine powder. We use our Ninja Blender to completely puree the oats + baking soda into a really fine, soft powder.
Step 4 (optional)
- Pour powdered oat + baking soda mix (your new oatmeal bath!) into a porous sachet.
… >> find out more...
- Toss sachet into a warm bath (hot water dries the skin out even more – boo!) and let it dissolve completely in the water. If you don’t want to use a
When I think of the word “world,” small does not come to mind. In fact, the words that rise to the front are more like vast, big, wide. You get the picture. There’s so much to see and experience. There’s nothing small about it. However, over the years of traveling, I’ve realized that even though we live in a big, wide world, travel actually makes the world a little bit smaller.
Have you ever been in route and bumped into someone you knew? Or even spotted a famous person? It’s in those times that I can’t believe, out of all the places I could be in the world, among the billions of people that inhabit this Earth, that I could bump into a familiar face.
One time my husband and I were in the coastal town of Muizenberg, just outside of Cape Town, when in walked several friends of ours from Texas. Incredible. Laughs over the chance meeting as well as a “What are you doing here in South Africa?” conversation ensued. A chance travel encounter brought us together, just like that.
The craziest chance encounter, however, went something like this…
We were flying from Johannesburg to Atlanta on Delta. … >> find out more...
// This post is sponsored by CBS Films. As always the opinions, naughty children, and stories are all mine. Thank you for being kind to Petit Elefant sponsors. //
Congrats to Number 23, Rachel! Please contact us right away, Rachel, and enjoy your trip to see family this holiday season!
I’m a recovering perfectionist. Which is to say, I strive for happy perfection always but at least now I recognize the fault in it, and the impossibility of actual, true perfection. In fact, I’d say I’m doing a pretty good job letting go and letting things happen naturally these days. It doesn’t mean I don’t still want things to be ‘picture perfect’, but the older I get the more I realize how genuinely mistaken it is to try and make things ‘just right’ when ‘getting it done’ is almost always better.
The holidays bring out the O.C.D. in people like me, people who’d like family functions to have a closely followed itinerary and no snags in the plan. But the more family holidays I enjoy, the more I realize just how great imperfect plans are, and how much more joy they allow for than a ‘canned’ experience.
A … >> find out more...
It’s Quote of the Week time! This one has been on our DIY chalkboard for a few months, because we all need a little reminder everyday. A reminder that the universe is bigger than us, and that at the very same time, we’re all a part of it. That within every one of us is something huge and important, and special. Carl Sagan was a wise one, and I love looking at these words every day and feeling both critical to the universe and almost irrelevant at the same time. Space makes everything seem so wide and wonderful, doesn’t it? Especially with all the news about Mars and the photos coming from N.A.S.A.! Can you even believe we had men walking on the moon ONLY 46 years ago?! It boggles the mind. (name that movie)
This week’s quote of the week below!
Petit Elefant Quote of the Week
The cosmos are within us.
– Carl Sagan –
If you’re just starting with this series, or need to catch up, here are all the quotes so far:
… >> find out more...
Do you have a favorite quote about gratitude that you like to keep in your heart? Especially this time of year, our thoughts turn to taking note of our many many blessings and messages of inspiration. This easy little Thanksgiving Platter project is a simple, sentimental way to immortalize those thoughts of gratitude.
What you’ll need:
- An oven safe plate, platter, or mug
- Rubbing alcohol
- Cotton pads or puffs or cotton swabs
- Oil based paint pens-sharpie brand or other. Mine are a different brand and it all worked out just fine.
- An oven
Start by giving your plate a good swipe with the rubbing alcohol, making sure it is clean and dry before inking it up.
Then, choose your favorite thankful sentiment, quote, or thought. After practicing on paper once or twice, just free-hand write or draw directly onto your plate or platter or mug. Add any little swirls or embellishments you like. If you make a mistake, juste wipe it off with alcohol and cotton. No bigs. Just be sure to wipe off any and all smudges completely. When your design is done, set it aside for 2-3 days. Yes, days. This allows the paint to dry thoroughly and really … >> find out more...