Month: December 2009

15 new year’s eve playlist songs

Some of my favorites for some New Year’s Eve mixing, mingling, flirting, toasting, and two-stepping

Fly Me to the Moon–Frank Sinatra
The Best is Yet to Come–Frank Sinatra
Save the Last Dance–Michael Buble
Everything–Michael Buble
Come Fly With Me–MIchael Buble
Be Ok–Ingrid Michaelson
It Had to be You–Harry Connick, Jr.
We Are in Love–Harry Connick, Jr.
Better Together–Jack Johnson
Melody–Kate Earl
Moondance–Van Morrison
The Show–Lenka
Auld Lang Syne–Bare Naked Ladies
Auld Lang Syne–Straight No Chaser


all available at itunes


This is a pretty good mix, also

Kimberly

...by day, making a home where the buffalo roam. By night, pretty much the same thing, punctuated by the occasional fantasies of sunny beaches, italian movies and sparkling lemonade.

Auld Lang Syne

New Year’s Eve is the anniversary of Mr. J and I meeting for the first time. He tracked me down three weeks later for a first date, and the rest is history! Thus, we make a point to mark the holiday in some way. Sometimes we eat out, sometimes we order in, perhaps watch a few movies and share a special moment and a fizzy drink at midnight. It has been, though, a little more difficult to celebrate in a big way since having children. Still, it’s one of my favorite holidays and I hope to build some traditions around it that my whole family can enjoy. Some ideas:

-make a family calendar with photos and mementos.
-create a special page in our family photo album honoring each member’s milestones or favorite moments from the past year.
-invite friends over for an early evening celebration, turning all clocks ahead several hours so that little ones can countdown the new year, too, without staying up until midnight. this seems a great activity for such a party, so is this. And you know you have bubble wrap leftover from last week!
-celebrate with the Spanish tradition of eating grapes at every chime … >> find out more…

Kimberly

...by day, making a home where the buffalo roam. By night, pretty much the same thing, punctuated by the occasional fantasies of sunny beaches, italian movies and sparkling lemonade.

off to see a man about a horse.

We open our presents on Christmas Eve, it’s a European Catholic thing. You have to open up those toys so you can hurry off to Midnight Mass at the local cathedral! We don’t go to Midnight Mass, but we have kept the tradition of opening presents early; it’s all about priorities, and clearly ours are in order.

This year when Viktor handed out the presents he whispered in my ear *you’re going to kill me when you see what I got Precocious*. He was right, I did want to kill him. I still do.

First, she unwrapped a halter. Then, a lead rope.

I think I was in denial until Precocious started screaming at the top of her lungs. She understood perfectly.



*Daddy, you bought me a horse! You got Reuben!*

Yes, daddy did in fact buy Reuben for Precocious.

Oh my.



We have a good friend who grew up on a ranch in small town Utah with horses. He couldn’t say goodbye to them when he moved to the *big city*, so he brought a handful of them to live in a pasture near his house. He’s been kind enough to let us ride >> find out more…

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

safe cough syrup for kids.

December has been filled with nothing but sickness at my house, which is par for the course. Kids coughing, cat coughing {I jest}, me coughing my little lungs out. It’s literally been a month-long lie-in over here; as I type this I’m sick in bed. Again.

honey cough syrup
Enter ZarBee’s Cough Syrup for kids.

You know how you can never get your kids to drink the disgusting stuff from the pharmacy, even when they sound like they have the plague and just might expire at any moment? No? Well, my kids are like that. They’d rather die than drink cough syrup {they’re smart little whipper snappers, the stuff tastes like death itself}, with the one exception of ZarBee’s, no lie.

ZarBee’s cough syrup is made from natural ingredients, the most prominent flavor being honey {but it’s safe for babies older than a year!}, but it also includes Vitamin C. It’s good stuff.

Now you know why Charming lines up for a nightly dose when he’s sick. Right now {today through January 3rd} Harmons grocery stores in Utah are offering a printable coupon for $2 off the yummy stuff. Go here to get one. You can thank me later.

yours >> find out more…

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

Comments are off for this post

Homemade Müesli

I’m on day 5 of pajama wearing heaven, and I’m not coming down off this high anytime soon. I only interrupt my magazine consuming, chocolate devouring, Netflix watching euphoria to share a little something we did on Christmas morning.

Something we do every Christmas morning at my parents house actually; we make German müesli. And it’s the highlight of my entire year. Fo shizzle.

My dad doesn’t do a lot of cooking, but this is the one tradition we’ve done every year at my parents house since the beginning of time.

See, my father served a 3-year mission {they’re usually only 2} for our church in Germany in the early 1950′s. The war was barely over, Americans were hated, and he was selling religion. It wasn’t the hottest time for him. He doesn’t talk about it much, the memories aren’t so great. But there’s a silver lining! My dad learned to make müesli, and somehow it became a tradition at our house to make every Christmas, so his 3 years in freezing cold, post war Germany were worth it!

Good old dad is in his 70′s and I figure his years of making Christmas breakfast are numbered, so it … >> find out more…

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

A Christmas Carol Movie

“A  Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens is beloved in our home. Mr. J reads the original story to his students each December, and we are familiar with its many cinematic interpretations. Last weekend we seized upon a babysitter in order to have a certifiable date night, and went to see the latest version, Disney’s “A Christmas Carol.”

It was fantastic. Very true to the original story, very creative, with an excellent musical score. Because it is so true to the book, it is darker than other versions, even scary in parts.  I’d avoid taking children under the age of 8. Really, the sequence with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is pretty frightening. Jim Carrey is great as the voice and physical inspiration for multiple characters and succeeds in tossing just the right dose of humor into the dialogue. You’ll also notice Colin Firth (swoon!) and Cary Elwes (Wesley!) in the mix.  Go here to view clips and determine if it’s appropriate for your children.

And of course, the story itself is wonderful. Touching, inspiring, and with a happy ending.

Whether you read the book or not, or see the movie or not, may you enjoy Christmas this week … >> find out more…

Kimberly

...by day, making a home where the buffalo roam. By night, pretty much the same thing, punctuated by the occasional fantasies of sunny beaches, italian movies and sparkling lemonade.

how to: make homemade toffee.



I make homemade toffee for Christmas every year. I give it to friends, neighbors, family, and the mailman. No seriously I do, he’s the nicest guy ever.

Sometimes I wish I’d never started this tradition because my kids won’t let me stop.

It’s not that making toffee is complicated {it’s not} but that I make batches and batches and batches of it, until my house smells of nothing but butter and we’re eating toffee for breakfast. But it’s as much a part of Christmas as our Polish Christmas Eve dinner, and my kids look forward to it all year, so I’ll continue to make it {and secretly love it} as long as I can.

Here’s what it takes:


It’s basically butter and sugar, which is why it tastes so good. And the vanilla is totally optional, {much like it is in my homemade sugar scrub} but yummy to add anyway.

For one batch, which fills up a cookie sheet, you will need:

7/8 lb of butter {3 sticks, oh yes}
2 cups of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon of salt
dash of vanilla {optional, but I love everything a little more with vanilla}… >> find out more…

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

fun idea for neighbor christmas gifts

A lot to celebrate at my house this weekend: our 9th wedding anniversary, the completion of graduate school, and our beloved babysitter is home from college, so we get to go out on a real live celebratory date. Oh, and Christmas is here, so we are  delivering some goodies to neighbors and friends this weekend. It’s always such a conundrum for me, deciding what to share with them. My Auntie Nan always gives her homemade sweet pickles, my mother always does lemon poppy seed bread. I always ask myself: do I go with the tried and true sweets of years past? Do I attempt something new and daring, like the year I did homemade vanilla extract (they loved it!)?

homemade whole wheat bread, bundled in a homey tea towel with butter and preserves, presented on a festive platter, all tied up with a ribbon. from a neighbor.

Hard to make the right call, but I do like to share something with our lovely neighbors, who make our little life in this little town just a little bit richer and warmer. And these neighbors, they give really nice gifts. So I’m feeling a little pressure. I was going to do … >> find out more…

Kimberly

...by day, making a home where the buffalo roam. By night, pretty much the same thing, punctuated by the occasional fantasies of sunny beaches, italian movies and sparkling lemonade.

how to: make homemade sugar scrub.


This year for Christmas we’re doing a little less of everything. A little more homemade, a lot less commercial. My kids are getting a small smattering of presents {and I do mean small} and Viktor and I are keeping the gifts between us pretty basic and practical. I already bought myself the camera I wanted, the only thing left on my list is every available song from the Glee Soundtrack.

But I digress.

My point was that we’re keeping it simple. I’m not buying anything for friends and family, everything is going to be handmade. And I thought to myself *self, if you were getting a homemade present from someone, what would you want it to be?*, and the answer was obvious: sugar scrub. I’m easy to please.

I set about trying different ingredients from my kitchen to make a sugar scrub and I think I’ve found just the right combination. It’s only 4 ingredients, and one of them is optional.



So, let’s get started. This, by the way, is a fun craft to do with your kids. Mine are starting to get cabin fever and I’m needing every possible craft to keep them from killing each other
>> find out more…

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!