Tag Archives: Christmas traditions

The Night Before Christmas

It’s not even the night before Christmas and Santa is here!  Okay, well, his book is here…and that means Santa’s arrival is just around the corner.

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I had so much fun creating the illustrations for this book.  It was a privilege working with Clement Clarke Moore’s delightful poem.  Even though the well-known poem was written close to 200 years ago, the story is timeless.

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In this great new eBook, the text has been updated from it’s original version to help kids identify with the story a little better.  For example, the children in the story dream of candy canes instead of sugar plums, and the story is told by the house cat.  It is a delightful story filled with Christmas magic and tradition. The complete 1823 original poem is included at the end of the book.

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Here is a peek at one of the pages.  Don’t you just love the words?  Clement Clarke Moore’s brilliant rhythm and imagery have shaped what we now think of as Santa Claus—a plump, jolly fellow with rosy cheeks and a twinkle in his eye.  It was so much fun illustrating this eBook, and I hope you and your family will enjoy reading it just as much as I did creating it.  Wishing you a very happy Christmas season!  You can find this book online at Barnes & Noble, just click HERE.

Festival of Trees

This year was the 40th anniversary of the Festival of Trees in our community.

The Festival Board President has asked me to design the Festival of Trees  pins for the last four years and I  have loved being an itsy bitsy teeny weeny part of this amazing event.

The festival is a fun tradition as well as an amazing fundraiser for a children’s hospital.  Kind-hearted and generous people decorate and donate the most amazing trees and then they are sold at auction during the first day of the festival.  Often times, the trees end up selling for thousands of dollars!  The trees are amazing and range from elegant, whimsical, rustic, heroic, and just beautiful.  Here are some of our family’s favorites this year. (Get ready for visual overload!)

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The Candy Tree.  Sweet!

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The Fairy and Gnome Tree.  Very creative.

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The Tire Tree.  Unusual and fun!

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Cowboy Western Tree.  Loved this one!

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M&M tree.  Very cute.

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Elegant Pink and Purple tree.  Most of these trees are dedicated to children in the hospital.  This one was dedicated to a beautiful baby girl.

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Traditional Elegance.  I’d love this one in my home!

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Winnie the Pooh.  Classic character.

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Spider Man Tree.  Dedicated to a little boy who loves Spiderman.  Very cool.

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Surfin’ Santa Tree.  This one takes the cake!  I personally give this one the award for most creative!  The creators of this tree curved and shaped a row of blue trees to look like a wave.  The trees were loaded with ocean life ornaments, elves, and of course, Surfin’ Santa.  We had to stare at this one for a whole 20 minutes solid.

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Along with the trees, thousands of people donate handmade quilts, wreaths, goodies, crafts, and other items that are sold to raise money for the children’s hospital.  There are also performance groups, activities, bake shops, and more things to look at than you can ever get through in one night. ;)

“A Very Monkey Christmas”

Get out the blueberry pancakes and bananas, George is coming for breakfast!

I’ve had a fun weekend filled with Christmas parties, kids, and our favorite monkey!  Thanks to WGBH (Creators of the Curious George series) and PBS Kids who sent me this DVD screener!  This hour-long Curious George Special, “A Very Monkey Christmas,” will be airing on PBS stations Christmas Day.  That’s right, George is coming for Christmas!

(Image credit from A Very Monkey Christmas:  Curious George TM & © 2010 Universal Studios and/or HMH. All Rights Reserved)

You know that feeling you get when your very little kids come up to you with a picture they’ve drawn.  It’s adorable and sweet and you smile really big and tell them that it’s just wonderful!  In reality you aren’t sure what the drawing is, but you would never ask because you wouldn’t want your cute little artist to feel bad.  Well, the Man with the Yellow Hat  experiences this when George hands him a Christmas wish list of shapes.  Determined to be a good “monkey parent” the Man with the Yellow Hat works hard to understand George and to make George’s Christmas wish come true—whatever it is.

This movie features all of George’s friends including Hundley, Charkie, Professor Wiseman, Betsy, Bill, and even Chef Pisghetti! Each character sings a  lovable Christmas song in this gift giving adventure.  Even though it was the first time my kids saw this movie, they all tried to sing along because they loved “singing George friends.”  It was cute.

As for the kids and the movie, well, I had to call the best critics in town to review this Curious George Christmas Special with me.  They are monkey professionals.

(Oh wait.  Shhh.  The critics are reviewing right now….)

You’ll hear what the critics have to say at the end of this post in an exclusive interview.  But first…

Here’s a few ideas to make a perfect Merry Monkey Christmas breakfast for your kiddos.

Nothing says George like yellow, blue and red tableware, and balloon designed napkins are perfect.  A bowl of George’s favorite fruit makes a great side dish as well as a great monkey centerpiece.

The yellow hat is a must have!  (I was pretty giddy when I got this stroke of inspiration walking by the paper plates in the grocery store).  Just get a yellow paper cup and a yellow paper dessert plate.  Stick black electrician’s tape around the brim of the cup and turn it upside down on the plate, like this.

It’s so easy.

It’s so cute.

It’s so yellow!

The Man with the Yellow Hat would be proud!

Next thing.  We all know George LOVES blueberry pancakes, and the kids love ‘em too.    Don’t do this from scratch!  Make your Christmas morning relaxing!  My favorite recipe for blueberry pancakes is called blueberry muffin mix.  Look for a muffin mix that has a pancake recipe on the side.  (Don’t forget blueberry syrup and whip cream to top it off!)

You can find these cute Curious George printables HERE on www.PBSkids.org.  Print out and color with markers.  Get an empty paper towel tube and cut it into 1/2 inch rings to attatch to the cutouts so they stand up.  The table confetti can be found HERE on www.PBSkids.org.

And now, my little movie critics, what was your favorite part of the movie “A Very Monkey Christmas?”

And there you have it.  We give this show an official two thumbs up!  (Or if you’re a monkey, make that four thumbs up!)

Don’t forget to check out your PBS Station’s local listings for Curious George’s “A Very Monkey Christmas,”  airing on Christmas Day!  Enjoy breakfast with George and have a merry monkey Christmas!

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Curious George Giveaway!


Because It’s Christmas time.

Because I love Curious George.

Because your kids will love it too.

I’m doing a Curious George giveaway!

Just comment to this post and tell me what you love about Curious George.  You will automatically be entered to win Curious George 2:  Follow That Monkey! Post your comment by 10pm Wednesday (Mountain Standard Time).  Winner will be chosen at random and announced Thursday.

Just so you know, I own this movie and my family loves it.  It’s been viewed so many times a monkey can’t count how many!  This is something I’m doing just for fun and will personally pay for the winner’s DVD and shipping.  Be sure to check back Thursday to claim your prize!



A Christmas Book Pick-The Elf on the Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf

By Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda A. Bell

Illustrated by Coe Steinwart

My family absolutely loves this book! But it’s not only a book.  It’s a real Santa’s elf’s book!  That’s right, an elf.  Our elf’s name is Jack, short for Jack Frost.  He comes every year around the first or second week of December to keep an eye on all of us until Christmas.  He reports back to Santa if anyone is misbehaving.  He’s a well-trained elf, and can stay absolutely still, even if you are only 1/2 an inch away!  He won’t even laugh, no matter how many jokes you tell him.  Some people have claimed they’ve seen their elf move.  Once my kids thought they saw Jack blink.  But most of the time, the elf stays still.  No one is allowed to touch him, but anyone can talk to him and tell him about the good things they are doing (in hopes that he will pass on the good news to the big man in the hat).  Each morning the kids wake up to find Jack in a new place in the house.  He’s tricky, but always manages to be in a new unusual place.  Sometimes he’s on a cabinet, on top of a picture frame, or hanging from a light fixture.  Once he hid in the Christmas tree!

This book is a delightful read, as well as a great tradition and fun kid’s activity throughout the season.

The company who made this book also has a really fun, kid-friendly website.  You can enter your elf’s name on the North Pole registry, browse Santa’s workshops, find out what’s going on in the North Pole, and play fun holiday games online.  www.elfontheshelf.com

Jack…we’ll see you soon! ;)