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Friday, October 24, 2014

100 days of Christmas - Day 42 - White Elephant Christmas! Fun for the whole family!!!

Let's face it Christmas has became very commercialized. The main point of Christmas is to celebrate Jesus's birth and enjoy our loved ones. Trust me you are not the only one who sometimes gets caught up in the "stuff" part of it. That part of it is fun too. However it can be expensive. So White Elephant Christmas game to the rescue!

It is hard to imagine now that there was ever a time that I didn't know about this Christmas tradition but really I was only introduced to it a few years ago. The first time I ever heard of it was at my husband's family's Christmas get together. I think my girls were 1 & 2 at the time, so this would have been about 8 years ago. Now let me explain something about my husband's family. They are one of those great big families that are still incredibly close! We were trying to count how many Grandkids my husband's grandma had the other day....and well let's just say it's a lot! LOL! Forget counting the Great Grandkids! Here is a family photo from our trip to PA in August just to give you an idea and this isn't even everyone!

Can you even imagine buying that many Christmas gifts???? So we play the White Elephant Christmas game at a big Christmas party. Each family brings one gift that is $10-$15 and a food dish. There is always more than enough delicious food. They have also come up with some fantastic tricks! For instance one year they put a $100 bill in a roll of toilet paper. This is when Kevin taught me to always pick the worst gift! LOL! So here is how the White Elephant game works.

1. You pick a price point. As previously mentioned people do sometimes break the price point but it makes it less stressful for everyone to know they don't have to spend much. Most people stay within the budget.

2. Wrap the gift in a fun way so that no-one can tell what it is. I have seen them put really tiny things in with a big piece of wood! LOL!

3. Count all of the gifts.

4. Tear up pieces of paper to match the amount of gifts. Then write one number on each piece of paper.

5. Put all the numbers in a bag, bowl, hat or whatever strikes your fancy. Shake them really well.

6. Each person picks a number. #1 goes first. They get to pick any gift they like from the table or designated area.

7. Next #2 goes. Once their gift is unwrapped they can choose to keep it or steal #1's gift. By stealing I mean #2 takes #1's gift and gives them their gift.

8. Continue to go in order. The person can steal (swap) their gift with anyone who has gone before them.

9. At the very end #1 can steal (swap) with anyone in the group.

It is so much fun. There are nice gifts and funny gifts. This game is good for most any age. My kids love it. I am sure your family will too! Have you ever heard of the White Elephant Christmas game before? What is the best White Elephant Christmas gift you have ever seen?

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

100 days of Christmas - day 41 - Lots of Free Christmas Printables!

My Christmas printables which you can find here and here were a big hit. I have had a few people tell me that they love those type of things. So in addition to planning on doing more of those for you I found some other great blogs that I thought you all might enjoy! Be sure to show these amazing bloggers some love when you download these great printables that they took the time to make. :)

I know that I have a reluctant writer or two at my house. These simple printables like this make it fun or them to write. You can download this one at The Simple Home.

She also made this adorable little nativity printable that you can find here

This Christmas coloring book is precious! I know both my girls will enjoy it! Get yours here

There is almost always some traveling for families during the Christmas season. It is always nice to have something that helps you stay organized so you don't forget anything. So hurry on over and download this printable!

I truly love the From Overwhelmed to Organized blog! She is great about making sure her printables all co-ordinate and match. She is by far the best organizing guru that I know. Every year I dread packing the Christmas stuff back up. I inevitably miss something. Not this year! I plan on using this inventory printable to make it a breeze! Get yours here

This printable is for all those gifts that you are storing around the house throughout the year. I am always finding things here and there after the holiday season. So I hope you will enjoy this printable to help remind you where you hide all the goodies. You can find it here

I think that in real life myself and Simply Darling would be great friends! LOL! We seem to think a lot alike. I mean just look how similar our printable are! I made the one just before this one. They are even a similar theme! I love it! The shipped option is simply genius! Get yours here.

This adorable soda gift tag is a great neighbor or office gift. It is super affordable but lets them know you are thinking of them. Let's be honest that is truly the main point. Sometimes we over complicate things. You can download a whole page of them here

I simply love these printables that you just frame and then use a dry erase marker on! I made one for my husband for valentine's once that says I love you because...... I adore this Christmas countdown just as much as the one I made him. It will definitely have a place in my home this season! Download one for your home here

If you are an elf on the shelf fan then this is a gold mine! I love these activity cards! You can find them here

Here is a cute little printable that I made to fit our Winter Wonderland theme for decorating this year. This printable looks best on photo paper but is cute on printer paper as well. The glossy photo paper just brings out the glittery red more. You can download it here

You can find quite a few printables over at A little Claireification. I think her blog name is pretty clever too! While there are a few Christmas printables there, this snowflake one is my favorite. It will fit right in with our Winter Wonderland theme for this year. I am thinking of printing a 5x7 to go beside my 8 x10 that is a few images up. They will both look fantastic on my faux mantle. Keep an eye open for my faux mantle post! In the meantime enjoy these printables and let me know which is your favorite!

Wordless Wednesday - Trade in!

So since starting Wordless Wednesday I have realized how many great blogs out there already host this link up. I think that is simply fantastic. SO I will still be participating but I will no longer be hosting this one. I am going to continue hosting Quotography Monday. I will be trading Wordless Wednesday in for Flashback Friday. :) It will start this Friday. It will simply be posting about things that happened in the past that we never got around to posting. :) So enjoy and I hope you will join me on one of those blog parties! :) 

To find out more about these Cornundrums just click here

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

100 Days of Christmas - Day 40 - Christmas Cards! Tips on making yours and what to do with the ones you receive!

So I know it seems early to be thinking about Christmas cards but the photographer in me wants you to know it is not! If you are planning to include professional family photos in your cards as so many do then now is the time to get that session booked. The turn around time on good quality pictures with editing is 4-6 weeks. Remember they have many clients and this is to be sure each client gets the best treatment. So while we are thinking about getting our annual Family photo's made around here I thought I would share some great posts that I have found about Christmas cards. I hope you enjoy them. 

This is a cute and easy card to make. Even the kids could help with it! Find the tutorial here!

I love this Christmas Card display! It is easy to make, affordable, and looks great! Check it out!

This post has some fantastic ideas on how to go green with your Christmas cards! 

There are some really great ideas here about what to do with all those Christmas cards after Christmas! If you are crafty, going green, love to recycle, or just thrifty then you will love this post! 

I was so impressed with the above post about reusing your Christmas cards that I went looking for more and found this one! I know my kids would love this and it would be something that I treasured for years ! It's the kind of thing I would look forward to displaying each year. See the original post here!

So do you have big plans for your Christmas card? Or maybe great ideas for re-purposing them? I would love to hear them!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Quotography Monday - The Past!

Now on to the Quotography Monday. 

So what is Quotography??? It is very simple really. You just find a quote that you love and head out to photograph something that represents that quote to you. You can totally do it in reverse as well though! Just choose your favorite photo of the week and then find a quote that represents that photo. 

So now for the rules:

1. Would prefer it be of a photo that you took in that week but it's not required. 

2. Comment on atleast 5 other entries, you will have 2 days to do this

3. Please link back by putting the button in your post

Quotography Monday


Our trip to Lane's Peach Packing / Lane's Southern Orchards

First I want to warn you, there are a lot of photo's! LOL! So be sure to keep scrolling so that you see it all. This is also part 1 of a 4 (possibly 5 ) part series! There are just so many things to tell you about Lane's that I just can't fit it all into one post! So here are the basics! LOL! ;) 

When you first pull up to Lane's it doesn't really look like much. It just appears to be a storage building in the middle of a large field. Let me just tell you that once you actually get into the parking lot it is apparent that it is much more than it appears at first! My kids immediately noticed the playground but we headed inside first to get our tickets for the corn maize and hay ride. Inside they had some amazing food items that were available to purchase. I love that they even had a 'tasting" area. 

I can not wait to cook with this Vidalia Onion Peach Grilling Sauce!!! It was beyond yummy!! We timed things just perfectly! When we came outside the hayride had just pulled up to let people off. So we were able to get straight on.

Our driver was fantastic! He helped you on and off the hayride by offering his hand to balance you. In addition to that he had that genuine southern hospitality that I love so much!

My kids loved seeing all the pecan trees, field, lake and all the animals! 

The ducks were by far the favorites! We also got to see lots of other birds, squirrels, and so on. We are animal lovers , what can I say? We even got to see a low flying airplane fly right over us on our hayride!

At one point during our visit we even got to watch some parasailers! Now I can't guarantee you this same experience if you visit lane's but there is a pretty good chance since their hangar and landing strip are literally right across the street from Lane's. After our hayride we let the kids play on the playground. 

The Merry go round was very popular! However they also had swings and some climb on rocking toys. My boys favorite things were the old tractors that you could sit on. 

I love that they are also somewhat educational! They each had signs in front of them with the date / time period that they were from and some information about them. The boys enjoyed reading them with me. 

After that we had lunch. On this particular trip we brought our own lunch. You can see from my pictures that there are plenty of picnic tables, both covered and uncovered. Part 2 of this series is about how we pack a lunch for our family for an all day trip like this! So stay tuned! After lunch our kids got to do quite possibly their very favorite thing on the whole trip! 

This gave us another chance to talk about history and learn a little something. We explained these old water pumps were how people a long time ago had to use to get all the water for their family. We told them that we understand the duck races were fun but to just imagine how much work it would be to do it every day for all of your water, even your bath. They all agreed that would be a lot of work. Even Daddy enjoyed the duck races!

From there we made our way over to the Corn maze. We walked by all of the beautiful rows of fruit that you can pick when it is in season! So while we didn't participate in that on this particular day it is an option and we will most likely take advantage of that in the future. On the way to the Corn maze something else caught our attention.

It was pretty fun to watch them shoot corn at that target way out in the middle of the pond! This could be turned into a science lesson if you had the time to do a bit of research beforehand or if you are just knowledgeable about that sort of thing to begin with. I didn't realize that they had this so I didn't plan ahead for it. Then we finally made our way to the corn maze. 

In addition to the fun of a normal corn maze they have "cornundrum's" that you are suppose to find. We had so much fun with this! There are 1 or 2 that are pretty hard and even Dad and I had to take several minutes to figure them out. 

When you enter the corn maze you get a flag and a map. We didn't see the maps so we went through without one. The flag is to be used if you get too lost. You can just wave it above the corn and someone will come and find you. 

They also have options for the more high tech option. These signs are through out the maze. So you just find one and text the number to get the directions for where you are. 

But be sure you follow all the rules while you are in the corn maze! You don't want to end up here!

Now by this time we were HOT! I mean it is GA after all. We don't have a true fall. I think it was close to 80 the day we went. So we headed in to get some ice cream!

At this point the air conditioning felt like pure heaven! However if it is a nice day and you prefer to sit outside they do have some beautiful swings and rocking chairs right out front. 

We opted for the inside option cause as I previously stated we were HOT! LOL! That's pretty normal here in GA though. While we were waiting in line for our ice cream we saw a few things that made us decide on our next trip that we are definitely trying their restaurant!

I really wanted to try the shrimp & grits combo! I mean it just doesn't get much more southern than that! 

And this cobbler! Oh my! If I had not been on a quest for something cold this would have been on my plate! We all ordered different flavors so that we could each sample all the flavors. 

This little guy got the Peach Ice cream. 

It was rich and creamy and delightfully tasteful!

This sweetie got butter pecan!

This is a picture of my vanilla. I normally do not like pecan anything. Let me just tell you that I loved the butter pecan ice cream so much that the next time we go that is what I will be ordering. It was so delicious!

This handsome boy ordered the strawberry. 

This was the only flavor that I didn't love. I am just not a fan of strawberry in general though. The flavor in this ice cream was nice and strong though. I love that you can see the flecks in the ice cream so you know it is made with natural flavoring. I highly suggest it! It sure made my kiddos happy!

On the way out we headed to the pumpkin area. 

There were signs encouraging people to pick these pretty flowers you see as well. I believe they were zinnias. I may be mistaken though.

Lane's is definitely a place where you can spend all day. We truly enjoyed our trip. It was full of variety and options! Don't forget this $2 coupon if you plan to visit! We are going back in a little over a week with our homeschool group and I can't wait to tell you about that as well!

Lane's gets two thumbs up from me so far. Stay tuned for part 2 on how I pack a lunch for my family for all day trips. Part 3 will be what we did with our pumpkins. Part 4 will be our group homeschool field trip and (depending on how much I have to say about that) the restaurant. If I have a lot to say about the field trip I will turn that into 2 posts. :) I would love to know if you plan to visit or even better if you have fond memories of this great place!

My family and I received free admission to the Corn maze & Hay ride in exchange for my opinion. All thoughts expressed are 100% my own honest thoughts. Thank you so much for reading.