Thursday, February 28, 2013

5th Anniverary Gift Ideas

symbol of heart carved in tree trunk  Stock Photo - 10190625Wood is to symbolize strength, sturdiness, durability, and it ages beautifully  When following traditional gift it would probably be time to purchase a new kitchen table for a growing family. You may have relaxed comfortably into one another’s personalities or may be finding that certain personality traits are driving you crazy; either way your marriage is still new enough that the two of you can still have some surprise.  The  grain and knots in wood are thought to symbolize all the joys, laughter, trials, and tribulations you have shared so far. With each year to come those grains and knots will only amplify in beauty.  Your probably different people by now, 5 yrs is a long time to grow and change, embrace each other and fall in love again. Use this anniversary to take a romantic "honeymoon" of sorts or the one you never got. 

Gemstone: Sapphire
Color: Blue, Pink, and Turquoise  
Flower: Daisy
These represent innocence, loyal love, I'll never tell mentality, and purity.

Gift Ideas

Romantic Weekend in the Forest

header small image

I have wanted to see the redwoods for quite sometime, it would be a fantastic romantic getaway. I might have my amazing parents bring the kids after a day or two for a fun family vacation  I found this beautiful website called Carter House Inn's its right next to the Redwoods and from what I can find is considered the top place to stay. They are about 45 minutes away from the Redwoods according to Google  They have a ton of different lodging options in classic Victorian homes. They also have packages you can add on like golf, Redwood Canopy Zipline Tour, Cruise, Dinners & Carriages, etc... I want to save up for my 5th anniversary and go here for like a week. It might take the next 3 years to save, but I think it would be worth it. If we had had a honey moon this would have been awesome. 

If your short on cash choose something closer to home or borrow a friends/family cabin. Or just go camping in a secluded location. 

The Gift that Keeps Growing

Plant a tree with a romantic cheese and wine tasting. The best part about this one is getting to see it grow every year just like your marriage. I think I would plant an oak tree which represent solidity, courage, and stability. I found this poem to symbolize what you have built within your marriage over the past 5 yrs.

The Oak Tree
A mighty wind blew night and day.
It stole the Oak Tree's leaves away.
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
until the Oak was tired and stark.
But still the Oak Tree held its ground
while other trees fell all around.
The weary wind gave up and spoke,
"How can you still be standing Oak?"
The Oak Tree said, I know that you
can break each branch of mine in two,
carry every leaf away,
shake my limbs and make me sway.
But I have roots stretched in the earth,
growing stronger since my birth.
You'll never touch them, for you see
they are the deepest part of me.
Until today, I wasn't sure
of just how much I could endure.
But now I've found with thanks to you,
I'm stronger than I ever knew.
by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr. 

A pine tree represents the creativity, life, longevity and immortality. If you have a tree you really like google the meaning and see if it would fit. 

Jewelry Box, Hope Chest, or curio

Wood Jewelry ChestJewelry Box in White Birch & Nicaraguan RosewoodJewelry Box in White Oak & Brazilian Walnut
Whatever you choose I am sure it is to display and store all your precious things. The unique ones above are from Coppers Wood Studio and John Traeger.

Butlers Valet/Stand

Product ImageAmbassador Men's Wardrobe Butler Valet Clothing Rack
Not sure how many of you ladies out there have husbands that throw their clothes on all the bedroom furniture never hang it up or put it in the hamper. I love the idea of a butler stand so that he will have a place for his things.  They come in all different styles with all kinds of features  I like the ones with drawers for his wallet and watch.  They are a little pricey, but almost always very well made. 

Wood Art

Some other options: New kitchen Cabinets, Hardwood floors, Closet remodel, furniture, etc...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

4th Anniversary Gifts

Source: Wed Loft

The 4th year anniversary gifts are meant to symbolize the blossoming and the continual fruitfulness of your relationship. That your relationship has reached a comfort level that you can have peace of mind that your relationship will continue to be fruitful and beautiful.                                           

Flowers have been given as the language of love for as long as archaeologists can find from the Chinese, Romans, and Egyptians. The meaning of each flower came from Turkey and was passed down through the French and British till it is incorporated into modern times. Next the Victorians took it to a whole new level; they wrote books about the language of giving flowers, which included the direction in which you give flowers. It would be fun to read about them in A Victorian Flower Dictionary: The Language of Flowers Companion. If flowers could communicate it back then, it surely can today.  If your spouse is knowledgeable of traditions make sure you think about the meaning and color of the flowers you give. 
I couldn't really find any history on the gift of giving fruit, but I will guess at what I think it means. Fruit is something that nourishes and refreshes the body, where the old saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" means that you want to keep your spouse healthy. It could also mean that just as fruit grows year after year without having to be replanted, your marriage can also be fruitful each year. I think about the peach trees my mom planted from pits; they produced only a handful of peaches last year, but this year it produced baskets.  I think with the proper care your marriage should produce baskets of fruit. 

Color: Green
Gemstone: Blue Topaz or Amethyst
Flower: Geranium

Romantic Picnic 

Whats more romantic than a picnic in an orchard or beautiful flower garden? Not much that I can think of.  Even in the winter you could go to a beautiful ski resort and enjoy an outdoor picnic. This is a great idea for low and high budgets. Take flowers and a yummy looking fruit trifle with some delicious custard. 

Check out this cute staged picnic from Jill Thomas Photography for some ideas. 

I love pinterest and found this amazing folder called "The Art of Picnic's" by The Loft5. So many inspirational Ideas!

Love this idea, I can't find the original source but I believe its from this blog. A little fire to keep you warm and give a nice ambiance. 

Fun Decor

Make your house feel more like a home with some fruit and flower decor. 

image of Ice Cold Lemonade Steel Sign
I love retro/vintage things and this sign from Retro Planet. I need a couple of fun tin signs.

 Roses 8x10 Print - Romantic Art, Creme, Yellow, Red, Floral Decor, Shabby Chic PhotographyCherry Blossom 8x10 Print - Flower Photography, Pink Home DecorFloral prints home decor flower photography, wall art, photo collection, print set, nature photos spring garden botanical photos 4 8x8's
I like these floral prints from Visulology and Carl Christensen.

Sunshine Oranges Sign
Some fun wood signs from The Southern Home

Deep Purple Hydrangeas in Mercury Glass
I love mercury glass fill it with some flowers or fruit and you have a beautiful arrangement. The flowers are from Beauty of Form and the fruit vases from 33 shades of green


If your like us you may need some landscaping our 2 trees and couple of plants are not so stunning. The mud and weed infested back yard is the cherry on top. A great idea to follow the traditional idea of getting an anniversary gift that you need for the house. 

I love the ideas from Better Homes & Gardens
This is a beautiful and shady retreat from Breathe

Fruit trees are the ever giving gift. Each year fresh fruit to eat, can, jam, and freeze. I found some good prices at Willis Orchard Co



Smores maker
Another fun and romantic idea for couples. You can just do desert or savory items too. With the desert make sure you include lots of fresh berries.This website discover the Best Fondue ever is amazing with all kinds of unique fondue recipes including smores, banana split, and chocolate & orange. Then they have all kinds of savory recipes including vegetarian options. I think I am in love!

Dipped Fruits

"LOVE" Berry-Gram (Monogrammed Belgian Chocolate Strawberries)    FRESH - Chocolate Blueberries & Raspberries
One of my favorite things is dipped fruits, its actually the first thing my husband ever gave me. I hope one day he repeats it. Go to Chocolate Covered Company to find the goodies above and just about everything under the sun covered in chocolate.  Or make your own its not too hard at all. 

Baked Goods

Pies, tarts, cheesecake, smoothies, oh my! The blueberry pie recipe is from The Bitten Word. The lemon cheesecake with fresh berries from My Baking Addiction.  Lastly this amazing looking ladyfinger fruit cake from Chef in Disguise. Impress your spouse and make it homemade. 


Whether its flowers or fruit arrangements are a great traditional idea. 

Berry Chocolate Roses®  1 Dozen Mixed ChocolateDelicious Fruit Design®
Combine the fruit and flowers with a chocolate rose bouquet. These options are from Edible Arrangements.

12 Months of Flowers
Choose a simple arrangement or a year of flowers (a bit pricey, but wow). The flowers listed above are from ProFlowers. Build your own arrangement by picking a couple small ones from the grocery store and combining them. This option allows you to pick the colors and flowers, you will know exactly what you are getting.


Spice up the marriage with some fruity or floral lingerie. 

Whatever you pick remember to stay within your budget and something you both will enjoy. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Little Mad Scientists

So this section we are doing in Joy School is on Interest & Curiosity. The Joy School lessons themselves are okay, but I usually like to use them as a guideline. I do use most the stories however. For those of you who don't know Joy school is like a community Preschool for kids ages 2-5, each parent takes a turn teaching.  It has been a lot more costly than I expected and I wish you could just order the books instead of printing them off, but the lessons are good. Since my lesson wants to get the kids curious and interested in science we had a Mad Scientist Day and here are some of the activities we did:

Elephant Toothpaste

The kids loved this one! Now the original recipe wanted you to get a higher concentrate of hydrogen peroxide, but we didn't and it worked fine so here is what we did:

1. Put a small pop bottle in the middle of a casserole dish.
2.In a separate cup put 3 TB warm water and a heavy 1TB of dry active yeast, stir it a little and let it get foamy. If you haven't used yeast before you will kill it if the water is too hot and if its too cold it will not do much.
3. Put 1/2 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide in pop bottle (original recipe 6% from beauty supply stores), add 5-6 drops food coloring, and 1TB of dish soap. Swirl the bottle just a little to mix the coloring in a little. Use a funnel.
4. Use a funnel and pour in your yeast, quickly and remove the funnel.

The kids can play in the foam, have them observe that it is warm from the reaction.Make sure they wash good and don't eat any. We talked about that if we didn't follow the recipe and instructions it probably wouldn't turn out right. You can get the exact science from Science Bob and some changes to make to see what happens, probably best for older kids learning about Exothermic Reactions.

Ivory Soap

This one was a fun for everyone, even my husband was amazed. It is so easy too and your kids can play with bubbles when they are done. 
Things needed:
Ivory Soap
Paper Plates
* Cut the soap into 4 sections, microwave on a plate anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Most things only say that it will take 90 seconds, our microwave must be hot since it only took a little over 30. It is done when it stops growing.

There is no chemical reaction in the substance it just changes shape. Basically when it is heated the soap get soft and allows the air and moisture in the air to move throughout, get excited (like kids with lots of sugar). The molecules bounce off each other in different directions. Get the full details from Weird Science Kids. Ours were bigger than theirs with only the 1/4 soap bar, maybe since it had some shavings from cutting them.

 I had the kids play in it after and tell me how it felt. Here are some of their comments:
"It looks like fluffy paper"
"It feels soft"
"Its like paper"

Grow Crystal's

This one took some time, ours have crystals now, but I put them on our heater vents to speed them up. There are lots of different reciepes out there for this one here is what we did:
1. Each child was given their own clear plastic dish and a 1/4 sheet paper towl (I would use bigger containers if you plan to have them keep growing).
2. Pour 1-2 cups salt over the paper towel and decorate the salt with food coloring (optional).
3. In another cup mix 1/4 C salt, 1/4 C water, 2 TB ammonia, and 2TB bluing. Mix till the salt is somewhat dissolved  then add the ammonia and bluing. Keep it stirred.
4. Pour into equal amounts into each cup, will do about 4 cups.
5. Let it sit overnight, you can add 2 TB salt to in the next day and then every couple weeks more solution to keep it growing, but don't pour it on the already formed crystals or they will dissolve.

You can also use charcoal bricketts, sponges cut up and already wet, or clay pot pieces to start your growth.

Here are a couple more ideas I found that I liked, check out their posts:
Melted Crayon Art  from 52 Kitchen Adventures

Glow Water from Play at Home Mom LLC

Finger Paints from Easie Peasie

The possibilities are endless... get creative with your little ones this month and get them interested in chemistry and making things. Teach them that learning can be fun.