...because home doesn't happen overnight.

For those not-so-serious families who play just as hard as they work…

family fun

 

1 – remote control helicopter – Finally! A remote copter that is easy to maneuver (i.e., kid-friendly) and robust. My boys LOVE these and Steve and I have been known to “borrow” them from time to time.

2 – playchute – Do you remember making parachute tents in gym class when you were little? A smaller version makes a fun family gift and is easily stored in a closet or under a bed. Great for indoor or outdoor play.

3 – Hape coffee maker – I’m a huge fan of the Hape brand. The kids love the fun, pretend play toys and I love the quality and affordability. I have my eye on this coffee maker for Mabrey. She can make hers while I make mine.

4 – Bounce-Off game – Perfect for family game night! Simple instructions and a fast pace keep everyone’s attention.

5 – sport stacking – Our fireplace and this game are the two things that got us through last winter. Sport stacking requires hand-eye coordination, speed and concentration. Many schools have implemented the sport. There are even world stacking tournaments! Beware: IT’S ADDICTIVE.

6 – SingStand karaoke system – After scoring a speaking part in a recent school performance, Everett asked for a microphone. This one looks promising.

7 – Blokus – For quiet play. Steve and I even sneak in games after the kids are in bed. (It reminds me of moving furniture around on floor plans.)

8 – doctor set – Um, any game that requires me to lie down and be still is fun. Funny story: The first time I pretended to take Mabrey’s temperature, I told her she had a fever and was burning up. She heard “burning” and immediately stopped, dropped, rolled and pretended to cry. Now, when anyone plays doctor with her and she takes their temperature, the diagnosis is always the same. YOU’RE BURNING! …as in, on fire.

9 – The Book with No Pictures – It’s the one book you will read to your kids without wanting to skip pages. Hilarious.

Work hard, play hard, folks.

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

A few ideas for the homebodies in your life who enjoy nothing more than an evening spent at home surrounded by creature comforts…

cozy home

 

1 – Mongolian faux fur pillow / vintage kilim pillow cover – Pillows = cozy. Mix tactile textures with playful patterns for maximum effect.

2 – Smell My Nuts mason jar candle – A candle with a scents of humor. (Sorry, had to.)

3 – plaid flannel sheets – Because cold sheets are the worst.

4 – square photo holder – Display photos of favorite people, furry friends and dreamy places.

5 – wood & white ceramic planter – Just add a succulent and call it a day.

6 – vegetable-dyed Baluch rug – Happy feet, happy home.

7 – peshtemal towel – We made the switch from terrycloth to peshtemal two years ago and haven’t looked back. They have so many uses!

8 – teardrop lamp – You’re going to need some mood lighting.

9 – macrame wall hanging – Walls need love too.

Keep it cozy, folks.

Pssst…If you haven’t had a chance to check out the #HolidayHostess sale over on Joss & Main, there are some larger pieces to cozy up your home, too.

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

holiday hostess 1

Want in on a little secret? I decorated for Christmas before Halloween this year. Cue the record scratch.

holiday hostess 4

For two days in October I pretended it was December. Well, sort of. We normally do a live garland on the mantel and a live tree but those were nowhere to be found pre-Halloween. Mr. Fig was a somewhat believable stand-in. I rummaged through red and green totes in the attic. I saved empty boxes and wrapped fake presents pressies. (My apologies for misspelling the Aussie short form in my previous post. Google can’t be trusted.) I crafted paper dot garlands from glitter paper, a circle punch, hot glue and jute string. I found the cutest little cardboard Christmas tree at JoAnn’s. I rigged two of these paper star lights and one of these in the front window along with a few cheap & easy embroidery hoops turned 90º. Hint: Use fishing line. It’s strong and nearly invisible.

holiday hostess 2

I was simultaneously working on the kids’ Halloween costumes. My kids were baffled by my Christmas in October antics.

So why all the fuss? In short, Joss & Main asked me to be a part of their holiday campaign and I said yes. Deadlines were involved.

holiday hostess

The long answer? I’m only one of four bloggers participating in the #HolidayHostess campaign now through the end of the year. Each week a different blogger will be featured and you can shop their look via a flash sale. You also get an inside scoop on each blogger’s holiday traditions. Today is the first day of the campaign and I happen to be this week’s hostess. If you’re interested, you can check out the sale here and read about my holiday traditions here. There are some great pieces up for grabs. Act soon! The sale ends 12/9/14.

holiday hostess 3

In other news, we’re sticking with tradition and buying a live tree again this year. But I’m nervous! How does one go about keeping cute kitties out of Christmas trees?! You all were so helpful when we adopted Cheetah a few months ago. I’d love to hear your tips for surviving the holidays with a tree and kitty intact.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

A few coffee table items for those who enjoy inspiring (mostly home-related) reads and simplicity…

gift guide : coffee table

 

1 – The Public Library – An homage to public libraries across the country.

2 – acacia square plate – Use it as a kid-friendly tray for corralling loose coins, photos, remotes, coasters and lone Lego pieces.

3 – Eichler: Modernism Rebuilds the American Dream – A legacy’s modern-meets-comfort vision in book form. Informative eye candy that deserves a spot in any home lover’s collection.

4 – A Frame for Life – A look at interior design from a human (not purely visual) perspective focusing on comfort and practicality.

5 – Neutra: Complete Works – For 20th century architecture geeks or those who just love good, nature-inspired design. Neutra’s works have a profound way of connecting the indoors with the outdoors.

6 – stone hexagonal coasters – Protect surfaces with these shapely coasters, available in black soapstone or white marble.

7 – Commune – On my personal wish list this year for its mix of texture & pattern, old & new. I love that it comes in an eye-catching book protector.

8 – paperweight magnifier – A sculpture with purpose. Great for young and old alike.

9 – bamboo vase – A non-glass vase for displaying blooms or stashing pens and pencils.

10 – rubber vase – For especially active households ;)

Need more ideas? Good reads for home lovers.

*BONUS* – Score 30% off (up to $10 off) one book from Amazon by using the promo code “HOLIDAY30” at checkout now through 11/30/14.

P.S. – Click here to see who won the Interior Define giveaway!

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking