Thursday, December 27, 2012

DIY Holiday Poppers and New Years Goals

Well, December 21 has come and gone and it looks like we're going to live to see a new year after all! 

New Years eve is one of my very favorite holidays. Not only is it the one time of the year that we get to visit with old college friends, but it's a time to celebrate a fresh start and new beginnings.  It's time to set some healthy goals, forgive some old wounds (even those self-inflicted) and reinvigorate important relationships.  

And while our NYE celebration tends to be pretty low key (Railroad Tycoon and Wii anyone?), I still love to make a celebration special.  Some day I'll host a soiree where I can finally wear that perfect party dress.  But this year, I'll settle for a little DIY crafting.

Our kids spend the holiday with Grandma while we're off with our friends - but I didn't want them to feel forgotten.  So I dug into my pile of empty toilet-paper tubes (I love upcycled crafts) and threw together some festive party poppers for my kids to open on the big night.  I want them to know that even if we're not together to ring in 2013, Mommy is still thinking of them.  Here's how to do it.

DIY Holiday Poppers
(also known as party crackers)

 empty toilet paper tubes
wrapping paper scraps (at least a few inches longer than the tubes)
candy or trinkets
ribbon or string

1.  Cut paper scraps so they just wrap around the toilet paper tubes and extend 2" beyond each end.  Tape in place.
2.  Fill tubes with candy or small toys.
3. Tie string around each end of the tube.  
4.  On the big night, untie string or pull on paper until the ends tear off.  


1. For a more 'grown-up' look, use leftover scrapbook paper in coordinating colors.  Cut one pattern as above, then fashion a sleeve the exact length of the tube and wrap around the outside.  
2.  Decorate with butcher paper, twine and custom stamps.
3. Use fabric scraps and monogram a paper sleeve.
4. For a "girls' night" fill with mini polish bottles, chocolates and jewelry.  
5. Consider including a small fortune or blessing for the new year inside each popper.  
6.  Up the stakes and create a "grand prize" popper for one lucky recipient. 

The possibilities are endless!!  

After all the celebrating is done, I like to write down my list of goals for the new year.  For 2013 I plan to work toward the following:

1. Get into the best shape of my life.  No more eating disorders (super skinny but unhealthy isn't attractive), no more junk food binges.  I plan to make healthy meals (and not cheat on my new food-sensitivity diet) and get my tush to the gym.  I'm hoping to start dancing again and I am definitely going to work on building muscle.  Who cares what the scale says, I want sexy abs!

2. Spend less money.  There are so many worthy things we want to put our money towards in the near future (private school for the kids, animals for the farm, charitable causes) but somehow it seems like money just vanishes from the bank account.  I'm going to make a very concerted effort to keep tabs on spending and to save save save.  I'll be canceling the subscription boxes, finding ways to DIY any decorating or household wants, swapping for 'new' clothes instead of hitting the stores, learning how to stretch my grocery dollars - and reading every 'frugal' blog I can find (this one is a great start).

3. Get organized and STAY organized.  I am so tired of living in chaos.  I'm tired of toys all over the floor, of overflowing shelves, of helter-skelter kitchen drawers.  In a few weeks we'll be moving to a new house and I'm looking it at a chance to start over.  If I can't find a logical, attractive place for something, it doesn't come in the house.  The new playroom will be organized top to bottom (no more messy bedrooms or toys in the living room).  The office nook will be both immaculate and easy to use (no more bills piling up on the table).  The kitchen will be tidy and logical (no more hunting for the spatulas).  If you haven't read The House That Cleans Itself, I recommend you do it now.  It has revolutionized the way I think about cleaning and organizing and I cannot wait to put that system to work for me.  I'm pretty good about cleaning binges - getting everything lovely and clean for a big event - but inevitably it all deteriorates again in a few days.  This time we'll find a cleaning routine we can stick to, and set up the house so that staying neat is a nobrainer. 

4. Spend more quality time with the kids.  I spend a lot of time with my kids.  I'm with them from the moment I wake up, till the moment they go to bed most days.  But the realization that they'll soon be headed to all day school has thoroughly freaked me out.  It made me stop to take a good hard look at how I use the time I have with my kids right now and I don't like it.  Sure, I'm with them physically - we're always in the same room, sometimes even in the same chair.  But I'm a little ashamed to admit how infrequently I'm really, truly engaged with the kids.  It's more "they play while I cook/clean/finish my book/check my email/get distracted" than "we play/cook/clean/read together."  Which means that they don't get quality Mommy time, and I'm robbing them of important life lessons (learning to cook, learning to clean, learning to read).  It's my goal, once we're moved and organized, to stop 'doing near' and start 'doing with.'  Sure it'll take longer, but they can help me fold that laundry, stir that soup, read the easy words in that book.  I want to have a daily craft that I do with them, not leave them to do while I'm off doing xyz.  Pretty soon I'll be sitting at home wishing they were there to mop the floors and chop the peppers with me while they're off at school.  I'll be wishing they were snuggling in my lap with a book while they're off playing with school friends.  I want to make the most of these moments instead of letting them slip by unnoticed. 

So - those are my new years goals.  Leave me a comment and let me know what's on your list - I really love to hear what other people are hoping and planning for their fresh start!


  1. I love these holiday crackers! They are always fun to put on the dinner table.
    I have to admit though -- I usually find them after Christmas and stock up because they are 90% off at places like BBB..
    It's great!


    (PS -- the bracelets were received very well :)

  2. LOVE the poppers!! Your goals seem great!!! I'm sure you'll get them all completed :)

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!


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