Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Local last minute Christmas gifts that won't clutter your house!

Christmas is coming up quick, but there's still time to buy last minute gifts without adding to the holiday clutter!  Here are some great local options for non-stuff gifts!

Give the gift of a night off from cooking with a certificate for Rose's Home Dish.  Rose's home dish delivers delicious homemade meals to your home or office for less than the price of eating out.  They use seasonal & local products as much as possible too!
Give the gift of fun and fitness with a gift certificate for kid's yoga like at Yoga Mariposa, classes at the YMCA like ZumbAtomic or swimming lesson, or dancing at the Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA).

Give the gift of musical family time by registering for music classes!  Jams classes (Toddler Jams, Preschool Jams & Afterschool Jams) are available in single classes or 3 or 4 week sessions this January-March kids from 9 months or to 1st grade (full disclosure, I lead these classes).  Music Together of Ithaca holds 10 week sessions throughout the year for babies through 7 year olds.

Give gift of physical fun with a gift card to Niki's Party Place bounce houses or a $20 pass to Tot Spot, available for purchase at the Ithaca Youth Bureau.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More Holiday Fun!

December is nearly half over, but there are still a few fun things to do in the area!  Here are some of the events going on in the next few weeks.  For more, check out the Ithaca Family Fun calendar or the Holiday page

Cayuga Nature Center Winter Festival - decorate Treetops!
Saturday Dec. 17, 4-8
Come enjoy the Cayuga Nature Center all decked out for the holidays. Put on your hats and mittens and explore six stories of decorated Treetops! Afterwards, enjoy hot apple cider and cocoa by the warm fire in the Lodge and make some holiday crafts. $5 for adults and $3 for kids. $3 for adult members and $1 for kid members. Bring a present for the animals and receive $1 off admission per present. Wet and dry dog and cat food, wild bird seed, canned corn, and fresh produce.

Living Nativity at Calvary Baptist Church in Trumansburg
Dec 17 - 18, 2011 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Drive through Bethlehem and behold the live animals and over 40 costumed characters at the Living Nativity at The tour begins at the Fire-hall in Trumansburg each evening. this event is free and open to the public.

Skate with Santa
Santa Claus will be making a stop at Cass Park Skating Rink on December 17th & 18th from 3-4 pm.  Santa will be on the ice to greet and skate with the children.  There will be free candy canes and surprises for all children.

Chaunukah Party
Tuesday, December 20, 5:30 p.m.
at Congregation Tikkun v'Or (Ithaca Reform Temple, 2550 N Triphammer Rd at Burdick Hill Rd)
1st Night of Chanukah with Rabbi Brian Walt
Join together to fill the sanctuary with the light of the very first Chanukah candle.
Singing, music, dreidels, and latkes, fun for all ages!
Bring your chanukiyah (Chanukah menorah) and candles if you have them!
All are welcome.

New Year’s Eve Skate
Come down to Cass Park to Skate in the New Year from 9pm to 12:30am.   There will be free noisemakers, popcorn and hot cocoa for all.  Special Admission Rates will be in effect: youth-$5, student or seniors-$6, adult-$7! for registered IYB Rec Customers and youth-$7, student or seniors-$8, adult-$9 for NON-Registered Customers. NO Passes of any kind (Season or other) will be accepted for this event.

Of course, there are lots of fun Christmas lights to look at this time of year.  Check out the Christmas Lights Page to see neighborhoods with good displays, and please let a comment if you know of a good place to see lights!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tis the Season to Repurpose

Although I usually think myself to be ahead of the curve, I have JUST THIS WEEK learned about the fabulously fun and dangerously addictive website Pinterest.  This site is basically just idea sharing by “pinning” thing on your online bulletin “board.”  All your pins are shared with your friends and theirs with you, and there are general public boards as well.  This website is full of ideas of ways to repurpose old items (turn an old t-shirt into a necklace/scarf, old tank top into a purse, etc). 

We recently switched my 4 year old’s convertible crib from toddler bed stage to it’s final purpose, a full-sized headboard.  This leaves us with sides and a metal frame that were shoved into the basement, likely to never be used again.  UNTIL…Pinterest to the rescue! 

I found this fabulous pin by Mandy at Sugar Bee Crafts where she converts her old crib frame into a holiday card holder.

Brilliant!  I put the frame up last night and I love it so much that, like Mandy, I may keep it up year round.  I hung it on nails pounded into the only two studs I have in that area of the wall.  Then I used command hooks to secure it a little more.

I even copied the cute little triangle flag banner.  Cut my triangles out of wrapping paper and glued them to a piece of ribbon. I can't wait to fill it up with Christmas cards! 

Have you been inspired to create this season?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Last push for Thanksgiving leftovers!

Thanksgiving was a week ago and we still had a little turkey left.  We ate it til we were sick of the taste, then we started to hide it.  I successfully hid it in taco salad, but my greatest victory was hiding it in a yummy peanut sauce noodle salad.

I had a recipe I hadn’t used in a while and thought I’d modify it using the turkey and whatever else we had in the fridge.  It turned out DELICIOUS so I thought I’d share it. I was really lenient with measuring and it still turned out great.  I’ll put up the original recipe plus my substitutions and additions.

Hot or Cold Chicken Peanut Salad
2 bundles (about 6 oz) of Soba noodles (any noodles will do, though)
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream (I was out so I used yogurt -all I had was vanilla)
1 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce or to taste (again, out, so I used Buffalo wings sauce)
1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (I used powdered)
1/3 cup orange juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 cups roughly chopped cooked and cooled chicken (Turkey!!!)
2 large carrots, diced
3 scallions, chopped (I used onion!)
Fresh cilantro (I used TONS because I love it!)
(I also added the leftover corn we had on hand)

Cook the noodles as directed and drain. 

In a large saucepan, cook veggies for about 5 minutes (carrots should still be crunchy).

Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, combine the peanut butter, sour cream, hot sauce, vinegar, ginger and orange juice. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, add orange juice or water until it is pourable.

Throw all ingredients, including fresh cilantro in a large bowl and mix until all ingredients are well coated. The salad can be refrigerated or served immediately.  When eating it the second time around, I liked it better lukewarm than cold.

It doesn't look pretty, but it tastes great!