Considering that New Year’s is a pretty hot-ticket holiday, it’d behoove you to let your friends know sooner rather than later that you’ll be hosting a party at your place. Paperless Post is a good alternative for those who don’t want to track down friends’ addresses, go out to buy a roll of stamps, or leave the house. For those on a budget, there are several free invitation designs to choose from.
Hire a carpool so no one has to drive home. This is best done by using a traditional car service that can be scheduled for pick up and home delivery. Other ride share companies like Uber and Lyft offer similar services but they cannot be reserved and on a busy night you might find your friends coming in late and leaving far later than desired.
For a refreshing alternative to Champagne, try Prosecco. For nonalcoholic selection try Twelve, a fizzy blend of fruit and herbal tea. It’s delicious and certainly more elegant than sparkling cider. Pellegrino and Perrier are also very nice to keep people happy and hydrated.
Don’t let people get hungry! Make it easy on yourself and your wallet. Get some fabulous, frozen pre-made appetizers and keep them rolling from the oven. Cheese and cracker, charcuterie and veggie platters that require no cooking and can be made ahead of time are always crowd pleasers. These can even be purchased from your local deli if time is more important than slicing and arranging your own cheese.
We’ve all been eating way too much sugar all December but if you want to do a small dessert and make it look special, dust some edible glitter onto your store bought cookies or cake. Yes, edible glitter is a thing.
Set up Pandora at a volume where you can hear it – but don’t have to raise voices to hear each other. Hipster Cocktail Party is a great one. Don’t let the name turn you off; the music they play is terrific. Bill Withers, Nina Simone, Van Morrison and Aretha Franklin are some regulars you’ll find on this station.
Print a family cookbook.
Ask everyone to send you a favorite recipe and have them bound into a book to take home.
Craft a DIY photo booth.
No need to rent; just get creative. Hang some frames from a tree or wallpaper a wall with holiday paper and keep a fun prop bin on hand. Then set up a phone on a tripod and snap away.
Make an all-inclusive monogram gift.
Embroider a family inside joke or favorite phrase on t-shirts, hoodies or towels. Great templates and pre-made designs are on www.Zazzle.com
Hand out family photo books.
Collect photos from Facebook (and ask the less than tech-savvy to send in), then have them bound in a beautiful book and make copies for everyone. A great option for this is Shutterfly.
Write Letters To Santa
Help your kids write cute letters to Santa, then mail them off to the North Pole.
Print tote bags embossed with your family tree.
A decidedly useful, interesting and non-hideous freebie.
Encourage family members to bring belongings they no longer want (clothes, furniture etc.) and do a family-style round robin. You just might end up with Aunt Cindy’s beloved tea towels…
Most of us already have our “ways” of doing Thanksgiving — ways our mother did it, ways our extended family did it, ways our neighborhood did it. Thanksgiving doesn’t lend itself well to trying out new traditions, but sometimes the situation calls for it — you can’t make it home for Thanksgiving, for example, or you have a family now and want to start traditions of your own. So what can you do to heighten, deepen, and extend Thanksgiving to its most memorable end?
- Start the day with an indulgent, relaxing breakfast.
While some people are firmly in the “no breakfast” camp to save room for the big meal later, we love the idea of starting the day in such a festive, delicious way! Pancakes, waffles, eggs, even pie – it’s all good.
- Take time for yourself before time with family.
As wonderful as Thanksgiving can be, we all know it can be exhausting and overwhelming. That’s why it’s such a good idea to deliberately take a little time for yourself during the day to make sure you enjoy the holiday on your terms.
- Remember loved ones who have passed.
Holidays can be bittersweet when beloved family members or friends are missing from the gathering. Look through old photo albums and recall funny, tender or important achievements of those who are gone but not forgotten.
- Write your thanks on a butcher paper tablecloth.
Cover the table with butcher paper. During the meal, distribute pens and ask each family member to write down a few things they’re thankful for on the paper and then take turns reading them out loud. We love the practice during the Thanksgiving meal of naming things you’re thankful for, and this is a unique way to do it – especially since you can tear off and save particularly meaningful memories.
- Let everyone toast!
Another way to make gratitude gushing even more festive is to let everyone make a toast. Raise your glass to the year, to your family, to your friends!
- Have the kids serve dessert.
Let the bigger kids get in on the action of serving to their family. Put them in charge of delivering dessert and coffee after the meal. The oldest can plate and pour while the younger kids can take orders and serve. It keeps them busy after the meal while the adults talk and gives them a broader sense of appreciation for the holiday.
- Have Thanksgiving dinner early.
Planning for a 3 p.m. dinner shifts the momentum of the day. An earlier meal creates a more relaxed celebration, plus there’s plenty of time to digest before going to bed. An earlier dinner also accommodates traveling guests and lets them return home at a reasonable hour.
- Take a long walk together after dinner.
No one is ready for dessert right after dinner anyway, so why not take that time to go on a long walk with your loved ones? Enjoy the cool, crispy (and hopefully dry) autumn weather and get the blood flowing again after all that rich food.
- If it’s just two of you, really treat yourself.
It can be hard to justify making a huge Thanksgiving meal when it’s just two of you, but that doesn’t mean it has to be any less special, or even any less of a treat. In fact, it should be more so. Make it special by treating yourselves to nicer ingredients and better wine than you would normally use if you were cooking for a large group.
- Stay connected with family members far away.
If you can’t be with your loved ones on Thanksgiving, thankfully you can still be together — just virtually! Do a video call or Google Hangout before dinner, or Facetime family members in for the giving-thanks portion of the evening.
Summer Day Camps 2016
Summer time is quickly approaching and suddenly that old feeling of dread and/or panic sets in… the kids are going to be home with nothing to do.
Bainbridge Island has a myriad of opportunities for children of all ages to learn and have fun this summer while school is out.
Islandwood Summer Day Camps invite children to open their imaginations in rich natural settings. They offer day camps for children from Pre-Kindergarten through the 9th grade.
The Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District offers a wide variety of classes and programs for children of all ages, all summer long. To download the full catalog for the entire summer of 2016 offerings click HERE.
Do your children enjoy soccer? Bainbridge Island FC offers summer camps for children starting as young as 3 years old!
Ok, it isn’t a summer camp but it surely is not to be missed. The Grand Old Fourth has been Bainbridge Island's biggest party for 48 years with a mile-long hometown parade, street fair with more than 100 booths including 30 food vendors, live music, kids' entertainment and games, pony rides, beer and wine garden, classic and electric car show, family fun run, pancake breakfast topped off with fireworks over Eagle Harbor at dusk. Admission is free and your entire family will love it!
In honor of Earth Day, I thought I would have a little tribute to the color green. While a pale, almost neutral green is common in design, it takes guts and color savvy to really sock a punch to a room with green. These are a few great examples where the designer is a green maven.
This room has such a fun vintage feel without the burden of all of grandma's clutter. Keeping all of the other major pieces a stark white really showcases the green color.
I LOVE this room; my eye was immediately drawn to the Egg Chair in that gorgeous shade of green!
I think I'm drawn to this room because it looks like it was inspired by the Farnsworth house. The green accent mimics what is going on outside the structure.
The designer of this bathroom understands color and balance. The green is allowed to shine against the white while a little punch of orange provides great contrast.
Speaking of orange and green – being fearless with color can be intimidating but rewarding and well worth it when done properly. The balance of the orange and green is so refreshing and exciting.
Also, chocolate brown looks fantastic with green.
This calm traditional room probably would have seemed like the same old, same old without that brilliant hit of green provided by the duvet and throw pillow.
Here the green tiles add a bit of whimsy to an otherwise very modern kitchen.
And finally, who says wreaths are only for Christmas? A living wreath planted on a moss ring provides lovely greeting at your front door.
Date: 12/3/2015 TO 12/20/2015
Time: 7:30 PM TO 3:00 PM
Disney & Cameron Mackintosh's MARY POPPINS Everyone’s favorite practically-perfect nanny takes the stage in this Supercalifragilistic musical adventure. MARY POPPINS is an enchanting mixture of irresistible story, unforgettable songs, breathtaking dance numbers, and astonishing stagecraft.
Free First Thursday at KiDiMu
Time: 10:00 AM TO 4:00 PM
On the first Thursday of the month, families are invited to explore KiDiMu! Enjoy a free-admission day. Have fun with a variety of hands-on exhibits and art activities. All are welcome! 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Bainbridge Working Studios Winter Celebration
Date: 12/4/2015 TO 12/6/2015
Time: 10:00 AM TO 5:00 PM
Holiday sale at three Artist studios all located within one mile of each other. Mesolini Glass Studio, Cecil Ross – Woodworker, Raquel's Mosaics. We are all located within a mile of each other on Madison Ave NE, 4 miles from the ferry terminal. Definitely worth a visit!
Date: 12/4/2015 TO 12/5/2015
Time: 7:30 PM TO 8:45 PM
St Barnabas Episcopal Church
1187 Wyatt Way NW
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
The title of the program is “Star of Wonder” featuring Ola Gjeilo's O Magnum Mysterium (Serenity) with cello. Other works include songs by Burt, Rutter, Besig, Mendelssohn, Helvey, Willan, and Longhurt's arrangement of The First Noel. Concert dates and times: Fri. Dec 4 @ 7:30 pm Sat. Dec 5 @ 3:00 pm and 7:30 pm.
The EDGE Improv
Time: 7:30 PM TO 9:30 PM
Spice up your holidays with The EDGE Improv. For more than two laughter-filled decades, the troupe’s riotous antics have inspired rave reviews from people from all walks of life. Join The EDGE December 5 for a jolly launch to the holiday season and an ingeniously improvised evening of on-the-spot comedy, all from audience suggestions.
Heyday Farm Breakfast & Tour
Time: 9:00 AM TO 11:00 AM
Farmhouse and Kitchen on Old Mill Road
4370 Old Mill Road NE
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Come to the farm for a hearty breakfast featuring sweet breads, eggs and farm sausage. To help you work up an appetite, breakfast includes a guided farm tour prior to eating. See gardens, greenhouses, pasture and forest. Learn about the farm's history and how the creamery operates complete with a view of the lovely Dutch belted dairy cows at home in barn and pasture.
Pet Santa Photos
Time: 1:00 PM TO 4:00 PM
Bay Hay and Feed
10355 NE Valley Rd
Bainbridge Island, Washington 98110
Bring your family and pets to take Holiday photos with Santa! This fun event will not only give you some fun family photos, but all proceeds go to benefit Kitsap Humane Society. Digital Photos Only–an online photo album will be set-up and viewed only by participants. All ages and all pets! (no livestock, please).
The Nutcracker Preview at KiDiMu
Time: 11:30 AM
Get a sneak preview of this beloved holiday classic and try some ballet moves yourself! See a selection of dances from Olympic Performance Group‘s this year’s production inspired by pop-up books and meet the young ballet dancers who will invite the audience to dance along after their performance. Be sure to bring your camera! Then join author and artist Lynn Brunelle to create your own pop-up book craft.
Gingerbread Houses – DIY Workshop at KiDiMu
Date: 12/6/2015 TO 12/12/2015
Time: 10:30 AM TO 2:00 PM
Be a part of KiDiMu’s annual holiday tradition! Visit a special Art Station to create season’s favorite construction. All materials will be provided. A self-guided activity available: Sunday: 12:30 – 2 p.m. weekdays: 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. & Saturday (while supply lasts): 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Set a festive mood with fresh fall plants while preserving and protecting your landscape and water features.
November is the final month to prepare the garden for winter. It’s rather like tucking children into bed at night: They have played all day, and now they’re tired. There’s the bath-time ritual, followed by a quiet story before they snuggle under the quilt for several blissful hours of rest — for both of you.
The garden has been playing hard and growing for more than eight months. Now it’s time to get it clean and tidy before its winter rest. Just a few hours spent in the garden this month will ensure that you both reach spring with renewed vigor and enthusiasm.
Protect your water features. Some of us are procrastinators, and some of us are just plain forgetful. This photograph shows what happens to fountains during a hard freeze in either case.
To avoid creating such dramatic ice sculptures, remember to drain small fountains and either store them in the garage for the winter or cover them to prevent water entering and freezing. Small submersible pumps are also best removed and stored indoors until spring.
Larger ponds and waterfalls may have a sufficient volume of water cascading through them that the entire body of water will not freeze, and the pump is either too deep to be affected or is in a protected enclosure aboveground. If you're in doubt, contact your local pond supply company for advice.
This is also the time to winterize your irrigation system. We use a simple drip watering system for all our containers as well as for our vegetable garden. The hoses can be left in place, but we disconnect the battery-operated timers and bring them inside for the winter.
Landscape irrigation companies usually offer a winter service to drain the lines if necessary — contact them today.
Add a few inches of compost. If you apply compost to the garden now, the rains will help its nutrients leach into the soil, and the worms will till it while I’m nice and cozy indoors. Some gardeners prefer to mulch in spring. If your garden soil is in poor shape, experts recommend adding compost in both fall and spring for three years and then once a year after that.
Check your drainage. In early fall, when the weather is still nice, walk slowly around the house and inspect the ground where it meets the foundation. Soil should not be touching siding and should slope away from the house, dropping at least 6 vertical inches over the first 10 feet.
Fall Planting. Spring is overrated for planting perennials, shrubs and trees. Starting plants in autumn has advantages for both garden and gardener. Not only is cooler weather easier on new plants and tired bones, but planting in a spent garden with rain on the horizon also has advantages – less watering being one of them. Go for some Classic Chrysanthemums, Decorative Flowering Cabbage and Kale, Hardy Geraniums and Seedums to fill in empty spots in the garden and keep it looking fresh and happy until Spring finally arrives.
Autumn festivities are always a wonderful way to get ready for colder weather and give children so much joy following the end of summer vacation. There are a host of activities on Bainbridge this month for the entire family to enjoy.
Friday October 16th and Saturday October 17th, from 6pm to 8pm, Bainbridge Gardens is sponsoring their 22nd Annual Pumpkin Walk.
The Pumpkin Walk is a fun, festive, family-oriented event hosted by Bainbridge Gardens for two nights every October. The proceeds of this popular, non-scary event benefit the Bainbridge Island Boys and Girls Club. Hundreds of people of all ages come to walk along Bainbridge Gardens’ historic Nature Trail, glowing with a grand display of nearly 300 lighted, carved pumpkins. For many families, the Pumpkin Walk has become a Halloween tradition. Kids enjoy winding through our Harvest Hay Maze and jumping in the inflatable Bounce House. You can have your picture taken with the “Great Pumpkin”! The Bainbridge Island Boys and Girls Club provides face painting and carnival games with prizes.
My grand-daughter Annabella has entered her own carved pumpkin for this year’s event and she is delighted to be able to wear her Halloween costume to the event, as well.
Monday, October 19th from 10:30 am to 11:30 am, KidiMu is sponsoring Messy Monday – a messy experimentation and sensory exploration featuring mini pumpkin painting… Children will practice sensory and motor skills, and use imagination as they create their masterpiece with paint and dish brushes.
IslandWood is hosting their 11th Annual Howl-O-Ween on Sunday, October 25th from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Bring your own pumpkin or purchase one theirs. Other activities include a Pumpkin Walk through the woods, a Pumpkin Meadow for the little tykes, dancing, fortune tellers and more!
The Historic Lynwood Center Theater will be screening Beetlejuice on October 28th for only $5 a ticket!
Last but not least, on October 31st, downtown Bainbridge Island merchants will close Winslow Way at 3:30 p.m. and sponsor a safe trick-or-treating evening with spooky family fun.
Come in costume, listen for spooky tunes from the Eagle Harbor Church bell tower, drink free hot cider and place your vote for the best merchant costume at the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association booth on Winslow Way.