Getting all creative and artsy for the holidays…

When it comes to gift giving, we like to make our own gifts, create something personal and memorable. Not sure how much the receivers enjoy this haha, but so far it has been working out pretty well. It was no different this christmas either.

Ben and his brother grew up next to another family with three kids and the two families have grown to become one family. This is what great friends are: family. Each Christmas they have gotten together to exchange presents but 5 years ago the other family took gift giving to a whole new level with some homemade, creative gifts. They found generic paintings from garage sales and decided to paint over them and make something unique (which Ben and his brother still hang on their walls).  Since then, each family gets together to create presents for the other including, t-shirts, books, memory boxes, adventures, and more. This year was even more special as now the family has grown to 7 “kids” ( including Mary and myself who married into the family) and a new baby, also named Ben.

So here comes the beautiful art 😀 :

  1. For little Ben, the newest, smallest, cutest, most adorable member of the family we decided to make a little stuffed animal. The goal was to make one that was crazy and weird looking enough that hopefully it becomes Ben’s favorite so his parents would have to carry it around in public. We got every kind of materials, as you can see below, ones that match very well…not. We also got huge and non-matching buttons for the eyes. 😀 Ben loved it at Christmas and hopefully our plan is well under way.
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  2. For the other members of the family we made little “awards” that they can put up on their walls. We originally wanted to get trophies but Ben’s brother found these plaques/ornaments and these turned out to be much better! 🙂 These awards were specialized to each member calling on many inside jokes and odd personality traits. We gave the awards in an impromptu awards ceremony with Ben, his brother and myself.
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We were confident that we won this year’s Christmas, but then they came back swinging. They scorched pieces of wood with several soldering irons, calling on famous trees from Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and a tree created for me “Ursulensis brunneis capillos”” meaning Orsi brown hair in Latin 🙂 . Ben and his brother gave them blocks of wood with selected quotes from childhood favorite movies and shows on it 2 years ago, which helped inspire their new creations. I cant believe how much work went into making these pieces of art, but it now hangs proudly in everyone’s house.

Here are the presents we got from them this year, aren’t they beautiful?

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The best part about these presents is the process of making them, it takes longer than going to a store, but it is fun and the process is filled with lots of laughs and lots of creativity. The time I spent with Ben and his brother making this year’s presents was unforgettable and I cannot wait until the next round of presents, and we got memorable presents that we will have and cherish for a lifetime.


“Happy Jar” Contest! Make your own happy jar, send me a picture of it and win a little care package!

I saw a post one day about an idea to start the year with an empty jar and fill the jar up with happy memories. Anytime something great happens to you, just write it down on a piece of paper and drop it in the jar! At the end of the year, you can open the jar, take out the notes and see how many great things have happened to you!


How great is that?

I sometimes make the mistake of focusing on the bad things and forget to see/remember the good ones. This fantastic idea could start a fun tradition of sitting down around the table at the end of the year with family, friends, a hot drink and reflect on the good memories together 🙂 Even if you feel like your year went terribly, sitting down, opening your notes will help notice the small things that have helped brightening your days!


Life is filled with small , happy moments, kind gestures that we do for others and that others do for us and we sometimes forget about those little fantastic moments because of the crazy everydays. Here is a pretty fun way to remember them and to teach ourselves how to focus on the positive things over the negative ones!

I encourage you to make your own jar and if you do, please post a picture below and share it with us!! 🙂

Our Happy Jar!


I got the jar in Target for $3.


Got some markers to make the “Happy Jar” sign a little more colorful


Echo was very nice and offered his help…he did great with chewing on the pens, licking our ears, knocking the jar off the table and so on! A fantastic little helper he is!



If you made a jar, please

  • post a picture of it below in the comment box or
  • email me a picture of it to or
  • post it to instagram under #happyjar and make sure to let me know about it @howiadult87 and
  • win a little christmas package put together by me!!!

Can’t wait to see all your beautiful happy jars!!!!

29 Unusual Date Night Ideas

Just before I start getting into the details I would like to say that this tiny jar has became one of the most precious little gifts I have ever received. Every time I look at it, it makes me smile. It brings back great memories, looking at it warms my heart because I know that there is a place out there where I have so many people I love and miss every day.


Two years ago I moved to the Midwest, far away from my friends, family and even farther away from my comfort zone. I never really expected it to be a place that I will ever like and this is not only because of the freezing cold weather but also because sometimes I do not have a SUPER positive outlook on things (I have been working on changing this). So I never really needed a reason to hate the idea of the Midwest, I just decided to do so. Bad bad attitude.

Little did I know that I will fall in love with the kind, caring people I meet, will get used to wearing 7 layers outside, will be okay with being on my own in a dorm room, and will cry my eyes out when it is time to leave.

But let’s focus on this adorable jar that is filled with 29 unusual date ideas I got from my team, friends, and family on my “surprise” bridal shower this May. I am still overwhelmed with all the love I received that day and I am not only talking about the fantastic gifts but the smiles, the hugs, and all the people that came to spend that day with me.

Being Hungarian, I never really participated in a bridal shower, didn’t even really know what it was all about but I got lucky enough to have friends in my life who thought I can’t leave without actually experiencing my own! I was scared out of my mind for a little bit because I didn’t really know what to expect 😀 But delicious appetizers, drinks, hanging out with friends, and receiving fantastic presents…doesn’t sound too bad 😀 (and since I am a spoiled little brat I ended up having two bridal showers…you can read more about my other one in my Chicago post 🙂 )

And this is how we arrive to this cute little jar. This was one of the presents, which besides its actual purpose of giving date ideas, also became something that represents all the great memories I have made in those two years and reminds me of all the people that I let close to my heart.

So here are the 29 date ideas ♥ – I wish I knew who wrote which idea 😦


  • make a “travel money” jar (yesyesyes)
  • go to the airport and watch the planes go in & out…dream and guess where they go ( love dreaming and planning where to go on our next adventure)
  • rent a kayak/canoe (always loved kayaking so this is perfect)
  • volunteer for a good cause (animal shelter is what we were thinking about doing and food bank this christmas)
  • play a board game (always!)
  • go for a hike, bring picnic (love hiking and food )
  • memorize Pi (math…Ben loves it but might be a little hard; a lifetime challenge since there are infinite digits)
  • naked hoola-hoop (hahahaha whaaaat?)
  • discover a new restaurant (food…always a great idea)
  • find a free concert (!)
  • go to the zoo (such a sweet idea)
  • bake and cook together (we have been actually doing this a lot and love it)
  • go to the lake and skip stones (why am I so bad at this?????? Ben skips stones at every body of water we go to)
  • watch a Nicholas Sparks movie and cry (I’ll have to tie Ben to a chair but since we must do all, I guess it will happen)
  • take dance lessons (salsa it is)
  • plant a garden together and design a sign for it (so cute)
  • read to each other (I have been practicing reading out-loud in English – I guess it counts…also counts as torture for Ben)
  • bike to the botanical gardens (unfortunately there is none near here but will do this one day)
  • couples work-out (…work-out..sigh…haha..)
  • play skip-bo (a card game that Ben played a lot as a kid [My mother in law’s idea]) 🙂
  • play tennis then get dinner out (love doing this one)
  • wine taste (Ben doesn’t drink: soooo I taste, Ben drives:) )
  • go skinny dipping in a lake (muahaha we might as well just take the hoola-hoops with us)
  • day trip to the city (a must)
  • sunset hike + beer (can we break this down to “Ben hikes” and “I “beer”?”)
  • get tattoos (might be a little extreme for us, but fun if you like tattoos)
  • bury a treasure (can’t wait to bury something super weird…it would be nice to see the face of someone finding it)
  • picnic on a beach at sunset (love love love)
  • sample every ice-cream shop in the city (heck yes)

So these are the ideas, we definitely love them and are working on doing every single one on the list…not sure about the naked hoola-hoop yet 😀

Aaaaaaand the jar -being so cute- is also a perfect decoration item in the living room!

I can honestly say I left a piece of my heart behind. Thank you for everyone who has been part of my journey, my friends that became family, the girls and the guys team, my foster parents, all the other awesome parents I met, my co-workers, bosses, hall- and dorm mates….everyone. 

I love you all and we shall meet soon!!!

P.S. If you think of any other great ideas, please comment below :))