Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekend Activities with Kids

Want to spend some 'quality' time with kids on the weekends? You know, something that doesn't involve texting, gaming, or a screen of any type? More Than Paper is here today to bring you plenty of ideas for family weekend fun. 

Get yourselves outdoors!           
Play catch or wiffle ball. Get them little golf clubs and practice a little yourself. Show them -- or let them show you -- some soccer moves. Do tumbling. Try to do cartwheels. Make a pile of leaves and jump in. Ride bikes. Just being together outdoors and giving them your undivided attention can mean the world to children. 

Explore the neighborhood.
Take a nice long walk. Show the kids flowers and trees and look up their names. Gather interesting stones and leaves. We love this FREE Scavenger Hunt Printable by The Bird Feed NYC.  Print it out and hunt right in your backyard. 

Find local events.
Check listings for your area to find corn or hay mazes, haunted houses, pumpkin and apple farms, or festivals.  Go to the local zoo, marina, petting farm, lake, or wildlife preserve. Learn the names and habits of animals, birds, and fish. Try horseback riding. Or go to a farmers market together. At More Than Paper, we have such fun every Fall picking apples with our children! 

Photo from Let The Kids Dress Themselves 

Get a little culture.
Take them to art, science, or maritime museums. Most have special programs for kids. Explore art galleries and ask their opinions on the art. Find weekend concerts, children's theaters, or dance programs.  If you're in or nearby a city, take them on an architectural tour. Gather a little history ahead of time, and point out special buildings and features. Ask about their favorites.

Stuck indoors? Cook!
Make cookies, wrap them up nicely, and deliver them to neighbors. Or, plan and cook a special meal. Let the kids help decide what to make and who to invite. Give them appropriate jobs in the process. Together, write out menus and placecards.  Let them be creative in choosing dishes, placemats, and napkins as they set the table.

Make something.
Take photos or collect items from where you go. When you get home, or on another day, work together to make cards, scrapbooks, or collages out of the photos, leaves, drawings of what you saw. Head on over to Mad In Crafts, one of our favorite bloggers, who is always making something for the kids or crafting with the kids! 


The most important thing is to do something active together. Play, learn, talk, and just be together this Fall! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fast, Fall Dinner Entertaining Ideas

This is a wonderful season for casual dinner parties. The weather is cooler, it's not dark too early, and you haven't yet flung yourself into holiday madness.  It's a great time of year to plan a dinner party with friends and entertain in your home.  Today at More Than Paper we're bringing you an easy early autumn dinner that doesn't require a lot of work in the kitchen! 

For your easy autumn dinner with friends, we suggest you go Italian.  The secret to Italian cooking is simple preparation and the best seasonal ingredients. You'll find almost everything you need at an Italian deli, farmers market, or grocery, and you can do almost everything in advance. It's very simple, but the food is so good, no one will think it's simple. 

Put the following items together early in the day. Refrigerate and warm to room temp about a half-hour before serving. That way you'll be relaxed when guests arrive! 

  • Pre-meal nibbles: Italian cheese with rustic crackers and pitted olives.  Try aged provolone and gorgonzola dolce (it's soft, not sweet).  
  • Appetizer: Wrap proscuitto around fresh figs. Serve with lemon wedges and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar just before serving.  Add fresh rosemary or other herbs for garnish.
Wrapped Figs from Pop Sugar

  • Entree & sides: Roast chicken. Prep early in day. Stuff cleaned bird with lemon wedges, garlic cloves, and rosemary and thyme. Rub with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate til half-hour before roasting at 450 degrees for 1-1.5 hrs. until juices run clear. Reduce juices to sauce and keep everything wrapped in foil and warm until serving. 
Roasted Chicken from Aida Mollenkamp

  • Pearl (or Israeli) couscous. (Easy alternative to risotto). Chop an onion and saute in pot with olive oil and couscous til onion is soft. Follow directions on package for proportions, and use chicken broth instead of water. Add thyme. Simmer until done. This takes about 10-15 minutes. Do ahead and heat up just before dinner  *For even less time, heat up some white cannellini beans with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add a little lemon.  These can be served room temp.
Couscous Salad by Foodie Crush

  • Simple green salad with shallot vinaigrette. (Minced shallots, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and bit of dijon mustard.) Dress just before serving.
  • Serve it all with good, crusty Italian bread.
  • Dessert: Lemon pound cake (store-bought) or gelato. To serve, top with sliced plums, pears, or raspberries that you mixed with a little sugar and brandy or rum ahead of time and kept at room temp. Add a dollop of creme fraiche or mascarpone cheese.  Maybe some limoncella or annisette to go along with this! 

This meal goes with everything from Proscecco and Pinot Grigio to Pinot Noir and Montepulciano. It also goes great with Italian Beer like Peroni.  Don't forget to chill some San Pellegrino water! 

Use colorful platters, plates, placemats, and napkins. Presentation is everything! More Than Paper has a huge selection of autumn entertaining accessories from which to choose. Here's a peek at some our favorites!

Spark & Spark Laminated Placemats - Fall Trees (05-PL-1006-1)

Spark & Spark Melamine Plates - Fall Trees (05-PT-1006-1)

Linen Dinner Napkin with Open Inset (W137)

Of course, if you get invited to a fall inspired dinner party and don't have to do all the work -- don't forget to send a thank you! 

Chatsworth Just Exquisite - Stationery/Thank You Notes (Autumn Leaves) (DS-5954)

Let us know your thoughts for our Fall inspired, autumn entertaining dinner with friends. Happy entertaining and Fall from More Than Paper!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Rosh Hashanah Recipe Round Up

Part of what we love so much about the holidays are the traditions. Rosh Hashanah is fast approaching and we are busy in our household getting ready for the holiday and all of the traditions that come with it. Namely -- eating! There are so many delicious recipes prepared each year, ones that have been passed down for generations.

We've scoured the web and rounded up our favorite Rosh Hashanah and other Jewish Holiday recipes for our More Than Paper readers!  From Matzo Ball Soup, potato kugel, recipes that celebrate pomegranates, and apples and honey, there's something savory, sweet and delicious for everyone - even for those who don't celebrate Jewish holidays.  Check them out!

From top to bottom, left to right, find these recipes and ideas below! 

In case you missed our original, handmade gefilte fish post, be sure to check this one out. It's complete with step-by-step instructions and photos that we love! 

If you haven't ordered your Jewish New Year cards, head on over to shop now at More Than Paper

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Personalized Halloween

As a parent, it's fun to actively plan Halloween with your children.  From choosing their costume, selecting the treats, decorating the house, and mapping out the neighborhood trick-or-treating route, there is plenty do to around this time of year. At More Than Paper, we think it's fun to go that extra step and make it just a little bit more special with personalized goodies that can be used year after year.  This is why we've curated this "personalized Halloween" board below with ideas from More Than Paper and a few other places on the web to share with our readers. From personalized mealtime, costumes, treats and decorations, this is bound to be the most exciting Halloween yet! 

These personalized laminated placemats and dishes (more plates, cups, bowls not shown!) are fun to bring out at mealtime all October long. More Than Paper has a variety of plates from which to choose, too -- like this green, purple, orange and black polka dot one by Kelly Hughes Designs

We found a personalized "Happy Halloween" giant banner, complete with grommets and string to hang from your home outside. The super cute place mats by Pen at Hand are from More Than Paper. When it comes time to treat collecting, we love the witch princess and bat by Chasing Fireflies and the personalized dress and fireman costume can't be beat! 

If it's baby's first Halloween, be sure to check out this adorable spider onesie! We found it and several other cute ones on Etsy (click here to buy!)  If you are really into the spirit and want to go all out, try personalized chocolate bar/candy covers like the ones below at More Than Paper. What a special treat to pass out on Halloween, they'd also be great for a classroom party at school. 

If you are hosting a party and doing favors, consider these personalized favor bags. 

This lightweight personalized trick-or-treat bag by Pen at Hand can be used year after year and be a treasured keepsake. It holds a lot of loot, too! At just $23, we think the price cannot be beat. 

So what are you doing for a personalized Halloween? Get shopping at More Than Paper now! Most orders arrive within 2 weeks of your purchase, so plan ahead and you'll be ready! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Halloween Party

Do you love Halloween like we do? It's such a fun holiday for children. This year, the spooky and festive holiday falls on a Friday which we find particularly convenient for school-aged kiddos! We're hosting a neighborhood party and are brainstorming all the adorable ways to decorate and make this Halloween the craftiest, yummiest, and best one yet!

What's the first step in planning a monster bash? A printed invitation, of course! It sets the theme for the night. We love these ones found at More Than Paper.  Whimsical and colorful, these ones are perfect for any Halloween party.

Find these cute invites here! 

There are plenty of adorable ideas when it comes to crafting. We love this easy Halloween pennant flag banner from Polka Dot Chair. 

When it comes time to serving food, we like a mix of healthy alternatives and junk.  Surely you have seen this cute idea circling around Pinterest from last year? The ghost bananas and orange pumpkins were a huge hit at our party last year.  Surely we will make them again! 

With every kids party we always make a little favor or small treat to take home.  We found exceptionally cute cookies and think they'd be adorable packaged in cello bags, tied with some string, and perfect with a personalized treat bag sticker!  More Than Paper has a variety of treat bag stickers from which to choose. 

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing more ideas for Halloween! Check back soon and often.   Here are some image credits! 

Image Credits for Cookies

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Jewish New Year Cards

Ever wonder how customs begin?  We do! So we did a little research about the origins of sending Jewish New Year's cards.  It turns out that the custom of sending Jewish New Year cards dates back hundreds of years - to as early as the 14th century - by the German-Jewish community!   It was in the Book of Customs by Rabbi Jacob (son of a spiritual leader of German Jewry during the 14th century)  that the custom of sending the blessing "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year" was first mentioned.  And here we are, in the 21st century, still carrying on this tradition today!

Carrying on customs from generations past is something we value greatly here at More Than Paper. That is one of the reasons why we have the largest selection of Jewish New Year cards anywhere -- with thousands from which to choose! 

Leading up to and during the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to greet family and friends with the Hebrew phrase "L'Shanah Tovah" (translated as "For a Good Year" or "May you have a good year"). This is why you will see so many cards in our store with this greeting as part of the cover design.   

The tradition of apples and honey, meant to symbolize the wish for a "sweet" new year is also evident on many cards.  We have plenty of cards with the Shofar (Ram's horn), drawings of the Holy Land (Jerusalem), Star of David and many more symbols of Judaism. 

The ability to add a Hebrew phrase, such as "leshanah tova tikateivu vetechatemu," is available on many cards and translates to "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year" - the phrase we see our ancestors were told to use on their greeting cards hundreds of years ago!  For those who may not be familiar, the Jewish faith believes that a person's fate is decided during the High Holy Days - so with this phrase you are wishing for your loved ones to be "inscribed and sealed" in the Book of Life.  Including this Hebrew phrase will not only send a nice wish for your friends and family, but will also uphold a time-honored tradition.

Have you ordered your cards yet? Be sure to shop our huge selection here!  Need help ordering?  No worries!  Give us a call at 516.466.1227 (8am-10pm ET) - we can help find one that's special to you, assist with greetings and wording, and ensure that you get cards you'll be proud to send to your friends and family. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Newly Added by Whitney English

Whitney English by Shannon Ho Photography

We've long been a fan of the talented stationery and lifestyle designer, Whitney English. We have followed her blossoming career for years and are thrilled to carry her line of products at More Than Paper. We've recently added dozens of new products by Whitney English to the store.  Sure, we have the melamine platters, lucite trays, ice buckets, recipe boxes and personalized recipe cards.  But we are also pleased to offer a broader selection of products that not all designers carry.  Here today is a look at some of those unique products -- things you never knew you needed, but are sure to want! 

You can tell Whitney is a mom.  Like us, she thinks about things that would make planning even more fun, kids more organized and happy, mealtime a bit easier and more exciting, and cooking even more thrilling. Here are some of our favorite new products added. 

We absolutely adore these personalized vinyl freezer labels.  Making a casserole for your neighbor? Preparing a meal for your friend who just had a baby? Add this personalized label for a finished touch! 24 are just $14.40 each. 

Whitney English Personalized Vinyl Freezer Labels - Suzani Peony (W24500)

Who says chore charts can't be chic, preppy and cool? Whitney English does. Her selection of chore charts are adorable!  Personalize each chart with your child's name -- we hope it will make them even more motivated to do their chores. (At the very least, it will organize them, right?) 

Whitney English Chore Charts - Rugby Pink & Teal (WChore16)

Whitney English Chore Charts - Rugby Navy & Yellow (WChore21)

We also love how easy meal planning and grocery shopping is (not to mention how stylish it will be too) with these colorful personalized meal pads. They come in your choice of 25 or 50 sheets, $27 and $32, respectively. There are plenty of styles from which to choose. 

Whitney English Meal Planners - Sea Floral Peony (WMPL5)

Gift stickers are so chic. Every time we get a present from a child who has them, we covet them even more! Covet no more with a variety of adorable gift stickers by Whitney English. We love these for a little girl. 

Whitney English Gift Stickers - Circus Dots Pale Pink (W24555)
And these are perfect for a little boy!
Whitney English Gift Stickers - Animals Dino (W24549)

These paper placemats are a great way to make mealtime even more special with your kids. These disposable mats can get as dirty as they need to be -- then just toss in the trash. 25 sheets are $34.40, 50 sheets are $44.00.  We think this makes a great birthday gift! Shop all of the personalized placemats here (there are adult designs, too!) 

Whitney English Personalized Disposable Placemats - Imagination Astronaut (W24063DP)

Whitney English Personalized Disposable Placemats - Imagination Princess (W24067DP)

Of course, no stationery designer would be complete without their own line of personalized stationery. We've added many new styles.  Shop all Whitney English stationery here!

Whitney English Stationery/Thank You Notes - Bloom Smoke (W24402)

Whitney English Stationery/Thank You Notes - Modern Suzani Lemon (W24421)

Whitney English Stationery/Thank You Notes - Peyton Green (W24307)
Whitney English Stationery/Thank You Notes - University Stripe Gray (W24343) 

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to More Than Paper to shop all Whitney English now! You can also take a peek at her holiday photo and holiday greeting cards (although more are coming soon!).  The holidays will be here before we know it! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

College Advice Tips

How do you prepare your college bound son or daughter? Once you have packed the bags and car, given thoughtful advice on studying hard, eating right and getting enough sleep, check out these tips from More Than Paper.  Even if they've already headed off to college, you can still share this great advice!  We hope it will make the transition a bit easier. 

Get to know your roommate.
Get off to a good start. Sure, you're used to your own friends and groups. But don't make snap judgments about your roommate's (or anyone's) background, appearance, or clothes. Think of this as an introduction to real life. People are different; they have their own good and bad characteristics. You do, too. Communicate well and work out your living arrangements together. Even if you don't end up being best friends, work together to make your 'home' environment pleasant for both of you.

Be friendly.
Smile at and say hello to people. Even if you're nervous or shy. This may seem simple, but it's important to appear open to conversations and friendships. Share a little about yourself, and listen a lot. Yes, you miss your old friends from home, but this is your home now. Make room for new people. And if your high school years were less than ideal, here's a chance for a fresh start.

Join something.
There are a lot of activities to choose from; it all might seem overwhelming. But the worse thing you can do is hide in your room. Share your interests with others or find a new one, whether it's a hobby, academic area, charity, organization for change, or a sport. Get involved in something right away, and you'll meet people and feel more a part of the school. Take advantage of parties, meetings, and study groups. Connect.

Get to know your new city or town. Check out everything from the restaurants and shops to the sports facilities, theaters, architecture, and history of where you live. Root for the home teams and get involved! 

Don't despair.
It's normal to be homesick, and it's okay to call home or your old friends when you feel blue. Just like real life, there are bound to be some disappointment in people, programs, and places. Seek other people to talk with or help you through this time: other students, teachers, or a counselor or doctor. Remember that you're new at this, and every endeavor requires practice!

Enjoy and keep in touch.
Keep a positive attitude and find joy in your new life. These will be some of the best years of your life! Really. And communicate often with your parents. Remember that they're adjusting to a new life too, one without you.  

Writing home? More Than Paper has a wide selection of personalized stationery from which to choose.  (Though we are guessing you'll get a lot more emails, texts and calls -- a handwritten note can't be beat!)