Tag Archives: Christmas

Snow Day DIY

Ever wonder what to do when 400 000ft (maybe a little less) of snow is holding your car hostage and the kids–or you–are getting a little too anxious for Christmas? Here’s our suggestions!

1. Sugar Plums

First of all, do any of you have any idea what a sugar plum is? I did not, but when I googled them I realized that I make them all the time! Technically plum is a traditional word for any type of confectionary. The sugar plums we hear of in the “Night Before Christmas” are pretty much Lara bars made into orbs! Here’s the recipe for the sugar plums I made this year (not knowing that’s what they were!) They’re super healthy and delicious!


1 cup of dates
1/2 cup of nuts
2 Tbs of Peanut Butter
1/4 cup of coconut

Mix in a food processor and roll into balls. Refrigerate.

* This is my favorite combination, but you can add almost any kind of dried fruit to get different flavours.I know some people love dried kiwi and coconut. If someone is allergic to nuts, you could add some seeds or chocolate…m&ms…whatever you want!

2. Glitter.

Glitter can make ANYTHING christmasy and everyone (except the cleaner) likes sparkle!
-Draw a picture or write a phrase.
-Paint over your artwork with modge podge or clear liquid glue.
-Add some glitter. Shake it off and you’ve got a gorgeous Christmas decoration!

You can do the same thing to glitz up some tree decorations!

3. Old-Fashioned Decor

There’s something timeless about stringing popcorn and cranberries, making designs on oranges with cloves, or cutting paper doll chains! Why not make a few on this snowy day!

Popcorn and cranberry garland:

– thread
-whole cranberries

Thread your needle and stick it through popcorn, periodically adding a cranberry. It’s that easy!

Orange with Cloves

Take an orange and stick cloves all over it! You can spell a holiday word, make a pattern, or whatever you please! These will make your house smell so festive!

Paper Chains

Traditionally, these are made by folding paper, drawing little girls and boys, cutting out your doll shape and hanging them on the wall. I took a bit more modern approach, but it’s easy to adjust to your own style.

Find a large piece of scrapbook paper.

Fold it

Draw the shape of your choice. I went with Christmas Bulbs. I was wanting to use string, but if you don’t make sure you draw to the edge of your paper and don’t cut the edges! See the last picture for an example.

Cut them out!

Do any decorating you wish. I drew the top part of the bulbs.

Make little holes using a hole punch or needle and thread your string through the holes!

Hang them up!

Here are my trees made without the string!

I hope you have awesome snow days!

A New Home Before Christmas? We’ve Got That Wrapped… With A Bow!

Martell Home Builders has got you covered this Christmas.  Just look for the red bow on the door to show you which Martell Homes will be ready before Christmas!

This time of year, we get a ton of calls from clients who are desperately hoping that they can move into a new home in time to celebrate the Holidays.  In the past, it’s been a challenge to accommodate their timelines on short notice.

With a little extra planning and effort, we have reserved a limited number of semi-detached homes in North Moncton & Dieppe that are move-in ready for the holidays!! We are so excited to see who is going to call these awesome properties “HOME”!

So remember, keep an eye out for the red bow.

Current “Christmas-READY” inventory includes the following homes:

  • 15 Caspian Court, Moncton NB
  • 41 Caspian Court, Moncton, NB
  • 99 rue Mathias, Dieppe, NB
  • 101 rue Mathias, Dieppe, NB

Call Natalie today to see any of these units: 506-232-1276!


Ten Favourite Christmas Movies

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Last week, we posted some Christmas music to get you in the holiday spirit. This week we’re turning our attention to movies. Hear are 10 great films to keep your Christmas merry. Several are great films to share with your family, while a few are nice diversions for the onslaught of red white and green.

  1. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) While not technically a movie, this made for TV special earns a spot on this list for the why it has captured the hearts of multiple generations in the almost 50 years since it was first aired. The soundtrack is also a fantastic addition to your music library.
  2. A Christmas Carol (1951) Some traditions deserve to live on for ever. One of these is watching the 1951 black and white adaptation of Charles Dickens classic novel staring Alastair Sim. die hard traditionalists may prefer the original 1938 film starring Reginald Owen.
  3. Elf (2003) One of the best Christmas movies of the past decade, and one of Will Ferrell’s best as well. You’ll be getting coal in your stocking if you don’t think Buddy the Elf is adorable!
  4. Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) A decidedly un-kitchy—but nonetheless heartwarming—Christmas film that reminds us of why Christmas matters.
  5. Home Alone (1990) A Wonderful Life for the modern generation. In between the slapstick comedy is a story of the importance of love and family over the holidays. 1992’s Home Alone 2 was a worthy sequel.
  6. Die Hard (1998) A great break from he Christmas schmaltz. This one makes the list because it’s set during a corporate Christmas party.  1990’s Die Hard 2 is also set during the holidays.
  7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 and 2000) A double entry. While the original animated version will always have a special place in our hearts, the amazing sets and make-up of the 2000 version make it a worthy co-addition to our list.
  8. Polar Express  (2004) This one is a love it or hate it type film. While some viewers make be turned off by the quasi-realistic animation, others will be delighted by the magically beautiful journey that the movies takes you on.
  9. Gremlins (1984) A merry monster movie. While it may appeal more to the parents out there, kids will be delighted by the fun twist on Christmas traditions.
  10. Miracle on 34th Street (1947 and 1994)  Another double entry. The 1947 is still among the best of the traditional holiday movies. The 1994 version updates it for a new generation while staying true to the original. Both version provide an light-hearted  story without a sentimentality overload.

Is your favourite holiday movie on this list?  If not, please let us know in the comments.

10 Canadian Christmas Albums

Christmas Music  Photo credit: Chiot’s Run on Flickr

As the song goes, “Merry Christmas” has already “been said many times, many ways.”  So why not sing it in a Canadian way this year?  Here are 10 Canadian interpretations of Christmas classics old and new (in no particular order).

  • Justin Bieber, Under the Mistletoe: A brand new album from Canada’s boy wonder. The album offers seasonal mix of traditional Christmas standards and new holiday music co-written by Justin. If Biebs isn’t enough for you, he is joined by Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men and Usher.
  • Diana Krall, Christmas Songs:  Diana elegantly delivers some of our favourite carols with a festive, yet grown-up vibe. Pay special attention to her rendition of Winter Wonderland for a special Canadian ad lib.
  • John McDermott, Christmas Memories: This album will appeal to fans of Celtic carols. Scottish-Canadian balladeer John McDermott  delivers a wonderful mix of traditional and some lesser known Christmas fare.
  • Anne Murray, What a Wonderful Christmas:  Canada’s snowbird, Anne Murray has recorded several Christmas albums during here career. This two disc collection features a sample of her favourite past songs  intermixed with some new recordings of Christmas standards.
  • Michael Bublé, Christmas: This is a brand new album for Canada’s reigning crooner. It features a mix of guest appearances by the likes of Shania Twain and Thalia Jones; and a original carol that Bublé penned for this album.
  • Kim Stockwood,  I Love SantaA collection of holiday standards performed live by this unique Canadian artist. The album features a sample of seasonal favourites and fun new tracks that highlight both Kim’s rich, warm vocals and her comedic style.
  • Bruce Cockburn, Christmas:  The Canadian activist and singer deftly brings folk, rock, country, gospel, and international influences to a broad collection of seasonal standards in a powerful and poignant way.
  • Holly Cole, Baby It’s Cold Outside:  With here smoky voice, Holly Cole offers the perfect antidote to the hustle of seasonal shopping, decorating and parties. This is the perfect music to listen to with a cup of hot cocoa when you need a break from the bustle.
  • Frank Mills and Rita MacNeil, The Spirit of Christmas: Two Canadian musical legends join forces in this memorable holiday release. Singer/songwriter Rita MacNeil pulled legendary composer and pianist Frank Mills out of retirement to record 4 new songs to add to 8 of their Christmas classics.
  • Matt Dusk, Another Christmas: An EP from a Canadian crooner featuring a mix of classics and new jazzy tunes sure to delight anybody looking for a smooth Christmas track for a holiday dinner party.
Do you have a favourite Canadian Christmas album that we missed?  Please let us know in the comments.

Christmas Gifts for Your Home

Photogrpah of a gift wrapped houseImage credit: Howard Dickins on Flickr

With the beginning of December comes the beginning of Christmas Shopping season. In addition to shopping for the special people in your life this year, why not also shop for that special place as well—your house! We don’t mean the seasonal decorations that spend 11 months in a box. Rather, we are thinking of thoughtful upgrades that will make your house look better and year long.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Ho-Ho-Hardware: Replacing your cabinet pulls or even your door knobs can made a big difference. A quick visit to your local hardware store will open your eyes to the multitude of choices out there. Find something the reflects the houses’ style or, better yet-your personality and you’ll smile each time you open a door or drawer!
  • Deck the Windows: Most of us fret over finding a perfect outfit for the Christmas office party or neighbours New Years Party.  But what about you house?  Adding simple window treatments or replacing dated blinds will help ensure your house looks its best long after the holidays are over.
  • De-clutter and Deep Clean: You may be thinking of using a spa date for that somebody special on your list. Why not give your house the equivalent? Hire a home organizer to come in and help you streamline your possessions, get your carpets steam cleaned, or hire a housekeeping service to spend a day cleaning out the various nooks and crannies of you house that you’ve never had the chance to get around to doing yourself.
  • Pass the Paint:  Paint is often the simplest, yet most effective way to update your home. A few coats of paint can refresh any home. If you’re not up to repainting an entire room, start with an accent wall. A bold colour on a single wall can give the entire room a new look and help you appreciate your existing furnishings in a new light.
  • Season of Light (Fixtures):  Some of us spend a lot of time thinking of the perfect holiday lighting scheme to wow our neighbours for the next few weeks. With illumination on your mind, think about how to update the light fixtures you will be living with for the rest of the year. Consider a new bedside lamp, a new bathroom vanity light or even a dining room chandelier  to show off on Christmas dinner. After all, we all love getting a gift that  we can show off on Christmas day, even your house!

How To Book Your Christmas Vacation Online

Photograph of a laptop computer on a tropical island

Giorgio Montersino on Flickr

I know what you are thinking. Christmas already!?!  We haven’t even finished our Halloween candy!

Sure it may be a bit early to begin seriously thinking about Christmas. But if you are planning to travel for the holidays, the earlier you begin planning, the better deals you may find. The good news is that you can do most, if not all of your vacation planning and booking online. Here are some tools to help you out:


Kayak.com is a relative new comer to the web. But it is has quickly become one of the best sites for finding cheap airfares. It is especially great if you are flexible on either dates and location. You can search for dates up to three days before and after your ideal travel dates, or even search for flights that leave within a calendar month, on upcoming weekends, as well as anytime. If you’re flexible on destination you can scan a world map for all the destinations you can reach within a specified price range.


) TripAdvisor is the most popular hotel-review site, offering more than 45 million professional and amateur reviews of hotels in the U.S. and overseas. But watch out for possibly fake reviews from cronies trying to push up their own hotel’s ratings or flame their competitors (the site flags some such postings as suspicious). Ignore reviews on either extreme and focus on those with midrange ratings — they’re more likely to be the most helpful. TripAdvisor doesn’t sell rooms or offer any actual deals, but it links you to partner sites, such as Expedia, Travelocity and Hotels.com. Click on the “check rates” button and select the site or sites you’d like to try — a new window with results will open for each partner.
Read more: http://www.kiplinger.com/features/archives/best-travel-sites-to-save-you-money.html#ixzz1cxTNIx00
Become a Fan of Kiplinger’s on Facebook

TripAdvisor is our go-to site for finding great hotels and deals. Sure, like with all crowd sourced review sites, you need to be wary of fake reviews from cronies or competitors. But by reading between the lines, you can find a wealth of insights from real customers that go beyond the brochure blurbs and tell you what it’s really like to stay at a given hotel. While TripAdvisor doesn’t actually sell rooms, it directly links you to partner sites, such as Expedia, Travelocity and Hotels.com helping you find the best deals for the nights you will be travelling.

Car Rentals

While they may be better know for hotel and airfare deals, Hotwire.com often offers the best deals on cars. They do this by  comparing rates from their rental car company partners, which include Budget, Enterprise and Europcar. However, the best deals are usually found through the site’s “hot deals” service. While you won’t know the company that you’ve booked from until you have paid, unlike with hotels the risk is minimal for most people. All their partners are reputable companies and a Ford Focus is the same no matter who provides it.

Vacation Packages

If package deals are more your style, check out DealBase.com. Their “Deal Analyzer” will let you know if  promotional offers from, for example, hotels that provide continental breakfasts or other add-ons, are a good values by telling you how much you’d really save. Like TripAdvisor, once you find a deal you like, DealBase will send you to the site where you can purchase it directly from the provider.

For more great online travel resources, check out Kiplinger.com.

Feliz Navidad from the MHB Team!

Happy Holidays

Only a few more sleeps until Christmas!

We’re so excited about Christmas, we thought we’d share our enthusiasm with you … just in case you need a little pick-me-up from the holiday hustle and bustle and you’re starting to feel like Scrooge has more holiday cheer than you do. Check out the video we made just to make you smile.

Also, in case you missed them the first time around, here is a collection of our holiday-themed blog posts that are definitely worth checking out (especially if you still have Christmas shopping to do!):

Make Your Own Gift Basket: Homemade Christmas Gift Basket Ideas & TipsPutting together homemade Christmas gift baskets can be an excellent way to group together all those smaller items you found on sale that are great for someone on your shopping list who isn’t going to receive a stocking from you Santa. Gift baskets make great gifts for all ages too, you just need a plan of action. Check out these tips on how to make a gift basket to help you put together the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

Themed Gift Basket IdeasLooking for some ideas for making a themed gift basket? Here are a ton of unique gift basket ideas that are perfect for everyone on your holiday shopping list.

Top 100+ Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Everyone on Your ListEveryone needs some help getting their creative juices flowing once in a while and Santa is no exception. It’s gotta be tough on jolly ol’ Saint Nick to come up with great stocking stuffer ideas year in and year out for millions of people! Whether you’re Santa is looking for Christmas stocking stuffer ideas for men, great stocking stuffer ideas for women, or anyone else on his list, here’s a list of over 100 inexpensive stocking stuffer ideas perfect for everyone (hey, I’m sure the economic downturn has had an effect on Santa too!).

Inexpensive Christmas Decorating Ideas♫♪ O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree! Much money you have cost me!♫♪ If you’re sick and tired of forking out a large portion of your hard earned money on holiday decorating, or you simply can’t afford it in the first place, check out these inexpensive Christmas decorating ideas.

The Best Martha Stewart Christmas IdeasHere is your ultimate guide to Martha Stewart Christmas ideas. Everything from homemade gifts and crafts for kids to beautiful Christmas decorations and tasty holiday recipes, here is our favourite Martha Stewart Christmas ideas we just have to share with you.

The Best Home Décor GiftsStill need some ideas and inspiration on what to get your loved ones for Christmas? Check out these awesome home décor gifts that are totally worth giving!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!

The Martell Home Builders team wants to wish you all a safe and happy holiday season! Merry Christmas!