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December 17, 2012

Painting Christmas Ornaments

We continue a really neat tradition that my husband's family had growing up. Each year the children are given one special ornament that represents something new/fun/memorable from that year.

It really is a fun tradition.

But did I mention it's challenging, too?

There are easy years to find ornaments for: "learned to walk", "started school", "Baby's 1st Christmas"...etc.

But sometimes it can get a little tricky.

Last year we took a slight detour from the usual-- super significant ornaments and decided to let the kids pick out their own $1 ornaments from JoAnns that they could paint.

But sticking with tradition I rationalized it by explaining to my husband that they learned to develop their art talents this past year.

The kids, of course needed no convincing.  Any opportunity to paint is very grand indeed.

Here's our results.

But because I wanted these to be special ornaments that we would hang on the tree year after year I did supervise them a bit.

I explained to them the importance of making them look nice by not adding too many colors.  I told them to start with a plan first, and then paint.  They both did a fantastic job. My husband said his gift was letting me paint his.  I also painted the 1 year old's.

The last thing I did once everything was dried was to outline everything in Sharpie, that really made their art pop-- oh and of course I had to seal 'em up with some Mod Podge. 

December 13, 2012

Quilted Christmas Stockings

I'm so happy I was able to complete our Christmas Stockings this year on time (i.e.- before Christmas came).  As some of you know I am literally expecting my fourth baby any day now and with those preparations, Christmas, and being a mother to the other three-- my days fill up fast.

But I had to get these done.

So now I can share with you my:

Last year I decided that I needed to make all new stockings. 
 I had previously made four and didn't really like the plainess of them, and my husband always thought they were too small.

So last November I went on a search to find a design for inspiration, that I liked.

I knew I wanted them to be colorful and much bigger than my first ones.

After some searching around I found these stocking by Meringue Designs.

Which lead me to her shop where I saw similar beautiful, colorful stockings.

I went to JoAnns that November day intending to buy color fabrics and do a similar design.
I walked out, changing my mind a bit and going for colorful-- yet more holiday themed fabrics. 
And who could resist all this fabric being 40% off, too?

I decided I'd try to incorporate pieces of each color theme in each other's stocking.  

I love the way they turned out.
They're big and colorful and each of the kids love them, too. 

I will mention, as if it weren't obvious, I did blot out the kid's names, since I don't like them on the internet.
But, they're there and they look really cute, too.

Fun project.
And I've got plenty of left over fabrics to make stockings for future children (like the one coming next week).

December 10, 2012

Peanut Bark

Last week I shared one of my favorite holiday treats.
Today I'm going to share one of my other favorites.
This recipe comes from the same cook, my husband's Grandma.
I told you she cooks delicious things.

This one is one of my favorites, especially when I'm nursing babies (every other Christmas-- almost) because it's super yummy, easy, and has no chocolate.

Grandma B's Peanut Bark

1 lbs. While Chocolate (almond bark)
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups peanuts
1 1/2 cups rice krispies
1 1/2 cups mini-marshmallows

Melt while chocolate (bark) in a double boiler.
Stir in peanut butter. Cool slightly.
Add rest of ingredients, stir.
Drop by spoonful onto wax paper on cookie sheets.
Set in fridge to cool, set, and store.

Yummy, I love these.

December 7, 2012

Peanut Butter Bars

I got this wonderful, delicious, easy recipe from my husband's family.
Everyone knows his Grandma is a Fabulous cook and this recipe comes from her.
Last year I finally requested the recipe and it's so delicious. 
 I love to make it around the holidays.
Though it is totally fine to eat year round..it only occurs to me around the holidays. 

Peanut Butter Bars

10 graham crackers
1 lb. powdered sugar (3 3/4 cups)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup melted butter

16 oz. chocolate chips
1 Tbs. Peanut butter

Food Processor Directions:
Add graham crackers, powered sugar, and peanut butter and process in small batches until all mixed together.  Add melted butter.  Process until combined, pat into 9 x 13 pan.

If you don't have a Food Processor-- like me-- Directions:
Pour graham crackers into a gallon sized bag and crush up with a rolling pin, until completely made into crumbs.  In a bowl combine crushed up graham crackers, powered sugar, and peanut butter with a spoon (this is not very easy-- but just go with it).  Add the melted butter and mix again with the spoon.  Pour everything into a 9 x 13 pan and mix together with your hands until everything is completely combined.  Pat into pan.

Melt chocolate chips with 1 Tbs. Peanut Butter in a double boiler.  Spread on top of peanut butter bars.  Place in refrigerator, let everything harden.  Enjoy!

I've already made it twice this season and the only trick is to eat it fast, before it's all gone.

December 5, 2012

Homemade Gifts: Magnetic Nativity Scene

Today's activity is this super cute & simple...


About three weeks ago I came across this adorable free printable Nativity via Design Dazzle.

As soon as I saw it I knew it would be really easy and fun to make for/with the kids.

Monday night we had Family Home Evening, which included a lesson on the birth of our Savior, followed by the activity of making this cute nativity.

I headed out to the Dollar Store earlier that day to buy my $1 magnetic cookie sheet-- but when I saw this cute round pizza sheet my plans all changed and I came home with the round one, instead.

Once home I printed out the two free papers on my own photo paper.  Since my board was now round I decided to do the Nativity Scene a little different and cut out the stable and stars.

Then I mod podged them down-- once that was dry I mod podged all over the whole sheet, so everything would stay put.

Next I cut all the cute people/animals out.

Once that was done I placed each person on the backside of magnet sheets.
I already had these on hand, so that was convenient.

For a little extra protection I then covered each piece with shipping tape, and carefully cut them out.
I wanted them to be sturdy and kid-proof.
Shipping tape is my quick answer to lamination. 

That was it!

Seriously a really awesome nativity that cost $1.  The kids love it.

December 3, 2012

Handmade Gifts: Freezer Paper Tie Onsie

I love a handmade gift.  I think it just shows that much more care into gifting.

A while ago I made some cute onesies for my two nephews (one on each side) that were born right around the same time.  This is a perfect little comfy outfit for church and I think would look awfully Snazzy for this Christmas Season.

So I give you: How to Make your Own Freezer Paper Tie Onesie.


And I'll admit, some of my projects can be a little complicated or time consuming.  
This was neither.  
Super easy, super fun, super fast.

Here's how to make your own.

1. Onesie
2. Printed off 'Freezer Paper Cut Out' page.
3. Freezer Paper
4. Exact-o knife
5. Red Fabric Paint (tulip brand)
6. Sponge Brush
7. Iron

STEP ONE: Print out this page.

Click HERE for the free Pdf.

STEP TWO: Place the printed off paper under your Freezer paper and trace on top with a pencil.
On the freezer paper you'll need to distinguish which lines you'll be cutting out.
I drew on all the while lines-- numbers, so I knew not to cut those out.

STEP THREE: Cut out the parts you're going to paint with an Exact-o Knife.

STEP FOUR: Line up your tie on the onesie and iron in place.

STEP FIVE: Paint over your stencil and let dry.
I did four different layers of paint, waiting about 1 1/2 hours or more between each layer.

STEP SIX: After being completely dried (I left mine over night), peel off your Tie Stencil.
Place a towel over your project and iron for 30 seconds to seal everything together.

All done!

I did two of these, for both baby boys...
picked out some cozy pants...

wrapped 'em up and off they went. 

And Oh-- My, what a handsome boy he is rocking his Comfy, Cozy, Big boy Tie.

His Mama tells me he gets lot of compliments each Sunday.

November 30, 2012

Getting Ready

It feels like Christmas is in Full Bloom....but technically it's not even December yet. 
 Does everyone realize that?

We're sort of waiting until at least December to put up all our decorations.

Also we love to buy real trees and we don't want to have our tree all dried up on Christmas day-- so we're going to wait a bit longer.

However, to get us ready I did update the Chalkboard.
I loosely based it off this gorgeous print.
Makes me start singing every time I see it.

I did get out the Advent Calendar to hang up tomorrow-- or possibly tonight.

And Lastly, I'm sewing like a mad-woman to finish up the stockings as soon as possible. 
 I've got 3 1/2 done...only 1 1/2 to go.  I think I can make it this year!

November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Ooh, I did it.

We're hosting Thanksgiving this year (just four extra guests) at our home.

I spent the entire day yesterday planning out the Menu.  Today's my shopping day.  Looks good, eh?

Thanksgiving Menu 2012
Appetizers: 1. Spinach/artichoke Dip
PHILLY Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe

2. Cheese ball/crackers
3. Chocolate Truffles (sister's recipe)
Main Dish: 15 LBS. Turkey (Bought this yesterday)
Perfect Turkey in an Electric Roaster Oven. Photo by "Chef Zone Masconi"
Side Dishes: 1. Mash potatoes
2. Gravy
4. Fancy Salad (something I'll buy in a bag)
6. Rolls (frozen)
Balsamic-Glazed Carrots recipe 
8. Corn Casserole (My husband's Family Tradition)
Yummy Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe
10. Pickles
11. Olives
Desserts: 1. Two Pumpkin Pies
Traditional Pumpkin Pie
Lemon Meringue Pie
3. Pecan Pie- Store bought
4. Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (Grandma B's Recipe)
5. Whip cream
6.Vanilla Ice cream
Snacks: 1. Chex Mix
2. Cookies

Let's just hope it all comes together as well as it is in my head.

November 16, 2012

New Pillows

Until a couple months ago we were the proud owners of 1970's, brown, uncomfortable, low couches.  They drove me crazy often, but how can you complain with free couches?  I did comfort myself with two thoughts.  1.) I made some pillows that kind of spruced up the couches
2.) I knew those couches would not be leaving that apartment, which eventually meant new couches.

And with those lovely new couches...new pillows.

So I give you...

Snip- Snip- Cut- Cut- Cut 

I will mention the two of the far ends came with the couches.  I made the four in the middle.

And I do have to mention this pillow.  I made it originally and it's the only one I kept that didn't get changed up too much.  It's made from an H & M sweater I bought when I was in Europe.  I always liked the sweater, but it was a bit too boxy to wear, so I was really excited to make it into a pillow.  
I chopped off the sleeves and sewed up the sides.  I hand-sewed the bottom closed. Then I tucked in the hood into the V-neck and hand-sewed it down.

Then for this edition of pillow I cut out some matching fabric on the bias, folded in all the sides, and sewed it into one long strip, which I then tied into a bow and "knitted" into my sweater and hand-sewed into place.

Here's a look at our living room with our lovely new pillows.