Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 Christmas House Tour

I meant to post this a long time ago…like 20 days ago…but just got so busy and forgot! (-:

I didn’t do too much decorating this year, quite toned down as we have our house listed to sell.  Here is my decorating…(some of the lighting in the pictures is bad as we have BIG south facing windows that let in too much sun sometimes.)

DSC03671  DSC03670

See my HO HO HO sign, it is on my pantry door.  And can you see the cute picture of Santa handing my oldest a present…his face in the picture is a-dor-able!  I have a series of 3 pictures that show that and it is so cute!!  (He was only 6 months old – 3 short years ago)

DSC03673      DSC03674

Lighting is bad in the one picture but there are snow flakes my oldest made hanging off the chandler and you can see the advent calendar on each side of the windows.  I also made my table center piece on a tray so that it can be easily moved to the side for meals and when my kids did crafts and other messy things.

DSC03681               DSC03726

My fireplace, which is seriously lacking a mantel but I make do.  And my entryway/stairs up.  I finally found some battery operated lights to put on my bannisters since there are no outlets near them.

DSC03808        DSC03819DSC03818

Our Christmas tree is in our bonus room, along with 2 of my favorite decorations.  A snowman in a shadow box and Santa and Mrs.Claus (they dance they you squeeze their hands).  The bonus room is also the boys playroom (in case you are wondering about the nice wall decals…LOL)

It wouldn’t be complete without some pictures showing the lights.

DSC03676   DSC03677DSC03678    DSC03682DSC03807  

And as we emptied the Advent Calendar I added the holiday cards to the strings.  I think that it displayed all the cards quite nicely this year.

DSC03721   DSC03722

  I’ll be back once or twice next week for some quick posts but otherwise spending the time with my family and friends.  Stay tuned in the New Year for my resolutions and some projects I have coming up!

Merry Christmas Everyone!  I hope that everyone has a safe and joy holiday season!

Christmas Wrapping

I said in the beginning that I was going to either use fabric wrapping paper (which did not happen) and craft paper (which did happen).  I usually hate wrapping presents, and I procrastinate doing the task until the LAST minute.  Last year I wrapped Christmas Eve until 1am…hating every second.  This year I was determined not to leave it that late…and I am one day earlier!!!!!!  But I did enjoy wrapping them this year.

One night I wrapped all the gifts up in the craft paper, and then the next night I prettied them up.  It was funny to see the reaction of my husband and the kids, my husband said it looked a little “UPSish” instead of like Christmas but the next morning when the boys seen the gifts beside the tree they were excited and Munchkin 1 just yelled “Presents”  (Guess the pretty wrapping is just for the adults as kids don’t seem to care!?!)


So definitely a bit boring with just the brown paper.  And some of the gifts were so awkward to wrap, I should have painted the paper before wrapping them but I’ll save that for next year.

Now after a little bit of prettying up -


I did the boys Santa gifts with the same paper and have a little stamp that I am going to use on all the Santa gifts from now until I lose it…LOL


Some of the other packages up close -


I did use some plastic ribbon but otherwise it was all recyclable paper material (mostly tissue paper which is super cheap as well).  I think that they turned out really nice and they have a bit of a natural look to them under the tree.  Definitely going to do it with all presents from now on, it is fun to be creative with them.  (-:

Christmas Chocolates!

Hi All – Christmas is here, well almost!  Are you ready?  I almost ready, using today to get the final stuff done.  (Which for me is the last of the wrapping and making a dessert for tomorrow.)  I’ve been busy the last few weeks making things and wrapping and stuff. 

I made some yummy chocolate turtles (using the slow cooker method as I said I was going to in this post).  They turned out awesome, the caramel worked out perfectly using that method.  I packaged a bunch of them up and gave most of they away with cards to some friends and family.

Another thing I did was make cake pops for a kids party.  I think that they turned out pretty good (not store quality, but good for my first time).  I used a Styrofoam cone, wrapped in tissue paper and glued to a plate to stick the cake pop’s in.


To make the cake pops I just read a few tutorials online and followed those.  Basically I made a sheet cake, let it cool.  Then I crumbled it up in a bowl and added cream cheese icing and mixed it all together.  I just added a bit at a time until I could form little balls of dough.  Then I made all the balls and left them in the fridge overnight (I didn’t have time to decorate them at that time).

The next day I took the cake balls out of the fridge and let them warm up to room temperature (so they wouldn’t crack the chocolate from being too cold).  The I melted the chocolate, stuck lollipop sticks into the balls (using chocolate on the ends to make them stay in) and started to decorate.  It was a real pain at first, I did the snowman ones first and the white chocolate was such a pain!

DSC03733  DSC03734

The reindeer ones were a bit easier to do but I didn’t have an edible pen so I had to figure out how to do the eyes…I ended up cutting about 100 yogurt covered raison’s until I had enough un-cracked ones to use as the eyes.  (Some look a little bit googly but they didn’t turn out too bad.)

DSC03736        DSC03738

Once they had solidified in the fridge for a few minutes I put them in the holder.

DSC03739      DSC03740

They must have tasted good to a bunch of 3 year olds as they disappeared pretty quickly.  (-:

I also made the chocolate house for my baby-sitter’s family.  There is lots of kids with all the cousins and stuff so they love getting the houses and I love to make them.  Maybe next year I will make one for my boys for one of the kids parties we go to…maybe!  (My oldest cannot handle a lot of sugar, he is a spirited kid to begin with so giving his straight sugar is…well…interesting.)

I turned this -


Into this -


I normally put more candies on the house and less on the plate but the stores were out of melting chocolate so I had to use a really high quality chocolate, which tastes great, but does not stick things together very well. 

I also made these chocolate, peanut butter oatmeal squares…which are so sinfully delicious that I gave a bunch of those away as well…there was too much sugar in them for my thighs!

And I also made this fudge wreath that is going around Pinterest…looks pretty cool but haven’t tasted it yet to know if I would make it again.  I used red and green peanut M&M’s instead of the candied cherries.


That was the last of my baking for the Christmas holidays.  I am not hosting it this year either so no big meals to cook either…hoping to enjoy things this year with my boys.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Home-Made Stocking Stuffers

Hello All!  How is the Christmas stuff going?  I was hoping to be done…BUT I’m not.  I have some chocolates to finish up and to wrap all my gifts (even trying to say I would show you some of my wrapping on here hasn’t motivated me enough).  I also have to get some Santa stocking stuffers.

So right now I have stocking stuffers on the brain, quick and easy ones that I can whip up next week when my husband is out of town and there is nothing on TV (my kids go to bed really early so I can sew for 3 or 4 hours a night).  Here are some cute idea’s I have found, and a few from my sister (these could also be hostess/host gifts and gift exchange gifts) -

For the Man of the house -

Spice Rubs – Recipes and printable found at Kojo Designs


Don’t forget the usual stuff like books, music, iTunes cards, special treats, socks and underwear!

For the Toddlers/Preschoolers – (Sorry, that is as old as I was looking since that is my kids ages)

Crayon Roll – This has been on my list of things to make for my kids but haven’t got to it yet, Skip to my Lou has a great tutorial on how to make them.

Pretend Make-Up – for the mini-me toddler or preschooler, make up that looks just like mommies but isn’t actually make up.  My sister did it and sent me the picture below and she got the idea from Not So Idle Hands.  Basically your old make-up case and old nail polish.

make up

Oven Mitts/Apron – What kid doesn’t like to cook in the kitchen with mom?!?  The oven mitts below are so cute (this is a pattern you can purchase from

kids oven mitts

Lego Cards – If you have a child that loves to build things then this is just the thing for them.  (Idea from Pinky’s Learning World)

lego cards

Fabric Mazes – I love this idea, fabric squares with a maze sewed into them and a glass rock between the fabric that the kids push around the maze.  I read about this on Dragonfly Designs (a Canadian Blogger that I like reading).


Puffy Paint – For your little artists, this paint is edible (for really little ones that put everything in their mouths) and creates a texture when dry. (from Delawary County Moms)


Crayons – melt old crayons (or new ones) into any shape you like to give.  You can put them in tins for the cute shapes.  (There are directions on the Martha Stewart website)


For the Woman of the House -

Body Scrub – Easy to make, recipe from Martha Stewart


Designer Kitchen Towels – if you know their decor then whip up some easy kitchen towels.  Here are a couple of ideas but the options are endless, you just have to search to find the one you like.  (The first picture is just velcro attached to the towel and the second one is a towel with a new button top.)

36169603226894244_amU2iOc8_c            IMG_6857 

Not to mention the usual treats, books, iTunes\Kobo\Kindle gift cards, spa treatment certificates, music and chocolates!


So that was my quick looking.  I am going to make a few mazes and maybe a crayon roll or two.  I may make the spice rubs for one of my gift exchanges but I am also going to be making some fabric wrapping paper still so I think my time will be maxed out by that time!

Happy final shopping!