Valentine Love

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I’m sure you’re like me and have been surfing Pinterest to find really cute ideas for Valentine’s. I wanted to share a few that I have come across and share the websites that I’ve found them on. Mind you, my youngest is a little boy, so naturally some of these are more for boys, which I figured is ok. You don’t see too many boy Valentine things.

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Star Wars is a big deal in our home, so needless to say that when I spotted these, it had to be pinned. Aren’t these just cute and perfect for boys. These can be found at designwashrinserepeat.com.

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Sara  M Style shared these cute and wild valentines. I think this one is my favorite!! You find these here at her website saramstyle.com.

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I love seeing all the “punny” Valentine quotes. I found these adorable Valentine printables at AmyistheParty.com. Click HERE to get to the pdf.

new valentines subway art

I am a sucker for subway art. I don’t want what it is. Maybe it’s the cute fonts put all together. I don’t know, but I’m starting to have a collection for each month. The girls over at Eighteen25.blogspot.com have made these available for free. Go HERE to find the print.

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So, last but not least, I saw this party in a box idea. My kiddos are growing and getting older. I’m hanging onto my baby who’s three right now with all my might. Needless to say, I don’t get too many requests to have Valentine cards ready for school. When I saw this idea, I thought how great! I have nieces and nephews that are still at that cute age where they LOVE this kind of thing. The girls over at TheCraftingChicks.com shared this idea HERE with all of us.

Hope these ideas helped, especially for those of you with boys.

New Year’s Activity Bags


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I have seen this activity posted many tims on pinterest and wasn’t interested in doing it until now. Our New Year’s Eve will be celebrated separately. I have to be at work, my older ones will be at a church dance and my  hubby will be at home with the littles. Soooooo, I decided to make these bags of activities so they had some fun while some of us were gone.

newyear1It’s pretty self-explanatory. I created clocks to put on each bag (you can print those out New Year Bags here). The celebrating will start at 5pm and end of course at midnight. The kids will get to open each bag at each hour to find out what activity they get to do. The great thing about this is that you can do whatever activity you want. So here’s what I did:

5PM: Help make and eat dinner.

6PM: The kids will fill out this sheet and share it with each other.

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You can print this sheet 2013InReview.

7PM: Pick out a movie or TV Show to watch.

8PM: This bag is filled with party hats and tiaras I picked up at the dollar store for the kids to decorate and be ready to celebrate the New Year at midnight.

9PM: I put a new set of Go-Fish cards for them to play a few rounds. If my older ones were home, I would put in UNO or Phase 10 (you could easily play that one until midnight).

10PM: Have a “Just Dance” competition. You could also do a bowling tournament with the Wii as well.

11PM: Make ice-cream sundaes.

12am: This bad will be opened at 11:50pm so that the kids will be ready. This bad has silly string and horns to blow when the clock strikes 12.

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Hope you have a great time celebrating tonight!!

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

Holiday Pretzels

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Need a last minute gift idea? Need something that you can whip up real fast? Holiday Pretzels!!I kind of made up that name, but I think it works. I of course found this idea on the beloved Pinterest website.

So here goes. Pay attention now, it gets complicated . . . just kidding.

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Grab a bag of white chocolate chips, white candy melts, whatever is white that’s sweet and will melt. I threw my whole bag of white chips in a microwave safe bowl and melted the chips 30 seconds at a time until all the chips were melted.

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Add in your holiday pretzels. I picked up mine at Sam’s Club. I’m sure they have a Costco version. I love that have these cute Christmas shapes: tree, star, and bell.

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Gently submerge your pretzels under the melted white chips. You can use a fork to remove the pretzels. I tried to let the white chocolate drip off, that way you could see the shapes of the pretzels better.

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I placed the pretzels down and then sprinkled them with some Christmas sprinkles. Walmart was selling the Christmas sprinkles before the chocolate cooled. You will know if your chocolate has cooled down too much. The sprinkles will just bounce off the pretzels. LOL.

Now, I thought I was being clever by placing the pretzels on the cooling rack.I did that thinking that the chocolate would drip off better but it didn’t really.In fact, it stuck more to the rack when it dried, so it was a little harder to remove.

My recommendation is to place them on a piece of wax or parchment paper, then you can easily peel them off once the chocolate has dried.

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TA-DA!!

They are really good, so don’t make them when you are hungry because you probably won’t have enough to give away.

I made a batch and gave them away to some friends. I created some gift tags to attach to whatever plate of goodies you are giving away. Just click gift tags to download and print.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

 

Ornament Christmas Wreath

Did you notice a theme yet for this Christmas season. Ornaments seem to be my thing I guess. I’ve seen different versions of these on Pinterest (of course), and I had to try it. It looked simple enough for this novice crafter to do.

I neglected to take a picture of all of the materials I used, but here’s the list:

1) gluegun and LOTS of gluesticks.

2) styrofoam circular tube (wreath-shaped). I bought mine at Hobby Lobby.

3) unbreakable ornaments from Walmart. I bought one package of 40 regular sized ornaments and 1 package of 20 small ornaments.

4) 2 feet of tinsel.

5) Nice big wired Christmas ribbon.

Before starting, you will need to take the tops off the ornaments, you know that part where you put the hooks on to hang on the tree. They come off quite easily.

 This was my first attempt. The directions I had said to just randomly place and glue your ornaments to the styrofoam wreath, and ta-da! It was a “FAIL” for me, doing it this way. I’m kind of a systematic person. I needed a little order in doing this project.

 I started at the top. The package of ornaments I had bought had different textured ornaments in it. So I began glueing them to the top part in a pattern . . . shiny, matte, glitter, shiny, matte, glitter . . . you get the point. Unfortunately, you don’t end up with a perfect circle by the end. You will have a space that will not be big enough to put in an ornament to make a perfect, complete circle. But life isn’t perfect is it. Christmas wreath life lesson #1. That’s ok. Just leave the space, we’ll deal with it later.

After doing the top, I glued ornaments on the outside of the first row of ornaments and also on the inside part of the wreath. Along with glueing the ornament to the styrofoam, glue the ornaments to each other. It sticks better and will hold it in place pretty good.

I then added the smaller ornaments to whatever spaces I saw. After you glue all the little ones, you will still have left over spaces. Let’s deal with the big one first at the top.  I fixed that by putting a ribbon on. FIrst I wrapped a little bit of the ribbon around the styrofoam and then tied it so that I could hang it on my door hook. Then I youtubed instructions on how to make a big fancy bow to fill that space.

Now for the little spaces.

Cue the tinsel.

I cut little tufts of tinsel, added some glue and tucked them into these little spaces. It helped fill all those little annoying spaces that you could see the styrofoam from. Just remember to trim the tinsel when you’re done.

 Ta-da!!!
One homemade Christmas wreath. Not bad for a crafting novice. I’m one of those that start and don’t finish crafting projects. With that said, if I can do it, so can you!!

 

Merry Christmas!!!

TBC : )

An Ornament Tradition

I know its so cliche to say, but I’ve gotta say it —- Christmas is my favorite time of year. Maybe because it’s everyone else’s favorite time of the year, we can’t help but have warm fuzzy feelings for everything and everyone. One of the big things that give me warm fuzzies is when I get to traditions with my family. I LOVE traditions around any holiday, but especially Christmas. And like all I ideas I get inspired with, it always happens after the holiday is over and done with, so needless to say, I have been waiting over a year to make this happen.

I realize that this is not an original idea, but I wanted to share anyway. After decorating my tree year after year with the cheap traditional (in our house) Walmart ornaments, ( you know the ones . . .  the unbreakables), I thought our tree needed a little more to it.

I thought it would be fun to start a personal Christmas ornament collection for each of us in our family. My family humored me and this year was the start of this Christmas tradition. We all jumped in the our van and headed to the local Target, you know, cause we wanted to keep things upscale ; ) That’s just how we roll.

Each person, including our two year old little coconut was able to pick out an ornament. Things are a little tight this year, so we did have a budget. I was informed all night that the cool ornaments cost more than $4. Cue the eye rolling.

Even though this year, we only have 7 (if the two year old’s ornament makes it through this holiday season), added to our generic ornaments adorning our tree, they have given our tree some personality.

After the holidays, I plan to pack away the ornaments in everyone’s own container. I will try and find a non-conspicuous spot on each ornament to write down the year. I think when the kids are older, they will get a kick out of seeing what ornament was purchased when they were 6 or 15. I do realize I have child who is already 15. I may let her buy more than one each year.

The goal is to do this every year, and have a collection of their own by the time each child graduates and moves on to be on their own. They’ll have there own collection to start with. My little Christmas gift to them to start with.

What are some traditions you have started with your own family this year?

 

Chewy Ginger Cookies – one of my favorites during the holidays.

Unlike my Christmas cards, making cookies seems to be a perennial obsession. It doesn’t matter the season, nor the time of day —– cookies are an eternal addiction. I have to have one. Homemade are my preference, but when I’m out and about, a certain “Cookie Corner” store has the goods I need for a midday pick-me-up. During the holiday season however, my fetish for cookies peaks to new levels. My usual collection of baked goods I giveaway includes Russian Tea Cookies, Thumbprint Cookies, Calypso Cups, and Chocolate Krinkle Cookies.

These Chewy Ginger Cookies have always been a favorite of mine, and once I found this recipe, my Christmas cookie repertoire was complete. In case you’re wondering, you can find the original recipe here at Taste of Home, submitted by Bernice Smith. Thank you Bernice!

Unlike most recipes, instead of butter, we move up to the next level of fats which would be shortening. I don’t deal too much with shortening, except when it comes to certain cookie recipes. If you’re not a fan of shortening, hear me out. Don’t turn your nose up at shortening, it is needed for this type of cookie. Using butter will not be the same.

Cream together the shortening and sugar. You will be tempted to lick this mixture. You can, but it will have a somewhat greasier feeling to it. However, if you’re into tasting all things greasy, I won’t judge.

Next, you’re going to throw in more wet ingredients into this lard-fest. Molasses, vanilla, and egg will be joining this party. Turn on your mixer until everything has mixed well. Set that aside and move onto your dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, you’re going to combine a trio of spices, along with the usual flour, salt and baking soda. Ginger, cloves and cinnamon add to these cookies unique flavor. Those three spices are the essence of Christmas. Forget candles. Just bake these babies and your house will be wafting in Christmas smells.

For that reason alone, these must be Santa’s favorite. I just know it.

Mix them well. We don’t want one cookie tasting like cinnamon and the other like cloves. That would make for injustice to this recipe, and possibly lead to a ban by the Christmas Cookie Federation from ever baking a single Christmas cookie again.

I shutter to think.

Moving on.

Add your dry ingredients to your molasses mixture. Some recipes tell you to add your dry ingredient a little a time, mixing it well before adding more, but this one doesn’t. Just dump the whole thing in and turn on your mixer.

After mixing, this is what your dough will look like. It’s ready to scoop out.

So here’s your game plan. It’s a simple one. Just scoop, roll, and set. Scoop out your dough into about 1 inch balls. Next, roll it in some granulated sugar. Then set it on your baking pan.

Just in case you need a close up of the “roll” portion of the plan, here it is.

And here’s the “set”. Once you have all your dough on the pan, bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. These are one of those cookies that can be tricky to tell if they are done or not. Trust that they only need to bake for 10 minutes. They will be cooked. Any longer, and you’ll have to change the name of these cookies to Crispy Ginger Cookies. Seeing as I am person of equal rights, and if “crispy” floats your boat, then go ahead and leave those cookies in for an extra minute or two.

Don’t they look yummy. They smell so christmasy.

Next year,  you can bake these and set them out for Santa. It may get you something extra come Christmas morning.

If not, it will get you extra love from family and friends. Merry Christmas!!

 

CHEWY GINGER COOKIES

Difficulty: Easy                  Prep Time: 15 minutes                   Cook Time: 10 minutes                 Makes: 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients

3/4 cup shortening                               1 cup sugar

1 egg                                                        1/4 cup molasses

1 tsp vanilla extract                              2 cups flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon                       1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp baking soda                                 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cloves

Grab your large mixing bowl, cream your shortening and sugar first. Once that’s done, add in your egg, molasses, and vanilla. Combine all those together. Set that bowl aside and grab another bowl. In that “other” bowl, mix together your flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt and cloves. Then add your dry ingredients to your molasses mixture. Turn your kitchen-aid on and mix until well combined. Scoop out your dough into 1 inch balls, roll each ball in some extra sugar, and place on a cookie sheet. As with all cookies, do not grease the cookie sheet. Turn your oven on to 375 degrees and bake for 10 minutes for some chewy goodness.

Eat one, or two, or three. No more than three though. Pack the rest up and give them away. Your friends and family will thank you, and so will your waistline. Right now, my waistline is not talking to me. It’s mad at me because I ate more than three.