Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

25 days of Christmas projects didn’t go as planned, or should I say my children’s health throw us a curve ball this year? Two rounds of the stomach bug for Benjamin, bronchiolitis for Hayden and a “Merry” Christmas Eve from the Urgent care for Benjamin…soooo yah…crafts weren’t very high on our list.

Santa made two little boys’ day a whole lot brighter :)

The boys gave me an WONDERFUL & AMAZING gift, 8 HOURS OF SOLID SLEEP AND THREE HOUR NAPS AT THE SAME TIME!!!! I’ve been sleep deprived, I was at the point I was becoming delirious and sick myself…SLEEP IS GOOD!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stomach Bug- Day 13

I received a text message from my husband around 9am; Benjamin was vomiting and my husband called off work to attend to our sick "baby" boy. Needless to say today's Christmas activity has been postponed but I can share two yummy recipes. Snickerdoodle Muffins- I made these for Benjamin's snack day at school. Roast Chicken with Caramelized Shallots - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this recipe! It's so simple and easy, I recently discovered it can be made in the crockpot (toss all the ingredients in a crockpot, cook on low for 8 hours) which is better yet :)!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Play-Doh Gift Tags- Day 12

Instead of handing out candy for Halloween, we handed out mini containers of Play-Doh; we had a lot left over and I decided to give them out as “gifts” to Benjamin’s preschool friends. I created labels, using double sided tape I affixed them onto the Play-Doh lids.

Avent Sunday Week 3- Day 11

Luke 2: 10-11
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

There are many ways to serve God and other this season, embrace new means of celebration to breathe new life into the holidays.

Lumina- Advent Project
Lumina is the Latin word for "light". This advent season from November 27-Christmas Eve donate Visa gift cards or monetary donations to support the ministries of Lumina, a Lancaster organization supported by many United Methodist churches that serve in places where poverty and despair are common in people's lives.

Food Drives
Donate a few cans or even a bag of groceries to help feed those in need during the holiday season.

"Adopt" a child for the holidays
Bring a smile to a child in need by purchasing a present for an underprivileged child. Work with a local charity that organizes events to bring gifts to children in hospitals or in foster care.

Bring some joy to a public servant
Police offers, fire fighters, military personnel, doctors, nurses... many of these workers do not get off for the holidays. Threat these people to something enjoyable when they may be missing their own festivities. Cook or cater a meal for a fire house, deliver cookies or put together care packages for military personnel.


Bedtime story day 11- The very first Christmas

Christmas Cookies- Day 10

Every year a great group of girls that I've known since high school get together in December for our annual Christmas, we've been doing this since 1998. Last year we started a new tradition of awarding a golden spatula (an inexpensive kitchen spatula spray painted gold) for the best recipe that year, it was decided the golden spoon would be awarded for best Christmas cookies in 2011. Last year I won for my peppermint patty recipe; last night I gladly handed over the golden spatula to this years winner for her cookie truffle (I came in second).

This year I made Pecan Sugar Cookies and dark chocolate, chocolate chip cookies.

Pecan Sugar Cookies
1/2cup butter, softened
1/2 cups hortening
2 cup ssugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Pecan Filling
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat mixture until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.

Press a rounded teaspoon of pastry evenly into the bottom and up the sides of 24 ungreased 1 3/4-inch muffin cups.

For pecan filling, in a bowl beat egg, brown sugar, and the 1 tablespoon melted butter until combined. Stir in pecans. Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoon of filling into each pastry-lined muffin cup. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is puffed. Cool slightly in pan. Carefully transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Makes 24 cookies.

Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Cookies
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® chocolate chip (or sugar cookie) mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
1 egg 1
1 package Wilton dark candy melts

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, orange extract and egg until soft dough forms.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

In small microwavable bowl, microwave candy melts uncovered on High for 45 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until chips are melted. Dip each cookie halfway into melted chocolate, letting excess drip off. Place on waxed paper and let stand until chocolate is set, at least 2 hours. To quickly set chocolate, refrigerate cookies 15 minutes. Store between sheets of waxed paper in tightly covered container at room temperature.

Bedtime Story Day 10-
The Little Shepherd Girl: A Christmas Story

Hersheypark Christmas Candylane- Day 9

"The magic of the holidays comes to life at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane. With two million twinkling lights, rides for all ages, festive decorations, and Hershey's Product Characters decked out in their holiday best, there is something for all to enjoy!"

I leave you with one of our family tradition, Christmas stocking pictures; my mom knitted all of us personalized stockings and requested I take a picture of the boys next to their stocking ever year.

Bedtime story day 9- Clifford's Christmas

Magic Reindeer Food- Day 8

Magic Reindeer Food- Day 8

I'm "cheating" on today's post, this is from 2010...hey, magic reindeer is a yearly activity!

When googling reindeer food poems I came across this warning "please do not use any non natural ingredients. These may harm birds and other animals looking for food during the cold winter days." Adhering to the warning I ditched the oats and glitter recipe and came up with my own recipe with ingredients in the cupboard.

Oats or Bird Seed
Colored Sugar Crystals
Baby Food Jar
Crushed Colored Cereal (we used Trix)
Tag (print template file)
Hole Punch
Love, Hope and Faith

Layer ingredients in a baby food jar for a "sand art" look. Place lid on jar, cut out tag, punch hole and attach to jar with the ribbon. Sprinkle the magic reindeer food on your lawn Christmas Eve after dusk.

Tag Template

Bedtime story day 8- The Christmas Sweater: A Picture Book

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Marshmallow Christmas Tree- Day 7

Marshmallow Christmas Tree- Day 7
Planning with Kids

Mini Marshmallows
Melting White Chocolate (I used Wilton)
Wax Paper
Cellophane Bags

1 Heat chocolate on high for 45 seconds in a microwave safe bowl, stir.
2.Heat on high for further 10 second intervals until completely melted.
4.Line a small tray with wax paper.
5.Dip a marshmallow into the chocolate, so it is covered with about 3mm chocolate on the base.
6.Place marshmallow onto the wax paper and begin making row of 5 marshmallows. Gently press marshmallows together as you build the tree.
7.Continue this process, making rows of 4, 3, 2 and 1.
8.Add the final marshmallow to the base of the tree. Keep excess chocolate.
9.Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
10.Take marshmallow Christmas tree out of the freezer and peel off baking paper.
12.Place the tree gently back on to the baking paper and place in the freezer for a few more minutes until the chocolate has set.
13. Place the marshmallow Christmas tree into a cellophane bag and tie shut with a ribbon.

Bedtime story day 3- Olive, the Other Reindeer

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hot Chocolate- Day 6

Need something to go along with all those yummy Christmas cookies, why not a warm cup of homemade hot chocolate?

Half a milk chocolate Hershey bar, broken into pieces
2 cups milk
Whipped cream, optional

Heat milk and chocolate on low heat until chocolate is melted, stir occasionally so chocolate doesn't burn. Garnish with whipped cream

For the over 21 crowd!
4 cups milk
4 pieces milk chocolate Hershey bar, broken into pieces
2 Tbsp Creme de Coco
3 Tbsp Amaretto
Whipped cream, optional

Heat milk and chocolate on low heat until chocolate is melted, stir occasionally so chocolate doesn't burn. Garnish with whipped cream

Bedtime story day 6-
A New Improved Santa

Monday, December 5, 2011

Festive Paper Pines- Day 5

Festive Paper Pines- Day 5

Red and yellow paper (or other colors you like for lights)
Green card stock (we used construction paper)
Hole punch
String or ribbon
Printing Pattern from below

Sandwich the red and yellow paper between 2 pieces of green card stock. Using the pattern cut out a tree shape.

Remove the red sheet and punch a few random holes through the 3 remaining layers. Then remove the yellow sheet and replace the red one. Punch several new holes through the stack.

Glue the layers together in the following order, green, yellow, red, green.

Use the pushpin to poke a hole through the 4 layers, about 1/4 inch from the treetop. Thread a length of string or ribbon through the hole, knot the ends of the line to create a loop for hanging.

Bedtime story day 5- If You Take a Mouse to the Movies
A book for the moms- The Handmaid and the Carpenter

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Avent Sunday Week 2- Day 4

For the last twenty-seven years our church has given crèche figures to the Kids Konnection program; today the kiddos received their nativity piece. Each age level receives a different piece of the nativity beginning with the two year old class, six graders receive the stable completing their set. 2 year old class receives baby Jesus, 3 year olds- Mary, 4 year olds-Joseph, 5 year olds- shepherd, Kindergarteners- sheep, 1st grade- donkey, 2nd grade- cow, 3rd grade- kneeling king, 4th grade- camel, 5th grade- king with box, 6th grade- king with vase and stable.

I love this tradition; it is so meaningful on many levels and reminds adults and children the reason for the season. Luke 1: 28-33 The angel went to Mary and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Bedtime story day 3- Room for a Little One, A Christmas Tale

Saturday, December 3, 2011

John Deer Country Santa & Painting- Day 3

I’ve been told many times that Benjamin should have been born into a farming family, he LOVES digging, dirt and planting; when he and Hayden received their John Deere Gator over the summer, I had two little boys who thought they were in toy heaven. A few weeks ago I saw an advertisement for an afternoon outing at our nearby John Deer Country (we live in farming [Amish] country), I marked my calendar, I knew it would be something my boys would love!

They boys had a blast at the John Deere store; they enjoyed the tractors more then seeing Santa. Hayden is terrified of Santa this year, unfortunately I won’t have my yearly photo of my boys together with Santa :( and when Benjamin saw the John Deere reclining chair seated next to Santa he refused to sit on Santa’s lap.

If you’re looking for something for the kiddos this year, a friend referred me to personalized video from Santa, Benjamin LOVES it…he made us watch his video at least five times in a row.

Ornament Painting

Premade unpainted wooden cutouts (I purchased ours at
AC Moore for $0.20)
Paint Brushes
Acrylic Paint
Cup of Water (for rinsing paint brushes)

With the exception of painting himself, or trying to eat the crayons/makers/glue/paint/etc, I’ve quickly realizing Hayden will not be an artist, he rarely wants anything to do with my craft/art projects; Benjamin was only to happy to paint Hayd's cutouts. Once the cutouts were dry, Benjamin had the idea to use rub on stickers for the snowmen; I plan to have my husband drill holes in each of the snowman to be used for ornaments & decorate Christmas packages for the grandparents.

Bedtime story day 3- Merry Christmas Stinky Face
Saturday family movie night-
Polar Express

Friday, December 2, 2011

Holiday Craft Night- Day 2

Holiday Craft Shop- Day 2

Tonight, Benjamin's preschool hosted a holiday craft shop/night.

Bedtime Story Day 2- Elf on the Shelf