Saturday, December 31, 2011

What Are You Doing' New Years Eve?

It's no secret in my house that I love Zooey Deschanel.
And who knew that Joseph Gordon-Levitt could sing!
LOVE it!!

and it asks just the right question! What are you doing this New Years Eve?
I think my mister and I are planning to have a bit of a superhero movie marathon and cuddle on the couch.
We just came home from a whirl wind holiday in Ontario for Christmas and plan to spend the next few days relaxing as much as possible.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Quiz

I feel like this could be a tad late on the draw, but I tend to celebrate Christmas until the new year...
(idea from this lovely lady).
Christmas Quiz
1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Egg Nog
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? wrap them of course!
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? colored on the tree, white on the house
4. Do you hang mistletoe? haven't yet, but plan to in the future
5. When do you put your decorations up? Always the weekend after Zac's birthday (Nov. 30), this year December 3
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? stuffing
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? The year I looked out my window and saw a blue light (we hung blue lights on our house) and was convinced Rhoudolph had a blue nose and everyone else had it wrong.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't know the year, but i know I faked it for a couple extra to keep the feeling alive for my parents.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? usually one, this year we didn't though.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? colored lights a few balls and bells and mostly plush stuffy ornaments, I can't wait for the year that I can have a grown up tree!
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? LOVE it!!!!
12. Can you ice skate? not with any kind of talent/balance
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? last year my mister bought me a little red note book. That's the only one that stands out in my mind...
14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Remembering why we celebrate & the food.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? I don't play favorites, I like them all!
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Our Jesus Birthday Cake and singing happy birthday to Jesus.
17. What tops your tree? A star
18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? giving is fun, I love putting all kinds of thought into gifts and usually start thinking about ideas in the summer. That said, I don't shy away from the receiving either!
19. Candy canes: yuck or yummy? Yummy!
20. Favorite Christmas show? The Grinch, both the cartoon and the Jim Carey version.
21. Saddest Christmas song? The one about the shoes... and "momma meet(ing) Jesus tonight"... makes me cry everytime...
22. What is your favorite Christmas song? Oh Come Oh Come Emanuel would be my fave traditional one... Satna Baby is a bit more of a modern choice...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

From my family to yours have a safe and happy holiday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Elf Donuts & Reindeer Food

We are in full on Christmas mode at the moment with one down and two to go.
This weekend the boys and I are going to be preparing Elf donuts (decorated cherrios) 
and reindeer food (not your typical reindeer food, but I think they'll like it).
I love how magical this time is for the kids and I'm loving how much the magic is coming back for me!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Knitting

I had such high hopes this year to knit both of my boys a sweater in time for Christmas...
Given that I have 3 days left to finish and I only have the back of one completed I think it's safe to say this may be a New Year gift... or maybe Easter...
I had also so hoped to "whip off" (those were seriously my exact words) two of Rebecca Danger's adorable knit monsters, again one for each boy.
I will still for sure make them all of those things, I suppose there's just no rush anymore.
Did you plan to do anything for the holidays but think you've run out of time?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Annual Christmas Party

A few weekends ago my mister's work held it's annual Kids Christmas Party.
It's always such a fun time for the kids and this year was really no exception.
As soon as we walked in Eli found the craft table and hunkered down to make a beautifully festive picture. He spent a surprisingly long time working on his piece of art and was so proud of himself when he finished.
I brought in some gingerbread cookies for all the kids to decorate and they were such a hit!
In order to reduce the mess and potentially double dipped (licked) spoons, I put Royal icing into squeezable decorating containers and put out sprinkles and M&M's. The kids were all great at sharing and taking turns with the icing.
It was so much fun to see absolutely every kid at the table decorating all at once! 
 Pin the nose on frosty was also played and not to brag, but Zac totally nailed it!
 Of course Santa found his way to the party complete with a bag full of gifts for the kids.
After everyone had received their special package he stayed to have some pictures taken with each child.
Eli was more interested in discussing his super hero toys with Santa then actually getting his picture taken... he gets that from his mother...
Everyone brought a dish to share and it was such a super dinner with fries and pizza available for the kids and broccoli salad, chicken and perogies (to name a few) for the parents.
As everyone was leaving one of the families handed out these adorable bags to each of the kids... 
It's filled with sparkles and oatmeal and the tag reads: 
"Sprinkle on the lawn at night, the moon will make it sparkle bright, Santa's reindeer fly and roam, this will guide them to your home."
Cutest thing ever?? I thought so!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Musical Monday: Paul McCartney - Wonderful Christmas Time

My parents have this set of 3 Christmas CD's that we have listened to for as long as I can remember.
This song is on one of the CD's.
It takes me right back to when I was younger so excited to rip open all the gifts under the tree.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Crafts

Every year during Christmas I set out with intense holiday crafting plans and never complete anything on the extensive list.
This year, once again, I had awesome holiday crafts in mind, and have yet to do any of them.
I'm hoping I might be able to pound out one or two before the holidays are officially over, but thought I'd share some of my crafting hopes and dreams with you!
All pictures are from my pinterest account and you should find a link below the picture with the source. If you can't find the source info let me know and I'll happily get it to you

1. Snow Globes! I just love snow globes...
2. Glitter Christmas balls?? ummm, yes please!
3. Yarn wrapped foam Christmas Trees... does life get any better? maybe for some... but not for me!
4. Yarn wrapped wreaths for your Christmas tree, I think these are the cutest things in the world.
5. Yarn Christmas Ball ornaments (ok, so I have a slight obsession with yarn). I remember doing these in my early days of school and am itching to do them with my boys!

Have you done any Christmas crafting?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Baking

I had a great time Christmas baking this year.
I didn't do as much as I have previous years and there were a couple of flubs with new recipes but I'm pretty pleased with how everything turned out.
I made some awesome Pinwheel Cookies, delicious Candy Cane Blossoms, Gingerbread Cookies, Gingersnap Cookies, Button Cookies (except mine didn't turn out nearly as cute!), and probably my new favorite Cranberry Orange Shortbread.
I may try and turn out one or two more recipes before Santa arrives but I'm pretty pleased with my list this year. Not nearly as intense as last year!

Do you have any "must do" recipes for the holidays?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Matching Game

As mentioned before, my mister and I are trying to give our boys a handmade Christmas this year.

My boys love matching games.
We have a couple of different versions that they simply can not get enough of and I thought I'd add another in, just to switch it up a bit and get them thinking patterns instead of just pictures.
These were super simple and quick to make. 
I opted to use glue, but you can for sure use a sewing machine.
You'll need:
Fabric scraps
Decide how large you would like your cards to be and cut out an even number of rectangles, mine are about 2" wide by 3" high and I cut out 40 to give me a final number of 20 cards.
Cut a "window" into the center of half of your rectangles (mine is roughly 1"x1") and using the piece removed as your template cut a square of fabric slightly larger.
Glue your fabric over the window opening of your rectangle. 
Remember to make 2 cards using the same fabric so you can match them later.
Using your remaining rectangles glue them to the back of the cards with the fabric windows.
Trim up the edges to make them look all pretty and then play away!
I'm really excited about these because the material will not rip or crunch up after a few uses.
I have no doubt, they are going to love this!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


This year was my first attempt at gingerbread cookies and I must say that I was pretty proud of myself!
I'm honestly not that crazy about gingerbread cookies because I often find them too "gingery" and fuh-lipping hard to bite into.
I found a few recipes online and after comparing notes I made a plan.
They were crunchy, but not over the top on the crunch scale, and I think the cocoa powder relaxed the ginger flavor a bit so you didn't feel like you were getting kicked in the face with a spicy stick.

Gingerbread Cookies
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg 
3/4 cup molasses

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking soda, and spices. Add butter cubes and mix until the mixture is sandy in texture. Whisk the egg and molasses together and add to the flour/butter mixture. Mix until completely combined.
Divide the dough in half, wrapping each half in plastic wrap and placing it in the fridge for about an hour, until it's firm enough to work with, without sticking to everything.
Working with one disk at a time, roll it out until about 1/4" thick. I find it easiest to do this between 2 sheets of plastic wrap (it sticks to the table so you don't have to fight with parchment/wax paper being pushed all over). Leaving the dough in the plastic wrap place it back into the fridge for a few hours until firm, or you could pop it into the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Working with 1 dough at a time, remove it from the fridge/freezer and peel off the top bit of plastic wrap, lightly place it back on top of the dough again and flip the dough over, pulling the other layer of plastic wrap off (loosening all the plastic wrap from the dough). Cut out your shapes and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, baking for 10-15 minutes.
The colder the dough is when you bake it the more the original cut shape will remain (no drooping). You can tell when it's done by pushing slightly on the cookies, if your finger dent remains they are not quite done but if it slowly rises or "springs back" then they are done.
Let cool on the baking sheet about 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
Roll the scraps back up and roll them back into a disk, throw it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes and start cutting out shapes again. Repeat until every last scrap of dough is baked!

Make up some royal icing and put it in squeezable bottles, line up the sprinkles and call the little ones in for a decorating extravaganza!

*recipe adapted from Good Life Eats

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Handmade Christmas

Our families are very generous at Christmas.
Very generous.
We've always known this, but I think since we've moved it's become even more obvious. We watch box after box arrive at our house from the post office and come Christmas morning the gifts are almost overwhelming. 
Last year the boys actually lost interest in opening gifts about 3/4 of the way threw. 
I remember sitting in front of our tree that evening thinking it was crazy cakes.
I also decided that we really didn't have to buy for our boys at Christmas, as the grandparents do such a great job. 
So, I decided this year all gifts from us were going to be homemade. 
Santa will be delivering a few specific store bought, err... elf made? toys but the ones from us will be made by my, ever so willing, hands.

I'm not looking to make them intense projects but things they will enjoy a lot and mean a bunch to them knowing I made it (Zac loves when I make him things).

 I do have a list that ranges in effort so I decided to start with the most simple project.
Initial Plaques!
Zac knows how to spell his name, but Eli does not. They both know what letter their name starts with though so I often label things with their first initial.
It's something they love and it's something they recognize as theirs, so I thought it would be fun to make up little plaques that can be hung on their bedroom doors.

It's so super simple, I really didn't feel pictures were necessary on the "how to". 
I bought a wooden plaque from the craft section in Walmart, brought it home and painted it! I free handed the letters and the white border so they look a bit rough but I'm still really pleased with how they turned out and I can't wait to see the boys' reactions!
I know they'll love them.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Last Year's Baking

I really don't think it's a secret at this point in our friendship that I love to bake.
I usually bake something once a week or so, but this time of year all bets are off!
I love baking insane amounts of goodies for the holidays and just housing them in my freezer to pull out as needed. Going to a holiday pot luck? Just head to the freezer and make up a nice tray. Having a bunch of friends over? Head to the freezer! Bored one night in front of the TV? The freezer my friend! It's just calling your name.
All of the recipes below survive perfectly in the freezer (except the fudge and possibly the hot chocolate... I never tried to freeze the hot chocolate... since I wanted it, ummm, hot and all...)

I will be repeating a bunch of these recipes this year and even adding some new ones.
 Now to find my stretchy pants!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One Of A Kind Show

Last weekend my mister gave me the best early Christmas gift!
He took care of the boys while I flew to Toronto, ON and met up with my mom to fill my head with all sorts of creative eye candy at the One of a Kind craft show.
I had two whole nights of undisturbed sleep and an entire day that I didn't have to worry about entertaining my boys.

I'm not sure if I was "allowed" to take pictures while we were in the show, so probably best if you keep these pictures under wraps but I couldn't help myself from sharing.
 Recalling the images and the energy and excitement just isn't the same without a picture.

There were a lot more art pieces then I remember being there previous years but I loved them all.
It's a shame stuffing one of these babies into my overnight luggage isn't exactly an option...
  (I don't have a store link for the middle and right pictures, but the pic on the left can be found here.)

I love seeing the clothes and dress up things that make their way to the show. There is always such amazing talent!

SOOO many amazing things for kids. I bought the boys little superhero stuffies (you can see their legs in the top right picture, in the middle compartment) and mini monster puppets (original size pictured bottom left) and I can not wait to give them to them!
1. KatKaland 2. Monster Factory 3. No website 4. Banjo Puppets

And then there were so many things that simply couldn't be categorized but were still too amazing to pass up showing!
I think the most amazing booth I saw though was The Recycler.
They use old bike parts to make crazy cool tables, chairs, shelves, stools and the list goes on. They were really an amazing booth to wander through and ridiculously inspiring! To be able to look at an old junker bike and make such amazing pieces is mind blowing!!

I was a bit of a nut collecting any and every business card, which left me in a mass of websites to go through in order to share with you. Although I haven't been able to match every picture up with a link (some of the business also don't have websites, opting to only sell at the show), I really hope you check out some that I have included.

My head was ready to explode with ideas by the time that I got home I had to write everything down.
Now to locate my supplies and get started!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Musical Monday: Frank Sinatra - Santa Claus is Coming to Town

It's almost Christmas time!!
We put up our tree and other decorations this weekend and now I'm super Pumped!
I still find Christmas to be such a magical time of year.
And Frank... ah Frank, well he just makes it that much more exciting doesn't he??

Friday, December 2, 2011

Juicing Again

I'm at it again! I'm doing another juice cleanse this weekend.
There's really nothing that makes me feel better about myself then seeing all this 
when I open my fridge and knowing that that's all I'll be ingesting for the next 3 days.
I realize this could be viewed as warped by some... I'm sure my mister is one of them! But I love how healthy it makes me feel.
A friend asked me the other day if I really think it makes me feel different and honestly, I do.
That said, I'm a firm believer in mind over matter and since my head thinks it makes me feel better I have no idea how much improvement is actual fact.

Do you have any big plans for this weekend?
We are going to put up our Christmas Tree and other decorations. I also have hopes that the boys will help sort though their toys so we can get rid of some before all the Christmas Gifts start coming, adding to the piles upon piles of toys that we already have!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Birthday Party

Zac's Birthday Party was a pretty big success, if I don't say so myself!
The kids enjoyed themselves, the adults were able to talk amongst themselves and everyone seemed pleased as they wished Zac a happy day and went home.

Our church was kind enough to loan us the building and all the goods that went along with it.
We had access to all the tables, chairs, kitchen, toys and even a blow up castle. It was great because it allowed the kids so much more room to run around and play then my house ever could have and... 
a blow up castle.
Seriously people... get the blow up castle.
 It makes for remarkably easy entertainment!

I had the room set up to allow for a lot of running room and with different stations so the kids would be relatively self entertained allowing the adults a bit of a parenting and social break.
I had a table set up for eating, which I decorated with Superhero heads (Halloween trick or treating tubs) filled with chips/cheesies/corn twists. I had another table set up with colouring books and crayons and another with felt/foam stickers and felt masks for the kids to decorate.


I didn't exhaust myself too much with the food, serving hot dogs, fruit, veggies, vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, Lucky Charm squares (Rice Krispie squares substituting the Rice Krispies for Lucky Charms! brilliant I tell you!) and oatmeal peanut butter chip cookies.


The highlight of the party was a surprise visitor who made the birthday boy feel extra special!!


I sent each of the kids home with a cape I made for them and the mask they made (using this template). I also gave each family a bag with a colouring book for each child, some spiderman gummies and stickers each and a puzzle to share.

When I plan parties for my boys I always try to think of it as a super cool play date. I like the kids to have fun and enjoy each other and I like the parents to be able to relax and visit.
I think I accomplished all of my goals with this party!

Too see the crafty prep I did for the party check out here, here and here.