Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Eve and Day 2011

I figured I better get on posting about our Christmas before it's 2012. Are you all sick of reading Christmas posts? If not, read on:)

Christmas Eve was spent with J's family. First we went to his parents for lunch and then his whole family (aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc.) met at his aunt's house who graciously hosts Christmas Eve dinner every year. This is one of my favorite things his family does. I love everyone being together.

Christmas Eve night...

The little elves who helped pass out all the presents. I wish I would have taken a picture of all the gifts before hand. The pool table was covered. Have I mentioned how blessed we are? We don't forget it for one second.

Ben was surrounded by presents and passed out cold before we even made it to the highway.

When we got home I set out the cookies for Santa and we all went to bed awaiting the big man's arrival.

Christmas morning. Of course it's the one morning where Ben sleeps in past 8:00. Still half asleep but ready to open presents.

Santa ate all his cookies, drank his milk, and left a letter.

Christmas morning is our time as a little family of 3. We ate breakfast, opened presents, and played with all our new toys before we headed over to my parent's house.
Helping me unwrap his gift to me. Held together by 1/2 a roll of tape.

Ben looked at J with confusion. When J wrapped my presents he told Ben he got me rocks because he tends to be unable to keep a secret. You can imagine his surprise when I didn't actually get rocks.

On to my parents house.

We couldn't let J just relax and open presents. My mom put him to work taking down her old lights outside and replacing them with the new ones we got her for Christmas.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Eve Eve 2011

The day before Christmas Eve, Ben and I went to my mom's house where we met my sister and nieces to decorate cookies for Santa.

Later that night we decorated our Gingerbread Man House. Every year we do this and every year I can't remember why. The icing doesn't really stick and you can't even eat the darn thing.

Someone sneaking a bite of the candy.

The finished project. To a two year old, we created the freakin Taj Mahal. Go us.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

From Our Family to Yours

Hi Everyone!

I hope y'all had a very merry Christmas. We are still recovering from all the festivities although when I came home last night J had cleaned the entire house and put all the Christmas decorations away including the tree. That is love people. And one less thing I can check off my to do list.

I'll be doing the classic Christmas recap posts soon, but until then I leave you with our Christmas card this year.
Friday, December 23, 2011

Pinterest Challenge #2 {Candy Cane Blossom Cookies}

Remember Ben's school holiday party I posted about here. Yes, the one where Santa scared the living crap out of my child.

Last week his individual classroom had it's own party sans Santa (hooray) and I needed something to bring to the party.

Of course I turned to Pinterest and found a recipe and my #2 Pinterest Challenge Project, Candy Cane Blossoms.

Candy Cane Blossom Cookies--Easy sugar cookies with a Hershey's Kiss in the middle
I am pretty proud of these babies if I do say so myself.

What You Need:

-1 bag Hershey's Kisses brand Candy Cane Kisses
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1 egg
-2 cups all purpose flour
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-2 tablespoons milk
-Red and Green colored sugar

What To Do:
1. Unwrap kisses and test to make sure they're ok to eat.
2. Mix together the wet ingredients.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix throughly.
5. Set the dough aside and make the colored sugar. You can buy colored sugar at the store, but mine didn't have any so I just whipped up my own. I took plain granulated sugar and added a few drops of food coloring.

Mix until food coloring is mixed through.

6. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and then roll in colored sugar.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 min. Keep an eye on them, you don't want to over bake.

8. Once the cookies have cooled, place a kiss in the middle. I rushed this step and the kisses got really softIf that happens to you, just put the cookies in the fridge for a few minutes and the candy will harden back up. 
Candy Cane Blossom Cookies--Easy sugar cookies with a Hershey's Kiss in the middle

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Samaritan's Purse

With Christmas a few short days away, I wanted to remind you all that it's not too late to run out and grab a last minute gift for someone in need. It's so easy during the holiday season to get caught up in buying the perfect present, having the best holiday outfit, and making wish lists miles long.

Every year I'm reminded of how lucky I am and we already have too much and much more than we need. Although I shouldn't feel bad about being fortunate, I still can't help but feel guilty at times, which is why giving to others is so important.

I know you all are aware of ways to give back, but here is one way we choose to give during the Christmas season.

Samaritan's Purse is an international organization that ships shoe boxes packed with gifts to children in different countries. We have participated the last few years and really enjoy it. This year the theme was "This is how you pack a shoebox." You pick the gender and age of the child/s and then fill the shoebox with things they might like or need. Then all you need to do is wrap the shoebox and drop it off at your church, a donation center, or send it in the mail. Many churches are donation centers and this is wear we drop off our boxes. This year we did one box for a girl and one for a boy.
Another neat thing about Samaritan's Purse is that you get a tracking number for your package and they email you once your package has been delivered. We found out ours went to Somalia.

A few other ways to give...
  • Sponsor a family through your work or get a bunch of friends to sponsor a family. Each year my work picks a family and we all sign up to bring different gifts for each member of the family. It's nice because the family ends up getting a lot of stuff on their wish list and it allows people to donate what items they can afford.
  • Don't we all know the red buckets and ringing bell of the Salavation Army? How easy is it to drop in a few coins or dollars?
  • And my favorite easiest way to give back is the "round up or add a dollar to your total bill." I can't tell you how many times I'm asked if I want to add a dollar to my total or round up to the nearest dollar (i.e. $20.60 becomes $21.00 and the extra .40 cents goes to the cause). It takes no effort on your part and am I really going to miss that dollar or less? No.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pinterest Challenge #1 {DIY Fingerprint Reindeer Ornament}

Well folks, here is my first official Pinterest Challenge Project. I've actually completed all 3 projects already and will be posting the other 2 later this week.

Let's review the Challenge Rules shall we?

1. You must complete at least 3 pins. This can be a recreation of your favorite outfit, a DIY project, recipe, hairstyle etc. Anything you've seen and pinned on Pinterest

2. You must document it through pictures.

3. You must complete a blog post about your pins before December 25th. In your post, link the original Pinterest picture along with your completed project.

4. Have fun and let your imagination run wild.

Here is my finished project:
DIY Fingerprint Reindeer Ornaments--These ornaments are a great way to memorialize your little one's fingerprints

I started with a 4 pack of non-breakable ornaments from Target.

For some reason the day I went to Target I couldn't find any plain round ornaments. All the ornaments they had either already had a pattern or were covered in glitter. Of course when I was at Target this weekend I saw several and they were 30% off. Go figure. 

For the next step, grab a small child and dip their thumb print in paint and press onto the ornament. This was the tricky part as the paint kind of clumped together and the thumb print was somewhat hard to see. When it dried the thumb print ended up being okay but J suggested using ink from a stamp pad next time. 

Next, draw on the nose, eyes, and antlers with a permanent marker. I also wrote Ben's name and the year.

On the green ornaments, I ended up doing the noses red for a little more fun and the red showed up better against the green.

I think it would be neat to do these every year and see how big your child's thumb print becomes.