Shhh....they're from a mix.
(Betty Crocker at Costco if you're curious. $5-ish for 60.)
And no, I can't get enough chocolate + peanut butter. Can you?
Happy birthday to me, friends. Happy birthday to ME.
P.S. This is definitely not from a mix. Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze? Um, yes, please.
I always have big rolls of white and brown paper on hand, and I wrap almost everything in that. I don't usually buy "themed" papers. Maybe that's boring. I like to think of it as simple and classic. (Ahem. And cheap. But mostly simple and classic.) Depending on the occasion, I'll dress it up in different ways. And for friends' birthdays, I'll often let Olivia draw on it.
Have we talked wrapping paper yet?
Speaking of keeping things simple, lots of peeps on our list are getting gift cards this year. We packaged them up in tiny envelopes from Paper Source (color = strawberry) and made our own gift tags from paint swatch cards. Tied up with baker's twine and yarn, they look quite festive, don't you think?
Ikea has big rolls of white paper for a good price. I get the brown stuff at the craft store. For the baker's twine, try etsy. Or the Martha Stewart section at Michaels. (Martha has a couple of colorways like pink + brown and blue + brown that I haven't seen anywhere else.) The green and white yarn in the pictures is available at Joann's--lots of other colors too.
So many photos of beautiful trees on the Web right now. It's easy to get a Charlie Brown Christmas complex, but I think ours is perfectly lovely too. :)
I wanted to share two ornaments that are fun to make with kids if you have a free afternoon. One involves the g-word (glitter) but it's totally doable if you have the right supplies on hand and you distract the 3-year-old with a ball of pizza dough to play with while you and the 7-year-old work.
Collect pinecones from the backyard or a nature walk. Or buy them at the craft store. (It's cold outside. I won't judge you.)
Cover your work surface with newspaper. Take one of your pinecones outdoors and coat it evenly with spray adhesive. Bring the pinecone back inside and, working over newspaper, sprinkle it liberally with glitter. I can't find a picture online, but the glitter we used was some cheap stuff I had on hand--clear and not too fine, like the size of kosher salt or maybe a little bigger. (Tip: repurposed spice jars make the task easier if your glitter doesn't come in a jar with a sprinkle-friendly lid.)
Set the pinecone aside and allow it to dry completely. Repeat the process with remaining pinecones.
Now for hanging the pinecones--you can do whatever you like but I wanted something that wouldn't show, so I hot-glued some clear hair elastics like these to the tops of them, then let the kids hang them on the tree with hooks like usual.
Paper Globe Ornaments
To make these, you will need decorative paper, a 1/16th-inch hole punch, and some small brads. Cut your paper into 10" x .5" strips. You will need 4 strips of paper per ornament. Punch holes at the top and bottom ends of each strip. Assemble the ornament by poking a brad through the hole at one end of your first strip, looping the strip around, and poking the brad through the hole at the opposite end. Repeat three more times, fanning the strips to make a sphere.
Turns out it's hard to photograph super secret holiday stuff that no one in your family is supposed to see. Especially when at least one of those family members is really good at looking/reading over your shoulder while you post on your blog. So I can't show you much, but I can show you the stocking I made for Scout.
If my calculations are correct, I think I've had this fabric for close to 7 years. That's right, years. Finally got brave enough to cut it. (Applause, please.) As far as sewing it goes, I used a different construction technique than I have in the past and liked it so much better that I took the other kids' stockings apart and remade them too. Hoo-boy, was that awesome. Let me tell you, if you want to feel really good about your (barely mediocre) sewing skills, try taking a closer look at something you made 3, 4, or 5 years ago. Then pat yourself on the back for your ability to sew in a straight line now, with evenly spaced stitches that don't look like a blind, one-armed 2nd-grader made them using dental floss and chopsticks.
Putting a stocking together is pretty straight-forward. You still have time to make one (or more) before the big day! You don't need a pattern even. If you have an existing stocking, you can trace around that. Or just free-hand a stocking shape. The only tricky part can be attaching the cuff. But even that is easy once you know how to do it. This is where a picture would be worth a thousand words, but I don't have one so I'll do my best to explain.Cut your front and back cuff pieces so they are twice as tall as you want them to be when they are finished. Sew them together, right sides facing each other. You should now have a tube. Turn it right side out. Fold the bottom half of your tube up through itself until the raw edge of the bottom meets the raw edge of the top. Press. You are now ready to attach the cuff to the stocking.
To attach the cuff to the stocking, make sure the stocking is right side out. Feed the stocking up through the folded cuff piece until all of the raw edges meet. Line up side seams, pin, and sew. Now turn the cuff up and out so the raw edges are on the inside. Finished!
'Twas the day of the church Christmas party and K played Santa. It was a last-minute thing. Someone else couldn't make it, and they went with the second-string. (Editor's note: at the risk of sounding prideful, here is where it must be noted that by way of qualification, reference was made to his "perfect cheeks". One can only assume, as I did, to which "cheeks" they were referring...)
So he was a good sport and put on the suit, but he wasn't fooling anybody. Asher took one look at him and immediately yelled out, "Dad!" and poor Olivia was savvy enough to know something was up but not let on that she knew.
Anyway, aside from dressing up in tacky polyester costumes to confuse and delight small children, we've been getting into the spirit of the season with some holiday making. Not a lot but some. The kids and I made some ornaments together, and I've been doing a little sewing in Santa's sweatshop workshop behind the scenes. Are you interested in a little show and tell? Maybe I'll get my act together and post more than once this week.
Ah, the Peanut Butter Blossom. Maybe not the chic-est guest at the party, but always a crowd-pleaser. And fun to make with kids. Get the official recipe on the Hershey's website. We used dark chocolate Kisses and they are gooooood.
What's your holiday favorite? Please share!
The weather was rainy and brisk.
I wrapped her in the blanket I reserve for special occasions. I call it the Bethlehem blanket. Each of my sisters has one. Purchased in a rare moment of foresight as a single college student studying abroad in Israel, it is warm and soft and lovely, just like her. There is a smudge of lipstick on it from another special day. It is a sign of the wisdom that comes with advancing age--
Life is too short to bother with lipstick. Unless you like it.
She wore the same long dupioni silk dress my mother made for Olivia, but the matching bonnet and shoes were too small.
She was surrounded by people who love her, including all 4 of her grandparents and her last remaining great-grandparent, Grandpa Great.
We took a 4-generation photo and (surprise) K's eyes were closed. He gave a beautiful blessing, though.
And then we ate. My sister made a creamy white bean and rosemary soup. (Delicious.) I made lentil. It was not my best batch, but it was okay. (I forgot the balsamic vinegar. Lentil soup is always better with a healthy dash of good vinegar at the end.)
There was also salad and sandwiches. Cookies, brownies, and cake. Everybody brought something and it was all very good.
A *blessing* day indeed. Thanks for letting me share it with you. Now off to give a spelling test and decorate the tree...
Happy December Wednesday!
I think it's no accident that oranges are in season this time of year. The cheerful coral + goldenrod color combo brightens up even the grayest day.
Did you get an orange in your stocking Christmas morning when you were a kid? We always did. As I recall, I was more excited about the chocolate than the orange, but Santa still brings one for each of us because it's tradition.
Our Thanksgiving holiday was lovely, how was yours? Dinner at the restaurant was surprisingly good. Especially the part where someone else did the dishes. Of course, we got back from our mini-vacation and promptly made Thanksgiving II: The Sequel. Turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin chiffon pie for 3 nights straight and, believe me, no one's complaining.