Monday, December 26, 2011

Let It...Snow?

This has been the only snowless Christmas our kids have ever doesn't seemed to have really bothered anyone but Josh. Certainly didn't bother me. But my dear friend Kristi and her family sent our kids a can of make-your-own snow for Christmas! It is made of the same stuff that is inside diapers...we just added water and instant snow! The kids made a few snowballs, a little snowman and called it good.

That's my kind of snow!

Have any of you seen the darling types of duct tape there are out there now? I found this reindeer roll at Michaels in early December and made some cards with it. LOVE the green.

Hope everyone is having a happy Christmas hangover!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hope your Christmas is merry & bright! Lots of love from our family to yours.

Be back after the Holidays...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


What is it about red velvet cake?? And when it is conveniently bite-sized?? We're taking them to our friend parties this weekend.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How To Make Pointy Bows

Anna wanted me to wrap her book exchange book with a pointy bow last week and I had so many ladies ask me how to do them that I thought I'd share. My mom taught me how to make them years used to be able to buy them. They pack a lot of punch, are quick to make and all you really need is a glue stick.

First, make 5 identical circles out of your wrapping paper or coordinating paper.

Next, fold 1 circle in half, in half, and then in half again so when unfolded there are 8 equal pie sections. Stack the 5 circles with the folded one on top and cut along the lines through all 5 layers ALMOST to the center.

Next, put some glue stick on the upper right hand corner of each of the pie sections of 1 circle. Then use a pencil (or I like to use my American Crafts rub-on stick because it had a good point) and starting at the left side of each pie section and roll it into a point. The glue is already on the right corner so it should stick immediately. Roll each section of all 5 circles. It sounds like it will take forever, but once you get in a groove, it goes quickly. I made this one in about 5 minutes.

Put a piece of double-stick tape (or glue, but double-stick works better) in the center of a circle. Stagger the points and stick another circle to the tape. Continue until all 5 layers are taped together by the middle. You will need to use a pencil to get the last layer to stick down in the center.

And voila! Gorgeous!

Have a good week!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Life Lesson At Sonic

The kids didn't have to go to school today and we decided to spend some time at the library. On the way, we stopped at Sonic to get a super-dooper sized diet Dr. Pepper. As we were waiting for them to bring it out, two cars came screeching into the parking lot and parked in adjacent spots. The driver of the first car gets out and starts yelling at the other driver. Boyfriends get out, horrible words start flying and I was so afraid it was gonna come to blows. HORRIBLE words. As soon as I realized what was goin' down, I told the kids to plug their ears. It was pretty tense for a minute. One of the drivers (with two elementary school-aged kids in the backseat) finally pulled out and left. The other one stayed and calmly ordered lunch.

As we were leaving, I told the kids they could unplug their ears. They were all looking at me. Sam had pink cheeks and kept saying, "I can't get those awful words out of my head." So I seized the moment. I asked them how watching those people be so mean to one another made them feel. The all agreed that it made them feel horrible. I asked them if they could feel the difference between feeling the Spirit at church and the way they felt when the people were fighting. Yes, they really could. We talked about how Heavenly Father must feel when we fight with each other, how it hurts to call people names, and how the Spirit can't be with us if we choose to do those things.

A life lesson. Right in the Sonic parking lot. And a good reminder to me, too.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reindeer Noses

Tomorrow all the kids have Christmas parties so I will be shuttling between their three schools. I made cupcakes for Sam's class and wanted to do a little something for Anna and Joshua's classes as well. I saw some cute little packets of "reindeer noses" online and thought they would be perfect! There are a lot of printable bag toppers online made specifically for reindeer noses, but I didn't love any of them so I made up some of my own. I used this set of Stampin' Up stamps and cut off the reindeer part of the main stamp and used it on a clear stamp block and then colored them with watercolor pencils. Some of the packets online were made with red and brown M&Ms, but I liked the perfect ball shape of the Whoppers (Anna used to call them "Woopers") and cherry sours.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Visiting Santa, Alabama Style

In the other parts of the United States we've lived, it is fairly customary to go to the mall to visit with Santa, tell him what you want for Christmas, and then get a candy cane. Right?

Not in Alabama.

You want to visit Santa, you gotta go to Bass Pro Shop.

But you do still get a candy cane.

(Josh's preschool class went on a field trip to see Santa and I tagged along.)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

M&M Nativity Legend Visiting Teaching Gifts

One of my good friends in Washington shared this Nativity Legend with our Primary last Christmas and I tucked it away in my Christmas file knowing that it would make a wonderful visiting teaching gift during the Holidays. Just a jelly jar filled with Christmas M&Ms in cello and lots of curling ribbon.

Here's the Nativity Legend:

"As you hold these candies in your hand,
and turn them you will see,
The "M" becomes a "W", an "E" and then a "3".
They tell the Christmas story, it's one I'm sure you know,
It took place in a stable, a long long time ago.
The "E" is for the East, where the star shone oh so bright,
The "M" is for the Manger, where baby Jesus slept that night.
The "3" is for the wise men bearing gifts, with haste they came,
"W" is for Worship, an angelic choir sang praises to His name.
So as you eat these candies, or share them with a friend,
Remember the true Spirit of Christmas and never let it end."

Merry Christmas, y'all!

Friday, December 9, 2011

JAG Spouses Cookie Swap

Yesterday I hosted the December JAG spouses group at my house...for a cookie swap! We ended up with 15 ladies and about 17 different types of cookies and candies (YUM!) and got lots of visiting in, coffee cake eaten, and drank lots of cranberry tea and eggnog punch.

As everyone started to get ready to go, a couple ladies and I started putting an assortment of cookies in these cute cake boxes I ordered online (this is also the site I buy my baker's twine from also). We tied them with red or green baker's twine and stuck on a Christmas sticker...I just used some of my Christmas stamps of sheets of adhesive paper and cut them out. So much cuter than taking a Tupperware bowl of cookies home. We made up a bunch of extra boxes and sent them back to base to pass the cookie love along. This was SO fun...I would do this again in a heartbeat.

Here is the divine recipe for the tea:

Hot Cranberry Tea

1 quart cranberry juice cocktail
2 quarts water
1/2 cup red hot candies
6 whole cloves
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 cups orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice

Boil the cranberry juice, water, red hots, cloves and sugar. Add orange juice and lemon juice and refrigerate until ready to serve. I serve mine from my crock pot to keep it warm.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Wreaths

While my mom was here, we made a couple of new Christmas last one got crunched after the umpteenth move and I chucked it in Washington last year. We were at Michaels and all their handful sized poinsettias were on sale for $.99, and they had both red and this awesome creamy white. I would usually pick red, but that white was so pretty and so I decided to give it a try. The door at this house is a dark wine color and we thought it would look really great.
I got one of those rounded green floral Styrofoam wreaths and $8.00 worth of stems. My mom clipped the blossoms off with wire cutters and pushed the leaves up so they were all ready to glue. I used a screwdriver to put a hole in the wreath along the outside edge, filled it with glue, and pushed the stem into the glue. I did the outside, the front, and then the inside. We both loved the way it turned out and it looks fab from the street.

One of the magazines that my mom bought for the plane ride had this great wreath idea in it. And when I see something I really like and want to duplicate, I get all cross-eyed and obsessive. But we could NOT find any small boxes that would work for the wreath. So we made a bunch. We also bought a few little truffle boxes from the Target $1 bins and emptied them and used them. After a little trial and error, some scrapbook paper backfires, and what seemed like endless pieces of double stick tape, I finally broke down and just bought some coordinating Christmas wrapping paper. After that, things went remarkably better! We wrapped all the little boxes, used my ribbon stash to tie them with bows, and then thin wire and a curved needle to anchor the bottom layer to a 12" wire floral wreath and hot glued the rest on top of the bottom layer. We love the way they turned out!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Really {heart} Adele

...and Glee mashups.

(Why can't I get the wide screen on my blog? Anybody? Anybody? HELP!)

Monday, December 5, 2011

"The Golden Rule" FHE Idea

Teaching a junior primary class is 1 part lesson, 2 parts fancy-dancing and every part about preparation. I scour online each week to get prepared for my class's lesson but also for activities that the kids will enjoy as well as will help reinforce the lesson's gospel principle. Sometimes, not so easy. But this past Sunday, I came up with an idea all on my own. And it was so successful that I thought I'd share would work well as a FHE lesson also.

The lesson was on "The Golden Rule" and treating others the way you would like to be treated. I hit the Dollar Tree and bought a $1 puzzles (24-piece) for each member of my class. My mom, Anna and I broke down the boxes and put the picture and puzzle pieces in a Ziploc baggie. I then took one piece out of each bag and replaced it with a piece from one of the other puzzles, so they would end up missing one puzzle piece when their puzzle was complete and have a piece that didn't go to their puzzle.

We spent about 15 minutes putting their puzzles together on the floor. They would find the piece that didn't go to their puzzle and get a little confused, but I told them to just put it aside and do what they could. When everyone was done, they took the piece that didn't belong to them and gave it to their friend that needed it to complete their puzzle. It was such a sweet moment for all of us...they were so much more excited to see their friend's puzzle complete than to finish their own. We talked about how it feels to help others and how it feels to be helped. Then I handed out some gold chocolate coins from the Target $1 bins to remind them all to follow "The Golden Rule this week.

That's all.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Just a Trifle

You know you've reached the doldrums of middle-age when you ask for glass mini trifle bowls for your birthday. And then you actually get them! So aside from the traditional pumpkin and pecan pies for Thanksgiving dessert, we made 10 mini cute, individual dish of yumminess for each of us (and an extra for whoever got to it first). We used a chocolate layered cake recipe...we just broke up the cooled crust and divided it into the bottom of the trifle bowls and then added the other layers as usual. So cute. Can't wait to use them again for an actual trifle recipe.

Chocolate Layered Dessert

1/4 c. chopped pecans
1 c. flour
1/2 c. butter
2 tbsp. sugar
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. Cool Whip
2 small pkgs. instant chocolate pudding
3 c. cold milk
additional pecan pieces for garnish

Mix first 4 ingredients as for pie crust. Press in bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool. Blend cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add whipped cream and mix well. Spread on cooled crust.

Mix chocolate pudding and cold milk until well blended. Pour over cream cheese layer, refrigerate until firm. Spread remaining frozen whipped topping over pudding layer. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

My mom is still here and we have been busy baking, crafting and Christmas decorating. And I have some major blogging to catch up on...more to come soon!