Friday, December 16, 2011

Gingerbread Play Dough Stocking Stuffers

I ran across a wonderful gingerbread play dough recipe the other day that I think is the best! It smells so, so good. I was raving about it on facebook last week.


My four year old loves to help in the kitchen so I let him mix the ingredients. When it was time to put the pot over the stove, I took over. In just a couple of minutes, we were ready to play!


I didn't get photos of our playtime, but we pulled out the rolling pin and cookie cutters. I held the baby in my lap and Big Boy worked solo. That was the best hour! Do you make your own play dough? I actually prefer it to store bought because it is less sticky and smells so good-- plus, I know exactly what goes into it.


My oldest wanted to give some of our play dough to his little friends for Christmas, so we made a batch and divided it into baby food jars. One recipe filled five small jars for us. Then I cut circles out of cheery red and white fabric and tied a bright green grosgrain ribbon around the lid. For the cards, I used scrapbook paper and Santa stickers. 

Now... what to do with the other 737 glass baby food jars I kept for crafts? 

The recipe was found at The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle via Pinterest.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm guest posting at Under the Table and Dreaming today! Yay! You can find my brand-new tutorial for handmade embroidery hoop ornaments there.



Friday, December 9, 2011

Advent Tents

To celebrate the season, I came up with daily activities that our family could do together. I've never had much room for a big advent calendar so I kept it simple this year. I wanted to incorporate our favorite traditions, some easy seasonal activities, and special treats for the month. We're loving it!


I printed out the activities on card stock and glued pretty scrapbook paper to the back of each. Then I folded them like little tents. I found my printable template at Living Locurto.


Every morning, we turn the next tent over to see what's on the schedule.


Here they are in order.

1. Let's go see Santa tonight.
2. We're going to the Christmas parade!
3. You get to eat a few Christmas cookies.
4. We'll make a handprint craft together.
5. Pick a board game to play with the family.
6. Let's make hot chocolate together.
7. Mommy will read you a Christmas story.
8. We'll watch The Polar Express tonight.
9. We're going to the movies! How about The Muppets?
10. Let's wake up early to go see Santa at the tractor store.
11. Read a Christmas book.
12. We're going to make paper snowflakes today.
13. Make Christmas cards for the widows at church.
14. Help Mommy deliver the cards we made yesterday.
15. We'll make a batch of gingerbread play dough and play with it.
16. Let's make gingerbread men.
17. Drive around to see the Christmas lights.
18. Make your annual "My Favorite Things" ornament.
19. Angel Tree shopping
20. Listen to our Christmas books on audio.
21. Help Mommy make goodies for the neighbors.
22. Let's make peanut butter and bird seed ornaments for the birds.
23. Our Christmas Eve (Friday night)
24. Our Santa Claus Morning (Saturday)
25. Christmas Day



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Smells of Home

I don't remember much from science class, but I do recall that of our five senses, smell is most closely linked to memory.

Isn't that so true? Every time I smell leather, I think of my dad's leather bomber jacket. Every time I smell freshly-cut grass, I'm transported back to second grade, looking out my schoolroom window at the men mowing and wishing I was running through the open fields. Don't even get me started on the smells coming from my mom's kitchen or newborn babies. My first perfume, Love's Baby Soft. Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers. I could go on and on.


my baby at three weeks old

Having a good-smelling home has become important to me. I want my husband to come home every day and say what he said to me this afternoon, "It smells like Christmas in here." Knowing that I'm turning our brick and mortar into a home is definitely a feather in my hat. I want my boys to grow up thinking of our home as a warm, delicious place where they love to be.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a big batch of Scentsy from Amanda Burns, a super-consultant (that's my title for her, not the official Scentsy-endorsed title, fyi).

Oh, girl. That stuff is the best! I know you probably already know that. Scentsy's no big secret, but it really has become my new favorite thing. I was a Scentsy virgin, ahem, and the very first brick I melted was Pumpkin Marshmallow. Mmmmm. It's sweet and coconutty. After riding his bike outside, my four year old came in and proclaimed, "Mama! I want to eat what I smell!" Love that.

So I ordered myself a few more burners and they're going non-stop around here.

My favorites--

For our bedroom...
1. I love Duke (might be my #1 fave)-- it's masculine and like a wonderful, woodsy cologne.
2. Luna is a close second. It's light and floral.
3. Weathered Leather is third. I'm in Texas. It's like a new pair of Cowboy boots. Or walking into the Coach store.



In the kitchen...
1. Sunkissed Citrus is fresh and bright and makes me feel happy.
2. Pumpkin Roll, Central Park Pralines and Sentimental Cider tie for second place. During the holidays, I love the smells of baked goods and Christmas spices. Yum!



The guest bath... 
I try to save my lighter scents for the bathroom because it is a small, enclosed space and I don't want anything bold or overwhelming.

1. White-Out is a peppermint scent. I really like how crisp it is.
2. Home Sweet Home is light and smells like berries with a touch of cinnamon.
3. Autumn Sunset is also a spicy, cinnamon scent, but not too heavy.


Definitely do order with Amanda Burns. She's great to work with. You'll pay the same shipping no matter who you order from and I know you'll enjoy the super customer service you'll get with Amanda.

Check out her website here and her facebook page here.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Felt State Ornaments


I was whipping up another Geography Love Pillow and started thinking about making an easier version for us. We don't have our own pillow. You know what they say about the cobbler's kids never having shoes? Cue the violins.

I do want one for myself, but haven't really set aside time to make one. And Jeremy and I are both from the same hometown, met in the 7th grade. No long-distance love story for us.


So I came up with a quick and simple alternative.

I pulled out my felt stash-- it almost needs an entire closet-- and my ever-growing collection of cut-out geographical locations from pillow-making (so ironic for a girl who made her first C in geography and was in BIG trouble for a few weeks).


I used two circles of felt for the ornament and blanket stitched them together, leaving an opening for stuffing and a ribbon to hang.


The Texas, heart and ribbon were hot-glued on. Hot-gluing felt is like welding metal. That stuff is there forever.

The project took me about 15 minutes and I loved it so much that I'm planning to make a few more.

One of these days, I'm going to post about all the pillow covers I've been blessed to make. The stories that go along with the orders have made my heart swell. Who knew that a simple little wedding present would turn into an opportunity for me to learn about so many amazing people? I'm thankful for that.


Share with: Fingerprints on the Fridge

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Video: Easy, Healthy Chocolate "Pudding"

I wanted to try out a new recipe that's a little inventive, a little Birkenstock, and really easy. It's chocolate pudding made from only an avocado, a ripe banana, cocoa powder and maple syrup. 

I know, that was my reaction at first, too. But it's pretty good stuff. Nutritionally, I feel good about giving it to my boys.

In hindsight, I probably should have changed out of my sweats before doing a video tutorial, but I strive to keep it real around here. I'm just glad I didn't have dried drool on my shoulder or peanut butter on my shirt sleeve.

I hope you all feel really good about yourselves right now.

Recipe for Chocolate "Pudding" (1-2 servings)

1 ripe banana
1 ripe avocado
1 heaping T. cocoa powder
1 T. real maple syrup or honey

Mash together (or use a food processor) to get a smooth texture. I recommend not telling anyone about the secret ingredients until after they've tried it.