Monday, December 31, 2012

Random Goodness

Well, here we are at the end of another year. I really and truly cannot believe it; so many things to give praise to God and be thankful for.
However, today, I choose to be in denial that another year has passed; that my baby is going to turn one in only a few weeks, that my baby girl will start kindergarten in the new year, that my oldest will be eight in a few months...nope, not going there today.
For now, I'll simply reflect on the wonderful time we had over Christmas break. I thought I would share some of that with you!
My favorite pancake recipe, made with pumpkin rather than mashed banana and topped with pecans and raw honey!
and enjoyed with a cup of this! Thanks mom and dad for hooking my husband up with this fabulous gift!
He is enjoying it SO!
*wink wink*

Remember the cute little Altoid tin project I shared with you. Well, I couldn't leave it alone. I felt like the little bears needed names and a story too. So, I made each little bear a small book, named them, and told a bit about what they liked to do. They were a HUGE hit with my kiddos!

We got away for a few days and celebrated Christmas with my husband's family. We are blessed with a large family on this side; 9 children 9yrs and under and 10 adults. We all cram into one house for a weekend full of late night games, good conversation, lots of giggles from the cousins playing, laughter, food and more food!
We got A LOT of snow for where we live.....on Christmas day!!! It was so beautiful and actually stuck around for a few days, which meant we got to enjoy amazing snow covered scenery the whole drive.
I got to read a bit more of the great book one of my sister-in-laws gave me for my birthday.

More beautiful views from my window in the ole' van. I took all of the photos with the Hipstamatic app on my iphone. If you don't have it and you enjoy taking a TON of photos with your will want this one!
Lots of fun was had with this new game, Suspend. The adults and the kids enjoyed this one.

Lots of treats to enjoy! My mother-in-law did a wonderful job making everything festive and pretty, like she always does. She also baked lots of fun treats that my children thoroughly enjoyed!
I made these dark chocolate peanut butter balls for everyone to enjoy and also so I would have a treat to indulge in as well.
The recipe calls for Coconut flour but I was out so I used Almond flour and I think I like them even  better this way!
The famous Candy Cane cookies! These are a favorite and tradition in my husband's family. Daspri took them on several years ago to help their mom out and she quickly became the Candy Cane cookie QUEEN! They are YUM-MY and oh so cute!
I love that I get to do life and this blog with this beautiful gal. Sister in laws and friends= blessed.
Daspri is whipping up some mean mashed potatoes! All of the girls help out in the kitchen together to get dinner prepared for this large crew, which is actually pretty fun.
And the drink that I have been enjoying recently, Cinnamon Almond Steamer. It is so simple and delicious. It has been hitting the spot when I want something warm but don't need to drink anymore caffeine for the day.
You just need:
Almond milk
Pure Stevia extract powder

*optional- you can add pure vanilla or other flavors to it as well.

I throw those ingredients in a small saucepan, turn up the heat to high, and grab my whisk. Let it get hot and whisk away while it is heating.

How was your Christmas break?
I hope it was wonderful and that the beginning of the new year is even better!

Have fun and be safe!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Good Music, Good Friends, Good Times

Last night we gathered with some close friends to celebrate the release of my husband's first full album on cd.
This is the artwork on the cover of the cd.

It was really such a fun night and many sweet friends came to show their support.  My husband played a few songs from the album live on his acoustic guitar for us and then we ate, talked and laughed as we listened to the full album the rest of the evening.
You can download the entire album here. Go check it out. You won't be sorry!
There it is.....the cd! So excited for him!
Made some more glitter jars for the party, because what says party like sparkly glitter! Am I right?
Added some tea lights and added some life to the food table.
Star shaped gluten free shortbread cookies....with a little silver sprinkles on top.
The rest of the spread! There was plenty of food!
Yes, that says EAT LOTS OF CANDY. I know, I know....not consistent with "Wellness Wednesdays." HA!
It's a party people!
A little epsom salts goes a long way...instant icy snow!
Apple cider made with red hots! My mom used to make this when I was a kid and so we gave it go and it was a HIT!
I had some of his artwork from his album blown up at Staples to hang on the wall for the party and to later be added to the walls in his studio.
The 16X20 quality color prints are on sale at Staples for $7 right now thru the end of the month! They are normally close to $20 each! Go NOW!
Stacks of the cd's! This is a bad pic (taken with my phone-oops) but the cd's look super cool. If you really want to see should get one! ;) and my amazing husband.  *sigh*
I SUPER love this man.
He rocks.

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Last Minute Christmas Gifts & Exciting Annoucement

Christmas is almost here and our household could not be more excited!
I just finished up a few fun, quick and easy gifts for the kiddos and thought I would share. I know, Christmas is only days away, but I promise that these are super easy and fast enough to make within the hour!

A tin of Altoids! Yes, it's that easy!
Okay, so that's not all of it, but it's almost that easy.
Look what's inside!
I saw this idea on Pinterest a few months ago and knew that this would have to be one of the little things my kids opened on Christmas morning. I simply love it!
My kids love little things they can carry with them or stick in their pocket. They all love "little people" to play with and my boys will love that this looks like a tin of mints but is really something much more.
I used piece of scrap material that I already had for this, making it even more affordable and easy to make.
I did some stitching around the blankets but you could really make it even easier by cutting a small piece of fleece and leaving it at that.
The Altoids are on sale for $1 at Kroger right now and I scored the little bears in the miniature dollhouse section at Hobby Lobby for $2-$3 each. So, the total cost for each adorable little tin was about $3-$4.

You need:
Altoid tin
scrap material for a little blanket and pillow
just a tad bit of stuffing for the pillow
little mini bears

*The tins I saw on Pinterest actually held a little creature/doll that was handmade, so you could do that too. I opted for the store bought version to make this even easier.
And this little guy is for my youngest son. I thought the miniature bear was too small for him. The poor little unsuspecting bear would probably end up in his mouth or something.
So, I opted for a slightly bigger bear, but still small and made him a little sleeping bag out of more scrap materials.

Another little project I just made is a baby doll sling for my little girl. This was almost too easy. I don't have a picture for you today because I was on a roll yesterday and before I knew it, I had already wrapped it up before even thinking to photograph it!
No worries though, here is the link I followed to make mine.

And last for the Christmas gift ideas for today, but certainly not least is our Christmas eve family gift. I also saw this on Pinterest a while ago and knew right away that I wanted to begin this tradition with our family.
(sorry about the orientation of this picture, but my computer is not cooperating today so the fact that this post is even happening is a miracle in itself! I shall not test it but trying to flip the photo!)
I really thought I pinned this but I guess this was one of those ideas I actually stored in my brain and not on my holiday Pinterest board because I cannot find it anywhere!

You will need:
 New pajamas for everyone in the family
treats (hot cocoa, popcorn, and/or candy)
new Christmas movie/s and/or new game

On Christmas eve, you all open the big box together, put on your new pj's, make some cocoa and enjoy a fun evening together watching movies and playing games. I am so excited to begin this fun new tradition!

And before I leave you, I want to share some exciting news. My husband is releasing his very first full album on cd today!!!
Yes, my husband is a rock star. (he would disagree entirely, but I know what's up)
Since he won't say these things himself, I will say them for him. He is a super talented musician and I have been waiting for this day to come. I could not be more proud of him and excited for him than I am right now.
We are celebrating tonight with a few close friends and family. After the cd is released tonight, then it will be available to you as well. I will share more details on that later.
You'll want to know, because it's good!

We are going to take a small break for Christmas and enjoy some time with our families. We will be back to posting after the first of the year.
Until then, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a super Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

DiY Christmas Decor

We are getting so close to Christmas. YAY! Here are a few more quick last minute DiY d├ęcor ideas. I’ve been working on a project using quite a bit of card stock and I had leftover pieces that I didn’t want to part with so I decided to cut out a few letters and make a couple fun banners. This NoEl banner hangs above the kitchen sink. I just used a pencil to write out the letters on the paper and then cut it out and used tape on the backs to attach the letters to craft string.

Also, I found this really cute printable online and just had to use it. So, I printed it off and hung it on my master bathroom wall. Then I followed this fun felt mistletoe tutorial and made a mistletoe ball to hang above our bed. I thought it was fun and well placed, wink wink.

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Enjoy this Season

It is so easy to become so very busy this time of year; so very busy that with the blink of an eye, the season has passed and we have missed it.
We are trying to take things a bit slower around here this year. I am making myself take things "off my plate" and my to-do list and I am thankful for the push God gave me to do this.
Truthfully, even with doing that, we are busy but that is the nature of life with four little ones. However, it is the good kind of busy; the cookie baking, game playing, snow skating, Christmas shopping, looking at lights, reading books together kind of busy. I love being busy like this.
This Psalm has brought me great peace lately. It is one that I have read many times before but when I read it again several weeks ago, some of the verses really stood out to me and blessed me greatly.
"He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake."
I just love it! He leads me beside still waters and restores my soul. The peace that this brings me is so wonderful and only from my Father.
 This little chalkboard now hangs on the wall above my treadmill. So this is what I have been looking at for the past month when I exercise and only yesterday did the message on it hit me in such a way. Crazy how we can put things in our house purposefully to be reminders to us daily and then still somehow get so busy that we don't even notice them. I believe that even those things, God's timing is perfect.

 "Today is a gift."

We are not promised tomorrow. We are not even promised this afternoon or even a minute from now.
So often, we live as though we will live on this earth forever.
Don't wait until tomorrow to sit and read a book to your child. If the Lord has placed someone on your mind and heart, don't wait another minute before letting them know. Don't put off loving the people in your life and telling them about the greatest gift ever given...the whole reason why we celebrate this time of year. Live today. Live now, in this very moment. And praise and thank God for every moment you have to live and love.

I pray that the word of God brings you peace today, in the midst of this busy time of year. I pray that you would see the gift of today and treat it as such.
What a wonderful gift it is to live today and rejoice in the birth of our Savior!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

DiY Sugar Cookie Painting

We are having so much fun around here crafting for Christmas. I decided to let Keylee get into the action by making cookies and decorating them for our neighbors. I pulled a yummy sugar cookie recipe offline and away we went.

Easy Sugar Cookies (Martha Stewart)
·         2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
·         1/2 teaspoon baking powder
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
·         1 cup granulated sugar
·         1 large egg, room temperature
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.      Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. With machine running, gradually add flour mixture; mix until combined. Shape into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 45 minutes (or up to 3 days).
2.      Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Roll to 1/8 inch thick. Using a 5-inch-tall bunny-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Space 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Reroll scraps, and cut out. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
3.      Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week.

We mixed the ingredients per the recipe and stuck them in the fridge to set.
Once we got the dough out I added about 1 tbsp more melted butter because they were too crumbly. We rolled it out and then cut out fun Christmas shapes.

I mixed food coloring and water together and she loved it. She is only 2 but this was a perfect activity for her because she loves to water color paint. Make sure you use new clean brushes. Keylee thought it would be more efficient to use 3 brushes at once which of course turned the coloring brown.

We added a few sprinkles and then stuck them in the oven.  

NOTES: I didn’t roll ours out quite as thin as the recipe calls for because we like soft cookies around here. We also only cooked them for 10 minutes.

Once they came out and cooled we got to enjoy the fruits of our labor before we bagged them up to take to the neighbors.

Merry Christmas…it’s almost here.