Merry Christmas Eve. I hope you have finished your shopping and are home enjoying your families. If you need some last minute ideas, here are a few of my favorite homemade gifts. These are all pretty simple to put together which is really important for us. With a house full of energetic boys, simple is always best.
Christmas Wreath Pull-apart Bread would make a beautiful addition to Christmas morning breakfast and a thoughtful Christmas gift for a neighbor.
Since we are talking homemade bread, here is another simple idea using a bread machine. Make loaves of homemade bread to gift to friends and neighbors.
And who wouldn't love fresh baked cookies?
This year I made chocolate covered pretzel rods and added them to gift baskets and I have some saved for family at Christmas. Really simple using candy molds and dipping some right into the melted chocolate.
We made this basket for some relatives. I combined some homemade candies (chocolate covered pretzel rods, peppermint bark, homemade fudge, and chocolate covered pretzels) with a box of peppermint tea in a small basket tied with a ribbon.
We made a similar basket for the boys' Kung Fu teacher adding pistachios since we knew his wife likes them. I didn't get another picture in the rush to get the boys to Kung Fu on time, but we added a red ribbon, a small card, and my oldest made origami and tucked it in.
Onto some non food gifts. Sewing kit in a jar is always a nice gift.
Homemade play dough is always great for kids. Include some Christmas cookie cutters for a fun gift.
This year the boys colored towels for their teachers. We combined seasonal teas with the homemade towels in gift bags. Make sure the markers will not wash out of fabric. I ran into this problem before. The boys colored beautiful towels for their grandmothers and uncle and the markers which were supposed to be for fabric washed out. I bought a new set and tested it this time and these markers do not wash out.
The boys had a blast coloring their towels.
Another great idea ishomemade liquid hand soap. You can use your favorite soap and make a whole gallon from one bar.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
Linking up at Create with Joy, Friendship Friday, Share the Wealth
I went into the Gap yesterday to return a pair of jeans I had ordered online and they were having a really good sale so I looked around and found some jeans to try on. They were on clearance for $34.97 and an additional 60% off. I thought that was a pretty good deal and was expecting to pay around $14. I selected a pair of jeans and when the cashier scanned them, they rang up at $0.01. I was really surprised and the cashier checked with another employee and said yes they were in fact $0.01. The cashier suggested I see if there was another pair of the same style in my size since they were only a penny, so I bought two pairs of jeans for 2 cents.
This is the lowest price I have ever paid for a pair of jeans by far. It was totally random that I found this amazing deal, but when I was in the Gap yesterday, the entire store was an additional 40% off and women's clearance was an additional 60% off. Lots of good deals for last minute Christmas shopping.
Linking up at Friendship Friday
Since Christmas is almost upon us, I am reposting my old trusty recipe for Sugar Cookies with a few updates.
This recipe makes crispy cookies which are our favorite.
I like to frost some cookies with buttercream and some with a vanilla glaze.
I love snowflake cookies. I bought a new set of 4 different sizes of snowflake cookie cutters last year on clearance after Christmas. Snowflake cookies are perfect for Frozen themed parties too.
Christmas trees are fun too. I use a basket weave tip and pipe buttercream to make this pretty design, then top with a yellow star using a star tip. You can whip up a bunch of these really quickly.
To make this simple star, I use a star tip and pull the icing across the cookie giving it a slight twist as I go.
I love the look of swirled glazed cookies.
First pipe a border of buttercream to hold the glaze in place.
Then using a spoon delicately drop and spread a base color of glaze on the cookie spreading it to the buttercream border. Then drizzle on a second color and pull through it with a toothpick to create a unique swirl design. This is a fun activity to do with older kids. My students always enjoyed making these. When these are done, you need to let the glazed cookies set for at least a couple of hours before serving.
Create a lovely tiered cookie display by placing a cake plate on top of a coordinating platter.
½ cup butter (1 stick) ¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup sugar 2 cups flour
1 Egg, large 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. milk ¼ tsp. nutmeg (optional)
In electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Beat in egg, then milk. Add vanilla. Blend salt and nutmeg into flour. Mix flour into dough. Knead on pastry cloth then put in Ziploc bag and refrigerate for about an hour or overnight if you want to bake later.
Roll out dough onto lightly floured surface and press with cookie cutters. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Make frosting below. Frost cookies with butter-cream frosting or vanilla glaze.
1/2 cup butter (1 stick real butter not margarine)
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
In electric mixer, cream butter, shortening and vanilla. Add sifted powdered sugar and milk. Continue to mix at high speed until icing is blended. Tint with icing color if desired.
2 Tbsp. milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Stir together in a bowl. Tint with icing color or food coloring if desired.
Disclosure: I received a copy of Absolute Mayhem for review purposes only. All opinions are honest and are my own.
I am really excited to share this new childrens book with you. One of my best friends is friends with the author, Kelly Suellentrop.
Kelly wrote and illustrated this clever and whimsical book which shows how our imagination enables us to see a whole new world full of adventure and of course... a little Mayhem.
As Lulu and Milo go about their mundane, normal, weekly routine of chores, homework, and eating vegetables, their minds will occasionally wander and they anticipate the fun adventures that await when the weekend arrives, and with it, Absolute Mayhem.
My boys and I really enjoy reading this story. They love when Lulu and Milo start imagining and the colorful tentacles of Mayhem start to enter the black and white weekday scenes. The colorful scenes in which the characters' imaginations are running wild are so vivid. Our favorite scene involves some playful monkeys' silly shenanigans, as they roast marshmallows and scavenge outside of Lulu and Milo's tent. My five year old laughs out loud and points and tells me all of the things he sees in this scene.
Let the Mayhem begin. You can order your very own copy on Amazon or Kelly Suellentrop. These would make great Christmas gifts!
Enter to win. One lucky reader will win a copy of Absolute Mayhem!
Disclosure: I received a copy of Absolute Mayhem for review purposes only. All opinions are honest and are my own.
So obviously keeping up with weekly or even monthly goals is not going to work for me. My last goals post was at the end of September. I'll just write out my goals and whenever I get them done is good enough.
Previous goals and Results
1. U̶n̶p̶a̶c̶k̶ ̶s̶u̶i̶t̶c̶a̶s̶e̶s̶ ̶a̶g̶a̶i̶n̶.̶ ̶ ̶A̶n̶o̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶w̶e̶e̶k̶e̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶r̶i̶p̶ ̶e̶q̶u̶a̶l̶s̶ ̶m̶o̶r̶e̶ ̶s̶u̶i̶t̶c̶a̶s̶e̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶u̶n̶p̶a̶c̶k̶i̶n̶g̶.̶ This was completed.
2. M̶e̶n̶d̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶l̶e̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶m̶e̶n̶d̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶p̶i̶l̶e̶s̶.̶ ̶ ̶S̶t̶a̶r̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶s̶m̶a̶l̶l̶ ̶b̶e̶c̶a̶u̶s̶e̶ ̶I̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶h̶a̶d̶ ̶m̶e̶n̶d̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶p̶i̶l̶e̶s̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶e̶v̶e̶r̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶r̶a̶r̶e̶l̶y̶ ̶t̶a̶k̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶t̶i̶m̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶m̶e̶n̶d̶ ̶a̶n̶y̶t̶h̶i̶n̶g̶.̶
I actually mended 3 or 4 things. Yeah!
3. S̶t̶a̶y̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶t̶o̶p̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶n̶o̶r̶m̶a̶l̶ ̶h̶o̶u̶s̶e̶h̶o̶l̶d̶ ̶c̶h̶o̶r̶e̶s̶,̶ ̶c̶o̶o̶k̶i̶n̶g̶,̶ ̶c̶l̶e̶a̶n̶i̶n̶g̶,̶ ̶l̶a̶u̶n̶d̶r̶y̶ ̶e̶t̶c̶.̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶m̶o̶r̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶g̶e̶t̶ ̶r̶e̶a̶d̶y̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶b̶i̶r̶t̶h̶d̶a̶y̶ ̶p̶a̶r̶t̶y̶.̶ ̶ ̶ Done.
4. B̶a̶k̶e̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶a̶k̶e̶ ̶s̶a̶l̶e̶.̶ I made cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, and bread.
5. P̶r̶e̶p̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶a̶n̶y̶t̶h̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶i̶r̶t̶h̶d̶a̶y̶ ̶p̶a̶r̶t̶y̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶c̶a̶n̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶m̶a̶d̶e̶ ̶a̶h̶e̶a̶d̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶t̶i̶m̶e̶.̶ ̶ ̶
Done. Birthday party was awesome. I was so busy at the party that I forgot to take pictures of the buffet.
1. C̶o̶n̶t̶i̶n̶u̶e̶ ̶R̶e̶a̶d̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶J̶e̶s̶u̶s̶ ̶C̶a̶l̶l̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶C̶h̶i̶l̶d̶r̶e̶n̶'̶s̶ ̶b̶o̶o̶k̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶o̶y̶s̶.̶ We read this frequently and record our reading time in their WOG (Word of God) logs for Family Formation.
2. M̶a̶k̶e̶ ̶p̶e̶a̶n̶u̶t̶ ̶b̶u̶t̶t̶e̶r̶ ̶p̶l̶a̶y̶-̶d̶o̶u̶g̶h̶.̶ ̶ ̶T̶h̶e̶ ̶l̶i̶t̶t̶l̶e̶ ̶b̶o̶y̶s̶ ̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶e̶x̶c̶i̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶r̶y̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶.̶ They loved it. We actually made it twice because they asked me to make it again.
3. F̶o̶l̶l̶o̶w̶ ̶t̶h̶r̶o̶u̶g̶h̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶o̶y̶s̶ ̶e̶a̶c̶h̶ ̶d̶a̶y̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶p̶l̶e̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶i̶r̶ ̶c̶h̶o̶r̶e̶s̶.̶ I can't say that we are perfect here, but when we aren't traveling, we do a pretty good job.
4. C̶o̶n̶t̶i̶n̶u̶e̶ ̶p̶l̶a̶n̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶b̶i̶r̶t̶h̶d̶a̶y̶ ̶p̶a̶r̶t̶y̶ ̶c̶r̶a̶f̶t̶s̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶a̶n̶ ̶A̶r̶t̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶N̶a̶t̶u̶r̶e̶ ̶b̶i̶r̶t̶h̶d̶a̶y̶ ̶p̶a̶r̶t̶y̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶p̶r̶o̶c̶u̶r̶e̶ ̶s̶u̶p̶p̶l̶i̶e̶s̶.̶ ̶ ̶A̶c̶t̶u̶a̶l̶l̶y̶,̶ ̶h̶o̶s̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶p̶a̶r̶t̶y̶.̶ ̶ ̶I̶t̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶n̶e̶x̶t̶ ̶t̶w̶o̶ ̶w̶e̶e̶k̶s̶.̶ Done. And we had an awesome Art in Nature birthday party. I still need to write a post about the party and will show you pictures then.
5. F̶i̶n̶i̶s̶h̶ ̶m̶a̶i̶l̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶s̶o̶n̶'̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶n̶k̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶e̶s̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶b̶i̶r̶t̶h̶d̶a̶y̶.̶ ̶ ̶(̶S̶t̶i̶l̶l̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶n̶'̶t̶ ̶d̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶,̶ ̶b̶u̶t̶ ̶m̶u̶s̶t̶ ̶g̶e̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶d̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶b̶e̶f̶o̶r̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶n̶e̶x̶t̶ ̶b̶i̶r̶t̶h̶d̶a̶y̶ ̶p̶a̶r̶t̶y̶.̶)̶ Done, but now we have to finish thank you notes from my second son's birthday party.
1. P̶u̶b̶l̶i̶s̶h̶ ̶a̶n̶o̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶r̶e̶v̶i̶e̶w̶ ̶p̶o̶s̶t̶.̶ Done. Finished my Abe's Market post.
2. F̶i̶n̶i̶s̶h̶ ̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶p̶o̶s̶t̶s̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶q̶u̶e̶.̶ Done. Finished several posts since my last goals post including one that has been in my que for 2 1/2 years, Swiss Sauce Cauliflower.
3. W̶o̶r̶k̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶p̶h̶o̶t̶o̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶p̶h̶o̶t̶o̶ ̶e̶d̶i̶t̶i̶n̶g̶.̶ Always doing this, so yes done.
4. P̶i̶n̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶l̶e̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶t̶w̶o̶ ̶o̶l̶d̶ ̶p̶o̶s̶t̶s̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶s̶o̶m̶e̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶g̶r̶o̶u̶p̶ ̶p̶i̶n̶t̶e̶r̶e̶s̶t̶ ̶b̶o̶a̶r̶d̶s̶.̶ Done. I learned this tip from Money Saving Mom who is a hugely successful blogger. Pinning on group boards brings a lot of exposure to your pins and ultimately your posts.
1. E̶x̶e̶r̶c̶i̶s̶e̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶l̶e̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶t̶i̶m̶e̶.̶ ̶ ̶ ̶U̶s̶u̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶k̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶v̶i̶d̶e̶o̶s̶.̶ ̶ ̶I̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶a̶ ̶p̶i̶l̶a̶t̶e̶s̶ ̶v̶i̶d̶e̶o̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶l̶i̶b̶r̶a̶r̶y̶ ̶I̶ ̶l̶i̶k̶e̶.̶ ̶ ̶(̶R̶e̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶e̶a̶s̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶u̶p̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶s̶i̶n̶c̶e̶ ̶I̶ ̶d̶i̶d̶n̶'̶t̶ ̶d̶o̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶a̶l̶l̶ ̶o̶v̶e̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶p̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶t̶w̶o̶ ̶w̶e̶e̶k̶s̶.̶)̶ Done.
2. Get 7 or more hours of sleep a night. Not done. Must make this a priority.
3. R̶e̶a̶d̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶J̶e̶s̶u̶s̶ ̶C̶a̶l̶l̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶d̶e̶v̶o̶t̶i̶o̶n̶a̶l̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶l̶e̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶5̶ ̶d̶a̶y̶s̶.̶ Done. Perpetual adoration once a month helps me stay focused in prayer and devotion.
4. R̶e̶a̶d̶ ̶t̶w̶o̶ ̶c̶h̶a̶p̶t̶e̶r̶s̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶T̶h̶e̶ ̶P̶o̶w̶e̶r̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶a̶ ̶P̶r̶a̶y̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶W̶i̶f̶e̶.̶ Done.
5. W̶o̶r̶k̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶g̶e̶t̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶u̶p̶ ̶e̶a̶r̶l̶i̶e̶r̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶s̶c̶h̶o̶o̶l̶ ̶m̶o̶r̶n̶i̶n̶g̶s̶.̶ ̶ ̶I̶ ̶h̶a̶t̶e̶ ̶b̶e̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶r̶u̶s̶h̶e̶d̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶m̶o̶r̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶I̶ ̶a̶m̶ ̶l̶e̶s̶s̶ ̶p̶a̶t̶i̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶k̶i̶d̶s̶ ̶w̶h̶e̶n̶ ̶w̶e̶ ̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶r̶u̶s̶h̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶g̶e̶t̶ ̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶d̶o̶o̶r̶.̶ ̶ ̶ I feel like I am doing so much better here. More peaceful and productive mornings:)
1. Unpack suitcases again. Just returned from Thanksgiving travels. Two suitcases unpacked. Three to go.
2. Decorate for Christmas and put up a Christmas tree.
3. Bake sugar cookies for the live nativity on Sunday at Holy Cross.
4. Keep up with regular cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc.
5. Clear my dresser of clutter and work on keeping it clear.
6. Weed out more stuff and clutter before Christmas (and new stuff) arrives. I have been taking things we don't need anymore to our local consignment stores and Goodwill. Read my guest post at Money Saving Mom about shopping for kids clothes at Consignment and thrift stores. Also, a good way to recycle your stuff you don't need anymore into stuff you do need. Our local kids consignment store always has great books and toys too.
7. Work on Christmas lists for family who have asked.
8. Organize and start wrapping Christmas presents so I'm not feeling rushed at the last minute and can enjoy my family and celebrating Jesus's birth.
1. Sew patches on cub scout shirt.
2. Do advent lessons with boys (from Family Formation packet).
3. Continue reading Jesus Calling children's book.
4. Finish mailing thank you notes from middle son's birthday party.
5. Make homemade goop for boys. Occupational therapist uses it with one of the boys to increase hand strength and he is begging me to make some for home.
6. Continue to follow through with the boys and their chore charts.
1. Continue to work through the busy time leading up to Christmas and finish more posts from the que.
2. Complete two review posts (one with a giveaway).
3. Keep linking up posts on linkys on other sites, at least twice a week.
1. Make exercise more of a priority. Exercise 5 times before my next goals post. I actually keep a chart on my laptop so I know how much (or little) I am exercising.
2. Seriously try to get 7 hours of sleep a night.
3. Keep reading and reflecting with my Mom Essentials Bible study. I am loving this book and my amazing Mom's group friends who are doing the Bible study with me.
4. Continue reading my Jesus Calling devotional.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science teacher turned food blogger. I love God, my family, and food. You can usually find me in the kitchen preparing family friendly, homemade recipes and taking lots of pictures.
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