Archives for December 2012

Gingerbread Houses

 Gingerbread House-Making has evolved over the years for me.  Eight years ago I was baking my own gingerbread, cutting the house pieces with a knife, making hard-tack candy for stained glass windows, inserting a light inside the house, creating a door that really opened, made my frosting from scratch… get the picture!!

 Fast forward to 2012 and it’s pretty pathetic!!  Enter the pre-baked gingerbread house purchased from the craft store and the GLUE GUN!!

Yes, glue gun!!

 It’s only a few days until Christmas and my children are finally out of school.  They only care about putting candy on the house and I ran out of time.  It was lots of fun anyway – and NO STRESS!!  The glue gun worked amazing (I know you are all cringing, as am I!)

 The children got to create and mommy wasn’t hovering making sure they looked picture perfect.

 Ryan’s roof was made out of Captain Crunch Berries Cereal!

 They turned out cute and the children could not tell all the corners I cut!  Gingerbread House Making Day….check!!

Holiday Boutique

 My 8th grader is going on a class trip to Catalina Island.  I like to have my children “earn” their money for camps and trips.  We came up with the idea of sewing items and selling them at her school’s Holiday Boutique!  We should have started sewing before December but we got it all done! 
…and the boutique was held on the COLDEST day of the year!  BURRRRR!!
 We made all these cute zipper pouches.

 …and Ruffled Tote Bags.  Ella and I split the work almost 50-50.  She is a great sewer, pinner, presser, and ruffler!!  Oh, and she choose all the fabrics!

 We also made taggies, sunglasses cases and other little pouches.  She’s almost earned all her money!!

“Popping” in with Richie

This morning we found a trail of popcorn leading to a popcorn explosion with Richie right in the middle of it!!

 There was popcorn everywhere!!  Oh Richie!!!

Girls Weekend in SLC

This past weekend we went to Salt Lake City for a girls weekend.  My mom, my mother-in-law, my daughter, and I all met and stayed in a hotel.  It was a picture perfect weekend.  It lightly snowed everyday.  We felt like we were in a movie!  The main reason for the trip was that we had tickets for the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert featuring Alfie Boe – our FAV!!!!

 We walked around City Creek and WE GOT TO MEET ALFIE at the book signing!!!  We talked to him, took pictures and he touched my hand!!!!  I was floating!!!!


 We got to play the Mormon Tabernacle organ.  It was one of the most exciting experiences of my life!  The lady giving the noon recital let a few people come up and play the organ.  It was amazing.

 A quick stop to the Western Nut Company for some goodies

 Then on to the Nauvoo Cafe for the WORLD’S BEST Turkey Pot Pie.  It really is to die for!

 The lights everywhere were spectacular!  Such a beautiful place – especially with the snow falling.

 Finally it was time for the concert we had been waiting for.  I can’t even put it into words – it was AMAZING.  I don’t think I took a breath during the whole thing.  Alfie Boe is FABULOUS!!  I didn’t want it to end.

A Merry Front Porch

 Here is a peek at my Christmas-y front porch.  I made another burlap banner only aqua and red this time.  (click HERE for the tutorial).

 I first put the word “Merry” on my door and it confused my entire family.  They kept waiting for the “Christmas” part of the saying to show up.  When I explained it was just “Merry” they seemed disappointed.  So, I added the “be” and now it reads “Be Merry”.  Confusion ended!

 I love changing what I hang in this old window every season!
 A fun little pillow made of different trims.

Happy Birthday Taylor Swift!

 December 13th is an exciting day in our home – Taylor Swift’s Birthday!  Last year we threw an actual Birthday Party!  We invited all the Taylor fans we knew.

When the guests walked in they got a spritz of Taylor’s perfume, Wonderstruck. 
 Next we made Taylor Swift Christmas Ornaments!
Everyone wrote a birthday message on the sliding glass door.  

 Then it was time to sing Happy Birthday (yes I am very cheesy).  We had cheesecake, Taylor’s favorite 🙂

 Finally it was time for the funnest dance party ever!!

Keeping up with Richie the Elf

Richie the elf has for sure been busy!  He got into the rubber stamps and stamped a note.  The note said to look in the mirror.  Hmmmmm, why is Richie holding a red marker?  Oh!  Once we looked in the mirror we noticed we all had Rudolph noses!  (My 13 year old thought she had the world’s largest zit….poor thing)

Then Richie was found sitting in one of the Christmas trees fishing for goldfish with a candy cane fishn’ pole!

 We found Rapunzel tied to the mistletoe and Richie hanging from Rapunzel’s long braid.  We think he has a crush on Rapunzel!  This confirms our suspicions 🙂

This appears to be a double date we happened upon one morning.  Here Richie is playing mini Uno cards with Merida, Flynn and Rapunzel.  Looks like Flynn and Rapunzel must be back together after the mistletoe incident!

 Flynn Rider is sooooo handsome!!

Ode to the Cookie Press & My Favorite Recipe

 Spritz cookies (or cookie gun cookies as we call them) have been a family tradition for over 50 years.  My mom grew up making these cookies, I grew up making these cookies, and now they are a favorite of my children.  I recently purchased this vintage Wear-Ever cookie gun – mint in the box!  It was very similar to the one my mother had when she was little.  I love just staring at the box 🙂

My first cookie gun was this white one from Kuhn Rikon.  I loved it.  It finally died from over use.  So I purchased the Wilton one.

 This Wilton one has not been my favorite.  Evey time I used it I would remind myself to be on the look out for a new one!  So this December I broke down and bought another Kuhn Rikon.  I was excited to have new discs: a snowman, candy cane and pumpkin!

Here is my favorite spritz cookie recipe.  It’s buttery with a hint of almond.  I love making these cookies at Christmas but they are also fun at Valentine’s Day and the perfect size for Tea Parties!
Amanda’s Spritz Cookies
1 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. (plus) Almond Extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix and use in your cookie press.  Top with colored sugar sprinkles.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.  Enjoy!!!

Eggnog Spritz Cookie Recipe

This is a recipe for Eggnog Cookies using a cookie press.  I only make them during the Christmas season so I look forward to them every year!  I don’t like drinking eggnog, but I LOVE the flavor of eggnog!

Eggnog Spritz Cookies
1 cup butter
3/4 cups white sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. rum flavoring
1 tsp. ground nugmet
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix the above ingredients and use in your cookie press.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.

Eggnog Glaze:
OK, so I don’t measure this part.  Make a glaze using powdered sugar and eggnog.  When it is to a nice glaze consistency, dip the tops of the cookies in the glaze and dust with more nutmeg.  They are delicious!!!

Checking in with Richie the Elf

Richie our elf has been surprising, delighting, and entertaining our family!  Here are his latest antics:
Sippin’ syrup with Rapunzel, Richie’s latest crush 🙂
 Richie tucked in a doll bed (he was reading a book, but Sally took it)
 Tied up by those mean Lego guys (this one is all over the internet, maybe that’s where Richie got it from!)

 Just chilaxin’ in the freezer….and now wearing a blue scarf!
 Crape paper sabotage.  You can’t see Richie in the photo, but he is all tangled up in the red crape paper.
We made Richie some tiny spritz cookies and left him a little cup of milk. 
 Every night there is a note by Richie from one of the children – it is sooooo cute!  My children wake up early every morning to try and be the first to spot him.  How we love Richie!!