Sunday, December 20, 2015

Reindeer Games--Our Favorite Christmas Eve Tradition

I was looking for a way to make Christmas Eve full of fun and cheer. A way to get everything done that we wanted to fit in. A way to make it Christmas-y not just any-old-day fun (no swimming or bowling trips!).

Reindeer Games was born!

I printed out a lot of strips of paper that said "Reindeer Games," cut them out, and then on the back wrote various activities. Then all day long, we would pull off a strip and see what fun activity it would suggest for us. 

Some activities were extravagant, but some were simple.
Sometimes the strip would say "read a Christmas Story," or "sing Christmas songs." 
Sometimes the Reindeer was "take a bath!"

One of the more extravagant activities we did was make Christmas luminaries.

I printed out simple Christmas images, cut them out roughly, and then taped them to brown paper bags. To make the wholes, we used thumb tacks to go around the outline of the image. 

Here you can see the light shining through the holes. 

Probably everyone's favorite activity was making marshmallow catapults! So fun!!!

  Now I am planning our Reindeer Games for this year. It will include the classics like singing songs and coloring a Christmas picture, but I'm also looking into lots of fun minute-to-win-it games. 

Should be a great day!


Monday, December 14, 2015

Cinnamon Cookie Christmas Garland

I've been wanting to make some cinnamon cookie-looking ornaments for quite some time this. 
This year was the year!
Only, once I really thought about it, I thought a garland of little gingerbread men would be adorable and homey and Christmas-y and basically just perfect. So that's what we did: a gingerbread man garland for the Christmas tree.

I thought doing hearts with the gingerbread men would be sweet. I grew up remembering my mom's Christmas tree and how she always loved her gold heart garlands, so maybe I have a soft spot for hearts on Christmas trees. ;) 

I liked how it turned out though. I actually used 2 different sizes of hearts--a medium one (about 2 inches across) and a small one (about 1 inch across). So, the garland pattern went like this:
little heart, medium heart, little heart, gingerbread man

I debated quite a bit about which recipe to use, and in the end I did a double batch of the McCormick Cinnamon Ornaments. Only I did not use McCormick cinnamon--I bought the super cheap (super not-cinnamon) cinnamon at the store. I think I paid $0.84 per 2.34 oz bottle of it. 

The recipe is just cinnamon and applesauce. Then you roll it out like you would cookies, cut them out and bake them at a really low temperature for a few hours. 

To make the slits for the ribbon, I used a butter knife. 

Here is what they looked like before baking:

I am happy with how the turned out--nice and dark and cute on my tree! 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Holiday Cookie Spread

Cookie Time!!!

 I think cookies are truly THE MOST delicious of all baked goods. 

This picture is actually from last season from one of our Christmas parties. We went cookie crazy that season--I tried lots of different recipes, and loved every baking moment of it. :) Here are some that I made that season.

In this picture, from left to right:
Twix Cookies (I honestly wasn't that impressed with these cookies)
Molasses Cookies (can't believe I've never shared these on here before! Maybe someday...)

This year, rather than making tons of cookies, I'm thinking of going more the "candy" route--seeing if I can make chocolates and such. We'll see.

Here they again with individual pictures (and links) the recipes I posted here previously.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015