Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Rewind

YAY for holiday rewinds! I always get sad when Christmas ends. I just heart this season so much! I hate taking down my decorations, I hate putting presents away, and I hate the end of sweets and big dinner leftovers... Well, my MIL is coming into town for Christmas today so guess what?! Christmas isn't over! I don't have to be sad! I get another day to hear the joyous tearing of wrapping paper and I know she'll love her gift, I smell an excuse to bake something... :)

Seriously, hubs and I were discussing this year and we both felt, for the first time *like* ever, we got to ENJOY the holiday.  I was lucky enough to not have to buy for anyone - hubs took care of it all!  If you have never handed over the gift buying responsibility - DO IT! Even if it means making a shopping list and sending pictures of the items just so you can tackle something else - DO IT! I didn't have to make a list.. Hubs is big on buying people what they want so, everyone was happy.

I planned the munchkin's gifts and he (happily) bought them all... I did get some small things here-n-there (the pup got a new boat bed... which was originally $100 but I got it on sale for $8, real live bake set and a cleaning set for munch's playhouse) but, for the most part, he handled the rest. How awesome is that?! Well, anyways, with the gifts off of my list, I got to enjoy decorating the house and I planned some pretty awesome crafts for the munchkin... I still didn't mail cards but I DID get some pretty ones and think, NEXT YEAR IS THE YEAR (who am I kidding?)... So, some crafts made this holiday season (pics coming soon) were:

1. Ice Cream cone Christmas trees: Requires: ice cream cones, holiday green icing, M&Ms, sprinkles, marshmallows and a plastic knife.  Flip the cones upside down on a mini cookie sheet and cover with icing.  Use the knife to spread it out.  Decorate the "trees" with toppings... Zion made 3 trees then covered the cookie sheet with marshmallow snow...

2. Christmas Light goodie bags: requires lunch bags, 1 potato, paint ($1 paint in the craft section), black permanent marker. Cut the potato in half. Shape the half to look like a light bulb.  Dip the potato 1 color and dot each bag with that color (i.e. put red "bulbs" on each bag), rinse the potato then do the same for the other colors. Once dry, use the marker to make the base and spiraling cord... It made for the perfect goodie bag for our family desserts.

3. Reindeer Chow: In the off-season this makes a great party snack... I love BAKERELLA and she has an awesome recipe (and name) for this quick treat.  Background info: While in Goodwill, I purchased a cute little baggie that says "Reindeer Treats" and hung it on the back of our front door.  I told Zion that, because Santa gets cookies everywhere, we would give him something for his reindeer and, who knows, maybe he'll leave something extra in her stocking. Her response: "O mommy, I'd love to get some lip gloss like you have in my stocking." So, I pulled the recipe and we got to work... I love my Wilton Chocolate melter...it's like a mini crockpot for chocolate...no burning, minimal stirring...Anyways, the recipe requires: 5 cups Chex (I bought corn) cereal, 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 box powder sugar, 1 cup peanut butter.  Bakerella has much better images than I ever could've captured... Check it out here.  We put it in a baggie with a bow and Zion put it in the bag.  We have 2 trees and Gramma and Pop-Pop brought their gifts to the first tree upstairs, she opened them and then asked if Santa got her gifts too... "O, well, check the reindeer bag to see if he came and it's empty..." She peeked then yelled, "it's empty, IT'S EMPTY!" Well, of course we had to run to the other tree to find the gifts! It's the little things I tellya.

4. Sugar High Sandwich Cookies: Semi-Homemade Tabby Keese *singing like Sandra Lee's commercials*  Well, I SO wanted the Christmas tree sugar cookies that come pretty much slice-n-bake ready but I swear either they aren't made any more OR they sold out... NOT that I didn't search...in my rush shopping trips to Super Wal-Mart and Shoppers... Anyways, I bought the pack sugar cookies and when they were done, I put some icing in the middle and rolled them in sprinkles... Hubby was on a sugar high after one bite, thus the name...Might be too sweet for some people's taste but me? I likey mucho :)

5. Easy Breezy Beautiful Bark: Requires, I pack of milk chocolate bark or light coco candy melts, semi-sweet choc chips, and a party nut mix... Melt the bark or candy melts in your fancy pants Wilton Chocolate maker.  Pour melted chocolate into a wax paper-lined cookie sheet.   Sprinkle party nuts onto chocolate. I try to make sure every bite has some nuts on it.  lightly sprinkle the chocolate chips on the mixture.  I gently press the toppings down so that as the chocolate cools, the goodies set in place.  Drizzle some remaining chocolate on top. Refrigerate 30 minutes.  Lift wax paper to loosen the mold a little.  Break (or cut) the bark. Place in container for giving or saving.

We gave each of our family members a "lightbulb bag with little Mason jars (decorated with ribbon and a scrapbooking sticker) filled with the goodies... The best part was hearing Hubs describe (braggingly) how delicious everything was...  A busy but tasty holiday and all of these things were done... My amazing office Martha Stewart, Suz, bakes for like 2 weeks straight and gives fabulous tins of print-worthy delicacies... seriously, her treats should be models... they're like the Cindy Crawfords of cookies... SHE IS AMAZING and maybe I'm kissing up to remain on her DISTRO list for next year's batch :)...

I may not be fancy pants like Suz but I'm proud of my goodie jars and I made mine on my timeframe - 1 night! I'm tellin' ya, categorize and CONQUER!

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