Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Our December

OK, so I thought I would blog my way through December.  It being such a crafty and kitcheny (yes, I know that's not a real word) time of year.  Unfortunately with all the hustle and never ending bustle, I just didn't get it all together enough to meet the goal.
I thought for my journey back into blog land, I would recap the past of month with my favorite moments of holiday bliss.

We kicked off the season of merriment with a visit to see Santa. This was our first year to do this, but it's definately on top of the list for next year.  The look of complete amazement on the little ones faces actually getting to meet the big guy was a joy to watch.

Our next stop was the Build a Bear Workshop.  I, now understand why this is such a popular attraction to the kiddies.  The pure sweetness of it all had me fighting the urge to grab one of those stuffed cuties and build my own bear!

My kids walked out with two new additions to thier furry family, Bengal Bear and Holly.

We had lots of cooking adventures in December too.  One of my favs was our first try at making a popcorn cake.  The hubby had this at a work party last year and has raved about it ever since, so I thought I would surprise him and give it a try.

It wasn't very hard to make, quite messy and very yummy.  I mean, popcorn, candy, and marshmallow....how can it be bad right??

1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

4 quarts popped popcorn (16 cups - plain, unsalted, and unbuttered)
2 cups M&M candies
1 cup cocktail peanuts (lightly salted)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 pound marshmallows (mini or regular)

Cooking Directions

Grease a large tube or bundt cake pan with 2 teaspoons of the oil. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix the popped corn with the M & Ms and the peanuts.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter, oil, and marshmallows over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When melted, pour over the popcorn mixture, and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared cake pan, pressing down to fit. Cover with aluminum foil to keep moist.

Let sit for 3 to 4 hours, or until firm and set.

To serve, invert the cake pan onto a large plate or platter. Shake gently to release.

Serve at room temperature.

The great thing about this cake is that it's not just for Christmas.  You can make it for any holiday thanks to M&M's they sell in various holiday colors (valentine, easter, etc.) or just about anytime.

Another fun night was teaching my kids to make chocolate lollipops.  We make a bunch for him to take to school and pass out to his friends.

Super simple:  A couple of chocolate lolipop molds (we found ours at Michaels Craft Store or look online)

A bag of chocolate melts (my son picked white chocolate with sprinkles in it)

A bag of lolipop sticks

Melt your choco melts in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave.  I start it at a minute, take it out, stir it and then at 30 second intrevals

Once you get it all melted, spoon it into the molds.  Tap them periodically to remove any air bubbles.  Slide in a stick and put it in the fridge for about an hour to set.

I got a box of regular sandwich bags and just slide one over each pop and tied with some curling ribbon.

My biggest craft project this year was making clothespin magnets for all of my son's teachers.  Seven sets of five each.

If you need a nice present in a large quanity, clothespin magnets are where it's at.  I got a pack of 50 clothespins at Walmart for a buck and a half.  Some scraps of scrapbook paper or wrapping paper, something with a small design works best, some glue and magnets. 

Just break apart one of your clothespins to use as a template, and trace on to the paper.  Cut it out and glue it to the top of the clothespin.  Decorate with some ribbon or sequins or buttons, whatever you have on hand and glue a magnet to the back. Cute, easy and inexpensive.  My kind of craft!!

I packed them in some brown paper bags. I bought a pack of 50 at the Dollar store.  Cut out some snowman pictures from a roll of wrapping paper and glued them to the front of the bag and then tied them closed with some curling ribbon at the top.

For now my tree is still up. I don't have the heart to take it down yet.  I just know looking at that empty spot where it stood is going to send me into a round of the after Christmas Blues.   It was an amazing month filled with all the good stuff that should come with such a wonderous time of year, made it all the more special sharing all these fantastic moments with the ones I love most in this world..my family.

On with January......

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