Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Tree

I hope everyone's Christmas was magical. We had a great time with the girls and now I am trying to avoid my intense urge to clean and organize everything. There are toys EVERYWHERE, but I am trying to hold on to the last few days of  pretty lights, decorations and Christmas music. I usually take everything down the day after New Years. I am already thinking of projects and Valentine's Day ideas to keep from that horrible let down feeling after the holidays are over. But for now....a little bit more Christmas.

I have always loved this tree that was in my parents yard and thought it would make the perfect Christmas tree one day. And then hurricane Sandy pulled it out of the ground and instead of throwing it out we tried it in our kitchen. But, it was extremely "pokey" and left spiders all over so we thought we would put it on our deck. I was really bummed we couldn't keep it in the house (it looked so perfect and smelled amazing.) But seeing it covered in snow like this is actually really perfect.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas

As usual I thought I was going to have much more to blog about this past month than I actually did. I tried to pack the calendar with all sorts of activities (parades, tree farms ,etc) for the kids in an attempt to make the most of the season. I started to realize pretty early on in the month that Claudia is just not at the age yet to enjoy most of the things that I had planned. So, I dialed back my expectations a bunch and have just been enjoying my days with the girls and my family. We did get to drive around looking at lights (which Claudia surprisingly loves), we met Santa a few times (Claudia is not a fan haha) and we even got to see a Christmas movie at a theatre for Maddie's pre-school party. It was the first time for both of the girls and they really enjoyed it. In the wake of the horrible, unimaginable tragedy that occurred in Newtown, I have been finding myself counting my blessings every day and trying to spend less time focusing on how stressful motherhood can be at times and  just really trying to be "in the moment" with my kids as much as possible. To just hug them and stare at them and get down on the floor and play with them.  They are at such a precious age and it goes by so fast. This picture reminds me of what my house has looked like for the majority of our December...

I decided this would be the year that I would try my hand with baking cookies and the girls and I have been loving it! Maddie has a special Santa apron that she wears while we're making cookies and we blast Christmas music in the kitchen (it helps the cookies taste better I think.)

I was really excited to finally learn how to make my grandmother's recipe for cherry butter cookies. Maddie enjoyed putting the cherries on and when they were done baking we dipped some in chocolate and some in raspberry jam and sprinkles. We can NOT stop eating them!

Claudia and Maddie really like to write down recipes in little notepads...just like Barefoot Contessa does.

Sometimes baking with kids can be more of a mess than a help, but I can actually say that Maddie was really helpful. She unwrapped all of these hershey's kisses for our peanut butter blossoms and cherry kiss cookies.

Sometimes all this baking can make you really tired and you just fall asleep on the kitchen floor.

Besides my Grandmother's cherry butter cookie recipe and my mother's chocolate raspberry truffle recipe I used only recipes that I found online that I thought would be fairly simple.
I made peanut butter blossoms, cherry kisses, butter pecan cookies, cake batter cookies, oreo truffles that I found on one of my favorite blogs Julia at Blissfully Content and egg nog truffles. P.s. If you are an egg nog fan you will LOVE these!!!!

So if you haven't already started baking, and you need some simple yet delicious recipes those are my recommendations.

We even made some "cookies" for our bird friends too!

 I hope that you are all enjoying the holiday season as much as we are. Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Decorations

I took a few moments while Claudia was napping to snap a couple shots of Christmas at my house this year.

 I chose two simple wreaths for the window this year as opposed to my "fruit-filled" ones from last year, which I used in my mirror and foyer window this year.

I love the way my hutch looks lit up at night with this simple garland. (Sorry for the empty plate wrack but all of my plates were in dish washer at the time I took this photo.)

I decided this is the year to start making Christmas cookies so Maddie and I have been practicing different recipes. More on that later....

I like this simple centerpiece for the kitchen table.

 My attempt at a hot chocolate station...
The picture above is this year's Christmas card.

 Our fireplace mantle.

I am still in love with my "tree in a bucket." I did add a new addition, the "Happy Holidays" ribbon which I am loving right now. I am not sure if it will make it back next year though.

This is Maddie's little Gingerbread town in her bedroom. Notice some of the candy missing from a certain house.....(Shaun and Maddie thought I wouldn't notice?) I'd like to add the trees from the last post to these houses.

That's all for now...sorry for the blurry pictures, but I thought if I got my tripod out Claudia would magically sense that I wanted to accomplish something and wake up from her nap. I hope to be back soon with some nighttime and outdoor shots.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Tree Project

Every morning when Maddie wakes up I love to hear what her first words of the day will be. She frantically slams her door open, runs to the balcony and yells something random and  adorable that always makes me smile. The other day she yelled, "Mom, I had a dream about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!!!!!!!!!!" I must admit I am LOVING her enthusiasm for this holiday season so to further encourage her we did a super easy Christmas project.

A few weeks ago Shaun bought us a gingerbread house kit that makes four adorable little houses. We put them together immediately and they are decorations in Maddie's bedroom. But I figured the houses could use some trees.

All you need are some ice cream cones, sprinkles/candy, and some icing.

Maddie went straight to work....

Claudia pretty much just had a little icing/eating party of her own. (I am always struggling trying to find activities that a 3 year old and a 17 month old can enjoy together..if you have any ideas let me know.)

I think the trees turned out adorable but I need to bring them up to Maddie's room ASAP because a little elf in our kitchen seems to keep eating the candies off of them.

So if you have a 3 year old and need a quick/easy Christmas project I recommend this one! Or if you have a 17 month old and don't mind a sugary mess in your kitchen, that can be kind of fun too!!!