Monday, December 26, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

[celebrate] holiday house party

Our annual gingerbread-less house decorating party went great.  The decorating is the fun part, so we skip the mixing, cutting, baking and trying to get large pieces of gingerbread not to crack and end in disaster.  I use cardboard.  But not just any cardboard mind you, pouch juice cardboard.

My Jack renamed Capri-Suns pouch juices.  Our household goes through A LOT of pouch juice especially during the holidays when we are traveling a bunch.  The boxes that hold all of this pouch juice just happens to be a perfect size for a little house.  

1.  First open up then end flaps and side flap and flatten out the box.
2.  Using a case knife or craft knife cut the box in half so that you have two long rectangles.  You will cut through the side flap.  The end flaps that you generally open the box with will run along the top or bottom of your long rectangles.  
3.  Turn the rectangles inside out so that the printed part is on the inside and hot glue it at the long side flap that you opened up to get it flat in the first place.
4.  I used a large brownie box opened up and cut on the folds to make my roof.  You can use any cardboard of similar weight to your pouch juice box.  I just measured the end flaps (now the top) of the pouch juice square, cut the brownie box to size on either side of a fold and presto, roof.
5.  Now glue on the roof.  The side flaps are super helpful when it comes to gluing the roof in place.
6.  All that is left was to set the house on a square cake base and you are  ready for graham crackers, short bread cookies and lots and lots of candy.

The pouch juice boxes were recycled along with my brownie box and the cardboard cake bases were 4 for $2.50 at Hobby Lobby.  In years past I've used recycled cardboard for those too, but I love that they are nice a white.  Once you get the cutting done, assembly is a snap with some hot glue.  And you don't have to worry about these falling to pieces once the kids get to decorating.  

These were our finished products.  We may not end up winning any contests but I don't think anyone had more fun decorating them than we did.  

Caution:  Huge amounts of candy make it extremely difficult to get a picture of children sitting still.  Note Baby A is the only one remotely in focus thanks to the fact she is still only drinking milk.

[make] christmas treats

Before our Holiday House Party, the kids and I did a little "baking".  I had found some nutter butter reindeer and little marshmallow north poles on pinterest.  Here are our versions.

My little ones don't care for peppermint so we used red and white striped paper straws for our poles and dipped away.  These little north poles are super easy and I was surprised at house quickly we turned them out.  90 seconds for the almond bark to melt in the microwave and not much more for the kids to dip them in the candy coating and roll them in white sprinkles.

As for the reindeer, Nutter Butters covered in chocolate with pretzel antlers and red candy noses.  We used the icing eyes that I got from Bake It Pretty.  How cute are these little things and my three kids did everything besides heating up the chocolate.  The only problem we had were lots of noses went missing.

They were a huge hit at our Holiday House Party which is saying something considering all the candy competition.

Monday, December 19, 2011

[live] holiday house

This is the holiday house, no party, post.  A few of my decorations inspired by Pinterest and a woodland theme. Pine cone trees and tiny deer hiding in the moss:

A little fox:

And a woodland themed Christmas tree:

The little paper mouse is courtesy of my Jack, he knows how I like everything to match so he picked a brown mouse with red ears.  I didn't get to so many of the projects I had on my list, but there is always next year (and maybe a few more days until Christmas)!

[make] ornaments

I managed a few homemade ornaments this year.  Simple but really pretty.  The first is the simplest.  Remember the sweater pumpkins?  A tiny embroidery hoop plus some of the red sweater leftovers equals a super cute little Christmas "ball" perfect for my woodland tree.

A thrifted men's plaid shirt yields a different but equally cute version.  I didn't even hot glue them or put a string on them.  I just nestled them in the branches. Done.

The next was more involved but the concept just as simple.

Terrarium Ornaments:

1.  Gather up moss, plants, sticks, rocks, you name it.
2.  Get a clear glass (or plastic) ornament and remove the cap.  
3.  Start with soil, about two tablespoons will do it.
4.  Put your plant(s) in.   I used Creeping Jenny.
5.  Then add about the same amount of mulch as soil.
6.  Pack it all down with a cotton swap or chopstick.
7.  Start adding your moss.  You may need to add a little more mulch to even things out.
8.  Now the fun part, add sticks, berries, stones, beads or even tiny little ornaments.
9.  Add a little water to keep everything growing.
10. Use a cotton swab helps helps clean off the inside of the glass. 
11. Use a little twine to tie them on the tree.

All finished!

The kids helped me gather the plants, moss and mulch from our yard and we had the clear glass ornaments left over from Christmas's past so our craft was FREE!  We even packed a few up for teacher gifts with the caption "thanks for helping us grow".  A brown kraft box with some paper shreds kept them safe and sound for transport.

Now to see if we can sneak in a few others before Santa comes!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

[celebrate] holiday houses ...

It's time for our annual house party.

Now to pre-assemble houses and collect some candy! (Isn't the gnome so cute?  Thanks for the idea Amy!)