Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree!

I'm sure many of you have your trees up already...but if you are still in the market and looking for something new, here's a few ideas!

We bought our tree a few years ago from TaiPan with the 25 percent off coupon they offer before Thanksgiving.  We paid around $250 for a 12 foot pre-lit tree which is a pretty good deal!

 I love the vintage Santas.  You can find them at most home decor stores for $15 to $30.  I have a few in my tree and they add so much character.  I use clear fishing wire and loop it around the head and feet and tie it to a secure branch on the tree.  Mine have always stayed put! 
 Don't be afraid to add larger, signature pieces to your tree!  I found these sleds for $5 each the year we bought our tree and I love them!  I also have mini wreaths, stockings and mittens on my tree.  Especially if you have a tall tree, larger items take up space and create areas to decorate around.

 Use oranaments of different shape, size and texture to add dimension to your tree.  Hobby Lobby has great prices on ornaments and lots of different ones to choose from.  That's where most of these shown are from.  Instead of evenly spreading ornaments around the tree, group three, five or seven ornaments together in clusters.

 Of course picks and bows are a great finishing touch.  My friend Stephanie taught me how to do these quick, cute bows...and all you do is shove them into the last empty spaces of the tree!  It's a great way to add color.  Below is a picture tutorial on how to make them (sadly, I dropped my camera halfway through and it's now broken...last two pictures are super blurry!)

Step 1...Make a loop with a decent amount of ribbon left out on the edge of the ribbon

 Step 2...Make another loop on the opposite side of the first loop, holding the center area
 Step 3...Going over the first two loops, make a third loop beneath the first loop and across and below the second loop
Step 4...Make a fourth and final loop across and above the third loop you've made.  Again, pinch the center of the bow the whole time to keep the shape.
Use flower or craft wire and wrap around the center of the bow.  Cut the other edge of the ribbon to desired length. 

To cover the wire in the middle, cut a small piece of ribbon, wrap around center area and hot glue to the back of the bow.  From there it's ready to use as decoration! 

So nice to have it decorated and ready for Santa's delivery!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The countdown is here!

We are SO excited for Christmas and to share with you what we love during this season.  To get things started, here's a fun idea for a countdown with your kids. 

These are 25 small paper bags (sold at Roberts) filled with little gifts for your kids to find each day.  Lisa hangs hers from twine on a kitchen wall...

...and I hang them from a wired tree.  However you display it, its a fun daily activity as you get closer to the big day!

These darling stickers from Country Loft in Lehi (288 E. Main Street) makes the decorating easy.  They are done and decorated...just stick on the bag!  Lisa got them last year and hopefully they are there again this year.

 I had bought a set of Christmas tags from Die Cuts with a View that I used to decorate my bags.  Any Christmas paper you have around will work!  I also just used number stickers from Roberts.

For the gifts inside, Dollar Tree has tons of cute little toys and activities that would also work great for stocking stuffers.  You also can't go wrong with the dollar bin at Target!  For the bigger items, I just put a little note in the bag to remind me which one they get that day.

We hope this inspires you to enjoy a fun new tradition with your kids too!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Lights!

 This post is a combination of doing it yourself, and hiring others to do what you can't or your husband won't.  Last year, Davy decided he would put Christmas lights on the house.  After climbing on our steep roof, he changed his mind and we called "Lights Up".  They are a local Lehi company and do a fantastic job.  They cut the lights so the peaks of your home are perfect.  Moreover, they let you pay 1/2 when they put the lights up, and the other 1/2 when they take them down.  They store the lights for you, so you don't have to find room.  Call Julie Adams today at 801-766-4222 today for a free estimate.  You and your husband will be glad you did!

Now for the part I do myself:  The Porch!  It's the perfect place for my Alpine trees and garland.  When we first got married, these trees were our "Christmas Tree."  Now, they are used on the porch.  For the garland, buy it at Target for $4.  Then buy a strand of 50 lights for $2.  Wear leather gloves to wind the lights through the garland.  (This saves your hands from becoming raw from fluffing the garland.) Pre-lit garland is nice but for half the price, you can do it yourself! 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pinecone Place Card Holders

 I loved the idea of using pinecone as placecard holders for your Thanksgiving Table.  I used cinnamon scented ones, but you could easily send the kids outside to gather their own.

I used the same pressed paper as used on the journal for the placecards.

Doesn't it make it look complete and oh so charming?  Thanks to NBC's show "Parenthood" for the idea!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In All Things Give Thanks

 This year, I wanted to add a tradition to help us remember what we have to be grateful for from the past year.  I found this quote from Thomas S. Monson and loved it.  I simply printed it on pressed scrapook paper that I've had for ages.  Glad I had it as its colors are perfect for Thanksgiving.

I picked up this photo album from Target for $6.99.  It has a spot for 2- 4x6 photos stacked on top of each other.  My thought was to take a picture of everyone at our Thanksgiving dinner this year.  I will also hand them a 4x6 card to write what they are thankful for this year.  Then, I will place their photo and handwritten card in the album.  We always go around the table and say what we're thankful for, but I never can remember what I said the previous year.  By doing this, we are journaling our families' grateful moments.  To affix the quote to the front, I used Elmer's Spray Adhesive.

It will definitely be going with us to Grammy Jill's this year!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Napkin, Napkin, I Need a Napkin

Target has all of their napkins and napkin rings on sale this week.  I found this one yesterday and thought it was the perfect color scheme to add to my table.

Cloth napkins are a must for any fancier table setting.  I got the four-pack for $7.19.  I loved how the green added a new color to my table.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Perfect Hostess Gift

I'm sure that most of us are headed to someone else's house this Thanksgiving for dinner.  And, do I have the perfect hostess gift for you to take: Your Own Vintage Cloth Bag!

I filled mine with my favorite hot cocoa.  What a great treat to give any hostess to say thanks for putting on the biggest dinner of the year!  Here's how to make your own:

Find any Thanksgiving themed towel.  I found mine on Etsy.  Flour sack cloth ones work best, but terry cloth can also work just fine.   Fold the towel in half and cut it to size. 
(7" wide by 14" tall.  Make sure to not cut the folded side.) Sew the 14" tall seam shut.

 To make the top hem, fold over and sew around.

 Fold over again and sew around.

 To sew the bottom hem, make sure your image is centered and sew shut on the wrong side of the fabric.  Flip the fabric to the right side, and voila: You have your own cloth bag!

 Fill a bread bag with your favorite cocoa, labeling the flavor.   If you feel extra ambitious, you can make your own.

Hot Cocoa:
5 cups dry milk powder
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer

Place inside cloth bag, tie with ribbon, and you have the perfect way to say thanks this Thanksgiving day!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Divine dinner rolls

I received this recipe from a nice woman at a family member's funeral.  I hadn't attempted homemade bread of any kind and was skeptical I could get them to turn out without a mixer.  Gladly I was wrong!  These are so delicious...here's what you need and how to do it:

1 cup water
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup cold water
2 (.25-ounce) packages yeast
1/2 cup warm water
4 eggs, beaten
7 1/2 cups flour
Butter for spreading on dough

How to...
In a 6-quart pan bring 1 cup water to a boil. 
Add 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, sugar and salt.  Remove from heat.  Add one cup cold water.
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water (NOT HOT!)
When first mixture is luke-warm, add yeast mixture and beaten eggs.  Stir briefly.
Add flour and stir together. 
Cover pan with lid and refrigerate overnight.

This is what it will look like in the morning
When ready to roll out, divide dough in thirds.
Lightly flour surface of bread board (or counter!).  You may need to add a little bit more flour to the dough here if it's too sticky.  Don't add too much or it will dry it out!
Roll each third out in a large circle about 1/2-inch thick (mine are always thinner!)

Spread dough lightly with butter.  Cut dough into wedges. (I get 16 out of each rolled out dough ball).  This works best with a round pizza cutter.

Roll each section up, beginning at the wide end to form a crescent shape.  Place on four greased baking sheets (about 12 rolls per sheet).  I must admit mine are never exactly the same size, but they all end up tasting the same in the end :)  Cover with saran wrap (sprayed with cooking spray) and let rise about 4 hours.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  (With my oven its 375 for 11 minutes.  Watch the first few batches to get the right time and temp).

Yields 3-4 dozen rolls depending on how big you make them.  We like them a little bit smaller because they end up a little bit denser.

I've been designated "roll maker" at Sunday dinner and now Thanksgiving dinner.  If you're not wanting that title, don't bring these to the table :) 

I hope everyone has an enjoyable, relaxing Thanksgiving week with their families...oh and I can't WAIT for Christmas!!!  We have lots of fun things to share.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cleaning tip for the holidays

Make your home guest-ready much quicker with the Shark steam mop.  This has completely changed my attitude about mopping.  Used to be my least favorite job and now it's near the top.  It's the best $60 you'll spend on a cleaning supply.  No cleaning solutions required.  It comes with 4-6 cleaning pads that you wash and reuse over and over.  Thanks Brooke and Raelene for introducing me to this great tool!

Make sure to check in tomorrow.  I was given an amazing roll recipe that can easily be done without a Kitchenaid or other mixer (which I don't own and caused me to shy away from making homemade bread for years!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The only way to eat yams

Trust me...these are the BEST yams.  And it might sound weird, but the caramely sauce is a great thing to dip a roll in :)


1 large can Princella yams
1/2 - 3/4 cups brown sugar (to make the caramel sauce thicker, add 3/4 cup sugar)
1/4 cup butter
2 Tablespoons Karo syrup
1 Tablespoon whipping cream
Small marshmallows

To make...

Melt butter in saucepan, add brown sugar.
Add Karo syrup and whipping cream, stir to a slight boil.
Drain yams VERY well, cut into smaller pieces and place in 9x9 dish.
Pour sauce over yams.
Cover and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
Take out, cover with marshmallows and broil for 1 minute, watching constanty so the mallows don't burn.

This serving size feeds about six people.  Let me know what you think after Thanksgiving dinner!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pilgrim Puppets

If you're needing something to decorate the kids' Thanksgiving table with, let them help you make these...

I found this idea on kaboose.com.  Here's how to do it:

  • White, brown, black and yellow paper
  • Two short cardboard tubes
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Peach and pink crayons
  • Black marker
  • This pattern
How to...

1.  Color 2"x6" inch section of white paper with peach crayon.  Cut in half so you have 2 2"x3" pieces. 
2.  Glue the peach strips (long way) to the top of the cardboard tubes.  This will be the face.
3.  Cover the remainder of the tubes black (man) and brown (woman), overlapping the peach a little bit.
4.  Cut two collars from white construction paper using pattern.  Wrap around top of shirt and glue in place.
5.  Cut woman's hair from yellow construction paper using pattern.  Cut man's hair from brown construction paper, about the same size as woman's hair. Wrap around and glue to the top part of tube, covering the top of the peach paper.
6.  Cut hat from black paper and bonnet from white paper using patterns.  Cut a small strip of brown for the hat band, cut small strips of white for the buckle and glue together.  Glue hat and bonnet to heads.
7.  Color rosy cheeks with pink crayon.
8.  Use black marker to add eyes and mouth.
9.  Your puppets are ready to play with!

Monday, November 15, 2010

fun find...christmas picks

Christmas picks are one of my favorite things to decorate with!  They are all 50 percent off at Hobby Lobby right now!  Some that I bought were only .64 each! 

 Top two were .64 each!  These are great to put with anything Christmas!

 These two were $1 each.  The sparkly picks look so great with the lights in a Christmas tree!
 This one was $2.97 at TaiPan, but I thought it was worth it.  They are a bunch of little ornaments and it would work great in a garland or to stick on a table with decorations.

Quite a few Christmas items are also 50 percent off at Hobby Lobby including ribbon!  I loved this one and I'm SO excited to put my front porch decor together using this ribbon...can't wait to share what I'm doing!  When buying ribbon for decorating, always buy wired ribbon...it works so much better!

This is a fun time to shop for all your Christmas decor in anticipation of the day after Thanksgiving when it all gets to go up!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Delicious Fall Dinner

Davy loves navajo tacos.  They are a super easy and delicious dinner.  With the scone on bottom, add chili on top with lettuce, cheese, olives, salsa, ranch dressing, whatever you like!

 For the "chili", brown 1lb burger with 1 taco seasoning packet, drain grease.  Add 1 packet of Ranch dressing mix, 1 can tomato sauce, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can refried beans, 1 can black beans, 1 can pinto beans, and 1 can corn.

 For the scones, go to Maceys, Kohlers, or Fresh Market and purchase Honeyville Scone Mix.  It is the best.  It's on the breakfast aisle by the pancake mix.  Follow the directions on back.

 Make sure your water is warm for your yeast.  A little trick is to sprinkle a little bit of sugar on the top to help "wet" the yeast.  You can also stir it with a fork and let sit for 10mins.  It should rise to between the 1 1/4 cup to 1 1/2 cup mark.

 Add the yeast mixture to the mix and stir with a fork.  Then just pick up and knead with your hands until it becomes elastic and smooth.  Cover and let rest for 20 mins.

This is the best trick for getting flour to stick.  Wipe your cupboard with a damp cloth, sprinkle flour, and then smooth with your hand.  It leaves the perfect amount for you to place your dough on.

 Roll out to 1/4" thick and cut with small bowl.

Fry til golden brown. I love my Fry Daddy.  It is perfect for scones, donuts, fries, etc.  I always make enough to have a dessert scone with honey butter.  (See recipe at the bottom)

This is also my favorite scraper.  It came as a bottom attachment for my cheese grater, but works perfectly for scraping the flour from the counter. 

Here's the best recipe for honey butter:
1 1/2c honey 
1/2 stick butter at room temp
1 7oz jar of marshmallow creme

Whip the honey til cloudy, add butter, then add marshmallow creme.