Love is what Christmas is all about

This blog post is written by Laura LeClaire


The title of this blog post appears on a decorative plate my mom gave me several Christmases ago. It’s one of my favourite decorations and often the first one on display this time of year.
What I love most about the holiday season are all the family traditions we’ve created with our boys over the last 21 years.
A more recent tradition for me is gifting the students I work with each year. (I love my job and can’t believe I get paid to do what I do!!)
I like to make the gifts for my students and have so much fun doing so. This year, was no exception. The one thing that was different this time though was that I wasn’t up till midnight the night before getting them done (I like to think I work better under pressure and often put it to the test lol)
For my first graders this year, I made them each a snowman mug. Thanks to good ol’ Pinterest for the idea :)
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Started out by drawing the faces on white mugs with regular Sharpie markers,
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Added a personal touch to the bottom, then into the oven they went. Here’s where I was a little unsure of the process. Several “pins” gave mixed reviews on which temp was best. Some said 350′ for 30 minutes but eh Sharpie wiped off. Others said 425′ for 30 minutes and the drawings stayed. So, I decided to try the latter option. Well, I’m not sure if the cups started to cook or if the smoke from something burning on the bottom of the oven [yes, it's dirty...the maid is on vacation ;)] but the mugs came out looking like a toasted marshmallow…I was a little bummed out but tried to convince myself that snow isn’t always pure white. I’m not sure why, but I decided to try a magic eraser on them to see if I could wipe the discolouration off and it worked. An hour and fifteen minutes later, they were white again and only a couple of faces lightly faded (this gives me hope the marker won’t come off with regular washing).
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While the mugs were baking, I put one extra large jumbo marshmallow on a lollipop stick and decided to drizzle green and red melting chocolate over them. I wasn’t happy with the way the green drizzled (or lack thereof) so decided I’d just put hot chocolate packages in the mugs and call it done. Until I had a lightbulb moment (due to not being able to shake the disappointment in not including the fun jumbo marshmallows) and decided to cut the green chocolate off and use the sticky inside of the marshmallow to dip into sprinkles…worked like a charm. I did use the extra green chocolate to whip up these cute trees…my 13 year old kept asking when we could eat them!
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Here’s the final version of my class gift this year.
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I placed each one in a brown paper bag, folded a doily in half and addressed them (left off the students names for the pic but added them in green Sharpie after)
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A family tradition is leaving homemade Oreo’s and coke for Santa…on the same plate my mom made the boys in 1997 and in the same glass boot cup I used to leave milk in for Santa.
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I love that the boys still do this even though they are 21,17,15 and 13 (my 13 yr old still appears to believe and the others continue to go along with it for his sake).

Should you want to try these moist and yummy cookies yourself, here is the recipe:

3 boxes of Devil’s food cake mix
6 eggs
1 cup of oil
Preheat oven to 350?
Mix all together…it will be a stiff dough
Use a teaspoon amount to shape into a ball (I use a small cookie scoop from pampered chef)
Bake for 8 minutes only
Remove and cool

Sandwich 2 cookies together with cream cheese icing.

Now I need to make ours as my 17yr old has been asking for 3 weeks when the Oreo’s will be ready :)

May each of you take time to appreciate the many little gifts of Christmas.

Posted under Guest Designers

This post was written by Lori on December 22, 2014

All That Glitters is Gold

Happy Sunday, everyone!  I’m excited to be back to show you all a few things I have put together to use as Christmas gift add-ons for some family members.  If you look around at the newest scrapbooking ‘trends’ right now, gold is huge.  Gold is everywhere!!!  So I went on over to my local hardware store, and I picked up a can of gold spray paint.  I made sure to get the one that adheres to wood/fabric/metal… just so all of my bases were covered, no matter what I decided to work on.

First off, there is this plain jane chipboard base style frame.  Pretty boring on it’s own, but oh what that gold spraypaint can do!!!

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I then threw a cut out paper inside, with the word ‘beautiful’ on it, and added the other words with sticker letters…  Added a few ‘photo corners’ on the frame, and some flowers.  This gift will be given to my beautiful daughter to put up in her room, hopefully she will take the message to heart!!
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And the second item that I played around with was this little canvas and stand from the dollar store.

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You can’t see the difference in the spraypainted one and non-spraypainted one too intensely until you look at the hardware holding it together.  I think having it ALL spraypainted gold really makes it look more solid.blog5

I then took some lasered edge chipboard from the store, and coated it with gold too!  What the heck!  Adhered it to the front of the easel, and added a few stickles on each side of the saying.blog7

I also covered the actual canvas in gold.  Darcy is lucky that my whole house isn’t sprayed in gold paint right now….. lol  The white canvas just didn’t go well with the easel after I painted it, and didn’t really go with the picture and paper color I wanted to use, either.

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So there you have it!  2 beautiful homemade gifts that don’t really cost too much, have some personal touches on them, and have one of the hottest trends around, and that is GOLD!!!!!!blog9

And since Lori has been putting some awesome recipes on here lately, I thought I would add one of my own favorites!

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Chocolate Krinkle Cookies (aka Chelsea’s Chocolate Cookies)

2 cups plus 2tbsp flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 & 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temp.
2 cups sugar, plus extra for dipping
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and set aside.
Beat butter and sugar about 2 minutes, add eggs and vanilla.
Combine this with flour mixture (will be soft and may seem too soft for cookie dough)
Form into a disc on saran wrap, wrap it up and put in fridge to chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350, roll out into 1.5″ balls and roll around in sugar, place on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. (I do 10)

When you take them out they won’t look cooked, but they are… they will flatten out and be all awesomely chewy when they cool down… don’t overcook or they will be crispy.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!!!  Enjoy the presence of those around you, because in the end that is what matters the most.

Posted under Guest Designers

This post was written by Chelsea on December 21, 2014


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