Friday, December 23, 2011

Salty, Crafty, and Sweet {Bottle Cap Magnets, Paint Swatch Garland, and Stockings}

Our last craft.  I'm glad this one was as simple as it looks, it being Christmas Eve Eve and all.
Sparkly and festive.

This is what you need to buy.

This is the paper we chose to use, although it says to use wrapping paper scraps.

I traced the bottle caps for the boys.

And they cut them out.

And glued them.

They wrapped some for presents.  These were the extras we stuck on the fridge.  
Easy Breezy.  And wouldn't they be cute for Valentine's Day, too?

While the kids worked on their crafts, I made one of my own using these materials.
All I had to buy was needle and thread (I used cross stitch thread, dividing it into 3 strings instead of 6).
The paint swatches were compliments of Home Depot.

Tie a knot at the end and string them together.

I added the garland to the mantle.

Aren't my stockings amazing?  The best part is that my grandmother made them.

This one was made for me when I was a baby.  More years ago than I'd like to admit.

Nathan's currently her youngest great grandchild.  She has knit 30 of these over the years.

Thank you, GiGi.  We treasure them.  They're my favorite part about opening up the Christmas box.

Inspiration for magnets here.
Inspiration for garland here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Salty, Crafty, and Sweet {Cranberry Salsa}

I had this salsa at a family gathering a couple of Christmas's past and stashed the recipe away.  This is the first time I've made it since and I'm so glad I did.  We are having a couple families over tomorrow night for Mexican food, and this is will be the perfect appetizer.
Especially with these Christmas chips.

It even looks pretty in the food processor.

And the cilantro gives it an extra holiday flare.

Cranberry Salsa 
12 oz bag cranberries
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut in eighths
1/2 red bell pepper, but into large chunks
1/2 medium red onion
3/4 cup sugar (I only used 1/2 cup and it was plenty sweet.  I may use 1/4 cup next time)
1/3 cup apple juice
3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. chopped pickled jalapeno
1 tsp. grated lime vest

Put cranberries, apple, red pepper, and onion in food processor.  Pulse until chopped.  Transfer to large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Salty, Crafty, and Sweet {Andes Mint Cookies}

Yum!  That's all I've got to say.  You may remember from last year that we are big fans of chocolate mint things around here, and this recipe is a winner.  My friend from college, Heather, made these and I saw them on instagram.  They looked delicious, and I knew I must make them.  She was kind enough to email me the recipe, even during this busy month of December.

Aren't they pretty?

You start by slicing Andes mints in half.

They should look like this when you take them from the oven.

Place the mint on top of the cookie when it's fresh from the oven.

Spread it when it's all melty.

Give them to all the men (big and small) in your life and they will love you.

And to your neighbors, too!

In other news, the older 3 had their Christmas recital at a retirement home this weekend.
See them on the couch on the right.

Samuel had to play first.  He looks a little tense, but he played great.

Dressed up in our Christmas colors.  It was a lovely way to do a Christmas concert.  Such sweet people, and our boys so enjoyed working the room after the concert.

Just one more week of Salty, Crafty and Sweet.  
I can't believe it's less than a week until Christmas.  I have to admit, I'm not quite done with my shopping.  I will be out there with the masses this week.
The recipe...

Andes Mint Cookies
3/4 cup butter softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 T water
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 salt
Andes mints cut in half

Cook butter, sugar, and water in a saucepan stirring until melted.  Remove from heart.  Immediately stir in chocolate chips until melted.  Pour into a mixing bowl and let cool about 10 minutes.  Add eggs, and beat at medium speed until mixed.  Add all the dry ingredients.  Chill dough for 1 hour.  Line baking sheets with aluminum foil.  Roll in walnut-sized balls.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Place 1/2 Andes mint on each cookie.  Swirl candies with a knife before removing from cookie sheet.
Makes 4-5 dozen.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Salty, Crafty, and Sweet {Snowflake Wreath}

We had friends over for our Craft Day.  Such a treat.  Krista is one of my dearest friends.  I first met her when Graham was about three months old and her beautiful daughter, Julia, was two months old.  Having babies at the same time was bonding.  If you haven't read her blog, you should.  It's amazing.  Especially this post.

Yesterday, we made these.
Not bad for a craft made from popsicle sticks, glitter, and paint.

Basically, you paint popsicle sticks and wood circles.  Then sprinkle glitter on while the paint is wet.

Assemble with a glue gun.  It's best to do this upside-down.

We were also graced with Hunter's company.  She is Krista's niece, and I now know why she likes her so much.  I was impressed with her patience, her willingness to be with us, and that she had fun crafting with seven kids.  Thank you, Hunter.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much all the kids liked the monotony of this craft.  You had to paint
 a lot of popsicle sticks.  And it took some time.  They didn't complain.

We made these molasses crinkles as our snack.

Listened to Christmas music and painted.

Enjoyed our snack of cookies and hot chocolate on a rainy, dreary day.

Didn't they do a good job?

Thanks, friends, for joining us today for Craft Day.
Let's make it a tradition.

The Details
We had fun building these.  But here are a few things you should know before you try it.
First, they are BIG.  You'll need the entire table while you glue.  That was a little tricky with 6 kids.  We had to take turns.  
Second, the only person who had patience for the gluing was Julia.  The boys were a little overwhelmed that you had to be so careful so we ended up doing it for them.  
Third, it really does take quite a bit of paint.  I under estimated how much paint was needed.  I bought 3 bottles and needed every last drop.  And didn't paint the back of our sticks like per the instructions.
Fourth, taping paper down to the table is a must.  I did this as an afterthought, and I'm so glad I did.  
Fifth, be prepared for a light dusting of glitter throughout your house.  But, hey, it's Christmas.  I just choose to think festive. 

Supply List
glue gun
jumbo popsicle sticks
white glitter
white craft paint
wood circles (small, medium, and large)

All of these things can be found at your local craft store.
Oh, and the inspiration is from here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Most Thoughtful Gift

An unexpected birthday gift arrived in the mail last week.  It's one of the most thoughtful gifts I've ever received.

As you may remember from this post, I had an early miscarriage last fall (2010).  I also had another this spring.  My due dates would have been last June and mid-December, right about now.  Both miscarriages were early.  I'm grateful that they didn't involve any medical intervention.  And I'm extra grateful for words of comfort and truth from Scripture.  Nevertheless, I'm still aware that I should be snuggling a newborn right now, or have a six month old.  I passed a mom in Central Market today who had a newborn in a sling.  It's moments like that.  They happen all of a sudden.  And it's all I can do to stop myself from walking up to her and telling her that I should have a baby too.

Back to the gift.

This is the necklace I already had.

This is the card I received.

And this is my new necklace.

It's a perfect addition to my Mommy necklace.  It now feels complete.  
Thank you, Niki.

Necklace from The Vintage Pearl

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Salty Crafty, and Sweet {Christmas Chex Mix}

We made some Christmas Chex Mix on Monday for our salty snack.  I don't know if any of you are card playing families, but this would be an excellent snack to have prepared for family game night.  It's festive.  It's easy.  And it has just enough sweet in it that you may not have to get up for a Christmas cookie.

First we made Chex Mix.  In the oven.  It's the only way to make it.  It takes about an hour with stirring, but well worth not buying it in the bag.  Recipe is on the back of the box.

Graham stirring the salty goodness at the bottom.

Then Samuel stirring in the other stuff.

Lay it on a paper towel to cool.

Joseph and I added the rest of the goodness to the mix, which are as follows.
Christmas candy corn (found at Central Market)
popcorn, freshly popped
Honeycomb cereal
M & M's (red and green, of course)
Goldfish in holiday shapes (found at Target)

Then we bagged it up and delivered it around town.
That is, after we all snacked on it ourselves.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Crafty, Salty, and Sweet {Almond Poppyseed Bread}

After a very busy Friday, and Saturday morning, we finally got around to making our Friday sweet on Saturday night.
We made this, well, because I was craving it.  
I hate to pat myself on the back, but this bread was amazing.  Chris took a bite and said, "This is delicious."  Then he wouldn't let me deliver all of it to the neighbors, just a few loaves.

But first here's a weekend recap.
It started out with the dentist at 8:30 am with all the boys.  Thank goodness for electronics.

Then we had some friends over for the day.  There was lots of legos and backyard football.

This was the only time they sat still.  It took kettle corn and a movie to make everyone have a quiet moment.  There were 8 boys in our house.

Then Saturday morning, Graham and Asher played at a hymn festival.
Aren't they handsome?
Sorry about the text.  I was playing around with app, phonto.  It puts text on your phone pics.

Then we ran all around town.  I think we wore Cry Cry out.  He crashed when we got home.

I made the bread.

And the cards.

When we went to deliver the sweet, we ended up in our neighbor's house playing our recital songs for the second time that day.

I love how music is a language for both young and old.  
This sweet couple in our neighborhood invited us in.  We sat for about 20 minutes, and they told us about Christmases when they were young.  We gave them a very small gift of bread, and they blessed us with their company and stories.

The recipe for this bread is here.

Today, we are extra excited for our salty snack.
And for craft day, the kids will be thrilled to find out some friends are joining in.
It's going to be a fun week!