Sunday, December 20, 2015

My new Christmas decor finds and crafts.

Of all the holidays, Christmas is my favorite to decorate for. I truly believe it is a magical time. Not just because all the kids are excited for their Elf on the Shelf to fly and make mischief while they sleep, and not just because of Santa Claus and his reindeer. I love Christmastime, because I feel a greater sense of love, and peace, and giving all around me. And it feels magical. I guess that's why I love to make my home feel magical, too.

For years now, I've decorated in mainly red and green. I love the traditional colors of the holiday and all they represent. But, I fell in love with a few items I saw this year that were a range of colors. I had to get them. These trees from Target were my favorite find. I bought them on sale, and I love them!!
 It's hard to see, but I also bought the white ball and jingle bell garland from Target to pin our Christmas cards to. I use small clothespins to pin them on.
 And then, I saw the mini trees and had to buy them, too. They were lonely without their mamas and papas.
 And this garland from West Elm was my other splurge this season. Isn't it so fun?!
I strung it across my hutch with some of the baby trees in there, too.
 Because I have a thing with colors matching, I made sure to place my baby trees by colors in the garland that matched. So, the dark blue, yellow and orange trees are by the "M", "E", and "R", the pink trees are by the pink "S", and the aqua trees are by the "T" and "M". I know; I'm kinda crazy.
My kids helped to make this cute little wooden sticker nativity last year, but I had to share a pic of it. Isn't it so sweet?!
My sis-in-law had a really fun crafting day at her house. She had all the supplies, and we got to choose what we wanted to make. I made this cute glittered reindeer and this "Merry & Bright" sign, too.
 I love how they turned out.
And surprisingly they weren't that hard to do. A little paint, glue, and glitter, and voila!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Teacher Christmas gift.

Avery's preschool teacher is so amazing. Not only is she an incredible teacher, but she is also a dear friend to me. I wanted to do a little something for her for Christmas. I love to do gifts that are color coordinated. This was what I came up with for her in reds.
Included is:
Raspberry Sparkling Ice drink
Small red cranberry candle
red "Wish" ornament from Target
set of small red whisks from Target
Lindt pomegranate chocolate bar

I found the cute red candy cane basket at Target, and the tag is also from Target. I hope she likes it!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Recipe Share: My Mom's Banana Bread

Since it's coming upon Christmas, I'm going to share my mom's wonderful banana bread recipe. I usually make it as muffins, but she always did it as loaves of bread and gave it away to our neighbors. Either way, it is divine, and Christmas isn't the same without it. Enjoy!

MOM'S BANANA BREAD

Ingredients:
2 C. flour
1 C. sugar
3 eggs
3/4 C. oil
2 C. mashed bananas (can also use grated carrots or apples)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts are good)
(I sometimes add a few chocolate chips to the tops of my muffins for extra ooey gooey goodness) 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Pour into well-greased loaf pans (or muffin pans or mini muffin pans - I use a melon baller scoop if making mini muffins). Top with a few chocolate chips, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (if using loaf pans) or about 15-20 minutes for muffins. If doing mini muffins, I'd do between 12-15 minutes. (That may not be the exact time -- I just eyeball it -- when they start looking brown on top, they're done.) Serves 12.

Oh, and I'll even share with you all what my mom's secret is to making them extra moist and good... she lets her bananas get overripe and then freezes them. When you want to make the bread, place the frozen bananas in a bowl of water to thaw. When thawed, measure them out and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Doing this really makes a huge difference in how good the bread tastes.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Neighbor Holiday Gift.

I always like to give my friends and neighbors a little gift for the holidays. This year, I went to pinterest for ideas, and I was so excited when I found this idea there! I liked that I wasn't giving sweets, as we all eat way too many over the holidays, and I also liked that it was fairly easy to put together. 
Here's what's in each bag: 
(You could also put these items in a cute mason jar too. I wanted to spend as little money as possible, so I opted for bags.)
1/3 cup fresh cranberries
1 orange
4 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

There is a printable tag online similar to this one my sis designed for me. I, of course, like hers more. 
Tie up your bag with cute twine, attach your tag, and deliver away! Your neighbors and friends will love this gift.