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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Last Minute Christmas Treats

As I have mentioned before, this December has been a little unexpected.  Because of that, I have done ZERO holiday baking.  But we did have one last Christmas Party Thursday night that I needed to take something sweet.  Since Miller has been begging and begging for me to make the Peppermint Popcorn since Christmas last year, I thought it would be a perfect, easy treat to make for Ella's dance Christmas Party.
However, I made a little change... As if it was not easy enough to make, I made it even easier.  Instead of crushing candy canes and adding them to the white chocolate, I used candy cane Hershey Kisses!

It is this simple...

Unwrap one bag of candy cane Hershey Kisses and put in a microwave safe bowl.  
Microwave for a total of 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.

Pour melted chocolate over one bag of popped popcorn.  Then, stir and stir and stir until all popcorn is coated.

Do not forget to spread out popcorn on wax paper to let it get hard (I did not have time to do this before the party so I just had to break it apart with a fork once I got to the party - not ideal).

All day, Miller could hardly wait to have some of his very favorite Peppermint Popcorn.  His first comment when he saw it was, "it is not supposed to be red, it is supposed to be white."  What a memory!  Miller is very much like his Momma, does not do well with change.  It only took one bite to make him realize that the red Peppermint Popcorn is just as good as white Peppermint Popcorn.
see the little head peering in, dying to have a taste!

I think Sara Wells was even more excited about Ella's dance Christmas party than Ella (if that is possible).  
Oh my sweet girl, how did you get so big???

The biggest challenge you will face making this popcorn is not eating it all in one sitting.  I will confess, the kids did finish off the popcorn for their breakfast!  It is Christmas Break right?  Doesn't that make it okay to eat chocolate covered popcorn for breakfast ok?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Tree Ornaments

If you have little ones, they are probably now at home running around the house going crazy because they are so excited about Christmas!  I usually try to have a few fun "Christmasy" things to do with the kids to channel that energy into something productive (code for: disrupt the normal activity of pulling out every toy, every article of clothing and every article of dress up clothes and dragging them around the house).  

This is a fun, easy project for little ones that will keep them busy (a productive, not destructive busy) and you will be able to keep them forever with your Christmas ornaments and remember your special times together!

You need 4 popsicle sticks.  I glued them together (with hot glue gun) before I called the kids into the kitchen.
Then I let them have fun with markers
and sequins.
The best thing about this is you can use whatever fun, sparkly and glittery things you have at home:)
We made these as examples for Miller's for Miller's class Christmas party.

As excited as Miller was about teaching his friends how to make their own Christmas tree ornaments, I think the Christmas Sprinkle Covered Donuts were the biggest hit of the Christmas Party!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thank You Thank You Thank You

First of all, my mom is going to KILL me for putting up this picture.  But I never thought I would be so happy to see my mom on an ambulance stretcher!
Many of you know what has been going on over the last week and a half and some of you, I am sure are wondering what in the world has been going on!

In my last post, I briefly mentioned my mom had pneumonia.  Well, it was just a little more serious than that.  After exactly one week, my mom left the hospital in much (much, much, much) better shape than she arrived.  She is now in a rehab facility just to get her strength back and will hopefully be home within the week!

I started this post several days ago, but she has had a few ups and downs along the way.  There are so many people that need to be thanked for how they cared for my mom in Knoxville and my family here in Birmingham during all of this.  There is no way I can thank everyone personally so this is my attempt!  

Thank you to all of my mom's friends who have really rallied around her during this time.  Thank you to everyone who came and sat with her at the hospital.  Thank you to her sweet friends who set up a Christmas Tree for her so she would come home to a decorated house.  Thank you to everyone who helped my family here while I was away, bringing meals, shuttling kids, watching kids while Murray was at work...  But most importantly, THANK YOU to everyone who prayed for my mom.  She was one sick, sick Momma!  Thank you for all of your prayers.  Your prayers are what got her through this!  Thank you!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


**I will just say sorry in advance for the poor quality of my pictures!  The "manual" thing did not work out for me.  And it all happened so fast I did not have time to adjust.  Oh well!

I am starting to wonder why as a mom I make plans.  
I know why.  I am a planner and I function much better when I have a plan.  
But I am slowly learning that even though those plans make me feel better and help our family function more smoothly I have to hold a very, VERY loose grip on those plans.  
These past few weeks have been very different than planned.  
Starting out with asthma, then the flu, then my mom in the hospital with pneumonia.  
All of our "holiday" plans quickly got pushed aside to help care for sick ones.  

I am going to be honest, I love all of the Holiday Festivities.  
It can get crazy and busy, but I love the parties, being with everyone, all the family get togethers, the food, wrapping presents...  I love it all.  
But this year most of that has been removed from our Holiday Season. 
It always feels like Christmas when we are "hustling and bustling" from here to there.  
But this year, without all of the distractions, amazingly, it feels even more like Christmas.  All of the "things to do" have been removed and we as a family have really been able to focus on the real meaning of Christmas.  

Santa is fun, Holiday lunches are fun, parties are fun, but unless your heart is directed toward the coming of Christ, you have missed the reason that we celebrate during this Holiday Season.  One wonderful blessing from being home every night is that we have had about an hour of reading together every night.  Along with our Jesus Story Book Advent Reading Murray has been reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe every night to the kids.  
I did not expect it to prepare my heart for Christmas, but it is such a reminder that things are not the way they are supposed to be.  But we have a Savior who has made it right!  What an exciting time to celebrate the birth of a tiny baby who came to change the world forever!!!

I think of Jeremiah 29:11 "I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."  I don't think we would have ever planned our month of December to look like this.  But through it all, the Lord has given us a break from busyness to focus on the meaning of Christmas, filling us with true joy over the birth of our Savior and excited anticipation for his return!
 My ideas for pictures with Santa did not quite turn out the way I planned:)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmast Decorations

It is amazing what you can make with ...

paper plates...

tissue paper...
and sequins...

and a little bit quirky
Christmas decorations.

Now, I am not going to lie, it is easy, but a little bit time consuming if you are doing more than one.

But the end result is definitely worth it!  

Glue paper plates into cones.  Actually stapling would be much faster.  One of the Lee kids had a little bit of fun with my stapler the other day and when I tried to staple the plates, it was empty:(  So, I had to use the next best thing, my glue gun.  Oh, what would I do without my glue gun???

Put one cone inside the other.  (You may have to trim the bottom to make the trees stand up straight)

Fold the tissue paper and slightly twist (you are just going for texture).

Then start gluing (elmer's glue) the tissue paper around the cones.  Then glue and glue and glue.  This is how I got all of my nervous energy out during the Alabama vs. Georgia game!

Now I am going to be completely honest with you...

When I first started this project, I thought it would be a great project to do with the kids.  

They love all holiday decorations.  

And they LOVE to make decorations!  

So I thought this would be the perfect project to do together.  

But once I started, my control freak nature erupted and I was more worried about white spots peeking through the tissue paper than enjoying time getting ready for Christmas with the kids!

But after begging and begging and begging, I finally realized how CRAZY I was being.  Sometimes it takes and 6 and 4 year old to bring me to my senses.  

They finally convinced me to let them help... 
(with just a little instruction)
Of course, they had a blast!
And you know what, theirs were actually better than mine!
Did you catch Miller's tree earlier in this post?

Only Miller would find googly eyes and insist on adding them to his tree!
Oh man, I love that little guy (Miller, not the christmas tree)!

Every night at dinner he sets his tree in front of himself since he is the "birthday boy."

So now every night when we sit down for dinner instead of looking at these cute table decorations I made, my heart smiles as I think of the fun we had together making these fun little Christmas trees.

As a mom, it is sometimes easy to get side tracked and forget what is really the important thing.  In those times in my life God usually gently nudges me and reminds me what is really important.  And more often than I really want to admit, those gentle nudges come from a 6, 4 or 2 year old :)