Monday, January 9, 2012

More Homemade Christmas Gifts

I found a really neat inexpensive gift idea on Women Living Well blog before Christmas.  I LOVED the idea and wanted to make this for my parents!  Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until DECEMBER 23 to get it together.  By the time I cut out the letters, took the pictures, got the pictures printed, and found the frames at Michael's, it was Christmas Eve!  This just shows how easy these cool picture frames really are!  We even made one for my brother since he's the uncle to all 4 of the grandchildren.

For my brother and sister-in-law, we spelled out "McCarty."

We spelled out "Grammy" and "PawPaw" for my parents.

The suggestions on the Women Living Well blog said to print the pictures in black and white, so you don't have to worry about coordinating colors.  And I matted the pictures with this cool 4x6 black cardstock that I found at Michael's.  Made the work even easier!  

Our other inexpensive gift for the family was homemade ice cream kits and homemade hot cocoa kits.

The boys made these for our extended family.  We put all of the items in a plastic shoebox lined with Christmas tissue paper.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Zambian Vocal Group

Today was a special day!
Some of our best friends came to visit...
The "other Kim and Eric" and their kids, Grant and Cassidy.
Of course, we like to think they ONLY wanted to come and see us but in REALITY they wanted to come to our church tonight for the Zambian Vocal Group Concert!  

It just happens to be Kim's birthday tomorrow, so we had to do a little celebrating before the concert...

We had homemade lasagna, crunch salad, and garlic bread...
and then we had CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES!

Ethan had to help blow out the candles!
Ethan kept Cassidy busy all afternoon...I'm sure she was exhausted when she left.
He made her play game after game and had her jump on the trampoline with him.

The boys did some geocaching...

And then we enjoyed the concert...

At one point during the concert, they even called on Kim to stand up so they could sing "Happy Birthday" to her!  What a treat to have an accapella group serenade you for your birthday!

And after the concert, we all enjoyed some pizza at Ethan's favorite place...The PIZZERIA!

Such a wonderful day with friends and such a wonderful time of worship!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Homemade Hot Cocoa

Do you like hot chocolate? 

Our family absolutely loves it!

So when my dear friend, Kim, made some wonderful homemade hot cocoa for us last year, I knew we had to get the recipe!  She was so sweet to share it with us, so we decided to make it for gifts this year.  

Here's the "oh so simple" recipe:

1 lb. powdered sugar
1 large Nesquik chocolate milk mix
9.6 oz Carnation powdered milk (my friend says other brands don't taste as yummy)
6 oz. Coffee-mate creamer

Stir the 4 ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

Here's how to make your yummy cup of cocoa...

We made these gifts for Sunday School and choir teachers and our friends
at our homeschool co-op.

We also made homemade hot cocoa gift packs for our extended family...
We put everything in a plastic shoebox/storage box with
festive tissue paper around it.  
We also made these super easy chocolate spoons to stir in
the hot cocoa!  We just dipped the spoons in melted
chocolate almond bark and then dipped some in sprinkles and
drizzled some with white chocolate almond bark.  Too cute!

Salt Dough Ornaments

Another crafty day in December, we made Salt Dough Ornaments.  Why have we not ever done this before?  They were the easiest & most fun things to create!  I really enjoyed baking & painting them too!

Here's the recipe:
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water

Mix the salt and flour.  Add in half the water and stir.  Then gradually add the remaining water.  Knead until the dough is smooth.  Roll out the dough on baking paper or floured surface.  Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or design your own.  

Bake at 250 for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Make sure they don't burn.  Let them cool completely and then paint them.  

It's that simple!  I'm thinking we could make these for every holiday...Valentine's, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving...the choice are endless!

Here are some pictures of the boys having fun...

Some of Ethan's buddies came over one afternoon, so they
helped us paint them.  They were very creative!

Showing off their creations!

The boys both made their names for their Christmas tree in their bedroom/schoolroom.

And I had fun painting a few crosses. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Breakfast with Santa

Still trying to post our Christmas memories...

We had the opportunity to attend a local fundraiser this year called "Breakfast with Santa."   Ethan had a wonderful time...mostly because his best friends were there.

Ethan's sweetie.

Ethan's buddy & his little sister.  Ethan tends to boss her around a lot.
I think it's because she's the only one younger than he is. :)