Merry Christmas {and a happy new year!}

Hope you and your family have a wonderful and safe holiday!


{dec 21 & 22}

Last night we made Christmas tree pizza! I saw the idea on pinterest. Little Bit and I had so much fun shaping the tree and then decorating it!

I just used refrigerated pizza dough, rolled it out on a greased cookie sheet and then started pressing and forming it into the tree shape. I did use a knife to cut some dough out around the branches and used that dough to form the trunk. Then we topped with sauce, cheese, pepperoni and spinach!

Then today we spent some time reading Christmas books. We have been talking about baby Jesus and the Christmas story all month long and I wanted to incorporate some books that reinforce what we have been talking about. We have a couple neat ones that share the story in a good way for preschoolers {thanks to Little Bit's teacher for adding to our collection this year!}...The Christmas Story, The First Night and Christmas in the Barn. And of course we throw in a few fun favorites, especially Llama Llama Holiday Drama!


{dec 19 & 20}

Since we usually spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our extended families we like to have an early Christmas with just the three of us. Little Bit has been super excited about opening presents. So last night was the night. It was such a gloomy, rainy day that it was just what we needed to brighten the evening!

Here is Little Bit modeling her new owl shirt! She was in love with everything she got. She kept saying "This is the best Christmas ever!" ;)

Today our activity was to make paper snowflakes. They really turned out super cute and we both had a blast making them! Here is Little Bit showing off her first one. I think I might use some twine and make a garland with them to hang in her room.

{After I used copy paper to make our snowflakes, I saw this post about using coffee filters. Will definitely be using them the next time!}

simple {place cards}

If you are looking for a simple yet fun way to make and display place cards....how about some paper and pine cones!

I used a decorative punch to create the base of my place card. Then I punched a strip of white cardstock to write the name on and attached it to the pattern paper. Grab a pine cone and insert place card. The pine cone has a slit already in the top...so it was perfect to hold the place card!


december daily album...

I've started my December daily album!!! Here is a look at the cover...

I am using paper from the Holly Jolly Christmas line by Echo Park. I just love the colors in this line....red, pink, green, turquoise and brown! I am also using a few random scraps and kraft cardstock.

Here is a look at the first couple pages. I didn't think I would start this album til Christmas was over but I was excited about using the 4x4 pics and just couldn't wait to get creating!

I liked the idea of starting the day after Thanksgiving because we have many holiday traditions that start before December.

I downloaded these journalling number cards to use on my pages.


{dec 18}

Today we went to the movies! This is not something we do very often...so it is really a treat when we go.

One of Little Bit's friends had a birthday this week and she wanted to go to the movies. So we met them there and saw The Muppets! Little Bit was so excited about going to the movie theater! She thought the movie was great and loved seeing her friend!

frosting {fudge}!

Several weeks ago at a stamping night I tried some yummy fudge made by a fellow stamper. Come to find out it was only 2 ingredients! Chocolate chips and chocolate icing....can you believe it?! She said you could use any kind of baking chips and icing. So I decided I wanted to try it out for myself.

I thought peanut butter fudge sounded good. So I got pb chips and cream cheese icing. Just melt the pb chips in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Then stir in the icing. Spread in a baking dish lined with parchment paper {the size of pan you use will depend on how thick you want your fudge}. I used an 8x10 size dish. Place in fridge until set.

Then cut into squares and enjoy! Package up to give as gifts....or eat it all yourself! ;)

Next I want to try chocolate chips and coconut pecan icing!


paper bag {tags}

It's the last week before Christmas!!! Are all your gifts wrapped? Maybe you are in need of some gift tags. Well grab a brown paper bag, a Christmas stamp or two and some scissors and you will have a pile of tags in no time!

These are the supplies that I used to create my tags.

I started off stamping some trees on the paper bag. {I used Stampin Up markers so I could use multiple colors and also only ink as many trees as I wanted.}

Then I used a punch to create some of my tags. I positioned the punch with the trees to one side, so I could have room to write to and from on the tag.

Here is a sampling of the tags I created. I punched some but also used scissor to just cut some rectangle tags. If you aren't a stamper or don't have any Christmas stamps, you could always just have plain tags or use some stickers!

Now that you have your tags....go get wrappin'!

{dec 15, 16, 17}

I'm playing catch up today. We had a busy day yesterday and I didn't get around to blogging.

So....on Thursday Little Bit's advent card said to pick a few unused toys and donate them. It was so cute watching her go through her toys and stuffed animals. She would say "Mom, I don't really play with this anymore but it might make some other kid happy." That just makes me smile! I love that she didn't have any problem giving up a large sack full of stuff.

Then last night our activity was to enjoy a Journey to Bethlehem....which is a wonderful adventure where a wiseman leads you on a journey revealing the story of Jesus' birth. Little Bit was so excited to find baby Jesus at the end of the journey! All the kids got wooden stars along the way to offer as a gift.

Then afterwards we headed inside for some cookies and hot chocolate! {She has been on a hot chocolate kick the last couple weeks!}

Today our activity was to assemble a foam gingerbread house! This was fun...and alot less of a mess than the real one we made! ;)


picture garland {and other holiday decor!}

I recently signed up for a free online class at JessicaSprague.com called Holiday Memories 2011. There were daily instructions, downloads and printables for us to make our own holiday garland. I took the basic idea and did my own thing...

{Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of something hanging on a mirror?! I had lights in the room glaring and couldn't use flash, so these are the best I got.}

I punched stars from book paper and glued 2 together as accents. Then I took pictures of Little Bit at Christmas every year so far and layered those on scallop circles. I also added a picture of the hubs and I when we were babies at Christmas time! I alternated pictures and stars, attaching them to bakers twine. I really love how it turned out!!! Thanks JessicaSprague.com for the inspiration!

Here is a pic of our holiday mantel. I love snowmen and decorate mostly with them at Christmas so I can leave them out for a while!

And here's our tree! Love the mix of snowmen, gifted ornaments and handmade ones!

Hope your homes are all looking festive as well!


{dec 13 & 14}

Well these aren't the best two pictures but they sure were fun days!

Yesterday I let Little Bit pick out a new toy from our gift stash to donate to Toys for Tots. We dropped it in a collection box at Walgreens. She was so excited to give something to kids who don't get much for Christmas! After that I took her to lunch and to play at the library.

Today her advent card said "build a fort". This totally made her day! She loves creating little places where she can hide out and play. It was dark under there so her face doesn't show up well but she was grinning from ear to ear!


wintery nails...

You might remember that several months ago I posted a review of Essie nail colors fall line. Well Meijer has sent me another package with the Winter Palette for Essie!

The colors always have such fun names like...bobbing for baubles, bangle jangle, cocktail bling....

I love the opportunity to try out the new colors because it allows me to get out of my color comfort zone. When I am shopping for new polish I normally pick colors in the red, pink and brown family. Little Bit loves the polish too! She is wanting her nails done more & more, and again I feel there are appropriate colors for kiddos as well in this collection. She was drawn to the light purple and red!

The first color I decided to try was this dark blue color called "bobbing for baubles". I just love it! As I said in my previous review, I just love how nice and smooth the polish goes on my nails!

Thanks to Meijer and Essie for this opportunity!


{dec 12}

A week or so ago I recorded a Rudolph Christmas movie for Little Bit to watch and she just loved it! So when I saw that Target had Rudolph puzzles in their dollar section I knew it would be a perfect advent activity.

So today Little Bit was so excited to put together the Rudolph puzzle! I see this puzzle being put together many more times this week! ;)

Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ almond coconut tilapia, green beans, baked sweet potatoes

Tuesday ~ chicken fajitas, chips & salsa, refried beans

Wednesday ~ apricot pork chops, corn, mashed potatoes

Thursday ~ veggie noodle soup, toasted cheese

Friday ~ dinner out

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes


{dec 10 & 11}

This weekend brought food related activities!

Saturday we made cut out cookies...
Little Bit loved rolling out the dough, cutting out the cookies and then getting to decorate them after they cooled. We had sprinkles everywhere! ;)

Then today we worked on a gingerbread house. I had bought a Halloween gingerbread kit on clearance and thought we could use it to make a Christmas one. It came with a preassembled house which was great! I just squeezed on some white icing and we starting "gluing" candy on. We think it turned out pretty cute!


bits & pieces box...

I just saw this idea over at The Activity Mom and thought it was great! Little Bit is always asking me for paper, envelopes, stickers...and most recently ribbon...to make cards. She loves making "invitations" for her stuffed animal buddies to events like dance recitals, birthday parties, etc... I so love her imagination and love that she likes to get crafty! So....I decided to put together her own little box of supplies so she can create whenever she feels like it....

Right now it is filled with more Christmas themed items. I can change it out as she uses up supplies and add different paper, stickers, etc. to coordinate with the holidays/seasons. I love having all the supplies in one place so I don't have to scrounge around for stuff every time she wants to make something.

Little Bit was so excited when she saw the box all put together. She said "This makes me so happy!" Just makes me smile! :D


{dec 9}

Today we went to the Library for storytime and it was all about cookies! Miss Abby read wonderful stories about gingerbread men and then the kiddos got to decorate their own cookies!

Got sprinkles?!

After it was all decorated Little Bit gobbled up the cookie...even I got to sample a bite. They sure were yummy!


{dec 8}

Today we made gingerbread playdough!!! I have always wanted to make homemade playdough but was always kind of reluctant to try. But let me tell you...it was so easy! I used this recipe and it smells so yummy!

Little Bit was so excited about making and then getting to play with our yummy playdough!

I helped her roll out the dough and then she used cookie cutters to make some pretend cookies. ;) Then we rolled some balls and made a snowman.

Have any of you made playdough before? If so, what is your favorite kind to make? And if you haven't tried it yet...go for it!


{dec 7}

The love of the daily advent activities is still going strong! Today Little Bit worked forever decorating her Christmas scrapbook...

I bought a cute little Rudolph journal at Target and gave her some Christmas stickers plus a few punched shapes and she went to town! After Christmas I will print some pictures for her to add to it....and she will have her very own special Christmas scrapbook!


{dec 6}

Today when Little Bit pulled her card from the advent calendar she got 2 surprises! One was the activity for the day...."go to the mall and ride the Christmas train"! The other surprise was we were meeting friends there to ride the train with, play and eat lunch!

Here are the 2 buddies riding the train together...so happy!


{dec 5}

Little Bit is always wanting to paint and I'm not a fan of the mess...so we don't do it very often. So today's activity was a special treat...snowman paint by number that I picked up from Target's dollar section. She was so excited to crack open the little paints and get creating!

I also found a princess one at Target too....so that is going in her stocking!

Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ chicken caesar burgers, tater tots, sauteed zucchini

Tuesday ~ chili, toasted cheese sandwiches, apple slices

Wednesday ~ gingerbread waffles, sausage links, grapes

Friday ~ almond coconut tilapia, rice, baked sweet potatoes

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes

{dec 4}

Little Bit has a love of crafting {just like her mom ;)} so she was super excited about the activity for day 4...."make ornaments and hang them on the tree".

I had bought a pack of glitter foam owl ornaments on clearance after last Christmas, so she put those together. Then she put together a foam penguin ornament, beaded 2 candy canes, and made a paper Christmas tree!

She was so excited to show off her creations to Daddy and then find the perfect spots for them on our tree.


{dec 3}

So today's advent activity was...."watch a Christmas parade"! We all bundled up in our hats and gloves and headed downtown Springfield to watch the annual Christmas parade. {Luckily it wasn't as cold as it has been in previous years.}

Little Bit was SO excited and couldn't wait for the parade to start!

She kept saying, "this is the best parade ever"! Really, I think she was just excited to get candy. ;) And good candy it was...skittles, starburst, twizzlers, dum dums and even a snickers!

And you can't end a Christmas parade without waves from Santa!

It made me smile seeing how happy she was watching the parade. I just love fun activities for the whole family!


{dec 2}

Well Little Bit was just as eager to get her card from the advent calendar this morning as she was yesterday. She was up before me...picking the card out....and in my bed asking what it said! I am SO glad that she is SO excited about the holidays and our little daily activities. I love the joy that she has!

Today she got to do 2 things...

One was planned and written on the card....watch a movie and eat popcorn! She loved this...anytime she gets popcorn is a highlight in her book! ;) The hubs stopped at Redbox and got The Smurf Movie for us to watch together.

The other was a surprise I threw in for the day. I got an email from Build A Bear for a free animal, so I decided that would be a great activity to add in. I didn't tell her until we got to the mall, just said I had a surprise for her. It was so cute because she kept trying to guess what it was.

She was super excited and so grateful to get to choose an animal to stuff and take home. Miss Bunny has now been attached to her since we got it!

{foto} friday...

I'm linking up with Jeannette again over at Life Rearranged for her InstaFriday feature. Here is my {retro} week...

The tree has been up since before Thanksgiving, the shopping is done and more than half of the gifts are wrapped! I love being able to sit back and enjoy the month of December!

Crafting with Aunt Gabby after the Thanksgiving feast!

A much needed break after Black Friday shopping with my mom and sis!

Popping bubble wrap....who doesn't love it really?! ;) Little Bit even danced on it to pop some!

Target clearance score!!! I actually tried these boots on in tan on Black Friday and passed them up for 29.99. Then this week I found this dark brown pair on clearance for 7 bucks! They were an online purchase return...and just my size!

And speaking of retro pics....I have been wanting to print some and get the 4x4 size, but I don't want to pay alot for each print. Well I found this tutorial on using Picasa to get them to where they will print as 4x6 with a border on 2 sides and then you can trim to 4x4. I can't wait to try it out!