A New Year…A New Sidebar

As 2010 approaches I realized that I needed to do some updating to my blog. With a few gentle nudges sent my husband’s way (or three/four weeks of constant text messages while he is at work…when are you going to show me how to update this??) he helped me start my new sidebar for the new year. I am going to work on getting him to pretty up my wallpaper on the sides next. I love writing, but I especially love the little trinkets of information I find on sidebars of other blogs I read (check out Natalie’s Sentiments…I think I have bought at least four or five products from those tidbits of information!). So with the new year starting I wanted to share some of the tidbits of fun things I find on-line and in my life to share. Enjoy!

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Stocking Stuffers

Last minute shopping anyone? Thankfully all of my Christmas shopping is done, except for a few select stocking stuffers. It is a tradition in my family for my Mom, sister, and I to do all the stocking stuffer shopping together. Since this year our stocking stuffer shopping will be early morning on Christmas Eve, I began putting together a small list of stocking stuffer items. I don’t usually have a list, but in my continuing quest to be organized I was putting one together. So that got me thinking of a few of my favorite items that would fit nicely in my stocking this year :). So if you haven’t completed your shopping and need a few items here are some ideas that I thought I would pass along.

Because my hands in the winter age twenty years and this helps revive them….

Almond Oil Intensive Hand Rescue

So I can mark that recipe I found in my cookbook with something other than the envelope I just got in the mail….

Chef Set Page Flags

Because if you are going to wear socks they should be fun (and tall!)….

Anthropologie Striped Spectrum Socks

Because I could always use more of my favorite nail polish (the only one I run out of!)….

Essie Nail Polish in Wicked

Because they make ones that match your hair color and they don’t have metal to tangle your hair….

Goody Color Collection Elastics

Because I am a California baby and it would just be wrong to not choose my hometown’s chocolate (plus it’s my favorite!)….

Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate with Raspberry Filling Squares

Because Oprah recommended it years ago and it is still terrific today…

Philosophy's Gingerbread Man Salt Scrub

And lastly because it would fit so well in the foot of the stocking….

Nikon D3000
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Christmas Crafts Part 2…Reindeer Faces

On Friday we completed part 2 of our Christmas crafts I mentioned in my previous posts. This craft get together went much better than our previous gathering, with scheduled naps, and plenty of treats to keep the kids happy. And my little man actually colored on the paper this time! So here is what you need to make our Reindeer faces…

Medium size red pom poms

Tan construction paper

Dark brown construction paper

Red or green construction paper

Googly eyes

Glue

Red glitter

Crayons

Safety Scissors (or regular scissors if you are doing the cutting)

So here is what you do to put your craft together…

Trace the kids hands and one foot on white paper. Use these traces to make cut-outs to then trace the hands on the dark brown construction paper, and the foot on the tan colored construction paper. While you are cutting the hands and feet out (unless you have an older child who can do this with safety scissors…we don’t!), let the kids color on red or green construction paper. After completing the cut-outs paste the hands first and then foot on top of the hands on the colored red or green construction paper…as so…

Hands and Feet
Hands and Feet

Then add your googly eyes and pom pom with glue, as seen here…

Add Eyes and a Nose
Add Eyes and a Nose

Then add glue around the antlers and let your kids shake glitter all over (tip: place the pictures on a foil covered cookie sheet so when they sprinkle the glitter on it doesn’t cover your floor…completely)

Add Some Sparkle!
Add Some Sparkle!

And then stand back and admire your completed craft!

The Completed Craft
The Completed Craft
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Oh Christmas Craft!

I missed posting my Thanksgiving craft this year, so I am making up for it by posting several Christmas crafts! My sister and I got together for our annual craft making festivities, but with numerous small children we found we would have to do our crafts in two parts. So part one was marshmallow wreaths. I actually got this idea from food network magazine, but we doctored it a bit to cater to smaller children. So here’s what you need…

1 small foam wreath (get the smallest you can find…trust me, once you start making it you will understand)

1 bag of mini marshmallows

1 bag of large marshmallows

School glue

Glitter

Large ribbon for the tie

Here’s what to do….

Pour some glue on a paper plate. Dip the bottom of the marshmallows on the plate and place around the wreath. They will slide a bit…try to hold each one for a few seconds before moving on. Once they have dried and set, drizzle some glue around the wreath and shake glitter on top. A few tips…cut the large marshmallows in half, and place the wreath in a foil lined cake pan. This is a trick my Mom used when we were small. That way most of the mess ends up in the cake pan rather than the floor, table, etc. Prepare for some mess to end up on the floor, table, etc…haha! It takes the marshmallows about a day to dry, once they are dry use the ribbon to make a hook for the wreath.

Here’s the finished product…

Marshmellow Wreath
Marshmallow Wreath

If you want the food network version check out their current magazine. They used toothpicks instead of glue…but it takes a lot of toothpicks and probably a denser wreath to complete properly. In the future I would fill in the whole wreath so the foam doesn’t show…but holding the attention of small children long enough to do this was a good bit of work. Oh and little kids don’t care if some of the foam shows…I think the response we got was…”why it’s the same color as the marshmallows”

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Mostaccioli

Now that I have a break for a few weeks, I thought it was time to start up my recipe collection again. This is a classic recipe of my family that we (my sister and I) actually were not introduced to until recently. For my Mom’s birthday this year she asked if we would make this recipe that my Grandmother used to make for her and her sisters when they were growing up. It is quite involved, but it is extremely delicious and makes enough for a crowd. Oh and it’s a kid favorite! My nephew has been asking for it again ever since we made it.

Ingredients:

Mostaccioli Pasta

Parmesan Cheese

2 lbs ground beef divided

1 lb ground Italian sausage

1 large minced onion

1/2 minced green pepper

2 minced celery ribs

2 cloves garlic chopped fine

2 tbs worcestershire sauce

1 and 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1 to 2 tsp Chili powder

Pinch ground clove

Pinch parsley flakes

Dash hot sauce

2 bay leaves

4 cups of diced tomatoes

3 cans of tomato paste

2 eggs

Bread crumbs

Salt and Pepper

Instructions:

Brown together in olive oil:  1 lb ground beef and 1lb Italian sausage (either links cut into slices, or sausage broken up like we do for lasagna) with 1 large onion minced, 1/2 green pepper minced, 2 celery ribs minced, and 2 cloves garlic.  Drain, then add 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper, 1 1/2 teas. Italian seasoning, 1-2 teas. chili powder, 1 quick shake of ground clove (mom says NO more, be careful, just a little shake), pinch parsley flakes, dash Tabasco (hot sauce) and 2 bay leaves.  Add 4 cups diced tomatoes in juice. Add 3 cans tomato paste.  Cook for 2 hours (simmer on low)

Meanwhile make meatballs (can be made ahead) – 1 lb. ground beef, 2 eggs, bread crumbs – roll into small balls and brown (or cook in oven until done)

Cook mostaccioli according to box directions.

Combine meat sauce, mostaccioli, and meatballs and put lots of parmesan on top.

Makes 4 quarts.

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