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Archive for December, 2006

It’s Christmas!

I have not been very active on my blog this month. I really do have a good reason. Yes, I’ve recovered from my trip to L.A. and then Las Vegas (it was a blast!). When I returned from said trip, I realized that my family needed some TLC. I’ve been spending time with my kids and my husband preparing for the holidays.

I know the kids are probably out of school and you might be trying to find some things for them to do over their vacation. Here are some ideas for you:

Fun Christmas Things Kids Can Do

Homemade cards – gather an assortment of construction paper, pens, markers, stamps and other art items and let your kids make their own Christmas cards this year. Personalize cards by adding a special photograph.

Old-Fashioned Paper Chains – Cut strips of colourful construction paper and glue together in a loop. Insert the other strip through the first loop, glue together and continue!

Homemade Gifts – Use empty clean jam jars and fill with an assortment of festive candies. Try old fashioned peppermints or candy canes. Cover the lid with a festive cut out fabric and warp with a ribbon. Add a homemade card.

Gift Bag Decorating – Get some craft bags from any craft store (I bought a bundle of 12 for $4.99), some glitter glue and foam holiday stickers. Let the kids go crazy decorating their own gift bags to wrap those special gifts!

Cookie Decorating – Let the kids help make a batch of Christmas cookies and let them decorate the cookies themselves, this is one activity they’ll really enjoy.

Letter to Santa – Write and decorate a special letter to Santa, not only asking for gifts but also saying what things they’ve been most grateful for this year. Take a walk to the post box and mail it out. Remember – you techies – you can always SEND Santa an EMAIL 🙂

Christmas movie – Choose a special Christmas movie, it could be a classic like “Miracle on 34th Street” or “ A Charlie Brown Christmas”, make a big bowl of homemade popcorn, let everyone curl up with their favorite blankets and enjoy.

Help a Local Charity – Christmas is about giving as well as receiving. This is a great time to help your kids wrap some presents or put some food baskets together and deliver them to your local nursing home or charity.

Best wishes from our family to yours for a terrific holiday season!!

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I’m in L.A.!!

Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!

I am in Los Angeles! COOL! I have the awesome opportunity to accompany my husband to his corporate Christmas party. We arrived last night – this city is HUGE! He has meetings to attend today, so I’m actually chilling out in the hotel room and getting some work done (without kids I might add!).

I have a lunch with a business associate scheduled for tomorrow and then a party Friday night and another party Saturday night! THEN – onto more fun! We’re going to “hop” over to Las Vegas on Sunday for a couple of days before heading home. What a great Christmas/Anniversary present for us to give each other – time away BY OURSELVES!!

Special thanks to Grandma and Mimi for making sure the kids don’t kill each other while we’re away.

I may be a little “absent” from blogging for the next several days, but you will definitely be on my mind 🙂 You will be the first to know if I “hit it big” on the craps table!!

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Christmas Cookie Swap

Have you ever done a Christmas Cookie Swap? They are really fun – you get a nice big group together and everyone bakes a bunch of cookies and swaps them. Say you have 10 friends who want to participate. Everyone bakes 11 dozen cookies – which, when you think about it isn’t that big a deal. You all converge on one house with you 10 dozen plus 1 extra dozen to share. You usually get a nice variety of cookies; you’ll have enough for your Christmas season AND you’ll have spent a nice afternoon with friends hearing all of the stories behind their fun Christmas recipe!

Here’s a great recipe for you to try – they’re pretty and not the BASIC chocolate chip or snickerdoodle.

Stained Glass Cookies

* This recipe is a lot of fun to make with the kids and the cookies look great once they’re baked. You can use them to decorate the tree or just display them in a nice bowl or of course just eat them!

Ingredients:
3 cups sifted flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter (melted)
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup water
Bright colored hard candies
Cookie cutters

Directions:
Mix the butter, sugar and honey in a large bowl and add water, mix until smooth. Combine the salt, baking soda and sifted flour in a large bowl. Add butter mixture to flour mixture and knead the dough a little with your hands. Wrap up roll in cling film and place in freezer for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

While the dough is chilling unwrap a selection of round hard candies and set aside.

Once the dough is ready roll it on a lightly floured surface and cut out shapes using cookie cutters. Using the tip of a knife cut out a circle in the center of the cookie to approximately fit the hard candy. If you’re cookie is meant to be an ornament make a hole at the top using a straw.

Bake at 350F for approximately 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly golden, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Place the hard candy in the center of cookie and bake for another minute or so (just until the candy slightly starts to bubble). Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before displaying or eating.

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Gift Ideas

Don’t know what to give your child’s teacher this year for the holidays? Have you run out of stupendous ideas? Here are a few to give you a jump start this season:
1. Stationary with pens
2. Coffee mug with gift certificate to their favorite coffee bar
3. Homemade cookies and candy
4. Mini scrapbook or photo album, ready to insert pictures into
5. Candy-filled glass bowl
6. Books from their favorite author
7. Keepsake box
8. Small jewelry box
9. “Pamper Me” basket, filled with bubble bath, soaps, body lotions, etc.
10. Deliciously-scented candles
11. Handmade cookbook, filled with your special/favorite recipes
12. Gift certificate for “two” to the movies
13. One dozen of her favorite flowers
14. Scarf, knitted by you
15. Small bottle of favorite perfume
16. Personalized keychain
17. Personalized gift basket, filled with all her favorite things
18. Tote bag with name or initial embroidered on the front
19. Pretty refrigerator magnets
20. Potpourri jar
21. Handmade soaps or lotions
22. Handmade pillar candles
23. “Why you’re special to me” book – Purchase a small notebook or journal. Have each kid in the class write why their teacher is special to them. Present it to the teacher as a class.
24. Surprise party
25. Decorative watering can, filled with pretty flowers or greenery
26. Variety of specialty teas inside a china teacup
27. Home cooked meal, delivered at the day/time of teacher’s preference
28. Monetary donation in teacher’s name, to her favorite charity
29. Custom made charm bracelet
30. Food baskets (fruit, canned foods, specialty items, etc.)

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