Wednesday, December 22, 2010

odds and ends....and a Christmas wish (at the very end..)

We're on our break from school and most of the big list items are checked off so I've been able to enjoy some of those little things that make the house and the holidays special.  We made this snack mix for Mckenzie's basketball teammates.  Lip gloss tied to each bag was the perfect teen gift. 
John Samuel and I finished his art project together.  We simply tied strips of fabric around a coat hanger circle and added a bow at the top.  His art teacher had the kids make these in class and that was the day that my guy was sick, so she saved him a set to work on at home.  He found the perfect hanging spot for his Christmas wreath. (my bedroom!)
I wasn't liking the veggies prints in my family room for Christmas.  The carrots sort of clashed with the pine and the angels, so I made a quick cover up! 
I printed out the letters to spell NOEL on some craft paper and cut them to the size that I needed.  I simply taped them to the glass right over the offending veggies....wa~la....Christmas art!  (After Christmas I'm planning to print the letters for SNOW- the veggies can re-appear in the spring)
I always like to take something homemade to our neighbors for Christmas. Some families are getting this snack mix.  It is always a hit with everyone and it mixes up very quickly.  I packaged it up in quart mason jars and added a tag and a bow.
and some of our neighbors are getting these cookies....
The nice thing about these cookies are that you make up the dough and roll it into logs.  I store the dough in my fridge and when I'm ready to bake cookies, I simply roll a log in some colored sugar, slice and bake.  I love that we can have freshly baked, homemade cookies at a moment's notice!  (note: I only baked mine for 10 minutes instead of the 12-16 that the recipe calls for....otherwise, they were way too crispy!)
I've found that these pretzel bags make great treat bags for cookies...the size holds just the right amount of cookies to bless singles and older couples!  The tags came from eighteen25...feel free to link up and print your own. 
Anyways....thanks for sticking around through such a long and rambly post....I'm going to take a break and finish up some secret Christmas knitting and enjoy the days leading up to Christmas. I'll be back after Christmas. 
I'm so thankful for each one of you who visit and take the time to comment and share.  I'm so very blessed by your friendship.   I want to wish each of you a blessed and peaceful Christmas.  I hope that your homes are places of joy and wonder as Christmas approaches.  May you find time to abide as the shepherds did many years ago and may the Christ Child change your life as He has changed mine.  Merry Christmas friends. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

mug mats

Kristyn was here over Thanksgiving and she brought her Christmas quilt with her. She did a fabulous job on it.  I drooled over it, I stroked it, I took pictures of it.  It is stunning.  It is inspiring.  It made me want to make a Christmas quilt.
 I looked at my calendar and came back to reality.  Although she had to eventually pack her quilt up and take it home with her, she did leave me some scraps (thanks girl!) ....and that was all I needed to make these mug mats. 
 Have you seen these around blog land? It seems like lots of people are making them.  They're the perfect little vehicle for holding a cup of coffee and an afternoon treat.  I made mine with 2 inch strips sewed together and then quilted them with straight lines. 
 In the middle is some warm and natural.  I used 2 inch binding and attached it with my machine.  Paired with a mug (from Target), a candy cane and a gift card, these make a great gift. 
 I also made some tags to go with them so that the recipients would know what to do with them once they took them out of the package.  Nothing like blank stares to ruin a gift giving moment.  Oh and they make great candle mats too!
 Today,we're off to our co-op classes and these are our teacher gifts....I'll let you know if they invoke any drooling! 
How about you, do you have a favorite gift that you give to teachers or co-workers?  Below is the gift tag I placed in each mug with the mug mat and gift card...feel free to copy and print them as you need.  I simply printed them on white copy paper and adhered some scrapbook paper to the back.  Stay merry!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

amidst the hustle and bustle

The end of November and the beginning of December seem to be just going by at the speed of light.  It's been a flurry of activity here at our house.  From basketball games to holiday preparations, our days have been full.  When I look at the calendar I can't believe how close it is to Christmas.  I want to slam on the breaks and slow things down, but I know that realistically that can't happen. 

I was reading in my quiet time this morning about the importance of tending to the inner fire - of making sure that the important doesn't get lost in the urgent.  This is a season of 'preparing Him room'.   This is the season of 'Immanuel, God with us'.  But sadly for me, too many days go by where I've 'prepared my room and asked God to keep up with me'.  Christmas will come and go and I don't want to have missed tending to the most important things.  I don't want to be the innkeeper with the inn that's too full to allow the Messiah residence. 
 "To prepare Him room is to make time to enter the stillness, to embrace the quiet, to listen for that 'still, small voice'."*  I'm purposing to set aside some time each day to be still.  To reflect and listen and pour over that which really matters.  I want to intentionally seek the Messiah during this season just as the wise men did long ago.  My quiet time each day will be those moments when the activity stills and I turn my heart and focus on the greatest Gift that was given. 
 I encourage you to find time each day to tend the inner fire as well, so that when this holiday season is over you and I won't have spent our earnings on trinkets and baubles, but on eternal treasures that carry into the next year..

"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given;
and the government will be upon His shoulder. 
His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
 Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6

*Christ, the Light of the World - A Devotional by Thomas Kinkade