Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holiday Food & Crafts!

I know--a non-baby post!  Shocking, amirite?  Maybe I'm starting to get the hang of this "mom" thing.  (*snorts* Yeah...don't worry, there are plenty more "adventures in parenting" posts to come. I know enough to know that I don't know ANYTHING.)  

Christmas is my favorite time of year, and since our little man is still immobile, this is probably the last year we'll be able to have a nice, fully decorated tree for a few years, so I'm enjoying it.

Since Baby J takes his best nap in the mornings, that's when I'm able to get the most stuff done, including Christmas crafts (and gift wrapping, of course)!  Granted, I don't have a TON of free time, so I tried to keep things fairly simple, but all in all, pretty happy with the results!

1) Keepsake Baby's 1st Christmas Ornament:  You've probably seen variations of this one floating around Pinterest and Facebook.  I took a clear plastic ball ornament, then managed to cram one of Baby J's now-too-small hats into it, along with one of his hospital bracelets, and a little sheet with his birth date stats on it.

2) Mistle-toes Ornament:  This one has also been pretty popular on the interwebz this Christmas.  I made a small batch of salt dough (1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup water) and tinted it with food coloring till I got a nice deep green.  Then we rolled it out, floured the top lightly (so his foot wouldn't stick) and stuck his lil' feet down on it...after which he promptly curled his toes and got a bunch of dough stuck between his toes, which he was NOT at all happy about. (SUCH a prima donna.)

SOoo...then after we cleaned his feet and calmed him down, we trimmed around the footprints, poked a hole in the heel, and baked them in a 300F oven for about 30 minutes.  Once cooled, I coated them with clear coat.  Then I took some bells that I got half price after Christmas last year, painted them red (and clear coated them as well).  I used hot glue to affix the two foot prints together, with their holes overlapping, then strung two bells through the hole.  Ta-Da!

3) Button Ornament:  This is a reprise of the one I did last year, only I used purple & various neutral colored buttons.  Went to a friend as a gift.

4) Spiced Pecans:  I usually make my spiced pecans in the microwave, but with a baby napping in the next room I didn't need the beeping every few minutes.  So I made them in the oven instead, using this recipe (though I added a bit of cumin, ginger, nutmeg, clove, and a pinch of cayenne in addition to the cinnamon).

5) Simmering Potpourri:  My in-laws family Christmas this year involves a $10 homemade gift exchange, so I made a quad of gifts--a jar of the spiced pecans, steak rub (next section), some gingerbread sugar scrub (see below), and a jar with all the ingredients for this simmering potpourri. (Hint:  use mandarin oranges or satsumas so they fit into the jar easier)...the link includes a free printable!)

6) Mocha Steak Rub:  I saw this on an episode of Brunch with Bobby Flay (because there's a lot of Food Network on while I've been on maternity leave) and it sounded really tasty and pretty easy to make!  We tested it out on some t-bones before gifting it (because when you have a food blog, it would really suck to give someone a foodie gift and then find out it tastes horrible).  To add a "cajun" flair, I used Community Coffee's New Orleans blend with chicory instead of the ground espresso.  The chocolate flavor is pretty subtle, but I LOVE the coffee flavor--I want to make some of the chocolate BBQ sauce that's also in that link and see if that helps to enhance the flavor.

7) Gingerbread Sugar Scrub:  I don't know about you, but my skin gets super dry & cracked this time of year, especially my feet.  So I really love sugar scrubs.  Now, I learned my lesson from that coffee scrub I tried last year, which was more hassle to clean out of my shower than it was worth.  So this year I decided to go with a scrub that was less likely to make a huge mess in the bathtub, but that would still be full of Christmas spirit. I saw the recipe for this gingerbread sugar scrub on Pinterest and since we had everything already on hand, I gave it a go.  YUM. (smell wise--I haven't actually tried eating it...though you probably could!)

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