December 19, 2014

Friday I'm in Love and some Christmas goodies

Friday! Yes! Two weeks off coming up! I am so excited! This week has been a busy one for sure, with late nights of baking and wrapping and attending Christmas concerts and the like. Only 7 more days till Christmas. I was hoping for snow, but it's highly unlikely this year. We haven't had a bit! It is warm and rainy and feels like spring. Even my roses and some tomatoes have not died yet.

Last night, I was up baking till 11, making Christmas gifts for Cooper and Lily's teachers at the Kindergarten. I bought them the cutest little gold pots with tiny poinsettias, but I  have managed to kill them. All of the leaves are just falling off. Not sure if I over watered or if our house is just too cold for them. Anyhow, that left me scrounging this week for new ideas. So, I ended up buying each a nice Bath and Body Works foam pump soap and put those in a gift bag with a cute jar I decorate and filled with goodies I made last night. Chocolate peppermint fudge, thumbprint cookies, almond shortbread cookies, toffee, and peppermint chocolate cookies. The jars I found at the euro store here for about 1.50 euros each, and I had the jute and twine lying around from last Christmas. I took some pine scraps from our Christmas tree we cut and tied them on to the jars to look more festive and smell delicious. Hope they enjoy!


And, since I haven't in forever, here are some fun finds!
  • This post really made me laugh out loud.
  • The really real Santa Claus
  • To the general rule that money, above a certain low level, cannot buy happiness there is one exception. “While spending money upon oneself does nothing for one’s happiness,” says Norton, “spending it on others increases happiness.” - for the rest of the article
  • Second Languages Spoken around the world
  • Yum! Would love to try my hand at these this weekend.
  • Oh, and I made this for Thanksgiving and it was delicious! Turned out perfectly.

December 18, 2014

Nothing like a Christmas Concert...

Last night, the US Army Europe Band and Chorus came to Grafenwoehr and performed a free concert for Germans and Americans in downtown Grafenwoehr. I have to say, it was amazing and I am so thankful we attended! Unfortunately, the concert started at 1900, right when my kids go to bed, but I felt it would be worth it to keep them up late and expose them to real concert music and singers and was hoping they would enjoy it. They were not disappointed! Both kids were so quiet and engaged when the musicians and singers performed, it was awesome! Even Santa Clause and the Grinch made an appearance, which really was a huge hit with the kids. The bass saxophonist was amazing! All the songs were done so perfectly and the chorus soloists did a fantastic job. Such good voices. Really put smiles on everyone and made my day.

Having played clarinet, baritone, and trombone in high school bands, plus having sung in choirs my entire life, I felt right at "home" and sorely missed performing. Have any of you attended Christmas concerts this season? If not, I highly recommend it! Such a nice way to celebrate the season.  I can't stop singing and humming today. : )

December 15, 2014

Christmas Pancakes!

Hello everyone! Hope you had a great weekend. We had an unusually warm day Saturday for this time of year and were able to play outside half the day which was so nice! Every weekend, Cooper and I make pancakes together. Normally chocolate chip and blueberries or bananas. They are my fave!  After seeing this post last week, we had to try our hand at Christmas pancakes as well. Cooper loved them so much we made them both Saturday and Sunday. Can't wait to make them again this weekend!

December 11, 2014

Five Last Minute Handmade Gifts

Yikes! Only two weeks till Christmas! Where did November go? Need some last minute gift ideas that you can make easily? Or some fun ideas for stocking stuffers? Here is a round up of five handmade gifts you can easily make from home this weekend and still have time to bake all your Christmas treats.

1. Lavendar Bath Bombs.  I plan on making a batch of these this weekend for my kids! They love them, especially when I hide small sponge capsules in the center.

2.  Handmade Soaps Wrap a bar up in some cute paper and you have another nice stocking stuffer.
 3. Christmas Onesies for your friend that just had a baby.
4. Silhouette Tote Bag for doting grandparents.
5. Put together a Calendar with all your favorite photos from the year, or even a simple mug on the website shutterfly.
Have fun crafting!

December 8, 2014

Simple Christmas Nutcracker Wall Art

Decorations are now complete for Christmas! We went out and cut down our very own beautiful Christmas tree on Saturday, hung the ornaments and put out all the decorations while dancing around to Christmas music. My house is so nice and cheery now. I love December. While finishing up the decorations, I really wanted to add some wall art to the mix and remembered an awesome photo I saw in a Lowes Creative Ideas pamphlet while visiting Kentucky last month. I decided I'd give the tutorial a whirl, but did it a little bit differently (quicker) than the instructions online. 
 To make the stencil, I printed the image on 11x17 paper and cut out with scissors. I used a hold punch for the belt and holes on the legs, but obviously did not do such a great job keeping a straight line.  I cut the stencil out three times on contact paper (for lining kitchen shelves). I spray painted three wooden thin pieces of wood I picked up at a store here for 3 euros with white spray paint and waited for them to dry. After a day, I stuck on the stencil contact paper and painters tape around the edge of the boards to make a frame. Then I spray painted over each entire board with apple red spray paint. Before the paint was completely dry, I peeled off the painters tape and contact paper. Voila! About 1 hour's worth of effort and $8 worth in supplies. I love my new Christmas art for the dining room!