a pretty cool life.: December 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011, a very good year

Our family grew bigger and so did our hearts.  

I can't wait to see what 2012 has in store.  

Happy New Year, friends.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lingering and our Christmas 2011

Our Christmas weekend was wonderful and we're trying to squeeze every last ounce of our holiday out before it's completely gone.

I've said before that I don't rush into de-Christmasing.

That year was also the year that Christmas became magical.  Big Brother was 2, and he was just starting to get it.

Watching Christmas through his eyes was both simple and beautiful.

Our family has grown since then, and so has the anticipation and excitement of the season grown.

I love it.

Would you like a beautifully adorned "Folk Art" sign like mine?  Just have your well-intentioned pediatrician give a sheet or two of stickers to your toddler.  Should work like a charm.

And a teeny, tiny peek into our weekend:

We always host Christmas Eve with my side of the family.

WAY too much food as usual.

I made these brandy slushes, which may or may not have resulted in mama having a headache opening presents the next morning.


Silly Grandma making the boys laugh with her bow head piece.

Great Grandpa Jack, the youngest almost 90 year old you'll ever meet.

Then on Christmas day we head my in laws' house.

They take Christmas seriously.  A 20 foot tree seriously.

Santa even manages to make time in his busy schedule to drop by.

Again, the wonder and the beauty of it all is heart warming.

And so, with just a few days left in the year and a smidge of Christmas vacation to go, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy.

Hope you do, too.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December 23rd

I realize this post is several days late.  Just thought I'd share, if for no other reason, so next year I can refer back to what I made...

I look forward to Christmas Eve Eve every year.  It's my official holiday baking day, and this year was a doozy.  

16 sticks of butter doozy.

That's 4 pounds.

Four. Pounds.  


I try not to think about it too much. :)

I made plenty of old favorites and tried a few (dangerously delicious) new for good measure.  

Julie's Toffee Crack was a new addition.  So good.  Had to make a second batch good.

Thank you to the glorious internet for teaching me to put my iPhone in a bowl to amplify the sound.  Can't get enough of the Harry Connick Pandora station.

So here's the rundown of the cookie jars we gifted, with a whole bunch of links:

Toffee Crack from Julie

Peppermint bark (self-explanatory, I think)

Gingerbread cookies from Martha (which I've shared before)

No bake Nutella bars (also shared before)

Snickerdoodles (totally used the store bought mix)

Sugar cookies from Williams Sonoma

Peanut butter kisses (I use smooth peanut butter, though)

Chocolate chip cookies (straight off the bag, but without nuts)

Butter cookies, from a recipe I found somewhere online, pre-Pinterest:

You'll need:

1 c. softened butter
1/2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix butter and sugar.

Add flour, salt, and baking powder.

Add vanilla and milk.

Mix until dough forms into a ball.  

Roll out and decorate.  (Dough is really easy to work with, so roll out again and again!)

Bake for 10-ish minutes.  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

We had a wonderfully full day and are gearing up for another tomorrow.  This is a beautiful read for the day.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Homemade peanut butter dog biscuits

I confessed on facebook that I very nearly let my husband eat a gingerbread man dog biscuit I made as Christmas gifts for some of our furry friends.

So after lots of giggling about if I should have let him (I didn't!), someone asked if I'd share the recipe.

Here you go:

2 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
2 3/4 c. white flour
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
1 c. peanut butter
3 eggs
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1-ish c. water

Combine flours, sugar, and salt in mixing bowl.

Add eggs and peanut butter.  Mix to incorporate.

Add in oil.

Add enough water to make dough smooth and workable.

Cover and set aside for a half hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out dough and cut into bars or use festive cookie cutters.

Bake 40-ish minutes, until biscuits are brown and fairly hard.

Gift to your favorite dog.

Or your husband.

Totally your call. :)


Monday, December 19, 2011

I had to try it.

Twinkly Christmas lights.


I'm powerless against them.

Shot using my most favorite lens and a piece of junk mail to create this.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy Sunday

We had our first real snow of the season yesterday.  

Not much, maybe an inch.

But to two little boys who nearly forgot what snow was like over the past 8 months, it might as well have been a blizzard.  

Snowballs were thrown, angels were made, and little tongues caught snowflakes.

Perfect to get us in the Christmas spirit this week.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pom pom and pine cone Christmas trees

I needed something quick and simple to keep little hands busy while I was making dinner the other night (hence the less than stellar lighting).

Pom poms dipped in Elmer's glue stuck onto pine cones.


(You could probably even add a little ribbon to the top and make them into ornaments...)


Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Need some Christmas-y smells to accompany your tree?  This is the perfect way to do it. 

You'll need:

3 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp ground cloves
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
3-4 cups water

Bring all ingredients to a boil and then simmer.

Instant Christmas smells to enjoy!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Copycat Christmas decor

I love this photo in Matthew Mead's latest issue.

A perfect way to display some of my beloved vintage ornaments on a dresser in our dining room.


Scout, our elfin friend.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy Sunday

I've heard that the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. :)


Thursday, December 8, 2011


Thanks to eBay, a  few new friends joined our happy little collection today.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gingerbread house 2011

Now that we've fully recovered from our sugar high, I can share this year's gingerbread house.

And if you follow along on facebook, you already know that more candy went in tummies than anywhere else, but that's okay.  

I will proudly take credit for encouraging the candy cane hearts.


To see some of our other gingerbread creations over the years, look herehere, here, or here.  (I guess I didn't post one last year??)



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