Christmas Stockings

Talk about your last minute Christmas craft—I just finished our stockings over the weekend, but really I am patting myself on the back for finishing before Christmas Eve.  The Grizzly Kid and I had stockings that were made out of sweaters that were fine, but nothing special and they didn’t even have our names on them, so this year I tackled 3 stockings and I love how they turned out!

Joann’s had everything I needed on super sale on Black Friday, so I made all of our stockings for probably less than $5 and I have enough leftover fabric for future stockings too, that way the whole family will match. I used this stocking pattern and tutorial, which was very easy to follow, and I love that the stockings are lined with different red and green fabrics that I had on hand, making each one even more unique.

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I choose Christmas themed pictures to embroider on each of our stockings and finished them off with our names. You definitely want to do the embroidery before you sew up the stockings, it is much easier, and since I don’t have a fancy enough sewing machine to do the embroidery for me I had fun doing it by hand.

For Wallaby’s stocking I embroidered a festive little train carrying a Christmas tree! Fitting since the train we got him for his birthday has been his favorite toy ever since.

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For my stocking I did a couple of snowflakes, keeping it simple enough that I did not have to trace a picture on the fabric like I did for Wallaby and The Grizzly Kid’s stocking.

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And naturally, for the bearded man in my life I chose the jolliest bearded man of them all. This stocking ended up being my favorite.

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And since we are short a fireplace in our apartment our stockings are hung by our bookcase with care, just in time for Christmas in 1.5 days!

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Merry Christmas to you!

Shortbread and Jam Filled Cookies

I have been looking for an excuse to make my favorite shortbread cookies this holiday season, but with all the yummy goodies that have been brought to us I really couldn’t justify making another sweet temptation, so when The Grizzly Kid asked if I could make a treat for a work Christmas party I knew exactly what I would be making.

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These Shortbread Cookies are buttery, crisp, and as close to the cookies that come in the tins at Christmas time as I have found. I could eat them by the dozen. But I especially love making them with a cutout on the top cookie and filling them jam, because those little holiday cutouts filled with red jam are just so festive!

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However, even without the jam these cookies are delicious and I would love something like this Springerle rolling pin to make them even more special. If you give them a try you will be hooked, and you can’t beat how simple this recipe is.

Shortbread cookies

Meeting Santa

Last year we did not bother with a trip to meet Santa since Wallaby was only a few weeks old, so when I heard our library had Santa coming today we bundled up and headed over. We were pretty sure that Wallaby, who has no concept of whom Santa is, would cry. Our one hold out was that Wallaby is generally more friendly with bearded men—they must remind him of The Grizzly Kid.

Wallaby loves our library, so he was happy as can be while we waited in the-shortest-Santa-line-ever.

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Then came the moment of truth. I set Wallaby on Santa’s lap and the inevitable breakdown commenced.

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Santa was well prepared with candy canes and a hand bell to ring, all to no avail with Wallaby, so I snapped a couple photos and we were off. Wallaby did appreciate the candy cane we let him enjoy after his traumatic experience, and he calmed down as soon as Santa was out of sight.  If we were cool enough to mail out Christmas cards this gem would be ours.

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Snow Day

 Since yesterday was the first major snow of the season, today we bundled up for Wallaby’s first romp in the snow. After I got him to a state of warmth only to be rivaled by Randy from The Christmas Story, Wallaby rediscovered the graham cracker he had left behind. So we took a short snack and photo break before heading outside.

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We had to show off his whole snow ensemble of course, and Wallaby got so excited  when I said we get to go outside that he started clapping.

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And then there was the classic Wallaby scrunched nose face, complete with a mouth full of crackers.

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Then we headed outdoors! Wallaby was quick to push his face in the snow to see what it tasted like, which resulted in an extra red face and snow in his eyelashes, but despite the half sad photo below he didn’t mind it at all.

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Wallaby loved bulldozing his way into deeper snow..

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Until he didn’t anymore.

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And then we were finished, ten minutes after we got started. I got Wallaby home and all warmed up and then down for a nap, and now I think we have adventured all we need to for one day. Time for more cheesy Christmas movies on Netflix I think … right after I go mop up the puddles from our snow clothes.

Let’s Talk Weather

You know how they started naming big winter storms, just like how hurricanes are named? Well, if anyone cares for my opinion, I approve of that decision. After all, it is simply too nebulous to be mad at “the weather”, now we get to be mad at, Brutus,for example, and it feels far more justified.

However, today I am not upset with the weather. As the first major winter storm of the season, and no place to be, Wallaby and I are enjoying watching Cleon from inside our cozy home. We had hot broccoli cheese soup for lunch, have been playing, reading, and snuggling up with some of the cheesiest Christmas movies that Netflix has to offer. A perfect day.

I am a little concerned that The Grizzly Kid will get snowed in at the office, but as snow plows have passed twice already today, I have high hopes, that he will survive to be only a little late. So we will savor the view from our windows and hope you are all safe and snuggled up today.

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Christmas Shopping

My goal for Christmas shopping this year is to get it all done before the end of October, and I am almost there. Since this is my first year trying out the early shopping gig I am noticing a few cons to what I thought would be an all pro process.

CONS:

•Some of the best sales don’t happen until later in the season—hello Black Friday—and I love getting the best deal on things, but at the same time I am not willing to stand in long return lines to get my 3 dollars back on a purchase that went on sale, now for 10, I might.

•Most return policies run out by the time Christmas arrives. The majority of store only have a 30 day window to return/exchange a product meaning that the gifts I buy have the added pressure of having to be kept, and I love the caveat of gift giving that is—if you hate what I got you feel free to return it.

•In years past my deadline for shopping has been Christmas Eve, and I have a feeling I might have trouble shutting off the shopping mode early and want to keep buying stuff until then, hopefully our budgeting will help me hit max and stop.

•I genuinely worry that even though I like the gifts I am buying now, what if I see something even cooler later in the season? Whereas last minute shopping leaves little time for buyer’s remorse.

Still, I am hoping that the Pros will win out by the end of the season.

PROS:

•I won’t be hauling Wallaby through the hustle and bustle of holiday crowds and long lines.

•With no need for gift shopping there is more time for other Christmas activities—baking, seeing the lights, decorating the house, visiting family, etc.

•As a family we can then find the time and budget to serve others in our community, take treats to neighbors, and enjoy the season.

•My biggest hope is that getting the shopping and gift mania out of the way will encourage our family to focus more on the Savior and the true giving spirit of Christmas.

So, while I have found some cons they are mostly superficial where as the pros, I feel, will be truly enriching. I guess we’ll see as the countdown to Christmas begins with only 61 days left!  Do you shop/make all your gifts early? and if so what are your pros and cons?