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Advent Tree: Completed Tree – First day of Advent

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Since today is December 1st, I am leading off this post with our first ornament on the tree – the first one I made over two weeks ago. It is perfect in its spot at the top of the tree, right by the Christmas star.

First of all, I had two 1 yard pieces of felt, one in dark green and the other in hunter green. I placed and cut out the pieces with a pair of smaller fiskars – one of my daughter’s school scissors was perfect for that!

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All cut out!! I think it looks pretty – but I may be biased! Yes, it’s still a triangle, but I think the bounces help break it up a bit.

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I decided to sew the pieces together with a simple running stitch. Worked out quite well!!

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I added a Christmas star, the pattern for which can be found here: Printable Star Pattern and for a while I decided that it was done.

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But after sitting and contemplating it for a while. I decided that it needed some further decorations, so I added some of the craft ribbons I found at Target in the dollar section. I adhered the ribbon on with craft glue dots. The white dots you can see all over are  velcro dots – their mates are now stuck to the back on the ornaments.

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Here it is, mostly complete. I am still working on the ornaments as we speak. I have a Peppa Pig ornament and a Sheep ornament in the works, and I hope to have them completed by tomorrow afternoon. I also raised the Advent tree up about 1/2 a metre, as my youngest two were overly obsessed with pulling things off. Which is not too much of a worry, but it would be nice if they don’t destroy it within hours of it being put up 😉

 

Advent Tree Felt Ornaments Part 2

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Here is my second offering of handmade felt ornaments! Out of this batch, I am most proud of my Elf on the Shelf!

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First up however, we have a Hello Kitty for my middle daughter – Leia. I chose this one because her initials are L.O.V.E and she is a Hello Kitty fanatic 🙂 I got the image here: Hello Kitty Coloring Pages and simply resized them within a word document so that I would have enough copies of the image to make the pieces I needed. I know Hello Kitty’s bow is usually red, but since Leia loves the color green, I chose to further make this hers by making it green.

 

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This is my favourite! It is far from perfect, but I am so very pleased with it! I found it hard to find decent looking clip art online, so when I was in Joanns the other day, I grabbed a small candy container, scanned it into my computer and made my own template from that. Once again I used a word document to size the pictures the way I wanted, and then cut out the appropriate pieces.  No, does it look like a perfect representation of an elf on the shelf? No… it’s eyes are too close for one thing, but my girls think that it looks like our Judy Elf, which is all that I was aiming for!!

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I love Matryoshka Dolls. I decided that our advent tree needed one. It turned out so well and I got to learn how to do chain stitch to make it! You can too… I learnt it on this youtube video: Chain Stitch. I got the pattern for this doll here: Matryoshka Doll Ornament. It was fun to make and very striking! Definately in my top 10 favourites 🙂

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The last two are two traditional(ish) Christmas tree ornaments.  Like the patterns creator I decided to keep things simple with them, and I think they are lovely and festive! I got the pattern for them here: Vintage Felt Baubles found at Bugs and Fishes. I am loving a lot of her patterns – so go and show her some love!

If you are curious about my first set of ornaments, you can find it here: Felt Christmas Ornaments

 

Happy Birthday Hubby/Daddy!

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My DH turned entered his late, late 30’s this week *cough49cough* and since we have instituted a make a present rule, rather than buy them, the girls and I made him the above pictures to hang on the wall in his office/closet space. Everyone chose their own grouping of colors and held them out whilst I melted them with the hair dryer. It was so much fun!

Originally we were going to use cut outs of the girl’s hands and use the crayon drippings around it, but it didn’t come together so well, so that idea got canned. Literally.

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Since DH is diabetic and doesn’t like too many sweet things, we also made him an delicious birthday cake. The cake portion was made with a Betty Crocker white cake mix, that I mixed up with 8oz plain greek yogurt and 1 cup of water and a really generous splash of vanilla. I mixed it all up and baked it in two 10inch pans for around 35 minutes.  After it was cooled, we slathered the flattened bottom cake with homemade strawberry jam, slices of fresh strawberries and some whipped cream.

After the top was put on, we covered the entire thing with vanilla whipped cream, used mini marshmallows around the base for decoration and topped it off with a sliced large strawberry and some rainbow sprinkles.

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Turned out really well! 🙂 It was nommed up quickly and my husband totally enjoyed it!! See?!?!  So the cake was delicious, mostly healthy if you don’t count the marshmellows and still pretty damn healthy with them included. It doesn’t have any butter or eggs either. It was also super moist, well worth a try!

Homemade Vanilla Marshmallow Hearts

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I try to make the girls one “naughty” treat a week… This week I chose homemade marshmallows. And it’s true… once you go homemade on these puppies, you will never want to go back to store brought again. TO. DIE. FOR! I got the recipe over at: My Baking Addiction and they came together beautifully. They looked awesome in the girl’s lunch box for today too!!

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Left to right: Homemade marshmallow heart, peanut butter and homemade strawberry jam man, mandarin orange and some chocolate Japanese cookies I saw at the store.  Of course the grapes too – the girl would like on those when they are in season (or on sale!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who doesn’t love marshmallows? Especially marshmallows cut into such a lovely shape?

Homemade Sandwich Thins

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With school being back in session now here in Florida, I am trying to make sure that my girls are eating healthy, but fun things for lunch every day and if it means I get to bake and be frugal at the same time, then bring it on!  I recently searched Pinterest for a Sandwich Thins recipe – the girl’s love them, but I feel that the product is too expensive and wanted to make something that used ingredients that I already had (yay!) and that the girls would love.

I found this recipe: My Retro Kitchen: Homemade Sandwich Thins. During my Pinterest wonderings, I saw people making similar things but cutting them out into fun shapes. Since I am only just now getting into Bento boxing, our selection of cutters is severely limited. I chose to go with stars and hearts this time – next time I may break out my Williams and Sonoma Star Wars cutters – I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat a sandwich shaped like Yoda? I know I would!

The changes I made to the recipe was simple. I substituted honey for sugar and halved the amount. I also did not add the wheat bran (I was out). But that was it! Really can’t recommend this recipe higher. The girls inhaled these with egg salad so fast, I’m currently making more to cover for the rest of the week!

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I also can not resist showing off the mixer bowl covers I’ve made recently. These were made with PUL fabric I got on sale at Joanns Fabrics. They were easy to make – I used a large dinner plate to draw a circle on some parchment paper. Then I cut out the fabric and sewed elastic about 1/2 an inch away from the edge. You have to remember to pull the elastic tight as you sew so it gathers. From start to finish this project took about 10 minutes. The only changed I made to later covers was to move the elastic to about 1/4 inch from the edge of the circle, still grips fine, just gives me an extra bit of leeway if the bowl I am using is a bit bigger than my KitchenAid stand mixers bowl.

Crochet Dish Clothes Part 2

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Continuing on with my current obsession, I’ve got two more dish clothes/toy blankets to add to my collection. The pattern can be found here: Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains: Tulip Stitch Cloth  The pattern was super easy and crocheted up really quickly. I was done in about an hour and a half. I am usually a bit of a loose crocheter, so pulling tight was hard to remember, but I am well pleased with the results. This one was nabbed for a toy blanket within minutes of completion… who know small stuffed animals needed so many blankets – so I can’t really comment on how well it scrubs dirty dishes… yet!

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THIS is my favourite pattern ever. The pattern was super easy – just an sc and a dc in every alternate stitch. I love how the pattern worked out, making it look rippled and I can vouch for how well it works with cleaning dishes. I am planning on making many many more of these and even figuring it out to make into making drying towels for the dishes after they have been washed. Awesome, awesome pattern can be found here: Bubblegirl Dishcloth Pattern

Bacon Cheese and Onion Quiche

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I love quiche. I didn’t always. I used to roll my eyes and complain when I was a young one – mostly because I am/was super picky about textures and not eating things that jiggle. However, a few years ago, my awesome mother gave me her recipe for Impossible Pie – a self crusting version of her egg and bacon pie. It was fantastic and so versatile!  You could add practically anything and it would taste fabulous no matter what!

Anyways, this morning I was looking at my meal plan for today and I decided that I couldn’t stand another night of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and decided that I wanted something light and that went well with a nice green romaine salad. This was it!

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I stole the recipe from here: Bacon, Egg and Cheese Quiche, but added some chopped fresh parsley, salt and pepper to taste, a head of roasted garlic and some finely chopped onion.

It was exactly what the doctor ordered for dinner!!

Crochet Dish Cloth

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I have a new obsession… mostly because  spend so much time hanging out in my car waiting for bus drop offs or to pick up someone from school. I read… but I like projects that I can get done in the hour (or so) wait (Thank you Florida summer rain storms!)

With that in mind, and trying to save money, I’ve started crochetting dishclothes. I can’t say that I am sold on them yet, but it’s better than going and spending money on something that gets so gross and nasty like the sponges we’ve previously used.  This particular time, I chose this pattern: Waffle Crochet Dishcloth and it was super super easy.  What amuses me however, is my complete inability to make it square. But, I don’t mind… after all it’s going to be stuck in a sink full of dirty dishes and I don’t think that they will care!

Making school lunch interesting!

Making school lunch interesting!

For my Tuesday post, I am showing the lunch I’ve made for my girls tomorrow. I use the Easy Lunchboxes – brights version if that matters 😉 Today I made them sugar free vanilla pudding with tiny teddy crackers, mandarin, strawberry and grape pieces and in the main compartment, a bed of iceburg lettuce, with homemade chick fil a knock off nuggets, some mini carrots and half a banana. For a snack later on, they will have a small bag of popcorn and a simply yogurt – no high fructose corn syrup added and a natural apple juice. I got the recipe for the nuggets here: Chick-fil-A Bites – they really did taste like the nuggets there!