Christmas dessert/gift

For the last few years a Christmas tradition for our family has been to make Juniors Famous Cheesecake. Let me assure you, this is unlike any cheesecake you have EVER had. The most creamy, rich, fattening cheesecake on earth! With a spongecake crust and 4 packages of cream cheese, this recipe is sure to please. So if you are looking for a dessert for your holiday, this is it!!! It's a bit time consuming, but trust me... VERY worth it! Here is the link to the recipe. It includes a topping recipe but I have never used it. No need.


Happy Birthday, Jesus!!!

Last week, the kids and I went to a Happy Birthday Jesus Party at a friends house. If you haven't done this with your little ones, you really must! It is such a great way to show them exactly what Christmas means. It can be as elaborate or simple as you would like. Below are a few ideas for a party with friends. However, you can use any of these ideas for a small family party on Christmas day (or any day near Christmas for that matter).

The Cake
What is a party without a cake??? You can make a cake (or order one) that is as elaborate as simple as you prefer. This year, the party we went to, had cupcakes. Here are a few examples I found online.

Here is a more "elaborate" one:

Here is one I found over at As We Walk.

We make our own birthday cake on Christmas day every year even if we do go to a party earlier in the month. It refocuses all of us to the real reason for Christmas. It's fun to let the kids decorate the cake too.

Pin the Star on the Manger
A super simple idea for a party game is to play pin the star on the manger. Simply find a Coloring page and print extra stars. Then, play the game as normal, with or without blindfolds depending on the age of the children.

Gingerbread Houses
Here is a great craft that we did at the party last week, but you can do just for fun. Take an empty orange juice or milk box. Let the kids put frosting on the side of the box then half of a graham cracker. then frost the cracker and put the candies on. Here are a couple of examples that my kids made.

Hope you all have fun celebrating the birth of JESUS!!!!


Elf on the Shelf

This idea comes a bit late, so maybe you can tuck it away for next year. However, if you start tonight, you could still squeeze it in. Trust me, this one is so worth it!

We were that family that never really PUSHED the Santa thing, but we didn't skip it either. The kids stockings are filled with toys and treats from Santa every year. None of the gifts from under the tree were because, frankly, I paid too much money and put too much thought into them to give Santa the credit!

Well, this year I wanted to take it a bit further, but I wasn't sure how I was going to accomplish that. Until, last week while at a Christmas get together at a friends house, she showed me her Elf on the Shelf. I had never heard of such a thing, and if you haven't either... getting ready to be delighted.

Meet the commercial version of Elf on the Shelf:

So what is it? It is your family elf, sent by Santa, to make observe whether the children in your home have been naughty or nice. Each night he heads back to the North Pole to report his findings to Santa. Then, every morning the children must find his new location in the house. There are a few rules with the shelf elf. Your children must name their elf as soon as he arrives to your home. They may NEVER touch the Elf!!! If they do, he will lose his magic. The children can talk to the elf, but he can not talk to them. Simple rules, but VERY IMPORTANT!

The Elf on the Shelf above is available for purchase along with a book that explains the rules and why he is there. However, it is $30! Instead, I searched online to see if anyone else had made their own elf. Along with a few scary looking elves, I found this tutorial. It was perfect.

Here is our version:

Here is the wording I used for the letter that arrived with our family elf.

Dear Caden, Alanna, Abram, and Eli,
Merry Christmas! It is my pleasure to introduce the bearer of this note as the Magic Elf assigned to your family this holiday season.
This Magic Elf will visit your household from now until Christmas Eve, to observe the behavior of any good little boys or girls residing herein. Each night the elf will report back to me to inform me if each of you have been naughty or nice. When I arrive on Christmas Eve, the Magic Elf will come back to the North Pole with me to help prepare for next year.
There are a few things you must remember. First, give the magic Elf a name. Second, and this VERY important, do NOT... I repeat, do NOT touch the elf. If any of you do, he will lose his flying abilities! Finally, you may talk to the elf, but he will not talk to you. I have given him strict orders not to! Each morning when you wake up, you must find his place in the house because he will sit in a new location after returning from the North Pole.

I must also add that I have been made aware of prior incidents of Elf Mischief on the part of this Elf. Should any Elf Mischief occur, please feel free to contact me at the address below.

Your Sincerely,
Mr. S. Clause
Santa's Workshop
North Pole
It was a huge hit! The kids have LOVED this part of Christmas so much. It has been fun for Dan and i as well. Finding a new spot and coming up with creative ideas has been fun. This weekend, the elf caused some mischief and made flour angles on our counter. We simply sprinkled flour on the counter, place the elf on top and moved his arms and legs to form a flour angel. We brushed most of it off but left a little evidence with some flour tracks to his new spot for the next morning in the kitchen. The kids ate it up! We had baked cookies the day before so when they found the flour, they made up their own story as to why he had done such a bad thing!
If you do this with your children, have fun with it! It's awesome!!!


Christmas Decorations

Here are a few Christmas decorations I made at our MOPS group this week. They were easy, fun and so cute!

The first is a Christmas card holder. It is simply 2 yards of ribbon folded in half with different lengths of dowel rods hot glued in between. Then, a small ribbon tied to the top for hanging. You use clothes pins to hold the cards on. You could paint your dowel rods or clips if you prefer.

Then we made an advent calendar out of matchboxes. You can find these all over online. It was very easy, but a tad time consuming. But so worth it in the end.


Catching up

We are all finally healthy!!! YAY!!! I'm about to finish editing our last wedding of the year and then... a much needed 4 month break. While that's not so great for the pocket book, I'm excited to breathe before the summer craziness next year! WOOHOO!! And of course... MORE CRAFTING!!! (or, at least, I hope so.)

Last time I mentioned that I had gotten together with a few friends for our hair accessory workshop. It was so much fun and gave us a great opportunity to make something for Christmas gifts. That's the advent conspiracy at it's finest! Here's how I set it up.

1. We picked a location (our church) that would allow us to work while our little ones played. It worked perfectly.

2. I printed a bunch of tutorials I found online (below is a list of tutorials we used).

3. I gathered the materials (mostly from my stash). I found 100 alligator clips for $10 on amazon with free shipping! I have tons left over too!

4. On the day of, I simply set out the tutorials and the supplies and we went to town.

Here are a few of the ones I made:

Isn't that pinwheel clip adorable???


Holy Sickness, Batman!

A few weeks ago the flu started to run ramped through our family. As soon as 4 out of 6 of us finished that, the cold hit all 6 of us. Then, last Sunday, the flu reared it's ugly head again and finished with me yesterday... on my birthday. Needless to say, it was a lousy day. So, I have had all of these fun things to share with you, but no energy left to actually blog about it. I have some finished projects I hope to share with you before the end of the weekend. First, a little trip back to Thanksgiving and the fun dress I made for my sweet niece, Madysen.

I simply made a quick pattern out of one of her dresses and put a turkey applique on the bottom. Simple and adorable!

Here is Mady with my husband, Dan. We love her!

More to come... including a fun get together/Christmas workshop idea for you to do with your friends.