Christmas Morning

Merry Christmas! From our home to yours.

Picture perfect!

These Christmas morning smiles are the greatest gift of all.

For our train-loving toddler, a Polar Express electric train set. Happy boy!

 

This little one is perfectly content just watching her big brother open gifts. Such a doll.

Gingerbread Man Sugar Cookies

I love the idea of decorating gingerbread men during the holidays, but I don’t like the taste of gingerbread cookies! So, switching things up here and making “sugar cookie” gingerbread men in our house this year.

You will need:

  • Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • 2 eggs
  • Butter
  • Gingerbread man cookie cutter
  • Rolling pin
  • Decorating icing tubes, 3 colors of choice

I made these with my son. He loved rolling out the dough, and I loved showing him!

An even bigger hit was stamping out the gingerbread men.

He got a kick out of the fact that they look like little people.

Once they were baked, we laid them out to cool. Then we stored them in a large ziplock bag, setting them aside to decorate at our Christmas Eve party.

We decorated them with colored icing tubes after Christmas Eve dinner. Even Uncle Ian took a stab at it! A fun activity for both kids and adults.

Best Slow Cooker Short Ribs Recipe

This slow cooker ribs recipe is absolutely amazing. Perfect comfort food on a chilly day, like we are having here today in New Jersey.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless beef short ribs (last time I did 3.5 lbs and multiplied ingredients 1.5)
  • 1/8 cup butter
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons catsup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 package baby carrots
  • 1 package small red or white potatoes

Directions:

  • Put flour, salt and pepper and ribs in a large ziplock bag and shake to coat (can leave this overnight in fridge).
  • Brown ribs in butter in a large skillet.
  • Put in slow cooker.
  • In same skillet, combine remaining ingredients and bring to boil, stirring.
  • Pour over ribs.
  • Cover and cook on low for 9 hours (or 1.5 hours high, – then add veggies – 3.5 hours low).

Teaching Kids About Giving

I came up with this idea one night while talking to my son about Santa and presents and all the Christmas stuff he had been hearing. He just turned three years old, and this is the first Christmas he started to be curious with what was happening. He knew Santa was coming, and he had a sack of gifts (mostly learned all this from school and books and TV) but I wanted to be able to explain gift giving to him, not just receiving. So I decided I would take him Christmas shopping.

I went to Target and got a few packs of these brown kraft gift bags. We were having Christmas Eve at our house, and expecting ten family members, so I wrote each person’s name on the bags.

I brought my son to the Dollar Store, and brought the bags. I gave him a basket and explained to him that we were going to buy a special gift for each person, something that we thought would make them happy.

We walked through the store, I would name a person and give him the bag, and we would stroll through the aisles talking about things they liked, and what might make them smile.

He was having a blast. I was surprised he had an opinion about each person! I would suggest something, and sometimes he would say, “No, I want to give them this” and point to something else of his choice. How sweet!

When it was time to check out, I gave him a $20 bill, and explained that in order to buy our gifts, we will have to give the cashier money. He was armed with sunglasses for Daddy, a toy pony for his sister, a basketball and football for each of his Grandfathers, and Disney figurines for the Grandmas. Not to mention a set of bubbles for himself. I agreed that a gift for himself would be appropriate.

When we got home, we unloaded the gifts, put them in the appropriate bags, along with a handmade card for each person.

Christmas Card Art Project for Kids

I love giving my son arts and crafts projects at home. This Christmas greeting card project is super easy.

You will need:

  • 10 blank fold-over cards
  • Black sharpie marker
  • Kids markers
  • Glue
  • Gold glitter
  • Embellishments/stickers of choice

Use a black sharpie marker to draw the outline of a tree, and write each card recipients name on a card. Then give each one to your child to color them in.

Let them be creative! Green trees, or blue trees, in the lines or out of the lines – just have fun and let them explore their creative spirit.

Then for the parents, use the glue and just draw a simple zig-zag on each tree. Then sprinkle with glitter.

Lay the out on the table and let them dry for an hour or so. This will make the next step less messy.

Then let your child use the embellishments/stickers as “ornaments” on the trees. We used holly and snowflakes, found at the local craft store.

Penguin Christmas Card

This year’s Christmas card was inspired by these little penguin illustrations, how cute are they!

Packaged in a kraft envelope printed with an image of our little penguin friend and the works “MERRY”. Then I used a fine point Sharpie (my favorite pen!) to personalize each recipient’s name.

Inside is a lollipop adhered with a glue dot, and it reads, “We hope your holiday season is SWEET and filled with much laughter and joy.”

Family Christmas Card

Every year since the kids have been born, we have been taking a family Christmas card photo. This year, we took it up a notch and had Jacklyn of Jacklyn Lorraine Photography take our photos, she did a fantastic job! We met at a local Nutley park, and it was the first snow! so it was incredibly gorgeous. However, it was a freezing day, and the kids were really cold and uncomfortable, so I believe we were out there for a total of 10 minutes before everyone started crying. She did a great job, considering. She was quick and efficient, understanding with this little ones, had a great eye and was an absolute pleasure to work with!

Thanks a Latte Card for Teacher

The holidays are a time to think of the super important people who care for our children. Rather than getting them another tchotchke, I prefer a gift card. This year I did a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card for each, along with a cute card that says, “Thanks a latte for taking care of our little munchkin”.

I created the design as a fold-over notecard with a personalized message inside.

The gift card is adhered in the interior of the card.

The inside message reads, “Wishing you much joy, peace & laughter in 2018.”