Wednesday, December 30, 2009

handmade christmas

My kids received tons of wonderful presents this year. Lots of toys, lots of clothes, lots of gift cards. But the presents that I loved the best were the ones that couldn't be found in a big box brick and mortar store, but special treasures found on Etsy.

My sister went mostly handmade this year and while she did have to cave in and purchase a few items from Toys R Us (boys can be very particular), she was able to get almost all of her Christmas shopping done online from the comfort of her own home. This is just a small sampling of the fabulous items she gifted us with:

Wonderful sweet pea soap that smells heavenly from Indulgent Creations, a beautiful cedar soap dish from Andrew's Reclaimed, a funky wristlet key chain from Tracy Designs and cocoa mint lip balm from Sparta Soap...all for me!

For the mini papercut, a couple of adorable pink diaper shirts from Not Your Mom's Vinyl...yes daddy is a Star Wars fan, and Z is a bit of a spitter.

Fluffy and fanciful tutus for both the girls from The Girly Place. As well as a pink and black taggy minky blanket(not pictured) for the little one. My eldest promptly put her tutu on and twirled around the room:)

And last but definitely not least, the sweetest little doll ever, named Lydia, from Sugar and Spice! She's my favourite gift, hands down :) I've already custom ordered one for the mini papercut!

I love every single gift we received, but there's just something about presents that feel like they were made just for us. I know that with the amount of kids we have to buy for (roughly 20 in total, yes you read that right) going completely handmade is not all that practical. Plus not everyone appreciates it. But I'm thinking about doing a mostly handmade Christmas next year, or at the very least attempting to do it. How about you?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

something sweet

My daughter received a Girl Gourmet Cake Bakery kit for Christmas. It was on her wish list from Santa, and it definitely did not disappoint.

It comes with pretty much everything you need to make a couple of mini cakes, including all the bake ware and a little decorating station complete with an icing tool and sprinkles.

The only suggestion I'd make is to have some icing sugar on hand just in case you add too much water to the fondant mixture, yes that is speaking from experience.

We originally tried it out on Boxing Day with one of her friends, with very little adult input. Needless to say, the cake did not quite turn out the way it was supposed to, and neither did the fondant/icing, but it provided at least 30 minutes of amusement for both the girls and the dads that were supervising.

So we took another stab at it today, my hubby and I both helping out, and I'm happy to report that the finished product was much closer to what it was supposed to look like! Now it didn't taste like grandma's cakes, but it was definitely edible and super sugary, and I have to admit, a lot of fun to make.

It may not be perfect, but not too shabby either.

As you can see, A is very happy with her little cake, and in the end she had a tiny treat that she made herself! Cute and sweet, just like the girl who made it:)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

happy holidays

Merry Belated Christmas everyone! We hope you all had as much fun as we did :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

yummy fudge

Image courtesy of Martha Stewart

My son has a peanut allergy, and over the years we've convinced him that he doesn't like bakery items. It started off as a precaution, seeing as most baked goods are not peanut free, but in the wave of peanut free snacks and schools, we've found a handful of bakeries that are absolutely peanut free. However, after years of never eating birthday cake, even homemade from scratch, my son refuses to eat cakes, cupcakes, pies and to some extent even cookies. I always felt badly that he was eating fruit instead of indulging in a little bit of yummy sweetness on his birthday...enter the BEST and easiest fudge ever!!!! My sis made this fudge for my son's last birthday, and it was a huge hit (all the kids were eating it instead of the cake!) !! With only 3 ingredients, and the fact that you basically dump it all in a pot and cook over low until it melts, it is by far my favourite recipe:) You can find the full recipe here, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed! So yummy!!

no fireplace, no problem

As the big day quickly approaches, things are abuzz around the Little Papercuts home. The tree is decorated and the presents are wrapped, but every year we struggle to find a place to hang our stockings, since we are without a fireplace. Over the last few years I've been wanting to turn our bookcase into a makeshift fireplace for the kids at Christmas, but I've always run out of time and in the end our television cabinet plays home to our kids' stockings. But since Christmas dinner is at a friend's house this year (they're giving us a break since we have a new baby), and because my niece and nephew will be celebrating their first Christmas with us (yes, Santa will be visiting them here), I figured I'd try to come up with something that resembled a fireplace so we could hang all FIVE stockings from it.

So I used some poster board, some scrap booking paper, a glue gun, some tape, ribbon, a hole punch and my trusty scissors and...voila, a cute little fireplace, complete with a roaring fire. It was very easy to make and relatively quick to assemble. While ours is pretty simple, you could definitely be more elaborate and make the fire 3-dimensional by using tissue paper for the flames and paper towel rolls for the logs in the fire. But since we have 3 kids under the age of 1 year, it didn't seem practical to have something they could potentially rip apart and eat:) This can easily be utilized in any space, and when you're ready to put it away it rolls up to be stored until next year. And the best part about it is that it hides all the toys and books for a few days, and 'warms' up the room for the holidays:)

Monday, December 21, 2009

4 more days

Can you believe Christmas is on Friday? My kids are on Christmas break, and luckily we've finished almost all of our shopping, we still need to pick up a couple gifts, but nothing that will warrant us having to enter a toy store:) The presents are wrapped, our Santa letters e-mailed, our paper fireplace is in place (I'll be posting pics of this later) and we're just about ready to hang our stockings and bake our cookies as we await Santa's arrival. I have a lot to be thankful for this year: three happy and healthy kiddos, a fabulous (although sometimes annoying) husband, wonderful family and friends, and a little business that is thriving. Yes we've had our ups and downs, as well as numerous obstacles to overcome, but the good has definitely outweighed the bad. Right now the older kids are playing while the mini papercut sleeps. Three happy kids...there's nothing better than this:)

Monday, December 14, 2009

one mattress with a box spring on the side please

Image by Eugenio Recuenco

Yes, we finally received our beautiful white leather tufted bed frame. And the day it arrived I was truly excited. The delivery guys were late, but they still managed to deliver it and set it up without incidence. However, in all the chaos it slipped our minds that our king size mattress was not going to fit in our new queen sized bed frame! OOPS!! Well up until last Saturday my hubby and I were sleeping on a foam mattress pad on the floor next to the actual bed (I need to be in the room because of the mini papercut). And when our new mattress arrived I was so happy, until I realized that we had possibly purchased a box spring we didn't need.

After spending a week looking at my new bed frame sans mattress, I came to the conclusion that a mattress by itself would be too low, and a regular sized box spring would be way too high. The solution...a low profile box spring that is roughly half the size of a regular one. So when we went to LOOK at mattresses, I hadn't anticipated purchasing that day and had not measured anything at home. You can imagine my surprise when my DH put me on the spot and asked me to pick, and of course everything seemed so low in the showroom, that I automatically agreed to the low profile box. But when everything was delivered and put in place, the bed seemed way too high. My hubby's answer to our new problem was to take out the box spring and only use the mattress, which would have been fine if he hadn't decided to 'store' the box spring standing up against the window. Now what would you rather, a high bed or a big black rectangle blocking 2/3 of the window? So I casually mention to him that I'd like to try the box spring again ( we had only tried it before for a total of 10 minutes), to which he replied a resounding NO?!?! Really? I thought he was joking but was quickly informed that he liked it low and if it had been up to him we wouldn't have even bought a bed frame and we'd be sleeping on our mattress on the floor. Um, WHAT!?!?!??! Yeah, this is not over by a long shot! I guarantee that by Christmas we'll be sleeping on a nice high GROWN-UP bed;)

are you finished yet?

With Christmas right around the corner, it's been a crazy few weeks! The kids have 1 more week of school before they go on Christmas break, so I've been trying to get all the Christmas shopping's much easier to take just the mini papercut along than drag all 3 kiddos through a toy store! I had made a mental note back in September that I wanted to have all of the presents wrapped and under the tree by the first week of December, in anticipation of how hectic things would be around here with a new baby. And I have to say, although I had not kept to schedule, things seemed to be running smoothly ( I was able to purchase almost all of the kids' presents, we have roughly 20 kids to buy for :o, in 1 day with my 2 youngest in tow!), but I've now found myself with only a few days to buy all the other gifts! Factor in a few doctor's appointments, baby eczema, hives and sleep deprivation, and you've got a recipe for disaster!

So over the last week the mini papercut has not been sleeping at night AT ALL!!!! Yes, that's right. I've been functioning on roughly 4 hours of sleep over the past 3 days...that's 4 hours TOTAL! My ability to focus on the task of shopping for others is extremely blurred at the moment, and yes, I know I'm supposed to sleep when she does, but realistically if she's sleeping while I'm at the grocery store and running errands I can't just pull the car over and take a nap. So I soldier through the weariness in an effort to finish up all the Christmas shopping, not to mention the continuous pile of laundry, meals to be made and attemps to keep a relatively clean house, or at least the illusion that we have one;) All of this only to have my husband ask me at the end of the day, "Aren't you finished the Christmas shopping yet?"

Thursday, December 3, 2009