Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

This past Saturday we had our annual Christmas cookie exchange party.  I have to say I was slacking a little bit because I didn't even tie any ribbons around the wine glasses or get out the paper straws like I did last year.  Ha!

Everyone brought delicious cookies.  We had hot cocoa cookies, gooey butter cookies, M&M and chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip with pecan, Oreo brownies, peanut butter bars, and our cookies...

We made double chocolate cheesecake cookies with mascarpone glaze piped on top (recipe from How Sweet It Is).  They weren't quite as cheese cake tasting as I had hoped, but they were just the right balance of chocolate and they were moist and chewy, so we loved them.

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies with Mascarpone Glaze
P.S. Sorry I didn't take more pictures of everyone's cookies...we were trying to keep the new puppy from eating everything in sight. :)

We also made the cream cheese and cucumber crostinis again like we did at our housewarming party (in addition to other things).  This time I switched out the plain cream cheese and Italian dressing mixture for onion and chive cream cheese.  It was easier to make and I actually liked it better.

It was also a goodbye party for our friend Allison, who just got a new job in Missouri.  Since it was her last party with us, we played Apples to Apples, which is a tradition for parties at our house. (Oh, and the animal babies joined in, too.)

Apples to Apples! :)
And of course we had to get a good group photo. :)

We had a great time.  The best part of Christmas is spending time with friends and family, so I'm glad we've made this an annual tradition to help us enjoy the season. :)

Hope your Christmas is just as bright!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bean Soup Mix in Mason Jars

My Christmas shopping is just about done and I can officially say I bought nothing at the mall this year. :)  I stuck to Etsy, Amazon, local small business, and my personal favorite--DIY!  

Every year I like to make something edible that I can give to my assistant at work and my grandpa/other people who are hard to buy for.  This year I tried out this great Five Bean Vegetarian Soup Mix recipe from Back to Her Roots.

I loved this tutorial because it had printable labels with the instructions for making the soup.  Saved me a lot of time!

The tutorial called for a quart size jar, but I bought pint sized and cut the recipe in half.  Of course, this required me to use the very sophisticated program Microsoft Paint to fix the instructions on the printable.  But it did save me some money, so I got to make a lot more gifts. :)

I also trimmed the budget by using washi tape I already had for the spice packets instead of buying labels.  All in all the project cost about $2.50 per gift.  Not too shabby!  And I love the way the turned out.  My favorite part is the layers of colorful beans.

I hope you're wrapping up your holiday crafting and enjoying the season!  If you need some last minute ideas, stop by this post and check out my suggestions.  Until next time, happy crafting!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Oh Christmas Tree

Just wanted to stop in and share a few pictures of our furry animal babies by the Christmas tree.  Still working on getting that perfect shot, but these aren't too bad.  Good enough for a Christmas card, I'd say!  Hope you're enjoying the holiday season!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

No Sew Fleece Blanket for Puppy

A couple weekends ago I made a second no-sew fleece blanket for our puppy Sterling.  He likes to go swimming in the pond then take naps on his blanket.  Needless to say it often stinks, so I made him a second blanket he can sleep on while the other is in the wash.

I found some great fleece fabric at Jo-Ann's that says "Super Dog Bow-Wow!" Adorable!  Plus it was 50% off. :)  I paired it with some red polka-dot fabric because I thought it looked comic bookish.  My puppy loved it.

Sterling loves his no-sew fleece blanket, and the selvage I cut off the edges...
Wondering how to make your own blanket?  It's easy as pie and quite relaxing.  The instructions are after the break.  (Sorry, no photos yet.  I'll add them next time I make a blanket!)
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