I don’t remember the last time we didn’t have a white Christmas in Wisconsin–years upon years ago. But, this year… you guessed it… no snow. In fact, I unloaded our strategically packed vehicle of over-sized toddler toys (most of which featured wheels) without a coat on and had this moment where I almost convinced myself that it was Spring. I’m not complaining.
Without the snow, we may not have had our typical Christmas ambiance outdoors, but with all of the domesticity I completed and the post holiday mess of toys on my living room floor … indeed, it was Christmas! So let’s recap all of the super crafty, yummy and headache happenings of the 2014 Christmas Season at the Lewis House.
I completed my very first Christmas cookie exchange–and that is going to be an every year must from here on out. For the exchange, I made a few Pinterest finds that were not only fun, but also very festive, easy and way delicious.
- Pistachio Kisses–My hubs can eat a whole bag of pistachios in one sitting. It’s bananas. So I found this recipe and knew that I had to whip these up. The biggest bonus of these: so simple (with using a Betty Crocker cookie mix) and a nice twist on an old classic.
- Red Velvet Cutouts + Royal Almond Icing–I used this recipe and adjusted the icing on my own to get the effect and flavor that I was looking for. The recipe was so simple as I was able to make it with most of the ingredients that I already had on hand. I found a star-shaped cutout and a candy cane for my cookies. The royal cookie icing was the perfect touch, which I mostly eye-balled to the right consistency and added a few drops of almond flavoring that I ordered offline last year. I applied the icing by simply putting it into a plastic bag and snipping the tiniest hole into the corner of the bag. This allowed me to stream the icing into stripes on the candy canes (making a perfect replica of actual candy canes) and drizzling it in “not so perfect” lines on to the stars. These were a huge hit! Not too sweet either–a nice mix up in your cookie assortment.
- Yule Log with Coffee Buttercream & Chocolate Ganache–I have decided to create a yearly Christmas tradition in that I will make a Yule Log cake. This was my very first year, and I have to say that I knocked it out of the park with this one. You can snag the recipe here.
Our Homemade Tree
This was our very first full-sized tree! So, I really wanted to make it special, yet minimalist. I didn’t have a strong collection of ornaments, and I despise seeing the prices stores charge for the darn things. Instead, I went to Pinterest and found three designs that allowed me to make a tree full of ornaments for a fraction of the price. Check out my pictures to see the close up of our tree. I also added a gold painted “L” to monogram the tree for a nice person touch.
There were a few modifications that I made, of course. I was able to find all of the materials that I needed at Micheals. All of my ornaments complemented my shabby, minimalist, charming tree look–which was also adorned with a cream and gold ribbon alternated up the tree and three strands of white mini tree lights. It gave the perfect amount of glow, without being overdone.
I just can’t believe the toys these days–I wish I were a kid again! Ollie got some really great stuff from family and friends. There was one gift in particular that I wanted to dicuss. Grandma Kara was very excited to get Ollie the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe–so on Christmas morning, she unveiled to him the new set of wheels, which of course needed to be assembled. I had the Yule Log to make, and after assembling my fair share of toys, I left this one to grandma. After a few hours and much frustration, Grandma accidentally forgot to put the hubcaps on the front wheels, causing there to be a significant gap that allowed the tire to move excessively on the tubing it was placed on.
I chucked as Grandma (my mother) attempted for about a hour to get the tubing cap (which was hammered on) off, so that she would be able to then put on the missing hubcaps. After watching her struggle, I started to help. We didn’t have any luck. We then took to the internet–maybe there would be some good tips on how to remedy this situation? Grandma found this blog post. We weren’t the only ones with the struggle.
Long story short, the wheels were fixed thanks to some hand family members later on Christmas evening that had proper tools to be able to hold the tires steady as they forcefully pulled off the tubing caps. Just to share, Ollie LOVES his finished coupe.
A few thoughts of mine after this experience and many other assembly experiences:
- Keep in mind that assembling toys is always arduous, and best to be done while the child is not around, as they can become impatient waiting for the finished toy. They can often become involved in the assembly process and could possibly hurt themselves, play with parts, and possibly even lose very important parts.
- Do your research and prep on the toy assembly process. Which toys are easy to assemble? What “failures” have other people experienced during assembly? Read the directions completely before you start, so that you can make sense of the process from beginning to end.
- Have a glass of wine in hand… trust me.
- If you are not one to be patient, nor to adhere to instructions, consider getting your toys at garage sales. (wink)
- Lastly, to toy makers–We beg of you… Please consider the mental and physical draining you are placing on families when you require them to assemble toys that are unreasonably difficult and task oriented. You alone have a great deal of control of our sanity in putting together your toys for our children. Thank you!
Thank you for checking into my blog post. I look forward to writing my next blog which will cover my 90 day muffin top stopping challenge. Let the weight lose and getting fit efforts begin!