{Christmas Rumblings}

 We've been hearing the rumblings of Christmas' fast approach for a few weeks at our house.
We started early with a tree the day after Thanksgiving, and all that week, we tootled at decorations.
The season of fresh greens and cozying up the house never lasts long enough for me, so I have no problem with Christmasy things in November already.
I've never really allowed myself the luxury of spending money on Christmas decorations, so there aren't usually stacks of boxes to pull out of the attic.  We usually end up with fresh greens, gifted, found and handcrafted decorations, and my sister is the queen of picking up neglected road side artificial trees, which we end up taking apart and using in various manners.  

 I'm usually such a sucker for the traditional red and green, but this year I went with just a lot more neutral, and in the living room I got brave and added some peacock feathers and colors in.  And I really like it, esp. with the gold, blacks and white.

 Our tree ends up looking haphazard like 98% of the time.  Either the kids are jumping and it starts leaning, or small fingers are pulling pieces off, etc.  After a few attempts at making it look decent, we just decide that, hey, it's a family tree and we won't get too worked up unless the whole thing falls over on someone.  It's a ginormous tree, so fat we didn't put decorations on the back end and our ceilings are 11' and the tree is headed towards the ceiling quite nicely.
Don't be jealous of my sleigh. ;)  Isn't it a beauty tho?  It's in 'storage' at my house...belongs to my mom, but since the pony died and the mice were nibbling at it, we've had it here in our house ever since we moved here.  There are two large double doors that open into our foyer and the sleigh stays in that part of the house for the majority of the year.  This year, I drug it into the living room and am so glad I did.  It fills up empty space and looks so quaint doing it.
See, I not kidding DIY ornaments.  This tag was found over at jones design company.  There are just so so many cool, free tags floating around the blogisphere this year.  You can find more here and over here she had the coolest anthropologie-esque animals (sponsored by Anthro.) dressed in Anthro clothes, that I can't seem to find them anymore...probably because they have since been taken off the web.  But the blog is still fun.

 You'll find those cool chalkboard letters over on this blog.  And they'll suck your printer dry.  But so worth it.

 We also catered a few Christmas banquets this year.  One was quite large, and I got no pictures of that...I was too busy running at top steam to serve the 160+ guests.  Four days later we did a smaller one, and I got a few snapshots of that one. 

Apparently my helper, aka husband, got camera happy on me.  I never get self-portraits of me in action.  Possibly for good reason.  But he says this is my 'concentration face'.  I'm not sure if it's funny or embarassing. :) 
And since I really don't care to end this post with that... here's a few shots of the desserts to get your mouth watering and your tummy grumbling.

Hope your Christmas week brings you a Peace that passes understanding, whether you find yourself at peace with the world around you already, or in the middle of chaos, confusion or pain.  More than ever, I find myself so grateful that He came to bind the broken hearted, set captives free, give sight to the blind and proclaim the Lord.  We are all so in need, Amen?


{A Cornish Hen}

For Thanksgiving this year, {Yes, I realize that was like an eternity ago} we went anti-turkey
And dove into the world of minature. 
Why I've waited so long to make Cornish hens, is just beyond me.
I've admired them from afar, but never attempted them.
Really, they're not so intimidating.

Except for the part where you feel slightly unsettled at the thought of cooking a "baby" chicken.
Which they really are not, but still.

The kids were super excited and kept asking, for a whole 10 days ahead of time, if we could please
Have the baby chickens for dinner tonight.

So here's the lowdown on a fine roast Cornish hen:
 I bought mine frozen, so I thawed them and patted them dry.
We stuffed them with sliced peppers, celery, garlic cloves and onions.
 If you're lucky you'll get the most handsome man in the universe in on the chef-ing.
He declares himself helpless in the kitchen, but I'm working to bring out his inner foodie.
Next, we basted each turkey,er..hen, with butter.  Lots of melty butta.
We then seasoned the daylights out of them with lemon pepper and any other herb/seasoning we could get our hands on.
Roasted them, uncovered, for an hour or till the juices ran clear and the skin was all crispy and tantalizing.  They smelled aromatically decadent.

 Everybody got their own little chicken, we ate taters with brown butter and too much other food, and that was how our alternate turkey story ended.


{Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice}

  So you know those visions of sugar plums that dance in your head?
And that perfect mother-daughter craft that you envision,
Where the Hallelujah chorus somehow is singing in the background,
The moment looks like a Norman Rockwell painting,
And your having a deep bonding moment over some 'Pinteresty' project?

Yeah, that one.  Guess I always thought it would be that way, but alas,
The two of us, my daughter and I, are two birds of a different feather.
While I am stimulated by some artsy/craftsy thing finished, she'd rather get out all the supplies
And then just sit and talk about it.
I'm a do-er, she's a relate-er.
So we're learning to work together. 
I'll be honest, it's been showing me some rough edges in my own character.

Here's a fun project we worked on 'together'.
Super easy, even for small kids.
 Gather some large gumballs, and using a kabob skewer, slowly poke a hole through them.
I used 6 gumballs, but you could do with more or less.
Using a large needle and ribbon, thread the gumballs onto a length of ribbon long enough to tie at the back of your neck.
Tying a knot on each side of the gumballs to keep them from sliding helter skelter.
 Add a flower clip you bought, or make your own.
I just threw together some fabric and tulle, very simple like and sewed a hair clip onto the back.
The flower clip now serves two purposes, as a little bling to the gumball necklace,
And after the gumballs have been devoured, it can be clipped onto clothes or used as a hair accessory.
 Super easy, super fun.  And can be used as a cheap, but fancy gift for princess' or party favors.
Or to create a sugar induced high.  Whatever strikes your fancy.