Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Morning

After a night of singing some Christmas tunes, reading about the birth of our Savior, and setting out the cookies and milk, the kids anxiously went to bed ready for the next morning. They woke up about 6 a.m. to find their stockings filled with all sorts of goodies. A little while later we moved on to opening gifts. We had a wonderful Christmas day filled with memories!

Laci opened one of her presents to find the pink guitar she so badly wanted.

Here is Ivy with her Farmer Buddy doll that sings. She was so excited when she saw this!

Trent is showing off a couple of his gifts. A new Code Lyoko game for the Wii and a new Star Wars shirt, which is always a favorite for him.

Laci with her stocking full of goodies.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Make Your Own Cake Pedestals

Today I want to share some of the cake pedestals that I made over the Christmas holidays. They are so easy to make. This has become one of my favorite crafts because they are so easy and take very little time and because...... well, I just like cake pedestals. They're so cute! All you need to make a pedestal is a plate and matching or coordinating bowl , as well as E6000 glue. This glue is some strong stuff, so make sure you use it in a well ventilated area, but do not use it outside in cold weather. It will not stick! Make sure the plate and bowl are clean and dry. Turn your plate and bowl over and pipe a line of the E6000 on bottom rim of the bowl and then center the bowl onto the back side of the plate. Press lightly. Let it sit for a while to dry. When it is dry you can leave it plain or tie on a ribbon as I did on the white one pictured above. You can change the ribbon for different occasions. How fun! I can't wait to make more. The possibilities are endless! They make a great gift, as well.

This is a pedestal I made for my cookie swap. It cost $2! I found the bowl and plate at Dollar Tree. It went perfectly with my red and white snowflake theme I had for the swap.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

From Our Family To Yours, Merry Christmas!

We hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas surrounded by family and friends. May we remember our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His birth,life, sacrifice and love for us. We are thankful for the knowledge we have that He loves us and that we may live again with Him. Have a wonderful day!
The Howell Family--Will, Missy, Trent, Laci and Ivy

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Today I want to share a few of my favorite items of Christmas decor that we have around our house. They are definitely not fancy things, but are still some of my favorites. The first is our stockings hung on our mantel. I searched high and low for stockings that I liked one year. I actually found some at Pottery Barn that were very cute, but just couldn't wrap my head around paying $40 per stocking. Ours came from Kirkland's. The guys have dark green and the girls have a sort of brick red color. You can't really tell from the picture, but they have stitching on the front and the cuff is embossed and embroidered with our names. The mantel is quite simple with some lighted garland and candles. It's very nice at night when we have the lights off in that room with just the glow of the lights on the mantel.

Next is a picture that I made a few years ago after seeing a similar one on splitcoast stampers. This year it is displayed on our piano.

I think this one is a favorite because the kids like it so much. It is our "Cookies for Santa" plate. This fun little find came from the Christmas on the Coosa event that we have here in town each year. It's so cute with the polka dots and is personalized just for the kids. They love putting the cookies on this plate. What are your favorites?

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Cookie Swap.......Kind Of

Last Thursday I hosted a cookie swap at my house. Well, kind of. I had planned on doing the cookie swap last Tuesday, but my daughter was sick, so I called everyone and canceled, but rescheduled for Thursday. I was quite disappointed that I had to cancel. Everything was ready for Tuesday. I had my red & white snowflake decor all ready. Along with little red place cards with popped up white snowflakes so everyone could write the name of their cookie and cookie cutter party favors to take home. But Laci comes first and she was so miserable, so we headed off to the doctor on Tues. and she was better by Thursday. Anyway, only one of my friends was actually able to make it on Thursday, which I totally understand. Some were sick and others already had other plans. Maybe I'll just have to do it again next year. We were few in number, but big on fun! We visited, laughed, played with the kids and tasted 4 different yummy cookies.

The cookies on the pedestal are Double Chocolate Oatmeal.

We sampled Chocolate Chip Pecan cookies and No Bake Cherry Crisps. Both of which were very good. The recipe for the No Bake Cherry Crisps is at the bottom of this post.

My friend, Mandy, brought these homemade Oreos with red and green centers, which were oh so good! Seriously, I ate way too many of them.

I hung glittered snowflakes with red ribbon from my chandelier that hangs over the table for a fun little touch.

I tied a festive cookie cutter to our Christmas card for a simple party favor. My guests or guest, I should say, also took home a cute Christmas container filled with a sampling of the different cookies

No-Bake Cherry Crisps
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. powderedd sugar
1 c. peanut butter
1 1/3 c. rice krispies cereal
1/2 c. maraschino cherries, drained, dried and chopped
1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. chopped pecans
1 to 2 c. flaked coconut for rolling

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and peanut butter. Stir in cereal, and cherries, chips and pecans. Mix well. Shape teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in coconut. Place on cookie sheets and chill in refrigerator 1 hour.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kicked Up "Midnight" Brownies

Okay, so last night I was cooking like a mad woman until midnight. Crazy, I know! I couldn't do it earlier in the day because I had tons of other things on my list. Anyway, my son was taking a breakfast casserole to school for breakfast, so I got that all put together so we could stick it in the oven in the morning. Then I went on to these little "midnight" brownies(like the name?) that I kicked up a notch. They are soooo simple. Just mix up a brownie mix and bake them in a mini muffin pan. Let them cool completely. Then melt 1 small square of vanilla almond bark and drizzle over the top of the brownies, sprinkle with red and green sprinkles. I also put a dab of the melted almond bark and a pecan half on some of the brownies. This turns a simple brownie into a more decadent treat!

The brownies are part of Trent's gift to his teachers which we packaged up in these cute take-out boxes from Hobby Lobby. I hope they like them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snowman Soup

I have been busy trying to finish up gifts that I am making before next week. Whewww! I think I'll get it done. This is Snowman Soup that I finally got packaged up this morning. (Sorry, not the best picture) Again, this is a gift I've been making for years because it's so cute and simple. It's not my idea, I think it came from the splitcoast stampers website, but I'm not sure. In the past my husband has taken these to co-workers, my son has given them to his teachers and I've taken them to ladies from church that I visit, which is what I'll be doing again this year. I like this little gift because you not only get yummy hot cocoa(I used french vanilla), a candy cane and mini marshmallows, but you also get the mug! Their is also a cute snowman soup poem to go along with this. I think the poem adds that extra little touch.

The poem reads:

Was told you've been real good this year
Always glad to hear it
With freezing weather drawing near
You'll need to warm the spirit
So here's a little Snowman Soup
Complete with stirring stick
Add hot water, sip it slow
It's sure to do the trick!

Here are the contents of the mug before I finish it up by wrapping it in clear cellophane and tieing a matching ribbon and attaching the poem.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rudolph With Your Nose So Bright

Check out these adorable rudolph pins I picked up this weekend at Christmas on the Coosa. It's an annual event we have here in our town. The downtown area is basically shut down so you can walk around to different vendors that have just about anything from crafts to leather goods to homemade candy. Their is a parade later in the day(which was the parade that would never end this year). The longest parade I've ever seen!!! We were all frozen after that. Then the day wrapped up with Santa water skiing into town on the Coosa River and a huge fireworks show. It's great for us because we just go down to our neighborhood park, which overlooks the river, and watch the fireworks. It was a fun day for our family!! Now back to the pins. I thought these would be perfect for Trent and Laci's teachers. They also look pretty simple to recreate. I'll store away this idea for next year.
Have a great day!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Oh, It's So Good!

Imagine if you will, a nice round pretty cheese ball. Only this cheese ball is sweet and filled with mini chocolate chips. Yep! This is a chocolate chip cheese ball and that's all that was left of it after our Christmas party for the women at my church last night. I actually meant to take a picture before the party, but that didn't happen. I have been making this recipe for years now and it always gets rave reviews. It fools people as well. They look at it and think it's a regular cheese ball and then see the graham crackers and are like,"Wait, what is that?". It is one of my absolute favorites because it is so very good and easy to prepare. Make this for your next function and it will be a hit, but be prepared to give out the recipe.
Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. finely chopped pecans
In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in confectioners sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 1 hour. Shape into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. Roll the cheese ball in finely chopped pecans before serving. Serve with graham crackers.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Simple Piece Of Iron

I have yet another ornament to show you today. I absolutely love this one. A friend of mine shared this idea with me and I thought it would be perfect for the ladies at church, so I've spent the last couple days getting these ready to give away tonight. The ornament is just a nail, well it's really a spike, that I tied ribbon onto to hang. How simple is that!!! It has this wonderful poem to go along with it that helps us remember why we celebrate Christmas, our Savior. The poem is meant to remind you of Jesus Christ when you see this "simple piece of iron" hanging on your tree. I just loved this.I think I'll frame mine and display it. In the chaos, rush and busyness that can come with the Christmas season, I think it's great to have reminders to help us focus on Christ, his birth and his love for us.

A Simple Piece Of Iron
'Twas a simple piece of iron.
So, the craftsman gave no thought,
To the nail laid before him
As his hands a manger wrought.
A simple piece of iron-
Such a worthless thing indeed.
But, it fastened a humble cradle
At Emmanuel's time of need.
'Twas a simple piece of iron,
A spike and nothing more.
So thought the Roman soldier,
As the condemned man's flesh it tore.
A simple piece of iron,
Forged with pain and suffering rife.
But, though the wicked mob sought death,
The Savior brought new life.
'Tis a simple piece of iron
That we give your family.
Consider its significance
As you hang it on your tree.
For like a piece of iron,
In their quest for worldly gain
Some perceive the Savior's life as
Insignificant and mundane.
May this simple piece of iron
Remind of what they fail to see-
That Christ not only died for men,
He lives to set us free!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Trim the Tree

Today I want to share with you the super cute ornament I made with Laci's class yesterday. They are adorable and simple to make. Tricia over at craft addict told me about this project. Thanks! I had a fun time making these with all the kids. They will trim their classroom tree with these and then take them home for their family tree. I really wanted some pictures of the kids with their ornaments, but by the time I was done they were off to P.E.

To make these cuties, you will need a blue glass ornament, preferably with a matte finish. Then use white acrylic paint to paint your child's hand. Set the ornament in the middle of their hand and have them grasp the ornament leaving their hand print. Their hand print will become the snowmen. Let them dry and decorate the fingerprints with different colors of Sharpie markers. These little snowmen had orange carrot noses, top hats, scarves, buttons and stick arms and hands. I also wrote their names and the date on the back of the ornament. These were so fun. I'm sure we'll be making them again in the future.

This is Laci's super sweet teacher, Mrs. Ellis. She played with Ivy and let her explore her fun classroom while I was working with the kids. That was a big help! We were also able to see more of the cute things Mrs. Ellis has already made with the kids, which were adorable. I can see why Laci loves going to school. Mrs. Ellis makes it enjoyable to learn.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Easy Domino Ornaments

Recently I posted asking for your ideas for Christmas ornaments I could make with Laci's kindergarten class and got some great ideas, but I totally forgot about these easy domino ornaments. I made these a few years ago after seeing them on splitcoast stampers. Actually, I remember gettin' a little crazy with the domino ornaments. I made A LOT of them for friends and family. They are so easy and can be made fairly quick.

To make this domino ornament, I used my santa rubber stamp and stamped him in black Staz On ink onto the flat side of the domino. Then I used different colors of Sharpies to color him in. Next I wrote the child's name on the domino and ran a bead of hot glue around the sides of the domino and wrapped my ribbon around it and made a loop for hanging. You could also use some Crystal Effects on your image to add some dimension and texture. Again, these are super,super easy and the kids really liked them.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Time to Party!

I don't have much time today so this will be short and sweet. I'm off to do a little shopping and to see my hair stylist, Tonya, to let her work her magic. She's such a good stylist. Love her! Will's company Christmas party is tonight, so I have quite a bit to get done before then. I am actually looking forward to the party. It's fun to get all dressed up every once in a while. But before I go, I HAVE BEEN TAGGED by Jessie. So here it goes.

---3 joys
1. My family
2. The Gospel
3. Crafting, hobbies

---3 fears
1. Something happening to my kids or husband
2. Being all alone
3. heights

---3 obsessions or collections
1. new craft items,i.e. stamps, gadgets,embellishments
2. cook books
3. blogging

---3 surprising facts
1. I lived in South Korea for 3 months while my husband was in the army there. It was not a spouse sponsored tour for him, so I lived by myself in a tiny apartment. I would see him at nights and on weekends.
2. I can't sleep if the closet door in my room is open.
3. I am the sports junkie in my family. Roll Tide!!!

I tag Wendy, Becky and Will!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pretty Little Tree

What a pretty little tree! This is a tree my friend Kim and her family gave to our family last year for Christmas. They made tiny gingerbread dough ornaments to decorate the tree and a cute tree skirt to go with it. It now serves as a decoration in our home and a reminder of our kind friends. I remember the wonderful smell of the ornaments, like a kitchen with fresh baked gingerbread. Mmmmm! Kim kindly shared the recipe for the ornaments so that I can share them with you. Just a note to remember, the ornaments are not for eating, just decorating.

Gingerbread Ornaments

3 Tbsp. shortening ½ cup sugar ½ cup molasses
¾ cup water 3½ cups flour 1 tsp. of cloves, ginger, & cinnamon

Beat shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy, stir in molasses. Sift the dry ingredients together. Stir them into shortening mixture in 3 parts alternating with a 1/4 cup of water each time. Dough will be stiff. Refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 350°. Cut dough into 3 pieces. Knead to warm dough slightly, then roll each piece out about 1/4 inch thick. Cut cookie out with a gingerbread pattern of your choice. Use a drinking straw to punch a hole in center if ornament will be hanging. Place cookies on cookie sheet and bake 20 minutes, turn oven off and let cool in oven.Remove from cookie sheet and place on rack to dry for about 3 days to totally harden. These cookies are purely for decorative purposes and not to be eaten. If you wish you can seal cookies with 3 coats of clear acrylic and decorate with colorful acrylic paints when dry.

Note: This dough is for crafting only. Make ornaments to hang or put in baskets that look and smell like real cookies, are made with normal ingredients, bake up rock hard, smell great, and keep for years. Use your favorite cookie cutters to make gingerbread man garlands, gingerbread ornaments and houses.

- from

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cute Desk Set

Today I want to share with you this cute desk set. It is made up of a 2009 planner, embellished pen, post it notes with embellished holder and a jumbo paper clip bookmark. These little sets are fun to make! You could,of course, embellish the it any way you like. The jumbo paper clip bookmarks are my favorite piece in the set. To make them you will need jumbo paper clips, which can be purchased at office supply stores, glue dots, scalloped circle punch, 1 1/4 circle punch, glue dots and ribbon. Just punch out two scalloped circles and two 1 1/4 circles in desired colors. Stamp image onto one of the 1 1/4 circles then glue that on to one of the scalloped circles. Next, affix 3 glue dots onto top portion of the paper clip and stick on your stamped, scalloped circle, affix 3 more in the same spot to hold the other scalloped circle that will be the back of the bookmark. Cut a piece of ribbon and tie on to the paper clip, which is just for some added cuteness. Ta da! You're done! Sorry if it is not explained very well. If you have a question just leave it as a comment and I'll try to get back to you. Have fun making yours!

Monday, December 1, 2008


You are looking at Laci's masterpiece! She was so cute on Thanksgiving morning. She came to me in the kitchen and said,"Mom, can I take a picture of my bed. I just have to take a picture of my bed. Mom, please......... it's a masterpiece." After a brief giggle to myself, I told her to get the camera and take a picture of her masterpiece. I have to say, her bed did look very nice. She's usually really good about making her bed. Sometimes I do have to give her a little nudge, but that morning she made her bed without being asked to and then gave it that extra little touch with her flower pillow and stuffed animals. She was so excited about her "work of art." Maybe one day soon I will actually get her room painted and decorated to go with her masterpiece.
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