Get In My Belly: Holiday Haystacks

I know it’s been a hundred million years since I’ve posted a Get In My Belly. The reason for that is because I don’t cook or bake anymore. If it weren’t for my husband, I’d eat tortilla chips for dinner every day and so would the kids.

I whipped up these haystacks for Amelie’s preschool cookie exchange because they are almost the quickest and easiest holiday treat ever. Plus, DELICIOUS.

(For the record, nut clusters are the easiest).

Ingredients:

  • a bag of sweetened coconut
  • a 1/2 bag of melting chocolate (I used Wiltons from Michaels)
  • about 40 mini cupcake liners
  • sprinkles, if you wish

Instructions:

1. I didn’t realize you could toast coconut in a pan. In the past, I’ve tried the oven and it’s tricky to toast it evenly. It’s also messy and awkward stirring coconut in the oven. Instead, toss in a pan over medium heat and stir constantly. In a few minutes…bam, toasted coconut.

toasted

I promise you, the house will smell soooo good.

2. Melt chocolate according to the directions on the package. You don’t want to burn it or get moisture in it. I use the microwave and it takes only a few minutes.

3. Add toasted coconut to the melted chocolate and stir until well coated. Spoon into mini muffin cups liners and add sprinkles before the chocolate hardens.

haystacks

3. Leave the haystack alone for a while because the chocolate takes some time to harden – maybe about 20 minutes.

The sprinkles and little liners are optional but I think it makes it all so festive. Pro-tip: Target dollar section has holiday sprinkles!haystacks2

Keep this recipe in your back pocket for when you need a quick and easy treat for that surprise school event or holiday get together. These are the best!

You guys, Christmas Eve is tomorrow. Amelie told a lady yesterday that Santa is bringing her a puppy!! Oh my.

 

Christmas Crafts

The Christmas crafts are endless, are they not? It can be kinda overwhelming. Amelie did a few easy ones and I wanted to share. These will not blow your mind.

A while back, a few moms came over and we made salt dough ornaments…just like everyone in the world because it’s an awesome and easy craft. Mostly, it’s the moms doing the work while the toddlers bounce around demanding snacks and spilling things.

salt_dough

I baked a bunch that day but we only got around to painting them this past weekend. It was a great excuse to haul out my craft paints and Amelie loved it!

painting_ornaments

Especially with her favorite guy.

painting_with_dad

Maybe next year, we’ll use a coordinating – instead of competing – color palette…

fox_ornament

In hindsight, I would have made the ornaments thicker because they are pretty fragile but I honestly don’t expect these to survive more than one Christmas anyway. Keeping my expectations low, you know? I should get a sealant for these too but eh, I doubt I will.

Wouldn’t they be cute taped to a hand-delivered holiday card or a present?

salt_dough_painted

Oma bought Amelie this little wooden house from the Target dollar section (at $3). That place is a treasure trove of lovely easy kid crafts. I pulled this out during a crabby day and she was into it. So into it in fact, I had a hard time pulling her away for nap time.

painting_house

It came with red, white and green paints but Amelie mixed them all together in sort of a, uh, Christmas Mauve. Beautiful, right?

christmas_houseI know, short post today. Two days until Christmas Eve, y’all!

Friday Tidbits

I know you are surprised to see me today. I am too!

I thought I’d keep the Christmas train moving since I recently posted about a few decorations in Amelie’s room.

Let’s start with a very dark picture of our dining room. I’m not sure it’s even worth posting, but here we are.

dining room

The lighting in our house is certainly an issue. Let’s focus on the good stuff though? MamaP bought me a new yummy sparkly branch-y wreath:

wreath

On our table, we have an “apricot” poinsettia from my MIL. Isn’t it interesting and cool? Moving on to our grimy counters, I plopped an old Pier1 mini tree and called it good enough.

mini_tree

If you are wondering (unlikely), the little tea light holder is holding a bunch of mini clothespins from Michaels to hang our Christmas cards.

pinsIn the past, I’ve put our Christmas cards on the fridge but I usually run out of space and magnets simultaneously. Plus, I think it looks messy. And now that I have little exploring hands that like to take things off of the fridge and store them in strange places, I needed a new solution. I used a few command hooks and twine and strung them across the “french” doors (warning, another dark picture ahead!):

xmas_cards

Ah, so much better. And if we are *really* popular (also unlikely), I can add another strand if I need to. It’s a much better option that last year’s black hole of effort because they all came tumbling down within 10 minutes!

DSC_0170

Let’s turn our attention to the living room. It’s pretty sparse but hey, I took the time to take crappy pictures so I guess we have to keep going, you know?

As always, a crooked hutch picture:

hutch

I scooped up the “JOY” on Target clearance last year, as well as the mercury glass monogram ornaments. I wanted to put them on the stockings (which you’ll see in a minute) but I feared a curious toddler might drop them, smashing them to a million sharp bits. So hung awkwardly on the hutch they go.

Moving along…

I’m not a huge fan of the side tables themselves, but I love my little “forest”, if you will.

side_table

The small glitter trees are from the Target dollar spot (but they were a whoppin’ $3) and the tall one was a clearance score from last year. The glitter reindeer is new too! Drools.

As for our “entry way” – I added stockings and another reindeer. The reindeer obsession continues!

stockingsThe stockings were an after Christmas score from Pier1 when I was pregnant with Amelie. I had debated on getting a fourth stocking in hopes of having two kids one day, but I didn’t want to jinx myself so I stopped at three. The deer bust was from the Target dollar spot too (at $3 too).

deer

He’s just cardboard but I think he’d be cute white or gold or glittery or all of the above…

Last, but not least, of course, the tree!

I had a little helper…

decorating_tree

Actually. No.

Amelie helped me decorate it for about 20 seconds and three meltdowns so I had to put her down for a nap. I finished decorating with one arm, holding a sad little Cade in the other. He was pant-less because of really horrible diaper rash and my arms were burning by the end. It was worth the effort but in the moment, I was on the fence…

treeA few new tree items this year: a cheap tree topper from Target along with some new silver ball ornaments and birds that I picked up on clearance last year. I’m kinda loving the layered blanket and tree skirt. In the past, I thought it always looked too flat.

Then later, I added a garland (also from Target). It’s so adorable!

garland

There is also pine wreath from the school choir fundraiser adoring our front door but it’s cold outside so I skipped the picture. I’m sure you’re devastated!

Zack is concerned because I need to pick up a few new bins to store my growing collection of holiday decorations. I can’t stop and I won’t stop. I need more! Don’t you agree?

I need to up my outside Christmas decor game though. I’m hoping to grab some lights during the after Christmas sales.

The Tour of Christmas’ past: 2010, 2011, 2012 (we moved on Dec. 20th that year!), 2013 (Amelie’s first), 2014 (Cade’s first; he didn’t care because he was sleeping).

Candace’s Crafty Corner: Fingerprint Ornament

Can you believe it, another post? Better hold on tight, things are about to get Christmas crazy around here.

Remember from yesterday’s post, Amelie’s little fingerprint reindeer ornament?

tree3

We made a handful for family and friends. Here’s how. First, I needed some reindeer inspiration:

reindeer

Second, supplies. You will need clear plastic ornaments, red and brown craft paint (I used Martha Stewart Tartan Red and Vanilla Bean), a Sharpie, and tiny fingers to do the finger printing!

ornament

ADORABLE! Am I right or am I right?

Ok, time to be candid. I stole this idea straight from a friend on Facebook. I attempted to have Cade make his own fingerprints, but he acted as if I was trying to rip his finger off so Amelie did both prints (one with her thumb, one with her pointer finger). She thought it was awesome and I thought it was too until she wiped brown paint on her pants…

Anyway, I wanted to share a seriously quick and easy craft if you were looking for something homemade. My hope is one day I’ll add sparkly red paint to the noses but I know the probability of me getting around to that is solidly in the Unlikely Category.

More Christmas posts coming. Brace yo’self.

 

Holiday decor: Amelie’s room

Where have I been? That’s a fair question.

You see, I have the best intentions of blogging in the evenings but once the kids are finally asleep, I can muster no more thinking for the day. I’ve fallen so far behind, I’m not sure where to begin!

I figured I’d start with the holidays since they are fast approaching. Even though it’s far from blog worthy, I like documenting our Christmas decor for me to look back on. Last year, I bought a little tree with the hopes of keeping Christmas decor super simple and stripped down since Cade was due in December and I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself. Although a good idea initially, it felt disappointing so we ended up putting the tree up anyway because a full sized Christmas tree is too magical to skip!

When I hauled out the Christmas stuff this year, that little tree was in there. I thought Amelie would be excited to have it in her room. Excuse the heater and fan clutter, but this is real life.

tree1

Typical toddler, she thought it was fun momentarily but dismissed it pretty quickly after that. She thinks the owl is pretty awesome though. “It’s so fuzzy!”.

tree2Sparkly gold reindeer antlers (that Amelie refuses to wear), a Christmas craft that I intend to blog but I intend to do a lot of things that I don’t end up doing, and tiny reindeer slippers from her Oma. <3 Cute, easy, sweet.

tree3

I put up a little banner too on her door. Forgive the brassy hinges, I have the hinges to swap in but don’t have the time. Or so I tell myself.

banner1

I probably should have done another for the closet door for symmetry’s sake, but oh well. The banner was a buck in the dollar spot at Target. A buck! I love Target so much I could cry.

banner2

When Target’s Christmas decor came out, I had to buy a gold tree with pink, aqua and gold ornaments for Amelie’s playroom because it NEEDED it, you know?

tree1

Isn’t it perfect? The fuzzy tree skirt put me over the edge (thanks, Oma!).

tree3

Pretty, pretty sparkly tree.

tree2

Bam, there it is. Post over. Why did it take me so long to sit down and do this?