Tuesday, December 29, 2009


As I've explained before, Aaron and I give the kids three gifts for Christmas. Of course, this doesn't include all the goodies stuffed into their stocking, or the haul from the rest of the family - don't worry, they are sufficiently covered with new stuff.

One of the gifts they get from us, I make myself. A few years ago, Leah got an ABC album, with family for almost every letter. I've been saving a coordinating album for Ben, and decided to do this one with his favorite things. The side benefit (hopefully) is that it will help him learn his letter. We'll see how that works out.

"S" is for snow and swing, and "T" is for Thomas the Train, and tickles! Most of the photos were ones I already had, but I did take a few deliberately - Apple, Umbrella, Quilts... but the photo for Vikings is probably the oldest. Ben is about 18 months old, wearing his Vikings outfit.

Leah's gift has also been floating in my head for awhile. She loves playing dress up, especially (and predictably) princess. We have had a series of crowns in the house, but they are all fairly temporary. Thanks to this nifty blog, I made her a more permanent headpiece. All the rhinestones are sewn on, as well as hot-glued.

My friend Crystal at Two Peas makes some phenomenal tutus, and Leah has been dying to own one. My version is not quite as elaborate, but it'll do for something that gets shoved into a suitcase for storage. (You could totally make this yourself. Sew a piece of elastic into a circle, cut strips of tulle, and tie them on. Wonderful! ps - use tulle on a roll and save a year of torment.)

And for some reason, Leah is infatuated with wands. The shorter ones are sturdier, and also pose less risk of being turned into a weapon by a brother.

I think the crazy eyes mean that she likes it.

The neighbors are not forgotten - I didn't put it on my list of Christmas projects earlier, because this year I decided not to make a special goodies just for the neighbors - I just made a double-batch of cookies I was already going to make. The packaging is the fun part - my philosophy is to give a small selection of something especially delicious, and then make it look gorgeous. This year I even included the recipe, so I'll give it to you, too! These cookies are awesome, and so simple!

Chocolate-Dipped Cranberry Cookies

1 c. shortening
1c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 c. coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
2 c. (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T shortening
1 ¼ c. chopped walnuts (optional)

In a large bowl, cream shortening & sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture. Using paper towels, pat cranberries dry; stir into dough. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

In the microwave, melt chocolate chips & shortening; sitr until smooth. Dip cookie halfway into chocolate misutre; sprinkle with walnuts if desired. Place on waxed paper until set. Yield: 3 ½ dozen

What gifts did you make for friends/family?


BlueCastle said...

Great ideas, Lyz. LOVE the tutu! I made one for my niece and also some for a friend's daughters and love how simple they were. Yours looks fabulous.

Kim said...

recipe looks like a great idea for extra bags of frozen cranberries

Chick said...

That is just so great! I so want to do that next year! I made my girls each a 4 foot Santa doll that was reminiscent of a Santa doll that my husband had while he was growing up that his mom made he & his siblings. I made it out of felt and sewed it together, stuffed it, then added on the "fluffy" stuff for the trimmings around the hat and wrists. Have a great New Year!

Lyz said...

BlueCastle's blog had a whole series of gifts you could make...:)

Kim, this is an EXCELLENT way to use extra cranberries! For some reason, my cookies didn't turn out as pink as the original recipe's photo - not sure why? But they are still yummy!

Chick, that sounds like quite the undertaking! 4 foot tall anything is not a project for the weak of heart!

Noel said...

Just to start YOUR list for 2011, there appears to be a British 4-part miniseries called "Lost in Austen" which is due out in 2011 as a movie. Might be more something to show a secondary school English lit class than a date with the swimming husband, but I pass it along as I work on my Netflix queue....

mama.nichols4 said...

For my boys, I made satin, double sided, personalized super hero capes. I also made an ABC album for Isaac. Serenity received several hand-made pieces of jewelry, mostly necklaces but also a charm bracelet.

Every year, the kids and I personalize a neck tie for Ben. This year, the kids filled in the letters of the word FATHER. Previous years include hand prints of each child with they're name for him (da-da, daddy, DAD!, etc), and several years of them just drawing on a tie. Each year he looks forward to receiving this tie.

For me, I just enjoyed all the makings and bakings, even though I didn't get something for myself.