Monday, December 3, 2012


This comes from www.wikihow.com .  These are really a neat looking idea to hang on your tree or at your annual holiday Christmas party.  Make alot or a little.

Make a 3D Paper Snowflake

This is a little more complicated than a two-dimensional paper snowflake, but it looks beautiful and is a suitable craft for children adept with scissors and patient in making crafts. It will produce a 6-armed three-dimensional snowflake decoration that makes a perfect tree decoration or window-hanger.


Assemble the materials.
 Assemble the materials.

Assemble the materials. You can See the "Things You'll Need", are at the bottom of the page.

  1. Fold each of the 6 pieces of paper in half, diagonally. If the paper you're using doesn't make a perfect triangle, cut off the rectangular edge that sticks out and make it align perfectly.
  2. Cut 3 lines on each side of the triangle from the folded edge (as per video), making sure not to cut through the unfolded paper edges.
     Cut 3 lines on each side of the triangle from the folded edge (as per video), making sure not to cut through the unfolded paper edges.
    Cut 3 lines on each side of the triangle from the folded edge (as per video), making sure not to cut through the unfolded paper edges. The cut lines should be parallel to one another each side and come close to meeting in the middle but not touch; leave a small space between them. To make this easier, you can fold the triangle in half. This way you'll cut both sides at once, making a symmetrical snowflake. This might be or not suitable for thicker paper, since the number of layers makes it difficult to cut through.
  3. Unfold your paper and turn it so that the diamond shape is facing you for working with.
     Unfold your paper and turn it so that the diamond shape is facing you for working with.
    Unfold your paper and turn it so that the diamond shape is facing you for working with.
  4. Still keeping your paper diamond side-up, roll the first two innermost paper lines together to form a tube.
     Still keeping your paper diamond side-up, roll the first two innermost paper lines together to form a tube.
    Still keeping your paper diamond side-up, roll the first two innermost paper lines together to form a tube. Tape these two pieces together. You should see triangle shapes on each side of the roll.
  5. Turn the diamond over to the other side.
     Turn the diamond over to the other side.
    Turn the diamond over to the other side. Take the next two paper lines and pull them together on the opposite side of the tube and tape together as before. This will be a more rounded shape and wider than the first tube.
  6. Keep turning the paper and joining the paper lines together on opposite side until all paper lines have been joined.
     Keep turning the paper and joining the paper lines together on opposite side until all paper lines have been joined.
    Keep turning the paper and joining the paper lines together on opposite side until all paper lines have been joined.
  7. Repeat steps 3 - 7 with the remaining 5 pieces of paper. You may also now cut the paper in mass.
  8. Join 3 of the completed rolled pieces together at one end and staple together using the other hand.
     Join 3 of the completed rolled pieces together at one end and staple together using the other hand.
    Join 3 of the completed rolled pieces together at one end and staple together using the other hand. Do the other 3 pieces the same way. Now you will have 2 pieces consisting of 3 strands or "arms" each.
  9. Staple the two new pieces together in the middle.
     Staple the two new pieces together in the middle.
    Staple the two new pieces together in the middle. You're almost done!
  10. Lastly, staple where each of the 6 arms meet.
     Lastly, staple where each of the 6 arms meet.
    Lastly, staple where each of the 6 arms meet. This ensures that the snowflake shape is pulled into place. See illustration at top for the finished snowflake.


 This diy comes from www.pearls-handcuffs-happyhour.blogspot.com.  This was too precious to pass up.  Just think of what your little boy or girl would do if they found one of these on their door or in their stocking on Christmas morning.  Almost reminds me of the famous bell from the "Polar Express".

Santa’s Magic Key

Have y’all seen these?! I was at the cutest little shop about a month ago and they were selling “Santa’s Magic Key”. The price tag? $20!!!! {Yeah. Ummm…just incase you don’t know me well, I’m not a “pay full price” kind of person. Like, not at all. And if it’s something I think I can duplicate on my own, well then I’m all about it. }
So I headed to Hobby Lobby & picked up some vintage style skeleton keys. I found a set of 6 on a ring and they.were. PRESH. AND, they were half off so I paid $6. {That’s like $1 a key!!!} I googled “Santa’s Magic Key  Poems” and there were about a gajillion that popped up, but this is the one I liked the best…
It’s the night before Christmas & we’re excited as can be.
We’re leaving this out for you…it’s a very special key.
You can shimmy down the chimney, or tiptoe through the door.
Just use this key we left for you to find cookies, milk, & more!
I created a tag, found a fun font, & typed the poem onto the tag along with a picture of the cutest little vintage Santa. I printed out the tag, cut it, and backed it onto a thick piece of textured cardstock. Then I used my mod podge to seal it together {I really like the finish better than using a glue stick and used my distress ink pad to give it a vintage-y feel.



I punched a hole in the tag & strung a little ribbon through it & attached the key. SO super easy and TOO cute {if you ask me ;)}. The boys will EAT.THIS.UP!!!!!!!



Santa’s Magic Key is all ready for him & we can’t wait for him to visit!!!
Total cost of this fun little project?! A whopping $1!!!!! The keys were about $1 a piece…I had the cardstock, ink pad, & ribbon on hand, so there was no cost there! I saved $19!!
Wanna make a magic key for Santa?! Head to the nearest Hobby Lobby…pick up a set of keys…and download the tag HERE. {Leave me a comment if the link doesn’t work…I’ll be happy to send you the template!!!} Enjoy!!!!!


   A mince pie, also known as minced pie, is a small British sweet pie traditionally served during the Christmas season. Its ingredients are traceable to the 13th century, when returning European crusaders brought with them Middle Eastern recipes containing meats, fruits and spices.
   The early mince pie was known by several names, including mutton pie, shrid pie and Christmas pie. Typically its ingredients were a mixture of minced meat, suet, a range of fruits, and spices such as cinnamoncloves and nutmeg. Served around Christmas, the savoury Christmas pie (as it became known) was associated with Catholic idolatry and during the English Civil War was banned by the Puritan authorities. Nevertheless, the tradition of eating Christmas pies in December continued through to the Victorian era, although by then its recipe had become sweeter and its size reduced markedly from the large oblong shape once observed. Today the mince pie remains a popular seasonal treat enjoyed by many across the United Kingdom.


   The ingredients for the modern mince pie can be traced to the return of European crusaders from the Holy Land. Middle Eastern methods of cooking, which sometimes combined meats, fruits and spices, were popular at the time. Pies were created from such mixtures of sweet and savoury foods; in Tudor England, shrid pies (as they were known then) were formed from shredded meat, suet and dried fruit. The addition of spices such as cinnamoncloves and nutmeg was, according to the English antiquary John Timbs, "in token of the offerings of the Eastern Magi."   Several authors, including Timbs, viewed the pie as being derived from an old Roman custom practised during Saturnalia, where Roman fathers in the Vatican were presented with sweetmeats.  Early pies were much larger than those consumed today, and oblong shaped; the jurist John Selden presumed that "the coffin of our Christmas-Pies, in shape long, is in Imitation of the Cratch [Jesus's crib]", although writer T. F. Thistleton-Dyer thought Selden's explanation unlikely, as "in old English cookery books the crust of a pie is generally called 'the coffin.'"
   The modern mince pie's precursor was known by several names. The antiquary John Brand claimed that in Elizabethan and Jacobean-era England they were known as minched pies,  but other names include mutton pie, and starting in the following century, Christmas pie.  Gervase Markham's 1615 recipe recommends taking "a leg of mutton", and cutting "the best of the flesh from the bone", before adding mutton suet, pepper, salt, cloves, mace, currants, raisins, prunes, dates and orange peel. He also suggested that beef or veal might be used in place of mutton.  In the north of England, goose was used in the pie's filling, but more generally neat's tongue was also used; a North American filling recipe published in 1854 includes chopped neat's tongue, beef suet, blood raisins, currants, mace, cloves, nutmeg, brown sugar, apples, lemons,

brandy and orange peel.  During the English Civil War, along with the censure of other Catholic customs, they were banned: "Nay, the poor rosemary and bays, and Christmas pie, is made an abomination." Puritans were opposed to the Christmas pie, on account of its connection with Catholicism.  In his History of the RebellionMarchamont Needham wrote "All Plums the Prophets Sons defy, And Spice-broths are too hot; Treason's in a December-Pye, And Death within the Pot." Some considered them unfit to occupy the plate of a clergyman, causing Isaac Bickerstaff to comment:
"The Christmas-pie is, in its own nature, a kind of consecrated cake, and a badge of distinction; and yet it is often forbidden, the Druid of the family. Strange that a sirloin of beef, whether boiled or roasted, when entire is exposed to the utmost depredeations and invasions; but if minced into small pieces, and tossed up with plumbs and sugar, it changes its property, and forsooth is meat for his master."
    In his essay The Life of Samuel ButlerSamuel Johnson wrote of "an old Puritan, who was alive in my childhood ... would have none of his superstitious meats and drinks.
    Another essay, published in the December 1733 issue of The Gentleman's Magazine, explained the popularity of "Christmas Pye" as perhaps "owing to the Barrenness of the Season, and the Scarcity of Fruit and Milk, to make Tarts, Custards, and other Desserts", but also possibly bearing "a religious kind of Relation to the Festivity from which it takes its Name." The author also mentions the Quakers' objection to the treat, "who distinguish their Feasts by an heretical Sort of Pudding, known by their Names, and inveigh against Christmas Pye, as an Invention of the Scarlet Whore of Babylon, an Hodge-Podge of Superstition, Popery, the Devil and all his Works." Nevertheless, the Christmas pie remained a popular treat at Christmas, although smaller and sweeter, and lacking in post-Reformation England any sign of Catholic idolatry.  People began to prepare the fruit and spice filling months before it was required, storing it in jars, and by the Victorian era the addition of meat had, for many, become an afterthought (although the use of suet remains).  Today the mince pie remains a popular Christmas treat, although as the modern recipe is no longer the same list of 13 ingredients once used (representative of Christ and his 12 Apostles according to author Margaret Baker), it lacks the religious meaning contained therein.

Mince pie eating contest

   Here are a few recipies if you're wanting to make one yourself:

Mince pies

8 oz butter, softened
1 lb all purpose flour
2 oz icing sugar
2 egg yolks
1 lb mincemeat
an ounce or two of brandy or rum - if desired
beaten egg, to glaze
bun tins to make 30 pies
   Cut the butter into cubes. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and, using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbes. Stir in the icing sugar. Make a well in the centre, stir in the egg yolk and about 3-4 tbsp iced water to make a soft but not sticky dough. Knead lightly to form a smooth dough (if there is time - chill for 30 minutes). Preheat oven to mark 400F or gas mark 6.
   On a floured surface, roll out two thirds of the dough and cut out 30 rounds using a 2-½ inch fluted cutter. Use to line the bun tins. Fill with mincemeat*.
   Re-roll remaining pastry and trimmings and cut out circles using a 2 in cutter. Dampen edges of circle and place on pies. Seal edges, brush tops with beaten egg and cook for 20 minutes.
   If desired, mix some (to taste) of the brandy or rum into the mincemeat. Mixture will be a little looser. Delicious when served alone or with custard (British - of course) or cream We highly recommend sampling the recipe repeatedly!!

Pear-Mince Pie


  • large pears, peeled, cored, and cubed
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted prune
  • 1/2 cup golden raisin
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • tablespoons brandy (or 1 teaspoon brandy extract)
  • pastry dough, for double crust 9-inch pie


In a large saucepan, combine the first 11 ingredients.
Bring to a boil; cook, uncovered, over low heat for 40 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Stir in brandy.
Pour filling into a pastry-lined 9-inch pie plate; top with remaining pastry; trim edges; seal and flute.
Cut slits in crust to allow steam to escape.
Bake on the lower rack in a 425° oven for 15 minutes.
Lower heat to 375° and bake 30 minutes.

 Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
    4       oz           Currants
    4       oz           Raisins
    4       oz           Sultanas
    2       oz           Cooking dates
    2       oz           Candied peel
    2       oz           Glace cherries
    2       oz           Flaked almonds
    1       ea           Ripe banana, peeled
    4       tb           Brandy or whisky
      1/2   ts           Ground ginger
      1/2   ts           Grated nutmeg
      1/2   ts           Mixed spice
    8       oz           Flour
    4       oz           Shortening
    6       tb           Cold water

   MINCEMEAT:  Mix everything together either by hand or,
   if you desire a smoother texture, in a food processor.

   PASTRY:  Rub shortening into the flour until the
   mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough flour
   to enable the pastry to hold together. Roll out pastry
   & cut into 12 cm circles.  Press circles into the
   bottom of lightly oiled baking tins. Fill with
   mincemeat & cover with another pastry circle. Press
   down at the edges & make a small steam hole in the
   top. Bake for 10 minutes at 400F, 200C Gas 6. These
   pise can be frozen before baking either in the tin or
   remove from tin once they are solid. Mincemeat will
   keep for 1 week covered in the fridge. Makes 36 pies


The history of Santa Claus: 7 interesting facts

From why he wears a red suit to when he got hitched to Mrs. Claus, a look at the myth making behind jolly old St. Nick

Santa Claus's jolly, rotund appearance and his ability to slide implausibly down chimneys are relatively recent additions to his mythology.

1. He was real... sort of
As Christmas approaches, children around the world have Santa on the brain. They're anxiously wondering if they've been overly naughty or sufficiently nice, and eagerly daydreaming about their potential gift hauls. But exactly how did the jolly, bearded North Pole resident evolve into the cultural icon we know today? Here, seven interesting facts about his evolution:
Folklore may have turned Santa Claus into a toy distributor who mans a sleigh led by eight flying reindeer, but he is actually based, loosely, on a real person. Born around the year 270, St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra, a town in what is now Turkey. He earned a reputation as an anonymous gift giver, by paying the dowries of impoverished girls and handing out treats and coins to children — often leaving them in their shoes, set out at night for that very purpose. Since his death, Nicholas has been canonized as the patron saint of children.

2. He's only been 'Santa Claus' for 200 years
A Dutch tradition kept St. Nicholas' story alive in the form of Sinterklaas, a bishop who traveled from house to house to deliver treats to children on the night of Dec. 5. The first anglicizing of the name to Santa Claus was in a story that appeared in a New York City newspaper in 1773.

3. Satire first sent Santa down a chimney
In his satiric 1809 book A History of New York, Washington Irving did away with the characterization of Santa Claus as a "lanky bishop," says Whipps. Instead, Irving described Santa as a portly, bearded man who smokes a pipe. Irving's story also marked the first time Santa slid down the chimney, says the U.K.'s Independent.

4. "Twas the Night Before Christmas" introduced the reindeer
Clement Moore's 1822 poem A Visit From Saint Nicholas — which is now more commonly referred to as "Twas the Night Before Christmas" — was first published anonymously in the Troy, N.Y., Sentinel on Dec. 23, 1823. The 56-line poem introduced and popularized many of Santa's defining characteristics — chiefly, that he drove a sleigh guided by "eight tiny reindeer."

5. Coca-Cola created the modern Mr. Claus
When Father Christmas first began showing up in illustrations, he wore many different colored robes: Green, purple, blue, and brown, among others. Beginning in the late 1800s, it became popular to outfit Santa in a red suit. Artist Louis Prang depicted him that way in a series of Christmas cards in 1885, and The New York Times reported on the red garments in 1927. But the modern image of Santa Claus as the jolly man in the red suit was seared into American pop culture in 1931, when artist Haddon Sundblom illustrated him that way for a widely-circulated campaign for Coca-Cola. 

6. The department store Santa is a 120-year-old tradition
In 1890, Massachusetts businessman James Edgar became the first department store Santa, according to The Smoking Jacket. Edgar is credited with coming up with the idea of dressing up in a Santa Claus costume as a marketing tool. Children from all over the state dragged their parents to Edgar's small dry goods store in Brockton, and a tradition was born.

7. Santa was a bachelor until the late 1800s
The first mention of a spouse for Santa was in the 1849 short story A Christmas Legend by James Rees. Over the next several years, the idea of Mrs. Claus found its way into several literary publications, like the Yale Literary Magazine and Harper's Magazine. But it wasn't until Katherine Lee Bates' widely-circulated 1889 poem Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride that Santa's wife was popularized. ("Goody" is short for "Goodwife," or "Mrs.")


   These tips come from bakeat350.blogspot.com . I hope they help you this holiday season.  These certainly can help.

Making cookies at Christmas used to overwhelm me a bit.  There are so many people I want to make cookies for....and so little time.  I still don't get them made for everyone on my list (the church choir has been on my list now for 2 years and still has not seen one cookie), BUT I've learned how to de-stress the whole process and just have fun with it.  Maybe the choir will get their cookies this year, after all. 

First...take a look at your supplies.  You're going to need:


    Try AmazonSweet Baking SupplyKing Arthur Flour, or even your local craft shop.  (Also, try clicking the links in this post.) ;)

    OK....next.  Start early.  Cookie decorating is really more fun if you break it up into chunks.   
    Do one of the following to make life easier:

    • make the dough ahead and freeze (thaw in the fridge overnight)
    • bake the cookies and freeze (thaw at room temperature for a few hours)
    • bake the cookies the day before decorating
    • make the icing a day (or so) before decorating (if you are doing fine detail work, you'll want to make this the same day you are using)

    If you are making hundreds of cookies, you might want to make and decorate a few dozen at a time, THEN freeze...yes, cookies decorated with royal icing can be frozen.  I individually bag the cookies, then place in freezer baggies, then place those in plastic containers to prevent crushing.  Thaw at room temperature in the packaging for several hours.

    Shipping...after all of that hard work, you really want your cookies to arrive intact.  Check this post and this video for info on shipping.

    So, who's decorating cookies this season?
    {Or are you waiting until New Year's?}

    These few tips work for me; I hope they work for you, too!