At the first hint of chill in the air, my thoughts turn to Christmas. My mind and heart begin to fill with visions of sugar plums indeed. My weekly menu turns decidedly toward comfort food and I begin rummaging in my brain for homemade Christmas gift ideas for my loved ones. I begin hauling out first the autumn decorations and later the Christmas, decking my halls and every other available surface. I take delight in the season, the magic, wonder and glory of it all. This blog was born from that delight. Here you will find dinner ideas, crafts, decor, stories, memories, and music. Some ideas will be entirely mine, but I will also include anything cute I come across that I think you might like to see, credit given to the creator or source. Please leave me your ideas in the comments and any other feedback you'd like to give.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Cookies

Wow, has October been a busy month! Before it even really began, my better half and I left for NC for a long weekend visiting family and friends and enjoying a U2 concert. We got home, recovered for a few days, then turned around and took off for northern Wisconsin and our first running races. This time we returned home, spent a couple days with Mom and Dad, then bid them farewell, and Lincoln left for northern Wisconsin once again to go on his annual fishing excursion with some friends. This past weekend we enjoyed some family time and now it's the week of Halloween and I have school parties to prepare for, as well as the party we're throwing here at our place, not to mention actual Halloween and all that entails. So I haven't been thinking about Christmas much. However, I did recently make our favorite pumpkin cookies and I thought I'd share the recipe with you. I figure pumpkin kind of fits the bill from early fall, right on through to Christmas.

Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Let me say right away that this recipe actually calls for raisins, but I like chocolate chips in everything and can't stand raisins in cookies. I would like to try craisins sometime, though. You could put in nuts, if you like them too. Anyway, so far I've just stuck with chocolate chips.)

1/2 C butter (room temp)
1 1/2 C brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 C canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I was out of vanilla last time so I added pure maple syrup- it was very good)
2 1/2 C flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 C chocolate chips
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in pumpkin and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, spices. Stir to blend. Add dry ingredients to butter and sugar mixture, stir well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop one inch apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake in upper half of oven for 12-14 minutes. Cool on racks.
Yield: 3 dozen cookies

These were eaten up almost instantly by the house full of kids that was here on Friday and I never got a picture of them cooked. You'll have to bake them yourself to see the finished product! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Teacher Gifts

I know that it is perhaps a bit early to start thinking about teacher gifts. But is it really? If you want to do something hand made it seems wise to start planning now. Plus, I wanted to share this before I forgot where I had seen it. I found these ideas on one of my favorite blogs, Be Different Act Normal. She found them somewhere else and links to the original post in hers. I'm not sure if those links work anymore, though. It's been a year and I know one of them didn't. I thought both ideas were very cute and very easy.

There is a link there for ordering vinyl letters but I'm going to add one of my own. I've ordered vinyl from Shelley several times and have always been very pleased. She even packages it up cute. So go check out Wonderfully Wordy and see what you can find.

And what Mom of young kids doesn't have an unending supply of crayons? You can get cheap frames at Goodwill and paint them, or just pick up some of the $2 frames at Walmart. I think these are adorable and I have every intention of making them for our teachers this year.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fun Christmas Games

So I just found this website chock full of fun Christmas Games and activities. You've probably seen those games where you have to figure out what Christmas song is represented by the picture riddle? You can print that here. It's a good source for quick games for Christmas parties and church activities. She calls herself Santa Lady. Go ahead, take a look, see what catches your fancy.