Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas TREE!!!

I love decorating the Christmas tree, it's kind of a big deal to me. The kids and I usually make a lot of homemade ornaments to go with our chosen theme each year. But there are some years, where we are really grateful that we have our stash of ornaments to decorate with.  And this, was one of those years.
Here's a bit of Christmas at my house this year.
Some of you may have seen a tree similar to this before. And yep, I take pictures of my trees each year, well each year since I've had a digital camera that is. If you want to see my Christmas trees from the years past, all you have to do is click on the year! 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

Here's one of my cute little candy cane ornaments, more are available in my Etsy shop.
We made a couple of tissue paper pom poms, I think we'll make more of these next year, I really like the pop of color and texture they add to the tree.
Our little rascal, he thinks he's king of the house and... well, we don't protest too loudly.
Here's a pillow I made for my Etsy shop, I snagged it out of inventory and decided it was mine to keep! 
I really enjoyed having some new Christmas pillows this year!
I love these! These paintings are done by my super talented sister, Nora. Click here to see more of her artwork and prepare to be amazed!
The kids, along with help from daddy, made the napkins into paper boats. They make me smile!
Here's the living room portion of our dining room/living room with miscellaneous Christmas debris scattered about. :)
My garage sale find of a table and vintage children's chairs have been my coffee table for quite awhile now. I love the charm of the old chairs and I love the functionality when little ones come to visit.
Enamelware. I can never get enough of this stuff! I only brought out a couple of pieces this Christmas, but it was just enough to bring me back to my childhood when enamelware was aplenty.
I love this little mini-nativity, it's a gem that my son picked up at a yard sale. And now it's part of our Christmas decor every year.
Some sparkling glass on the top of a wardrobe.
The greenery is on it's last days, but I thought I'd throw a pic of our stockings in too.
 And our Christmas cards! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE getting them each year!
I LOVE my huge family and I LOVE my friends!

Thank you for blessing us by remembering us at Christmas; truly, the most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Spicy Chocolate Pie!

My husband, Erik has made this pie several times now. And every time it. is. to. die. for!
It's a spicy dark chocolate pie with a spicy gingersnap crust, topped with cinnamon whipped cream with chili flakes on top of that!

Can you say, YUM???

Oh man, it is so divine! A sliver of a slice is all you need because it's SO rich!

Check out my first attempt at "piping whipped cream". Not too bad, if I do say so myself! ;)

Here's where he found the recipe: Serious Eats.com

Enjoy!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Tree Farm

On an unseasonably sunny day in late December, the kids and I borrowed our neighbor's truck and made the trek to our neighborhood Christmas tree farm to pick out our very own Christmas tree.
 How about this one?
 Or this one? Yes, it's a branch! And yes, he takes after his father! :)
 After searching and searching, left and right, up and down the hill - we finally settled on this one!
Teamwork was in full force.


It felt like we sawed and sawed and sawed... and then it finally became ours. We hauled the tree down the hill and left our $15.00 in the hole in the door of the Tree Farm Cabin.
But we took one last look at the tree farm before we scurried home to set up our goreous tree. The tree farm is breathtaking - I'm so glad we get to live near here!

The Leighton Family Tree Farm has been a part of our family Christmas traditions for 12 years. We look forward to coming every year!

Every week-end between Thanksgiving and Christmas the Leighton Tree Farm is bustling. We see many, many cars driving by our house with Christmas trees tied on top. This year, I was relieved that we weren't the only ones getting our tree just days before Christmas. Whew!  Anyways, when you arrive at the Tree Farm, you're greeted by acres of trees, a charming cabin, warm bonfire and friendly people. They provide the saws and twine, you come up with your own adventure! Sometimes our excursion lasts a few minutes, sometimes it lasts about an hour. But every year it's different.

One year I cut a tree down and hauled it home tied onto a wagon while I pushed the kids home in a double stroller. Yeah, not much will prevent me from getting my Christmas tree! And that's certainly one tree-getting excursion I will never forget! :)

I hope your tree-getting excursions are filled with fun and memories too! Or, maybe just fun! ;)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Peppermint Cake Pops!

My hubby had grand plans of making a Christmas cookie to bring to his office cookie extravaganza, but he was swamped! So, I came to his rescue and made him some cake pops! 
These ones are peppermint! I put peppermint extract into the cake mix and the frosting and then I sprinkled crushed candy canes on the top. Oh, they're so minty!
I don't make these often because they are so time consuming but, if I get in the zone, I feel like I never want to stop! Not only are they addicting eat, they are addicting to make. Time really stands still when I'm in the "cake pop zone"!
These mini chocolate chips were a new addition to my cake pop repertoire.
I love them. They're so tiny!
Chocolate cake pops have always been my favorite, but these peppermint ones are a close second!
I ran out of lollipop sticks but, thankfully I had some super cute mini-cupcake papers so I made them into "cake pop-truffles". They're just as yummy, but there's just something about holding a lollipop stick... it makes me feel like I'm a kid all over again! I think it's time to order more lollipop sticks...

P.S. My hubby says the cake pops were a hit at the office! Yay!

To see more cake pops that I've made, click here and here.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a very sweet day!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ooh, look at this! Plates and plates of tiramisu...
It's a scene that made me really happy at my husband's office Christmas party. I really love tiramisu!

And here's a photo of us...
I love him! I'm glad I had the foresight to have our babysitter snap a photo of the two of us as we were heading out the door to the party. Photos of "us" happen so rarely that I really appreciate the ones that I have.

Here are a few more photos from the party.
We had a lovely dinner, played some group games, watched some funny videos and my honey did a comedy routine! Yep, a comedy routine!
He's smart, he's funny, he's a techie, he's handsome and he's all mine! :)
And his comedy was; smart, funny, techie, geeky, clever, office related humor.
And he knocked it out of the park!
Oh man, he did such a good job! One of his co-workers asked me if he really "did" comedy?
Ha ha! I guess he's a natural.
And the critique from the wife of the boss was; "my only complaint was that it could have been a bit longer."  Way to go honey! You rocked it!
Oh, we also played a little pub trivia and we were a part of the winning team (yay!) and here we are with our giant trophy!

It was a lovely party! It seems like the company parties are getting better and better each year!
I can't wait to see what next year brings!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bazaar Crawl

After doing the local community bazaar with my kids, I found myself wondering what it would be like to be a vendor at other bazaars. Before I could leap any further, I decided to go to a couple of bazaars and experience it from a shopper's perspective.
But of course, I needed a couple of bazaar-hopping friends to go with me! Here's me and a couple of my favorite girls and our daughters at the first bazaar of the day in Stevenson, WA.
Yeah, we had a girls morning! Loved it!
We got there at the beginning of the bazaar so there were lots of people and the energy was high, in fact "frenzy" might be the word to describe it. We had a lovely time browsing through the merchandise, there were loads of vendors, samples to taste, and goodies to buy. I picked up a few items; some rings, some pot scrubbers and Elena bought this pink hat. Oh, and I picked up a jar of rhubarb-orange jelly, it sounds so interesting, I can't believe I haven't tried it yet!
I met Kim and bought these cute little gift card holders from her. Aren't they adorable? I can't wait to use them! It was so fun to meet a fellow etsian! She's new to Etsy, so be sure to check out her shop, Sending a Smile or Two, her paper crafting is super cute!! 

 Bazaar # 2

After a fun filled morning, I came home, unloaded my goodies and tried to settle in for a nap. But, with the knowledge that there was another bazaar within 20 miles, I couldn't sit still, I had to go. So, I grabbed my canned goods and $2.00 (yep, canned goods and $2.00 is the price of admission) and headed to Mosier, Oregon. I had heard people rave about the Mosier Christmas Fair, but in the 12 years I've lived in the Gorge, I had never gone. Today was my day! 
I walked in and was in awe, there were so many vendors and it was so quiet. Granted, I went late in the day, so the crowds were minimal, but it was just so quiet and peaceful! Ahh...

While browsing the booths, I ran into a couple of people I knew and snapped photos of their booths.


This is Laura's booth. I met Laura last year at the office Christmas party, so it was really fun to see her and her booth at the bazaar. I love the shutters that she has to display her cards. And her cards, wow!
She's another paper crafter that I admire. I bought these cards from her. The photos don't do them justice. They're just divine. The little one is so cute and tiny that I can hardly stand it!

And this is my friend Laurie's booth. She had a large variety of items from sale; jewelry, art, antiques, greenery... ooh, lots of cool stuff!
Oh and check out these gourds!
Yes, those are gourds! She carves and paints, stains... well, I'm not really sure what she does, but she does a lot of stuff to them and they are simply stunning!

As I wandered through this bazaar, I talked to a lot of vendors, trying to pick their brains about bazaars in the gorge. The Gorge Fruit and Craft Fair in the fall and the Blossom Craft Show in the spring, came highly recommended, along with the Mosier Christmas Fair, of course. However, there's a long waiting period in order to get into the Mosier one, but I'm told once you get in, it is well worth the wait!

Oh man, I thoroughly enjoyed my week-end of bazaar hopping however, it left me wanting more.
We'll see... maybe next year I'll take the plunge and be on the "vendor" side of the sale...