Monday, December 15, 2008

Celebrating and Sewing

Greetings all. I hope you are all enjoying the Christmas season. Things have been busy around here. I have caught the sewing bug and for the past couple of weeks I have not been able to stop. My husband came home from a meeting the other night about 9:30 and heard the sewing machine going. He asked me if the sweat shop was still open. I'm making most of the gifts this year and of course got a late start, therefore I have been sewing like a mad woman.
We are in the midst of celebrating advent and are doing an activity each day to count down the days 'till Christmas day. Some are really simple, like letting the kids build a tent with blankets. The other day our activity was a special story and hot cocoa. The kids helped me make the cocoa mix and we enjoyed it in front of a fire while I read this sweet book called "The Small One."

It was a favorite of my husband when he was little. I can never get through it without tearing up.
Here is my hot chocolate recipe. I found it years ago in Better Homes and Gardens. It is really good. You can leave out the anise seed if you want, but don't be afraid to try it. The flavor is good and not at all overpowering.

All is Calm Hot Chocolate
8 oz semi or bitter-sweet chocolate (I just use chips and only about 6 oz)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp anise seed toasted and crushed (toast in a dry skillet until they smell toasted I guess, and I crush them in a clean coffee grinder)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and spoon into a jar or bag and cover.
To make 4 servings:
Combine 2/3 cup mix and 1/4 cup water in saucepan. Stir over medium heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Whisk in 4 cups milk and heat through.

Here is another favorite craft idea that we did last year. I really liked it and decided to do it again. I think I saw it in a Better Homes and Gardens craft book.
All you need is tissue paper and contact paper.
Tear the tissue paper into strips of different sizes. Lay your contact paper out, sticky side up and lay your tissue paper strips on to make a picture. We made Christmas trees. It's pretty easy for kids. Mine just needed help building a tree shape. Make your picture on half the contact paper then just fold it over and smooth out when your done. I had some sequins that we threw in for sparkle.
Then just tape your picture to a window. It's really pretty and festive.
It's great for kids, anybody can tear paper.

We are trying to keep things simple this year and focus on the real meaning of Christmas. I've been praying that God would give us opportunities to give this Christmas. I really want our children to understand sacrifice and giving.

Well, the sewing machine is beckoning. Have a good week!


Jessi said...

Thanks for the great ideas! I also loved the bells on the door that I saw the other night...and you've made me curious as to what you're sewing...I guess that would take the surprise out of the gift :)

gina said...

sounds fun and cozy, shelly. thanks for the recipe!( my machine is buzzing these days as well!)