Follow link for pattern. I ruffled the pockets a little bit differently than the pattern says so kitchen tools would stay in better. In addition to what she used, I also included the warm and natural in the pockets and oven mitts. For trim, I added piping.
We started our day talking about the letter Jj. J for juh juh JOEL! J for juh juh JUICE! J for juh juh JACK string cheese! (that was our snack) While we ate the snack, we read the Christmas Story in the Jesus Storybook Bible (J for Jesus). The kids all sat on their own little cushion and we try to stick to two rules for reading: 1. Stay seated on your spot. 2. Keep ears open and mouths shut (no talking).
Then we looked at a candy cane and saw it was the shape of a letter J. We talked about where the candy cane came from, colored a candy cane minibook, then got a mini candy cane treat.
The little ones played while we colored...
Then we headed downstairs and did a lesson in following directions....
Nothing's harder for a little guy than having to follow step-by-step directions when candy is involved and you really want to eat it...
First you take a marshmallow, then stick in licorice for the legs...then snickers bars and tootsie rolls for the horsey....ya we lost them...sugar high and running around...
The mommies finished up the nativity gingerbread houses with the occasional pop-in from the kids...
Prep: 40 minsBake: 325°F10 mins per batchStand: 30 mins
cupmaraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
ounceswhite chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, finely chopped
drops red food coloring (optional)
White nonpareils and/or red edible glitter (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread cherries on paper towels to drain well.
In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chopped chocolate. Stir in almond extract and, if desired, food coloring. Knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.
Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
In a small saucepan, combine remaining 8 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If desired, roll dipped edge in nonpareils and/or edible glitter. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set. Makes about 60.
from the test kitchen
Storage Layer cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
While I love the "Over the Hill" theme for a 50th birthday party...my parents do not...so we went with a theme of "50" and kept our guests to immediate family only.
We had carrots and olives shaped in the form of a 5-0 and a yummy chicken fettuccine for dinner.
I found a bunch of pictures that were classic for the year and put my mom and dad's head in the place of the person who's picture it really was. The pictures go on a timeline so from childhood with the Morton salt girl ad to graduation to disco to Afro to Flashdance to wedding (teddy bears) to leopard suits to mullets to first baby in full 80s outfits to working suits with crazy hair to working around the house classic ad, to married with children to teacher outfit to man sitting at a desk to Buffy the vampire slayer to all of us looking like cats to traveling years as the statue of liberty and Hawaiian dancer to the partridge family to the incredibles family with grandkid pics to the Cullen family to represent the current age to old people in their rockers...
And a golf cake--making it to the 50th hole! (PS I tried a new fondant recipe that I hated.)
So for the month of December we only worked on letter J. And by "only" I mean we did a lot, but I excused it as 'J for Jesus' month. :) haha I know I don't need an excuse for going off my one-letter-per-week schedule, but I like it anyway...
Here we are making pom-pom trees, encouraging counting and glue skills, encouraging the boys that these will be a special gift so they should do their best work. Below the boys are pine branch painting with the color we are on--orange.
Here we did longest to shortest Christmas trees, smallest to biggest baby Jesus, color baby Jesus the right color, and on the bottom left we sorted the people from the animals and glued them in the right box and before I could take a picture Nehemiah ripped them off the page!
J is for jelly bean: we glued jelly beans on our J, but the kids sneakily ate them before I could get a picture...
Every day leading up to Christmas, we did something from our Advent calendar (click here to check it out...there's all sorts of links to really cool projects we did). A lot of those projects were homeschool-like, but had to do with Christmas stuff. I tried to remind my boys every day that our most special gift for Christmas is Jesus and his gift is why we give and why St. Nick gave and why they get three presents for Christmas (Jesus got 3 too) and etc. They were ridiculously excited about Santa and all the Christmas stuff we did. They loved doing a countdown and being able to do fun stuff everyday as a family (and so did I!) We were crazy busy, but being busy with stuff that matters is worth it. They loved seeing grandparents and aunts and uncles and friends so much during this month and I love seeing their love grow for their extended family.