It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

beginning-to-look-like-christmas

Deck the halls with boughs of holly! I loooove Christmastime. It’s so festive. Currently the grounds around my area of life are laden with snow. My mum and I even built a snowman, a smidge taller than I am (and I’m 5′ 6″)! I’m in the midst of getting presents around and ready, singing Christmas carols, and thinking about what I’m going to make and bake for Christmas at Gram’s house. That all being said, I thought I’d dedicate a post to some crafts, recipes, and songs, all fit for Christmas. Ready?

One thing that I really enjoy doing at Christmastime is making gifts and cards. Under certain circumstances I buy them (i.e. lack of time or ability to make, or even occasionally, motivation), but there’s something really special about making stuff by hand. Here are some of the cards I made this year. Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself inspired to get creative!

A Bookworm's Majestic Adventures

All the cards I started with a white cardstock card and used scrapbook paper, markers and stickers to achieve the look I was going for. On some of the cards I didn’t get very elaborate at all, because I was sort of on a time crunch. I found some pretty paper, slapped it on, and found a coordinating sticker. I think they turned out to be some of my best!

A Bookworm's Majestic Adventures

The Santa Claus card is definitely my favorite, and was relatively easy. I cut a piece of red cardstock to the width of the card, and then scalloped the edges so when I put it against the white card, it would look like the white puffy stuff on Santa’s hat. I did the same thing for Santa’s skin tone, scalloping the top the same way so it finished out his hat brim, and then scalloping the bottom so it looked like he had a beard. To bring it all together, I outlined everything in black, and drew his eyes, nose, and mouth. Ho, ho, ho!

A Bookworm's Majestic Adventures

Okay, so, I don’t know about you guys, but food is a huge part of Christmas in my family. It’s just delicious. There’s always an abundance of food, so you don’t need to worry about going hungry. The first thing on our Christmas menu is bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. It has bacon, so, need we say more? We always make a big batch of these this time of year, because they have the tendency to be eaten in heaping amounts at a time. It’s also good to have helpers, because if you’re making a lot…well, you’ll see why.

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts Recipe

photo credit to Food.com!!!
photo credit to Food.com!!!

Ingredients:

3 cans water chestnuts

1-1/2 lbs bacon (cut the strips in half)

1 cup ketchup

1 cup sugar (white or brown)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drain water chestnuts. Wrap each one with a 1/2 strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick. (Here is where help is a good idea if you’re making enough for a small army.) Place in a 9×13 pan and bake for 30 minutes. In a mixing bowl, mix sugar and ketchup together. Pour mixture over water chestnuts and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until they carmelize and crisp up. Enjoy!

Extra tidbit:

You will want to drain the bacon grease before adding the sauce.


Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies Recipe

photo credit to Food Network.com!!
photo credit to Food Network.com!!

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond flavor

2 cups flour

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

Sugar to sprinkle

1 cup powdered sugar

3-4 teaspoons water

1-1/2 teaspoon almond flavor

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat butter, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon almond flavor. Beat in as much flour as you can with electric mixer,, then stir in rest of flour by hand. Use cookie scoop (1-inch size) and place on ungreased baking sheet. Use thumb to press indentation into center of ball. Spoon in 1/2 teaspoon jam then sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 10 minutes. Combine powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon almond flavor. Add enough water to make drizzling consistency. Drizzle the cookies with icing.

Extra tidbit:

If you like blueberries, what about using blueberry jam? I haven’t actually tried this, but I am going to this year. Or peach jam, or apricot? Oh the possibilities. An array of fruit thumbprint cookies. And I believe we got about 36 cookies out of this recipe.

(Have you heard of seafoam candy? Oh my land, delicious. I did a post about it a year or so ago that you can find here!)


The final stop on our Christmas excursion is in the music department. What is Christmas without music?

A very non-melodic Christmas, that’s what.

Anyways, here is one of my favorite “silly” Christmas songs, sung by Gayla Peevy: I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas. I discovered it about four years ago and sang it non-stop. My family loves it. (No, I’m totally not being sarcastic, hahahahaha…) Last year, my Grandma asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Because I like to talk in song lyrics occasionally, I told her I wanted a hippopotamus.

Guess what my Grandma got me for Christmas? A stuffed hippo. It was awesome. Hippa the Hippo is one of my favorite Christmas gifts. So if you haven’t heard this song before, here you are!

 

Second up on the favorite list this year is a brand-new one put out by one of my favorite singers, Beckah Shae. It’s called Smile. I love it because, like Buddy the Elf, smiling’s my favorite.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!

Love Emma xoxoxox

 

 

 

 

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I Wrote a Guest Post!

I WROTE A GUEST POST!

I’m very excited.

As if you couldn’t tell.

The other day I was asked by the very lovely Koko Down Under to guest post on her blog, His Little Elephant. 🙂 The post went live last night, so I am going to redirect you all here, where you can read it. The post itself is about a couple Christmas traditions of my family: Seafoam candy and the game called Dirty Bingo. If you like my blog (which you must if you follow it) you’ll like Koko’s, I am sure. 😀

So, my followers, I want to thank you ahead of time!

Merry Christmas! (again.)

**UPDATE**

Because His Little Elephant is currently undergoing changes to the blog and such, I’m going to post what I wrote for the guest post below, for all of you who would like to hear about seafoam and dirty bingo. 🙂

HELLO ALL! Emma! That’s my name. I love to write and looooooooove to read. I also love to watch movies and listen to music, among other things. I blog at A Bookworm’s Majestic Adventures about anything that interests me – and that could be anything from books to hand lotion. You never know. 😀  This is my first guest post, and I am very excited to be here with you all!

At any rate, I have been asked by this very lovely friend here to share a couple Christmas traditions, and they are called seafoam candy and Dirty Bingo. So, if you’re interested in learning about chocolate covered crunchy stuff and a game where you can win a bunch of prizes, read on!

Alright, first up is the candy. The recipe is really very simple, but it takes time and patience to get it just right. And the results? Delicious.

Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vinegar

4 teaspoons baking soda

Chocolate bark candy coating

Andddddd, here is how you transform those ingredients into candy:

In a heavy pan, add sugar, corn syrup and vinegar. Slowly cook to 290 degrees Fahrenheit (we use a candy thermometer for this), stirring constantly.

Once it reaches 290°, take the pan off the burner and add baking soda. It will foam up, so work quickly mixing it in.

After this, quickly pour into a 9”x13” well greased pan.

Wait for the candy to cool, then cut with a knife. The cuts don’t need to be uniform, it’s just so you can dip it in the chocolate and create a nice little piece of candy.

Now melt the chocolate coating according to the package directions. Dip the sea foam pieces into the chocolate, and place on wax paper to dry and harden.

The recipe says it serves eight. 🙂

And that is it! Easy, right? 🙂 This is a Christmas candy must in our family. 😀 Unfortunately I have no picture of seafoam, but if you put ‘Seafoam Candy’  in the Search bar on Google, you see a bunch of delicious pictures.

Dirty Bingo is the second subject for today, and it’s really quite simple. Game play is as regular bingo: everyone is given cards and some way to mark the cards when they have a number that was called out. We use paper bingo cards and markers. When someone gets a five in a row, across, up, down or diagonally, they call out BINGO! The thing that sets Dirty Bingo apart from regular Bingo is this:

Have everyone bring a small gift/prize. To keep it affordable we keep it $5 or less. This could be candy, pop, blankets, flashlights – there are a lot of cool $5 items out there! Place all the gifts in one central place. This is the Bingo prize table. When someone gets bingo, they go up and pick a prize off the table, then return to their seat and continue playing.

And this, this is where it gets interesting: Once all the gifts are gone off the table, people are now allowed to steal other people’s bingo gifts that they have won. But! They may only steal after all the presents are gone off the table. Not before.

So now. Imagine this. All gifts are off the table and in the possession of bingo players. Someone (or someones gets a bingo. That someone will look around the room for a gift that he wants, and then they will take it for their own. If they get a two- or three-way bingo, they can take two or three gifts. The only rule with stealing is this: You can’t steal something on the same turn someone else takes it.

What does that mean? It means that you and another buddy of yours both have a bingo. You both spot that awesomely huge bag of peanut M&M’s sitting at the feet of another player. You both make a mad dash to the bag to snatch it first, but your buddy grabs it just as you get there.  (If this happened to me, that person would no longer be my buddy. M&M’s. Mine.) Now, since the M&M’s were just taken, you can’t take it. You would have to wait until the next time you got a bingo in order to take that bag of candy – that is, assuming it isn’t stolen during that turn as well. Are you with me? It gets pretty intense when everyone’s going for that big bag of M&M’s, believe me. Peanut M&M’s are a thing to be cherished. Of course, maybe you’re not am M&M’s person, but rather a Twizzler’s person. Either way, you get the idea. 😀

The game keeps going on until someone gets a full card – when all their numbers have been called and filled. When that happens, the person who got the full card gets to pick out one last gift (or two or three if he had a two or three way bingo), and then the game ends, and people take home what prizes they could keep from being taken. (You can’t actually keep somebody from taking anything, though. Just to be clear. ;))

And that, my friends, is seafoam candy and Dirty Bingo in a nutshell. Are there any questions about either I can answer? (If it’s ‘What does seafoam taste like?’ I can’t help you. Seafoam has a very delicious taste, and neither I nor my family members quite know how to describe it. I encourage you to make it yourself and tell me what you think it tastes like in the comments!)

Thank you so much, Koko, for letting me be a guest writer on your blog! I had a ton of fun and hope to be able to do it again in the future. Thank you, readers, for reading this post, as well! I hope you got some new ideas for a family get-together or party, or enjoyed reading about mine. 🙂

Merry Christmas! I hope you have a wonderful celebration of the birth of our Lord!

And it’s December!

1merrychams

Hello, hello! Tis the season to be jolly! Merry Christmas and happy December, everyone. 🙂 And because I love countdowns, there’s fourteen days until Christmas. 😀 Seeing that little bitty number next to ‘until Christmas’ scares the procrastinator in me. I haven’t decided what to do for Christmas presents yet. XD

Ah, but the tree is up and the decorations are out – ooh, I just love Christmastime! The music, the decor, the smell of fresh pine, the snow. Oh man, this truly is the most wonderful time of the year. I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and got some good Black Friday deals if you went out. (I didn’t. I stayed inside and shopped online. Oh yes.) And I hope that everyone is as happy and excited about Christmas as I am.

So, what exactly is this post about? Not sure. A little bit of everything, I suppose. Everything that has to do with Christmas, that is.

First subject for the Christmas post will be…music! I’m a huge fan of music. I especially love Christmas music. It’s so happy and festive. And while I haven’t ever listened to a Christmas album–I listen to individual songs by various artists. All the songs that are played on the radio and sung at church. 😀 And while I have a zillion favorites, this year I’ve been listening to Jingle Bell Rock and O Holy Night. Does anyone have a least favorite Christmas song? 😀

A tradition, a very yummy tradition, is decorating Christmas cookies. It never gets old. I love to frost and sprinkle cookies at Christmastime. 😀 We’ve been doing it since I was little. So delicious!

One thing I’ve really been thinking about this Christmas is giving. I’m just so excited to open presents. I’ve got a lot of great stuff on my list. Which, I don’t think is a bad thing at all. Man, who doesn’t get excited to open presents?! Just when we get so consumed in ourselves and our desires for the holidays, it’s easy to miss the opportunities we have to serve God by helping others, and even easier to miss the true Reason for the Season. Jesus. 🙂 ❤

So there is my serious paragraph in a post full of holly-jolliness. 🙂 Before I bow out….

Who has favorite Christmas decorations? Anyone? 😀 Is it a special ornament, a stuffed snowman, a nativity scene? Only curious, I love hearing about people’s favorites. 🙂 The favorite that’s been in our house for as long as I could remember, is a Star Trek: Next Generation Captain Picard ornament. Boom, baby! Oh, yes. I found this picture off Amazon.

Pretty cool, right? 😀 Now that I’ve had my fun, why don’t you tell me what your favorite decoration is, Star Trek or otherwise? 🙂 Favorite carols? Anyone? 😀

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you have an excellent Christmas day today with your family and friends celebrating Christ’s birth!

I’ll post another review soon after the New Year starts! Have a fantastic rest of 2013!