Well hello there! This is the place where I share my crafts, recipes, knitting and crochet projects, photos, and moments of family life in the Midwest.

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Eve

On New Years Eve at the Dieter House we don't eat supper like usual we snack. This has been a tradition since I was a child and I have carried this over to my home as our tradition. We make a menu of little smokies, yummy cheese such as Gouda, veggies with dip, and of course a cheese ball. We decorate the house and make silly hats and watch the ball drop in New York. (After that we usually head to bed even though it is only 11!)

Our Family's Cheese Ball Recipe

2 packages of Cream Cheese
1 can Deviled Ham
1/2 can chopped black olives
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Bring the cream cheese to room temperature. With a mixer, beat together the cream cheese, deviled ham, black olives, and cheddar cheese. Form into a ball and refrigerate for one hour. Roll the cheese ball in the chopped pecans. Serve with crackers.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Woodland Animals

 This Christmas I made hooded fleece blankets for my boys and my nieces and nephews. I used the "pill-less fleece" so that I would not have to surge the edges of each piece. For the hood, just trace a hood from one of the kids hooded sweatshirts and add a bit more to the top to make the "nose" of the animal. Cut two pieces for each hood and sew a seam a long the back. The faces I just cut out of fleece and pieced them together. The eyes are two buttons stacked together and sewed on. Sew the face pieces in place on the hoods and then attach the hood to the blanket, centered along the longer side, with straight stitch. (You can double stitch it if you wish) I cut blankets that were 50 inches by 40 inches. You can make them whatever animal or creature you wish. Just be creative!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snow Snow Snow!

Last night we had a blizzard! Insta-Christmas over night. It's still coming down - but we don't care. Time to find the snow pants and sleds.....

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ice Skating

Max and Riley have been asking to go skating for a while so I thought it would be a great thing to do for our advent activies. There is a rink that has public skate right at our local mall so it was easy to go and get some shopping done too. Riley did very well and his little skates were adorable! Max did well too, though he was sort of scared to let go of the railing. Both boys want to go again as soon as we have the time.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gingerbread (Graham Cracker) Houses

We made "gingerbread" houses this year for our advent activities. I decided to use graham crackers to build the houses instead of gingerbread or buying a kit. Cutting the crackers was easier than I thought it would be and I used a serrated knife to saw the angles. TIP if you are going to try this - put the sides of the house on the outside of the pointed piece so the roof pieces have a place to lay. The best part of using graham crackers is that the houses are small, so the boys got to eat them once they finished building.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Going to see Santa

The boys went to see Santa to night....they were super excited. Max asked for video games and an Xbox, Riley asked for a Thomas the Train that was big and go goes!

Chevron Knit Hat

It has been a while since I knit anything and even longer since I made something for myself. I saw this black & white hat and just HAD to make one. I mean, come on - just look at that PomPom. If you want to make one you need black and white yarn and a Clover 3 1/2 pom pom maker. I just followed this pattern on Ravelry; Seamans Cap by Brenda Zuk. Also if you don't have a ravelry account you are really missing out!!!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Sugar Cookies

Today we made cookies to eat and share with our friends. I am planning on making four other kinds of cookies, but these are the fun ones the boys like to make. These are just plain sugar cookies with royal icing to make them pretty. Max and Riley liked rolling the dough and cutting out the shapes more than the decorating part. Their favorite part is the EATING part, which I had to stop after the third one. (which is why we only have one snowman left!)


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Popcorn Garland

 Today's advent activity was to make a popcorn garland. I love making decorations for the tree that are food. Gingerbread people, dried orange slices, bird seed ornaments, and popcorn garland to name a few. I love the idea that you make something that later you can give to our outdoor animal friends. Also you don't feel like you need to store these types of Christmas decorations so you get the fun every year! Max did pretty well stringing and Riley did a great job eating.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Advent Calendar

Today is December 1st, which means it's the first day to check the advent calendar! In the last few years our advent calendar had candy in each day. But after last year when Riley ate all of the candies on the first day, I decided we would have an activity to do each day instead. (They get enough candy any way!) I came up with 24 christmas things to do because on the 25th we will open gifts.

 Here is a list of activities for each day until Christmas:
1 Make Snowman Pancakes
2 Make Christmas Cards for family and friends
3 Email Santa a letter.
4 Make a popcorn garland
5 Cut paper snowflakes
6 Eat dinner by the Christmas tree light
7 Go to the Rise of the Guardians movie
8 Make Christmas Cookies for friends.
9 Go to the store and pick out one new Christmas CD.
10 Visit Santa and get a picture taken
11 Make a Gingerbread house
12 Make gifts for Grandparents
13 Make spiced cider.
14 Learn about Christmas around the world
15 Watch Christmas Special Movies
16 Decorate bedroom doors
17 Go Ice Skating
18 Go present shopping with mom and dad.
19 Make Thick Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows
20 Sing (or listen) to favorite Christmas songs
21 Drive around to see neighborhood lights
22 Go Sledding
23 Build a snowman and snow fort
24 Go to Candle Light Service

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Deck the halls

With real trees it is always a good idea to let them adjust to the temperture of you house and make sure they have plenty of water before you start the decorating process. Our tree drank about 3 gallons of water and the branches came down a bit so we decided that today would be decorating day. We tried to keep the decorations to the unbreakable ornaments for the main tree because Riley is still very curious about the whole process and will probably pull every ornament off and on 100 times. There is still some more ornaments I want to make with the boys this year and we will do that in the next few weeks.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Our Christmas Tree

This year we went to Handley's Holiday Hillside in Solon for our Christmas Tree. We went there years ago to buy a tree when Jered and I were first married and really liked it. Today was cold but not snowy so it was a nice walk through the rows. The boys enjoyed picking out the tree and we all carried it back to tie it on the Jeep. We bought a Canadian Fir tree, it has nice small needles and strong branches for ornaments and lights. There is really nothing like the smell of a fresh cut pine tree. We have it all set up and tomorrow we will decorate it once it "relaxes". The house is really starting to feel festive now that the tree is up.

Friday, November 23, 2012

May your days be...

Now that Santa has arrived in the Macy's day parade, it's time to start decorating the house for the holidays. I love getting out the ornaments and special items every year and it's great to may new ones too. This year I am loving the chalk art that is everywhere right now and made one of my own. It's easy and you can change it whenever you are inspired!

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