Love & Joy

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Just like our holiday card mailing list, the blog is getting our holiday wishes a little late, too. The holidays were really great this year, but I have to admit the amount of House Love work I had to get done did cast a tiny shadow on some of the festivities. I hope that next year I'm able to manage my workflow a bit better! I am finally catching my breath and hoping to take a week or two off after finishing up some orders this weekend.

This year, we continued many of the family traditions we've established over the years, including little gifts of homemade peppermint bark for teachers, friends and family. This year, we included a bar of Sweet Mint Soap made locally by Biggs & Featherbelle, too. And for the very first time since having Fiona, we have an official family holiday card! So sweet, right?

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I printed out Phoebe's illustrated gift tags from the Taproot Blog and used Whole foods bags as wrapping paper for many of our gifts. They turned out so cute! The kids had a lot of fun distributing our cards and little gifts to friends and neighbors.

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I hope you all enjoyed your holidays! Here's to 2014.

kitchen elves

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Fiona's fascination with all things Santa carried through the whole holiday season, so any time we were making anything Christmas related, we were playing the parts of little elves. Much of the elving happened in the kitchen, as usual. Some edible, some not.

This Candy Cane Playdough is SO cute. We followed Jean's directions in her e-book, The Artful Winter. The directions are also on her blog here. The best part of the recipe is that it includes peppermint essential oil, which really adds to the experience of making the dough. It just smells so good!

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Fiona and Elsa were both able to help mix, knead and add the natural food dye and glitter. I think these little playdough sets would make cute Valentine's Day gifts, too. This project reminds me of another playdough idea on Sew Liberated where she mixed in googly eyes. Love that!

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This is the second year in a row of using this recipe for peppermint bark. So, so yummy. I think this tradition is sticking around. After it had all been given away or eaten, I had a couple evenings in a row where I had a lingering feeling that something was missing... then I realized it was the peppermint bark. Wah! I had made such a nice, sweet bite before bed.

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Then, of course, sugar cookies. They were originally meant to be brought around to some of our neighborhood friends, but then Fiona got a diagnosis of pneumonia (you may remember I had it a week or so before she did), and since she had taken such a huge role in making the cookies, I decided we'd keep our germs to ourselves. It worked out alright, though. More for us! ;)

But phew, I have to admit to being kind of relieved to have less sweets in the house after all that holiday feasting. Anyone else feel kind of bloated?

christmas 2012

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This was the first year that Fiona truly got Christmas fever, talking about Santa, singing Jingle Bells, asking for certain gifts, the whole bit. This was also the first year that I really needed to do some soul searching about the Santa question. Do we tell her the truth (the truth is important!) or do we encourage the magic (magic is important, too!)? In the end, we decided to not explicitely say whether Santa is real or not. Santa is in so many seasonal books, songs and movies that he was a regular topic in the house throughout December. Did she think he was real? I wasn't sure. Then I made her one of these Santa videos (which was really cool, by the way!), and thought I may have pushed her into the 'believing' camp.

Then on Christmas morning, Fiona asked why Santa comes at night. I did my best to answer, then asked her if Santa came to our house last night. "Noooo...." she said, looking at me like I was being very silly. I had told her earlier that her gifts were from Santa, so then I said, "Who do you think brought your gifts for you then?" And that's when she really looked at me like I was crazy. She lifted her finger and pointed at me.

Ah, yes. I did.

So, although Fiona doesn't 'believe' per se, she definitely still feels the magic. Works for me.