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christmas

my favorite christmas stories

by @according2kelly on December 8, 2011

one of my favorite christmas traditions is snuggling up with the kids, under the christmas blanket, with a fire roaring in the background, drinking hot chocolate floats & reading a few of my favorite christmas stories.

in preparation for many such fun-filled evenings i’ve been busy pulling together a list of my all-time favorite christmas reads & i thought i’d share.

maybe you’ll find a story or two that will become a new family favorite, or perhaps you’ll re-discover one you had forgotten about.

here’s a few books & stories i’m looking forward to sharing with my family this year. if i’ve missed any of your favorites, please share! i’m always on the lookout for something new.

my favorite christmas stories

* the tale of the three trees
* the polar express
* teach the children the true meaning of christmas
* how the grinch stole christmas
* why christmas trees aren’t perfect
* the night before christmas
* olive, the other reindeer
* the christmas orange
* the max lucado christmas collection
* christmas nails
* a special place for santa
* m&m christmas poem
* the christmas miracle of jonathan toomey
* the white envelope
* the giving tree
* santa’s prayer

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plastic spoon reindeer

by @according2kelly on December 22, 2009

who knew plastic spoons could provide soooo much entertainment value?
check out the easy-breezy tutorial HERE.

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christmas countdown

by @according2kelly on December 1, 2009

it may be 79 degrees outside, but it’s definitely beginning to look a lot like christmas. december 1st in our house means we are in the midst of holiday decorating. it also means that the annual christmas countdown has begun. so how do you countdown? add a new ornament to the tree each day? celebrate with a small gift or special treat? read a different christmas book each night? a couple of years ago we started a new family tradition – an “activity based” advent calendar. sometimes our “activities” are big outings & sometimes they are just little things, but we try to do a little special something, every single day… spreading christmas cheer throughout the entire month. so here’s this year’s list:

1. write letters to santa
2. watch: how the grinch stole christmas
3. go to disneyland
4. attend a christmas tree lighting
5. holiday toy express
6. read: the tale of the three trees
7. ride the irvine rail roade christmas train
8. make hot chocolate floats
9. watch: the nightmare before christmas
10. start our own “white envelope“tradition
11. have a picnic dinner by the christmas tree
12. dana point harbor boat parade of lights
13. read: the christmas orange
14. ding dong ditch christmas treats
15. gingerbread house
16. watch: white christmas
17. make home-made bread for hot chocolate & toast
18. have breakfast for dinner
19. newport beach boat parade
20. read: why christmas trees aren’t perfect
21. have a fondue/ candy cane dipping party
22. drive around to see the neighborhood christmas lights.
23. watch: elf
24. sing christmas songs, tell the story of the true meaning of christmas, & read the christmas story

here’s to a happy holiday season! it’s definitely one of the happiest times of the year!

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Last Minute Gifts

by @according2kelly on December 22, 2008

still needing something special for your friends & neighbors? but, you don’t exactly want to break the bank & you need it asap? check out THIS post HERE. maybe you’ll find some inspiration.

image via elle’s studio.

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here comes santa claus.

by @according2kelly on December 17, 2008

a couple of weeks ago i got the boys all gussied up for a date with the big man himself… santa claus. & as the story goes, “he was dressed all in fun, from his head to his foot, & his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; a bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. his eyes – how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! his cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! his droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; the stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath; he had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly. he was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf”. unfortunately, that’s where our story takes a turn – instead of laughing when owen saw him, he cried, & cried hard.

we tried all the tricks… everything from watching santa interact with other kids, to me trying to sit with owen & that jolly happy soul. but nothing worked, little o just wasn’t having any of it. but, at least gavin was thrilled to read santa his christmas list.

later that afternoon i found owen asleep on the floor. i guess you could say he was tuckered out… being terrified of santa must have exhausted him. the funny thing is, now, every time & everywhere he sees santa, he gets all excited. even if the pictures this year didn’t exactly work out, we do have proof that owen hasn’t always been so scared…

2007

2006
images courtesy of ana brandt photography

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nutter butter santa cookies

by @according2kelly on December 16, 2008


more holiday baking going on in these parts. last time we kept it simple, this time around we are getting fancy. just kidding, these are super easy too. however there is some chocolate dipping involved. but seriously, it’s not complicated… my 3-year became our designated chocolate dipper – it’s that simple!


first of all, gather your supplies: nutter butter cookies, white chocolate baking chips or mini marshmallows, white chocolate for melting (you can use candy melts or white chocolate baking chips), mini m&m’s, granulated sugar (optional), red sprinkles (the granulated sugar kind), red hots & some wax paper.


next, melt your chocolate using a double broiler, or using the microwave (my personal pick). then grab the center of your cookie & dip, baby, dip. the top portion is going to be santa’s hat – so dip that a 1/4 or so of the way in, & the bottom is going to be santa’s beard – so dip that a little less than 1/2 way. but don’t worry about specifics… just do what you think looks good.


lay your cookies down on wax paper & sprinkle the top half (santa’s hat) with the red sprinkles (if you leave just a touch of white chocolate peeking through it looks like his hat has a bit of a furry trim), & if you’d like, sprinkle his beard with the granulated sugar to give it a little extra “sparkle”.


now, add a white chocolate chip, or mini marshmallow (i usually cut the marshmallow in half), in an off-center position on santa’s hat for his pom pom. & using a little white chocolate, glue on some mini m&m’s for eyes, & a red hot for his nose. & finally, after all that hard work, you’ve got your finished product.

trust me, these will be a BIG hit at your house. EVERYONE will be volunteering to help. just make sure to have some extra supplies on hand, because i’m sure there will be some nibbling involved.

ho! ho! ho!

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magical reindeer dust

by @according2kelly on December 11, 2008

magical reindeer dust

so i’ve heard of pixie dust, but until yesterday afternoon, i had no idea what magical reindeer dust was. but now, i know we’ll be making lots & lots of reindeer dust in the near future…

magical reindeer dust:
1 cup sugar
1 cup instant oatmeal
1 cup sprinkles (or, if you live in an area without lots of “non-magical” creatures, you can substitute glitter for the sprinkles)

mix everything together & package with the following poem/ instructions:

legend_of_magical_reindeer_dustThe Legend of Magical Reindeer Dust Printable Download


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oreo cookie snowmen

by @according2kelly on December 4, 2008

we started off the holiday baking with a little something that required absolutely no baking. actually, to be absolutely honest, very little was involved other than eating lots of mini m&ms, and a few oreo cookies, because they are super easy! but, in the end, our tummies were very full & we had a plate full of cute little snowmen. so now, to get you in the holiday mood, i present oreo cookie snowmen…

to start, gather your supplies… white fudged covered oreo cookies (yep! you read that right. you don’t even have to dip the oreos in chocolate. i told you it was easy!), black & orange decorating gel, and if you want to get really fancy – mini m&ms, but those are totally optional.

step one: with your orange decorating gel draw a little sideways, triangular squiggle for the carrot nose.

next, using the black decorating gel, add two eyes & a mouth. then, ta da! your done. see… i told you it was easy. but if you want to get fancy… you could always add some accessories. perhaps some mini m&ms ear muffs (check out the very first picture. see that little guy sporting the yellow ear muffs?), or use the decorating gel to add a little scarf, the possibilities are endless.

bet you can’t make these, without getting frosty the snowman stuck in your head. have fun & be sure to eat an oreo or two for me.

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countdown to christmas

by @according2kelly on December 1, 2008

it’s december 1st… time for the christmas countdown to begin. i love me a cute advent calendar, & there are so many to choose from. i still love THIS one, luckily i picked it up last year. but THIS cookie sheet advent calendar has defiitely caught my eye, as well as THIS “advent in a box”.

so how do you countdown? add a new ornament to the tree each day? celebrate with a small gift or special treat? read a different christmas book each night? last year we started the tradition of doing an “activity based” advent calendar. sometimes our “activities” are big outings & sometimes they are just little things, but we try to do something a little special, every single day… spreading christmas cheer throughout the entire month. so here’s this year’s list:

1. write letters to santa
2. watch: how the grinch stole christmas
3. go to disneyland
4. go christmas tree shopping
5. attend a christmas tree lighting
6. ride the irvine rail roade christmas train
7. read: the tale of the three trees
8. make hot chocolate floats
9. watch: the nightmare before christmas
10. start our own “white envelope“tradition
11. have a picnic dinner by the christmas tree
12. dana point harbor boat parade of lights
13. ding dong ditch christmas treats
14. read: the christmas orange
15. gingerbread house
16. watch: white christmas
17. make home-made bread for hot chocolate & toast
18. newport beach boat parade
19. have breakfast for dinner
20. have a fondue/ candy cane dipping party
21. read: why christmas trees aren’t perfect
22. drive around to see the neighborhood christmas lights.
23. watch: elf
24. sing christmas songs, tell the story of the true meaning of christmas, & read the christmas story

here’s to a happy holiday season! it’s definitely one of the happiest times of the year!
image via flickr.

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