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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…


images courtesy of ana brandt photography


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!


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


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.


    thanksgiving dinner.

    by @according2kelly on November 21, 2008

    we had our early, mini thanksgiving last night. & although i was only cooking for the four of us (2 of whom, or should it be 2 of which? either way… two of them are 3 & under). anyway, there were so many delicious sounding recipes, we ended up with a quite a feast. on the menu?

    1981 holiday bacon appetizers
    brown sugar smokies
    craisin apple salad
    easy, breezy, no fuss turkey
    creamed corn
    brown sugar-glazed carrots
    cream cheese mashed potatoes

    although everything was oh so tasty, i think my favorite was the salad. it kinda tasted like candy. the funny thing? the salad was a total accident. i started out with every intention make THIS salad. but i forgot some of the ingredients for the salad dressing. luckily i had the ingredients for THIS one on hand & amazingly, it tasted sooo delicious (& the colors were so pretty). so here’s the recipe:

    craisin apple salad
    1 bag of baby spinach, wash & dried
    1/2 lb. bacon, cooked until crispy & crumbled
    1 green apple, cored & thinly sliced
    1 small bag of craisins
    small onion, thinly sliced (optional)
    candied pecans (or almonds), for candy-ing how-to go HERE.

    mix the salad ingredients & add the following dressing just before serving:

    poppy seed dressing
    2 T poppy seeds
    3/4 apple cider vinegar
    2 cups light salad oil
    1 & 1/2 cups sugar
    2 tsp. salt
    2 tsp. dry mustard

    combine in a jar, shake well & let sit

    image via here.


    oreo cookie turkeys

    by @according2kelly on November 18, 2008

    THESE bad boys are always a hit. anything that involves munching on oreo’s is definitely a winner. i think the boys & i ate just as many as we made. want to make your own oreo cookie turkeys? then grab your supplies & let’s get crafting. all you’ll need is: double stuff oreo’s, whoppers malted milk balls, some candy corn, & a toothpick or two.

    step 1: twist one oreo cookie apart, trying to keep all the “cream” on one side of the cookie. lay the cookie half with the cream, chocolate side down… this will be the base of your turkey.

    step 2: take a second oreo & place the entire oreo on it’s side (so it sticks straight up in the air), wedged into the “cream” base.

    step 3: in front of the oreo that is laying on it’s side, place a malted milk ball for the turkey’s head.

    step 4: insert several candy corn, points down, into the cream filling of the oreo cookie that is standing on it’s side, making feathers.

    step 5: use the white tip of one of the candy corns for the beak & “glue” it on to the malted milk ball using a little oreo cooking cream.

    step 6: finally, using a toothpick, dab some oreo cookie “cream” dots onto the malted milk ball for the eyes.


    turkey on the brain.

    by @according2kelly on November 12, 2008

    i’ve been busy planning my early thanksgiving. last year i posted about some of my favorite recipes, you can read all about it HERE. this year i’m getting inspiration from some new faces & places. check out what some of my new “friends” (& few of my old friends too) are recommending…

    ina garten’s dinner for 20
    martha’s classic thanksgiving menu
    paula’s southern thanksgiving menu
    food network’s thanksgiving menu(s)
    chow’s thanksgiving menu for 6
    the pioneer woman’s thanksgiving recipes
    cafe johnsonia’s thanksgiving recipes

    hope you find something tasty to inspire your own thanksgiving menu!

    image via here.


    pumpkin dump cake

    by @according2kelly on November 6, 2008

    i know, i know… my blog’s becoming more of a recipe blog than anything else. (sorry to the few friends & family who read in hopes of catching a glimpse of the boys & what they are up to.) but, we don’t really “do” thanksgiving. don’t get me wrong, we definitely celebrate thanksgiving, there just isn’t any cooking involved on my part. for as long as i can remember, actually only since i was in college, but it really is all i can remember, we’ve been out of town during the thanksgiving holiday. sure the hotels tend to put on a nice party, but sometimes i miss whipping up a big feast. so, i compensate by celebrating the “festivities” all month long.

    anyway, so i went off on a tangent there, sorry. but i’ve got a tasty recipe for you here. don’t be fooled by the name, my entire family LOVED it.

    pumpkin dump cake
    1 can (30-ounces) pure pumpkin
    3 cups evaporated milk (about 2 cans)
    2 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. ginger
    1 yellow cake mix (rumor has it that it’s tasty with a white cake mix too)
    1 cup chopped pecans
    4 eggs, well beaten
    1 1/2 cup sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. cloves
    2 sticks of butter, melted

    use about 1/4 of the cake mix, add about 3 tablespoons of butter & mix until crumbly. pat in the bottom of a well-greased pan, making a sort of crust. mix pumpkin, evaporated milk, cinnamon, ginger, eggs, sugar, salt & cloves together well. sprinkle with remaining cake mix & drizzle with melted butter (try to cover all of the cake mix with butter), then sprinkle with the pecans. bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

    in my personal opinion (which i know doesn’t really count for much), i think it tastes best when it’s well-cooled, & topped with cool whip or vanilla bean ice cream (those little black specks are the best!).


    turkey tom veggie style

    by @according2kelly on November 5, 2008

    after THIS veggie tray was such a hit with the kiddos, i decided to try it again… thanksgiving style. i wish i had realized earlier that the key to getting my boys to eat their vegetables willingly, was yummy dip & some “fancy” display-work on my part. tom the turkey was such a winner, i’m sure he’ll be back to visit us on several occasions this month. he’ll probably even make an appearance at a party or two!