Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Some Christmastime favorites

Hi there! Happy December!

I was so proud of myself because every year I have the goal to get all the presents that need to be mailed to far-away family mailed by December 1st.  I can probably count on one hand the number of times that has happened, but this year was one of them.  YAY!

Not that there isn't more to do within my own home and for my own family, but having that checked off my list of things to do, I feel like I'm a little less distracted, and a little more focused on the joy of the season.

We don't typically have the calendar filled to the brim with holiday events, performances, parties and the like, but it's some of the simplest of things that bring us joy and make things feel festive.

I thought I'd share some of our favorites that make the Christmas season merry and bright for us.

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But not just the ordinary, hear-the-same-ol'-song-on-the-radio-every-fifteen-minutes kind of Christmas music.
Here are some albums that we really like.
(Warning: some of the band names are terrible, but this album is good.)

And of course the new Keith Harkin and She & Him that I featured on this recent post.

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What is your favorite cookie?  Mine, hands down, is a molasses cookie, but nothing says Christmas cookie to me more than a peanut butter blossom.  (You know, a peanut butter cookie with a chocolate kiss in the center.)  That's what my mom always used to bake.

Having a baking day with the kids is such fun.  Recently, I found this at Trader Joe's.  😄

Since finding this cookie kit, I've seen "ugly Christmas sweater" cookie cutters in the stores!

One thing that is usually on our calendar is an annual cookie exchange hosted by one of Hannah's friends.  Not only are they fun and festive, but a great way to build a large assortment of cookies for gift giving.  We often take one night where we bundle up and carol while delivering cookie gift plates to our neighbors.

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Sometimes adding something new to our collection is just what is needed.
This year Hannah turned an ugly Christmas sweater into an ugly Christmas sweater pillow cover!  I am totally loving it!  You might think about doing the same thing, if you have some sweaters that you no longer wear.  She was inspired by this pin, but you can find the tutorial here on how she often makes pillows.

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When the temperatures drop outside, curling up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn or caramel corn and watching a movie all snuggled together makes me feel snuggly inside too.
These are some of my favorites.  While You Were Sleeping and Little Women aren't Christmas themed movies (and not for younger children), but they take place during Christmas so they feel like Christmas movies to me. 😊
Have you ever watched Fay's Twelve Days of Christmas?  You should.  We try to get it from the library.

Here is our recipe for caramel corn.

1 c. popcorn kernels
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick butter
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. baking soda
*large brown shopping bag (request a paper bag at your store check out - they do have them still.)

Pop the popcorn in an air popper 1/3 cup at a time.  Discard any unpopped kernels.  Place popped corn in a large brown shopping bag. (not a lunch bag - that is too small.)

In a large glass bowl, microwave brown sugar, salt, butter, and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes. ( Microwave 2 minutes, look.  Microwave again, look.  etc.)

Remove from microwave.  Add 1/2 tsp. baking soda.  Stir until brown throughout.  Pour over popcorn in the bag.  Roll top down and shake to coat.  Put the popcorn filled bag in the microwave for 45 seconds.  Remove and shake.  Microwave again for 45 seconds.  Remove and shake.  Pour out onto waxed paper - spreading to a single layer.  Let cool and ENJOY!

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So what little things make you rejoice in the Christmas season?  I'd LOVE to hear!

Wishing you good cheer and Christmas blessings!
- Carol

Linking with Strangers and Pilgrims

Friday, December 2, 2016

Movin' on up


Ellie's chicks have been in our garage with a heat lamp since we got them at the beginning of October.  It's been fun to see just how fast they grow!  It was good to keep them there while Ellie got used to her new chores, and it allowed them to acclimate to our cold temperatures too. 
At seven weeks, they were ready for their "big girl home".  Ellie was so excited .

She is in love with these chickens.  Meet Ginger, Elaine, Alice, and Amelia.  I have no idea which one is which, but Ellie sure does!

I did not expect that the chickens would be so timid and cautious in their new home.  They were always so curious and bold in their other pen.  Ellie had to physically put them in where there nesting boxes are because they couldn't figure out the ladder thing that leads to them.  (I wonder if a ramp, rather than a ladder would be better?)  
So far they seem to be happy in their cozy coop, and getting the hang of things.

Something else I didn't expect is that the goats seem to be leery, even a little afraid of those "things" just beyond their yard.  I think now that a few days have passed, they are getting used to the new noises, but I can't wait to see what they will do, when the chickens are free roaming and might venture into their space.  😲

If you have chickens (or have had them) can you recommend a good chicken-keeping book that would be good for Ellie to have for reference?  One that is kid friendly, and not too technical.

Until next time,
- Carol

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas shopping - Candle Sale

Just a reminder that I am running my candle sale!
Candles make such lovely gifts and stocking stuffers.

These candles are 100% natural.  Made from non-GMO soy wax and scented with essential oils.

"Pacific Northwest" - scented with coffee essential oil. 

"So Cal"  - scented with hints of grapefruit, orange, lemon, and spearmint.

"Deer Isle"  - scented with bergamot, lavender, and fir.

"Sanibel" - scented with hints of sweet orange, cinnamon, and eucalyptus.  

Each 6 oz. candle [with a burn time of approximately 25 hours] is just $10 
4 oz. candles [with a burn time of approximately 18-20 hours] are just $7.50 each

Or choose a sampler of 1 of each scent
6 oz. size for $38
4 oz size for $28.

Sale Details 

Ordering:  Email me at carol@hfhco.com with your order.  I'll fill orders on a first come-first served basis, and I'll answer you with a confirmation and total.
Delivery/Shipping:  If you are local, we can make arrangements.  If not, I am happy to ship anywhere is the U.S. 

Shipping rates:  All orders are sent USPS Priority Mail.
1 - 6  (4 oz. each)   OR 1-3 (6 oz) $ 6.80 (priority small flat rate.) 
4 - 12 (6 oz each) $ 10.80 (box A regional)
For larger quantities inquire for shipping.

I accept Paypal (use carol@hfhco.com), cash or personal checks, if you are local.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Some traditions

Hello Again,

A bit more catch up from our holiday weekend. 
I know some would say I'm crazy!  Some would say, "why bother when you have on-line", but Black Friday shopping with my older kids has become such a fun tradition.  
Caleb had to head back down to Portland Thanksgiving night for work the next day, and Matt also had to work so this year it was just Hannah and Dan and me. 

We picked up some friends to join us. The first store we go to opens at 5 am, which is early, but not ridiculously early. They serve free coffee and doughnut holes!  (which makes for a happy Dan!) They are known for their sock sale.  All socks 1/2 off.  That's when I buy all the fun socks for my family along with a few packages of essentials too.  A couple of years ago I bought Christmas socks for everyone and they loved them so much that it has become a new tradition for us.  I find fun ones at the Black Friday sale (trying to remember what everybody already has 😵) and it kick's off (see what I did there? 😉) our Christmas season.

The second store we went to had what I needed on my list, but not what Hannah and Dan needed. While our friends and I shopped, Hannah and Dan smelled all the colognes and fragrances - all the while vlogging about it!
They crack me up.  If you want a laugh, check out Hannah's vlog here.

Also - how convenient to have Starbucks inside the stores!  Hannah bought coffees for herself and JoAnna.  When asked for the names for the order, Hannah replied with "Batman and Robin".  The Dynamic Duo of Black Friday.  😁💪

While all these shenanigans are happening, at home, littles ones with Eric and taking things slow and easy...until we got home.
This year we had plans to get our tree later that day.

It wasn't raining!  We found one that was just right.

While Daniel sawed, the girls ran around playing hide and seek, we sneaked in a kiss.

but got caught. 

Because of rain, we usually have to let the tree sit in the garage a day or so - so that it drip dries, but this time we didn't have to. 😊 Caleb returned for the weekend, and we spent such a nice Friday night as a family - eating Chex mix, and decorating the tree, and listening to our new Christmas music.

Which I am actually totally loving!

What about you?  Do you have your tree up yet?  Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition?

- Carol