Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Neighbor Gift: Cinnamon Popcorn and a Movie

This year I have neighbors! Ok, I've had neighbors in the past, but I've never felt super friendly with them. Now that we own our home, I figured we needed to get friendlier with the people around us. I decided to make cinnamon kettle corn and give this DVD


It's a short movie about the nativity of Christ. The perfect gift for Christmas, in my opinion. You can order your own here: Joy to the World DVD

Cinnamon Kettle Corn recipe adapted from Something Swanky
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat, covered.

Put in two kernels. When they pop, the oil is ready

Once hot, stir in the sugar, cinnamon and popcorn.  I use a spoon to help really coat the kernels.

Cover, and shake the pot constantly to keep the sugar from burning.

Once the popping has slowed to once every 2 to 3 seconds, remove the pot from the heat and continue to shake for a few minutes until the popping has stopped. Pour into a large bowl, and allow to cool, stirring occasionally to break up large clumps.


This year I tried making kettle corn in my Stir Crazy popper. AND IT WORKS and doesn't ruin my Stir Crazy! It's so fast and easy. Never going back to stove top. 

Cinnamon Kettle Corn recipe for Stir Crazy:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
Put all ingredients in the Stir Crazy. Place the lid on top and turn it on. Once the popping has slowed to once every 2 to 3 seconds, turn off Stir Crazy and flip over (so the bowl lid is right side up) and take the heat element off**. Allow the popcorn to cool and enjoy.

**Don't leave the heat element on top while it cools, like I did. It melted the side of the bowl/lid a little. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

DIY Maternity Maxi Dress

Sorry for my long absence! But I have a good excuse. Well, I think it's good. So back in August, I was  asked to be one of my college roommate's bridesmaids. Well well well, what a predicament. The other 7 or so bridesmaids and I did not have something in common that would make dress buying much, much more difficult because I would be 21 weeks pregnant at her wedding! Luckily, the bridesmaids got to choose their own dresses which meant I would make my own dress. I decided to go with a maxi dress thinking it would be both easy to make and accommodating to my growing baby belly. This was far more wayward than I thought but I learned from my mistakes!

What you'll need:
2-2 1/2 yds jersey knit (depending on your height)
Thin elastic
Matching thread

Instructions:
1. Measure from under your bust, over your shoulder to mid back (equal to where your under the bust measurement is on your back). Measure down lengthwise on the fabric. This is the length of A and B. Mine was 30 inches.

2. Hem one side of each A and B pieces. This will be the neckline. Overlap A and B 4 inches right side on top of right side. Pin and sew.

3. Next, sew C to A and B, D to the opposite side, wrong sides together.
4. Fold along mid line of A and B top panel. You may need to trim both sides depending on how loose and flowy you want it. Sew sides of dress (wrong sides together) from bottom to a couple inches above where C and D meet A and B.
5. Measure where you would like to put on the elastic. I measured under the bust to accommodate baby. Cut the elastic 2 inches less than your measurement. Overlap the ends of the elastic about 3/4". Sew forward and back a couple of times. You'll need to put 4 pins in your elastic 4 equally apart: one in the middle front, middle back, and sides. This is markers to match while sewing.
6. Pin your middle front marker of the elastic to the middle front (middle of where A and B overlap), the back marker to the middle back, and sides to where C and D meet on the sides. Your elastic should be smaller than the fabric, this is on purpose! (I added a few extra pins due to how wayward everything was turning out for me. But I pinned in the middle of where the fabric was between pins to the middle between markers and match to fabric. You must be very careful if you are adding extra pins!)
7. Now sew with a zig zag stitch on the elastic to the wrong side of the dress, stretching it to meet the length of the fabric between pins. This will create gathering in the dress.

8. Cut and hem skirt to desired length, hem sleeves at length you want.
9. Optional: I sewed a small piece of where A and B overlap (6 inches from edge of waistline) for added modesty.

And here's my wayward adventure:

I measured wrong both the fabric and elastic, twisted the elastic while sewing, had to unpick thread so many times, etc, etc, etc! .

And here's the finished look!
Note: these were taken at 29 weeks not 21!! Hello belly button!






Thursday, December 4, 2014

St. Nicholas Day: A Family Tradition

One of my favorite Christmas traditions growing up was St. Nicholas Day. Although we are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sometimes known as "Mormons" my mom instituted we celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6th. St. Nicholas Day is commonly celebrated in European countries. It is thought that Santa Claus bringing gifts is based off St. Nicholas Day. Read more here.

 We set our shoes out on the fireplace hearth on the 5th of December. In the morning they would be filled with a small surprise, like hair things, candy or a small toy. It was a simple tradition but one we looked forward to. As a teenager, I liked to set out my most daring shoe for St. Nicholas. When we went to college, St. Nicholas still found us, via US Mail! His handwriting was strangely similar to my mom's ;)

I plan on carrying on this tradition with my family as well. Just another magical way to make December memorable!



In my husband's basketball sneaker: The Beach Boys's Sounds of Summer.(affiliate link)

In my bootie : Welch's Fruit Snacks, (affiliate link) because I love fruit snacks

In my daughter's boot: We Belong Together by Joyce Wan. (affiliate link) I LOVED this book when we got it from the library and I'm so happy we own it now! It's got really cute illustrations and I think it's perfect for a parent-child relationship or for siblings.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Wrapped and Done by December One RESULTS!


If you'll remember, it was my goal to be done with all my Christmas preparations by December first. This included my Christmas cards, gifts and decorations. Here's how I faired


Cards: Done! My sister-in-law took our pictures, I got that great Groupon and then addressed and sent them on Friday the 28th.

Decorations: Done! I like what I did this year, but miss most of my ornaments. A one year-old baby and breakable ornaments just don't mix. It's nice to have enough room for everything. Here's my nativity:



Gifts: All my gifts to my extended family and in-laws have been shipped! I left my husband and daughter's gift shopping until last week because I wanted to make people who lived far away a priority as to get their gifts shipped. This was good and bad. Good because that got done, bad because I didn't factor in that I'd be ordering gifts online and would need to allow for time to wrap those gifts. So I have 2 gifts coming that I haven't yet received which need to be wrapped. I still feel like I was successful because I won't be stressing about the gifts and I actually enjoy wrapping gifts.

So I think I did really well!! How did you you?
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