The Best Christmas Cookie EVAR.

I know that’s a bold statement. I am no great Friend of the Kitchen, let me tell you, yet I still find time to make these cookies every December, year after year. Since I was in elementary school in fact…I think they were in a class cookbook or something. Mr Rae calls these his Kryptonite. And he doesn’t even really like sweets that much. My kids love them. I eat them five at a time (see picture below).

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These are no-bake so they take almost no time, and they are seriously delicious. Something about the combination of white chocolate and peanut butter, and then the crispy rice krispies, mini marshmallows, and peanuts inside. Ground Control to Major Yum. You can use a microwave to melt the chocolate or stovetop, and the amounts are suggestions…I usually try to cram as many mini marshmallows in as I possibly can (not too many though or they start to fall apart). This is always my go-to for anything I have to bring cookies to during the holiday season. And they are always, always gone by the end of the night.

Ingredients:

  • 10 or 12 oz bag (300 g) white chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 cup each: mini-marshmallows, salted peanuts, puffed rice cereal (+ a little more to throw in until perfectly coated)

{Click on each picture for instructions. A “next” button appears on each photo if you hover over it. You can also click through to the flickr photo for more details on each step}

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Enjoy!

Victory!

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She was a rainbow cloud (see earlier discussion here). I told her she could have a very big piece of candy if she wore it.

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And we borrowed Elliot’s costume from Karen, whose 14-year old son wore it when he was Elliot’s age. That’s right, Sonic is old.

UPDATED TO ADD:

Here’s a pinnable version of the costume if you’re interested (someone asked, so I figured it was easy enough to put up a new head-less pic for Pinterest purposes):

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By the way, that’s a chopped up hula-hoop inside, to hold the curve in place.

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Oh by the way, Happy Halloween!

I don’t have much to show for myself this Halloween because the “rainbow-cloud” costume that Clementine demanded this year (and that I worked for hours on one night, you can find pics here on my Instagram feed, scroll down) was a complete bust as she could not move her arms around and screams bloody murder whenever I put it on her. I re-tooled it a little bit and it’s better…but I still give it a 50% chance of happening tonight when we go around to the nearest five houses to trick-or-treat. Last night she told me she wanted to be Spiderman. Which is totally fine because that would make three years in a row that the $20 polyester Spiderman costume from Meijer gets worn. This is why I do not get excited about Halloween costumes.

Lala's Pierrot Tunic1

But I nearly died of cute-ness overload when Venus posted this adorbsible photo of her kid in a modified Pierrot dress last week. I just had to show it off so I asked if I could share it here and she said yes. Seriously I think this is the cutest thing I have EVER seen. GAH.

There’s a bunch of other great Halloween creations in the pool — which of course feature kids and I like to ask permission before posting full-sized kid pics on my blog, and since I didn’t get a chance to ask, you’ll just have to go take a look! Be sure to check out this awesome pink elephant, dinosaur train, and these adorable hand-stamped Halloween PJ’s.

I hope you have a safe and fun Halloween…I will be sure to take lots of pictures if the “rainbow-cloud” costume comes to fruition.

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Just in time

I managed to get the buttons and button loops sewn onto the holiday dress I made for Clementine, just in time for Christmas. You may remember that this one was part of the List O’Despair.

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She rocked it of course.

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The rainbow Baby Legs helped.

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I did NOT get a matching one for Elliot finished as I had hoped. Nope-nope. But he had a nice blue dress shirt that matched his new accordion nicely (although he insists on calling it a “RE-cordion”), so now I can use the extra red material for something else festive next year!

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This was SUCH a fun year for opening Christmas presents. Both kids “got it” and were excited about absolutely everything, even the small stuff. I’m so grateful for the wonderful time we had with our families who showered them with love (and presents of course).

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I’m feeling very grateful, and I am hoping that each one of you is experiencing the love, joy, peace and hope that this season brings. Love and hugs to you all!

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PS. Just in case you were still wondering, all of my falalalaFABRIC giveaways are now closed and the winners posted/contacted. I’m so happy we could send new fabric to NINE lucky winners this month — congratulations to you all! Many of my sponsors are still running promotions until the new year, so if you’re shopping online be sure to check them out!

Overcoming Christmas-Craft-Related Despair

I’m a procrastinator. It’s part laziness, part space-cadet-ness. I wish I could get extra points for an Energetic Response when I realize something should have been done 15 minutes ago, but for some reason that never happens. We moved twice this year, and last spring when my mom started calling a month before we were supposed to load up the truck to ask if I had started packing any boxes yet, I just laughed. “Mom,” I told her, “I always do this. It will get done, just all at the last minute.” Why on earth would I be packing boxes? (and surely she could still remember my senior year of high school, and the violin concerto I began practicing at home just days before I had to perform it with my school orchestra at a spring concert???)

Our Christmas tree, short a branch (that’s it sitting on the floor there for the last two days). What? You don’t let your kids play hide and seek in *your* Christmas tree?

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So every year, around mid-December, I’m not sure why I’m surprised when despair sets in as I realize that the Giant List of Handmade Christmas Gifts that has been sprouting out of my brain for the last week or two has No Possible Way of reaching completion. This is always made worse by reading other blogs and feeling like everyone else is nearly finished with their handmade gifts (actually, it probably begins with all of the advent calendar posts, which always start popping up mid-November). “Why didn’t I start on these LAST month?” I think to myself. The answer can be broken down into three very simple themes, of my whole life actually: 1) Failure to Plan Ahead, 2) Poor Time Management and 2) Unrealistic Estimation of Actual Time.

On the first point, I need to be honest with myself: I’m just not the sort of person who gets into the “Christmas spirit” months in advance. At our November Crafty Meetup I was impressed to see a few of the gals puttering away on handmade Christmas gifts. I really was impressed, but did it motivate me to start or even plan out anything? Not really. I have to feel a sense of urgency to truly motivate myself to buckle down.

On the second two points, I was happy to see a recent post from dear Shannon on luvinthemommyhood about making handmade gifts and how she goes into December with a realistic number (three) of knitted gifts she’ll make, and this gem of wisdom:

“i made sure the list i had set out to make for december would be doable in the time frame i had given myself. that’s the trick folks…right there. make sure you have the actual time to finish these projects…not your dream time. all too often we think we will have tons of time but in reality things take a lot longer and that’s when the stress comes in. other obligations can get in the way. make sure the projects you choose are realistic and are something you truly would love to make for that person.”

-Shannon, luvinthemommyhood

Realistic estimation of the actual time I have is definitely an issue for me. In December I feel suddenly like I’ve been sucked into some alternate universe where time passes three times as quickly, but in reality it’s just that I don’t realize just how little free time I have to make the giant stack of imagined gifts that would have made it the Best Christmas Ever.

So this year, instead of feeling bad that I don’t have all kinds of handmade gifts to show you or a new series of tutorials and posts entitled “Fabulous Last Minute Gifts” as Christmas approaches, I decided not to worry about it. And guess what? As soon as I decided I didn’t care, I felt suddenly motivated yesterday to complete this little tablet sleeve for Mr Rae. Hah!

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It’s a Christmas Miracle! (ok that may be a slight exaggeration but it cracks me up to think of one completed gift counting as a Christmas Miracle) And it might be the only thing I’ll finish in time to wrap under the tree, but that’s just fine. The lowered expectation is key. So if you’re currently suffering from Christmas Craft-Related-Despair, it’s time to just let it go. It’s just not worth the stress. And if you’ve already gotten a pile of handmade gifts completed and wrapped under the tree, you’re probably Feeling Smug by Comparison (and: you’re welcome!!!)

Finally, I thought I would present to you A Thorough but Not Exhaustive Photographic Collection of Unfinished Projects Currently Sitting Around My Sewing Room that, if nothing else, exhibits my inability to complete one thing before beginning another. Because by golly there’s nothing that makes me feel better than seeing someone else’s pile of UFOs and I figure some of you are the same. Plus you know as soon as I see them all here taunting me, I’ll make myself a liar and finish them (part of my reasoning for putting them up in the first place). Here we go:

Fig A: Flannel PJ pants for C that have been finished/worn for at least 2 months, still needing a PJ top to match (that would be that neatly folded pile of fabric on top there)

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Fig B: Christmas Charlie Dress, finished for two weeks now, still needing buttons and button loops

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Fig C: Pants for Elliot, only partially cut (got distracted by something halfway through no doubt). Someday could be the Awesomest Pair of Pants on a 5-year-old ever.

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Fig D: More PJ’s for Clem out of Cape Ann with matching leggings

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Fig E: Radioactive* Green Pants that JUST NEED POCKETS GAH!!! *at least I presume that explains their inability to be photographed clearly? They seriously look like they are glowing.

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Fig F: Big pile of burp cloths in varying states of completion

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Fig G: Another Charlie, in a size 3, and this fabric combination

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There. Don’t you feel better already? How’s that list of handmade thingies coming along for you?

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Christmas is coming!

Just in time to help you put the finishing touches on your Christmas list…

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Made By Rae gift certificates!
Easy to order using our Gift Certificate Order Form, we send a Paypal invoice, and then email you a printable (and personalized!) PDF gift certificate upon receipt of payment. You can then print it out and put it in a card or forward it directly to the recipient. The gift certificates can be purchased right here for any dollar amount over $10.


Handmade Kids Wardrobe Class – January and February 2012
For those of you who are local and are interested in taking our Handmade Wardrobe for Kids class, Karen and I will be teaching the course again next January and February right here in Ann Arbor. The course consists of 5 class sessions and costs $250 + $20 pattern fee; we had so much fun the last time that we’re doing it again, this time at Maker Works. This would make a fantastic Christmas gift, eh??? Check out our Handmade Wardrobe Course website for more information and to register.

PS. Come back tomorrow or Sunday for a weekend giveaway that would also make a great Christmas gift!

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Christmas Craft: Potato Stamp Wrapping Paper

Around here I am always looking for fun things to do with Elliot while Clementine naps. Once in a blue moon he’ll fall asleep during his “quiet time” but usually he pops up after about 10 minutes of reading books by himself or puttering around in the living room — they share a bedroom so he takes his quiet time on the couch downstairs — and wants to be entertained. And I’m like “seriously you are done ALREADY?” but I keep my mouth shut and then try to remember how much I will miss him when he moves out of the house.

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My children are very different; Clementine will play by herself, alone, unprompted, for long beautiful periods of time. Elliot is a more typical first-born, craving adult attention almost constantly. Or he’ll start pestering me to watch TV. I will admit, it’s easy for me to fall into the habit of just letting him watch TV or play games on the tablet while Clementine sleeps, which, when combined with the one hour of Busytown Mysteries or Pink Panther they usually watch in the morning while I shower/chug my coffee/check my email AND the half hour of video games he’s allowed to play while Mr Rae makes dinner starts to add up to more media time than I am comfortable with. And honestly, while my Perfect Self thinks the amount of media time I’d be happiest with is NONE, my Real Self realizes that as much as I’d like to be the Wundermum who doesn’t ever have to rely on TV to entertain my children, it’s not a realistic expectation for me personally. So. I’m happier with a reasonable set of rules for media time than none at all. Currently that’s 1 hour of TV in the morning for both kids, and a half hour of video game time for Elliot before dinner (Clementine sometimes watches him play, but more often plays by herself while he does this).

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Which brings me to that hour or two of time in the afternoon when Elliot and I find something to do together. Sometimes we draw pictures or play games. Sometimes I let him sew. I’ve really enjoyed Meg’s Things We Do After Nap series over on Sew Liberated and the websites she links to in this post where she finds more great ideas. And now that Christmas is upon us there’s a bunch more things we can do, including making homemade wrapping paper with potato stamps! I remember making potato stamps as a kid with my mom, so when we got a package from amazon that had a ridiculous amount of packaging in it for the size of the item I saved it for this project. Score!

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I’m pretty sure the pictures speak for themselves, but basically I cut a potato in half and used a knife to cut out the two basic shapes here (a star and tree) and then used a couple of 99 cent paint trays at the craft store and sponge brushes to spread out acryllic paint so that the paint would go on the potatoes relatively smoothly. And then we just made an assembly-line style station at his little table and stamped away. He probably lasted about 15 minutes before he got sick of it but there it is: homemade wrapping paper!

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I’m always looking for new ideas, so throw them at me if you’ve got them. And what about “media limits?” Are there rules at your house? For kids or even yourself? I am infinitely interested in this topic.

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Cow girl

This is what she wore to Trader Joe’s the other day. You know, for our less-than-36-hours-at-home-before-we-get-on-a-plane-again shopping trip. Hey, we had to eat. And what do you say when your child asks to wear her (handmade) Halloween costume to the grocery store? YOU SAY YES, is what.

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So if you saw a little cow pushing around a mini-cart this past weekend, that was Clementine. And if it weren’t already obvious: the blond boy bumping into her with his mini-cart? Elliot.

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Sidenote: This fit her two years in a row. I was very excited about that.

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Is it too confusing that there are Halloween costume pictures on my blog the day before Thanksgiving? Sorry!!!

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