Tuesday, November 22, 2011

footprint angels

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas- everywhere we go...

We are getting a huge snow storm today and the kids are so excited! We've already been outside playing once, and I'm sure we'll be back outside this afternoon. It's starting to feel very Christmas-y around here and I love it. We've hung our lights up outside, and we've been hanging up some of the crafts that we've been making up inside.

This craft was quite easy to make.
1. paint the heel of the child's foot a cream colour and the rest of the foot a light pastel colour

2. once that's dry, use the cream paint to paint arms and legs. Use gold paint to paint a circle above the head and also the wings. (Don't worry about being precise painting the wings- you'll draw the details on later.)
3. using a black felt tip pen or marker, draw on the face and shoes. Trace around the body of the angel, adding some details like buttons, and a belt. Outline the wings adding scalloped detail to the bottom parts of the wings. Lastly, outline the halo and connect it to the head.

After Claire had finished stamping her foot a few times, I picked the best purple and blue footprints and took them to Staples and printed out some colour copies of them. Then we came home and added the details on all of the angels.  We like to be able to give the pictures away to her family. We just personalize each picture with a little message and then our family usually hang the pics on their fridge!

What are you making to get ready for the holidays? Link your projects up in the comments so I can check them out!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

chocolate mint deliciousness (aka brownies)

You know what's delicious? Chocolate. And mint. Together. So good. I would recommend though, if you're going to make these, that you wait until you have a lot of visitors. Because you will eat all of the leftovers. ALL of them. They are so good.

I used the recipe from here and the icing recipe from here.


3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
5 ounces good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoons vanilla extract 

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
 3 drops green food coloring

Chocolate top:
6 ounces of chocolate (In this recipe I preferred semi sweet to dark chocolate, and I usually love dark chocolate)
1/2 cup of butter, cubed

To make the brownies: 
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Line with parchment, and then butter the parchment. (It's so easy to pull the brownies out of the pan to cut them this way.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the salt, and cocoa powder.

Place the chocolate and the butter in the bowl of a double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler and add both sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined. Remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be at room temperature.

Add three eggs to the chocolate and butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage.

Sprinkle the flour, cocoa, salt mix over the chocolate. Using a spatula  fold the dry ingredients into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour and cocoa mix visible.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with an offset spatula, and bake for approximately 12 to 15 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the brownies at an angle should contain a few loose crumbs. Let cool completely while you make the filling.

(It seems like a lot of steps to make the brownies, but I've made these twice now, and you won't be disappointed.) 

In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar. Add the milk, extract and food coloring until blended. Spread over cooled brownies. Refrigerate until set.

Chocolate Top:

Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate and cubed butter, mixing with a spatula. Once the mixture has combined and melted together remove from the heat. I let the chocolate sit for a few minutes, to let it cool off, before pouring over the filling. Place the brownies back in the fridge until the chocolate hardens, approx 1 hour. Cut into squares (or giant rectangles!) and serve.

Friday, November 11, 2011

thumbprint santa tags

Thanksgiving and Halloween have come and gone here in Canada, and we are getting so excited for Christmas. Claire asks every day if we can get our Christmas tree yet, and she's well on her way to learning her second Christmas carol! We've been busy working on Christmas crafts- this is one of the first ones that we did.

The supplies to make these are pretty basic. 
A few tags cut from cardstock
red and cream paint
red and black pen
googly eyes
sequin for the belt (or you could use a small button)
q-tips (we just pulled the cotton off the ends for the hat and beard. Admittedly, I was looking for our cotton balls, but I couldn't find them so we used the q-tips.)
twine to hang the tags (mine is from The Twinery and I love it!)

Sadly I have no pictures from along the way. Paint + toddlers = work fast before the paint covers everything.

Start with the cream colour paint. Have (or help) the child stamp a thumbprint in the middle of the card. Using the red paint stamp a thumbprint on top and underneath of the cream one.
Set aside and let them dry.
Once the tags are dry, add on all of the finishing touches. Use the red pen to draw the smile, arms and legs. Use the black pen to draw the belt. Glue on the eyes, sequin, and cotton. (Roll the cotton off of the q-tips and form ball the the top of the hat. Roll the cotton between your fingers to stretch out for Santa's beard.)

Embellish with some beautiful twine (or ribbon) for the prettiest Christmas gift tags.

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Has anyone else started their Christmas projects? Link them up in the comments, I'd love to see what you're working on!
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