Friday, December 16

Shhhh! It's A Secret

I am lucky enough to live in a neighborhood where many of my closest friends live.  This year I decided to give homemade gifts to them.  I thought about the normal caramel popcorn, assorted cookies and fudge, peppermint bark, etc. but it just didn't feel right.  Then I remembered something my mother used to make every year at this time.  HOMEMADE KAHLUA!  It's the perfect gift because Lord knows we like our happy hour around here!
If you are like me, you love anything coffee flavored.  It's easy, so go ahead and try it for yourself.  This is what you'll need

I sent my husband for the vodka and this is what he came home with. 
 Might not have been the brand I would have picked.

4 c. water
3 c. sugar
5 oz. pure vanilla
2 oz. Kava instant coffee
1 qt. vodka

Mix sugar and water and heat to dissolve (DON'T BOIL)
Combine vanilla and coffee and add to water.  Pour into a gallon pitcher and stir in vodka.  Let stand for 2 days.

While you are waiting, go to World Market and get some fancy bottles.

After you have washed and dried the bottles, use a funnel to fill the with Kahlua.

Once they are all filled, add a pretty tag (with a coffee martini recipe) and an ornament and "Voila!" Easy homemade Christmas gift.

Thursday, December 15

My Nativity Scene(s)

Here is a quick peek at BOTH of my Nativity scenes.  The first was a wedding gift from a dear family friend.  She made it herself in a ceramics studio.  It has quite a lot of pieces.  There are more animals in it than you see in most scenes, which I suppose is fitting; they were in a stable after all.  There are two camels, four sheep (if you count the one across the shepherd boy's shoulders, a cow, and of course, Mary's donkey.  I especially love the angel that hangs above the entire scene.  It is a good reminder to me that there are always angels among us.  I must confess that I get very agitated every year when my children understandably want to help me put it out.  I am terrified that one of the pieces will be broken.  I know, I know; the pieces could be repaired, but the thought of the clunk and shatter as one of the pieces is broken is almost too much for me to bear.  Here is a look at the one I've had the longest and was a gift from Marian.

My second Nativity scene was a gift from my grandpa shortly before he passed away.  Again, he made it himself in a ceramics studio.  It is much smaller, both in the number of pieces and its physical size.  I love how it appears to be made of pewter.  Even though this scene is equally as precious to me, it is the one that I always put down low for the kids to look at and touch.  The main reason for this is that I can hear Grandpa Bob saying, "Jenny, let them play with it, there isn't anything there that can't be fixed."  Here is a peek at it.

So there you have it; my Nativity scenes.  Both of them equally beautiful and handmade by people I hold dear.  Merry Christmas everyone!

This post was inspired by Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop.  Go ahead and link up too!

Thursday, December 1

Note to Self

Advent Conspiracy from International Justice Mission on Vimeo

I'm so guilty of this compulsion to spend at Christmas.  This year for Advent I will try to remind myself of this little video each day.

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