24 December 2010

"Who would put cigars on their Christmas tree?!"

So this post is dedicated to my favourite Auntie Lauren, who is one of a kind!

My Mother and Auntie Lauren were recently out shopping in a large department store browsing the Christmas decorations section. My Auntie clutching a handful of brown stick like objects tied with a piece of ribbon, turns to my Mother and says- "Who'd put cigars on their Christmas tree?!" My Mum needless to say burst out laughing and quickly rebuked her and replied- "They're cinnamon sticks! Not cigars!!"

I love using cinnamon sticks in cooking, especially around this time of year so every time I opened my spice drawer and saw my cinnamon sticks I had a little chuckle to myself. 

This amusing story has inspired my favourite Christmas craft to date. It just came to me one morning and I couldn't do anything else until I had constructed what I had envisioned in my mind.

As you can see it's very simple but to me its beautiful, and the best thing about this is anyone, even children could make this from just a few materials in a matter of minutes. I think they would be a hit with parents and kids alike at Eat-n-Mess. The image inside could obviously be changed depending on people's taste and religious beliefs. This one now hangs off of my Christmas tree.

This one is made using slightly bigger sized cinnamon sticks. All you need is a picture, strong glue, some ribbon or string and four cigars.....I mean cinnamon sticks! The reason I say they're beautiful is not because I have some freakish cinnamon stick fetish, no it's to do with the image they frame. I have loved it for a while now but have never thought to actually have it displayed in my home. But now it will always be a part of my families Christmas. The one above I will be giving to my Mum. I should give one to my Auntie too, but not sure she'll see the funny side! To learn more about this image please click here.

My last edible gift for this season is an un-esembled gingerbread house kit; complete with icing sugar and a variety of sweets for my very sweet nephew and nieces. I think this makes a great, fun and personal gift for any child or family. 

I plan to have 'gingerbread house assembling and decorating' as one of the many festive crafts at Eat-n-Mess. Kids and their parents/carers will get a choice of gingerbread houses and then get a bundle of sweets and chocolates together with a nice big heap of icing to then experiment with and hopefully have a holly jolly good time with!
Should be a win-win as what child doesn't like sugar, sweets, chocolate and getting messy....without being yelled at!?

Thanks to my big sister we started a new tradition with the Hud-man tonight by leaving a bag of straw, aka 'reindeer food' outside our home for Rudolf and his gang. 
As you can see this is a super cute thing for any small kid to do on Christmas Eve. It got me thinking to future Christmas's and about the the children who visit Eat-n-Mess before the most important day of the year. We could of course just re-create this simple bag full of straw or they could do something a little bit more special and magical. Coincidentally I came across this on one of my favourite food blogs; "Our Best Bites" today- 


Reindeer Food for Christmas Eve

I wasn't planning on posting anything today, Kate and I are supposed to be on a blog-cation!  But I just finished making these and had to share.  See, the stomach flu attacked our house this week, right after it attacked our house last week.  So for almost 2 full weeks I've had at least one, and at times 4 people hurled over buckets in my family room.  Needless to say, it put a kink in my holiday baking plans and I feel bad that I didn't get goodies to all of my friends!  But even the guilt isn't enough to inspire me to slave in the kitchen on Christmas Eve, so I decided to scrap the last-minute baking and do a little craft for my boys to deliver to their buddies instead.  I spotted this idea on The TomKat Studio and thought it was adorable!

Basically you're just putting random stuff in a little baggie and calling it Reindeer food, the poem on the bag is what I love (In case you're on a screen where you can't see the picture)

Sprinkle this reindeer food outside tonight,
The moonlight will make it sparkle bright.
As the reindeer fly and roam,
This will guide them to your home.

Since this was totally last minute, all I had was oats.  Next time I do it, I think I'll add some sunflower seeds and maybe a few nuts, or use granola.  Or go with coarse sugar or colorful sprinkles like many of you readers suggested.  But hey, this was totally last minute so since reindeer are magical, I'm sure they don't eat normal oats.  And as it says in the poem, the moonlight will make it *sparkle*.  So, as I saw lots of people on the internet doing, I added glitter.  In retrospect, I probably should have used something like sugar sprinkles so it's more eco (and kid)-friendly.  Don't call PETA.  And don't lecture me.  And if you do call PETA, definitely don't mention that I used a light dusting of hairspray to make the oats stick.  What?  I think it's resourceful.  Kind of like when Kate used her Creme Brulee Torch to light fireworks on the 4th of July.  I told you next year I'll use sugar sprinkles.   And I'll make sure the recipients know it's not for human consumption (as if everyone doesn't already know that only Santa's magical reindeer like sparkle oats with a side of maximum volume super hold spray).

Just put your reindeer food in little baggies (a sandwich bag will do)  and punch a hole in the corner and tie on the tag, or do as I did here and punch two little holes and pull the ribbon through

then tie in the front

My boys love pretending to be the mail man and making deliveries so they're going to be super excited to get to carry a basket and hand out these little magical favors. And even if you don't make these to pass out to friends, I think it's a super cute thing to just do at home with your kids.  

I just love these, so cute but seemingly simple and inexpensive to put together.

So, the most magical night of the year is here. The Hud-man is sleeping peacefully, the reindeer food has been left out, the presents have been wrapped, festive food has been prepared, and I'm exhausted as ever! Just time to wish you all a very healthy and happy Christmas and a fabulous 2011!!

I'm off to snuggle down with a box of chocolates and my husband, to watch 'Elf'.

Thanks for reading the blog! 

See you again next year.

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