Home-made Christmas Gifts : Muesli, Hearts & Goodie Balls (with free gift tags!)

Friday, December 13, 2013

I really was indecisive this year as to what to make for Teacher Gifts.  My son's class was sorted - all the Mums put in for a voucher - but I couldn't decide on what to do for my daughter's pre-kindy teachers, who are all superstars and really do excel at their job.  My son also went to the same centre before he started "real school" so these ladies have been in our life for a few years now.  I wanted to give them something a little different to the norm and while I know they do love the chocolates and lollies that come pouring in, I also knew they'd appreciate something a little less detrimental to their waist-lines! 
Last year my sister gave me a jar of her muesli for Christmas - actually a jar of "Shanola" (her name is Shannon - yes, she's hilarious!!) and it was divine.  I begged and pleaded asked her for the recipe so that I could recreate it for my special people this year.  It has a mountain of goodness in it and is toasted in very little oil, maple syrup and vanilla paste.  A lot of toasted muesli's get a bad rap because of the fat content but this one is different... it's good, very, very good.  In fact one of my friends said "You should rename it to Better Than S-x Muesli" (I'd better not put in the full S word in case my site loses its G rating!).  Anyway, I'm sure you can gather from her comment that it's pretty fine stuff.  The perfect Xmas gift (thanks for the introduction, sister) and a great alternative to the bucket-loads of sugary treats around at this time of the year.  Here's the recipe, and just because I heart you all, here's the gift tag to go with it!

For classroom treats,  I was also a little stuck.  Our kids get so many lollies and chocolates at this time of the year from their classmates, which they love and I don't stop them from eating them, that I actually just didn't feel comfortable giving the same treats back when it's not what we eat or buy in our house.  In the end, I decided to make some "Goodie Balls" - a healthy, delicious chocolate ball made from dates and raw cacao.  I think these balls are a delicious snack and both of my kids eat them.  I'm hoping the little ones in my son's class enjoy them but if not, I'm sure their parents will!  I made up a generic gift tag so, although time is now pretty short, if you want to make some for your kids classmates this Christmas, feel free to use the "Goodie Balls" tag.  I used this recipe (the very first one on the page) from Accidental Greenie and just popped four little balls in each bag (actually they looked very much like reindeer droppings but it was too late to rename them!!).

And remember how I said my son's teachers were "sorted"?  Well, they were (as I said above, we all put in to buy them a voucher each) but we did that about a month ago and today as I was driving home from school, appreciating his school and the work both his teachers have put in this year, I just really felt I wanted to put a little something together for them.  Nothing like last minute and at the eleventh hour.  I knew exactly what I would do and I knew I had all the bits I needed. 
My son and I made these - a little beaded heart Xmas decoration for each of them.

Because we really do "heart" them! 
They are very easy to make.  All you need is some florist wire (I bought some about six months ago when I was going to make a headband for my daughter), some beads (I bought the wood beads about six months ago when I was going to make a necklace for my daughter ... can you see a pattern here?  Lots of intention but zero productivity!) and a piece of ribbon.  Thread the beads on the wire (this is the bit my son did), join the wire by squishing the ends together (I didn't really have a good method, I just kept twisting the ends until it felt strong) and then add a ribbon right over the join.  Shape into a heart.  Done.  Pretty.

And that's me, done, for another year.  Now I'm off for a nap. How about you? Do you do the "handmade thing" at this time of the year or do you prefer the ease of "the click", or, goodness-gracious-me, actually go out and do "real shopping"?  I LOVE all three options - it just depends on time, my mood and the occasion.  Either way, it's giving and that's lovely, isn't it?

Winners - "Saving Santa" DVD

Monday, December 9, 2013

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations Becca (I hope Master F & Miss O enjoy this), Carlene , Bianca (yay, it's your turn to win something!) and Rosie, and thanks so much for taking the time to enter!  If you email or FB me your address I'll let Santa know so he can make a special, early delivery! x

DIY Pottery Barn Christmas Decoration

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I love Christmas decorations and always buy a new one for my kids, and often other family members, every year for them to add to their collection.  I was browsing through the Pottery Barn catalogue the other week (and drooling, and browsing, and drooling) and spied this bit of glittery Xmas bling. 
You totally know what I thought, don't you?  "Well, isn't that just the cutest little thang? I can do that.".  So I did - although I think mine is an improved version (shhhhh, don't you EVER tell PB I said that!) because they used cardboard and I used MDF letters, which means they will hopefully last the distance and will still be around when I'm rocking my grand-kids in front of the tree, admiring those cute little blingey Xmas initials.

I don't have the best photo of making them because I didn't really plan on blogging about it but I was so happy with the way they turned out, and because they were so super easy, I just thought y'all might want to know how to make them.

 All you need is:

MDF initials (I got mine from my second home Spotlight)
Craft glue (I actually used Modge Podge because my kids had emptied my craft glue)
Fine glitter
Piece of ribbon

First, I asked my husband to drill a hole in each initial. I then covered each letter in glue, starting with the insides of the letters first, and then dusted them like crazy with the glitter. I applied the glitter by gently tipping it straight from the container onto the letter (yes, very technical application), nice and thick. That's it. I added a little red gingham check ribbon and hung them on the tree. 
I do really love them and I think they'd look equally hot in silver.  They sparkle under the lights and really stand out amongst the other decorations.  They may not be PB but they are uniquely ALBOQ ... and that's okay with me ... and my kids!

Ho, Ho, Ho! It's a Giveaway : "Saving Santa" DVD

Monday, December 2, 2013


Hi everyone - just popping in real quick to let you know I've got another great little giveaway happening right this minute.  It's the "Saving Santa" (Adventures of a Time Travelling Elf) DVD from those wonderful people at Roadshow Entertainment (love those guys!) and this time it's actually about Christmas.  The perfect DVD for this time of the year and one you can watch together with your kids in the lead up to this very special, family time of year.  It would also make a fantastic stocking filler or, and this is what I've done for the past couple of years, pop a little note in their Advent Calendar (if you do one), which reads "Christmas Movie Night".  Then surprise them with the new DVD!  Perfect, and no lollies in sight ... although some popcorn would be kinda cool to go with the movie ... 
This is what my 6 year old son had to say about "Saving Santa":

Me:  "Did you like it?"
Him: "Yep."
Me: "Would you watch it again?"
Him: "Yep."
Me: "What was your favourite part?"
Him: "When the baddies turned into goodies.  No, wait, actually it was when the girl, who the boy loves, sang a song.  I think she loves him too."

And, FYI, he has watched it now four times since we got it in the mail last week.  Must be good.

Here's a quick synopsis:
An upbeat tale of the ultimate holiday rush, Saving Santa starts at the top – the top of the North Pole, that is – where Bernard, a low-ranking Elf, dreams of one day joining Santa’s elite team of great inventors, the very elves who make the magic of Christmas possible! But when one of Bernard’s wacky inventions accidentally reveals the secret location of Santa’s workshop to an eccentric billionaire scoundrel, Santa and Christmas itself are in jeopardy. It’s up to Bernard to time-travel (again and again) to get Santa home in time for Christmas! Source

You can enter below via Rafflecopter, and I've got 4 copies to give away so your chances of a win are pretty good - consider it an early Christmas present from me!!  Merry Christmas!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway