Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas was here

  oh why oh why does it go away so quickly?!
 We couldn't have asked for a better few days--we even got snow! Crazy big and beautiful flakes flying down all day on Christmas Eve. 
We played outside 
and delivered treats while snowflakes stuck to our eyelashes.
We snacked on cheese....mmmm......cheese.
brie with chives
spanish manchego
peach jam, grapes, pears
an assortment of crackers
greek olives
salami and toasted baguette
We turned up the Christmas music and danced around the house. Bouncing off the walls with happy anticipation. 
We feasted 
on roast chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli gratin, rolls, 
and salad with pecans pomegranates and pears.
www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.com2012www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.comhristmas7 copy
We read the Christmas story in the Bible.
We (they, and several animals of course) reenacted it.
We put on our Christmas jammies and had a 
realllllly hard time falling asleep.
We had a very Merry Christmas.
oh--and we had PIE! 
I am not a pie maker, this is actually the second pie I have ever made in my life. At Thanksgiving I had had mentioned we had buttermilk pie and I fell in love! It is yummy and so easy to make.

Buttermilk Pie with Cranberry Orange Sauce

Perhaps you are a pie maker and have your very own crust recipe. I had no idea what I was doing and relied on the recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook. Find the step by step HERE.

Buttermilk Filling
Emeril's recipe. I swapped the lemon for orange zest

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
1 tablespoon flour 
1 tablespoon grated orange zest 
4 large eggs 
1 cup buttermilk 
1 stick butter, melted 

Directions Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and orange zest. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the buttermilk and melted butter. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the unbaked pie shell and bake until the top is lightly browned and the center sets, 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Top with cranberry orange sauce and whipped cream. 

Cranberry Orange Sauce
1 1/2 cups whole cranberries, roughly chopped in a food processor or blender
3/4 cup-1 cup pure maple syrup (depending on how tart/sweet you like it)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon orange zest

Mix all ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a low boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until liquid reduces and cranberries are tender. Cool and serve over pie.

How was YOUR Christmas?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmasy Things

I can't believe It's almost here! 
These last few weeks have been so much fun. We've had visits from BOTH grandmas and grandpas, explored downtown, got out of school(!!!), and just enjoyed being home together doing all kinds of Christmasy things.

Here are just a few of them....
lights at Temple Square, City Creek, Grand America
photos from my iphone
Gingerbread Housing.....
(all thanks to leftover Halloween candy and leftover Hershey bars from summer s'mores)
see last year's house here
A Christmasy Sunday
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." 
-Luke 2:11
 lorenzo lotto

May you and yours be blessed this Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

all I see

playing hooky from school on Monday
I have been walking around in a fog ever since Friday's terrible events in Connecticut. At first is was a fog of sadness and fear and worry and tears and all kinds of uncontrolled emotions, which I'm sure you all felt as well. YOU know the numbness I speak of if you have little ones in school.

The fog is still here......but it's changed.
I see my little family. My beautiful babes. Our happy home, our smiles, our love for each other. Happiness.
  And it's ALL I see.
Everything else is foggy, because there is nothing else that matters more to me this Christmas season.

Maybe I had a few more items on my list, a couple more things to do, a handful of worries to figure out.
oh well.
It doesn't matter really, does it?
We are safe and cozy in our little house, laughing and baking and eagerly awaiting Christmas
(one more week!!!)

I'll be stepping away from my computer the next little while, and really hope you can do the same.
Do it! The internet can wait, your family shouldn't have to. 
I may check in before then....but if not, have the Merriest Christmas!
our Christmas card this year
May your days be merry and bright!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

homemade coconut body butter

When I was in college I had a roommate from Boston who not only had a thick Boston accent, but also had a love for body butter. Or as she called it, Bawdy Buwddah. To this day, Robby and I cannot say it without our heartiest Boston accents, so I now present to you the easiest, fastest, best smelling gift to give....
Coconut Bawdy Buwddah.

I needed a simple gift to hand out, and as much as I like to make treats.....there are so many sweets being given this time of year, and I thought it might be nice to do something different. I ran across this tutorial for whipped coconut oil and just knew I had to try it. 
I love coconut oil, and use it in everything--really.
-For my skin
-For my girl's skin--she is so sensitive to almost any lotion, and this is so gentle.
For my hair--I literally have the horsiest hair you have ever felt, and I use coconut oil to smooth it down (I don't know if this would work with fine/thinner hair--it might be too greasy, but it works great on mine)

My house is old and cold, and this time of year my coconut oil is ridiculously hard. It come out in chunks, and while it quickly melts, I liked the idea of whipping it to keep it soft. I was skeptical as to whether it would really stay soft.....and I am so happy to report that it DOES! I made my first batch last week and it is still soft and smooth and easy to lather on.

Homemade Coconut Body Butter
aka. whipped coconut oil
all you need is
.....coconut oil. really!
I also added 1-2tsp vitamin E oil (per cup of coconut oil)
on the other tutorial she added a few drops of essential oil. I skipped this part this time, but it would be fun to play around with different scents.

Add your coconut oil (in solid form) to bowl. 
Add vitamin E oil/essential oil if using.
Use stand OR hand mixer, and turn on high and whip for about 7 minutes.
 (stop a few times to scrape sides)
Add your fluffy whipped oil to small jars and keep on hand to smooth over winter skin, or hand out as Christmas gifts.

*edited to add. 
THIS is a great price on good coconut oil--and check out all the sizes they carry.
 As far as all natural skin moisturizers go, you can't beat the price of coconut oil.

I've made several batches of this now, and after experimentation I've found
-I like it more with 2tsp of vitamin E oil per cup of coconut oil. It's softer and fluffier and while it's just fine without oil at all, it stays softer WITH oil.
As a thank you for all your support this year, and 
my Merry Christmas to YOU, 
I'd like to give away a jar of my coconut body butter. 


Sunday, December 9, 2012


I love traditions. All the fun Christmasy things we do year after year, some dating all the way back to when I was little. It makes me so happy inside that my kids are now old enough to remember things we do year to year, and that they can get excited about them too. 

I feel like sometimes the Internet gets in the way of traditions these you know what I mean? We are constantly being bombarded with all the "best" "new" "fantastic" "MUST! DO! THIS!!" ideas. As mothers, we may feel like we simply must try ALL of these new fantastic ideas.....and maybe get caught up in the Internet's Christmas. 

But I guarantee if you think back to your own childhood you have things that you did over and over each year....right? You probably used the same Christmas decorations and tree ornaments each year. Ate the same treats.You mother wasn't constantly checking her Pinterest boards to see what the next, new, of-the-moment activity would be. She relied on traditions. Now I love to try new things, but for the most part, we try to stick to our favorites year to year, throwing a new thing in to the mix every now and then.

One of my favorite traditions from growing up was our family Christmas date. We'd go to dinner and then to a store, and split up to buy gifts for each other. I'd get to pick out something for each member of my family. The best part was sneaking around the store and trying not to run in to my sibling who I was shopping for......we had to be sneaky!

Robby and I started doing this when we were first married. There is something so fun about shopping for the person while they are IN the same building as you. Over the weekend we jumped in the car and turned the Christmas music all the way up. We drove through the gently falling snow to begin our Christmas date. 

We devoured our food at Bombay House, talking about Christmas as our bellies filled with spicy coconutty goodness. We headed to REI to start our secret shopping. Robby and I each took a Little and we ducked behind coat racks and dodged each other until we'd found the perfect gift. Then we swapped Littles and did it all again. We stopped for cupcakes and came home with happy hearts.

Another tradition we like to do every year is to make all kinds of Christmas treats. I love my kids in the kitchen helping out --I want them to remember these things when they are all grown up (please don't let that happen too soon.) 
Peppermint Bark is so easy for little hands to help stir and spread, and boy do they love to crush the candy canes.

We came home from church on Sunday, threw on our jammies, and got to work on our peppermint treat.
Peppermint Bark
12 oz white chocolate
18 oz dark chocolate
1 cup crushed candy canes (8-10 candy canes)

Here's a little help if you are interested--how to melt chocolate here

-Melt 12oz of the dark chocolate and spread it onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
-Put it in the freezer until it sets up hard, about 15-20 minutes. 
-Crush candy canes by putting them in a plastic bag and letting your kids whack them to pieces with a rolling pin (they will love you forever for letting them do this)
-Melt white chocolate and mix in crushed candy canes. Spread over dark chocolate and return to freezer until white chocolate sets up. 
-Melt remaining 6 oz dark chocolate and drizzle over dark and white layers. 
-Return to freezer until it sets up.
And just like that you have peppermint bark!

Some more traditions we look forward to are:
-heading downtown to see the lights
-making a gingerbread house
-this year we are trying something new and being "secret santas" for a family....we talked about our plan on our dinner date and are very excited
-acting out the nativity on Christmas Eve (in our new Christmas pajamas!)

What are some of your favorite Christmas Traditions?