a handmade holiday.

Chris and I stopped buying gifts for the adults in the family last year. Instead of shopping and dealing with crowds and long lines, we put our time and energy into things each person would truly appreciate.

I have been wating to share my handmade Christmas gifts for a while but I had to keep them a secret...until now!

hot cocoa mix
I loved the way these turned out, especially since they are exactly how I pictured them turning out in my mind. Love it when that happens! (I usually try to take pictures when Bennett is asleep. He wasn't when I took this one as you can tell from the cute little fingers!)
I left a little space in the jars to put packages of...

Peppermint marshmallows from scratch
(I had lots of help from Chris on this one. It definitely takes two people. We were pretty sure we messed them up about 2,437 times but we perservered and people were very impressed! Don't attempt if you don't have access to a stand mixer!)

chocolate peppermint bark cookies
These turned out awesome and were actually really simple to make. We (chris loves to bake with me!) also made cookie brittle, buckeyes, and chocolate-dipped macaroons from this post. They all were amazing but if you need a super cheap and easy dessert that makes a ton, make cookie brittle...though it's addicting so don't say I didn't warn you!

As for the non-edible gifts...

I decopauged the inside of a little dish I found and called it a ring-holder.

homemade granola
(recipe here)

a cake/dessert stand

a whiteboard

and a bookpage wreath for my cute little mom
(tutorial found here)
If you made any gifts this year leave a link in your comment ... it's never too early to gather ideas for next year!

snow. snow. and more snow.

This last weekend we headed over the mountains to Bend which is about 3.5 hours southeast of Portland. We left Saturday morning, but the night before we left there was a giant snowstorm that blanketed pretty much the whole area we were traveling through with 10 inches of snow!

Lucky us, right?

It took us 6 hours to get to Bend!
(we could have driven to the nearest In & Out in Redding, CA in that amount of time)

Going up and over Mt. Hood was no problem since it was graveled we had plenty of traction, but once we got out of the mountains and onto the straight country highway, the roads were like sheets of ice.

We saw a few people spin out of control and end up in the ditch including a truck right in front of us!

But (yes, I just started a sentence with but) we made it with lots of praying and Chris's safe driving skills.
To take my mind off of the scary roads, I took pictures...

watch out for cows:
more trees:
We had a great time once we were in Bend, but we spent more time driving there than
hours we were awake enjoying ourselves!

the neighborhood we stayed in:
the amazing view from the house we stayed in:
this is the view from off the deck:
Driving back on Sunday afternoon, we decided to take a different way.

It still took us 6 hours to get home but it lacked the whole ice part, which was okay with us!
It was a pretty drive and I am so thankful that we made it safely!

Why were we in Bend you ask? Check out my last post here.
To listen to the Strangers & Pilgrims CD click here.
(that's my husband playing bass!)

Remember that year we took our tree down
ten days before Christmas?

Oh wait...that was this year. Sad.

Our cute little tree that Chris carried home through downtown started leaning a bit which tore a hole in the stand it was connected to, which made it leak water and dry up, which only made it lean more. Our poor tree was about to topple over and catch on fire at the same time so we had no choice but to take it down.

what once was this...
turned into this...
and is now this...
That's lame sauce if you ask me.
(the branches we saved are so dry they aren't taking up any water but I had to have something!)

On a nicer note, this is our lovely view at night...

We are headed over the snowy passes this weekend so my very handsome and talented husband can play with these guys at a church in Bend. Not looking forward to the drive (and the white-knuckling.)

See him playing the giant stand-up bass in the background?

Happy Friday!

this calendar:

this dress:
(chelsea found it first)

this cozy shirt:

this cookbook:
Align Center

this watch:

these salt and pepper shakers:

these earrings:
(I can't stop thinking about them)

this belt:

this phone:
(for Chris)

this camera:
(for Bennett)

she's crafty.

Every year, right at prime Christmas-present-buying-time, Portland hosts a giant crafty extravaganza called Crafty Wonderland.

Kira, Lauren, our friend Kelli and I all went for the first time ever this past Saturday and it was way better than I even imagined!

It pretty much is a giant room at the convention center where talented people come together to sell their goods to people who want to buy unique, handmade gifts.

It was kind of hard to take pictures since there were so many people in a giant room but here are a few awesome things that caught my eye...

the sarahhoo booth:

she was selling these awesome little gnome guys:

seeing these made me want to learn how to do embroidery:

and I really wanted one of these:

this guy takes found images and puts tape on them
to create some awesome mixed media art:

super cute applique stuff:

I was in a crafty mood once I got home so I decided to make a
festive banner for our Portland print:

oh yeah...

I have lots of craftiness up my sleeve but I can't share yet since they will be presents!
I will show you what I have been up to after Christmas!

This is our second year of making gifts (not buying them) for Christmas. I'm always at a loss as to what to make for the guys since they most likely wouldn't appreciate cute little crafts.

I decided that no guy would be disappointed with a bag full of homemade treats. Since Christmas is only a few weeks away, I need to make a decision on what all I will be making and start to make whatever will freeze well.

These are the yummies I have come up with so far...
(if you have any suggestions, please let me know!)

chocolate dipped macaroons
(so good and so easy to make)

snickers-stuffed brownie chunk peanut butter cookies
(I dare ya to say that ten times fast)

oreo truffles
( I made these for a new years party right after I found out I was pregnant.
I never tried one because they made me nauseous.
Everyone said they were amazing and I want one now.)

chocolate peppermint bark

eggnog fudge

chocolate carmel cookie brittle


chocolate pretzel bites