December 6, 2011

Yo peeps! I wanted to share some goodies off my Christmas Pinterest board because they are pretty and rad and I for one cannot get enough Christmas décor ideas at this time of year.

I love and adore little tabletop trees. I had a tabletop tree for YEARS pre-kiddo. I miss my tabletop tree! They are so dainty and cute! And look at the tray o’ ornaments – easiest and most high impact decorating idea ever.

I love that kitchen tree up top right, festooned with gumdrop ornaments. And I love the little tree decorated only with snowflakes – such a great idea for a kids’ tree, no? And that last one draped with ALL. THOSE. GARLANDS! More looooooove. I use about eight different garlands on my tree, and you know what? I could do MORE. I am here to tell you, no matter how many garlands you've got on your tree, you can always throw on MORE.

Can you tell I’m a wee bit into ornaments on sticks? Look at the little stick tree on the mantel! I've created my own stick tree with ornaments; I'll show you in a soon-to-come post. Look at that white stick tree!! That one is from a darling blog called Dottie Angel. And look at the little parcels hanging from painted clothes pins! How cute is that?? Do you think these people use the clothes pins as art clips when it’s not Christmas anymore? I’m fascinated by this, if you can’t tell.

Does anyone share my little table top tree obsession? What kind of tree are you having this year?

(Image credits: Pinterest)

Gnomes and Tomtes


December 5, 2011

What’s a tomte, you say?? I’m so glad you asked! My husband’s best friend got us into the tomte gig. Or rather, his sweet mother did. Although she herself hails from New Zealand, she married into a Swedish-Finnish-American family and every year at Christmas they read about the tomtes and make pulla, which is Finnish tea bread. (I’ve linked to two different recipes, one with raisins, one without. Take yo pick!)

Tomtes are sort of a Scandinavian version of an elf or a gnome, and they traditionally were thought to keep watch over a farmer’s home and children and protect them from harm at night, while everyone slept.

On Christmas Eve each year, this book is read at our friend’s house:

‘The Tomten’ is written by Astrid Lindgren, of ‘Pippi Longstocking’ fame. This quiet, snowy, magical book is all about how a tomten protects the farm he guards from a marauding fox. But don’t feel sad for the fox! He gets some Christmas love too, in the end.

I got so into the tomtes, I had to go out and find this book. I was sold on the title alone:

Will Papa Tomte get his Christmas pudding? This is high intrigue!! Don’t you want to know? The author, Sven Nordqvist, is one of Sweden’s most popular children’s authors and I’m so excited to read his ‘Findus and Pettson’ series!

And lastly, we have some Very Cute Gnomes. Want to know more about gnomes? Want to know more about what gnomes do at Christmas? ‘A Gnome’s Christmas’ will tell you! Just got this one and it is seriously adorable. Would be best for 7-8 year olds, but lots to enjoy for the K-1 set as well.

Holiday customs about gnomes, gnome recipes, songs, and little short stories about gnomes at Christmastime. Lots of fun packed in a darling little book!

So are you enchanted by the tomtes? All you bread makers out there, you owe it to yourself to try making pulla! My husband and I fight like wild dogs over every morsel and scrap of this bread that our friend’s mother gives us each year. And she even bakes a small tomte shaped tiny loaf for my kiddo! And then my husband and I eat it. Like wild dogs. (our daughter is still learning to appreciate cardamom.) We can’t get enough of the stuff!

(Image credit of first Tomten book jacket photo:

Cool Stuff I Like


December 2, 2011

Hey everybody!! It’s DECEMBER!!!!! It is really, truly, legitimately, no foolin’ anymore, CHRISTMAS TIME! We’ve been listening to ‘Cinnamon Bear’, and cramming something sparkly on every flat surface we can find. Next week we’ll be getting our tree, cannot wait, cannot wait! I will try my utmost to write a sentence that does not end with an exclamation point. Nope, can’t do it! Too excited!

Holy toledo, I love everything about Christmas. What I adore most about it (versus say, Thanksgiving. Sorry T-Day.), is that there is a whole month of things to do, gifts to plan, fabulous treats to make, DECORATING – does the fun ever end? For me it ends on January 6, aka Twelfth Night. (This year I might actually make a Twelfth Night cake.) When I was seventeen, I discovered the concept of the Yule log – do any of you do this? I love that tradition! Sadly, we have a gas fireplace so I can’t do a Yule log anymore, but I love the idea of it. If you can’t tell, I’m way into Christmas, merrie-old-England style. I wonder if it was really as much fun as it seems like it was!

Got some Decemberific COOL STUFF this week:

Cadbury Snowbites!

Sparkle Snow Playdough!

Ginger Jam Bread Pudding. It’s FANTASTIC. A LOT of cream. Don’t let this stop you!

Y’all know I love Anthropologie but I don’t understand this. Do you?

I DO understand this. Really want this book!

Dragons & Chimeras. Cool.


French music for kids.

GORGEOUS holiday gift tags.

Hot Chocolate for Two DIY Gift via Sweet Paul. (scroll to next page for the recipe)

Cool Book of the Week: Two this week. Gotta make you aware of all the awesome out there so you have time to order or call the library!

‘Home for Christmas’, another Jan Brett. Oh how we love her. The Christmas trolls are where it’s at! Did you know that a troll loses its tail when it learns to be sweet and kind and helpful to others?

I just ordered ‘The Holly Pond Hill Christmas Treasury’ from the library. Susan Wheeler’s illustrations are pure Christmas magic! Cannot wait for this to arrive!!

Have a marvelous first December weekend! Are any of you getting your tree? xo

A Very Merry Christmas Book List


December 1, 2011

Alrighty friends! I’m going to just pile it all on ya right now. And then we’ll have nothing more to talk about this month. I guess we’ll have to talk about wassail! Some of these books came from the library, some of them we own. We’ve read everything on this list (already) and every single one is a whole bucket of Christmas funoodle. And THAT, my lovelies, is word creationism at its best. I literally cannot do any better than funoodle.

‘Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve?’. We are looooving anything by Jan Brett right now. (See below.) A lot of her Christmas stories involves the naughty hijinks of Christmas trolls. Julia and I are WAY into the trolls! (Who are silly and mischievous, not scary.)

‘Jan Brett’s Christmas Treasury’ has her classics (‘The Mitten’) as well as new-to-us stories like ‘The Wild Christmas Reindeer’ and ‘The Christmas Trolls’. More trolls! If you are unfamiliar with Jan Brett, her detailed art will BLOW. YOU. AWAY. There are hidden surprises everywhere you look. Julia loves all the little hedgehogs that reappear in the stories. FABULOUS. It also includes her artistic vision of ‘The Night Before Christmas’.

‘Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree’ (by Robert Barry) is kinda big. So big the tippy top brushes against the ceiling. So he snips the tippy top off and his butler takes it. But the top of THAT tree is too big as well. So again with the snip snappy. Someone else takes the tip. And then cuts off the top. Then a half dozen animals take the top and the tip of this seemingly endless tree keeps getting snipped off until a tiny branch winds up in a mousie house. Got all that?

‘Four Friends at Christmas’ by the great Tomie de Paola is a sweet one about friends going the extra mile to bring a merry Christmas to a froggy friend who skips hibernation so he can join in Christmas festivities. Cuteness.

‘Gus Was a Christmas Ghost’ by Jane Thayer is a prequel to one of my all-time favorites, ‘Gus and the Baby Ghost’. Gus the friendly ghost spreads a little holiday cheer to the cranky caretaker of the historical museum that Gus calls home. I had no idea there was a series of Gus books! We’re going to read them all!

‘Christmas in the Country’ by Cynthia Rylant and Diane Goode is a sweet, old-timey read about a small kiddo enjoying holiday rituals like writing to Santa, getting cozy under snuggly quilts, and making homemade ornaments. Super cute library find!

We scored ‘Richard Scarry’s The Animals Merry Christmas’ two years ago as a gift. It is one of our ABSOLUTE FAVORITE CHRISTMAS BOOKS. Poems, stories, the most delightful art – if you are going to buy a holiday book this year, this one should be it. I could read the shorter stories to Julia when she was three, and now she is the perfect age for the longer stories in the book. It’s a big, beautiful picture book crammed with holiday sweetness. The book cover glitters! (Always a selling point.) Go. Go get this book. Or check it out from a library. But GO GET IT.

(I was just joking earlier. I have more books to talk about! But I really do want to devote a lot of time to wassail because. . .it’s WASSAIL. I could say that word all say long.)

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