Tag Archives: árbolitos de navidad

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Narnia movie night

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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Narnia movie night

Time for a family movie night!  We just had to get around to watching the Narnia movies sometime during our Narnian Christmas theme.  Yes, it did start out as a November Narnia theme during the C.S. Lewis memorial week, but now it has transformed into a Narnian Christmas!  The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second book in the series, but the first movie (Disney version) that has come out in recent years, so we started with that one.  I wanted the kids to enter into the land of Narnia to watch the movie.  I’ve been thinking about this theme for awhile, and about ideas to do, so have been gathering a few props.  But in the end, I had to throw this movie night together quickly because there happened to be a free, non-school-night that would work.

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What images pop into your mind when you think of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe?  I guess those three things would be the first obvious ones, the Lion Aslan, the wardrobe full of fur coats which leads into Narnia, and the White Witch who has made it always winter and never Christmas in Narnia.  And if you thought of something to eat…would it be the Turkish delight that tempts Edmund into betraying his siblings to the witch?  How about that famous symbol, the lighted lamp post, where Lucy first meets the Faun, Mr. Tumnus, in the middle of a wintry wood.The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie night

It wasn’t too hard to find some of these things and to quickly decorate my room for movie night.  I love the idea of the warm fur coats that the kids push through to get into the back of the wardrobe, and later borrow to wear in the wintry Narnia.  Of course I dreamed of making wardrobe doors that would open up and lead into Narnia (I was just going to make them out of large cardboard boxes) but (also of course) I didn’t have time to make all of my ideas.  So I passed on the wardrobe and just focused on pushing through the fur coats to get into the land beyond.  No fur coats around here, so I used my faux-fur throw (the dark brown color was perfect).  Here’s the simple how-to:The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie nightGet a fur blanket and a tension rod, install the rod in the door frame and drape the blanket over it, that’s all!The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie nightThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie nightThis is what the inside of the door looked like.  The blanket was too heavy to cover the whole door, which would have been cool, but I didn’t have safety pins to pin it, and clothespins didn’t work, so just draped it hanging as long as I could.  It gave the right effect, when each kid pushed past the fur “robe” and slipped into Narnia….The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie nightTo create an instant and easy forest did require one purchase.  I found this canvas picture of an evergreen tree at IKEA.  When I first saw them advertised, I thought that they were kind of strange, especially when I saw that ornaments were pinned on, as if it was a Christmas tree, but now I totally changed my mind and love my canvas tree picture!  I scored this one in the As-is section for half-off, but here in Canada the regular price is about $14.50.  It looked really big in my room, and only took 5 minutes to tack up on the wall, right along the edge of the ceiling, though it does have a sleeve at the top to run a rope or curtain rod through…The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie nightIt really gives the feel of being in a winter forest, though there isn’t actually snow in the picture.  And in the process of setting up movie night, I found out that the tree glows in the dark!!  How fun is that?  Especially where the lamp post shines on it…The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie nightThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie nightWhich brings us to the all-important lamp post (lamppost? lamp-post? I don’t know how to spell it…) which I wasn’t going to do without.  Another IKEA hack!!  I have a small Ikea lamp that cost about $7, it uses smaller round bulbs, so I just pulled off the shade and made a lantern-like top out of black cardstock (heavier than paper, lighter than card).  Since I was rushed, I didn’t spend much time on it, and the post at the top is proportionally way too big, but “la idea es esa” you get the idea.  I won’t leave the lamp post turned on for long, for fear it will burst into flame.  It would probably be great with a night-light bulb in it, but oh well.  The top is just a square of cardstock, creased cross-ways and basically just setting on, with 2 dots of glue.  There are 4 kinda rectangle shapes glued to a paper circle at the bottom, just to give the illusion that it’s wider and solid at the bottom.  And that was it, but kinda cute!The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie nightIt’s not at all sturdy, but fine for just a display.  I’m sure there would be ways for making it last longer…oops, I forgot to take a before shot of the lamp….The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie nightI draped a white sheet over the little bookcase (for snow) and set out a few things…. (hey, right when I typed that sentence out about snow, I remembered that I was going to throw white tissue paper on the floor, so that when you stepped “through the wardrobe” you would “crunch” on the snow!!!  What a bummer I forgot!!  That would have been super easy but really cool).

The craft store (Michaels) had a great plastic lion (used a 40% off coupon!) for Aslan, I really like the expression on his face.  We had Susan and her horn from a McDonald’s meal from a long time ago….The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie nightAnd of course, a box of Turkish delight! The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie night Didn’t have time to try making our own Turkish delight from this recipe from SprinkleBakes that I want to try, and I think (the adults) we were kinda tired of the real stuff anyways, so Henry picked up some of my favorite chocolates….The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie nightThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie nightyummy! That went over well!  So the rest of the “decorations” were easy, just lots of comfy pillows, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie nightand a small white tree with white lights…The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie nightI had wanted to make chocolate beaver lodges for dessert, but just let it go for another time… We all piled together and got comfy, ate pizza and our Turkish delight for dessert, and enjoyed the Narnia movie!  Happy to report that a fun time was had by all.  It helps to have heaps of snow outside in the freezing weather and early darkness to make you feel reallllly cozy!  Hope this helps with some ideas for a family movie night for your family!The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie nightThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia movie night by dennasideas.com #Narnia #DIY Narnia party #family movie night

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A home-made Christmas

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A home-made Christmas

“Christmas time is here….” that’s the theme from A Charlie Brown Christmas, I can hear it playing inside my head.  There’s something cozy and comforting about watching Charlie Brown and Snoopy’s Christmas cartoon (that’s older than I am! haha!) while snow falls outside.  The kids love watching it to.  Is it because it makes us think back to simpler times?  Remember the sad little tree that Charlie Brown finds, and the kids give it a bit of love and spruce it up?

I really don’t know why I’m mentioning that cartoon, it just popped into my mind, and seemed to fit (in my mind anyway) with the home-made Christmas idea.  This year I was trying to make a bunch of home-made stuff for Christmas, instead of buying new things.  I keep finding amazing ideas online that I wanted to try, but have run right out of time!!  So I thought I’d post some photos of the things that I did get done because I know it will make me feel better to see the loveliness on my blog, instead of surrounded by the boxes and mess and clutter that are here in my house!!  (No I am not going to post a photo of the mess that surrounds the decorating…that would ruin all the loveliness, even though it would show my real life!)

Our Christmas tree is a “throw and go!” tree, as my son called it: throw the ornaments on and then go away!  I let the kids do most of the decorating with only one box of ornaments….I don’t know why.  I guess I was too exhausted to pull anything else out, and they were happy to do a “candy cane tree”.  (Ok, I did buy something new, those wood & fabric words for a buck each!).  This is the first time we’ve ever had a color-coordinated tree.  So that was nice for a change! ;)denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made ChristmasHere are some ideas I found online to print out…denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: sugar plum snowflake ballerinasAdvent things, denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmasdenna's ideas: "green" Advent countdown books denna's ideas: our Jesse tree for Advent 2012Cookie things (for teacher gifts and just for us to eat on a cold winter’s evening), trying out some new recipes….denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made ChristmasOrnament things,  denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmasdenna's ideas: a home-made Christmas paper tree denna's ideas: a home-made ChristmasGift things…..I just had to snap some photos of the presents my daughter wrapped, they are so cute!!  She wrote out all the tags with our names on in English and in Japanese characters!denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made ChristmasAnd a few anniversary things, denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas, gingerbread bride and groomdenna's ideas: a home-made ChristmasOur six year old photographer took this 19th anniversary portrait of us, we had just kissed at 19 hours and 19 minutes on the 19th of December for our 19th anniversary!  Now that’s home-made stuff!!

So that’s a few glimpses of our kinda home-made Christmas decorating and traditions and stuff….really, our life is not as together-looking as it seems in this blog…..I just have to mention that so that I don’t feel like I’m lying too much with all the perfect-looking photos.  I have perfection ideals in my head, but just can’t make them work out….so I take photos of the stuff that turns out…and once-in-a-while of the things that don’t turn out!  🙂

Merry Christmas to you!!!

The smell of Christmas Memories

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The smell of Christmas Memories

What smells bring Christmas to your mind??  Gingerbread?  Hot apple cider?  Candy canes?  Turkey roasting?  Mandarin oranges?

My favorite is an obvious one:  the smell of real evergreen Christmas trees!!  This year we have a real tree and I’m just loving the scent of it!!  I can put up with all the shedding for that wonderful spicy smell that transports me back to Christmases past!

Other smells that remind me of Christmas in my childhood are ones found in Guatemala:  the smell of aserrín=sawdust! (dyed many different colors and used for making nativity scenes), the smell of manzanilla (little yellow fruit that is strung into garlands for decoration), the smell of crushed pino (clusters of long-needled pine that are scattered on the floor at parties), the smell of ponche simmering on the stove (a cooked fruit punch full of fabulous fruitiness), the smell of tamales in their green leaves (this now reminds me of Christmas, but I wouldn’t touch them when I was a kid!) and one of my favorites: the smell of gunpowder from cohetes!!-fuegos artificiales-!  (we always lit off fireworks at Christmas and New Years! And even today the smell of gunpowder immediately makes me think of Christmas and celebrations and fun!!)

I was thinking about the smells of Christmas and wondering what scents will remind my kids of the Christmases we have spent together…..baking shortbread? gingerbread cookies? pine tree?

And so I decided that we should make a few “smelly” crafts this year, just to make sure that when my kids are all grown up, they will be transported back to family Christmases every time they smell…….cloved oranges!!  And cinnamon apple decorations!!

I remember working on cloving oranges when I was a kid and my mom would supervise us as we stabbed the hard oranges with cloves…or large needles before we could get the clove in!  This year I found a helpful idea on pinterest, so just had to try it with my kids.  The secret: make grooves in your oranges first!!  The photo I saw said something about paring the oranges, and I tried it with the end of my peeler, but that didn’t work, so I just used a knife to cut a “v” groove down the side of the orange…then let the kids at them with the cloves!!  Ahhh what a lovely smell!!denna's ideas: making cloved Christmas oranges denna's ideas: making cloved Christmas oranges denna's ideas: making cloved Christmas oranges denna's ideas: making cloved Christmas oranges

Another oderiferous craft that I thought we should try was cinnamon and applesauce oranments.  Yes, that’s all they are, cinnamon (lots of it) and applesauce.  I used the recipe found here.  It turned out to be a very crazy craft!!!  I guess we must have done something a bit wrong, because the “dough” was too soft…needless to say, there were a whole bunch of “potty jokes” flying around the table as we worked with that soft brown dough…..(shudder shudder!)denna's ideas: making cinnamon ornamentsWe put a tablespoon too much of applesauce, then kept adding cinnamon to try and make it firm up….the dough was so damp that it was super hard for the kids to make shapes out of it or cut it with cookie cutters..denna's ideas: making cinnamon ornaments denna's ideas: making cinnamon ornamentsIt was so funny to work on these!!!  But it was a little strong and my son’s hands started to turn a bit red and itchy! 🙂denna's ideas: making cinnamon ornamentsIn the end, I scooped up all the mushy ornaments and pressed it bit by bit into a small heart shaped cookie cutter and then used a drinking straw to make a hole in each heart…..no one seemed to mind that I did that…..and when the ornaments were slowly baking it made the house smell fabulous!!  Everyone enjoyed that part!!denna's ideas: making cinnamon ornamentsP.S.  the recipe says that the ornaments are not for eating, but my oldest daughter thought they tasted great and kept nibbling at the dough and consumed several baked ornaments!!  Craziness!  There’s like a half a cup of cinnamon in there!

So it was a messy crazy craft, but I think I would do it again, for the laughs and the great aromas that it brought!!  And they look so cute on our little white tree and still smell so nice…. denna's ideas: making cinnamon ornamentsFun Christmas crafts, and did you notice that we didn’t have to buy anything “special” to make them (I happened to have a new large container of cinnamon on hand!!)??  It gives a nice homey, handmade feel to our decorations…..and the smells!!  For sure those smells have become part of our Christmas memories! 😉

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Pistachio Shortbread trees: the recipe

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. vanilla

16 pretzel spindles or rods

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.  Prepare cookie sheets with parchement paper or by greasing them.  In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar and beat until fluffy.  Keep out 2 Tbsp. of the chopped pistachios.  Add remaining pistachios, flour and vanilla. Mix well. The dough will be stiff.  Divide the dough evenly into 4 pieces and make into 4 balls.  Pat each one down to a 6 inch round (on a board or right onto the cookie sheet).  With a knife, lightly make indentations on the dough, marking each into 8 wedges. In the outside edge of each triangle wedge, insert 1 pretzel, or pretzel half for tree trunk.

Bake at 325F for 16 to 21 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.  Cool for 2 minutes, then cut into 8 wedges and place on wire racks to cool.  Cool for about 15 min. or until cool.  Very finely chop the reserved pistachios.  You can mix up an icing of 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 to 3 Tbsp milk, but I prefer melting candy melts or white chocolate.  Drizzle icing in zig zag lines down each tree and sprinkle with the pistachios.  If you make the trees with large pretzel rods, then they can be stood upright in a mug or other container.

Pistachio Shortbread trees: the recipe

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Árbolitos de Navidad: Receta para galletas

1 taza de mantequilla, a temperatura ambiente  (no duro o frío)

1/2 taza de azúcar blanca

1/2 taza de pistachios picados

2 1/4 tazas de harina blanca

1 cdta. vainilla

pretzels

Precalentar el horno a 325 F. Alistar las bandejas para hornear, con papel pergamino para hornear o engrasarlos.  En un bol (tazón) grande, mezclar la mantequilla y el azúcar hasta que esten muy ligeros y esponjosos (¿).  Reserva 2 Cucharadas de los pistachios picados, y añada el resto a la mezcla.  Añada la harina y vainilla y mezclar bien.  La masa va a ser bastante rígida (dura).

Divide la masa en 4 partes iguáles, y formar en bolas.  En la bandeja, o en la mesa, aplanar cada bola para formar un circulo de 6 pulgadas.  Con un cuchillo, marcar las lineas en la masa para formar 8 triángulos.  Insertar o meter un pedazo de pretzel (o uno entero) en la parte mas grande de cada triángulo.  Hornear a 325 grados Fahrenheit por 16 o 21 minutos, o hasta que se mire dorado en las esquinas.  Dejar enfriar por 2 minutos, y allí cortar en las lineas marcadas anteriormente.  Poner las galletas en algo para que se enfrien (google translate dice bastidores para enfriamiento…jaja?).  Dejar enfriar por unos 15 minutos.

Picar otra vez los 2 Cucharadas de pistachios para que esten muy picaditas (machacadas).  Se puede hacer este frosting: 1 taza de azúcar glás (azúcar empolvorada) y de 1 a 3 Cucharadas de leche, o se puede usar chocolate blanco que sale más rico.  Derretir el chocolate y escurrir o gotearlo encima de los árbolitos en una forma de zipper.  (en inglés: drizzle the chocolate on in a zig zag pattern).  Espolvorear con los pistachios ántes de que se endurezca el chocolate.

produce 32 galletas.

Árbolitos de Navidad: Receta para galletas

Fun shortbread pistachio trees- galletas árbolitos de Navidad

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Fun shortbread pistachio trees- galletas árbolitos de Navidad

This is the second time I’ve made these yummy treats, and I think they’ll become a Christmas classic at our house!  The recipe is from a Pillsbury cookbook, (pilfered from my mother) and it’s fun and easy, and a bit out of the usual.  This year I made the trees with really big pretzel rod trunks so that they could become part of the table decor, you’ll see…

Es la segunda vez que hago estas galletas, pero creo que van a convertir en una de nuestras recetas clásicas para esta época.  La receta viene de un libro de cocina de Pillsbury (la robé de mi Mamá), y es una receta fácil y divertida, un poco fuera de lo normal.  Este año las hice con los pretzels muy grandes para que podría usarlas como decoraciones, como ya verán…

First, get your slave labor, I mean your kids, to shell the pistachios…

Primero, haz que sus esclavos, digo, los hijos, pelan los pistchios…make them work hard and shell a lot!  ¡Hazlos trabajar duro y pelar bastantes!

(the photos are blurry because there is very little natural light here in the winter, it’s almost dark all the time!)

(las fotos se miran borrosos porque hay muy poca luz natural aqui en el invierno, ¡donde esta mero oscuro casi todo el dia!)

So whip up the dough and pull out the pretzels!

Prepare la masa y a sacar los pretzels (que no sé como decir en español)

then you will flatten down a lump of dough into a circle on the cookie tray and stick the pretzels in.

la masa hay que hacerlo en una bola, y después aplanarlo en un círculo y meter los pretzels.

looks so fun, with a little rearranging, you can fit 2 of these “suns” on a tray.  Mark the 8 lines where they will be cut later.

se mira bonito, y con un poco de trabajo, uno puede poner dos {solecitos} en cada bandeja.  Solo marcar las lineas en donde después se va a cortar.

next, bake the cookies and cut them apart after baking…

despues de hornearlas, se puede cortar completamente…here are the naked trees…..brrrrrrrr……get them dressed!!  Drizzle with white chocolate or icing and sprinkle with chopped pistachios!

aquí están los árbolitos desnuditos….¡que frío han de tener!….vístelos porfa!  Con un poco de chocolate blance o frosting, y más pistchios picaditos.

Now you can eat and enjoy! No, wait, first use them for table decor!

Ahora, ¡a comer y disfrutar!  ¡O no, espere un momentito, primero hay que usarlas como decoraciones para la mesa!

Fancy AND yummy!!  This post is for Michelle, so she can see how easy they are to make! 😉

I realize you’ve seen this mug in a previous post, and will probably see it again, as you will see, they figure prominently in my Christmas decor this year!!  (it’s a red & white thing)

¡Lindos y deliciosos!  esta receta la puse para Michelle, para que mira que tan fácil es hacer las galletas.  Me doy cuenta que ya enseñé estas pozillas antes, es que la verdad es que formar parte de toda mis decoraciones navideñas, ¡jaja, y las van a ver aún mas!  (es amor al rojo y blanco que tengo)

Ha ha, I almost forgot to include the recipe!!  ¡Ja ja casi se me olvida incluir la recta!