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The Monster and Me: Christmas Decorations

I’ve been quiet this week, I know. This time of year can be all-consuming: presents to buy and wrap, friends and family to catch-up with, Christmas celebrations to experience and of course all that food to be cooked and savoured. Life has gotten in the way of blogging about life. And that’s okay.

In some ways I’m surprised I’m still here in this space, writing away, sharing and chatting. As much as this blog is a way to document our life, for us, for posterity, it is you and your comments and stories and experiences, that makes it a place I keep wanting to come back to. So to every one of you who’ve visited and shared your thoughts, stories and experiences, thank you. Really, thank you.

I have so many ideas and dreams for The Monster & Me in 2013 and I’m dying to share them with you. But for now, I’m happy to get swept away in the craziness that is Christmas.

So from our little family to yours, may your have a truly magical Christmas filled with fabulous food and the people you love.

I’m not a particularly crafty mamma. The mess drives me a bit batty and until recently Lachie’s attention span for any crafty-arty project was about a tenth of the time it took to set-up and clean-up. During our Christmas shopping last week I spotted a packet of different sized paper stars and feeling mildly inspired, picked them up.

A few days ago we had a rare afternoon with not much planned so out came the paint box and brushes and we set to work decorating the stars.

The Monster & Me | Christmas Craft Star Garland

I find that if left to his own devices Lachie likes to simply smear every single colour of paint together until it resembles a non-descript shade of brown. So there was some gentle guidance, with only one or two different colours available at any time. Oh and my two year old can’t paint parallel lines, I was getting into the spirit and did some star decorating too.

The Monster & Me | Christmas Craft Star Garland

The next day we collected all our painted stars on the kitchen table.

The Monster & Me | Christmas Craft Star Garland

And with Lachie’s art direction I hole punched and strung the stars on some baking twine (it’s all I had, I told you, I’m not very crafty).

The Monster & Me | Christmas Craft

The star garland was then hung between two conveniently located lights in our living room.

The Monster & Me | Christmas Craft Star Garland

The Monster & Me | Christmas Craft Star Garland

It was such a simple project to add a little colourful, handmade Christmas cheer to our home. Oh and my tip for getting paint of little ones without using chemicals? Exfoliating gloves. With some soap and gentle scrubbing my multi-coloured child was back to his lovely pink self.

Are you the crafty type? Have you been getting into the Christmas crafting spirit? Do share.

Favourite Five Christmas Gift ideas for Mum

1. The Monarchy Necklace – Hard to Find
2. Mexican Otomi Pillow – Urban Road
3. Stackable Jars with Lid – Ferm Living
4. You are my sunshine beach towel and tote bag – Blacklist Studio Prints
5. Moroccan Market Basket – Down That Little Lane

You can find more gift ideas and Favourite Five collections here. Favourite Five collections are not sponsored in any way, they are simply things I have spotted and hearted and thought you might too.

Handmade Christmas Gift: Cranberry and Cinnamon Cookies

DIY Christmas Gift Idea: Cranberry Cookies

I love handmade Christmas gifts. They speak of time and effort and thoughtfulness. But I’m not a crafty mamma so normally I leave the handmade business to others. However, this year come late December I will be making these cranberry oat cookies. They are chewy and sweet with that hint of festive cinnamon spice. And they are easy to make. Then all you have to do is pop them in a glass jar, tie a pretty ribbon and et voila, a delicious handmade gift!

Ingredients
1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cups traditional oats
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of milk
1 large egg
115 grams butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup of caster sugar
1/2 cup of cranberries

Directions
(Makes approximately 20 cookies)
– Mix together flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder.
– In a separate bowl whisk together milk, egg and vanilla extract and set aside.
– In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Gradually add the milk mixture until well combined.
– Mix in the flour mixture until just combined.
– Gently fold in the cranberries and oats.
– Place the dough in the fridge until firm (I didn’t but it will make the dough easier to handle)
– Preheat oven to 170c (fan forced) and line baking trays with baking paper
– Shape heaped tablespoons of dough into balls with your hands, pressing them down gently on to the baking tray with a fork. Leave space between each cookie for them to spread a little.
– Bake until golden but still soft in the middle, approx 15-20 minutes.
– Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

**Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart**

Christmas gift ideas for toddlers

1. This wooden train set from Tiger Tribe packs into a neat little carry box making it a the perfect toddler travel companion.

2. Everyone needs a cape and mask, right? This gorgeous set by Udder will have any little person off to their next superhero situation looking oh-so-cool.

3. Tea parties are big in our house these days. This teacup stacking game is a little bit mad-hatter and a whole lot of fun.

4. The opportunity for creative play with these colourful building blocks is only limited by a toddlers imagination. Stacking, counting, sorting, building – blocks never get old.

5. A sweet little woodlands memory game from the brilliant Dwell Studio.

You can find more gift ideas and Favourite Five collections here. Favourite Five collections are not sponsored in any way, they are simply things I have spotted and hearted and thought you might too.

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