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Please Have a Safe and Happy 2014! (and Pardon our Virtual Dust)

CarseatBlog wishes you a great New Year’s celebration and please, drive safely!

We are taking a few days off from blogging for the holidays, but will start the new year with a nice giveaway and some improvements.  For now, please excuse any slowdowns or glitches as we make some backups and updates for the new year.  Please tell us what you think of our new look!  If you notice any bugs, errors, missing features or other changes you think may not be intended, please alert us to those as well by leaving a comment.

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Ho-Ho-Homade Ornaments

salt dough 2Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving was so late, or maybe it’s because this is our first holiday season in a cold environment, but we cannot wait for Christmas this year! I’ve been itching to do some crafts, and I figured the day after Thanksgiving was the perfect time since there was no way you’d find me heading to the mall.

Now, I consider myself a fairly crafty person. I love doing crafts, but I’ll admit I don’t love doing them with my kids. I have a low tolerance for glue and paint in all the wrong places. But I also know it’s good for them to get creative and for me to step out of my comfort zone, so this Black Friday, it was all about family crafting.

snowmanFirst up were the Melted Snowmen ornaments. I forget where I first saw these, but I filed it away in my mind a long time ago. You fill plastic (or glass, if you’re brave) ornaments with salt, add some peppercorn “coal,” and carrots and sticks made of polymer clay. Sculpting the clay parts was the most time-consuming step, but even that went pretty fast. A few minutes to bake and cool, then everything got added to the globes. (Hint: Use a funnel for the salt!) The whole project took less than an hour.

Next: salt dough ornaments. I turned to the interwebs for a good recipe, but everything I found was different, and people reported different levels of success. I lucked out on my choice, though. The dough worked beautifully, and the end result feel more like bisque or stone than baked dough. Here’s the recipe I used:

salt dough2 cups flour

1 cup salt

3/4 cup warm water (plus more if it’s too dry–I needed just a bit more)

Mix together with a spoon then knead until smooth.

I rolled mine out to 3/8″ then we used various cookie cutters to make our designs. Remember to add holes for hanging!

Bake at 200 degrees for two hours. (I put mine on parchment paper, but the bottoms wound up still damp so I had to put them back in without. Next time I’ll skip the parchment.)

The colored ones were stamped with regular stamp-pad ink before they were baked. We planned on painting the other ones, but I think we might leave some blank because the stone-look is so cool.

(In case you’re wondering, I ordered the Minecraft and Starbucks cookie cutters from a seller on Etsy.)

The day wasn’t without mishaps. My 2-year-old spilled a whole bottle of peppercorns on the floor (those things can roll!) and I wound up vacuuming four times. But we had so much fun, I just might declare every Black Friday “Ornament Day.”

What are your favorite ornaments or holiday crafts to make with kids?

 

Thanksgiving Family Food Favorites

11252010103“Faud” is one of the Qunell family traditional holiday foods, usually served whenever turkey is on the menu.  We don’t really know much about it, other than my dad’s parent’s family was originally from Quebec, so it is probably French Canadian in origin.  Surprisingly, it doesn’t come up on Google under that name.  There are some similar recipes for traditional Quebec meat stuffing and French meat pie filling, but none of the ones I found are quite right.  Unfortunately, it is such a delicacy that I cannot reveal the secret recipe.  Someday, we plan to make a fortune selling this stuff on the internet.  I probably shouldn’t even be showing any photos or video where I divulge some of the ingredients, but today is your lucky day!

 

 

Yes, that grayish color and lumpy texture is accurate. So, what are your traditional Thanksgiving foods? (Normal or unusual)

 

Honoring All Who Served

veterans_day

CarseatBlog would like to thank all of our veterans who have served our country as well as all active military personnel who are still serving all over the world.  We appreciate the sacrifices they have made for all of us. We also tip our hat to the families of those who are serving and who have served. We know many of our readers are military families and we acknowledge the unique challenges that come with that territory. As far as we’re concerned, you deserve thanks and praise for all you do too!