Love is what Christmas is all about

This blog post is written by Laura LeClaire

The title of this blog post appears on a decorative plate my mom gave me several Christmases ago. It’s one of my favourite decorations and often the first one on display this time of year.
What I love most about the holiday season are all the family traditions we’ve created with our boys over the last 21 years.
A more recent tradition for me is gifting the students I work with each year. (I love my job and can’t believe I get paid to do what I do!!)
I like to make the gifts for my students and have so much fun doing so. This year, was no exception. The one thing that was different this time though was that I wasn’t up till midnight the night before getting them done (I like to think I work better under pressure and often put it to the test lol)
For my first graders this year, I made them each a snowman mug. Thanks to good ol’ Pinterest for the idea 🙂
Started out by drawing the faces on white mugs with regular Sharpie markers,
Added a personal touch to the bottom, then into the oven they went. Here’s where I was a little unsure of the process. Several “pins” gave mixed reviews on which temp was best. Some said 350′ for 30 minutes but eh Sharpie wiped off. Others said 425′ for 30 minutes and the drawings stayed. So, I decided to try the latter option. Well, I’m not sure if the cups started to cook or if the smoke from something burning on the bottom of the oven [yes, it’s dirty…the maid is on vacation ;)] but the mugs came out looking like a toasted marshmallow…I was a little bummed out but tried to convince myself that snow isn’t always pure white. I’m not sure why, but I decided to try a magic eraser on them to see if I could wipe the discolouration off and it worked. An hour and fifteen minutes later, they were white again and only a couple of faces lightly faded (this gives me hope the marker won’t come off with regular washing).
While the mugs were baking, I put one extra large jumbo marshmallow on a lollipop stick and decided to drizzle green and red melting chocolate over them. I wasn’t happy with the way the green drizzled (or lack thereof) so decided I’d just put hot chocolate packages in the mugs and call it done. Until I had a lightbulb moment (due to not being able to shake the disappointment in not including the fun jumbo marshmallows) and decided to cut the green chocolate off and use the sticky inside of the marshmallow to dip into sprinkles…worked like a charm. I did use the extra green chocolate to whip up these cute trees…my 13 year old kept asking when we could eat them!
Here’s the final version of my class gift this year.
I placed each one in a brown paper bag, folded a doily in half and addressed them (left off the students names for the pic but added them in green Sharpie after)
A family tradition is leaving homemade Oreo’s and coke for Santa…on the same plate my mom made the boys in 1997 and in the same glass boot cup I used to leave milk in for Santa.

I love that the boys still do this even though they are 21,17,15 and 13 (my 13 yr old still appears to believe and the others continue to go along with it for his sake).

Should you want to try these moist and yummy cookies yourself, here is the recipe:

3 boxes of Devil’s food cake mix
6 eggs
1 cup of oil
Preheat oven to 350?
Mix all together…it will be a stiff dough
Use a teaspoon amount to shape into a ball (I use a small cookie scoop from pampered chef)
Bake for 8 minutes only
Remove and cool

Sandwich 2 cookies together with cream cheese icing.

Now I need to make ours as my 17yr old has been asking for 3 weeks when the Oreo’s will be ready 🙂

May each of you take time to appreciate the many little gifts of Christmas.

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