The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Archive of ‘Christmas’ category

Devorie’s Craft Classes

My neighbor has been holding amazing craft classes for kids this year.

M made apple pie cookies and a cornucopia in the first one. Consistent with her behavior since birth, she cried when she heard she was going. Luckily our neighbor was there.

We arrived to find Devorie’s mini apple pie station.

A healthy snack table with some of the baking supplies.

A chill out area where the kids could draw and relax on a bean bag chair.
M still looks mildly pained at leaving our house.

The baking table.
Part of what makes this class so different from others is, can you see what she has for each child? Yep, besides a slotted wooden spoon they get their own apple peeler. Unheard of in this age of us helicopter parents!

First you must put on an apron:

When I arrived to pickup M she was finishing assembling her cornucopia.

She had already peeled and cut her apples (yep, with her own knife!), assembled & baked the mini apple pies.

At home we baked the cornucopia. It was beautiful!

Unfortunately for it, it was tasty and the girls couldn’t stop tearing off hunks to eat. It never got full of plenty but now we know how to make one next year!

We ate the apple pies SO quickly. Luckily Devorie stopped by with the extra filling the kids had made. So we made our own dough and took a stab at them that weekend.

We took them across the street to dinner at the neighbors’. Delicious!

The second class we attended was an ornament making class.

There was a hot chocolate station awaiting the kids!

Embellishment Station

Chill area

Does anyone have a brush around here?

Hot glue gun table

Hard at work as the sun set

Here are the ornaments they made:

K-Cup Snowman Hat Ornament

They also made Yarn Hats. M hasn’t finished hers but I’ll post a pic when she does!

When I got there to pick up the kids they were all having a big time! Some had gone off on their own project tangents but everyone was engaged in something. Devorie’s class is unique in that it’s very experiential. Instead of focusing on the end product she lets the kids focus on the experience of using all these materials. She is even teaching them how to use glue guns carefully and safely. It’s amazing! They feel so excited because they are able to do almost every part of the project themselves.

There is one more class left in December if you’re interested. It’s at Devorie’s house in Santa Monica.

Tues. 12/15 3-5PM
$30

Darn the class is FULL. Hopefully she will start up again in 2016!
Feel free to email me for Devorie’s contact info!

christina@RHOSM.com


Found Sticks Christmas Tree

This is so cute. There are many variations on Pinterest. I think the original idea came from the Free People blog which is worth looking at.

I had these animals – they were plastic animals in a tube called Safari Ltd Arctic Animals Toob

I was going to make some necklaces with them but never got around to it.

First they need some bling.

My girls started blinging out the rest of the animals in the house.

When they ran out of animals they took the dinosaurs out of the garage and got them done up too!

Basically I hot glued any tiny beads, felt, sequins, fine yarns or cording/string onto the animals – really anything I liked. I stuck to a blue/silver/white color scheme. Kids refused to adhere to that so their animals are not welcome on my tree. I had some old moss from Michael’s from a few years ago so I used that too. Oh and tiny pine cones from Clover Park.

Tiny white lights would be cute if I didn’t have to go shopping for them etc. etc. I have a tiny set but the battery pack is huge and I’m afraid its weight will tear the whole shebang off the wall.

Here’s what I used:

- 4 or 5 animals embellished (you don’t have to but it’s fun!)
- sequins/beads/string/felt/fabric scraps etc for embellishment
- small to large sticks. Thick enough to hold some stuff on them. I was lucky – I collected so many I didn’t have to cut any.
- thumb tacks
- hot glue gun & tons of glue sticks
- moss
- tiny seeds/pinecones etc that can be found outside

You can get anything at Michael’s that can’t be found outside.

1. I laid out the sticks on the table.

2. I held them to the wall one at a time to see how they would best lay against the wall. I picked two spots that would touch the wall and squirted a big blob of hot glue there and stuck the back of the thumbtack in the blob. Then I used a hammer to hammer the whole kit and caboodle to the wall. Sometimes the thumbtack cracked off or fell off but at least I had the placement and could just hammer the thumbtack into the wall then hot glut the stick onto the thumbtack again.

3. I made the little star out of some tiny twigs I had – I just wrapped yard around them to hold them together. Kind of like starting a God’s eye. You could also make a tiny stick star and paint it gold etc! Or make a yellow/gold god’s eye! Add glitter!!!

4. Now the fun part, add moss/seeds/shells/nuts etc. with hot glue. Finally glue your animals on. Mine are Narnia inspired.

I love how it came out!

Cranberry Yogurt Coffee Cake

What do you do with leftover cranberries once you’ve made cranberry simple syrup for mojitos? Or cranberry sauce? It seems like a heee-uge waste to toss them so I scanned the internet(s) for recipes.

Originally I said I was going to make scones but then I found this coffee cake recipe on the King Arthur Flour page that looked better!

You need:

INGREDIENTS:

There are 3 parts to this coffee cake: streusel, filling & batter.

Streusel
5 TBSP cold butter
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
big pinch of salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c + 2 TBSP all purpose flour

Filling
1 c whole-berry cranberry sauce (this time I used the remaining cranberries/sugar mixture I made my simple syrup with but you can use cranberry sauce as well)

Batter
1/2 c butter
1 c + 2 TBSP brown sugar
2 large eggs (not pictured)
1 c plain yogurt (not pictured!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 c all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 & lightly grease a 9×13″ baking pan.

Make the streusel first:
Using a large bowl, cream all but the flour together.

Add flour and beat until even crumbs form.

Note: my crumbs were sort of small/fine for my taste. Next time I might cut out the extra 2 TBSP flour to see if it clumps up more.

Now move the streusel aside to a small bowl. You can use this big bowl again for the batter. I appreciated this note in the original recipe! Love saving me some dishes.

Cream together the butter & sugar until smooth.

Add the eggs.

Note: For the past 6 months or so I’ve been experimenting with using egg replacer or other substitutes but have had a few kitchen FAILS. Stay tuned as I continue in my quest to bake without eggs!

Keep beating! Add the yogurt, vanilla & almond extracts, baking powder & soda, salt & flour.

The batter will be THICK.

Spread into a lightly grease 9×13″ pan or whatever molded cake pan you prefer!

Sprinkle the cranberry sauce/cranberries atop the batter.

Next time I think I’ll use a spoon to semi combine the cranberries with the batter.

Sprinkle the streusel atop.

Bake for about 40 minutes.

Without glaze.

With glaze.

Cranberry Yogurt Coffee Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast/Dessert
Cuisine: Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 8
 

Cranberries add a surprising tartness & beauty to a yummy coffee cake! Perfect for the holidays & great way to use up leftover cranberry sauce.
Ingredients
  • STREUSEL
  • 5 TBSP cold butter
  • ½ c brown sugar, packed
  • big pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c + 2 TBSP all purpose flour
  • FILLING
  • 1 c whole-berry cranberry sauce*
  • BATTER
  • ½ c butter
  • 1 c + 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (not pictured)
  • 1 c plain yogurt (not pictured!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 c all purpose flour

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 & lightly grease a 9×13″ baking pan.
  2. Make the streusel first: using a large bowl, cream all but the flour together.
  3. Add flour and beat until even crumbs form.
  4. Now move the streusel aside to a small bowl. You can use this big bowl again for the batter. I appreciated this note in the original recipe! Love saving me some dishes.
  5. Cream together the butter & sugar until smooth.
  6. Add the eggs.
  7. Keep beating! Add the yogurt, vanilla & almond extracts, baking powder & soda, salt & flour.
  8. The batter will be THICK.
  9. Spread into a lightly grease 9×13″ pan or whatever molded cake pan you prefer!
  10. Sprinkle the cranberry sauce/cranberries atop the batter. Lightly combine cranberries with top of batter if you like! It makes it very pretty when you cut it.
  11. Sprinkle the streusel atop.
  12. Bake for about 40 minutes.
  13. Allow to cool fully before cutting.

Notes
To add a simple glaze combine 1 c powdered sugar with 1 tsp vanilla extract and enough water to reach your desired consistency. Drizzle over the cake!

 

Source: very slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour

I’m dreaming of a GREEN Christmas…

Last year we passed by the Christmas tree graveyard at Clover Park. M asked what it was and when I told her, “That’s where people toss their Christmas trees after Christmas.” I swore to myself I’d never buy another perfectly good tree to decorate, water for 3 weeks, and then discard by the side of the road. That is one nutty tradition. Then, like always, I forgot all about it.

Last week I was reading the Santa Monica Patch when I saw an ad for Rentable Potted Christmas trees. The company is called “The Living Christmas Company.”

Immediately I thought, “I’m renting a potted tree!”

The trees range in size from 2′-12′ and in price from $25 all the way up to $345. (Gulp!) Not including the delivery fee.

The idea is appealing. After discussing though, we won’t be renting one this year. We do something even worse – we buy one for our house & one for our Christmas rental. If we end up staying home for the holiday, we will definitely try this.

Let me know if you rent one!

Cranberry Mojitos

This year we stayed home for Thanksgiving for the first time since we started dating. That meant we cooked this year. Which meant a lot of planning. One thing I’ve come to realize about myself: I LOVE planning & hate execution!

Here was my menu list:

1. Turkey – G was in charge of deep-frying this since fowl is not my thang these days.
2. Creamy Roasted Garlic Mashed potatoes
3. Cranberry Sauce (for looks)
4. Wild Rice & Crimini Mushroom casserole
5. Roasted Brussel Sprouts with a balsamic reduction & cranberries
6. Corn Bread Stuffing
7. Gravy
8. Arugula & Mixed Greens Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, Mango & a Dijon vinaigrette
9. Cranberry Mojitos
10. Classic Pecan Pie
11. Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Pie
12. Apple Pie Cookies

I started with a simple Homemade Herbed Ranch with crudite appetizer because I didn’t want everyone losing their appetites before dinner. Kids got their own plate.


It looks like it’s about to fall off the counter. It was.

This was the first time I cooked some of these items (including pie crusts which I just started making last week) and not everything came out the way Martha Stewart’s would have (including the pie crusts)! Also, I dropped the Apple Pie Cookies off the menu at the last minute because I ran out of time. I also made a simpler pan-fried brussel sprout dish for the same reason. Cranberries were already representing plenty.

Phew. I’m tired. I will be posting the successful recipes in the coming days.

The highlight of the menu? The Cranberry Mojitos! Yum. So festive, pretty & tasty.

Make these for your holiday parties!

You’ll need:

INGREDIENTS:
8 oz fresh cranberries (+ extra for garnish)
1 c sugar
1 c water
20 mint leaves
2 TBSP lime juice
ice
4 oz (light colored) rum
4-6 oz sparkling mineral water

First, make the cranberry simple syrup. Pour the cranberries, water & sugar into a saucepan.

Stir gently to combine. Turn heat to medium. When it starts boiling, turn to medium-low for about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat & cool. You can even leave it in the fridge overnight. The next day or a few hours later, pour it into a strainer over a large bowl. The strained bright red syrup is what you need! [Btw: I DID save the fruit in my fridge. Will be looking for a baking recipe that can use it as I hate to throw it away after all that went into growing, transporting, storing, boiling & refrigerating it. Please comment if you have any ideas!]

Now assemble your drink. I used the measurements more as a guide than anything else.

Add about 10 mint leaves and 1T lime juice to each glass. With a spoon, mash the mint along the side of the glass. Add ice, 2 oz of syrup and 2 oz of rum.

Fill with sparkling mineral or soda water. Garnish with a few cranberries!

Cranberry Mojitos
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2
 

A pretty little holiday drink for grownups only!
Ingredients
  • 8 oz fresh cranberries (+ extra for garnish)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 20 mint leaves
  • 2 TBSP lime juice
  • ice
  • 4 oz (light colored) rum
  • 4-6 oz sparkling mineral water

Instructions
  1. First, make the cranberry simple syrup. Pour the cranberries, water & sugar into a saucepan.
  2. Stir gently to combine. Turn heat to medium. When it starts boiling, turn to medium-low for about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat & cool. You can even leave it in the fridge overnight. The next day, pour it into a strainer over a large bowl. The strained bright red syrup is what you need.
  4. Now assemble your drink! I used the measurements more as a guide than anything else.
  5. Add about 10 mint leaves and 1T lime juice to each glass. With a spoon, mash the mint along the side of the glass. Add ice, 2 oz of syrup and 2 oz of rum.
  6. Fill with sparkling mineral or soda water. Garnish with a few cranberries!

Notes
These can easily be made non-acoholic – just skip the rum for the kids and designated drivers!

Source: We are Not Martha



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