Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love
of kindred, and we are better throughout the year
for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas time."
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

Don't forget to leave out the Reindeer food!
The glitter will glisten & help Santa and his reindeer find your house,
and the smell of oats will guide them:0)

And I know you've heard this one before.....
Wishing everyone a happy end to 2012 and a positive, enlightened, energized, loved, full of health, happiness, and laugh till your belly hurts 2013:)
Happy Trails to the New Year:)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Tree

Christmas tree your here....(actually a couple of days ago).
And it was sooo fun picking you out!.......

Every year, we enjoy the great experience of picking our tree at Fry's Farm.
Located just a couple miles up the road, they've restructured old buildings into a little town right on the property. It's a true visit back in time as you walk through a school house, post office, a farm, & various specialty shops. Our favorite is not only the honey, but the wonderful handmade toys.
I share with you, a little bit of our visit, the tree, & one of the coolest interactive musical sculptures.
Everyone is playing with it:)



Picture taken through a hole in the door.
Our Tree! Oh how we love you!!!


Isn't she just gorgeous? I love that every piece tells a story.
The girls had such a blast decorating. They loved re-finding ornaments they've made
and one's received as presents.
Now.... If I can only stop procrastinating and finish shopping for gifts!

On another note: We've had a busy December so far and it's going to stay this way well into February. What do think about seven birthdays, New Year's, & two Christmas' wrapped up in less than two months? That's why I call it the mother load of timing. Posts will slow down as I attempt to savor our free time with family and what's left of 2012. But I assure you, there's more goodies I have in store for The Mint Needle & I can't wait to tell you all about them! From new products to new projects we'll have so much to talk about! Until then.....
Don't forget to check out Clementine & Clove every once in awhile for more yummy recipes. This time of year, we can pull out some of the best! 

Happy Trails:)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lovely Pomanders

Pomander - a ball or bag made of perfumes; an early form of aromatherapy.

Winter is one of the best times of year to do projects and crafts galore. From handmade ornaments to cookies and garland,  I've decided to keep the Christmas cheer going at our home with the historical and wondrous smelling homemade potpourri!
For this, you'll need some clementines and cloves. (I cannot believe I'm going to say this, but I actually remember making these in grade school.) They smell super delicious and are great to use as ornaments or car & room fresheners.
Start off with a couple clementines and poke them with the ends of cloves. Make sure to use enough cloves. You want a little citrus juice to leak out. After you got your design and 'dots' in place, put them in a Ziploc bag that's filled with cinnamon & give them a good shake. Take your divine smelling fruit out and wrap them in burlap, netting, cheesecloth, or unused hosiery. For our project, I used 3-5 pieces of cream netting and tied them with a thin ribbon. It's a simple project to do with your little ones and it leaves your home smelling like bliss!
It's a sure thing you'll want to make every year!

~On another note~
Or shall I say, speaking of....
 I'm inviting all of you to check out a sister site called Clementine & Clove. Created by my lovely sister & me, it's all about family & food! Soo... stop in, take a peak,
& we hope you enjoy:)
Happy Trails:)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's Gingerbread Cookies!

Hip, Hip, Hooray for gingerbread cookies! The house is filled with an amazing bubble of cloves, cinnamon, & ginger. Today, I'm sharing with you one of my favorite recipes from Taste of Home. Tried & true for many years, here's how it goes!

~ 3/4 cup butter
~ 1 cup packed brown sugar
~ 3/4 cup molasses
~ 1 egg
~ 4 cups flour
~ 2 teaspoons ginger
~ 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
~ 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
~ 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix your butter & brown sugar until it's whipped to a fluffy cream. Then, add the remainder of your ingredients. When your dough has formed, I like to place it in saran wrap. I don't like to leave it in a bowl covered...because I do believe it dries out....a smidgen. Refrigerate it for a couple hours. The recipe calls for 4, but we've been getting away with two:)

We roll our dough into tons of shapes, making sure to poke holes at the top to use some as ornaments for our tree. You could do this by using a straw. It's the perfect size and the dough is always removed. Bake at 350 for 8-10 mins. You'll just love them!

Happy Trails:)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Festive Garland, or Two

December, how you come so quickly..... And where is all that snow?
The decorations are slowly make their way out of storage. The warm weather in Ohio has made cutting a tree down not that fun. Am I really gonna say it? We need snow! We are holding out for one, or two more weeks & praying for white. I just can't picture getting our tree without the usual fun of ice cold hands, snow packed boots, and hot chocolate on the way home. Plus, our tree must last well into the new year to celebrate our Orthodox Christmas on January 7th. By the 8th, usually the tree is parched with bristles galore decorating the floor of our family room which was held warm and cozy by a non-stop woodburning stove. So today, I'm sharing with you one of the little ways we get the spirit of things moving in the home, besides Santa's and stockings. 
Here's a project I made with my little Kindergartner. It helped practice working with scissors, tracing, and of course, aesthetics.
Take a look at our Gingerbread boy and girl garland!
We got some printables from the Internet.
Cut them out and trace onto cardstock or scrapbooking paper. I finally got to use my heirloom cardstock from K*I Memories. It's beautiful! However, it's not double sided, and that would be the best way to go.

I cut them out, and we made little skirts and bows for the boys and girls.

I made a small slit on the hands and joined them together with small metal brads.

The ends were finished with a hole punch and two coordinating ribbons measuring 10inches.

This is a great project for kids with endless possibilities. Just for a thought, the bow ties could've been replaced with real ribbon ~ cut outs for eyes, hair and boots would be adorable. Our garland turned to two when we came across a star printout as well. We decided to join those together with ribbon instead of the brads. My little helper did a great job tracing and cutting stars and ribbon. This decoration is sure to last through the years.
Now...moving onto gingerbread cookies or muffins? You'll have to wait and see!
Happy Trails!