Happy 2013, everyone! I had been meaning to have this post done earlier, but somehow didn’t have the time. So although it’s a little delayed, here’s a quick post on a Christmas craft project Chip and I did for family gifts and as well as some of our holiday decor this year.
Last year, Chip and I baked two different types of bread and mailed them out to family as a gift. It was fun, but definitely wore out our little oven and also meant our families had to eat the bread pretty quickly after receiving so they would get to enjoy it before it went bad. This year, we decided to do a small variation based on an idea I saw on Pinterest. Instead of mailing out already baked bread, we decided it would be fun to layer all of the ingredients in decorated mason jars to send out. This also had the benefit of allowing our families to bake the bread whenever they chose since the packaged ingredients have a three month shelf-life.
First things first, we had to choose which bread we wanted to send. After doing some searching on Pinterest, we found a chocolate oatmeal bread that looked promising. We tested it out ourselves and liked it, so the decision was made pretty easily. Next, Chip went to Costco and bought our ingredients in bulk to be cost efficient. It was pretty entertaining to see him come home with huge bags of flour, sugar, oatmeal and chocolate chips! We next went to Hobby Lobby and bought just about all of the mason jars they had in stock… Hope they didn’t mind!
We got to work one Saturday morning and tried out a first mason jar to see how we should best layer the ingredients. That’s when we hit a roadblock. The site I found from Pinterest said to use a one-quart mason jar. However, there was a total of five cups worth of ingredients. That’s more than one quart. Fail. We tried super compressing the ingredients to see if we could somehow defy the laws of matter and get the five cups to fit into one quart, but that didn’t work… shoot. While I was starting to get flustered that our gift idea was going to go to waste and that we had bought 14 mason jars for nothing, practical Chip spoke up and reassured me that it would not be tacky to send a smaller one-cup jar along with the mason jar. Problem solved. So Chip went off to Hobby Lobby to get some small jars while I re-packed our first mason jar. By the time Chip came back, I had decided which way I wanted to sort the ingredients so they could look as cute as possible. Before I could get started on the second jar, however, Chip stepped in proving that his efficiency minded personality is valuable. He (politely) bumped me out of the kitchen and set up an assembly line of bowls full of all of the ingredients for this bread. Chip then worked on the first two ingredients for each jar and passed them on to me as he finished them so I could then add in the next two ingredients before we switched again. This helped us work so much faster; so thankful for the ways his mind works differently from mine! I’m not sure how long it took us to finish, but it was a surprisingly smooth process.
Chip’s assembly line
Chip working on the mason jars
With the jars filled and ready, I then cut the fabric I bought at JoAnn’s and fitted them over the tops to make them look a little more festive. I then filled out some labels from Hobby Lobby with the steps on how to bake the bread. We then divided up the jars and shipped them off! They all successfully reached their destinations before Christmas (nice job, mail system) and we’ve heard lots of sweet compliments from our family (although lots of the ingredients did get jumbled up despite how tightly we did each layer… boo). We hope everyone has (or will!) enjoyed this gift!
Baking instructions on the back of the jars
Since this was only our second Christmas as a married couple, our Christmas decorations are still a little sparse. We buy a little something new every year, so I know we’ll slowly build our supply of holiday decorations. Here’s a glimpse of what we had up this year in addition to our Christmas tree and wreath on our front door.
Simple centerpiece on our dining table
back when we were dating, Chip got me a basket of Christmas candle tumblers; it didn’t take him long to realize my love for the holidays! The little snowman is from our day at Clay Casa last year when we decorated a few ornaments together.
Decorations on our wine cart
Reindeer candle holders on our TV stand
This year, we decided to display our Christmas cards on a mini-clothesline in one of our kitchen windows. This is another idea from Pinterest (what would we do without that site?!) and I love how it adds color to our kitchen and let’s us see all of this year’s pictures.
This year’s Christmas cards
Below is the awesome chalkboard tray Haley made for us as a Christmas gift. We love it! It’s definitely going to stay in our kitchen with different notes on it throughout the year. Behind the chalkboard tray is a candle holder we’ve been looking for forever to hold our wine corks (found it at Kirkland’s). We like saving our wine corks and writing on them with the date and event (like our birthday dinner at Fralo’s, etc.), so we may need to get another one of these candle holders!
Chalkboard from Haley
Lovely Christmas cards from friends and family