Are you searching for a last-minute decor idea for your table or tree this Christmas?? Come on by and check out this super easy one that will have your home looking (and smelling) fantastic in just minutes!!

A gorgeous set of orange pomanders

A gorgeous set of orange pomanders

If you haven’t heard of orange pomanders before be assured they are amazing and you’ll love them! I remember seeing them and hearing about them from my Grandma and her friends. I’ve seen gorgeous photos of them all over the web and have always wanted to make some. So this year we decided to give them a try! And they were so easy and fun for the whole family to make!!

The joy of creating!

The joy of creating!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Oranges (clementines, tangerines, etc.)
Whole cloves

orange and cloves

Optional:
Toothpicks or other sharp tool
3 Tbs. ground cinnamon
3 Tbs. ground cloves
3 Tbs. ground nutmeg
3 Tbs. ground ginger
3 Tbs. orris root powder (dried and ground root of certain iris’ used as a fixative) ¬†Although I have a couple sitting in my office that are a couple of years old and had no fixative used and they still smell great!

Directions:
1. Pick out orange with good solid rind. I picked up a bag of Cuties the other day and not only were they delicious but just the right size for little hands.
2. Decide what pattern or design you’d like to make. You can draw it on beforehand or just ‘wing it’ and see where your imagination takes you! (Anyone else like the idea of planning when it comes to crafty projects – but secretly you’d rather just see what happens?) :) If you are going to hang it sometimes it’s easier to attach the ribbon or thread before you start placing the cloves.

Hole poked with toothpick pre-clove

Hole poked with toothpick pre-clove

3. If your orange rind isn’t too tough you can simply push them through the rind by hand in whatever design you like. If it’s too tough or your little ones need some help you can use a toothpick or other piercing device to make a small hole so that the clove pushes in more easily.

Tiny hand pushing in clove

Tiny hand pushing in clove

(or if your kids are anything like my helper, they may just enjoy playing with the toothpicks!)

Concentrating hard on her craft!

Concentrating hard on her craft!

Be careful as the whole cloves can be very sharp. My fingers have built up a tolerance from all of the cloves that we use here in the shop though. Here are a few examples of some designs that the tiniest Spice Grove and I came up with!

4. Step back and enjoy your work!
5. Let the orange dry for 2-3 weeks in a dry place. A sunny window is the perfect place! If you want you can let it dry in a delicious spice mix of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and orris root powder. The mix will add an even more delicious smell to your beautiful orange. If you do this last step, just turn the orange in the spice mix every day or so, so that it gets coated evenly. (Sadly I don’t have any photos of this last step as I was too anxious to get this post done and share it with you!

Pomander display in a deep vase

Pomander display in a deep vase

Have fun with it and get creative! Remember there is no wrong way to make these! They will look (and smell) gorgeous in a simple bowl on your holiday table or hanging on your tree! The beauty is they will last for years!! If you’re really prepared you could have these made up early and give them as gifts for the Holidays. I’d love to see photos if anyone tries these out!

Our smiley face and toothpick pomander!  He may just be my favorite!

Our smiley face and toothpick pomander! He may just be my favorite!

I know there are only 6 days until Christmas – but I wish you peace and joy this wonder filled week before Christmas! Take time to enjoy and see the little miracles!

Blessings friends,

CharlotteCharlotte

Oatmeal Breakfast CookiesIt’s that time of the Season again – to bring out the yummy treats filled with chocolate and candy and all sorts of deliciousness! While we will some some of these treats this year, I’ve tried to find some healthy desserts that we can all enjoy this Christmas! (without the guilt!) :)

Check out these amazingly quick and easy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies I found on the MyFitnessPal blog! With only 3 ingredients, they only took me 5 minutes to make and it smelled like fresh chocolate chip cookies baking in the kitchen! Let’s get started…

Ingredients for Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients for Breakfast Cookies

You’ll need:
1 mixing bowl
1 baking sheet

2 medium ripe bananas
1 cup of uncooked Quick Oats
1/4 cup Dark Chocolate Chips

optional:
You can also use 1/4 cup nuts, raisins, or whatever you can think of!!

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
3. Combine oats and bananas in the bowl. Fold in chocolate chips.

Mix all ingredients

Mix all ingredients

Cookies on sheet4. Drop by Tablespoon onto cookie sheet. (I usually get 15-16 cookies)
5. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool and enjoy!! (although they are best warm!!)

Now, I want to be completely honest here – I’m not the biggest banana fan ever. I know they are so good for you, but I really have to be in the mood for one and I really don’t like banana flavored things at all! Imagine my shock when these DIDN’T have an overwhelming banana flavor! The next time I make them, I’m going to try adding some cinnamon – because what isn’t improved with a bit of cinnamon?? :)
Now I’m not saying that these will replace my favorite Cowboy cookies from Grandma’s recipe – but they are definitely something I can have on hand on a regular basis and NOT feel guilty about having a couple! Are you ready for the best part? 2 of them are only 96 calories!!!!!

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

If you are looking for some more Holiday recipes make sure and check out our homemade Cinnamon Applesauce and our delicious ‘Pumpkin Footballs.’Also check out our Grandma’s Potato Rolls recipe that we use to make cinnamon rolls or monkey bread for Christmas morning each year!

Cinnamon rolls rising and cooling

Cinnamon rolls rising and cooling

I hope that this Holiday Season finds you having fun mixing and stirring in your kitchen with your loved ones! Enjoy this new Breakfast Cookie this December and feel good about eating cookies!!

Christmas Blessings to you friends,

CharlotteCharlotte

Today I wanted to share an easy and very inexpensive DIY gift you can make for your kids for Christmas! Or use this as an awesome craft to do with your kids this Holiday Season!

The finished spiced Playdough!

The finished spiced Playdough!

I first found this play-dough recipe over at The Modest Mom Blog. She has so many great ideas for DIY crafts! I wanted to ‘spice’ up the play-dough though as presents for our girls this Christmas, so a few tweaks and I ended up with some amazingly fragrant play-dough! It’s great for all the senses. And I made 2 batches so there won’t be any arguing over the sets!! (fingers crossed on that)

Here is what you’ll need.

~Jars – plastic or glass depending on the age of your kiddo’s. I really wanted to use some recycled glass jars I had, but my 2 yr. old still drops a lot of things so we went with plastic ones this year. Here are some I found at Michaels for $6.99 for a 4 pack. With a 40% off coupon they wouldn’t be bad at all!!
~Saucepan
~Labels if desired. These FREE printables were also on The Modest Mom’s Blog or get creative and make some of your own!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients:
1 cup of flour
1 cup of water
1/3 cup of salt
2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 Tbsp. canola oil
Food Coloring (I’d love to try this with natural food coloring sometime but I wanted our girls to get to see that so I’ll save that for later!)

Spices for fragrance

Spices for fragrance

Optional:
1/4-1/2 tsp. of one or more of the following spices, according to how strong you want the fragrance.
Cinnamon
cloves
nutmeg
allspice
ginger
orange peel (dehydrated)

Directions:
1. Put all ingredients in the saucepan. I added my spices and food coloring after I cooked the initial recipe as I wanted different spices/colors for my little jars but if you are making a big batch I would just add the spices and food coloring in at this point too.

Mix all ingredients together.

Mix all ingredients together.

2. Heat at a medium low temperature until the play-dough forms a ball. (roughly about 3 min.) Make sure to stir the ENTIRE time. (This isn’t a ‘walk away’ recipe!! :))

Play-dough formed in a ball at the end of cooking.

Play-dough formed in a ball at the end of cooking.

3. Put the ball on some wax paper to cool for a bit.

Cooling on wax paper

Cooling on wax paper

4. When it’s cool enough knead into a ball (if you already have spices and coloring in it) or divide it into smaller portions for your jars. This recipe made 8 little golf ball size portions for me which fit perfectly into my little jars. If you need some ideas to your creative juices flowing here are some scents and color combos that I did this time!

Divided playdough - ready to scent and color

Divided playdough – ready to scent and color

~red – allspice
~yellow – nutmeg
~green – cloves
~brown – cinnamon
~orange – orange peels and ginger
~pink – unscented
~blue – unscented
~purple – unscented

Have fun and get creative!

Have fun and get creative!

Finished playdough with labels

Sorry about the wrinkles…..I just couldn’t wait to show you all how cute they turned out!! They smoothed out nicely though after they dried!

Have fun and get creative with your spices and colors! Pair the playdough with a couple of cute little cookie cutters for an adorable gift set! I’d love to see pictures if you decide to try this spiced playdough recipe! (By the way it’s really fun to let the kids help with this – I was just making this batch for a Christmas surprise so the girls didn’t get to help with this one!)

I hope you are having a blessed Holiday Season friends!
Blessings,
Charlotte
Charlotte

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