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Archive for December, 2010

When a friend posted photos of this Christmas craft project to her Flickr stream, I instantly realized it would change my (and my kids’) entire definition of who I am. I would suddenly go from not crafty to crafty.

This, from the woman who failed to make a plaster handprint of her baby as a keepsake (though my mom was helping and we still couldn’t make it happen, so I must come by it naturally), and watched her first gingerbread house crumble like those building on the cliffy shoreline in Inception.

This craft is a winner for three reasons:

1) No need to buy anything. Just grab a stack of magazines that you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but know in your heart that you won’t (I’m looking at you, New Yorkers from 2003).

2) No need for any skill whatsoever, other than being able to fold nicely.

3) Nothing that needs to be dried, or shellacked, or glitter encrusted. Just fold for awhile — and then you’re done!

Oh, you need more detail on the how-to? (Now that I’m feeling all crafty, there might be a smidge of smug in there, too: What, you don’t know how to make a magazine Christmas tree??)

I kid.

Simple open the magazine and fold down the outside corner of the first page into a triangle:

Then fold into another triangle:


There will be a point that goes down below the magazine’s bottom edge. Fold that up, like so:


Now, simply do that for every page in the magazine:

Finally, remove the cover, tape the ends together, and: Voila! Instant Christmas cheer.

Do a few and trail them down your dining room table for a festive centerpiece, or line them up on the mantel for an added holiday touch.

If, unlike me, you’re good with a spray can, experiment with painting the trees for a more finished or unique look. I love them just like this.

I’ve finally created a Christmas decoration I’m not going to tell people my child made. Having said that, let’s just ignore the fact that this project is intended for a 6-year-old. I like this new-found feeling of craftiness, even if it does come with a side of delusion.

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It’s the time of year when folks gather in the kitchen to prepare traditional treats that only appear around the holidays.

For my family, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without peanut butter balls. Easy, delicious, and quick-to-vanish, it’s the annual treat we never quite get enough of — so we look forward to making them every December.

Peanut Butter Balls

  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 12-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips (always keep a second bag on hand, in case I need to melt a smidge more)

Combine peanut butter, butter, and vanilla by hand in a medium bowl, until relatively smooth. Add confectioners sugar, one cup at a time, and stir. As the mixture becomes stiff, switch to combining with your hands. The finished dough will be dry and crumbly, and will take a bit of work to form into small balls.

Shape the dough into balls and line up on wax paper- or parchment-lined baking sheets. My spheres are relatively small; I can fit 40 on one baking sheet, and fill 2 sheets.

Yes, that’s a lot of peanut butter balls. Your friends and family will be thrilled.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, watching carefully so chocolate doesn’t scorch.

Remove balls from refrigerator and dip into chocolate, using a spoon to roll and completely cover each peanut butter ball. Some folks prefer using a toothpick and leaving the top of the peanut butter ball bare; hence the often used name “Buckeyes.” Choose your favorite. My family loves chocolate, so the more, erm, the merrier.

Again, place on baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

You can freeze peanut butter balls or store them in the refrigerator. Warning: peanut butter balls left in the fridge tend to disappear faster.

Happy, happy! Merry, merry!

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