Thursday, December 25, 2008

Snuck In Some Stamping Even on the 24th!

Merry Christmas! The flurry of wrapping paper and bows is over here, being that we open presents on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day has always been more of the "Peace on Earth" sort of day in our family, a welcome relief since, like usual, getting all the packages and holiday goodies ready was a push right up to the end!

Those of you with older children in the family know how opening gifts just isn't quite the same as when the kids were little. Big-kid wish lists come with BIG price tags, resulting in a rather small number of packages to be opened. I usually try to find a few goofy little things to add to that one "gotta have it" item, just so I can see a glimmer of that "excited 4 year old" Christmas joy from years past. And I stamped my way to accomplishing that this year!

Part of the excitement of presents is that anticipation: "Who's getting that big box? What is rattling in that package? Could that be the ______ I really wanted?" I used to forego gift tags, just to keep everyone wondering, but I seem to have a harder time remembering what's in each box, so I can't do THAT anymore!! This year, I "coded" the gift tags, assigning a (stamped) number to each family member. It was then their job to figure out the significance of the numbers so they knew which packages belonged to them--because I told them they couldn't open anything until they figured it out! My plan worked beautifully!! It took them all a couple hours of thinking to crack the code, keeping them in "anticipation mode" for just about the right amount of time! They played "20 questions" with me right through dinner and kept thinking that I had invented some complex math problem for them to solve, when really the "code" was just the last digit of each of their cell phone numbers!

My other stamping project for the 24th pulled some "old friends" off the shelves of my retired stamp collection: "Espress Yourself" and "Alphabet Attitude Numbers." One of the kids' favorite treats while on their Christmas break ski trip is chocolate-covered espresso beans that they can get from a gumball machine in the warming house, so I decided to supply them with some quarters for their treats. I had wanted to put the quarters in spring-loaded Chuck E. Cheese token holders, just because I knew seeing those again would put a smile on their faces, but alas, even Chuck E. Cheese has come into the technology age! Tokens have been replaced with cards with magnetic strips! So I had to invent a "plan B." Mini M & M canisters to the rescue! I stamped some cardstock with coffee beans and filled in the blank spots by repeatedly writing "Time for a break" with marker. Used the dollar sign from the numbers set to decorate the lid and adhered it all with Sticky Strip. (LOVE that stuff!) "Laminated" the stamping with some clear packing tape and the canister was ready to fill. Unfortunately, there's far more room for quarters in an M & M container than a Chuck E. Cheese token holder, so I rolled up some singles (for hot chocolate) so the quarters wouldn't give themselves away during the "what could be in here?" process.

I'm happy to report that both teens thought these were pretty cool! Erik seemed impressed that I had hand-written all the "Take A Break" lines! ("No, honey, I don't have a stamp for that.")

Stamping wasn't the only creative thing happening on Christmas Eve day. We started somewhat of a new tradition by making our Christmas Eve dinner an appetizer buffet. Everyone selected one or two of their favorite appetizer recipes and we got cookin'! Melissa requested mini white-chocolate cheesecakes for dessert--and then proceeded to make them! She frosted them and added some festive red sugar sprinkles. It's a good thing I took a picture--because it sure didn't take long for everyone to register their seal of approval and empty the plate!

I hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends!

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