Want to create a really cute and inexpensive holiday gift? I made these little beauties for my sons’ caregivers at daycare. They’re made from empty Starbucks mocha glasses (cleaned and sanitized of course). I washed them in hot water to remove the label and the gunk that adhered it. Then I filled them with holiday chocolates (mini Hershey’s bars).

To create the Santa Bottle, you’ll need scissors, paper, a printer, a glue stick, clear tape, aluminum foil, thin cardboard (like a cereal box), ribbon, and construction paper (red, white and black). Step 1: Trim out a strip of red construction paper. You’ll want it to be about 2.25″ wide by 8.5″ long. Wrap this around your empty bottle and adhere with a strip of clear tape at the back (have the back of your bottle be the side where they’ve printed the use by date). Step 2: Trim out a piece of white construction paper, approximately .5″ wide by 2.25″ tall. Using the glue stick, adhere it on top of the red band (vertically oriented). Step 3: Trim out a strip of black construction paper, .5″ wide by 8.5″ long. Wrap this around the bottle, adhering it with a glue stick. Step 4: Cut out a small, square piece of  thin cardboard. I used an empty cereal box that I cut up. My square was about 2 inches square. Cut out a smaller square inside the cardboard square. My smaller square is about .75″ square. Then I wrapped the entire thing with aluminum foil, just like a Christmas present. I used a sharp exacto blade to trim out the inside to create that hole in the middle of the buckle. Step 5: I printed out the “Ho Ho Ho” label that i created in photoshop and glued it onto the top of the lid with a gluestick. You can download the free printable HERE. After that, I just tied a bit of red ribbon around the neck of the bottle and filled the bottles with the chocolates. Super easy and super cute!

So I’ve been MIA. Suffice it to say that some things got crossed off my to-do list. December is always a hectic month, but I have missed posting. Hopefully now that things have calmed down a bit, I can post more. Yay! At any rate, here’s one thing that I’ve been up to lately:

Caregiver gifts for my boys’ counsellors at their daycare. One of his teachers is moving back to the states at the end of this week so I had to get them finished. I think that they turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself. They’re made from the drink carrier thing (cardboard) that comes with the starbucks mochas that you can buy in any grocery store. I wrapped the box with some cute wrapping paper that I had on hand, stuffed it full of goodies (more on that later) and wrapped the whole thing in clear cellophane tied with some twine and a gift tag. Drake and Lincoln loved giving them to their teachers and I think the teachers loved receiving them. Some of the goodies inside the basket include a snowman Hershey’s bar, a giftcard, chocolates, and an empty mocha jar filled with popcorn kernels.

I also included a packet of popcorn seasoning. Mmm ranch popcorn…

I turned one of the empty Starbucks mocha bottles into a Santa jar and filled them with Hershey’s holiday chocolates. They turned out too cute! Tutorial coming soon.

Another overall view of my fun caregiver baskets. I’m so glad that the teachers enjoyed them. I wanted them to know that I appreciate what they do day in, day out for my kiddoes.

Want to see what a Christmas tree decorated by one toddler and one preschooler looks like? Of course you do!

That’s right. Four ornaments on the same single branch and my “love” ornament backwards to where it looks like it reads, “eval.” It was decorated with love by four little hands and it’s absolutely perfect.

I’m in the process of creating a gift basket of sorts to give to all of Drake and Lincoln’s preschool caregivers (I’ll post it later once I have all the parts assembled). Anyway, one part of it is a Hershey’s chocolate bar wrapped up like a snowman, which of course I totally stole from was inspired by a pin on pinterest.

Too cute, right? It’s not exactly like the pin but I like my take on it. I think it would have looked even cuter if I had some black round brads for the mouth and eye dots, but alas the craft supplies in Germany are sorely lacking.

To create this incredibly simple snowman wrapped Hershey’s bar, you’ll need sheets of white paper (I used cheap printer paper), a pipe cleaner, clear tape, orange construction paper, glue, a black pen, three scrapbook brads and of course a Hershey’s chocolate bar.

What You’ll Do:Cut a sheet of standard US paper into half, while holding it landscape orientation, cut top to bottom. Each sheet of paper will make two snowmen. Place your Hershey’s bar on top of the piece of paper to get an idea of where the middle is. Once you have the middle, punch three brads into the paper right in the middle for the buttons. Then draw in two eyes up top and five dots for the mouth. You could conversely use small black round brads, but I had none. Cut a triangle from orange construction paper for the nose, and glue it onto the face. Lastly, wrap a pipecleaner “scarf” around the chocolate bar, meeting up the ends in the front just off-center. Let each end hang down to be the ends of the scarf and trim as necessary. That’s it! Very easy and very cute.

This past weekend our little city had a Christmas market. I love European Christmas markets and since this one was within walking distance, we of course had to go. This year it was about a third the size of the one last year so I’m not sure what was going on, but we still had lots of fun.

This is the far end of the fair, as you’re walking along the main road.  The town square with its Christmas tree A typical booth. There were several food vendors, along with clothing and home decor booths but the selection was much more slim compared to last year unfortunately. I also just randomly snapped photos because I felt like a creeper taking photos of people’s merchandise. A small four man band played holiday classics. They also played some oompah type music that Germany and Bavaria are famous for. No, I’m not sure it’s called oompah music, but that’s what I’m going with since that’s what it sounds like they were playing. Drake’s favorite part of any fair: the rides!

He even got to go twice, this time Link’s in the back of the fire engine, crying. He was tired, poor little fella. The weird part about this fire truck is that it’s supposedly American (see the words in English) and also the Texas license plate? Certainly doesn’t look like a Texas license plate to me, but you have to give it to the Germans; atleast they tried to make it look Texan with the cowboy.

Yummy and adorable Santa Claus gingerbread cookies. We also tried to get a decent photo of the family in front of a Christmas tree in the town hall. Unfortunately this is the best that we came up with.  Yeah, it was that bad. One tired toddler, two balloons that kept getting in the way, and a headstrong preschooler does not make a great photo opportunity. And I’m also wearing my son’s hat rather than carrying it along since he decided not to wear it. Oh well. Atleast we had a great time, even if we don’t have photos of us enjoying it together. Hope you had a wonderful weekend too!

This week’s You Capture theme hosted by Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry is Blue. With two little boys in this house, you’d think I’d have an overkill of blue. But alas, the photo that I settled on has very little blue in it at all. It’s mainly orange in fact. But the fact that it’s next to the blue and they’re complementary colors I think makes it pop more. It’s the last hurrah of fall around here. I took this almost a week ago and already the leaves (and the color) are gone. It’s starting to look a lot like winter over here.

Gone are the days of the baseball diamond (until next spring of course). Now it’s all about football, hot cocoa, and snow sledding. Well, we’re still waiting on that first snow but I suspect it’ll be any day now.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know I have way too many blessings in my life to give voice to, but I am thankful every day for my life.