Sunday, December 11, 2016

Christmas Flakes, Pops, and Cookies!

This year, occupants of the kids' table at Grandma's Annual Christmas Cookie Baking Party will nestle beneath a magical indoor blizzard, munch up a storm, and snap with a bang!

"Whaaaaat?" you wonder. "Sure it's not grandma who's finally 'snapped' amidst a flurry of seasonal frenzy?"

Well, fortunately, there are several ways to accomplish what I've just described. And for the record, I'm still a tiny bit sane - at least for the moment!

A 24" diameter round table will seat three children, aged two to six, for the occasion. I love candle lit ambiance, kiddie-sized servings, and party favors galore! I also insist upon a "ring for immediate service" bell so no mini-need goes unmet. Yes, I enjoy sipping my Mistletoe Martini at the nearby adult table, but my heart is really with the munchkins - an arm's reach away!

That small table I described was just begging to be surrounded with yards and yards of filmy red netting cascading from a hula hoop suspended from the ceiling, hung from a stick-on hook that I hope grandpa never notices! (Not a fan of deliberately inflicted wall/ceiling holes and/or stickiness, is he!)

Here's what the kiddies will experience when they sit down to dinner, kicking off an evening of family holiday fun. I've written step-by-step instructions for making the simple table tent here. It wasn't that expensive either. Those pretty, delicate snowflakes are from Dollar Tree, and that beckoning gold bell emerged from an ages old box of Christmas craft goodies. But quite frankly, it's the party crackers you see in the bowl here that I'm most excited about!

A dozen years ago, I passed out "authentic" British crackers at Christmas dinner, instructing family to have a "bang up" time. I'd purchased those the year before, on clearance, after the holidays. (They're kind of expensive.) But what a success! Everyone teamed up to firmly grasp one end of a snapper and pull. With a distinctive POP! the cracker "exploded" with a rush of fun - a party crown, a small prize, and a cute joke to share, setting a festive tone for the evening. We're a lively bunch, so our family doesn't really need "ice breakers," but if any of you do.......!

I've been thinking about crackers ever since then. Dying to make my own. But the best part - the snapper - was something I couldn't find, at least not locally. Yet here I am today - loaded with an explosion of fun in the form of a dozen customized, home made crackers! Olde English Crackers supplies not only finished delights, but the ingredients we creative spirits need to make our own.

And wait! There's more!

The site has an engaging tutorial that sees you through every step of the making process. From there, you'll construct with confidence - or launch your own version. My favors increase the size to 2.5" - extra room for a doting grandma to cram in more cute toys and candy! And I customized what the adults will find too - cash and an instant lottery ticket.

But there's still more! I'll include cute Christmas jokes from a charming set (29 of them!) I've found here on Lisa's Grandma's Briefs blog. That list includes: "What falls a lot at the North Pole and never gets hurt?" Hmmmm.....snow? Each cracker will also be stuffed with gold foil chocolate coins - and confetti stars that should keep six family cats busy for days! Something for everybody in these tidy little packages!

Once we've munched and snapped, we'll visit crafty stations I'll set up - tables for printing Christmas tree and snowman feet, reindeer and Santa face hands. These will enjoy a quick turn around as gifts for paternal grand (and great-grand) parents. I have a stash of frames and hand cut craft paper mats ready to go. In a matter of seconds, they'll be personalized and wrapped for delivery!

While Mrs. Grandma-Claus busies herself with that task, and before we get into frosting trays and trays of sugary stars and bells and good ole Santa himself, the kids will play a game or two with parents, cousins, aunts and uncles - Christmas bingo, like this one maybe, from One Creative Mommy, or an easy card game. Lots of laughs, lots of fun.....lots of smiles beneath a blizzard of snowflakes that never seem to melt despite the warming joy that family brings home to me every year when it's Christmas cookie baking time at grandma's!

This is not a sponsored post. I'm just a happy, satisfied customer of Olde English Crackers and want to share the fun!

Christmas Snowflake Tent Instructions

Nestle your Christmas kids' table beneath a flurry of snowflakes twirling inside a tent of red netting for the ultimate in cozy holiday ambiance! Here's how to construct the lightweight, easy to make project featured in this post: "Christmas Flakes, Pops, and Cookies!"

Here's what you'll need:

Approximately 10 yards of 72" wide red netting fabric*
One 26" diameter hula hoop spray painted red
Red thread and needle
Ceiling hook
Plastic snowflakes, ribbon lengths, small ornaments, bell, etc to decorate
Red and white Baker's twine or fish line to hang decorations

*Four panels of fabric are draped from the hoop. For an 8' foot ceiling, 4 x 8' = 32' divided by 3 = approximately 10 yards. The length will be adjusted by the distance the hoop is suspended from the ceiling. Current regular price per yard of netting at Hobby Lobby is $1.39.

Here's what you'll do:

1) Cut the fabric into 4 equal lengths after reserving a 6" x 72" piece for hanging strips.
2) Cut the hanging strip fabric into two 3" x 72" strips.

3) Tie one end of a 3" strip around the hoop, pull tightly across diameter and knot at opposite side. Repeat with remaining strip to divide hoop into 4 equal sections. Reserve extra strip fabric for use as hanging loop.

4) Working with one panel length at a time, staying within one quarter section, fold the edge of the 72" side over the hoop and hand sew together to enclose it in a sleeve, as shown.

One panel complete, hand sewn to hoop, inside a quarter section.

5) When all 4 sections are complete, use the scrap netting to tightly knot the crossed hanging strips together at center point and make a loop for hanging.

6) Hang the hoop and decorate tent with lightweight ornaments tied to hanging strips with twine or fish line.

You can, of course, use any color netting, but red is suitable for Valentine's Day, too. Invite your little sweeties over to enjoy tea and cookies beneath a swirl of dancing paper hearts amid twinkling battery operated lights! xxxoooxxx

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