Life, holidays, and simple handmade gifts

In case you were on pins and needles wondering what happened to us…we’re alive!  And finally healthy.  And getting ready for a Texas Christmas.

We had a great Thanksgiving holiday at the kids’ schools (construction paper pies were Owen’s idea.  And for a very thoughtful and interesting conversation about the boys below celebrating Native American Culture, read the many comments shared on my Instagram HERE).

And I had planned to make our Thanksgiving feast a few days early, share some fun pictures with you, with links to festive recipes, etc.
But then like most of you, Life had a different to-do list.

Lucy came down with pneumonia, then Clara’s tummy went bonkers, then she fell on the cement stairs, then Owen and I had stomach flu for a few days.  And the only “blogging” I could get in was instagram (find me @danamadeit)
Here we go from sick, to semi-sick, to better:

But for this week, the whole family is healthy! Hooray!  I have a real appreciation for you moms who have to visit the doctor often with sick kiddos.  Be strong and keep doing what you’re doing.  Your mama bear instincts and love are impressive.

Now that life is normal, it’s time for Christmas!
And this time I’m gonna be ahead of the game.
The tree is up and decorated, the Noel pillow and candy canes are out, and I just pulled out the books for our Christmas Book Advent Calendar (click the link for a list of books to get you started)

With one (busy) month till Christmas, don’t fret.  There’s still time to make handmade gifts and bake up a storm.  I’ve added more links to the SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS (which you can always find at the top of the blog under the SERIES button)

Pajama Pants, Pillowcases, Placemat Aprons, and some easy gift wrap ideas (cause who doesn’t love a pom-pom that you make with your hands?  No little gadget necessary)

Here are some links to get you started:

And now for some yummy eats.
Last year we shared an entire month of SWEETS AND TREATS (also found under the SERIES tab at the top of the blog).  I know you don’t want to forget about that 3 minute, 3 ingredient fudge by V and Co.  And the toffee crunch remix I tested.  Mmmm.

Or, need a Never Fail Pie Crust?  If pie making intimidates you put the fear aside!  This recipe is super easy and works every time.

Then fill her up with Lemon Cream, Pumpkin, or your favorite berry.

We’ve got Gingerbread Softies, Pear and Blackberry Crisp, Candy Crunch Yams, Chocolate Tangerine Bars, Sweet Granola by Delia Creates and a whole lot more.

If you haven’t made dinner yet, just skip on down to dessert and click a link:

And that’s enough info to last a few months.
I hope your family is healthy and happy!   See you tomorrow!

  1. So glad to hear you all are feeling better. Looks like you are ready for the holidays!

  2. Yay!! I love your holiday stuff!! So glad you’re feeling better, sounds like a very rough time! 🙁

  3. I’ve been feeling blah the last few days- sick kiddos here too as well as just anxiety over the season- and you completely inspired me in one blog post! I’m going to start getting Christmas goodies out and just enjoy the season! Thanks Dana!

  4. Oh you poor things! No fun. Good to hear you’re all well again.
    Eek… you’ve just reminded me how much I want to make for Christmas presents. I’d better get a wriggle on!

  5. 5) Kell

    Glad to hear everyone is feeling better. My friend’s daughter was sick this past weekend with the stomach bug & ear ache. When she called school on monday to let them know her daughter wouldn’t be in she was told quite a few kids were also called in sick with the same thing.

    Just to let you know the link above the picture for the Never Fail Pie Crust sent me to the 3 ingredient fudge.

  6. 6) fern

    thanks for a fantastic post of links today! so happy everyone is healthy again! time to get busy making some fantastic homemade gifts and treats!

  7. Great roundup! Glad you are all doing well. Mine have been rolling through the sick loop lately but not too bad. I’ve loved the Instagram but it’s great to see it in big blog too!

  8. Your poor baby! So sad. Glad to hear that all of your kids are healthy again. 🙂

  9. 9) Sarah K.

    Wow! I think you just caught up in one post – that must have taken ages to put together! I’m glad you’re all healthy again – its no fun to be sick during the holidays. 🙁

  10. wow, now that’s a packed with punch post! everything looks so yummy and pretty. Glad you guys are feeling better, man, that’s a rough patch!

  11. Starting our holiday decorating tomorrow and my son is so excited. There’s so much to do but I am going to try to enjoy it all as much as possible. Great post.

  12. 12) debbie

    I have been trying to get started making all my Christmas gifts for the last month, but life just keeps happening. I am going to spend the whole day with my sewing machine, but I may need to take a break to make one or two of those recipes.

  13. 14) evitafjord

    I love, love, love the Never Fail pie crust recipe. I even made one pie crust with beautiful edges, for the first time ever. I have it saved as a pdf on my Kindle now and it will forever be the recipe I use. THANK YOU!!!

  14. 15) Shelly

    I agree on the pie crust recipe!! I’ve always enjoyed making pie crusts, but they were less than predictable. I love how quick and easy this one is! I used one for an apple pie (recipe from the Pioneer Woman. Delicious!!) and now I have 3 more just waiting in the freezer. Thank you!!
    And thank you for continuing to do such a wonderful blog!! I love the pics, projects, and just your up-beat tone. It always makes me feel lighter.

  15. 16) Tracy

    What a great list. I can’t believe all the things you’ve done over the years! Thanks for taking the time to remind me and give me some great ideas. Glad to hear your family is feeling better. Mine is too!

  16. Best wishes to you all. Glad you are all on the mend. X

  17. Poor Clara… bit of a M. Tyson look there ;)… hope you are all better…

  18. Looking forward to a fun time tomorrow wrapping our little boys advent books!

  19. 20) jodie

    Hi Dana, sorry to hear your poppets were unwell, nothing worse than sick kids. Except when you get it and you still have to solider on! hope all is well now and your looking forward to Christmas,
    cheers jodie

  20. 21) Lisa

    I thought I’d found a GREAT new resource in your blog, with the recipes and the sewing and crafts, UNTIL… Your picture of the children dressed as “Indians.”
    Don’t you realize that it’s horribly racist and mocks an entire culture to make costumes such as that? Do you dress them in “Blackface” for Halloween as well? Are these the values you want to teach your children???

    • 22) Dana

      Actually I addressed a very interesting conversation about this when I first posted that photo on my Instagram asking everyone to share their thoughts on that, because I questioned whether it was offensive or not. I was not asking my child to mock the Native American culture. They were not painting their faces black and pretending to actually be another race. Instead, they are celebrating the native American culture and learning about the role they played in that first Thanksgiving.
      I actually had many readers of Native American decent say they were happy to see the boys learning about history. Feel free to read all the comments here:

      I hope you can see past a touchy subject that I was brave enough to approach, to enjoy a site filled with crafts and helpful ideas.

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