Quick and pretty advent candle décor

I think it is maximum 20 minutes with all together. Maybe less if you don’t have to glue. Maybe less if you choose one of my older ideas.

So first, just let’s ask the common question, that how is it Advent again? Don’t get me wrong, i am IN LOVE with this season. It is just that i clearly remember that everybody was crying over take off the decoration and now we put back?!
Ok, now that nobody has the answer we should go forward to that said candles. I mean the décor because the candles are the part of it.

The last couple of years i make simpler and simpler advent ‘wreath’ décors. It is funny that it’s still called ‘wreath’ if is about advent candles, even if we don’t put candles onto a wreath.

Anyway. I didn’t become lazy, i’ve  just become simpler. Not just in decoration, in everything. Name it getting older. I still get a shower everyday, wear clean clothes etc and care about my looking or the looking of our home (it is my job ha!), i love detailes! But i love these and do these some kind of different way. It makes me more exiting to make something so simple but ‘wow’.  And i love to use more and more natural stuff.

So  on a -i think the last- wonderful colorful Saturday we took a walk in the nearby forest -to enjoy the scene and weather of course- and to look for this and that for decoration. Thats how i came back with a basket full of moss and cute little cones. I was that lucky that i found a special looking moss – maybe what i have seen in plant nursery as a succulent?! – and i found really really little cones. Winwin!

So as you will see my older ideas at the end of my post, i followed my tradition which means:
– some box or tray
-4 simple white candles
-some green
-some other simple accesories to decorate with

and you will need some sand or little rocks if you use thin and tall candles and some glue maybe.

When we moved here abroad we could bring very little amount of things. Of course i had to declutter the most of decorations and accesories. I wanted to something other that a tray so thats why i chose this wood box which is actually an old drawer of an old sewing machine-table. (like Singer brand).

I didn’ have a proper thin-tall candle holder so i had to use a glass tea candle holder with glue and little rocks to make it unmovable. And moss and cones for decoration. Thats all!
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So first i fixed my candles’ bottom to empty tea candle cans and that is what i put into the glass tea candle holder. I needed this double step, because i didn’t want to glue the candles right onto the glass tea candle holder.

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After i put the little rocks to fix it – i had these rocks from my flower pots.
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I put the moss, not the whole in one time but taking pieces of them and arranging around the candles to make it to look nice and hide the rocks. Then jsut placed the cones. No glue or anything is needed, just push a bit harder and it will find a little place to stay in the moss.

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It was easy right?

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I need to just spray softly the moss with clear water like once a week.

And here are my older ideas which are the same simple and quick method.

Not real moss with grey beads.

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Not real moss with wood numbers.

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A little bit more, but still simple: green branches from bush, little little cones and a grey deer.
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As i used the moss, i realized that even a pot bottom would be so good as a tray, for thicker candles. Hmm maybe i will do this next year…

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Happy First Advent!

Gold-White Christmas party and Third Advent Cake

Last weekend we hosted a party for my husband’s colleagues in our home. However I was super excited and had lots of plan wanted to make it simple and as unpriced as it could be.
Succeded.
You know lots of parties are behind me and what I have learned that beside the cake (because cake is a must have in a party for me as long as paper strawes :-P ) only 2 or 3 meal is needed, no more and not much! It would be just lots of work preparing and lots of money of course and than a lots of food stay on the table.
So I chose for theme the color gold white, we made a simple decoration, which was not a big work, most of the ‘ingrediets’ were by hand. We had a super vanilla cake (gluten and dairy free) some cake pop (gf and df as well), little meatballs, a super delicious rich potato salad, star shaped salty crackers, sausage-bacon bites and some vanilla pudding. Oh and a big amount of lemonade in what I put real ginger, apple slices and lime slices. It was so good!

Oh and of course the party cake was our 3rd advent cake at the same time cause next day we had leftover of it and of course I did not have a tiny energy to bake another cake :-P

So here are the photos…

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Second Advent Cake and our tree dressed up

…and also Dec the 6th is the day in several countries – so here as well- when at the morning of 6th of December kids find little treasures in their boots. Saint Nikolaus brings them, the good kids get chocolate and nuts the bad kids potatoes or onions or coal. Of course it is totally depends on the tradition of the families, someone buy big gifts for this day…
But it was Second Advent too,  so I made another festive cake and the same time on this day we went to a family for some gathering time so I made double :-) It is a wonderful cranberry-orange roll and have to tell you, everybody loved it!
I do not type the recipe here just click and for your gluten free version I recommend that just make your usual gluten free rolls and add the cranberry-orange sauce you can read in the article.
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And what the success of this cake? The ‘meeting’ of the saure cheese cream and the sweet cranberry-orange sauce. Everybody highlighted that tasting after eating the cake that it is sooooo good. So I encourage you not to change it into mascarpone or cream, or if you have milk allergy too and for example use coconut cream, put some lemon jouice into that.
The other success of this recipe what I realized only after reading and starting to make it, that you put the rolls next to each other to make a wreath form after bake it :D. Well yeah…

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But also it was the day when we dressed up our tree. We usually set it up around Dec the 1st and leave it naked with the fairy lights. I LOVE it. I would not put ornaments this time ’cause it was our first tall and thick tree it is so beautiful with its own beauty, but the kids wanted ornaments. However we don’t have too much ornaments and it is a big tree so it is beautifully simple. Each of our ornaments has a story, we bought somewhere or got it from somebody we really love and everywhere we travel try to find a new piece so we collect them this way. Oh and everyone is white, grey, pearl, beige, or gold.
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I hope everyone had a wonderful Second Advent!

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We love the seasons: Christmas mood I.

The word Advent means waiting. It really describes the meaning of the season what we have before Christmas. Of course it is not that waiting, that we are cannot wait to get over of the whole thing, because shopping and menu planning, and oh what presents I need to buy more?!
It should not.
Thanks God I am totally over this thing already for a few years. I really can appreciate the moments we have, that I have family, a home and I can decorate my home how I want. And talking about decorating, I use less and make it simple. No harsh colors just white, beige, grey a little gold, green and maybe red. Not just because the house always seemed so empty after pulling off all the decor when I put a ton of colorful decorations, but Christmas will be Christmas also if we have just one tiny tree branch in a vase instead of a huge Christmas tree.
Of course the kids will get presents (but really only 2-3 thing each one, because they have little presents in their calendar too), and we always give something for the adults (we agreed 4 years ago that adults do not buy presents to each other, only give homemade something), but the extra sales does not touch our heart too much…
And another important thing… I love to make lists it helps me being less stressful because I do not have to keep in my mind  so much things. I make lists for the Advent seasons too, what I would love to make and so. But nothing happens if I cannot tick everything from my list. I’d rather watch a movie with my kids ;-).

Have a blessed Advent season!

 

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We love baking: First Advent Cake, 2015

It is not a surprise or a big deal, I bake everyday. I bake our bread and I have to bake sweet or salty treats for my boys – including husband (and for me) which has to be gluten free, dairy free and as lowest carbed as it can be. I do not say I do it always with enthusiasm, ’cause really…. on Sundays sometimes it would be so good if I would not have to get up early just for I can bake something. Also, at these time I just remind myself, that I am blessed, I have the money/kitchen/talent to bake yummy and healthy foods.

But back to the topic, if I bake everyday, why wouldn’t I bake something special at least for the weekends during Advent Season?!
So here is a super cake, which is beautiful (I mean the original one), it is easy to make only it takes a longer time and both tastes and looks so fancy.
Mine version is gluten and dairy free, and here is the original post (click).

PB290253_blog PB290255_blog Ingredients for the gluten free version: For the chocolate cake (the star shape) : 180g butter, at room temperature, or hard coconut oil for milk free version 180g sugar – I used an eritrit/stevia powder mix 3 eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract 4 tbsp brewed espresso (or instant coffee) 180g glutenfree versioned flour 1/8 tsp salt 1tsp baking powder 45g cocoa powder 1 tablespoon psyllium husk mixed in 100ml warm water Instructions: Preheat your oven to 180°C. Put a baking paper to a bread pan, and set aside. In one bowl, mix the dry ingredients and in another bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Once everything is mixed well, put the dry ingredients into the wet mix. After pouring your dough carefully to the bread pan (with the baking paper inside) put to the oven for 45-50 minutes for bake it. After that, get out your cake from the oven and let cool it in the pan. It is very important, that gluten free cakes have to cool totally because it is very sensitive to break off little pieces if it is still hot or warm. After your cake is totally cooled, cut it into 1cm thick slices and with using a star cutter (I used a snowflake shaped one but totally looks like a star so…), cut star shapes from the slices. Now, you have to put your stars in a plate to the freezer for 30 minutes. Monica said it is very important to freeze it only 30 minutes so I used a time clock to help me with the time. Meanwhile the stars are freezing you can do the vanilla cake. PB290257_blog
PB290267_blog For the vanilla cake: 125g butter, at room temperature, or hard coconut oil for the milker version 170g sugar -I used a powder eritri/stevia mix 3 eggs 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 170g glutenfree flour 60g toasted ground hazelnuts 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 1/2 tsp salt 160ml buttermilk – or just plant milk for the milk free version 1 tablespoon psyllium husk mixed in 100ml warm water Instructions: Preheat your oven to 180°C. But a baking paper to a bread pan. In one bowl, mix the dry ingredients and in another bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Once everything is mixed well, put the dry ingredients into the wet mix. First pour a little dough to the bread oven (with the baking paper inside). Now take your star shaped cakes and put them into the vanilla dough as they standing one by one. Now you know that a ‘little dough’ what I mentioned before means that much that the stars can stand carefully. After they are ready, very carefully pour the rest of the vanilla dough around and the to of the stars. Put you cake to the oven and bake it for 45-50 minutes. After it is ready, let cool it totally before you you put the glaze on it. PB290270_blog
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For the chocolate espresso glaze:
100g chopped dark chocolate (make sure it is gluten free!)
1 tsp butter
130ml heavy cream – I had leftover mascarpone which worked really well too
1 tsp espresso powder (or instant coffee powder) – I used simple coffee from my morning coffee
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Put an amount water to a pot and put a bowl above the pot. Put your chocolate into the bowl. As your water starts to boil, get the heating lower and but the butter to the chocolate to melt it together.
If your chocolate-butter mix is melted set aside and put another bowl above the water with the mascarpone or heavy cream with the coffee. It will melt as well and when it is ready mix it with the chocolate.
Pour your glaze to the already cool cake.

I decorated ours with chocolate stars, for what I used simple white chocolate. I melted the chocolate, poured it into star silicon form and put it to the freezer.
It is so good with coffee or tea. I did not make it to sweet so with a sweet drink won’t kick you out. Just enough good :-)
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We made gifts for Christmas

Since my older boy was 2 years old, we started a tradition, that he made an ornament with at the ability on his age and gives it to the grandparents. This time the little brother joined him and they did it together :-).

Also, as the children get presents for Christmas (what we and other ones buy them), the adults get something homemade presents from us. Usually it is something gesture- present because we can do it together from the youngest to the oldest.
My husband and me make something homemade as well for the kids. They are something what they really want thanks to the adverts in the tv and or it costs too much we would spend (but we can do) or something we can’t buy in our country.

And what were these presents?
The kids painted on wood slices for the ornaments, I painted to cushion cover for my husband’s brother (he move to his new and first flat), we made orange tea bags (we bought oranges from Sicily through a local store, which were untreated), and we made bonbons.
Our  older son likes Skylanders and everything which connects to it but it is unknow here yet. He knows it from the youtube channels of course :P. So I found a Skylander t-shirt in a second hand shop which has short sleeves and would be small when the weather will be ready for short sleeves and also he had a red pullover with no graphic, so I spent long minutes (app. 2 hours) to cut the Skylanders out and sew it to the pullover.
Our younger son likes houses so much. I have some candle ‘holder’ houses he used to play with, so my husband built 2 houses from wood and I painted them. One has a door as well ;-).

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Do you make something home made for Christmas? Or for any occasion?

Our Christmas, 2014

The 24th of December is the day when our family gathers together and have a Christmas dinner. Every year I made a simple table decor, which this time based on rosemary from our garden. I love it so much so decided that it will a tradition from now: using rosemary at least for the napkins as napkins ring.
The next day is always a family day in pajamas when we have our special pancake breakfast (now it was snowman) and that morning arrives the presents for us. We all have red socks always which is fun to see together and also looking back whew the kids feet have been grown so much as the time goes by… (also sad for a mom :-( :-P ).

But it went by so fast…

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How was your Christmas?

How we decorated for the Holidays

For a couple of years I’d better decorate our house for Christmas with less decoration but that less decoration may reach that ‘wow’ level for us. Also I have noticed on myself that if I don’t put took many decoration on, after take them off the house wouldn’t has seen kind of empty immediately.
It is interesting but for winter it’s good to use white, grey and light blue mostly. They are so festive and christmassy with the candles and lights. We have decorations what we use again and again because they have a story. Like our ornaments. We put the same collection on every year and each one of them has a meaning for us. I let the kids help me to paint some items as well (like the wood stars in the window) and I really don’t mind that the painting didn’t turn out perfect. They enjoyed to help me, I enjoyed to be with them :-)

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