Friday, December 21, 2012

Family Friday: My New Christmas Tradition

Even though we've had the opportunity to travel a bit, we've always made it home for Christmas.  But not this year, this year will be the our first away from home.  My husband claims to be 'not a gift person', but I know better than that, so I decided this year would be a good year to start a new tradition with him.

I got the idea here, and it's a twist on the Twelve Days of Christmas.  The blogger suggests focusing on the number instead of the song (so nothing to do with Lord's a Leaping or Maids a Milking). For example, one First Day of Christmas give one item; on the second day give something that comes in pairs, and so on.

I like this idea for tons of reasons, but I mainly love it for all the creativity involved - and anyone who truly loves getting and giving gifts knows that it really is the thought that counts.

For me and mine, I added a little more of a twist, I didn't take the number thing so literal and focused on playing off the number.

Here is the list of things that I'm giving my husband this Christmas, hopefully, it'll give you ideas for a new tradition with your loved ones.

1st Day of Christmas: a hat
2nd Day of Christmas: a pair of sunglasses
 3rd Day of Christmas: a picture of his three girls (me and our two daughters)
This wonderful photo was taken by our lovely Hannah; Thanks again Hannah!
4th Day of Christmas: Christmas Sugar Cookies given to him at work at 4 o'clock for his coffee break
5th Day of Christmas: A 5th of his favorite alcohol. (Note: one thing I learned was what "A 5th" is, and for others who don't know, it's a 750ml bottle of alcohol, which is 1/5 of a gallon; there, now you learned something new today!)
6th Day of Christmas: a six pack of his favorite beverage
7th Day of Christmas: his favorite breakfast at 7 a.m.
8th Day of Christmas: a homemade CD of 8 Great songs from the Eighties.
9th Day of Christmas: an organizer for his 9 a.m. meetings
10th Day of Christmas: 10, 10 minute massage coupons give by me
11th Day of Christmas: 11 cards with 11 reasons I love him, delivered throughout the day
12th Day of Christmas: a watch


Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tasy Tuesday: Homemade Coffee Creamer

They say that necessity is the mother of all invention; well, I didn't invent this recipe, but I found it out of Necessity.  They don't drink 'real' coffee in Indonesia - they drink instant coffee, which just isn't the same.  Since they don't drink coffee, they definitely don't have coffee creamer, and as a mother of two young lovelies, coffee and creamer are Necessities! 
Once I got my hands on proper coffee and a coffee maker, I set out to get creamer, which is when I found this recipe.  Of course, I tweaked it to accommodate things that I can get on Batam Island and to my tastes, and this is what I've ended up with.  It's SUPER easy and quick, two major pluses in my book.  One of the other reasons I love it is because it's not too sweet so people can adjust to how they like their coffee.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Homemade Chocolate Coffee Creamer

Ingredients:
1 Cup of Milk
1 1/2 Cup of Cream (I use Whipping Cream, unwhipped.)
4 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
2 Tablespoons of Cocoa

Directions:
Whisk all ingredients on the stovetop on medium until it starts to steam - you want it hot but not boiling. 
Strain into container and store in the fridge. 


That's all!  Love the yummy simplicity!

And just for fun, here's a sneak peek at a new product launching early next year made here in Indonesia; tell me what you think! 

Cheers!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ten Thousand Villages event!


Last night was our big shopping event at Ten Thousand Villages in Alexandria, VA! Despite the gloomy weather, I think that it went very well. It was cold and raining, but many people stopped in and chatted, and I was thrilled to share our story with them. The ladies at TTV were so wonderful, giving me two tables to setup. I had one right in the front, where people walked in, and then a second in the back, by the coffee samples...so I set out some cookies! 








I took a few photos in the store...I loved their ornaments, and all of the red jewelry! 





Here I am, sporting the lovely Ava! 
This is the front of the store, right when you walk in the door. 

Also, the chroma necklace I'm wearing is from our friends at Delicate Fortress



We are so grateful to Alicia and her staff at Ten Thousand Villages Alexandria for hosting us. I loved meeting her and hope to visit the shop very soon! We were so appreciative of the support we got from the people who visited the shop, and hope for similar opportunities in the future. If you have a shop in your hometown where we might visit, please let us know! 


Also! Rebecca Owen R. is the winner of the notecard giveaway from English Tea Paperie! Rebecca, I've sent you an email, and will need your address to mail them to you. Thank you all for entering, and thank you again to Chloe for your kindness and generosity! We're thrilled to have your support. 



Friday, December 14, 2012

Fifteen Off Friday

Christmas is right around the corner- are you gifted up? If you still need a few last minute gifts shop with us today and receive 15% off your entire purchase. Some of your newest products make great presents that won't break the bank.

Use the Promo code FIFTEENOFFRIDAY for your deal!

These ornaments are sweet, festive and uplifting for all involved. They make great gifts for you or your hostess.


Daphne is my personal favorite!


These adorable little dresses will keep your sweetie warm over a turtleneck and leggings.





Check out the 5 for $75 and get it all done at once! Five aprons for $75, it's a Christmas miracle!




Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Hot Cocoa

After you make my Momma's family recipe cocoa you will never dare to sip an instant mix.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of evaporated milk (optional)**
  • 1 gallon of 2% (or 1% milk)**
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 7 tablespoons of quality cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons of vanilla
  • a dash of salt
  • Marshmallow cream (instead of marshmallows)
Directions:
In a large stock pot, preferably one with a lid, combine a can of evaporated milk and your cocoa powder. Whisk these swiftly until they are well blended. Add a dash of salt and let the mixture cook for a few minutes on medium heat. Don't let it boil, whisk constantly. 

Add a third of your milk and mix. Add all three cups of your sugar and mix well. Add the rest of your milk, cover and let it heat on low until it's hot all the way through. Right before serving, stir in your vanilla. If you add the vanilla too soon most of the flavor will cook out.


Serve your cocoa in mugs with a dollop of marshmallow cream; it's much better than plain marshmallows. 





**If you want to skip the evaporated milk you can start with a cup and a half of your 2% milk. If you want to go lower fat, you can sub 2% milk for 1% but don't skip the evaporated milk- it won't turn out as well. The cocoa needs some fat to bind all the ingredients and make it smooth, so if you use 1% milk, don't skip the evaporated milk. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Montage: English Tea Paperie with a giveaway!



Several years ago, I discovered the most delightful company and today I am sharing it with you! Chloe of English Tea Paperie is such a doll to work with. Chloe, her husband Joe, and their darling daughter Emma live nearby Richmond, VA, though Chloe is originally from England! That is actually how her company began!


In her own words, from her website-


English Tea Paperie is run by me, Chloe  - a modern day mommy entrepreneur with a love of paper products and all things pretty. Living the ultimate American dream, I moved to the US from England in 2006, having just married my wonderful husband Joe. Waiting for my green card to arrive in the mail, I sat at home with a million ideas and a pot of color pencils. 2 years of sketching, creating and planning and English Tea Paperie was born! I am a Christian and believe in spreading the positive message of God's word in a modern, chic and pretty way. 10% of my business income will go to my local church in Midlothian, VA.
I just love this story, don't you?  Women creating their own business is just the sort of thing Scarlet Threads loves so much, and supporting small business owners is such an important part of our mission. Chloe has the most adorable designs you've ever seen.
Just look at some of my favorites from her site-

Teacups (I have these, and adore them!)

Whales! 


Pineapples (I have these too!)






Don't you just love them? I know I do. Also, Chloe will do customized designs for you, and you can also suggest designs for her site! If you decide on a design from her site, you can customize it to your liking. You can use your full name, your initial, your full monogram or whatever you like best. You can also choose the colors for the printing as well. Chloe is so much fun to work with!


Chloe can be found online, on facebook and on twitter


Along with being fun to work with, Chloe is extraordinarily generous. She sent me a set of note cards to share with one of our readers! Yes, a little giveaway!



This set of notecards has a lovely scripture-

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord make His face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you
and give you peace
-Numbers 6:24-26



Seriously, Chloe is the sweetest, eh? Each package is wrapped up like this, with a bow. Bows make everything better, don't they? 

Please see below, to enter the giveaway. We'd love you to leave a comment on this post with your favorite item from Chloe's shop. Also, a tweet would be terrific. Use both handles @ScarletThreadFT and @ETPaperie in your tweet! 





In addition to this, Chloe is offering you all a discount at her site! Use the code STBLOG15 for 15% off your order. Also, there is free shipping the entire month of December, and the code will work on top of that! If you order by December 17 (next Monday!), you will have your order in time for Christmas!


The winner will be announced next week!


A big, big thank you to Chloe for her kindness and generosity in sending along these marvelous notecards to share with one of you.







Friday, December 7, 2012

Scarlet Threads Shopping night at Ten Thousand Villages!



Good morning friends! I am SO thrilled to share this news with you, and I hope that you will be as excited as I am about this! Scarlet Threads will be taking part in a Holiday Benefit Shopping Night at the Ten Thousand Villages store in Alexandria, VA (Old Town, for those of you familiar with the area) next Sunday, December 16!


I'm sure you're familiar with Ten Thousand Villages, but in brief, from their site- 


With 60 years of experience, Ten Thousand Villages is a global network of social entrepreneurs working to empower and provide economic opportunities to artisans in developing countries. A founding member of the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT), Ten Thousand Villages sees fair trade as an alternative approach to conventional international trade.
Ten Thousand Villages is now a global network of more than 130 artisan groups in 37 countries and sells products in more than 150 retail outlets throughout the United States.

Ten Thousand Villages always has the most unique gifts, and is definitely one of my go-to places to find things for certain people. I love that when you shop there, not only are you empowering a family elsewhere, you can read their story. Each item comes with the story behind the person that made it, and these artisan stories really help you learn more about the community that you are now supporting. When buying something in the store, you can take the story with you, and the stories are also available on the website too. This is just the sort of thing that Scarlet Threads loves so much; really knowing where your money is going, so that you can see the positive changes that are taking place. 

I did most of my Christmas shopping here a few years ago, and I know I'll be doing some here this year as well!

Here are a few items I'm eyeing- 

I've been a bit obsessed with peacocks recently, and I think this would be so much fun. If my sister is reading this, it's on my Christmas list  ;) 




Sheep Wall Art - made in Haiti 

I love this! It would be cute in a kitchen, I think. 



I think this might be cute to send to Majlinda, the little girl I sponsor in Albania with World Vision! 




LOVE this. 



Maybe for salads? Or fruit? Or pinecones? I love having a big bowl like this on the kitchen table, as a catch-all sort of thing, you know? 

Cute for weekends! 



This would be perfect for those weekend trips to the farmers market! 


So! As you can see, Ten Thousand Villages has some really lovely gift ideas. Next weekend, I will be there in the store with some Scarlet Threads items for you to see in person! It will be an open house of sorts. I'll be there at 6pm. We will have some fair trade wine to try, some snacks, perhaps some fair trade chocolate as well. You can do some holiday shopping for your loved ones. I'll have lots of information about Scarlet Threads to share with you. Also, Scarlet Threads will receive a percentage of anything purchased from Ten Thousand Villages that night as well! 

I, of course, will be sporting one of our aprons....just need to decide which one!  


Details:

915 King Street
Alexandria, VA
(703) 684-1435


Sunday, December 16
6-8pm 


We're so honored that Ten Thousand Villages is hosting us, and are thrilled for this opportunity to share our mission with their supporters as well. 


I realize that many of you are not in the Washington, DC area, but please share this with your friends and family, and ask them to do the same! We'd love a big turnout of support, and we need your help to make this happen! 




Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thrifty Thursday: Give Joy

It's the season to love and the season to share and the season to give.  So we wanted to do something extra-special this month for a cause super-close to our hearts.

Lily, a recent NDFH adoptee (and sister to Hannah, ST's Thread Hunter) in her Su Lin apron. 

Many of you are already familiar with New Day Foster Home.  Jacob and I launched Scarlet Threads (in the same village as NDFH works) while we were living in China volunteering with NDFH.  It's an incredible organization - doing amazing work that saves and transforms lives every day.

You don't have to get much further than their blog to see the joy and love that oozes from that place.

So this month, we have a special offer that gives you not only a gift to give mama's little kitchen helper, but a gift to give to an organization that daily saves lives and restores broken hearts.  Buy any full-price child sized apron in our children's boutique, and we will give half of the purchase price to NDFH.  The aprons are $24, so for every $24 you spend, we'll give $12 to NDFH.



Wordless Wednesday: Does Your Christmas Tree Look Like This?


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tuscan skillet chicken!



This is a great mid-week dinner! One pan, that is all you need. It is simple to throw together, and really delicious! I found it on pinterest, and it comes from a blog called Our Family Eats.
 
 
 
 
 
Look how pretty it looks....so colorful!



 
 
 
1 pound petite red potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound chicken tenderloins
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (12-oz.) bag frozen green beans, thawed
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Cut each potato into 4 wedges. Place in a large microwave-safe bowl and season with salt and pepper. Microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes. Stir and microwave for 4 minutes more.
While potatoes are cooking, cut each chicken tenderloin into 4 equal pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes or until nicely browned, stirring frequently. Add remaining oil and potatoes; cook and stir for 5 minutes more to brown potatoes and fully cook chicken.
Stir in rosemary, garlic, green beans, lemon zest and juice. Cook for a few minutes more to heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
 
My notes:
 
I had the taters in the microwave for about six minutes total, and I think that was perfect.
I didn't have any garlic cloves, but had a jar of minced garlic. Perfection.
I forgot the lemon! Next time for sure, it would give the recipe the ooomph it needed!
 




Steve and I really enjoyed this. As I said, it was easy to throw together, and also, it could be mixed around a bit too- maybe other veggies? Other spices? Pork? I love playing around with recipes, because then with one recipe, you have different options each time! For example, every time I make a chicken pot pie, I do things a bit different, just to keep things interesting  ;)  I tend to go a bit crazy in the spice stores. Penzeys? Love it.
 
 
What's cooking in your kitchen tonight?  
 
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Montage: Christmas in Aggie's Kitchen

Scarlet Threads became a "real" business this year. We made it through some very trying times over the last couple of years - and we are truly stronger than ever. On our plane rides (26 hours each way) to China this month, Carrie and I spent some time reviewing the mission and business plan of Scarlet Threads. How have things changed? What have we learned? Who are we going to be?

Spending time in the village where we operate was incredibly eye-opening, too. This trip more than the others, perhaps. It seems like every time I visit, I learn something profound. Respect, Pride, and Dignity - tough lessons for any of us to learn. I learned how proud our seamstress is that she supports her family through her sewing business. I learned how proud she is of her craftsmanship. And, I learned that she is no different from many women (whether in developed or developing countries) who are supporting their families in- and out- side the home. They all have our admiration and respect!

One of the women on this side of the world who has my respect is Aggie from Aggie's Kitchen. Many of our readers might remember that she is one of our earliest supporters. She hosted our very first Apron Party a couple of years ago and and we've kept up a fairly regular correspondence ever since. I've enjoyed seeing her blog flourish, and she is my go-to source for fresh dinner ideas. It's always refreshing to visit her blog or facebook page because she works a story - a real story, often about family - into posts.

As if the meal-time inspiration is not enough, she encouraged me along the way to my first triathlon! She told me that all of the energy of the participants would carry me along, and thank goodness she was right or I'd still be out there on the course crawling toward the finish line.
Here's Aggie - wearing one of ST's first aprons. 
One of the many reasons I return to AK is a simple connection. Aggie's family is Italian (for real - from Italy - Italian) and they owned an Italian restaurant for years while Aggie was growing up. When I can't get my own (Italian) parents on the line, it's a quick trip over to the blog! For example, I looked up the Feast of the Seven Fishes... and it was all right there.

No, Italians don't eat pasta for every meal. And, on Christmas Eve, there is only one thing on the menu: seafood. Lucky for me, my Nonna left a hand scrawled recipe on the back of an envelope for one of the fish casserole dishes. Lucky for you, Aggie wrote a blog post!

Hop on over, because you'll see what I mean about this family girl. Even when food is the "center piece" in her blog - family is what makes food special. I think that's what I love about AK - or maybe it is the original recipes.

Since AK is my favorite foodie blog (well, foodie-fitness-gardening), I thought I'd share so that you can have the privilege of following! And, now I need to go find something to cook... and I'm thinking the maple sausage vegetable roast (posted you know where) is exactly what's in store for my two person family tonight... yum!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Freestyling Friday: Christmas hopes dreams and inspirations



Tonight, in the last moments of November I find myself oddly nostalgic. Perhaps it is due to the passing of the years, my sisters engagement, or maybe it's just that the holidays lend themselves to nostalgia- who knows. Whatever the reason I find myself on Pintrest pinning all the baking, crafting,and decorating projects that I see myself doing (in my ST apron and pearls of course!) in December.


Here's a peak into what pintrest thinks I am capable of doing this year:

   
http://champagnefrombeer.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/christmas.jpg        
 flawlessly decorating my house          creating a hanging ornament chandelier


 

remembering to have Santa send my daughter a Christmas book to read and learn all about Christmas with

Cute idea for Christmas card...
PLUS somehow getting my child to stay still long enough to capture a cute memory like this one


Honestly none of that may happen- at least not the way these images make it look. But what will happen in my house is the food! 

                  Christmas cookies....

mascarpone raspberry trifle....               cute picture gonna have to do with the kids


These baked items I will be making wearing one of my lovely Scarlet Thread aprons, laughing up a storm with my family, most likely heavily dusted with flour/sugar/ nutmeg due to some kitchen mishap. While the last photo in this inspiration board is how I imagine my daughter will be acting alot of this season : as unofficial, but cute, taste tester.


In essence I'll be creating my own new traditions and memories this holiday season, when ST plays a rather big part in it. How about you- what are your plans this holiday? Will we be part of your new traditions too?