Free Christmas Printables

Free Christmas Printables For Kids

I made up a couple of quick printables for my kids for this December & holiday season, so I thought I’d share them here with you.

 Click the image to download and print

Click the image to download and print

Christmas wish list printable

The first thing here is a free Christmas wish list printable.

I like the ideas I’ve seen folks talk about that focus on four gift ideas - something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read - so I went with that structure.

I also wanted to encourage them to think about someone else this Christmas, so I added a section for add their thoughts about a wish for someone else.

You can click on the image to get to a downloadable and printable pdf.


 click the image to download and print

click the image to download and print

December Kindness Bingo

The second one is a fun little Kindness Bingo activity for the month.

I wanted something to help get us in the spirit of kindness and giving this year, without spending a lot of money. looked at a bunch of “random acts of kindness” things for kids online, but frankly they all looked like a whole bunch of work for me.

I wanted to come up with something that would get my kids thinking of and being kind to others, without just straight up creating a lot of extra work for myself. I’m exhausted enough as it is.

So I came up with this. They are mostly things the kids can do at home, independently, with supplies we already have. The younger ones might need a little help with a few these, but I mostly tried to add things that I knew my kids were capable of doing on their own. I wanted this for two reasons - one, because it’s less work for a lazy/tired mom; and two, because I think the act of kindness means a lot more when it’s really their own work.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and have some fun with these!

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Have you ever made something, and then immediately wish you hadn't done it, because there is just no going back?  This is one of those things. It's way too good, and I've already made myself a little sick with all my "tasting". 

First, backing up: Why did I do this to myself?

We've been buying this amazing locally made Greek yogurt.  It's a total treat for us because it is EXPENSIVE.  We're talking $12 for a quart of yogurt.  And you know my kids can polish that off in one sitting!  I guess if I put it in perspective, $12 for yogurt is certainly cheaper and healthier than taking them out for breakfast.  Or maybe I should compare it to going out for ice cream - because this stuff is so decadent that it's more like a desert. Only, yogurt!  Protein! So it's better than taking them out for ice cream. Still, expensive for yogurt.  We've tried every flavor and our very favorite is the lemon curd flavor. 

Since my kids keep asking for it, rather than break the bank buying more and more and more, I figured I'd better try to make my own. It's honey sweetened, creamy Greek yogurt, with lemon curd folded in.  I can do that. I make yogurt all the time, so that part is no big deal. Then it just comes down to making lemon curd. 

And that's the part I wish I hadn't done.  Because I can't stop 'tasting' it.  

I asked for suggestions, and I searched around a bit, and the recipe I came up with is a combination of a few things.  Ingredients and quantities mostly influenced by a recipe that a reader shared with me, some of the technique borrowed from an Ina Garten recipe, and some just made up because it seemed right to me.  That's how I cook. 

This is a big recipe.  It makes about 4 pints - the jars you see here plus a little more (I spilled a little).  You could certainly cut it in half if you don't think you'll use this up.  But my philosophy when you're making yummy things that take a bit of work, is that you might as well make more and share.  It's delicious and decadent and such a special thing to share.  So make a few jars and give one or two away, people will love you. 

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Ingredients: 

  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cups lemon juice
  • Peels from about 6 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Directions: 

  1. Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of the lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith.
  2. Put the zest in a high powered blender (or food processor fitted with the steel blade). Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.
  3. Add eggs, lemon juice, salt and vanilla and process until well blended.  
  4. Pour through a strainer into a pot. (You could skip this step, but I thought my kids might not eat it if the texture of the lemon zest remained.)
  5. Add the butter, cut into chunks.
  6. Cook slowly over low heat, stirring constantly. The butter will melt and the mixture will slowly start to thicken.  This should take about 10 minutes.
  7. When it is thickened, coating a spoon, remove from heat.
  8. Pour into containers and refrigerate to cool.

It's all really quite easy, and I think if you wanted to speed things up you could probably skip the separate step of pulsing the lemon zest and sugar first, and instead just put everything in the blend and whiz it up and then pour into the pan. 

I really want to try a version of this with just honey.  I did actually use a bit of honey in this one - I only had about 2 1/2 cups of sugar, so I used that plus 1/2 cup of honey.

We will be enjoying this mixed with yogurt for breakfast. I think it would be wonderful over vanilla ice cream, or spread between layers of a white cake, or even in the place of jam on a muffin or toast.  

Enjoy!

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Easy Holiday Teacher Gifts

Holiday & Christmas gift idea for school teachers: Give your teacher a gift they can enjoy now and use all year long - a lunch box packed with treats! from WhatLisaCooks.com

Every year the requests come out to contribute to class gifts for teachers, and I always debate whether to participate in the group gift.  I don't doubt that the teacher appreciates these gifts, but they seem so impersonal to me.  Our teachers work so hard for us.  And especially for our unique little (big!) family I recognize that they may even be working just a little harder sometimes (and well, I know I tend to be a squeaky wheel).  I know I can't do much, given budget and free time constraints, but I do feel like making something personal is the very least I can do for these people that give so much of their time for us.  Spending a little of my precious time to thank the people that spend so much of their time with my most precious people just feels better than putting some cash in an envelope.

I always make some kind of baked goods for the holidays, and I've given other small things along with them in the past.  Since I'm making somewhat of a name for myself around these schools for my lunch making, I figured I'd go slightly with that theme for my teacher gifts this year.  

So my super simple and fun little gift idea: pack up my usual holiday cookie gift in one of our favorite lunch containers, EasyLunchboxes.  Teachers need lunch too, so I'm hoping they will find this to be something they can actually use, and hopefully remember how much we appreciate them when they use it.

I'm feeling pretty good about this right now - I think I've got something that will put a little smile on their faces, and let them know that we appreciate what they do for us.  And for me, it fit in my limited budget and was very easy to do.  

I brightened it up a little with a few colors of cocktail napkins that I had picked up recently at Ikea. 

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The main compartment has two flavors of homemade biscotti - a basic almond biscotti, and a new double chocolate version that I've never done before (I just added 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1 cup chocolate chips, and skipped the cinnamon and almonds).  Those are topped with one cut out chocolate cookie decorated by the kids, in a little parchment bag.  (It's nice to have a little of the kids touch to the gift, but let's be honest, most adults don't love those sugary sweet frosted cookies)

One of the small compartments contains one of the EasyLunchboxes mini dipper containers (I've included the lid as well, just under the napkin) with a few easy chocolate cookies I made using this recipe.  And in the smallest compartment is a dark chocolate covered salted caramel (not homemade), wrapped in a green napkin like a little present.  

Topped with the EasyLunchboxes lid and tied up with a pretty bow.  And that's it.  

 
Holiday & Christmas gift idea for school teachers: Give your teacher a gift they can enjoy now and use all year long - a lunch box packed with treats! from WhatLisaCooks.com
 

Preserved Lemons

I have this bottle of preserved lemon syrup that I've been using in cocktails, and it is really, really yummy.  I use it in any drink that calls for simple syrup (this week's favorite - the Tom Collins) - it gives just a nice little bit of extra flavor. But the price tag is not so yummy. Since I think this needs to be a key ingredient in my summer cocktails, I figured I'd better try making my own. So it starts with preserved lemons, and then in a few weeks I will try making the syrup. I read several different methods for making preserved lemons, so I just went with the one that sounded the simplest for me. Here's what I did:

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