Friday, December 21, 2012

Cocoa Gift Cones

Ahhhhhhh, the school parties are all done.
I have worked all week on all the little details and trying to gather
volunteers to help.  I'm so glad it's done with and so glad it was such a success.

My daughter and I always try to make a little something together
to give to the sweet kids in her class.
I saw these cones at Target but they wanted $3.99 a piece
and that's not how I roll.

I tried to snap a couple of quick pictures of them but my cloudy day wasn't cooperating with my camera.
I found the cone bags at Hobby Lobby.
It took 2 1/2 cans of cocoa mix for for 1/2 cup mix each.
2 boxes of large candy canes crushed for about a 1/4 cup each.
1 bag of mini marshmallows at about 1/2 cup per bag
It made about 20 bags and cost me about $10.

Of course we had to put a tag on it.
I couldn't figure out how to transfer the clip art over from MS Word 
but our little tag read:

I hope that it snows this year
during Christmas break
for sledding and snowman building,
or skating on a lake.
If you get cold
and need a quick fix
here’s a warm hug in a mug
from me….
a candy cane cocoa mix!
See you next year!
Merry Christmas from Avery

It was fun and super easy for us to put together.  It would be an easy and great neighbor gift too!
Do you take out neighbor gifts and when you do what do you take and when do you take them out?

When we were kids our favorite treat was brought over by the Leavens family.  They brought over a veggie tray with salami on it and 1 piece of Almond Roca for each of us.  We devoured it faster than any sweets.  Knowing this though I still make sweet treats each year.  Maybe next year I'll be brave and do the veggies.:)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Look For The Helpers

Words cannot express the sorrow and compassion we 
have for the families affected in Newtown Conneticut.
A friend of mine posted this picture on Facebook and I can't seem 
to find the credit for the source, but it touched us both immensely
and we wanted to share it with you along with another quote we saw
that gave us great hope too.
Photo: I'm so thankful to all the "helpers" there on the scene in Connecticut today.  In every photo or news clip, there's a teacher, staff member, emergency personnel or community leader who are trying their best to help in the midst of tragedy.  Thanks, Fred Rogers, for reminding us to take a moment to look for them and find comfort in their actions.

Our prayer is one of comfort and to always try and be 
one of those helpers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Snowy Red & White Christmas Decorations

Hi there! I thought I would share some the Christmas decorations I have been working on for the last couple of weeks.  Two of my boys had adenoid surgery back to back so I have been distracted from posting.  They are now healing and will be soon be breathing free! This year I was going for the snowy Christmas look with pops of red.  I found the flocked wreath at Craft Warehouse, half off, and added a gingham bow.  My black door tends to hide most of my wreaths, so the snowy wreath is perfect.
I picked up a couple of trees at Home Goods and Michaels and added ribbon.   
Gingerbread, both real and fake, are some of my favorites during the Christmas season. 
For the Christmas tree, I added red birds mixed with silver icicles and glittery snowflakes. My boys are not thrilled with "pretty" trees, so I made sure to use a smaller tree to hang all of our fun ornaments. We love pulling out the homemade school ornaments each year, along with a couple of Star Wars and Sponge Bob ornaments. Yeah, Sponge Bob and the Star Wars M&M guys go on the back of the tree.
I filled different sizes of glass balls with powder snow.  Really messy to fill, but I love the look with a few added berries, pine cones, and greens.
To help fill the globes, my son and I made a paper funnel.  Two sets of hands help make this job go fast!
I have never bought a tree skirt, but I broke down after I saw this cute ruffled burlap skirt at Cost Plus.  I love it!

I added more of the powder snow (found at Craft Warehouse) to a candle display.  White candles, cut greens, and berries make it so pretty!
 Every year I can't resist the live wreaths from Costco. They are fairly inexpensive, and it is always fun to be creative with them.
This year I added small red ornaments in varying sizes. I wired some ornaments and used hot glue on the rest.
I added several cut sprigs of glittery greens found at Michaels and a few mini birds.
And that's pretty much it! Hopefully Nicole and I will finish the projects we started. Where did the last month go? Two weeks until Christmas and so much to do.  See you soon!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Finding Christmas Spirit

I wasn't quite sure what to call this post~it's a hodge podge of emotion and my favorite things
about the true Christmas Spirit that I found this weekend.

First I got out my two cruddy wreaths I picked up from the thrift store 2 years ago that have been sitting in my garage. I had gotten them for $2 each and they had great "guts" on them, I figured I could rip them apart and put them together.  I picked up a pretty fake cedar that was all crystal iced at Michael's~they just knocked everything down to 60% off on Friday!  I wasn't sure if it was going to work so of course I didn't take any before pictures~you're just going to have to imagine tons of those yucky red silky threaded balls and tacky ribbons hanging off, I mean threads all over the place yucky.  She's pretty right?:)  I only spent just under $12 on her too!

I just got home from our Church Choir Concert that~yes I participated in~like I didn't have enough on my overloaded plate, I got crazy and joined the church choir.  Hearing that Christmas music sung by such beautiful voices~O Holy Night gets me in complete tears every time!  Our hope is that amidst all the chaos the season seems to bring that you'll enjoy the little things like the music and making sugar cookies with your kids even though half the sprinkles end up on your floor.:)

First up we wanted to share our Mom's famous sugar recipe.  It's a keeper for sure!  Our Mom became famous with these when they were missionary parents in Korea for 150+ young missionaries, our Mom would make them a plate of pink frosted sugar cookies for each of their birthdays.  Yes, we ate a lot of sugar cookies growing up when they were made that often!

I had to bring 4 dozen of these bad boys to our Church Christmas party Friday night and they disappeared fast!  I have to admit that when I got up to get treats for me I started to freak out because I couldn't see any of mine.  I was so worried that they were left in the kitchen and I would be taking home 4 dozen cookies~not good for a gal on a diet~I raced to the kitchen to only be relieved at the empty boxes I brought them in.  Phewwww!

Granny Annie's Famous Sugar Cookies
3/4 cup butter (part shortening)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla (or lemon or both)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Mix wet ingredients together well-till light and fluffy.  Sift together the dry ingredients and then add to the wet ingredients.  Chill 1 hour, cut 1/4" thick.  Cook 6-8 minutes @ 400 degrees.  Should make about 2 dozen cookies or so.  I always triple the batch...hmmmm....wonder why I'm on a diet!  Here is something I do a little different, I actually use real squeezed lemon juice in my cookies and my frosting along with the vanilla.  It's so yummy!
                                 Pampered Chef Large Bar Pan
 Also I won't cook cookies on anything but a Pampered Chef's stoneware pan.  If you don't have one of those pans then you need to get one.  They make good cookies perfect!

I use Betty Crocker's frosting recipe~
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 3-ounce packages cream cheese
1/2 cup softened margarine or butter
2 tsp. vanilla
4 1/2 to 4 3/4 sifted powdered sugar

Beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla till light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in powdered sugar, beating well until desired consistency.

December is flying by~Candace has had 2 boys with adenoid surgery in the last couple weeks and has her hands full.  Hopefully we'll get those poor Santa's we've been working on done soon~until then I've got 2 kid parties to do this week plus somehow I'm gonna break out the Gingerbread house mold that came in the mail~Thank you Ebay!  Happy Monday Friends!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

School Christmas Parties

Are you scrambling putting together ideas for your School Christmas Party this year?  Us too!
Thank goodness for Pinterest and all the ideas that are so easy to gather into one place.
We thought we would share some of our favorite ideas that we have gathered from Pinterest today
while we are still trying to complete some other projects.

This year for my daughter's class (thanks to some brilliant planning from my co-room mom Megan)
we are doing a "Santa's Workshop" theme party.
We only have a little over an hour to play so we'll be separating them into little groups
that will rotate around to 5 centers.

First we'll sneak in and decorate with lights and Dollar Store Santa hats on each of their chairs.

               images kelle hampton
                                                                                         image kelle hampton
Each kid will make a Reindeer shaped bag from a paper bag and accessories to be able to carry their goodies home with them.

                                                                           image the best kids crafts
                                Cute Reindeer Gift Bag.  Helped Ben's kindergarten class make reindeer food in these last Christmas
                                                                                         image spoonful
We'll be having a Reindeer Food Bar.


                                                                                  images kelle hampton
I love the idea of using the canning jars but we are on a tight budget~so I picked up some cute cellophane bags from the $1 store that will be perfect!

Who can resist Play Dough~it's even better when it's peppermint scented and they can mix in the glitter for some extra sparkle!

            Christmas Kid Craft: Candy Cane Playdough
                                                                               image simply designing
                             play doh with glitter!
                                                                                           image a fun mom
Megan has a little microwave she'll be bringing in so we can melt some chocolate and dip some marshmallows in chocolate and crushed candy cane~don't these look cute!  I'm still trying to decide if we should do Oreo's though.  I did some last year and they were to die for!
                         Candy cane marshmallows for hot cocoa~ hang them on the side of your mug.
                                                                                          image liv life too
            White Chocolate Covered Oreos
                                                                                  image cupcakes and crab legs
We want to make some sort of ornament but it's got to be easy and quick~I'm thinking these button wreath's are a great fit and adorable too!  There's also these hand print reindeer....I can't decide~what would you do?
                                                                            image oriental trading company

                               Handprint Reindeer Ornaments

Last but not least we are going to have a cookies and milk buffet of little single bite sized cookies and milk.  I saw these cute milk bottle and thought they were perfect to do!
image kelle hampton

As you can see most of our pictures and ideas are from Kelle Hampton~I'm thinking her stuff is some of the most pinned ideas on Pinterest!  Her whole North Pole party idea was wonderful~make sure to head over and check it out!

We want to know what ideas you have~Do tell!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pumpkin Fluff

I just had to share this yummy recipe that my wonderful friend brought
over to me!  Thank you Stephanie!!!
It was so good and light~plus it's perfect to keep on hand during the holidays!
It's Pumpkin Fluff and I swear you're going to love it!

1 15 oz. can of pumpkin
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1 small package of instant vanilla pudding.
1 8 oz container of Cool Whip

Mix together the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and instant vanilla pudding.  Fold in Cool Whip till thoroughly combined. Serve with Anna's Ginger Thins. They are a perfect little cookie in a cute flower shape, perfect for dipping.  You can find them in your local grocery store or in bulk at Costco.

Candace and I are working on some cute Santa's tomorrow that hopefully we'll finish quick to share with you.  I got them all cut out right before my dear old scroll saw gave up the ghost today and I've never been more thankful for Home Depot's Protection plan.  They issued me a gift card through my email and I was able to go pick up a new one this afternoon.  I'm thinking it was the best money I've spent!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Upside Down Pumpkin Pie

I tried this tasty pumpkin recipe at a Christmas dinner several years ago.  It was so good that I begged my friend Julie to write it down and give it to me.  The toasted pecan topping and pumpkin are delicious together.  The best part is, Upside Down Pumpkin Pie is so easy to make.  You just mix a few ingredients with your can of pumpkin, and throw cake mix, pecans and melted butter on.  Simple and a great dish to add to your Thanksgiving feast!

Upside Down Pumpkin Pie

1 (20 oz.) can pumpkin
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 box yellow cake mix (Duncan Hines is the best)
1 (12 oz. can evaporated milk
3 eggs well beaten
1 c. pecan coarsely chopped
1 c. melted butter

Combine all ingredients, except cake mix, pecans, and melted butter.  Mix well and pour into greased 9x13 pan.  Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture.  Top with pecan and drizzle melted butter over all.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Cool and serve with whipped cream.

Here are few of my other favorite pumpkin desserts.  They come from Mel's Kitchen Cafe..I love her blog!

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Roll

And our favorite, the traditional pumpkin pie with our mom's pie crust.  So good!  I'm heading out to start my crust!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Boutique Peek

The final boutique of the season that I do ended Saturday night
and I thought it would be fun to show you guys a little glimpse of a few of my favorite things
I did this year.

Above are my very favorite Believe letters I do.  I searched for hours for the perfect font to go along with
a tree inspired paper I saw a couple of years ago.  Although I ran out of that original paper, I did find some really cute new stuff with a black and cream hounds tooth I love!

These cute Adore letters are actually a set I tried to make after seeing some done for a Super Saturday Craft day by the very talented Wendy over at Craft Goodies.  She is one of our Wood You Like To Craft buddies!  She has the cutest ideas~I had to make some for me!  Thanks Wendy!

I found some really fun bright and playful Christmas paper I knew would be perfect for some Fa La La letters.  I've wanted to do some of these for a while now~I swear I see them on hand towels everywhere and knew I just needed to find a playful font to match!

I finally unloaded my car today and had a few things left over that I listed in my shop~but a huge thanks to everyone who came out to support us local crafters!  There is something magical about going to a boutique~unfortunately for me most of the magic I find is at the goodie table where my purchases will keep me warm all season long.....But hey, how can you resist butter toffee sprinkled with almonds, milk chocolate, white chocolate and peanut butter chips?

Candace has an amazing and delicious recipe to share tomorrow so make sure to come visit!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wood Turkey with Crayons & Lollipops

I apologize for the lack of posts, right after Halloween my kids picked a croup virus that hit them slowly one by one, ending with me! I haven't felt much like crafting.  Nicole is busy on a fun project that involves knocking down brick walls in her home, hopefully she will be back soon to share.  

That leaves me on the scroll saw attempting several wood turkeys!  My son made a wood lollipop holding turkey in cub scouts that I thought was adorable, so I decided to make a few for either lollipops or crayons.  The turkey with crayons was a bit tricky because of the large drilled holes, I would suggest using a 2 inch pine board.  I used a 1 inch board only because I had it on hand in my garage.
The 1 inch pine board worked great for the lollipops, which my sons are much happier with anyway.  Nothing like making my boys more hyper than they already are with a little sugar while I cook!
I wish I knew how to attach printable patterns, for now this picture will have to do.  One day we will figure it out!  (If you want the pattern, you can blow it up on your computer screen.)
My turkey pattern is very simple, here's how I made it:  1 large cup and a cereal bowl from my kitchen.  The circle from the cereal bowl I folded in half and scalloped for the feathers.  For the turkey body I used one large cup and an Oreo I happened to be eating at the time.  An Oreo makes the perfect sized head for a turkey!'s really complex how we make our patterns around here! ;)

I used a small store bought wooden heart for the turkey's nose, my fingers are more valuable than cutting small wood parts for a turkey!
I added a straight edge to the bottom of the pattern to help the turkey stand up straight. I traced the pattern onto pine and cut with my scroll saw and sanded until smooth.  Next I drilled holes before I painted the wood edges brown.  If you are going to drill holes for crayons, start with a small bit, working your way up to avoid splitting your wood.  Last, I Mod Podged the wood with paper scraps and added ribbon.
Pretty simple and a fun addition to the Thanksgiving table.  

We'll be back soon, Nicole and I have been working on a few Christmas crafts to share with you! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Banana Crunch Muffins

I stumbled upon a great banana muffin recipe a couple of years ago that is so good and I want to pass it along to you!

The recipe comes from Ina Garten, you can find her banana crunch muffin recipe at Food Network.   I  like how she adds coconut, walnuts, and granola to the mix, the smell in the house is wonderful as they bake. This recipe is a keeper and a great way to use up all of the ripe bananas I seem to always have.

We will be back soon, it has been a crazy week in both of our homes! :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Little Flag Stickers

I voted.....have you?
That was my caption for my Facebook Post today when I had to snap a quick photo after leaving the voting poll.  How many of you will be awake all night watching the Election news coverage?  With a boutique on the horizon I'm glad I'll have something to keep me awake for my all nighter of crafting!   Happy Election day!

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