Thursday, November 29, 2012

Birthday Wrapping Ideas

Today I am going to a birthday lunch for two of my friends with November birthdays. I was too lazy to go to my other wrapping paper pile (non-holiday) so I wrapped the gifts in my least  holiday themed red gingham paper.

I used some two types of red polka dot ribbon and added a red and white m&m tube, red lollipop and snowflake ornament.

So even though these are birthday gifts - they still have a little holiday flair! Ladies it is never too early to start wrapping. I wrap when ever I go shopping.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I Started Wrapping!

So far this holiday season I have been super organized! I took stock of ribbon, wrapping paper and scotch tape. I started wrapping four or five gifts a day. I have been using brown craft paper and some thick burlap ribbon that says "Happy Holidays."

Notice how I just taped the ribbon around the package - that way I can stack the gifts. We won't buy our tree until our daughter comes home from college. Once we buy our tree I will tie bows on the packages.

I bought the brown craft paper at Target and the burlap ribbon at Michael's. When do you start to wrap?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chick Pops

Today I made some Chick Pops for Lisa's birthday - because she is a hot chick!

Chantell got me the Bakerella Cake Pop book for my birthday. Bakerella is my idol/hero. Chantell I love this book!

So I decided to make the Chick Pops for Lisa's Birthday - the Chick Pop directions are on page 53 for the book.

Then I found a sprinkle kit for Chick Pop's at Ralph's.

I bought the yellow candy melts at Michael's.

It helps to have a styrofoam block to set the cake pops in while they dry.

First make some cake balls (see the cake ball tutorial in the December 2010 post). Then dip the lollipop stick in a little melted chocolate then push the lollipop into the cake ball.  Now dip the cake balls into the yellow melted chocolate and let dry. Once the yellow chocolate is completely hardened using a small black frosting pipe two eyes on each of the cake balls.

Then I take a toothpick and dip it into the melted chocolate and apply a little melted chocolate in the nose area and adhere the orange nose.

Once the nose is dry - use the toothpick to put melted chocolate where the feet belong and adhere the feet.

I am going to let these dry overnight - then I will carefully put them in tupperware to bring to the lunch tomorrow.

Hot Chocolate Bar (With my Spode Christmas Tree China)

I made a little Hot Chocolate tray. I used a lot of my Spode Christmas Tree china. Nothing says Christmas to me like the Spode Christmas Tree china. I love it! And I have a ton - I will show some more Spode - display ideas. So keep checking back if you love the Spode Chrismas Tree china.

The Spode mugs are on a huge Spode tray. I set out two types of coasters and put the peppermint chocolate stirrers in the canister. Behind the tray I have two jars filled with mini chocolate chips and marshmallows. Because what is hot cocoa without marshmallows?

In the big Christmas Tree cookie jar behind the tray is where I put the hot chocolate!

Isn't this cookie jar adorable? The teddy bear has a Spode Christmas Tree vest and is standing on a Spode Christmas Tree package. It is the perfect container for the hot chocolate packets.

Shout out to my friends and anyone in my neighborhood - please stop by with or without your kids for a cup of hot cocoa! I would love to see you!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Winter Treats for the College Girls

Cute mitten sets with a See's cinnamon lollipop tied with a pretty ribbon.

The front mitten set is cream and says "peace."

The mitten set in the back is red and pink striped.

These would be cute winter themed party favors for a caroling party or holiday party and they come in a lot of different colors at Old Navy - check out the colors on their website. They are really warm and inexpensive little gifts.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Rice Crispy Treats with a Snowflake

I can't stop making these mini Rice Crispy treats on a lollipop stick. I made these for a church function. And I think they will be a big hit!

I recently made these in a fall theme. You can use a wide variety of sprinkles. On these I just used one simple snowflake sprinkle.

If you need detailed directions on how to make these - just pop over the fall themed Rice Crispy Treat post.

They are so simple and inexpensive to make and the lollipop stick and ribbon make a unique presentation. And you know what they say - presentation is everything.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Homemade Granola Bars

I have always wanted to make homemade Granola Bars. If you follow my blog you know that I love to make granola. And if you come over to my house - I always have a big jar of homemade granola on my kitchen island. Yum.

So today I tried to make granola bars - they came out okay. Yes, they were really delicious. But I couldn't get them to cut into perfect rectangles or squares. Once we finish these granola bars I am going to try another recipe.

This recipe came from the smitten and the recipe was adapted from Ina Garten the Barefoot Contessa. I actually watched the episode when Ina made the Granola Bars and it looked so easy when she cut them perfectly.


2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed

1/2 cup toasted wheat germ

2/3 cup honey

1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup dried fruit mixture

1/4 cup melted chocolate


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds and coconut on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally. Remove from the oven when the mixture is lightly browned.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the wheat germ, honey, vanilla and salt and mix until everything is well combined. The last step is to mix in the dried fruit.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press down with a rubber spatula coated in cooking spray. Press the mixture until it is level and tightly packed.

Bake for 27 to 30 minutes. Cool for 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares or rectangles. This is the step that left me frustrated!

Melt the chocolate and put it into a zipper bag. Twist so that the melted chocolate is down in one corner and make a very small snip. Drizzle each granola bar with chocolate. This made the bars look a little better.

Store the granola bars in an airtight container at room temperature or freeze them and defrost a few at a time.

Granola bars are great lunch box treats for the kids and a wonderful item to have in your purse for a healthy snack while you are out and about running errands.

Don't these look like misshaped Kudos bars? Please sign up to be a follower - I will love you forever!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Heart Shaped Christmas Ornaments

I love filling the glass balls with colored beads, pearls, red hots, candy corn etc.  Today I filled some heart shaped ornaments with red beads.

You can get the heart shaped ornaments at Michael's or Hobby Lobby. They are often on sale or use a coupon. Look around for small items that you can use to fill the glass balls. Then you just need some coordinating ribbon and ornament hooks.

I am making these for Christmas - but they would also be darling Valentine'S Day decorations.

Why am I showing you Christmas ornaments - before Thanksgiving? Well I thought this might be a fun project to make with the kids over the Thanksgiving holiday and you can buy your supplies now before life gets crazy.

First remove the little silver top and fill the heart with red beads. Then carefully put the silver top back on the bead filled heart.

Tie a little bow on top of the silver loop at the top of the ornament and then add the ornament hook.

These are also cute tied onto your Christmas packages. I love tying ornaments onto packages. It is like an additional little gift.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fall Themed Rice Crispy Treats on Lollipop Sticks

These were super easy to make because I used store bought Rice Crispy Treats and cut them in half.

Then melt some chocolate and stick the lollipop stick in the melted chocolate and then into the Rice Crispy Treat. Once the chocolate has hardened dip the whole Rice Crispy Treat into the melted chocolate and sprinkle with fall themed sprinkles.

I place the lollipops on parchment paper to dry.

Once they are completely dry - place them into little bags and tie them with a little twine.

I made 14 Rice Crispy Treat lollipops in about one half hour. Then I cleaned up and set out my packaging supplies and about 45 minutes later I was able to package the treats. I actually was making these for the Habitat for Humanity boutique. So I wanted to package them in a really cute manner so I tied a little bow.

To recap for this project you need -

Rice Crispy Treats - store bought or homemade

Chocolate melting tabs

Fall themed sprinkles

Lollipop sticks

Parchment paper

Small plastic bags

Twine or fall colored ribbon

This is a cute Thanksgiving or fall themed party favor or place setting idea. Everyone loves Rice Crispy Treats! You can buy everything you need except for the Rice Crispy Treats at a craft store.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Corn Chowder - An Easy Homemade Soup

I adapted my recipe from the Pioneer Woman's Corn Chowder recipe. She has at least two different corn chowder recipes on her website. She served her corn chowder in a bread bowl. I did not want the extra carbs so I served mine with a spinach salad and a piece of toasted baguette with garlic spread and cheese.

I also added more bacon and chicken broth. I am a recipe rebel.


4 tablespoons of butter
1 whole white onion, finely chopped
6 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
3 whole Bell peppers (red, green and orange) finely diced
5 ears of corn, with the kernels sliced off
1/4 cup flour
3 1/2 cups chicken broth or stock
1 pint of half and half
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup sliced green onions


In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook them for a few minutes. Add the bacon and cook for another couple of minutes. Then add the diced Bell peppers and cook for a few more minutes. Then add your corn and cook for another minute or two.

Sprinkle the flour into the pot. Stir and allow to thicken for 5 minutes.Then reduce the heat to low and stir in the half and half. Cover your pot and reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes to one half hour.

Stir in cheese and green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This was so good - we each add two bowls and I have leftovers for tomorrow.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub

This is a wonderful gift idea especially at this time of the year - when we are dry and itchy. A scrub helps exfoliate and moisturize our skin. This scrub is made for your hands or body - not your face.

Fortunately this scrub can be made with ingredients that you probably have in your pantry. But remember you might need to replenish some supplies when it is time to bake.


4 cups of brown sugar
2 cups of white sugar
5 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups of olive, sesame or canola oil

You will also need little tins, labels and orange ribbon.


Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Using a spoon place the scrub into to the little tins and pack the scrub down with the back of the spoon.

I bought the little tins in the wedding section at Michael's - they were $19.99 for 28 tins but I had a 50% off coupon so I only paid $10. Use your coupons ladies!

The scrub smells really yummy while you are combining all the ingredients.

This recipe filled twenty-three of the little tins.

What a quick project!

Then I just hand wrote some little labels. Note: the little wedding tin kit came with the oval labels.

Using some orange ribbon (see if you have any left over from Halloween) you can tie a little bow around your tin or use a tiny strip under the label.

Use this method if you want to stack the little tins or if you happen to be short on orange ribbon.

The bows would look cute as a place setting party favor or as decorations on your Thanksgiving table.

This is such a fun and simple project - your kids can help make this with you! I am going to bring a few to my hairdresser today.  Her hands must get really dry this time of the year.

Note: If you use this scrub in the shower - the shower can become a little slippery. Rinse the bottom of the shower really well and be careful!

Remember to be Thankful!