Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Mantel

Well before I start putting away all the Christmas decor, I figured I better show you my Christmas mantel.  I've been working the last two weeks so going to work in the dark, coming home in the dark and gone for the weekend does not make it easy to get any decent photos of the mantel.  I was finally able to snap a couple pictures so I could share.  Better late than never, right?

I found some gold paper mache reindeer at Michael's for 50% off ($4.50 each) and added those to my mantel this year.  I also found a couple free printables that I downloaded and put in frames.

The nutcrackers we've had forever.  I picked up the wreath on Christmas clearance last year at Michael's. 

This year instead of putting the garland ON the mantel, I used some Command hooks and HUNG it on the mantel making some room for other decor. I love how it turned out.

Okay, now I can take it all down - one of these days.  It's so sad to see all the Christmas decor boxed up and put away, but I'm ready.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cookies For Santa Plate

A couple months ago while I was at The Wood Connection, I checked out their clearance vinyl and came across this one for $2.00

I figured it would be perfect for a little Christmas project.  I picked up a square white plate at Dollar Tree.

Cut the vinyl apart and added it to the plate - done in less than 10 minutes.  Love those kinds of projects.

Now my boys have a cute little plate to fill with goodies for their red suited friend.

One more day . . . are you ready?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Toffee - Quick Method

I have made this recipe several times before and it's always a hit.  Super simple, cheap and tastes delicious.  I first found the recipe on the Kraft Foods website here.  Look how good it is.

But the sneaky part is  . . . it's made from crackers.  Here is the back. 

Here is the recipe so you can try it for yourself - you won't be disappointed.

What You Need
35 PREMIUM Saltine Crackers
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 pkg. (8 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
1 cup chopped PLANTERS Walnuts, toasted

Make It
HEAT oven to 400ºF.
PLACE crackers in single layer in foil-lined 15x10x1-inch pan.
COOK butter and sugar in saucepan on medium-high heat until butter is melted and mixture is well blended, stirring occasionally. Bring to boil; cook 3 min. without stirring. Spread onto crackers.
BAKE 5 to 7 min. or until topping is golden brown. Immediately sprinkle with chocolate; let stand 5 min. or until softened. Spread over crackers; top with nuts. Cool. Break into pieces.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Neighbor Gifts - Glass Dishes

Have you ever had a crazy busy day that goes by so quickly that you realize it's 9:30 p.m. and you haven't even had a minute to turn on the computer?  Well the last week has been like that for me.  And when 9:30 p.m. comes around, I'm exhausted and can't seem to find the energy to even want to turn on the computer.  So needless to say I haven't posted anything lately.  Although, I've been working away like mad on various projects.

Anyway, this year I was debating what to do for my neighbors.  I needed something quick and easy.  So I went to a couple Dollar Tree stores and picked up enough supplies to make some $2.00 glass dishes.  I had the epoxy on hand already.  One night, I glued them all together and then let them dry overnight.

The next day I filled them with some peanuts and a few Hershey Kisses.  Then I wrapped them up, added a bow, a tag and some ribbon.

I delivered the last one just the other day.  Now on to the next project.   

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A $2.00 Centerpiece

While I was shopping at Walmart last week, they had their poinsettias marked down 50% off so I snatched one up for $1.99.  I put it in a flower pot rather than leaving it in the foil it comes in.  I put it in a thrift store metal basket that I spray painted black, threw in some pine cones, cinnamon sticks and greenery and had a simple centerpiece.

Love the pop of red it adds to the kitchen.  Also just a tip I picked up from my mom when watering these delicate plants.  Poinsettias tend to get over watered and the leaves fall off, so for easy watering just put a handful of ice cubes on the dirt around the plant every few days.  That way the ice slowly melts watering the plant.

I also changed up my candles and just added some red berries. 

I spent the day working on my neighbor/co-worker gifts, which I'll show you soon.  I also added a few holiday touches to the bathrooms.  My two year old was quick to notice the changes I had made.

Monday, December 12, 2011

English Toffee

Okay, I have to admit, I have never even tried to make English Toffee.  I always thought I would mess it up.  But last week I found a recipe here that I thought I would give a try.  So Friday night about 9:00 p.m. after the boys went to bed, I figured it was a great time to try it.  That way it could cool overnight.  I followed the directions, except I had to cook mine for about 12 min to get to the right hardness and I didn't add the almonds.  I don't have a candy thermometer either, so I just had to wing it.

It sat overnight and then in the morning I added the chocolate and nuts (on part of it).  Luckily for me, it turned out to be pretty delicious.  We passed some out to the neighbors to try too. 

So have you tried baking anything new this year? 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thin Mints

So I saw Alison's post the other day about these "mint cookies."  I've seen this recipe before, but this time I decided to try it. I started with these ingredients, just like she mentioned. But I didn't end up using the shortening because the chocolate was thin enough once it was melted.

Dipped my crackers. I made about 2 sleeves worth of crackers for one package of baking chips. Let them set on the counter for a few minutes and they were done.

Enjoy - thanks Alison. My two year old kept asking, "More crackers Mom!"  He knew the secret . . . that they are only Ritz.  He loves them, and I must say I think they're pretty tasty too.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Little Christmas Decorating

Well I spent most of Black Friday taking down Thanksgiving decorations and cleaning the house so I could pull out our Christmas decor.  I am still working on a few things, namely my mantel.  But for the most part, the house is decorated.  I've been busy wrapping and shipping Christmas packages.  Now that I'm done with that, I can get back to decorating and do some baking as well.

Last year I made these Joy blocks and charger.  You can order the vinyl from Utah Vinyl for both projects.

Above my kitchen cupboards I have another charger and some ornaments in an apothecary jar.  I also put some lights above the cupboards.  I love the gentle glow at night time.

The village is my husband's annual project.  He loves to set it up - so I let him, one less thing I have to worry about.

One year for Christmas we received this adorable nativity.  It would be a fun craft to make for a gift. 

I'll have to show you more pictures later, but we're definitely ready for Christmas around here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A King Is Born

Last month while I was at The Wood Connection one day, I came across a kit that caught my eye. It was pretty cheap, $2.95 plus $2.00 for the vinyl.  It was also easy enough I could put it together in a hour or so. Here are my supplies.

I painted the manger and block of wood brown, the head flesh color and the body cream.

I added paper to the manger with Mod Podge and then painted the star yellow and attached it with some rusty tin wire.

I sanded the edges of my block and added the vinyl.

So perfect for Christmas.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Mega Wreath

While shopping the after Christmas clearance items last year, I found this huge wreath at Michael's. 

I loved the burlap, the glass ornaments filled with red berries and the angels.  And just look at the tag.

So I snatched it up for $26.00 and thought it would look perfect above my mantel.  Over the weekend, I pulled it out and hung it up - it was almost too big.  But I love it.

I am still working on the rest of my mantel, so I'll have to show you more later.  But until then, I'm sure diggin' my new mega wreath.  I stuck a wood plaque in there for now too.