Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’
Yep, just checked the calendar and it is December 23. How did that happen? Are you ready? Do you need a quick appetizer? You just might have all of the ingredients on hand for this one, and it is quick and easy! If you have a food processor, it will be even quicker and easier!! This cheese ball is always a crowd favorite — as in, they-practically-lick-the-plate-clean favorite! We call it “Aunt Christine’s Cheese Ball” because I got the recipe from my sister about 20 years ago.
1 – 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
½ tsp. season salt
1 ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 green onions
1 package luncheon meat, thinly sliced (the cheap stuff!)
Finely chop the green onions. Chop the luncheon meat (I like to use Buddig beef), reserve half. Combine the remaining beef, onions and all other ingredients.
Refrigerate for a while so that it isn’t “sticky”; form into a ball and roll the ball in the remaining chopped beef. Serve with crackers.
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a health, safe, and Happy New Year with friends and family.
It is beginning to look a bit like Christmas … and that means there are all kinds of get-togethers, at the office, in the neighborhood, etc. This is an old stand-by, one of my favorite “go-to” recipes, especially when I haven’t planned ahead for something special! I’ve got a meeting at work tomorrow morning and decided I needed to bring something in to share. I conveniently keep the ingredients for this yummy cake on hand at all times.
1 box yellow cake mix
1 box butterscotch instant pudding
approx. 1 Tblsp. Poppy seeds (original recipe calls for 2 oz. — a small spice container — but, in this case I think “less is more” and can get 3-4 cakes out of one container)
1 cup water
2/3 cup oil
In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients (except
powdered sugar). Add water, eggs and
oil. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds,
until well combined. Mix on medium speed
for 2 minutes. Pour into lightly greased
Bake at 350° for 40-45
minutes (until tester comes out clean).
Let cool about 10 minutes and invert onto plate. This also works well in loaf pans. Cool
completely and then dust with powdered sugar.
My 7 year old son is a LEGO maniac. Since he is so into building with his LEGO bricks, I decided to splurge on this:
If you buy LEGO products, you know that it was definitely a splurge…especially since I normally buy the dollar chocolate Advent calendars. Once I decided to purchase this for my son, I knew I needed to come up with an idea for my daughter. I contemplated the LEGO City Advent Calendar for her but I decided that while she would enjoy opening it up and putting the pieces together each day, it would ultimately end up in my son’s room.
I decided that I would make an Advent calendar myself using some of her favorite things. I have to give credit to my friend, E, for the idea. We researched different make-your-own Advent calendars on our favorite craft blogs and Pinterest, but nothing jumped out at us. There is one that we want to sew but we knew that would we would be cutting it close! That is when E saw the idea to tie up the little gifts in a candy roll style and hang it from a hook. We gathered up our goodies and got to work! For my daughter, I bought one package of Squinkies and I had a bag of Polly Pockets I had bought at a consignment store. I also had My Little Ponies in my closet that I used.
E made four of them. In her girls’ calendars, she tucked nail polish, lip gloss and candy. In her little guy’s calendar she used a bunch of Hot Wheels she was regifting from her older son. For her older son, it was LEGO Mini Figures and candy. They don’t have to be expensive items. They can be notes, candies, and more.
Making the Calendar
You need an inexpensive 2 ply with lining paper table cloth. We used a red tablecloth that E picked up at Target for $3.00, ribbon, scissors, and your items.
Cut your tablecloth. We started the project cutting the tablecloth on the short side because we wanted to make sure we got six calendars out of it. Because we cut on the short side, we had to tie two panels together. If you cut the long length, you shouldn’t have to combine more than one panel because it will be long enough. We cut our strip 8 inches wide so that all of the items would fit.
Decide the pattern of your gifts. If you are using all candy pieces, you can skip this step. If you are mixing up candy and toys or notes, you will want to decide how to arrange it. For example, E used 9 gifts (chapstick, nailpolish, Hot Wheel cars) and her pattern looked like this (the T stands for toy and the C stands for candy).
Tie off the top of your strip with curling ribbon.
Place your item in the tablecloth strip.
Twist the tablecloth around the item so that it covers it up and tie it off (kind of like a little piece of candy or sausage links).
Repeat until you have 25 links for the 25 days counting up until Christmas.
Curl the ribbon and hang from a hook. You can make a little card with an initial or name to staple to the top of the Advent calendar.
I knotted the ribbon so that little fingers wouldn’t decide to give it a tug. Each day, I am going to have my kids cut off the next surprise before the tied off ribbon. I hope this becomes a yearly tradition!
I. Love. Black Friday.
Black Friday is way more exciting to me then a turkey that had to cook all day and is eaten up in 15 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the together time with the family and the yummy food that was cooked lovingly but I spend the majority of Thanksgiving looking through the ads and making my game plan strategy.
We use Black Friday to pick up gifts for Christmas as well as things we have been eyeing for ourselves for awhile but just didn’t want to spend the money. That being said, I Christmas shop for my family all year and I need somewhere to keep track of purchases and also to store coupons and receipts. Usually I just pick up a new notebook but last year I was admiring my friend’s shopping notebook that she made herself. I convinced her to help me and this morning we completed our project!
To make your own little Black Friday book, you will need the following:
- marbled composition notebook
- four pieces of cardstock
- stickers or paper to use for decorative elements
- glue stick
- two sandwich bags
When my sewing buddy E sent this link to alphabet letter similar to these (I can’t find the original site she sent but the letters were similar to these), I thought she was nuts! Like I said before, I do not sew on a regular basis. I can attach ribbon to a burp cloth and I can sew a patch but I don’t consider myself any more than a total amateur. E decided to give it a try and I LOVED the way her letters looked so I decided to go for it! I am actually really happy with the way the letters turned out and they are going to be a perfect gift for my sweet baby nephew!
First, we decided to get rid of the magnets. They were going to little ones and we didn’t want to take any chances with the stitching opening up and the magnets falling out. Our letters are just to play with.
To make the letter template, we chose a Cricut font that appealed to us. We made sure that it did not have twists and curls and would be easy to stitch around. Once we decided which size and font, we cut out each letter of the alphabet onto cardstock.
Using the template, I traced each letter onto batting. **E and I each used a different batting. After the letters were finished, we decided that we liked the thicker batting better.
I gathered up 26 different scraps in boy-ish fabrics (not easy to do since lately all of my projects have been girly projects!) that were large enough to fold over the batting. This is where I need to mention that E did all of the legwork here. She practiced with several different techniques until we decided what looked the best and was the easiest way to mass produce these things!
I started with the letter A. I took the batting for the letter A, placed it in between two scraps of fabric (right sides out) and pinned the cardstock template A on top of the fabric. E was able to just stitch the letters but when I tried to feel the batting through the fabric to guide the sewing machine, my letters looked ridiculous! Pinning the cardstock template to the fabric gave me a sewing guide. Be sure to pin the cardstock in several spots because the cardstock had a tendency to slip if not pinned properly.
Once the letters were sewn, I used pinking shears to cut the letters out.
They are definitely not all pretty and not all perfectly shaped letters, but I love them!
These are headed to my sweet little nephew’s house, but my four year old has been looking at them all day. Methinks I will be making another set in the near future!
Linking up to:
My FAVORITE recipe from the cookie party so far!!! How can I be so sure it is my favorite!? Not only have I eaten my share from the cookie swap, but I have also eaten all the leftovers from the platters that were brought to share during the party. I am a huge fan of toffee, but this might possibly take the place of any toffee recipes I have. It isn’t exactly the same, but it has an amazing melt in your mouth buttery flavor. And it sounds so easy to make! I cannot wait to try making it myself and I HIGHLY suggest you try it ASAP!!!
Thank you J.G. for this AH-MAZING recipe! Oh, and I have no pictures of it to share because I ate it all!!! Sorry!
Holiday Graham Cracker Bark
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 3/4 cups chopped walnuts (or your choice)
- 6 ounces semi sweet chips
- 1 package graham crackers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan with tin foil and cover with one layer of graham cracker pieces. Combine butter and brown sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in nuts. Pour sugar mixture over crackers and then bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave and pour over top of cooled grahams. Cool in fridge. ENJOY!
You will SO NOT be sorry if you try this recipe. Talk about WOW factor!!!
My family is famous for cookie swaps. I think Jennifer is on her 8th? year of hosting her annual cookie exchange. Down South they are serious and take cookie swapping to a whole new level. It has evolved into it’s own living breathing cookie creature. The first year a couple of us got together to bake cookies. I think by year two we already decided that was too much work and we would just bring cookies to share. Then some people started packaging stuff a little more cute than usual and then she started having prizes for who’s was the most creative. Of course, the gauntlet had been thrown down! Now people plan months in advance for the best tasting cookie, most clever packaging and tackiest Christmas sweater (everyone decided they had to compete with mom’s sweaters) :o). Those are only a few of the highlights too! There is a gift exchange and more! It is a great time for friends to get together, share great recipes and eat good food. Unfortunately, I moved away a year and a half ago and this was my second year missing the cookie party. They gave me the option last year to send my cookies in to compete, but there was just too much going on!
This year I decided it was high time I continue the tradition on my own and I threw my first Christmas Cookie Swap. It was planned a little on the fly so I didn’t have time to incorporate all the things I wanted to, but there is always next year! I had a great turn out and there were AWESOME cookies. I love any excuse to hang out with my neighborhood ladies and today was no exception. A few of the highlights of my party:
- 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for most creative packaging/beautiful cookies (this was included in the invite) and because we all have a great sense of humor, a prize for “maybe next year!”
- Each guest brought 4 – 6 cookies per person attending pre-packaged for easy “grab and go” as well as enough printed recipes for each guest to take home with them (I made it clear if people did not RSVP by a certain date they would not be able to attend and emailed the number of guests out a few days before)
- Guests were also encouraged to bring their “leftovers” on a tray for the ladies to snack on during the party
I had a small amount of meats, cheese, olives, and crackers to snack on as well as mimosas, coffee, wine, etc.
Things I will be prepared for next year:
Cute name tags, probably designed to look like recipe cards
A “theme” such as tacky sweater or maybe even holiday cocktail…we all have those dresses we have to wear to holiday parties, why not get an extra use out of them!
Next year I will probably switch and do it late on a Sunday afternoon like they do back home; I just think it would be easier
I am so blessed with so many amazing friends. I love my neighborhood and I am so thankful I have these woman to support me and my family in the good times and the not so good times. Thank you everyone for helping me make my Christmas even more special this year!
I am including some of my favorite pictures from the party and it was so hard to choose! I plan, it time allows, to post my favorite three recipes over the next week or so. There were so many fantastic cookies!
These instructions will make one standard size pillowcase (approximately 32” x 20”). I have adapted these into EASY instructions from some complicated directions I got for free from a quilt shop in California about 15 years ago. There are almost no limits to the fabrics and colors available. The instructions can be adapted to any size pillow.
- I first made pillowcases when my daughters were headed off to college:
- If your students attend a large school it is fairly easy to find novelty fabric, otherwise use the school colors
- Use stencils to cut out the school/sorority letters out of iron-on patch material; zigzag around to make sure they stay on through repeated washings
- I have also made them to decorate beds
- An inexpensive way for decorator pillows to coordinate with sheets on the bed – pick up a twin size flat to match to use as the fabric
- Use ribbons and buttons to close up the end
- Now I make them for the “grands”
- for holidays
- to decorate their bedrooms (e.g., anything pink, baseball)
- or their hobbies and interests (e.g., Boy Scouts, dance, soccer)
Fabric (44-45” wide) required:
1 yard (44-45” wide) for body of pillowcase
1/3 yard for end of pillowcase
1/8 yard for accent strip
It is up to you to decide whether you want to use something recommended for children’s wear (e.g., flame retardant fabrics). I’ve always used 100% cotton (e.g., quilting-type fabrics, novelty & holiday-print fabrics and flannel). Prewash all fabrics.
Optional: Rickrack and other embellishments
Cutting (or “ripping”) Directions:
From the 1 yard piece, cut one piece 27” x 41”
From 1/3 yard piece, cut one piece 10” x 41”
From 1/8 yard piece, cut one piece 3” x 41”
Press the 3” x 41 accent strip in half lengthwise, right side out, raw edges together (strip will now be 1 ½” x 41”) .
Press the 10” x 41” end piece in half lengthwise, right side out, raw edges together (strip will now be 5” x 41”).
Sandwich the accent (1 ½” wide) strip between the end piece (5” wide) and right side of the bottom long edge of the body fabric with all raw edges together. You can pin them together if you are hesitant about feeding them along, or do like I do and just hold them in place. Make sure that your “body” fabric is going in the desired direction.
Sew a 5/8” wide seam along the bottom edge. Don’t panic if they don’t match up exactly on the other end, just trim accordingly!
Press: 1) seams up; 2) accent piece up; and 3) end piece down.
Top stitch the accent piece to keep it standing up. This is a good time/place to add rickrack or ribbon, if desired. I only add buttons and other embellishments if the pillowcases won’t actually be used for sleeping (who wants a button in their ear?).
Fold the body piece (with attached accent and end piece) in half with right sides together, matching the edges (should be starting to look like a pillowcase at this point!).
Sew a 5/8” seam around the long side and top open edges. You can doublestitch this if you think it will get heavy duty wear.
Clip close to the seam and the corners.
Turn inside out and press.
Taking pictures and all, this one took me about 30 minutes. Usually I make these in “assembly-line” fashion. In no time at all you’ll have a Pile of Pillowcases.
I just had a brilliant idea to make “tooth” pillows – will let you know how those work out (when I get around to them).
Linking up to: