Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope that 2012 is filled with good health, much happiness, love, and dreams come true. I look forward to seeing what the coming year will bring ;)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Butterbeer Jelly Shots

Oh. My. Goodness. 
These Butterbeer Jelly Shots may be coming along to join in the New Year's Eve festivities this year. Aren't they beautiful and festive!

These jelly shots are beautiful cut into simple cubes, with rainbow sugar on top, for a little sparkle. (Make sure to add the sugar just before serving – it’s a beautiful garnish, but melts quickly!) Or mount the cubes onto lollipop-style sticks for some added fun. Either way, these buttery-flavored jelly shots will be the hit of your New Year's Eve festivities! Here is the recipe from

Butterbeer Jelly Shots


  • 1 cup creme soda
  • 2 envelopes plain gelatin
  • 1/3 cup vanilla vodka
  • 2/3 cup butterscotch schnapps
  • colored large crystal sugar, for garnish, if desired


  1. Pour soda in a medium saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Allow to soak for a minute or two.
  2. 2eat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in the vodka and schnapps.
  4. Pour into standard loaf pan (non-reactive metal or glass, approx. 9" x 5"). Refrigerate until fully set (about 3 hours).
  5. To serve, cut into desired shapes.
  6. Immediately before serving, dip in colored crystal sugar, for garnish, if desired.

** For a kid-friendly version, gell 2 cups of cream soda with a tablespoon or so of butterscotch syrup with 2 envelopes of plain gelatin. **

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Crafty New Year's Eve Decoration Ideas

Now that the hussel and bussel of the holidays is behind us, it's time to get ready to celebrate the New Year! Here are some fun and crafty New Year's Eve Decorating ideas to help you kick off 2012 in style.

I love this Countdown and Clock Decor idea from Fiskars.

To create the New Year's Clocks, make assorted accordion circles by cutting strips of cardstock one half the width of desired circle and using scoring blade in your rotary trimmer to score each half inch. Accordion-fold along scored lines and repeat with enough strips adhered together to form a circle. Hot glue at center. Add number stickers at the 3, 6, 9, and 12. To create clock hands, trim a 3" square of cardstock and punch one corner with the Romantique corner punch. Using your trimmer, cut from the opposite corner to the design without cutting through. Repeat on other side, trim off excess, and adhere to center of circle along with a shorter version. Hang with clear thread.

To create the Countdown Decor, collect 10 champagne or wine corks (can also be found in your local craft store) and cut a slit in the top of each one using a craft knife.  Print out the reverse outline of the numbers using Word Art in Microsoft Word onto assorted, colorful cardstocks. Cut out each letter using the retractable craft knife on a craft mat. Punch the numbers randomly with a star hand punch and insert into corks to complete.

Dress up your New Year's Eve Napkins with this crafty idea from Martha Stewart.

Wrap 2 foam balls with strung sequins, and thread 1/4-inch metallic ribbon through them using a tapestry needle; wrap the ribbon around the napkin, then tuck the smaller ball through to hold it in place. Sew sequins by hand along a runner’s hemstitching for a confetti effect.

Make these Giant Confetti Bags from Oh Happy Day to hand out just before the clock strikes midnight.

Visit Oh Happy Day for project details, here.

Add a little shimmer to your night with these Streamers from Martha Stewart.

Visit Martha Stewart, here, for project directions.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Free Holiday Printables

Only a few more days left to finish up your shopping, wrapping, and tagging. Here are some great holiday printables to help make your packages extra special and pretty this year.

Holiday Gift Tags by Sass & Peril: I love the colors and all of the great design choices, which include  Christmas AND Hanukkah tags as well as generic holiday scenes. Click here to download.

Holiday Mini Cards by Parties by Hardie: I LOVE these mini holiday cards. They are perfect for packages, teacher gifts, favor tags.... So cute! Click here to download.

Mail-Themed Gift Tags by Eat Drink Chic: These mail-themed tags are perfect for those packages that you can't deliver yourself. Print tags onto adhesive paper and use as address labels for your mail-bound packages. Click here to download.

Monogrammed Tags by Martha Stewart: If monograms are you thing, these gift tags from Miss Martha will be the perfect accessory for your holiday packages. Click here to download.

Elegant Gift Tags by design, wash, rinse, repeat: If you are looking for an elegant addition to your gifts, these gift tags might do the trick. They would look great on a bottle of wine, don't you think. Click here to download.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

{DIY} 5-Pointed Paper Snowflake Garland

I have been feeling crafty lately. Can you tell?  I had paper snowflakes on my mind today and searched around for a tutorial. Lucky for me (and you!), I came across Jessica Jones of How About Orange. Jessica is a seriously talented crafter/designer/blogger. You should stop by and check her out, here. Anyway, Jessica has a great tutorial on her blog for making a 5-Pointed Snowflake Garland. Isn't it pretty. My paper snowflakes have never turned out this beautiful before. I am hoping that her detailed tutorial will make all the difference for me this year.

Jessica made this garland using origami paper, tape, and dental floss. The second and third flakes in her garland are based on a 5-pointed star. You can download her folding directions here.

The first, fourth, and fifth flakes in the garland are based on 8 points (Fold a square in half diagonally and keep halving it until it's nearly too thick to cut, then snip out small shapes ). Here is an example of an 8-pointer. Jessica recommends ironing your snowflakes with the steam setting of your iron turned off to get them to lay nice and flat.

These snowflakes also make beautiful gift toppers, don't you think? Or, make smaller ones to hang on your tree.

Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial, Jessica. I am going to give these flakes a try and hope for the best this time around.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

{Party Ideas} A Snowman Themed Party

In need of a versatile holiday or winter theme for your next shindig? How about hosting a Snowman Themed Party. Whether you are hosting a non-religious holiday party or a winter celebration, you can't go wrong with a few jolly snowmen (and women) on your side.

Snowman Themed Food: From a Frosty glass of milk to a shot of snowman ice cream, here are some fun snowman themed snack ideas for your party.
{Images and Source Links: Top Row: All You , Good Housekeeping , Better Homes and Gardens , Middle Row: Martha Stewart , Better Homes and Gardens , babble  , Bottom Row: Candie Anderson , Canadian Family , Better Homes and Gardens }

Snowman Crafts: If there is snow on the ground, suit the kiddos up and let them create a winter wonderland of snowmen and women. If not, here are some snowman craft ideas that should be almost as much fun.
{Images and Sources: Kaboose , Kaboose , Family Fun , Kid Activities }
Snowman Activity: Set up a Build Your Own Snowman station for little ones to create their own frosty snow creatures. Stack marshmallows (skewered with tooth picks) onto a graham cracker with a thin layer of frosting. Use pretzel sticks for arms, chocolate chips for eyes and buttons, and orange jelly beans for a carrot nose.

Snowman Favors: Send your guests home with a snowman-to-go favor. Here are a few of my favorites.

{Image and Source Links: Add Ink and StampMarried, Broke, and Hungry , Bakerella }

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Easy Holiday Crafting Ideas

If you are as busy as I am during the holiday season (and I am pretty sure that you are), an easy holiday craft is a welcomed way to unwind and add a little more holiday cheer to your day. Here are a few that caught my eye:

Tiny Trees:
Turn a plain pinecone into a tabletop jewel. Place pinecones into various containers, cups, and/or bowls, sprinkle with glitter, and top with a star. It's just that easy!

{Image: Good Housekeeping}
A Hanging Window Display:
Glam an old frame up with a little paint, ribbon and some ornaments to add holiday cheer to an unsuspecting window.

{Image: Better Homes and Gardens}

A No-Fuss Kissing Ball:
Encourage seasonal smooches with this no-fuss kissing ball from Good Housekeeping. Wrap a 4-inch Styrofoam ball in a 14-inch fabric square; secure with a rubber band. Thread the end of 1 1/2 yards of ribbon down through the band, around the ball, and up through the band's other side so ribbon ends match up (knot them to hang the ball). Wrap 14 inches of ribbon around the ball's other side (crossing first ribbon, as shown); tuck ends into band. Hide band with a shimmery bow and festive sprigs.

{Image: Good Housekeeping}
Ornament Garland:
Add instant glizt to a space by hanging one of these easy-to-make Ornament Garlands. Gather unused ornaments and string together along ribbon. Once ornaments are secure, hang the garland across your mantle, around your tree, or on an empty wall.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

{What's Cooking} Cranberry-Orange Muffins

The other day I was searching for a festive muffin recipe when I came across this Cranberry-Orange Muffin recipe over at Glorious Treats. I tested them out today with the kids and they are a hit in our house. These will definitely be making another appearance on Christmas morning this year.

{Image: Glorious Treats }
Here is the recipe from Glorious Treats. I did make a few changes, which I note after the recipe.

Cranberry-Orange Muffins


1 cup dried (sweetened) cranberries
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon fresh orange zest (the zest of one whole orange)
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
2 Tablespoons oil (vegetable, canola or olive)
1/2 cup milk (any fat content)
Directions :

1.) Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a muffin/cupcake pan with paper liners.

2.) Zest one whole orange (making about 1 Tablespoon of zest) and set aside.

Squeeze the juice from that one orange (about 1/3 cup).

3.) Put the orange juice (if needed, add some prepared orange juice to the fresh juice to make 1/3 cup) and the cranberries in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer about 5 minutes, stirring as needed. Turn off heat and set aside.

4.) In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger, and set aside.

5.) In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, orange zest and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).

6.) Scrape down the side of the bowl, then add in the eggs (one at a time), vanilla, orange extract, and oil. Blend until well combined.

7.) Add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk (add about half of the flour mixture, then some milk,then the rest of the flour, and the rest of the milk). Fold in the cranberries. Do not over mix.

8.) Scoop batter into prepared muffin/cupcake pan.

Bake muffins about 20 minutes (test with a toothpick, there should be moist crumbs, but not wet).

9.) Cool muffins on a wire cooling rack.

Enjoy the muffins while still warm, or when cool. They are best the day they are made, but are still very good the next day.

Yields about 8 large or 12 medium (standard) muffins.

Recipe Source ~ Glorious Treats
** I did not use the powdered ginger because I did not have any. We love cranberries, so I used closer to 1 1/4 cups of cranberries and increased the amount of orange juice slightly as well. I also peeled and diced up a large orange and folded it into the batter along with the cranberries. I LOVED the random chunks of orange in the muffins along with the cranberries. With my changes, this recipe ended up making 15 standard sized muffins and they only needed to cook for 14 minutes.***

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Snowman Cookie Kit

One of my all-time favorite cookie and sweet treat blogs, the decorated cookie, recently featured an ADORABLE Snowman Cookie Kit that I just had to share. Are these not the cutest things ever!

Meaghan created these Snowman Cookie Kits by making the individual snowman pieces and then wrapping them in cello bags and placing in a cute little box.

What a creative gift idea for the holiday and winter season. Snowman decorating would also be a fun alternative to the traditional cookie decorating for kids at a holiday party. Just make the snowman pieces ahead of time and let the kids have fun creating!

As always, Meaghan provides amazing step-by-step directions and pictures on how to create a snowman cookie kit over at her blog, the decorated cookie, here. She even includes a free link download for a snowman cookie kit label to help you complete your snowman cookie kit. Stop by the decorated cookie to check it out and tell Meaghan that I said hello!