Here’s a quick and easy gift for just about anyone. My kiddos each treated their teachers to a jar to kick off the Christmas season. Supplies:
- pint-sized Mason jars
- peppermint sticks
- candy cane Chapstick
- ribbon and tags
I simply filled each jar with peppermint sticks and popped the lid on top. Then I tied a ribbon around the neck and secured the Chapstick. Adorn with a cute tag (mine said, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”), and you’re done. The teachers were thrilled, especially with the lip balm!
Ree Drummond, our favorite Pioneer Woman, has done it again with these simple and scrumptious appetizers. They are just too yummy not to share. We promise there won’t be any leftovers here!
- Club crackers
- thin-sliced bacon
- parmesan cheese (brown sugar or blue cheese could be used for a variation)
Preheat oven to 250*. Spread your crackers out on a rack on a baking sheet. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon parmesan cheese on each cracker. Cut your bacon in half. Wrap a half of a piece of bacon around each cracker. Now put the pan in the oven and bake for 2 hours. No, that is not a typo. You bake these low and slow. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Yummy!
Each Christmas we look for ways to celebrate the teachers in the lives of our children by giving each educator a gift. However, with 5 kids gift giving can really add up. This year my children are giving their teachers a cozy pair of fleece fingerless gloves that convert to mittens by simply unbuttoning one button. I caught the gloves on sale at Target and used a coupon from My Cartwheel app and paid less than $6 per pair. I tied each pair with cute ribbon and attached a hand-written tag saying:
“Hope these make your hands as warm as your heart”
Hope this idea makes its way to your Pinterest board!!
Feta cheese makes this dip fabulous. Beware, if you serve this as an appetizer your guests might not have room for dinner!
Stir the following ingredients together:
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 small cans white shoe peg corn, drained
- 4-5 green onions, chopped
- 8oz crumbled feta cheese
Mix the following ingredients for the vinigarette and pour over beans and corn mixture.
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Chill and serve with corn chip scoops – yum!
After our little painting tutorial, Mary and I have been chomping at the bit to try out our new skills! My mom’s cute side table seemed like the perfect little thing in need of a fix-up. The table is old (like probably close to 75 years old!) so it needed a little more than paint. Here’s how I did it.
- Valspar Super Flat paint
- sand paper (150 grit)
- Elmer’s wood glue
- Durham’s Rock Hard water putty
- Valspar Antiquing Glaze
- putty knife
- assorted brushes
- paste wax
What to Do:
First, I removed the hardware. Next I gave the little chest a good sanding to rough it up so it would take the paint. Then I wiped it all down with a damp paper towel. During this process, I discovered a few things that needed to be fixed. I secured a broken piece of trim with some wood glue. And, yes, that is a chip clip clamping it together. Work with what you’ve got!Because the chest was so old, I could find any drawer pulls that were the right size. So I decided to just use single knobs instead. This meant I had to get rid of 4 holes in the drawers. I simply followed the directions on the water putty to mix it, then filled the holes and scraped off the excess with my putty knife. After it dried, I sanded a bit more to even it out. It worked perfectly!After the glue and putty were dry, I was ready to paint. I ended up putting 3 coats on to cover the dark wood. I made sure to use even strokes.When the piece was completely dry, I used the same 150 grit sand paper to rub paint off of the edges. In the words of my sister, I didn’t want it too shabby but I wanted it “oh, so chic.” After my sanding was done, I wiped the chest down again with a damp paper towel to remove the excess dust. Then I poured a small amount of antiquing glaze into a small paint tray and mixed it with water until it was a much thinner consistency. I brushed it on with a thin, jagged-ended brush. If I ever thought that I applied too much, I just went back over it with a wet brush to get the desired effect. When it was dry, I applied the paste wax and then buffed it off with an old towel. I let that dry for about 24 hours and then applied the new knobs.I love how it turned out and, most importantly, so did my mom!
Every year after Christmas I feel guilty about throwing away all those beautiful Christmas cards. Here is a craft that will help relieve some of that guilt. You can make beautiful Christmas tree ornaments with a few items, a little know-how, and your old Christmas cards.Materials:
- old Christmas cards
- large hole punch (mine is 2 inches; the larger the punch, the larger the ornament)
- ruler or straight-edge
- craft glue or hot glue gun
- string, wire, yarn, or some other means to hang the ornament
Begin by punching circles from your Christmas cards. You will need 20 for each ornament, regardless of size. Make one extra to be your pattern (see below).
Now you have to make an equilateral triangle on the back of one of the circles. If you are a geometry whiz, you may know exactly how to do this. I found that folding the circle to make an even triangle was what worked for me. This is the hardest part, I promise! Now cut off the three sides of the circle, and you have your pattern.
Trace the triangle on the back of each circle. Now fold each circle along the lines so that you are folding the picture toward itself to make 3 “flaps” on each circle.
You are now ready for assembly. The top and bottom of the ornament are each formed by gluing 5 triangles together. They should form a kind of dome shape. The middle of the ornament is made by gluing 10 triangles together to form a straight band. To do this you will have to arrange them point up, point down, point up, etc.
Now you have 3 pieces that need to be glued together. Simply match up the flaps to assemble the entire ornament.
If you start now, you can have all your teacher gifts, neighbor gifts, etc. done before next Christmas season rolls around.
I have this beautiful Advent calendar my sister gave to me. The little doors open to reveal mini compartments that have the honor of housing little treats.
Of course with 5 kids, the dilemas are:
1. What to put inside? and 2. Who gets it? oh yeah, and 3. Can it be cheap?
Here’s how I do it:
On the back of the box is a list indicating who opens the door on which day. So with 5 kids, each child opens 5 doors between December 1 and December 25.
The following items are inside (one item on each day and each child eventually gets the same thing just perhaps not in a row. For example, I put in 5 quarters and each child will have one by Christmas. Inside each door is also a scripture from the Christmas story to remind our children what this precious season of Advent is really about. Click here to get the verses.
- Quarters (each child gets 1)
- packs of gum
- hair accessories for the girls and chap-stick for the boys
- notes saying things like “Help a friend today” and “Write a note to a family member telling them what he or she means to you.”
- Foil wrapped chocolate Santas
The options are endless and don’t have to cost a lot. Comment and share with us how you prepare for Christmas.
While we hear it is controversial, we think that men shakin’ their thangs in boxer shorts in the spirit of Christmas is pretty funny. Watch and enjoy (or be horrified!).
If you are wondering what to do with what’s left of the Thanksgiving turkey, this sensational casserole won’t reveal your secret of using leftovers. Creamy ingredients and a crunchy, buttery topping make this dish delicious. Don’t have any leftover turkey? Simply substitute with cooked chicken breasts.
- 5 cups cooked turkey (or chicken), chopped
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- 2 cups crushed Ritz crackers
- 3 tbsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375*. Lightly spray a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine turkey, soups, sour cream, almonds and poppy seeds. Blend well and pour into baking dish. In a smaller bowl, combine crackers and melted butter until mixed. Top casserole with buttered crackers.
Bake covered for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 more minutes or until golden and bubbly. I served this with broccoli and carrots. You can serve it over cooked rice if desired. ENJOY!
Junie B. Jones – The “B” stands for Beatrice, but today we are calling the author of the Junie B. Jones series, Barbara Park our “B”eloved favorite. Ms. Park recently died of ovarian cancer at the age of 66. When my husband read aloud this headline to our children while perusing the news, our girls had tears in their eyes. Emily and Elaina’s first chapter books were the hilarious Junie B. Jones series. Junie B’s “huffy breath”, wise cracks and less-than-perfect way with the English language have had our entire family in stitches. I can recall more than one occasion where reading could commence only after the laughter ceased. With titles like Stupid Smelly Bus and Sneeky Peeky Spying, my boys (ages 5 & 6) are anxious to delve into the world of the precocious kindergartener.
“I’ve never been sure whether Junie B.’s fans love her in spite of her imperfections…or because of them. But either way, she’s gone out into the world and made more friends than I ever dreamed possible.” – Barbara Park
In memory of Barbara Park and her delightfully funny character, Junie B. Jones, read one of over 30 books and visit the official Junie B. Jones website for loads of fun. Be prepared to laugh out loud!!! To Ms. Park, Thank You and God Bless You!