Tuesday, November 29, 2011

{DIY} Mini Present Christmas Countdown

I love making Christmas decorations and am excited to share my first one of the season with you...a Christmas countdown! I have two little ones (5 & almost 3) so the question "how many more days?" gets asked alot! I love to have a countdown on hand to help them keep track and build that Christmas excitement!

I'm going to show you how to create this cute & inexpensive mini-present countdown. And it all starts with these...

I love these little boxes and have been itching
 to create something fun with them! 

Here's a complete list of the supplies you will need:
-25 little boxes (I used the raisin ones but any little box will do)
-wrapping paper
-yarn (baker's twine or thin ribbon would work as well)
-wide ribbon (to hang them on)
-wooden clothes pins
-decorative ribbon (for the bows)
-scrapbook paper (I used 2 different sheets)
-printable numbers (provided below) 
-hot glue
- 1 1/2" circle punch (optional)

First step is to remove the lids from the raisin boxes. Then wrap each one in wrapping paper. I used two different patterns of paper. Tie each little package with yarn to form a cute present.

Next, print the numbers provided below onto your scrapbook paper and cut out with a 1 1/2" circle punch. You could also use stickers for the numbers. Hot glue each number onto the clothespin.

Cut your ribbon to the desired length. I laid out my boxes on the floor and put them into a pattern that looked like a Christmas tree. I was then able to cut the ribbon pieces to the right length. I attached them to the wall with clear pushpins. I also made little bows with the additional ribbon and hot glued them on to the pushpins.

Hang all your boxes on your ribbon with the clothespins!

I plan on filling our boxes with slips of paper with different Christmas related activities....like reading stories, looking at Christmas lights, baking cookies, etc. But they are the perfect size for a little treat as well!

Here is the set of printable numbers I created. I wanted my numbers to alternate paper patterns, so I put the odds on one page and the evens on the other. Now, I'm not a printable wizard at all. This is a just a very simple Word document so feel free to use someone else's printable numbers or some cute stickers. Go ahead...you won't hurt my feelings ;)

I hope you enjoy this little Christmas countdown! Go on and get Christmas crafty!!

Advent Numbers

I'm linking this up to these great parties...

Nothing But Country

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Confessions of a Stay At Home Mommy


Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks

Happy Friday! I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday full of family, friends & lots of yummy food! I certainly did and am sharing a few pictures from our day...

I used turquoise, gold, cream & some burlap for my colors. I spray painted two deeply discounted pumpkins for my table.

My little pilgrims from Publix (a grocery store) will always be on my Thanksgiving table!

I made simple place cards from leaves we collected and burlap, tied with a ribbon.

Some Dollar Tree vases filled with inexpensive carnations and decorated with burlap and ribbon were part of the centerpieces. I used extra leaves to fill in the table as well.

The kids had their own table. I covered in with brown kraft paper, paper plates & cups and used free printables from Shindig Parties to Go to decorate them. 

I made each of the girls' a feather headband.

I realize I took NO pictures of all the food we made (and there were LOTS), but I remembered to take picture of (most) of the desserts ;)

Like these DELICIOUS Bailey's Trifles...

Turkey cookie pops for the kiddies...

The birthday cake for Grandma, which was a pumpkin cake with Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue & candied pecans...

Mini pumpkin pies were a big hit!

But of course, though I loved the decorations, the food & the sweets...the best part of the day was spending time with my family!

My beautiful girls...my oldest daughter (left) and my Goddaughter...my youngest refused to both wear her headband and be in the picture!

But none of it would be possible without the loving help of my best friend...my incredibly wonderful husband!

And now that Thanksgiving is over...
time to get my Christmas on!
Wishing you all a FABULOUS WEEKEND!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Thanksgiving Menu

With 9 days left before Thanksgiving, I finally finalized my menu! I thought I would simplify things this year and maybe serve a few less dishes, but who was I kidding??? I didn't have the heart to cut down the menu. So here is my Thanksgiving Menu...for 10 adults and 3 sweet little girls! 

First Course
Antipasto: My husband's family is Italian and every get together always includes this yummy collection of meats, cheeses, artichokes, peppers & olives. 
Image from www.saraskitchen.blogspot.com
Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots: I knew I had to make these as soon as I saw them on a bacon party featured at Piggy Bank Parties. I found the recipe on Recipe Girl.

Deviled Eggs: I make a pretty traditional southern-style deviled egg with the addition of some bacon...because bacon makes everything better!
Photo from FoodNetwork.com
Salad: To make us feel better about all the carbs we are going to ingest.
Photo from FoodNetwork.com
Fruit Turkeys: I saw these and thought they would be fun for the kiddies at their table. This cute idea is from Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons.

Turkey: What else???
I've made about 12 Thanksgiving dinners now and am hooked on dry-brining my turkey. Best JUICEST bird ever and I'll never prepare it any other way!! You can read all about this easy method here.
Photo from What'sCookingAmerica.net

Baked Sweet Potatoes: I'm so over the whole marshmallow concoction (sorry), so I thought I'd try this yummy recipe based on Ruth's Chris' recipe. The recipe is from The Girl Who Ate Everything.

Twice-Baked Potato Casserole: Instead of mashed potatoes this year, I'm excited about this recipe from Paula Deen found on Food Folio. It's Paula...really...you know it's going to be good!

Baked Eggplant: This will be made by my Italian Mother-in-law. It is incredibly delicious and smothered in cheese and her own sauce (that's spaghetti sauce to you non-Italians).

Sausage & Apple Stuffing:It's been a few years since I've made this and I couldn't find my recipe. But this one from Good House Keeping sounds pretty delish!

Green Bean & Artichoke Casserole: I'm not too keen on the fried onion & soup version of the green bean casserole. But I love this recipe I found a few years ago on Allrecipes.com. It reminds me of stuffed artichokes and everyone always gobbles it up!

Cranberry Sauce: Before I met my husband, I used to make this fancy shmancy cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries and Grand Marnier and it was delicious! After I got married, my husband informed that the only cranberry sauce he was interested in made a schloooop sound when you poured it out of the can and has ring marks on it. So now Oceanspray handles our cranberry needs!

Thankful Rolls: I always want everyone to say what they are thankful for (ummm...it IS Thanksgiving after all) and I try to come up with new ways to do it every year. This year, I'm in love with this idea from The Girl Who Ate Everything! You bake notes in the rolls and everyone reads & completes them throughout the meal...fun!

My favorite part of any meal!
Flan:My family is Cuban and like any other Latin American family, flan is a staple at every gathering. My brother has mastered my mother's recipe and so this year he is charge!

Mini Pumpkin Pies: I wanted to try something new this year, but knew I couldn't stray too far from pumpkin pie. So I'm making these mini pumpkin pies found on Makes and Takes! They are made in a cupcake pan and perfectly sized for individual portions...plus they are cute!

Pumpkin Cake:
On Thanksgiving we will also be celebrating my father's and my mother-in-law's birthday, so a cake is in order. I thought this Pumpkin Spice Cake from Joy of Baking would be perfect. But instead of the cream cheese frosting, I'll be making this Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Swiss Buttercream from Sweetapolita!

I also wanted to make something fun & cute for the little ones. These easy Turkey Cookie Pops are adorable!

That is it! Whew!!! Writing all that down made me realize I have my work cut out for me. Time to make my shopping lists and my time-lines to get this all done!

I hope you are ready for your delicious feast and find the moment to give thanks for all your blessings! Oh and don't forget to wear pants with some elastic in them ;)


Friday, November 11, 2011

{DIY} Burlap Wreath Two Ways

So with less than 2 weeks until Thanksgiving, I finally got around to taking down my Halloween wreath! And if you are judging me for that, I might as well tell you that the rest of my Halloween decorations are still cluttering up my hallway (YIKES)! I realized I needed something Thanksgiving-y on my door, so I decided to whip up a quick wreath.
This was SUPER easy...really! I put it together in less than 15 minutes. 

I re-used the straw wreath I had previously used for my Halloween wreath. See...I knew I kept it up for a reason!

I bought a few yards of burlap last week with the intention of using it for most, if not all, of my holiday decorations. I cut some of the burlap into strips and then wrapped the strips around the wreath securing with some hot glue.

I attached a yellow flower I found at the craft store for a little color. I also wanted to include a pop of turquoise since I am using that in some other decorations. So I made a very, and I mean VERY, simple little ribbon decoration.

All I did was fold the ribbon accordion-style and staple the ends. There's probably a nicer craftier way to do this, but this worked for me. I made two and hot glued them on either side of the flower.

See...I told you that was super easy! Door wreath...DONE!

It was so easy in fact, that I decided to whip up another one for inside the house. This time I re-used a painted wreath I had on hand. I sooooo believe in recycling my crafts! I cut some more burlap strips (I was on a roll) and wrapped it around the wreath. But this time I used less so the color would show through.

I also attempted a sort of burlap flower thing. I twisted a strip around into some semblance of a flower and hot glued it on.

Then this is where I got REALLY crafty! I decided to print words on the burlap. I've been dying to print on fabric and followed this great tutorial from Domestically Speaking. It took me 3 tries of jamming my printer up with burlap before I realized you MUST trim the paper and burlap so that they are exactly the same with no overhang...at least that's what my printer wanted!

You may notice that the words are a little crooked, but I was just happy that I got the darn thing to print that I didn't even care!

I wanted the burlap to have a little more structure, so I dug around in my recycle bin until I found something suitable to attach it to. Then I hot glued it on.

Finally, I hot glued on some ribbon to dress it up and then some more to attach it to the wreath! 

2nd wreath DONE!

Easy...simple...the way I'm really hoping my Thanksgiving day is going to be. This leaves more time to give enjoy my family & give thanks for all the beautiful things in my life!

I'm linking up to these great parties...

Nothing But Country