Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Candy Countdown

Pin It Now!

Well, this will be the first year to totally forgo the Christmas chain countdown. I have tried to keep it as a countdown, but ever since I introduced the Hershey Kiss Tree Countdown, the chain kinda lost some popularity.

So . . . this is the first year that all of my kids have their very own candy countdown. And to make it even more special, I let them be creative. (Meaning they didn't have to do a tree shape.)

Lincoln made a wreath, Shiloh (I helped) a tree, and Mullin an ornament. No, it isn't a cherry bomb!

To make a Candy Countdown you will need:

  • 24-25 pieces of wrapped candy--doesn't have to be Hershey Kisses. (I say 25 because in order to make a tree, you need 25.)
  • sturdy piece of construction paper--I used Creative Memories paper which feels more like card stock
  • glue--the white runny kind (not a glue stick)

What you will do:

  • arrange candy pieces into desired shape--Christmas trees are my favorite. :)
  • dab glue drop onto bottom of candy in wrapper and place back down on paper.
  • let dry completely
  • hang on fridge with magnets or hang on cork board etc.

**If you choose to create a Christmas tree, you will need 25 pieces and 8 rows of candy. First row, 1 piece, second row 2 pieces and so on, except for the last 2 rows. Last 2 rows are the base of the tree and only need 2 pieces each. (As shown in above picture. Also trees look really nice when the "star" is red, the tree part green and the base silver--but that is just my preference.)

So, obviously if you make a countdown with 25 pieces, you will have to start it on Nov. 30th instead of Dec. 1st. My kids don't seem to mind a bit!!

How do you countdown to Christmas?

***For more tips, visit We are THAT Family.

Agave Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

Pin It Now!

Wow, I can't believe I took a 2 week break from blogging! It was much needed, though. I find that I need breaks even from the things I love doing. I feel refreshed and am ready to post like crazy.

I will start off my return with a yummy and healthier version of homemade cranberry sauce.

I love cranberry season! Cranberries are so pretty and yummy. And to me, they aren't just for Thanksgiving. I like fixing whole cranberry sauce throughout December as well. This side dish compliments this porkloin recipe perfectly!!

Here's what you will need: 1 bag of fresh cranberries, 1 cup of organic raw Blue Agave, 1 cup of water, and 1 cinnamon stick.
Here's what you will do: Bring 1 cup water and 1 cup of Agave to a boil. Add cranberries and cinnamon stick and return to a boil. Reduce temperature to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. I like to stir occasionally, too. Pour into a nice bowl and cool until sauce reaches room temperature. Remove cinnamon stick. Store in fridge.

Mmmmm ~ my favorite way to eat cranberry sauce is warm!!!!

*You could aslo use raw honey instead of the Agave. I haven't tried this yet but plan to.

Linked to:

Tasty Tuesday

Tuesdays at the Table

Tempt my Tummy Tuesday


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Batter in a Bag

Pin It Now!
I saw this tip a few weeks ago, but I can't remember from where. So, thankyou whoever you are--you made my cupcake baking so much better and less messy!

For nice, neat cupcakes (no batter spillage on the muffin tin) spoon batter into a large ziploc bag, snip one of the edges off, and fill each space by sqeezing the bag gently.

Thanks to my sweet 5 yr. old daughter for snapping this photo. :)

I really liked this tip! For more great tips visit We are THAT Family!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie

Pin It Now!

This is the pie that my brother-in-law requested during his visit. I changed it a bit this time and used heavy whipping cream instead of Cool Whip. I have been substituting with this for every recipe that calls for Cool Whip. I must say whipped cream tastes FAR better and I feel better about the ingredient list!

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie

  • 1 6 oz. graham cracker crust
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups thawed Cool Whip (or homemade whipped cream)
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 2 small packages vanilla instant pudding
  • 1 16 oz. can pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
Beat cream cheese, 1 TBSP milk and sugar with wire whisk. Stir in 1 1/2 cups Cool Whip or home made whipped cream. Spread on crust. Beat remaining ingredients with wire whisk. (It will be very thick) Spread over cream cheese layer. I store mine in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

*Linked to

Tasty Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday
Try a New Recipe Tuesday
Works for me Wednesday

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This Time of Year

Pin It Now! This is the time of year that often leaves me feeling overwhelmed, giddy, stressed-to-the-max, thankful, HAPPY, depressed, and excited all in the same moment.

Can anyone relate?

I LOVE this time of year. And I dread this time of year.

I love Thanksgiving and pondering all the things for which I am thankful. I love the turkey, casseroles, and homemade cranberry sauce. I love family get-togethers.

And I really love Christmas! Decorating and reliving memories warms my heart. Baking makes my tummy smile, and Christmas music makes my ears smile! Candles, cinnamon, tinkling bells, pretty bows, sparkly ornaments . . . I love it all.

Sometimes I feel a bit guilty in the midst of the holiday season. The Christ child came to bring me peace, and I can become easily stressed by the little things.

I tend to stress over making sure everything is just right. I can get upset that we don't all have nice, new "Christmas-picture-worthy-clothes", or that we can't buy everyone really great Christmas gifts. The list goes on and on. I have been much better this year, though, and as soon as I felt that spirit of discontent trying to find room in my heart, I put up a fight. And I will continue to fight because the holiday season isn't about stuff!! It's about Jesus.

Father, may my home be a cheerful, peaceful place as we celebrate and remember your miraculous birth. May love and mercy lead, and help me not to stress over money, presents, decorations, treats, and so on. (All very wonderful, yet very worldly things.)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Oreo Cookie Balls

Pin It Now!

Years ago a sweet friend dropped these off at my front door. Ever since, I have made these yummy treats every December! They are really easy to make, too.
Oreo Cookie Balls
  • 1 package Oreos (must be the regular kind)
  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • White chocolate candy coating
  • Chocolate jimmies to garnish
Finely crush Oreos. Mix crushed Oreos and cream cheese to form a thick dough. Roll into balls - about 1 in. in size. Set on waxed paper or a baking sheet. Melt white chocolate candy coating. Dunk each ball into coating covering entire ball. I use a fork for this step and let the excess white candy coating drip back into the bowl. Set back on waxed paper or baking sheet until dry. If you'd like, sprinkle on chocolate jimmies before the Oreo Cookie Balls dry.

*Linked to
Tasty Tuesday
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table
Works for me Wednesday
Raising Homemakers
Try a New Recipe Tuesday

**Looking for great Christmas toys? Check this out!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Imagination Box Co. Country Cottage Review

Pin It Now!

Looking for outstanding, award-winning toys your children will love and remember this Christmas? (Of course you are thinking, "Yes!") Then you've got to check out Imagination Box Company!

Imagination Box Co. makes creative toys that your children get to help "design." These paintable, quality cardboard toys allow your children to use their imaginations and to add their own unique, personal touches. Other special features include:
  • All non-toxic dyes and materials
  • Extreme durability--made with double-walled corrugated board
  • 100% recyclable
  • Toys are printed inside and out with original designs
  • Free set of washable watercolors included with every set
  • Easily accepts markers, crayons and stickers
  • MADE IN THE USA!!!!!!!!!!!

Russ and Kim Cash, owners and creators, sent my daughter and me this lovey Country Cottage to use and review.
My daughter was so excited to receive her cottage in the mail, and as you can see for yourself, the box in which it came was very nice and sturdy.
She couldn't wait to start coloring! The next day, we opened the box, unfolded the cottage and laid it out flat on our kitchen table. We decided to use markers on the smaller drawings and to save the painting part for last.

(A look at the inside)

It took us several days to finish her masterpiece. Her older brothers even asked if they could help, too. Mostly, though, my daughter and I colored, and what sweet mommy/daughter time we had!

(A look at the outside)

I enjoyed helping with the outside the most~the vines and flowers were so pretty. I thought Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would walk right out the door at any moment!
After everything dried, I couldn't assemble the Cottage fast enough~my girl was ecstatic to finally be able to take it up to her room! After the easy assembly, I did add a touch of Scotch tape to the inside bottom of the "floor" just to make sure everything held together well.

As you can see, the cottage door opens . . .

and the roof can be taken off. She decided she wanted to use it as a doghouse for her puppy, Brownie. Since then her Barbies have even had a chance to visit. :)

Do I even need to mention again that I think this is a fabulous toy?! Imagination Box Co. truly does make toys children will remember! My daughter is already asking for the Castle Tower for Christmas! (She doesn't know it, but I will be ordering the Castle Tower and the extra sparkly Metallic Watercolors this week~shhhh, don't tell!)
Other affordable, paintable craft toys include:
These toys would make amazing, memorable Christmas gifts!! Be sure to take advantage of the 20% off deal going on right now through the end of November.*Thankyou, Kim, for the wonderful opportunity to review your Country Cottage!

**Linked to WFMW

Why Am I So Excited About THIS Pomegranate?

Pin It Now!
It's mine.

From MY tree!!!!

Too bad there were only about 8 on my tree, but not bad considering we've only had it since last year. I LOVE to eat these delectable fruits, and they are SO expensive at the store! Just one more positive about living in the desert. (I have to convince myself sternly around this time of year!)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

What Do a Fairy and a Nerd Have in Common?

Pin It Now! They both have a blue-haired crazy kid for a brother!

My kids had to get a little creative with costumes since we weren't buying any this year. Mullin went as the nerd, obviously. Shiloh went as a fairy. Ballerina outfit was given to her and so were the fairy wings. And . . . poor Lincoln still hadn't come up with an idea that worked, and it was Saturday already.

While I was at Wal-Mart picking up a few items in between football games, I spotted those cans of hair dye for $2. I couldn't resist. So, he went as the crazy blue-haired guy. Kinda looks like a mad scientist. :)

Shiloh, the beautiful, pastel fairy. Oh how I love that she likes to pose for the camera!!!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Great Christmas/Worship Song!!!

Pin It Now!
Wow, I can't believe it's already November!! Almost time to stream the Christmas tunes 24/7. :)

I love Christmas music~we have a ton. I bet you haven't heard this great new song, though. Check it out, then download!!!

From itunes

From Napster

**If you like the song, please take a moment to "like" on the facebook fan page.

New Christmas music works for me!!

Anyone already have their tree up?

Linked to Works for Me Wednesday

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Harvest Apple Cider

Pin It Now!

One of our favorite fall drinks:

Harvest Apple Cider

  • 8 whole cloves
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 4 cups pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 3 inches)
  • 1 individual tea bag
*Directions say to use a cheesecloth for the cloves, but I never have. Place ingredients in a crock pot, and cook on low for at least 2 hours or until desired temp. is reached. Can also be warmed on low over the stove. Discard tea bag and spices before serving.

I usually double the recipe and store leftover drink in the refrigerator. That way I have cider all week long! Just heat in microwave whenever you want. :)

This cider is so delicious!!!

Has anyone started listening to Christmas music yet? Here's a great, new Christmas song--check it out! http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/wonderful-counselor-a-christmas/id401394274

**Linked to:
Tasty Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...