Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

Stewart Family Munchie Stuff

Every Christmas as a child I would be so excited to go to Aunt Stephanie’s house and eat her Munchie Stuff.  I have no idea how it got that name, but it is fitting.  We only make this stuff during Christmas, but it would be a crowd pleaser at any party.  This caramel chex mix is so easy to make although it can get a little messy.  I hope you and your family make lots of memories making this sugary treat and eating it as I did with my family.  Enjoy.

Munchie stuff

Preheat oven to 250.

Ingredients

12 cups popped corn (be careful to remove all kernels)

1 lg box rice chex

1 lg box orig. cherrios

1 lg bag chow mein noodles

2 bags M&Ms

Divide above ingredients into to large aluminum pans for easy mixing.

Caramel Syrup

2 cups light brown sugar

2 cubes butter

¾ cup karo syrup

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

(I  usually double syrup recipe for extra sugary goodness)

-Melt together in a medium sauce pan and bring to boil. Stirring constantly. Boil for five minutes until thick. Remove from heat.

-Pour  syrup in each pan one at a time and mix until every piece is as covered as can get.

-Spread evenly but loosely onto cookie sheets or deep metal baking pans that have been buttered/sprayed.

-Dry in oven for 1 hour. Cool then break apart. Add m&ms after it has cooled.

If you are new to crafting, you may want to visit the Newbies Page. Thanks for visiting!

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Cranberry Jalapeño Relish

Cranberry Jalapeño Relish

1 12oz bag fresh cranberries

2 jalapeños, seeded and finely diced

3 or 4 green onions, chopped.

Handful of chopped cilantro

½  to 1 cup sugar

Juice from ½ lemon or lime

In food processor chop cranberries.  Mix together with the rest of the ingredients and serve over a block of cream cheese.  So easy and so tasty.

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Gift Giving Ideas 2011

Are you still searching for the perfect gifts to give this holiday season?  Here are a few ideas that may be new to you that will bring smiles to all your friends and family.

FOR MEN

The Art of Shaving gift boxes – amazon.com or theartofshaving.com

Everything bacon – BaconFreak.com

Rubber mens ID bracelet – thingsremembered.com

Paracord bracelet – amazon.com

ROKU digital media streaming player – amazon.com

Wifi Sim Card – amazon.com

Why a Curveball Curves, Popular Mechanics – amazon.com

FOR WOMEN

Bootskins to accessories your Ugg boots

Pot Clip -  www.solutions.com

Slap Watches – www.solutions.com

Gift certificate for cooking or baking classes

All You magazine subscriptions

Photo Bracelet – pickturethat.com

Personalized cake pans – thecakepanlady.com

31 Gifts bags and organizing totes – Contact Carrie Askins

FOR KIDS

Hallmark recordable books

Fun Balloon Pets – myownpetballoon.com

Silicone Coin Purse -  www.solutions.com

FOR EVERYONE

Personalized IPad and Kindle cases -  Shopmyedge.com

Personalized License plate frame

Custom stationary and address labels – vistaprint.com

DIY Photo books, blurb.com

Storage Water bottle – Amazon.com

Piggies & Paws Artwork – Find a local consultant

Happy shopping and hope you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Photo Bracelet pickturethat.com ($24)

Why a Curveball Curves, Popular Mechanics ($18)

Shopmyedge.com ($35)

Myownpetballoon.com ($15)

Storage Water bottle Amazon.com ($13)

Bootskins.net ($20-30)

Piggies and Paws ($35)

Wifi Sim card ($40)

The Art of Shaving gift boxes Amazon ($25)

BaconFreak.com

Silicone Coin Purse www.solutions.com ($10)

Pot Clip

www.solutions.com ($4)

Slap Watches www.solutions.com ($20)

6 pack Reindeer

Mens ID Bracelet

Things remembered ($25)

Recordable Books

Hallmark ($30)

Paracord bracelet Amazon.com ($6)

ROKU digital media streaming player – Amazon ($50-100)

Blurb Books($25+)

Custom stationary

Vistaprint.com

Personalized

license plate

Personalized cake pans

thecakepanlady.com ($31)

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Cake Balls

Cake Balls

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Cake balls seem to be so popular right now and I know why…they are so fun to eat.  If you want to make these tasty treats make sure you have a few hours to spare.  These are so fun for kids, parties, and any holiday.  Here is how I make them, and I hope you will give them a try.

Materials:

Boxed cake mix

Canned frosting

Chocolate bark

Glass bowl

Parchment paper

Cookie Sheet

Optional:

Chocolate Dipping Tools, Scoop (for melon or cookie dough)

  1. Bake the cake according to the directions on the box.  Let cool and crumble in large bowl.
  2. Mix ¾ of the canned frosting into the cake crumbles.  If you like really gooey cake balls you can add the whole can.  Use a spatula or just get your hands in there and mix it up well.  Place in the refrigerator for an hour to set.
  3. Take cake mixture and roll into a 2 tablespoon sized ball.  I highly recommend using a stainless steel scoop to make this part go faster.  Place the cake ball onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Make sure the cookie sheet can fit into the refrigerator.  Let sit over night or you can put them in the freezer for 2 hours.
  4. Once the cake balls have set, place the chocolate bark in the glass bowl and microwave for 30 second intervals until melted.    I suggest having a second cookie sheet lined with parchment paper ready to place the chocolate covered cake balls on.IMG_0514
  5. Drop a cold cake ball into the chocolate and roll around with two forks or use the dipping tools.  Once the cake ball is covered, tap the fork on the side of the bowl to smooth out the chocolate and let the excess drip off.  Place on parchment paper and add topping if desired.  Don’t wait too long to decorate or the chocolate will harden.
  6. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to harden chocolate.
  7. Make sure to display in a fun and cute way.  Enjoy.

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Here are some yummy flavor combinations:

  • Red Velvet Cake & Cream Cheese Frosting
  • German Chocolate Cake & Pecan Coconut Frosting (top with coconut)
  • Carrot Cake & Cream Cheese Frosting (chop nuts and add into frosting/cake mixture)
  • Orange Cake & Butter Cream Frosting (tastes like a creamsicle bar)
  • Triple Chocolate: Chocolate Cake & Chocolate Frosting topped with mini chocolate chips

photo(28) IMG_0523

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Decorating for Halloween

Decorating for Halloween

Halloween is one of our family’s favorite holidays…probably because of the decorating and crafts.  Now that the weather is cooling off and October has arrived it is time to start planning your Halloween décor.  I like to decorate for fall the first 3 weeks of October, but then pull out the Halloween items toward the end of the month.  Once November comes, put the fall decorations back out.  Go to the mall or your local superstore to get ideas and find good deals.  Use a journal to write out your ideas and make a plan for indoors and outside.

Here are some easy ideas:

INDOORS

-Use small pumpkins found at the grocery store to fill vases or urns.

-Stings of fishing line taped above a door jam will give your guests shivers down their spin thinking they just walked through a spider web.

-Use black electrical tape to create spider webs on your windows.  Use double stick tape to add plastic spiders.

-Make styrofoam spiders and place up the walls with double stick tape.

-Find white lace window curtains at a discount store to use as a table cloth or runner.

-If you like to decorate with a theme, choose one or two colors and spray paint pumpkins or artificial flowers to coordinate.

-Visit your local craft store and search for inexpensive decorations that can be painted or embellished (paper mache shapes and figures are great).

OUTDOORS

-Cutout tombstones from cardboard, spray paint grey, and write funny sayings on the front.  For ideas visit http://www.all-about-halloween.com/epitaphs.html.

-Check your local papers for fall festivals or fund raisers to buy your pumpkins.  You can also find a local farm and take your whole family to choose their pumpkins.

-Carve your pumpkins, but not too early or they will rot.  There are hundreds of ideas and templates online so do a little searching to find the one you like best.

-Make Spider Nests

-Strobe lights and fog machines add lots of drama to your front yard.

-Lots and lots of spider web.  For best results have a partner help you stretch out the web so it looks more realistic.  Place on bushes and wrap around trees.

Halloween is a great time to throw a party.  Visit my post about throwing a Gothic Gala.

Here are a few of my favorite links to visit for new ideas for Halloween:

http://familyfun.go.com/halloween/

http://www.marthastewart.com/holidays

http://www.potterybarnkids.com/shop/kids/halloween/halloween-decor

http://www.orientaltrading.com/halloween/toys-games-a1-388560+1237-7-0.fltr

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/holidays-and-entertaining/holidays/halloween/halloween-party-center.aspx

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Styrofoam Spiders

Styrofoam Spiders

MATERIALS:

Foam eggs

Black pipe cleaners

Red pom poms

Black paint

Red paint

Exacto knife

Hot glue

DIRECTIONS:

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First, cut the plastic-foam egg in half lengthwise. Form the body of the spider by creating a T shaped groove that is a ¼ inch deep using an exacto knife.   Paint the body of the spider black and let dry.  Then fill in the groove with red paint.

For legs, cut six pieces of pipe cleaners for each beetle. Push one end of each leg into the underside of each beetle’s body and bend outward. Drop a bit of glue on each leg where it joins the body. After the glue has dried, bend the legs.  Cut two short pipe cleaners for antennae. Insert antennae into the front of each head and bend as desired.  Glue two red pom poms above the antennae for eyes.

IMG_2909I grouped a few spiders together and stuck them on the walls and window.  Use various sizes of foam eggs to get different size spiders.

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Halloween Lollipops

Spider and Ghost Pops

This is a fun and easy project that is fun for kids and adults.

Spider PopsIMG_2927

MATERIALS:

Lollipops (I used chocolate tootsie pops)

Black pipe cleaners

Googlie eyes or red pom poms

For each spider twist 4 pipe cleaners around the stem of the lollipop and twist them securely.  Depending on the length of your pipe cleaners you may want to cut each one in half so the spider legs are not too long.  Bend the legs similar to the picture shown.  Glue on googlie eyes or pom poms to the flat portion of the pipe cleaners.

Ghost Pops

MATERIALS:IMG_2846

Lollipops

Tissue paper or Kleenex

White pipe cleaner or white string

Googlie eyes

To start cut the tissue paper into a 10 inch square (if using a Kleenex there is no need to change the size.  Drape the tissue over the top of the lollipop.  Cut 1 inch pieces of the pipe cleaner or string.  Gather the tissue at the base of the lollipop stem and secure with pipe cleaner.  Glue two googlie eyes on the tissue for eyes.  I used a piece of foam covered in spider web to display the finished ghost pops.

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Gothic Gala Halloween Party

Gothic Gala

Halloween is a great opportunity to throw a theme party for your friends and family.  One idea is a Gothic Gala.  The theme is simple yet can be dramatic.  I kept the decorations to black and white to keep it simple and cheap.  I painted pumpkins black, used black pillar candles embellished with lace and glitter, and pulled out my old lace tablecloths and sheets to add to the ambiance.  If you have guests that are timid to dress up suggest they wear black or leather.  Have fun with your food and try to make it go with the theme like dark chocolate cupcakes or a mossy cheese ball.

I love to use a website like evite.com to send out causal invitations for parties.  Here is a suggestion on the wording:

Our home has gone to the dark side causing a fright,

You don’t want to miss this (Family Name) game night.

It’s a gothic theme so bring your leather and spikes,

Or just wear a black t-shirt if that’s what you like.

Response Options:

Trick or Treat? (waiting to respond)

Dead or alive, I’m there. (yes)

Maybe, if I find my spiked collar (maybe)

Boooooo! (no)

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Spider Nest

Spider Nest

MATERIALS:

Plaster fabric strips (Rigid Wrap)

Large balloons (at least 11 inches)

Fishing line

Plastic spiders

Hot glue

Pin/needle

2 bowls

DIRECTIONS:

IMG_2848Inflate balloon and set it in a bowl to avoid it rolling away from you.  Fill a bowl of water to be used with the plaster strips.  Read and follow the directions that come with the plaster strips.  It is easier to use if the material is cut into pieces 8-10 inches long.  With the knotted end of the balloon pointed up toward the ceiling start covering the balloon from the top working your way down and around layering each piece over each other.  Don’t worry about smoothing out all the bumps as this will add texture to the finished project.  Continue layering the plaster cloth around the balloon.  Let dry according to the directions.

Once the plaster has dried, use a pin or needle to pop the balloon.  Cut several pieces of fishing lines in various lengths.  Tie the spiders onto the fishing line every 6 inches.  Use a pin to make a hole at the top of the plaster mold and tie the fishing line securely allowing the spiders to hang down.  To finish the project add a few spiders to the outside of the plaster form using hot glue so it looks like they are hatching and leaving the spider nest.  Use fishing line or thin twine to hang the completed spiders nest.

IMG_2903This project was found at http://familyfun.go.com/halloween.  For a more kid friendly version of this craft visit, http://www.ehow.com/how_4500321_make-spider-nest-halloween-decoration.html.  Styrofoam balls and cotton are a simple and clean version of this creepy craft.

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Pumpkin Dip

Pumpkin Dippumpkins

INGREDIENTS:

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon frozen orange juice concentrate

1 small pumpkin

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  Gradually mix in the pumpkin. Stir in the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and orange juice until smooth and well blended. Chill until serving.  To serve, hallow out a small pumpkin and fill with pumpkin dip.  Place on a platter surrounded with graham cracker sticks, ginger snaps, or even apples.  This makes a festive decoration and yummy treat for guests to enjoy.

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