Saturday, December 29, 2012

{Healthy Eating} - Mini Ham & Cheese Quinoa Cups

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas.  But did you overindulge in cookies and now what something healthy?  Then I recommend checking out these yummy mini ham and cheese quinoa cups from Iowa Girl Eats.

Don't be fooled by their mini size.  They are packed with all things good for you.

See you next year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

{Handmade Christmas} Felt Ornaments

Every year, I host a cookie exchange.  In addition to exchanging cookies and catching up with friends, we make an ornament.  This year, the conversation was about how many of these parties we had had.  I wasn't quite sure so afterwards, I decided to check out my tree and count all the ornaments that had been made at one of our cookie exchange/ornament making parties.  Here are the ornaments from the previous years:

That makes the 2012 party #9.  Next year will be the 10th annual party.  Maybe I should do something special.  But wait, in 2010 we had to cancel the party due to a huge snowstorm.  {I believe we got something like 20 inches of snow and the Metrodome roof collapsed.}  So does that count?  I say it does and I have the ornament to prove it.  :-)

But before I worry about the 10th annual party, let's check out the ornament we made this year.  Some years it is easier than others for me to pick out an ornament to make.  I have to keep in mind how long it will take to make and how much it will cost {I provide all the supplies for everyone.}  This year, I decided on felt ornaments which were inspired by The D.I.Y. Dreamer.  I always make several samples to help inspire my friends. 
I used cookie cutters as the patterns for the ornaments and that worked out really well.  All the embellishments and the floss I already had on hand.  I had some felt but I did pick up some more colors for the party.  

And of course, I always make an ornament with my friends at the party.

Everybody had a good time, got some yummy cookies, and made another ornament to add to their Christmas tree.  

Merry Christmas everyone!

I am sharing at these parties.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

{Homemade is Better} - Crispix/Chex Mix

Last weekend, I hosted my annual Cookie Exchange/Ornament Making Party.  It is so fun getting together with friends, catching up with them, and sharing yummy cookies.  Every year, I make one of my favorite snacks for us to enjoy while we catch up - Crispix/Chex Mix.  Everyone loves it and to me it really isn't the holidays until I whip up a batch of this.

Here's how I made it:

{Missing from the class photo - Worcestershire sauce}
6 cups Crispix cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex cereal
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup Goldfish pretzels
1 cup pita chips
6 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and pita chips in large microwavable bowl.  Set aside.  In small bowl, microwave butter until melted.  Stir in seasonings.  Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.

Microwave uncovered on High 6 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes.  Spread on paper towels to cool.

I like to store mine in a pretty Christmas tin.

Oh, and about that cookie exchange - I made these super great white chocolate peppermint M&M cookies from Annie's Eats.

If I were you, I'd immediately run out to Target and get the white chocolate peppermint M&M's {available only at Target} and make a batch of these cookies.

I'm sharing this at these parties.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

{Handmade Christmas} Pinecone Ornaments

I love making Christmas ornaments and am always looking for new ideas.  I found this one in the December-January 2012 issue of Country Woman.

I'd actually seen these elsewhere but without instructions.  I thought they looked complicated but they really aren't.  And once you get the paper cut, it goes pretty fast.  I just put a Hallmark Channel movie on and away I went.

Here's how I made them:


  • Paper Trimmer
  • 12-inch square scrapbook paper
  • Bone folder or sturdy plastic knife
  • Styrofoam egg
  • 3/4 inch applique pins
  • Ribbon
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Artifical leaves/flower berry pick
  • Thimble (optional)

With paper trimmer, cut scrapbook paper into 1 inch by 2 inch rectangles.  Along one length of each rectangle, fold in opposite corners to form a triangle.  Use the bone folder to make all folds lie flat.

On narrow end of of Styrofoam egg, pin the short points of four triangles to the center (seam side facing inward), forming a square.  Pin each remaining long point of the four triangles smoothly against the egg.  Stagger remaining rows.  Put triangles side by side with long points slightly overlapping.  Pin only the long points to the egg.  Leave short points anging free.  Short points of the triangles should align with the joining seams of the previous row.  Continue pinning rows until about 1-inch square of egg shows at the top.

 Fold over ribbon to form a hanging loop.  Pin ribbon ends to center of open area on top of egg.  Secure with hot glue.  Using a needle nose plier/wire cutter, make a hole in egg to insert your pick (shorten the pick to a half inch or so.)  With glue gun, add your pick to the hole you just created.  Hang on your Christmas tree!

 I made six of these cute pinecone ornaments - one for myself and the others as gifts for family and a friend.  {I had already mailed the one to my friend which is why there are only five in the photographs.}  Of course, deciding which one I wanted to keep for myself was hard, but this one is going on my tree.

There are so many fun papers to pick from.  I even got a little fancy and made one with stripes.  It was a little tricking getting the folding just right and the pinning straight.  {Never mind figuring out how to cut the paper the right way!}  I think it turned out pretty great even with that added degree of difficulty.

 I can't wait to give these as gifts!

I'll be sharing this tutorial at these parties.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas Mantel

So, I finally got around to decorating my house for Christmas today.  I think I've become the Queen of Procrastination since Thanksgiving.  If it wasn't for the Cookie Exchange party I hosted this afternoon, who knows when I would have gotten it done this year.

The basis for my mantel is pretty much the same every year but this year I tweaked it just a little and I am pleased as punch with how it looks.  So pleased that I decided to share it with you.

The focal point is my ornament wreath which I made several years ago.

I found a box of glass ornaments in my closet while I was getting my decorations out.  I'm not sure why I had them - one ornament was missing.  I bet that ornament is somewhere in a craft project.  I figured I could find a place for them somewhere and sure enough I did.  I placed one in each candleholder.  I think it is super festive and love this addition.

Somehow this year it seems like I have more Christmas balls than in past years {not counting those new ones I found in the closet.}  How does that happen?  Did they multiply this summer?  So I needed something else to display them in and came across this vase in the cupboard.  {I think it's for an orchid or some other flower with a bulb.  Whatever it is, I never use it.}  Looks pretty nice I think.

I declare it officially the holiday season now that I have done my decorating.  Thanks for checking out my mantel.

52 Mantels

Saturday, December 1, 2012

{Confidential} - December Project Board

Wow, it's December already.  I better get busy because most of this list is for Christmas.

{Not So Confidential} - November in Review

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.  I sure did.  I spent the long weekend at my parents.  Every morning I would go for a walk with their dog, Sasha.  Saturday morning I spied this bald eagle.  Perhaps he was waiting for his breakfast?

{What I made} Craft Projects

{What I made} Yummy Eats

{#FMSphotoaday} Favorite

16. The view from my window...good morning #nothingtoseehere #fmsphotoaday