Saturday, December 22, 2012

100 Days of Holidays-Peppermint Tray & Gingerbread House-3 Days & Counting

We usually put our gingerbread house together on Christmas Eve, but with a long weekend this year I decided to let the kids start early.  I had already made these cute peppermint trays that I thought maybe we could use with them.  Actually, I saw the idea on Pinterest and had to give it a shot.

Peppermint Trays
Starlight or Peppermints
Baking Tray
Parchment Paper

Preheat oven to 350.
 
Arrange mints in pattern you decide on.

 
Bake for 10 minutes.

 
Let cool.  Mine had some air bubble come up and I found that if you don't pop them immediately then they are not going away.  I just used a toothpick to smooth them out.
 
I think this would have worked better if I would have had some kind of mold to put them in because, as you can tell in the pic, the edges began to run.  Once it was cool enough to touch, I flipped it over and let it settle on that side, which was perfectly smooth.  I did about 3 just to get the hang of it.
 
Gingerbread House
 
Gingerbread House Kit OR Graham Crackers
Candy
Icing
Hot glue gun
 
Yes, you read that right.  Hot glue gun: my secret weapon.  My kids don't like the taste of gingerbread, so there is no chance in them wanting to eat the houses when they are complete.  When we first started making gingerbread houses, I would stay up the night before and put it together, so the icing would have time to harden for my daughter to decorate the next day.  Now, I just hot glue those puppies together right before they are ready to work on them.  They use the icing to put on all the decorations, and just have fun making a mess.

This year I decided to try a more conventional (money saving) tactic, and bought Graham Crackers to use.  My daughter used a gift card she received and spent out for a Barbie house to decorate.  Let me just say that it was not as big as expected, and you can hardly ever make them they way they show.  But she still had a blast.

For my 4 year old, I tried to make him a train.  Here's how it went:

I used both the regular size grahams and the new square ones.

Took some cardboard boxes and covered in tinfoil for our bases.
 

I took 2 squares and glued to each end of the regular ones.

Added another to box it in.

Glued on some peppermint wheels (my son wanted a train)...

and pressed a little too hard on those wheels.

Tried it again...

and added some square grahams to the inside for reinforcement.  NOTE:  Everything so far has been put together with hot glue!!

I just played around with some ideas, and it ended up looking more like a car.

My little man didn't mind though.

I was afraid the car would cave in as he started to decorate, so I decided to make one more, and really reinforce it.  I took a shoe box and used it as the inside frame for a "graham cracker house".

 
Time to decorate!

I separated all types of candy in to separate containers and put on trays.  Remember my blog about Halloween candy?  All those twizlers and starburst are from Halloween, just waiting to be used up today!
 

My 4 year old son had an absolute blast.  I took some royal icing and tinted it blue, then thinned it with water.  I had a candy/icing squeeze bottle that I filled full with that blue mixture and let him have at it.  I made the base coat for him and he went at it.  Laughing and cackling the entire time.


My 7 year old daughter's Barbie House.  She even added a railroad track so we can add Bubba's "train" to her display.

Loving these smiling happy faces!

And here is my laughable masterpiece.  Notice the roof?  Its one of the peppermint trays I made.
 
No matter what they look like, it is the memories we made today that mattered the most.  Another family tradition started about 5 years ago, that I hope will continue on and on, and that my children will continue with their children.
 
Until next time...
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
Amy~The Dixie Diva

Thursday, December 20, 2012

100 Days of Holidays-Bucket List Update-5 Days & Counting

  1. Buy the Elf on the Shelf & Book, find unique places for it all season. DONE!
  2. Have all shopping done by December 1st. NOT BY THE 1ST BUT BY THE 14TH
  3. Make/Sell 10 Christmas outfits FINISHING #10 RIGHT NOW!
  4. Go to McAdenville to see the Christmas lights. DONE!
  5. Finally WALK through McAdenville instead of just drive thru it. BOO-TOO COLD
  6. Make a gingerbread house with the kids. THIS COMING WEEKEND
  7. Read 1 Christmas book with the kids every night. PARENT OF THE YEAR-NOT!
  8. Watch as many Christmas shows and movies as possible. TV STAYS ON ABC FAMILY!!
  9. Have Christmas Photos made early. HAHA-ON THE 18TH!
  10. Get Christmas cards mailed by 2nd week December. ON THE 19TH
  11. Go see Christmas House in Kings Mountain more than once. ONCE SO FAR, BUT WE GOT TO WALK AROUND IT THIS TIME!
  12. Find new places to see Christmas lights. NOT YET
  13. Have a Christmas get-together. DONE & 1 MORE!
  14. Add 1 thing to outdoor decorations. WINDOW LIGHTS
  15. Finish painting bedroom. YES BUT IT WAS A DISASTER
  16. Get fish tank to bedroom before setting up Christmas decorations. YES YES YES!
  17. Have shopping list ready by Black Friday. YES
  18. Do all Black Friday shopping online. NOT THAT LUCKY THIS YEAR
  19. Bake with the kids to make gifts for the neighbors. THAT'S THE PLAN FOR THIS WEEKEND
  20. Donate coats to a women/men's shelter. NO BUT WE DID DONATE A BICYCLE TO A CHILD WHO LOST EVERYTHING IN A HOUSE FIRE
  21. Have at least 6 dresses made to try and sell at consignment shop. NO-JUST HAIR BOWS & NECKLACES
  22. Have a booth at a craft fair. YES AND SUCCESS!
  23. Put away sewing machine by December 8th. THE 16TH
  24. Make something for my son to wear this year. NOT LOOKING GOOD.

How about your Bucket List, how is it coming?  I am working on a New Years Bucket List that I will post after Christmas.  No resolutions, just a "list".  Are you making resolutions or a Bucket List for the upcoming year?

Until next time...
Amy~The Dixie Diva

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

100 Days of Holidays-Christmas Lights-4 Days & Counting

You've seen me post on my Bucket List about going to see the Christmas Lights in McAdenville-aka Christmastown USA.  It's a small little town in North Carolina made up mainly of small mill houses and gradually shifts towards new homes on one end.  In the very middle is this beautiful pond with a fountain in the center.  The fountain lights up in all different colors and the trees surrounding the pond are all decked out in lights as well.  There is even a Santa Claus blowing snowflakes.  Here's a picture.
 
We also go to a couple's house in Kings Mountain, NC.  The man that owns it, Grady, has hand made Christmas lights and decorations.  I'm not sure of the full history on it, but it is amazing.  There is a circle driveway around the home and he stands at the entrance in a Santa suit handing out candy canes to everyone in each car that comes through.  We usually drive through it twice, but this year we noticed people out walking.  It was actually one of the warmest nights we've had in a while, so we decided to park and walk around too.  Here are some pictures of the lights (and my two kiddos cutting up).

Carousel of horses.  Notice the blur?  My daughter wouldn't stay still long enough for a photo.

Christmas tree in the middle of a gazebo.  The lights flashed with music at this display.  Behind it along the fence line is a Christmas train. 

Church and angels.  To the left of this is a carriage and horses and a manger scene.  To the right is a very tall Christmas tree that has music coming from it.

Scooby Do and Shaggy

Gingerbread men swinging (um, she was a little excited!)

Spongebob and his friend (we don't watch the show so I'm not sure his name).
 
There is also decorations like these of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Cat in the Hat, Toy Soldiers, Santa climbing a ladder to the roof of the house, and so much more! My dad used to take us to see Christmas lights all over upstate South Carolina where we could walk around and I loved it so much.  I wanted to have the same tradition with my kids as well and they seem to enjoy it just as much as I do.  Hubby on the other hand will go to Christmastown, but he leaves the rest to us! 
 
Do you have any annual Christmas lights you go to see?  Do you decorate your own home for everyone to come see?
 
We are getting closer and closer to the big day!  Tomorrow the kids and I plan to stay in our jammies all day, watch Christmas movies while decorating Gingerbread houses and sugar cookies and enjoy the time together.  I'm as anxious as they are!
 
Until next time...
Amy~The Dixie Diva

100 Days of Holidays-Teacher Gifts-6 Days & Counting

Hi, my name is Amy.  Not only am I a craft hoarder I am a procrastinator.  I "like" to do things at the last minute.

I thought this year I was on a roll with Christmas.  All of my shopping done, everything wrapped, baking and cooking supplies ready.  Then it hits me: there are 2 days left of school and I do not have any teacher gifts!!  I need 4 super quick and inexpensive gifts for these great teachers now!  Ideas are spinning through my head and I check my stash of supplies, but I don't have enough equal parts of anything.  I had fully meant to order these customizable mirrors from my great friend Laura at the Purple Alligator  (called Look It's) and now I don't have enough time (unless of course I could borrow Santa's sleigh & could go get them ;-) ).  These make wonderful gifts and she has them available in all styles.  Look for a feature on her soon, in the meantime, here is what they look like:


They even come with their own pouch that doubles as a cleaner.  Customizable with all sorts of designs she has to choose from or let her know what you are looking for and I promise you will not be disappointed!

So I am off to the drawing board.  More or less the Pinterest boards.  Here are some great ideas for Teacher gifts.

 
 
 

 
 
I think I am leaning towards the Candy Sleigh idea.  IF I can find any candy on sale.  Last week I bought 4 bags at CVS, they were 2 for $7 and you received a $1 Extra Care Buck Back.  I thought it was a good deal, but there were maybe 20 pieces of candy in each bag and they were the small candies.  Disappointed to say the least.
 
What types of teacher gifts have you been working on this year?  Handmade or store bought?  Gift cards or gift baskets?  I would love to hear from you!  I'll try and snap some pictures of what I make before I send them.
 
I will do my very best to pop back on with at least one more blog post before Christmas to show you our Gingerbread House extravaganza.  But just in case...
 
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!
 
Amy~The Dixie Diva
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Monday, December 10, 2012

100 Days of Holidays-Elf on the Shelf-15 Days & Counting

We first heard about the Elf on the Shelf last year and watched the short TV show on it.  So cute and the kids loved it.  I decided to get them one, only to find they were no where to be found!  This year however they seem to be in vast supply.  Do you have one yet?

There are so many different versions: the standard elf, the plush elf and even some very creative hand made elves.  My kids were over the moon when they found out Santa made an early visit and dropped on off outside by our Christmas lights.  Not sure it was the best idea though; my 7 year old nearly had a meltdown when we reminded her the story says she cannot touch him.  Holy cow, I thought for sure the elf would report back to Santa with her on the naughty list.  He was delivered inside his package, hardback book and all.  Next year though, he better just show up where they can't be tempted to reach him.  Sheesh.

The purpose of the Elf on the Shelf is that he sits quietly all day, watching over wee ones, then reports nightly back to Santa about their behavior.  But only through the Christmas season. 

Hey Santa, can he pop back in through out the year??  This is helping somewhat in the behavior department!!

How creative and sneaky that little guy (or gal) can be.  So far he has appeared in the following places:

On the mantle
On the deer head
In the Christmas tree
In the fireplace (the fireplace is not used and has a glass front)
Various spots in the kitchen, and even left a message stating "I C U" with mommy's wax candle beads
He toilet papered the bathroom
Took mommy's tulle and draped it all over her craft station
He has tormented mommy
He's hung out with a couple Barbie pals
He fixed the big clock in the living room
He showed up in the freezer
Made a hammock with a scarf
In the ceiling fan

The best one was in my son's room.  Skipper (our elf's name) took all the Thomas trains and made a huge circle, then took Harold the helicopter and took him hostage. 



My son's only question was when was he getting Harold back.  Both of my two just laughed and laughed!  It's been helpful getting them awake in the morning as well.  A race to see who finds him first.

Have you started the Elf on the Shelf tradition in your home yet?  What has been the most creative appearance from your elf friend?

Until next time...
Amy~The Dixie Diva




Friday, December 7, 2012

100 Days of Holidays-Mirror Ornaments-18 Days & Counting

How many of you had your trees up before Thanksgiving?  Any of you still waiting to put up your tree?  If so, this is an idea you should try.

From my favorite time killer, Pinterest, I found these nifty little mirror ornaments.  You hand them on the tree before adding the lights and ornaments and they become reflectors of the lights, and are supposed to double your light effect. 

Supplies:
Craft mirrors (mine were about 1" but you may want slightly larger ones
Ribbon or twine
Hot glue

 
Take 2 matching mirror pieces, put hot glue and a piece of ribbon on one...

 
add a little more hot glue and add the matching mirror to sandwich in the ribbon.

 
Now add to your tree and that's it!


Again, I wish I would have used larger mirrors, but these worked pretty good.  I just had to be careful not to burn my fingers!

Do you have any tricks to making your tree look fuller?  I would love to hear your ideas, and feel free to add a link to your own blog so I can stop by!

Until next time...
Amy~The Dixie Diva

Thursday, December 6, 2012

100 Days of Holiday Inspiration-Candy Gift Basket-19 Days & Counting

Similar to the Hair Bow Gift Basket, I came up with this one as a gift for 3 teenagers that were very helpful to the little Mighty Might Cheerleaders, running errands and babysitting my 4 year old (that will wear out even the most energetic youth).  It's really easy to make and a great idea when you are past the toy stage and would still like to get them a gift instead of just money or a gift card (however, teenagers do love that gas money!).

Supplies:

Gift basket or pot
Floral foam
Skewers
Candy
Duck tape

 
I used snack size candy bars.

 
Put the floral foam in the base of your basket.  I have also used flower pots before; you can paint them to match the theme of your gift or holiday.

 
Next I took the candy bars and used small amounts of duck tape to secure them to the skewers.

 
Arrange them as you desire.


 
And that's it!
 
What types of gift baskets have you made?  I'd love to hear all about them!
 
Until next time...
Amy~The Dixie Diva


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

100 Days of Holiday Inspiration-Hair Bow Basket-20 Days & Counting

The original title of my blog is, "That Thing Called Life", because let's face it: it happens.  I realize I have been MIA for a while and I have a long list of reasons why, but we'll save that for later.  Why don't we get back to some great gift ideas? 

First, let me show you what I woke up to this morning...

Just as the sun was coming up, so beautiful.

Ok, let's make a hair bow basket.  If you already make hair bows and are anything like me, you have a stash of them.  If you do not make hair bows, find someone you know that might make them for you or dabble in making some yourself.  There are some great tutorials on You Tube.

Supplies:

A basket or flower pot
Floral foam
Skewer sticks
Duck tape
Hair bows



I had these great round floral foam pieces I found at the Dollar Tree a while back and stocked up on them.  Also in my stash was this really cute basket with the inside round and a perfect fit for the foam.


All you do next is clip your hair bows on the skewer sticks and arrange them any way you like.  I filled it with some shredded paper so you wouldn't see the green circle.  If you have some trouble getting the hair bows to stay put on the skewer, use some trusty duck tape to hold in place.





This was a birthday gift for a sweet little girl turning 5.  I included hair bows for the different holidays and she loved it.  You could do this for Christmas, birthdays, anything you can think of.

Finished project.

Anybody out there a Twi-nerd like me?  If so you can relate when I say that I had the same problem as Bella's mom in the first book where electronics run away from me.  I finally got a replacement battery for my camera and I am happily filling it up with bloggie pics and I'm ready to upload.  However the cord to download the pics with mysteriously disappeared.  You see, I try really hard to get/stay organized but the problem is that when I do, I can't find anything.  Seriously.  I bought two new rolls of tulle that stayed missing for two months until out of no where they appeared this weekend.

Add to this the final few weeks of elementary football and cheerleading as we were preparing for the competition and play offs.  Sadly our little girls didn't win the competition (although we were told they should have) but our little Kindergarten-2nd grade boys won their championship!  Now, throw in a nasty ear infection and getting ready for 2 holiday shows.  I've been super super busy, but things are finally calming down.  I have one more custom order to complete and then I can RELAX.  Maybe.

I'm loading up some more tutorials and blogs today to post over the next few days.  I cannot believe we are this close to Christmas!! What happened??

I hope you and yours had a great Thanksgiving and are enjoying your holiday season so far.  I would love to hear what crafts you have been up to!

Until next time....
Amy~The Dixie Diva