Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December Wrapup

I honestly can't believe it's the last day of 2013. This year went by faster than any other. I'm not even sure how I feel about it just yet, and I certainly haven't had time to do an entire wrapup post like all the other bloggers out there who are evidently 100 times more organized and prepared than I am. For this and similar reasons, I have a lot of changes in mind for 2014, but I'll get into that in a later post. For now, here's a typical monthly wrapup post.

Lately I've been:
  • cleaning up the after-holiday mess around my house
  • trying out all of my new kitchen gadgets I got for Christmas
  • planning lots of new things for 2014

Goals for January:
  • make more food at home so I spend less money at McDonald's -__-
  • get completely organized for the new year
  • read more books

Favorite posts from December:

What have you been up to lately?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Easy M&M Holiday Bark

This is a new thing I tried making this year. I usually do some kind of candy bark, so this year I decided to use red and green M&M's for a little festive look. It's so easy that it's almost not even fair.

What you need:
  • 1 package dark chocolate chips
  • 1 package vanilla chips
  • 1/2 package holiday M&M's
  • red and green candy coating

Start by melting the dark chocolate and then coat the bottom of a cake pan or cookie sheet with edges. Do the same with the vanilla and pour it over top of the dark chocolate. Before it dries, sprinkle the M&M's over the top of the vanilla. Melt the candy coating and spoon it over the bark in whatever kind of design you want. Put it in the fridge to cool overnight. Then break it up with a knife or a mallet or whatever. (that part is really fun)

It's super rich but it looks awesome on cookie trays and let's be real who doesn't want chocolate on chocolate on chocolate at Christmastime?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Home Alone Embroidery

This is my last holiday project of the year I think. Probably. Maybe. I don't know. It's not a DIY project, because I don't really know how to embroider that well myself, much less explain it to other people. But despite the utter sloppiness of this project, I'm pretty proud of it and just wanted to share it. So here you go.

Now when people leave my house, this will be their goodbye. Now I'm going to watch Home Alone for the fifth time this season. Happy holidays!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Corn Flake Wreaths

This week, I got together with my mom for our annual baking marathon. The goal is to make as many cookies and other sweets as possible and try not to eat all of them ourselves before Christmas. This is the first of a few recipe/tutorial posts stemming from our baking marathon, and it's one of my favorite treats we make pretty much every year.

What you need:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 package of marshmallows
  • green food coloring
  • almond extract
  • about 5 cups of corn flakes
  • sprinkles for decorating

As you can probably tell, all of the measurements in this are approximate, since we've been making these for so long and don't actually do much measuring. But they're pretty hard to mess up so you can definitely make them work for you.

Anyway, the concept is pretty similar to that of rice krispy treats. Start by melting the butter in a large pot, then add your marshmallows and stir until melted. Add a small splash of almond extract for added flavor, and then add a few splashes of green food coloring until the mixture is a medium/dark green. Slowly add the corn flakes and stir until they are completely coated with the marshmallow mixture. Add more corn flakes if there is any extra marshmallow mixture.

Take a small spoon and put little mounds of corn flakes onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Shape them into little wreaths, but you may need to cover your fingertips or tools in a little bit of margarine first so that they don't stick too much. Decorate them with sprinkles or red hots or whatever else right away. Then put them in the fridge to cool. They look really festive and are really delicious!

Do you have any favorite holiday recipes you make every year?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

DIY Let It Snow Garland

I keep saying I'm done decorating for Christmas but then I just keep going. So here's my latest project, which is kind of similar to this earlier felt letters garland, but a little different.

What you need:
  • white felt
  • scissors
  • hot glue
  • blue embroidery thread and needle
  • white pom poms

Cut your white felt into nine small white flags. Mine are about two inches tall. Then start cutting letters out of the center of each one. You can use a template if you have one, but I just eyeballed each one. Make sure you leave at lease a half inch at the top of each flag. Then you'll need to fold over a small portion of the top and glue it to itself as shown. Take your embroidery thread and string it through half of your pom poms first, and then through the top of each letter. Then string it through the other half of the pom poms. Hang it on your mantle or a photo like this one. That's it!

Do you have any holiday decoration projects you're still working on?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Decor DIY Roundup

I've been having a lot of fun decorating my house for Christmas over the past few weeks. It's always really fun to get out decorations and remember the stories behind each one. I was surprised by how many I had actually made myself over the years. Here's a roundup of some of them:

holly hairpin // cardboard gingerbread houses // styrofoam snowmen // deer to reindeer // simple yarn wreath // felt letters garland // holiday memory jar // tree advent calendar // jar snowglobe // joy garland sign // felt circles tree

Monday, December 2, 2013

Friendsgiving With Budweiser Project 12

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millenial Central and for Budweiser. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating. 

This past weekend, my friends and I got together for a Friendsgiving party. There was food, games, drinks, and obviously great people. I ate so much stuffing and cheesy potatoes that I could barely walk. But isn't that the only way to really do a Friendsgiving celebration? On top of all that, the fine folks at Budweiser were kind enough to send us some of their new Project 12 beers to sample. How does one say no to that?

I'm not a beer snob, like at all, but I don't exactly drink a lot of regular old Budweiser. I love sampling new types of beer and learning about different flavors. So I was pretty interested in trying out the new Project 12 flavors and seeing how they stacked up against my favorite local and craft beers. We poured each different type of beer into little sample glasses so that different people could try each different type.

I received three different varieties to try: Beechwood Bock, Vanilla Bourbon Cask, and North Pacific Style Lager. The North Pacific Style Lager was definitely my favorite. It had a lot of flavor for how light it felt. The other two were pretty sweet, with vanilla and chocolate and caramel flavors. I'm not super into sweet beers, but I would definitely keep these around for some of my relatives during the holidays. I think they'd go well with all the baked goods I keep around for such occasions. And since I know some of them normally prefer sweeter drinks, it could be a pretty perfect solution.

Those aren't the only flavors available. You can learn more about the rest of them here and even find out where to get your own variety pack. 

So that was my experience with Friendsgiving and Budweiser Project 12. Have you tried any new drinks lately? What do you plan to have on hand for the holidays?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November Wrapup

Lately I've been:
  • baking (mostly) new things about once a week
  • finishing up decorating my house for Christmas
  • watching all of the Christmas movies
  • completing all of my gift shopping over the course of one weekend, pretty much! (I found some really great Etsy shops to buy lots of my gifts!!)

Goals for December:
  • Do yoga at least three times per week 
  • Create an editorial blog calendar for next year
  • Try some new Christmas recipes in addition to old favorites

Favorite Posts from November:

Other Links:

What have you been up to lately?
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