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Eat, DRINK, and Be Merry!

8 Dec

Candy Cane Vodka

Candy Cane Vodka 3

‘Tis the season for families, decorating, giving back…and holiday parties.  Nothing like acting casual around your neighbors/coworkers while trying to ensure you did not indulge into much eggnog.  A majority of parties are held at people’s homes.  Being at someone’s house automatically started the crafty-Christmas mind spinning.  What to bring for a hostess gift?!  It needs to be something different to show people how you appreciate them and their kindness for opening up their home to you.  Wine is always good, and you can dress up the bottle with personalized tags or little wine bottle outfits.  Another idea is to make your our infused liquor.  It’s actually ridiculously easy.  And you know what they say, ‘once you go infused, you never go back.’

The How-to

This is so easy and cost-effective if you have multiple recipients.

You will need:

  • Vodka (make sure to use mid-shelf or top-shelf– it does make a difference) Any size depending on how many bottles you are making
  • Candy Canes
  • A funnel for putting the vodka into the bottles
  • Bottles that can be sealed without leaks
  • Printer for labels
  • Paper and full-page labels
  • Any holiday doo dads to decorate the finished product

Candy Cane Vodka 1

Begin by measuring your vodka and pouring it into the containers.  The glass flask was purchased at the Container Store and holds 8.5 oz.  There are some recipes out there that will tell you to pulverize your candy canes into a dust then add that to your vodka and shake.  That is a fast alternative, but this recipe is more of a day or two recipe.

For this recipe, I found that I used 5-6 candy canes per 8 oz.  You will need to taste them to ensure there is enough sweetness to peppermint ratio.  It is all about personal preference, so you can increase or decrease as required.  Using 6 candy canes in my bottles created a sweeter drink that actually tasted pretty darn good by itself.

Open the candy canes and break apart.  Place into the glasses and THEN add the vodka.  I did it the other way around and I neglected to remember that whole water displacement thing and had to pour some vodka out (hence the second bottle seen below).  Also, when the candy canes get wet from the vodka, they are very sticky and hard to move around.

Candy Cane Vodka 2Once you have all your candy canes and vodka together, you’re done.  No, seriously.  That is all that needs to happen for this awesome homemade gift.  The process of the candy canes dissolving is relatively quick.  The flask was made about 20 minutes before the bottle on the right. I did just let them sit over night and agitated them a few times to make sure there were no pieces left inside.

Next, add a label to personalize the bottle.  I went with a rustic theme because it seemed to fit my homemade vibe for this project.  Here is the label and tag I created.  The fonts are available at DaFont.com (Main titles, text).

Candy Cane Vodka Label

Candy Cane Vodka Label TagI also picked up some little ornaments from a big box store to add a little flair to my bottle.  All in all, this project is super easy and economical.  I plan on getting about 8 presents done with one 1.75 liter bottle and 48 or so candy canes.  I might pair this gift with two hot chocolate packets just for something extra and to encourage them to try it right away.  Oh- and did I mention that I slightly abhor liquor and this I actually enjoy it straight with nothing added.  I can only imagine how amazing the coffee or hot chocolate version tastes!

Candy Cane Vodka 4

For more recipes that you could include, visit here.

 

Halloween…in May?

26 May

Well, bear with me on this one. Hubs and I joined a kickball league, and we recently had a theme night where each team had to dress up. Our theme was “Paranormal Activity”. We all dressed up as ghosts, but we dressed up as silly ghosts– we had an Elvis ghost, pig ghost, clown ghost…you get the point. It was an easy and cheap costume for a bunch of working adults –we all just threw white sheets over us ($5.00 twin flat sheet at Wal-Mart) and worked with what we had at home (it’s very hard to find cheap costumes in May). In fact, we actually won the prize for best group costume! We also had a team member all dressed in black running around pretending to “capture” us on videos and audio recorders. Anyways, enough of the background, I went as a Censored Ghost. Here is a mini tutorial that might be useful when Halloween actually comes around….five months from now.

The How-to

First is to use a word processor to write the words to cut out. I reversed them because I did not want to see the black line when I did cut the letters out. I do have a Cricut, but I was at work doing this last-minute (theme night was that night), and it’s not really that many letters. Print two for both areas for a girl and only one for a guy.

Next, I cut the letters out and glued them on to black foam core. I held a measuring stick up to make sure the square would be large enough against my own body.

Finally, using my flat sheet, I glued Velcro on the sheet and the sign with fabric glue. I put the bottom sign at a slight angle. This whole costume cost less that $10. It only cost that much because I had to buy the Velcro– but if you just directly glued it on, it would be cheaper.

Go Green!

11 Mar

Lucky for everyone, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday this year.  This means you and your kids are totally free from people pinching you because your version of green looks slightly teal or because you can celebrate without worrying about work the next day!  Here are some ideas to kick start the night.

Hearts!

11 Feb

Valentine’s day is next week! Eek!  Instead of rushing to the store to buy generic chocolates, I want to give my nurse husband (aka my Murse) something a bit more meaningful and specialized.  I racked my brain….and racked it some more….then eventually turned to my trusty pal Pinterest.  I happened to come across Erica’s idea over at Sweet Tooth: ECG Cookies!  I still w0uld call them EKG cookies, but I am a laymen when it comes to anything medical.  These cookies are super cute and will definitely make any nurse (or murse) get a good chuckle.  A tag with “My heart belongs to a nurse” would be a cute touch too!  These would also be great for nurse appreciation or a graduation party. [Photo credit to Sweet Tooth]

Snowman Cookies!

15 Jan

Definitely wish I  stumbled upon these quirky melted snowman cookies a month ago!   Crazy Domestic has a great tutorial that will give step-by-step instructions on how to create these little guys.  Although the season is over, these will be awesome for next year (I couldn’t wait a whole year to share these)!  [Photo courtesy of Crazy Domestic]

Toasters

31 Dec

With 2011 in the review mirror and 2012 shining in the distance, it is time toast to all the happy moments, all the laughter, and all the lessons learned from this past year.  As all your dear friends huddle around the tv, the bar, or wherever you choose to bring in the New Year, there has to be an appropriate toasting drink.  After all– it is the first thing you will say and taste this new year and you don’t want to start off with regrets!  Here are some recipes to get your toasts going!  But remember, moderation is always number one.  Have a very Happy New Year!

So drink up — Skål, Santé, Zum wohl, Salud, Salute, Gan bei, Egészségére, Cheers!

Festive Treats

25 Dec


Here are some last-minute cookie ideas that are what you would call “semi-homemade.”

  • Salted Carmel Turtle Squares (The caramel will melt off at room temp, so make sure to cut, then refrigerate prior to serving.  Even though they were messy, people loved the play of the cookie bottom, the caramel top, and the salt on the top)
  • Cake Batter Cookie Stacks (need I say more at how amazing these were?)
  • Choco-Lumps of Coal (My coworkers loved these! The are made from coco-puffs for an extra surprise!)

Christmas Countdown!

23 Dec

With all the hectic, festive activities that will consume your time this year, it is nice to have a reminder why you are sweating over three dozen elf shaped cookies at 11 pm Christmas Eve.  This Santa’s Belt Countdown Pillow available at Kohls, can be your sanity check.  Move the numbered belt under the belt buckle to mark the days until Christmas.  Now you can merrily and comfortably decorate knowing your big deadline.

ps– Since I found it last week, they have sold out, however, this would be a great “go-to” gift next year for an unexpected guest!

Warm Welcomes

17 Dec

It is that time of year when the holiday parties are coming in droves.  Each weekend has (or will be) claimed from here until New Years.  If you are lucky enough to host your own, you want to make sure to welcome your guests right at the start!  Here are some fun, festive, and quirky front door mats that will certainly impress, if not begin, some chatter at your party.  Most listed are made from coir (coconut husks) and are environmentally considerate.

Fun & Festive

 …festive doormat depicts red birds and white branches against a blue sky. Simple, silhouetted shapes make for a modern design, while sustainable and absorbent coir minimizes damage to both the environment and the doorstep.

…leftover birch twigs and branches that would otherwise be burned and slice them into cross-sections to expose their growth rings and beautiful, natural coloring. The disks are sanded smooth and mounted on a water-resistant backing. (INDOOR USE ONLY)

…A peaceful forest of evergreens is dotted with white snowflakes on a natural background. This easy-care, durable doormat is a great way to welcome guests to your home.

 

…Crafted from coir, a sustainable material made from the husk of a coconut, this durable Reindeer Doormat is great for high-traffic entryways.

Quirky

…This natural coir doormat tells your guests to “beware of dog,” right down to the bite taken out of the corner. The 100% natural coir mat if fade resistant and vinyl-backed…

…Give guests a laugh with this good-humored, mind-boggling doormat that reads differently depending on whether you are walking in or out of the house. Carefully designed letters read “Come In” from one angle and “Go Away” when flipped…

A Better Thanksgiving Kids’ Table

20 Nov

The weather knows it, the leaves know it, and children definitely know it. What is it you ask? Well, it is the beginning of that magical holiday season, of course! And what better to start that season with friends and family than with the all important Thanksgiving dinner. As soon as Halloween is over, the kids begin preparing day in and day out at school with traced hand turkeys, feathers, and glitter– apparently a very important fashion statement for pilgrim belt buckles. So, why not reward all that hard scissor work with a table all their own at the Thanksgiving feast? Here are some ideas to make your children’s table seem less like an after thought and more like the place to be!

The Table

Pumpkin Table Weights

Turkey Place mat (with tutorial!)

Thanksgiving Themed Finger Puppet Favors (with tutorial!)

The Activities

Thanksgiving Coloring Place mat (with tutorial!) Checkout Crayola’s site for more free coloring book ideas!

Pine Cone Crayon Holder (with tutorial!)

Pilgrim Hat Holder (with tutorial!)

The Goodies

Oreo Turkeys (with awesome tutorial!)

Acorns (with how-to)

Corn Cookie (with how-to)

Hopefully these wonderful ideas help jump start your kids’ table and make the adults try to sneak a seat over with the kiddos. As a note, adjust all the ideas accordingly for different age groups. Remember that happy entertained kids also means happy entertained adults. Happy planning and Happy Thanksgiving!