51/52: Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanza!

Cheers!

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50/52: Whoa! I actually made something I pinned!

Seriously. Shut. The. Front. Door. I made something that I pinned. haha. If you are a Pinterest frequenter, like I am then you certainly get the humor in my title. To just beat the humor further into the ground, I will explain! Pinterest is phenomenal. Phenomenal. Have you ever been surfing the ‘net and thought “Man! That is the coolest idea. I really want to remember that for later.” And then you bookmark the page and never go back to it? Well Pinterest eliminates that. It’s a virtual bulletin board! So cool. But there are sooo many cool ideas that you more often than not find yourself pinning zillions of things, most that you will never re-visit.

Well, I have finally beat this! I have made something that is a compilation of two pins I saw marked on my profile. Psst… by the way – go follow me on Pinterest! {See that cool ‘Pinterest’ button on the right of my blog? Click it. I dare ya!}

I am hosting a Christmas brunch for both sides of our family on Christmas morning, so I have been looking for festive, fun and inexpensive decorations. I saw this vase and fell in love. I can’t explain why. It’s absolutely, 100% cheesy. But, I love it. I love anything having to do with Santa. Now, I must say one of the two vases is way, way, way cuter than mine. But hey, you gotta work with what ya got!

Here are the two ideas I had found:

Via: Sew Many Ways

Via: Hostess with the Mostess

And… here is my little creation…

Via: Moi!

Totally cheesy, right?! Hah. I love it. It will be so cute with all of our food surrounding it. Cheap, cute center piece. Here is how I made it… You will need:

Santa Vase

1 round vase, any size
red construction/colored paper
black construction/colored paper or black ribbon
gray construction/colored paper
tape
florists foam
evergreen sprigs – fake or real
fake red berries

1. Cover vase with red paper, secure with loops of tape
2. Cut black paper for belt, or use ribbon. Wrap around the middle of the vase. Secure along the back by the seam of the red paper with more tape.
3. Cut out a belt buckle shape from your gray paper. Secure on either end with more tape. Don’t secure too tightly, you want it to appear loose like a buckle.
4. Cut florists foam to easily fit in the bottom of your vase.
5. Add evergreen sprigs and red berries. Tweak until you like the look!

Simple, right? I probably did not need to write that up – but you never know.

Leave me a comment – tell me what you are doing with your family for Christmas. Are you creating or decorating for anything? What are your favorite types of decorations?
me: I love, love Santas. I always have but I think it has become an obsession since my last name became Santie. 😉 

48/52: Phew! I survived fall semester! {And Peppermint Bark}

Oh my goodness. I haven’t posted since… November?! I have been on somewhat of a hiatus, but for good reason. Life has been absolutely, undeniably nuts! Between lesson planning, interning/teaching, classes and finals… throw some life in there… mix well… needless to say I haven’t had much time to post. I really haven’t had a ton of time to cook or bake either. But, not to worry I will be finished my last final today and then I have lots of goodies planned.

I can’t even remember the last time I baked, it was probably for Thanksgiving! Well, even though I had a final due today {yay! I’m free!} I couldn’t stand it any longer and had to get into the kitchen last night. So I whipped up some… peppermint bark of course! It is such a simple recipe, but so yummy and screams Christmas! I just love the crushed candy cane on top.

It is so easy I honestly feel silly posting a recipe for this, but sometimes it is nice to have something to go off of. My peppermint bark became somewhat of an experiment because all I had in the cupboard was unsweetened chocolate, and I only had 4 oz. while most recipes call for at least 6 oz. So when melting my unsweetened chocolate on the double boiler, I added 1 TB of sugar for each ounce of chocolate. And 4 oz made plenty of bark when put into a 9X9 pan!

I plan on sharing this with people who are coming over for Christmas now that I’ve made my first batch. But this would be very cute wrapped up in goodie bags and given away as gifts. See my Halloween bark post for ideas!

Peppermint Bark

Ingredients:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped {you can use unsweetened – add 1 TB of sugar for each oz of chocolate you are using}
4oz. white chocolate, chopped
2 tsp vegetable oil {adds shine to bark}
crushed candy cane {I used about 4 crushed candy canes to top a 9X9 pan}

Directions:
1. Line a 9X9 pan with foil, make sure you have a bit of overhang so you can pull the foil and bark out of the pan later. Set aside.
2.  Melt chocolate and vegetable oil in a heat proof bowl of a pot of simmering water {or in a double boiler}, continue melting until it is fully melted and appears thin. If you are using unsweetened chocolate make sure the sugar gets a chance to melt into the chocolate before removing from heat.
2. Pour chocolate into the foil lined pan, rotate pan to spread chocolate into each corner of pan. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, crush your candy cane. The size is a matter of preference, some prefer large pieces, some small.
4. Melt your white chocolate using the same method as the chocolate.
5. Pour on top of chilled chocolate, rotate pan to spread white chocolate over every inch of chocolate.
6. Sprinkle crushed candy cane over top of the bark.
7. Refrigerate over night if possible.
8. Once fully chilled, pull foil out of pan and break bark into pieces of desired size.
9. ENJOY!

I hope everyone is set to have an awesome weekend. I am seriously looking forward to catchin up on a few things so when Christmas break hits {the elementary school I intern at still has 2 more school days until they are on break — gee, thanks strike!} I can dive into Christmas, and then afterward… lesson planning! Full time student teaching hits in February and I want to get ahead of the game as much as possible. For now, off to make up my Christmas cookie baking list. Can’t wait to share some pictures with you!

Ciao!