Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dry Erase Calendar

I have printed calendars but I tend to change things all the time so I decided that a dry erase calendar would be easier.  I didn't want to spend the money on one though and I wanted it to be large enough to do two months at a time so I made my own using an extra dry erase board that we already had.


I use mine to schedule out blog posts so that I stay motivated and make sure that there is a variety of posts on the blog.  It often changes based on which projects work out and which are flops, and what supplies I have on hand but it helps to be able to glance at it and have ideas for what to make when I have some free time.  I also have colored x's under each title so I know right away which ones still need to be made, which have been made but need a post written, and which has been written and is ready in the queue.

You could use it as a family calendar or menu planner though.  :)


I just used a yard stick and a black Sharpie to make the grid.  Each box is 3"x3" but yours may vary based on the size of your white board.  If needed you can clean the board with a wet paper towel but the dry erase board cleaner will make the Sharpie smear really bad.  There might be other permanent markers that work better though. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Shredded Pork Tacos


We love Mexican food around here and this recipe was an instant favorite!  Full of flavor without being too spicy and it is really easy to make.  I often make a double batch and we happily eat the leftovers for days.  :)

Shredded Pork Tacos
adapted from Can You Stay For Dinner

Ingredients:
1 lb Pork Tenderloin
12oz jar of Medium Salsa
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 Garlic Cloves, minced

Toppings:
Flour Tortillas
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Diced Tomatoes
Shredded Lettuce
Sour Cream

Place pork in a slow cooker.  In a medium bowl, mix all remaining ingredients.  Pour over pork and cook on low for 8 hours.  Remove to a large plate and shred using two forks.  Return to the slow cooker and mix it back into the salsa mixture.

Serve in warmed tortillas topped with cheddar cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and sour cream.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Candy Cane Kiss Cookies


Alright, I think I am done with eggnog recipes for the year.  Time to move on to candy canes!  :)  Last week I made our usual White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge and I was still hungry for some candy cane flavor so I decided to try out these Candy Cane Kiss Cookies.  I have been wanting to try them for awhile now but I always eat all of the kisses before I have a chance to make the cookies!  

I thought about trying the recipe on the package but then I came across this recipe that has kisses chopped up IN the cookie as well as peppermint extract to give them an extra boost of flavor.  I was so happy that I went with this recipe because it was delicious!  I even had about ten kisses left over to munch on while I was baking.  :)

Candy Cane Kiss Cookies
adapted from Recipe Girl

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 1/4 cups Unsalted Butter, softened
1 teaspoon Peppermint Extract (optional)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Large Egg
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses (about 18), finely chopped
Granulated Sugar
36 unwrapped Candy Cane Kisses

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large bowl, mix powdered sugar, butter, extracts and egg.  Beat at medium speed 2-3 minutes or until creamy.  In a small bowl, blend flour, baking powder and salt.  Gradually add to creamed mixture and beat 1-2 minutes until well blended.  Stir in chopped kisses.

Use a cookie scoop to shape dough into 3/4-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake about 10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned.  Let sit for a minute then press a candy cane kiss in the center of each cookie*.  Move cookies to a cool cookie sheet and place in the freezer immediately so that the Kisses will set quickly and keep their shape**.

Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Makes 3 Dozen Cookies.

*The original recipe said to put the Kisses on the cookie immediately and then place in the freezer.  I did this but the Kisses still melted as you can see in the photos (they actually melted even more than this so I had to snap the pictures quickly).  So I would suggest letting the cookies set a minute before putting the Kisses on.  Just don't let the cookies cool too much or the Kisses won't want to stay on.

**Cgrayf suggested freezing the kisses themselves before putting them on the cookies to keep their shape.  If you try this, let me know how it turns out! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Link Party 47

There were some great ideas linked up at last week's party!  My favorites were:


Aren't these Bustle Skirts from Rae Gun Ramblings adorable?!  It makes me wish I had a little girl to dress up.  :)


This Santa Claus Ice Cream Sundae Kit from Make The Best Of Everything is such a fun gift idea!  I love the Rudolph Noses.


Elizabeth & Co shows you how to make these adorable Anthropologie Snow Globes.  Gotta love a good knockoff!


If you have an Etsy Shop check out these Pretty Shipping Ideas from Shealynn's Faerie Shoppe.  


Check out these sparkly Snowball Ornaments from Design DNA.  So easy and inexpensive too!

Thank you all for linking up!  If your project was featured feel free to grab a button from my sidebar.


PARTY ETIQUETTE:
  • Please become a follower of Polish The Stars
  • Link up anything related to the domestic arts: crafts, recipes, photography, cleaning tips, money saving tips, decorating, etc. NO advertising or Etsy shops.
  • In the "Name" spot put the name of your project or recipe.
  • Link directly to your post - not your home page.
  • Add my button or a text link to your post to spread the word.
  • By linking up you give me permission to use content from your post for the purposes of featuring your project.

This party will be open until Friday at Midnight. My favorite projects will be featured at next week's party!


Polish The Stars

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fleece Blanket with Blanket Stitch Tutorial


One of my favorite things about winter is snuggling up underneath a cozy fleece blanket.  Not only is it comfy for a lazy evening of tv watching but with a cost of around $10/each it is a lot cheaper than cranking up the heater!  I picked up this Christmas fleece because I thought it was really cute then we all loved it so much that I ended up making two more in colors that we can use all winter.  

Of course you can usually find pretty cheap ones already made somewhere like Walmart but you don't have as large of a color and pattern selection.  They are smaller too and I like being able to choose the size.  

Fleece doesn't fray so technically you could just cut off the edges and call it a day but I like adding the blanket stitch.  It dresses it up a bit and keeps the edges from wanting to curl under.  It is a really easy stitch too:


Lay your fleece on your lap with the wrong side up.  Starting in the bottom left corner use a large needle to pull a full strand of embroidery thread up through the fleece about 1/4" above the edge.


Move over about 1/4" and pull the needle down with the needle on top of the thread.


Pull the stitch through and continue around the entire blanket.


Now you have a pretty blanket stitch to finish it off and add even more color.  :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Frosted Glass Candleholders


These were inspired by Bliss Images and Beyond and were a really easy way to add a pretty glow to our "mantle".  I already had everything on hand which was a great bonus!


I started with two glass vases from Dollar Tree.  Then I wrapped some ribbon around them and taped the ends down in the back.  You could also wrap them in rubberbands but I didn't have any on hand.

     

Add a few quick coats of frosted glass spray paint and let dry.  Then just remove the ribbon or rubberbands, toss in a couple of pillar candles and you are done!



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Eggnog Sugar Cookies with Eggnog Cream Cheese Frosting


You might have already figured out that I have a thing for eggnog.  First with the Eggnog Cheesecake and last week with the Eggnog Truffles - I just can't get enough of it!  So I came up with this recipe and I am in love with it.  This one also doesn't use any actual eggnog which means you can enjoy it year-round.

Eggnog Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
1-1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Shortening (no substitutes)
2 Eggs
1/4 cup Pancake Syrup
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Rum Extract
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

Place sugar and shortening in large bowl. Beat a medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, syrup, vanilla, and rum extract; beat until well blended and fluffy.

In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Add gradually to shortening mixture, beating at low speed until well blended.

FOR SLICE AND BAKE COOKIES: Divide dough into two halves and place each half on a sheet of waxed paper or freezer paper. Form each into a log shape approximately 2-inches wide and 12-inches long. Wrap remaining paper around each and freeze for 30 minutes or until firm. Cut into 1/4-inch slices.

FOR ROLLED COOKIES: Divide dough into four equal pieces; shape each piece into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for four hours or until firm and easy to work with. On floured surface, roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut to desired shape. Do not roll scraps more than twice.

Bake one cookie sheet at a time at 375F for 5-7 minutes or until just the edges of cookies are lightly browned. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet. Remove cookies to foil to cool completely.

Makes 4 Dozen.


Eggnog Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:
8oz Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon Rum Extract
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 cup Powdered Sugar

In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter.  Mix in the rum and nutmeg.  Gradually stir in the powdered sugar.  Refrigerate for at least two hours.*  Store in the refrigerator after use.

* You can eat the icing right away but it will have more of a cream cheese flavor.  After being refrigerated for a couple of hours the eggnog flavor is more distinct.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Word Search Wrapping Paper


My husband originally sent me the idea for this word search wrapping paper that he saw here.  I couldn't find anywhere to buy or download it though.  Besides, the other one was for all holidays and I wanted one that was just Christmas themed.  

So I made my own and I'm sharing it with you!  Just right click and save the image below then print out as many as you need to wrap your gift.  


Words to search for:
Holly - Rudolph - Tree - Merry Christmas - Eggnog - Mistletoe - Santa - Snowflake - Jesus - Star - Frosty - Gingerbread - Lights - Hohoho - Mittens - Scarf - North Pole - Presents - Bells - Carols - Family - Coat - Elves - Cookies - Candy Cane - Ice - Candy - Stockings

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Link Party 46

Hello!  I hope you all are having a great holiday season.  :)  If you are in need of some ideas for decorations or gifts, check out some of the awesome links from last week's party.  Here are a few of my favorites:


These Fingerprint Snowman Ornaments from That's What {Che} Said would be a fun project for the kids and a great gift for the grandparents!


I love these adorable Photo Blocks from Measured By The Heart.  Another great gift idea of just a cute addition to your own decor.


Check out the lovely arrangement of this Vintage Christmas Hutch from Simple Home Life.  


I love this Table Makeover by Days of Chalk and Chocolate.  The colors of the tabletop are just gorgeous.


This Yarn Ball Wreath from Cherished Bliss is just adorable.  You could even make it a year-round decoration depending on the colors you choose.

Thank you all for linking up!  If your project was featured feel free to grab a button from my sidebar.


PARTY ETIQUETTE:
  • Please become a follower of Polish The Stars
  • Link up anything related to the domestic arts: crafts, recipes, photography, cleaning tips, money saving tips, decorating, etc. NO advertising or Etsy shops.
  • In the "Name" spot put the name of your project or recipe.
  • Link directly to your post - not your home page.
  • Add my button or a text link to your post to spread the word.
  • By linking up you give me permission to use content from your post for the purposes of featuring your project.

This party will be open until Friday at Midnight. My favorite projects will be featured at next week's party!



Polish The Stars


Saturday, December 10, 2011

I've Got You Under My Skin...

I don't know why but every time I think of surgery that song pops into my head.  Weird.  My surgery went well and I want to thank you all for your prayers and kind words.  You have no idea how much it means to me.  It turns out that I don't have Endometriosis which is great since that would be a long battle.  They found a couple of ovarian cysts that had to be removed though.  I'm sure that is way too much information for some of you but it always drives me crazy when bloggers give you just enough of the story to make you curious then are vague on the details leaving you wondering what actually happened.  So there ya go.

This has been a long, drawn out ordeal and I am really happy that they finally figured out what was wrong.  Now we are praying that this will take care of everything and that there isn't anything else wrong.  It would be really nice to be done with doctors for awhile.  

Recovery is going well.  The first couple of days really sucked but I am starting to feel better today.  My guys have been taking great care of me and I am so thankful to have them.  :)  I am still confined to the couch for the most part which is already getting old but it should give me a chance to catch up on the 100+ emails that have been sitting in my inbox for the last couple of weeks.  Sorry to anyone who has emailed or commented with a question recently and hasn't gotten a response yet.  Things have been pretty crazy around here which I'm sure you can all understand.  Things seem to be turning around though and I am hopeful that life will return to normal soon.  :)

Enough of my drugged ramblings....I just wanted to let you all know how things went and thank you for being so supportive.  I hate leaving a post without any photos so here is a crappy iPod pic of me the day of the surgery sans-piercings:


It was really weird for me since it has been years since I have seen myself without a single piercing.  I was pretty nervous that they wouldn't go back in, especially my vertical labret (the one in my lip) but all of my metal is now back where is should be and all is right with the world.  :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Is It Too Late To Be Good?


"Dear Santa, Is it too late to be good?"  Sounds like a letter that my son would write.  Actually it's probably more like my husband!  I used my Silhouette for this one too.  Sorry for those who don't have one.  I swear this is the last Christmas project I will be using it for.  :)

This is actually a really easy one to do without a cutting machine.  You can use a regular stencil or print out the lettering and use graphite transfer paper to trace it on.  You could also find some letter stickers in the scrapbooking section.  

I found the wooden plaque at JoAnn's for less than $1.  For the paint I mixed together green and yellow until I had kind of a Grinchy Green.  I put two coats of the paint then cut the lettering out of white self adhesive vinyl and stuck it on.  The font I used is Badaboom.  To get it to stand up I tacked a piece of cardboard to the back and folded it over.



 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Candy Swirl Garland


I have been wanting to make a candy swirl garland for awhile now and it gave me a reason to finally use my Silhouette for a project!  To be honest, I hate learning new software and the Silhouette scared me a little bit which is why it took me so long.  I messed up a few times and actually cut straight through the cutting mat at one point. :(  I'm getting the hang of it though and I can't wait to find more ways to use it!


For the candy swirls I used the Christmas Icon Pack and cut them out of glitter cardstock.  If you don't have a Silhouette you could make a stencil and cut them out by hand or print some out and just cut out the circles.  You might also be able to find paper candy swirls in the scrapbooking section of your craft store.  There may even be scrapbook paper with a candy swirl print that you can cut out. 


I was going to have the garland drape down but it kept wanting to spin and wouldn't face out right so I just taped along the edge of my "mantle" a.k.a. the shelf above the tv.  :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Eggnog Truffles


These are SO good!  Seriously.  Just looking at the photo makes me what to whip up another batch.  The nice part is that while they taste just like eggnog - they don't actually have any eggnog in them.  Which means you can make them any time of year.  :)  

Eggnog Truffles
adapted from McCormick

Ingredients:
1 pound White Baking Chocolate, divided
4oz Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Confectioner's Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Imitation Rum Extract
Additional Ground Nutmeg

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, nutmeg and rum extract in large bowl on medium speed until well blended and smooth.  Melt 8 ounces of the chocolate as directed on package.  Add to cream cheese mixture and beat until well mixed.  Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours until firm.

Shape into 24 balls about 3/4 inch wide.  Place on cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Refrigerate for another ten minutes or until ready to dip.

Coat 12 truffles at a time.*  Melt 4 ounces of the remaining chocolate according to package directions.  Using a fork, dip truffles one at a time into the melted chocolate.  Allow excess chocolate to drip off and place truffle back on wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with nutmeg.  Repeat with remaining 4 ounces of chocolate and remaining truffles.

Refrigerate 1 hour or until chocolate has hardened.  Store truffles in airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Makes 24 Truffles.

2 Truffles: 252 Calories, 16g Fat

*The reason for dipping half of the truffles at a time is because the cold truffles can cause the melted chocolate to harden.  The only bad part about this is that it is a little difficult to dip the truffles using such a small amount of chocolate.  So you may want to use more chocolate then the recipe calls for or melt the entire batch of chocolate at once and just re-heat it if it hardens before you are done.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Link Party 45

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  Things have been a bit crazy around here with a few really big changes.  One big thing that is about to happen is my surgery on Thursday.  It is just a diagnostic surgery  (they think it might be endometriosis but the only way to know for sure is through surgery since the medication has helped some but hasn't taken away all of the pain) unless they find something that they can take care of while they are already in there.  If they just do the diagnostic part, I should be back to normal by Monday but if they do anything else the recovery time may be longer.  

I have scheduled next week's link party so that it can go on as normal but depending on how I am feeling it may or may not have the featured projects.  Don't worry, I will still get the features up, they just might be delayed a bit.  :)  Anyway, on to this week's link party!  Starting with a few features from last week:


This Matchbox Advent Calendar from Alderberry Hill is so cute!  I already have an advent calendar and have no need for another one but I really want to make one of these anyway.  :)


If you are looking for some inexpensive Christmas decor - head over to Remodelaholic for 12 Paper Christmas Decoration Tutorials!


Those of you with daughters should check out this Hair Feathers Tutorial from Measured by the Heart.  There is even a video to go along with it.


How cute is this Santa Bin from That's What {Che} Said?!  It looks really easy too which is always a plus when it comes to temporary decor.


Check out this great Secretary Makeover from House To Your Home.  The transformation is amazing and I love how it draws attention to the scroll work.

Thank you all so much for linking up your wonderful projects! If you were featured, feel free to grab a 'featured' button from my side bar.  Now on to this week's party!



PARTY ETIQUETTE:
  • Please become a follower of Polish The Stars
  • Link up anything related to the domestic arts: crafts, recipes, photography, cleaning tips, money saving tips, decorating, etc. NO advertising or Etsy shops.
  • In the "Name" spot put the name of your project or recipe.
  • Link directly to your post - not your home page.
  • Add my button or a text link to your post to spread the word.
  • By linking up you give me permission to use content from your post for the purposes of featuring your project.

This party will be open until Friday at Midnight. My favorite projects will be featured at next week's party!


Polish The Stars