Christmas Tree Brownie Treats

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Christmas is a time of lots and lots of yummy treats. This little treat would be great for a school party, office treats, or any special Christmas event. These brownies are simple and fun to make.

 

Here’s what you will need:

-A box of brownie mix

-A box of candy canes

-Round sprinkles

-Star Sprinkles

-Green icing that will be easy to make thin  lines withIMG_8473

-A 8×8 baking pan

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Prepare your baking pan by spraying with cooking spray, or line it with foil and spray it.

2. Next follow the baking instructions for the brownies. Make sure no to over cook. Once they are done, let them sit and cool for about an hour.

3. Once they have cooled well enough to cut, lay the square of brownies out on a cutting board and get ready to cut some triangles. Using a sharp knife start but doing to two diagonal lines, giving you four triangles. IMG_8497

4. From there you can cut all of those triangles in half.( You can also make a grid of sorts, but this was easier to me.) If the triangles are weirdly shaped trim them up a bit. The brownie scraps would be yummy on ice cream. IMG_8498

5. Next you will need to get out your candy canes. Unwrap them and get started breaking small pieces of for your tree trunk. You may have to try a few sizes to see what looks best. You will have lots of left over candy cane pieces. These would be great to save to top so Christmas cookies or another fun treat. IMG_8500.JPG

6. Once you have snapped all you tree trunk pieces off, gently insert them into the bottom of the triangle. IMG_8502

7. No you are ready for icing. I chose icing in a tube that was already green. If you want thicker garlands you’d need to use tips and icing bags. I was going for simple and the least amount of mess!img_8504.jpg

8. Once you have carefully drawn on your garland with icing, you are ready for icing. First sprinkle on your round sprinkles all over the brownie. Shake of the extra. Then choose a star sprinkle for the top. Carefully place the stars in icing at the top of the triangle.

9. And that’s all there is too it. You will now have a super cute treat that was pretty easy and fun to make. Hope you enjoy them!IMG_8503

 

Homemade Christmas Gifts

Every year at Christmas time, I ponder about what I can make for my children and grandchildren that is homemade. I love to give a homemade gift to people because it has so much heart in it. I decided to do Christmas pillows after hearing my daughters say they needed to buy some Christmas pillows. I have 2 daughters and one daughter in law so that means three sets of whatever I make.

I looked on line and in stores to find my perfect fabric choices and decided on these two:

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I like that the black and red checked is also in the other fabric. This makes them match nicely.

I decided on a 20 inch pillow which means my pillow insert needs to be 22 inches. I cut a 20 inch square for the front of the pillow. For the back I cut a 20×30 inch piece of fabric. Since this is and envelope pillow we will need the extra 10 inches. Make sure your patterns are running the same way when cutting your fabric. With the checks it didn’t really matter but it does with the buffalo, bear print.

After cutting your fabric pieces, take the wider back piece and fold it in half. Iron a crease in it and the cut it in half as pictured below:

 

Next, take your iron and fold over a 1/2 inch seam. Iron it well.

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Now iron in a 1-1/2 inch crease. Then fold over to have your seam for the back of the pillow. You will do this to both of the back pieces before sewing.

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Your next step is to add any piping or trim to the pillow. Set your two back pieces aside and grab the front 20 inch square. Notice how the trim is applied in the photo:

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The raw side is out towards the raw end of the fabric. Sew this on as close to the ridged edge as possible and as straight as possible.

Next, take your two pieces of the back fabric and pin them to the 20 inch square. Do one at a time. Face to face on the fabric so it will be inside out looking.

 

Remember when I said to make sure the patterns are going the same way? This is where that matters a lot. I want all the animals going the same way.  I double pin where the envelope opening is on the back so I can double stitch it. That area takes a lot of pulling when putting your pillow insert in.  Also, try and sew along the same line as you did when adding the piping.

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Before you know it, you have a pillow. Just turn your pillow cover inside out and stuff your pillow insert inside. They are beautiful, festive and homemade!

 

 

I gave these to my daughters at Thanksgiving. They will all display them differently but they all loved them.

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Fall Cleaning Checklist

We have all heard of Spring cleaning! But why not Fall cleaning? The truth is there are somethings that need to be done more than once a year, and other things that are a good idea to do to prep and get you through winter. I’m going to give you a list with some things that are good idea to do in the fall and some helpful tips.

1. Cleaning your vents and returns for your HVAC system is a good place to start. 56399805472__C4276D7E-4C81-4C05-939D-86DFDA3EBDBC.JPEG

While your at it checking your filters to see if they need to be changed.

2. Clean all windows and doors.56399806386__5EB4D31B-C5E2-40BB-A116-D96540D6190C.JPEG

3. Wipe down the base boards.IMG_8001(1).jpg

4. Sweep, patios and porches, and store any outside cushions if needed.

5. Clean the dryer vent.

6. Have chimneys cleaned and fireplaces surfaces cleaned

7. Descale coffee makers, Air Purifiers, and things of that nature. (Running vinegar through coffee makers, microwave, etc is a great cleaning tool)

8. Deep clean carpet and tile. (Zimmerman Carpet Cleaners can help you with this!)

9. Clean and sanitize Refrigerator56399802283__C402D4C9-7385-4128-BEBF-B8077464F560(1)

10. Vacuum Sofas

11. Professionally clean any rugs (ZCC to the rescue)

12. Refresh your mattress by letting baking soda sit awhile, then vacuum it up

13. Vacuum under and behind fridge ( another one people don’t think to do)

14. Wash curtains

15. Power wash outside or your house and driveway

16. Clean gutters and outside fixturesIMG_8059

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you start doing a fall cleaning, then spring cleaning might not be as overwhelming. And its just a good way to get you ready for winter. Happy Cleaning!

Corn Casserole

IMG_8060.JPGToday I am going to share with you a recipe that my family has had for Thanksgiving the last few years. This corn casserole is relatively simple, but so yummy.

Here’s what you will need:IMG_8041

  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 box Jiffy corn bread mix
  • 2 eggs
  • Bag of frozen corn, or two cans drained
  • 2 serrano peppers, choppedIMG_8048.JPG
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup french fried onions
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. Melt butter in skillet.IMG_8043
  2. Whisk in flour and then pour in chicken stock. Cook and whisk until bubbly and thickened.
  3. Mix together milk, stock mix, sour cream, eggs, peppers, and cornbread mix.IMG_8047IMG_8051(1)
  4. Stir in corn kernels, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish.IMG_8053
  7. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, and sprinkle with the onions( I usually just use the whole can)IMG_8055(1)
  8. Cover with foil and Bake for 30 minutes. Let it cool at least five minutes before serving.

Hope you enjoy this recipe! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!IMG_8060

Fall Centerpiece

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Today I’m going to walk you through making a great looking fall centerpiece. The great thing about a project like this is there aren’t any rules! You can plan as you go, and make adjustments as needed. If you want to find a great deal on fall floral and supplies, right after Halloween is a good time to grab discounted fall items. This project is a fairly straight forward one. See whats out there for floral stems and things you can add. You  will need a variety of floral stems, greenery, picks, etc to make a nice full centerpiece.

Items You Will Need:

  • A variety of floral stems and greeneryIMG_7750.JPG
  • A pot, vase, or whatever kind of container you would like (I chose a metal bucket)IMG_7751IMG_7752
  • Foam floral blocks (you can find these at the dollar store)
  • Wire cutters
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun and glue
  • Floral wire
  • Any addition decorative items you would like to add

 

1. The first step I took was to lay out my floral stems and cut all the tags off of them. Then I grabbed my bucket and glued my foam block to the bottom. (Styrofoam and hot glue don’t always work well together but it was just to help me hold everything in place as I worked) I had some left over river rocks so I poured those around the foam for some added weight to the bucket so it wasn’t top heavy. IMG_7757.JPG

2. Next lay out your stems and whatever items you are using. Finding the longest stem might be the best place to start. This may be a good piece to start in the middle with. You will need to have your wire cutters handy. Unless you have a very tall vase, most of your stems will have to be trimmed down to fit. Also you can cut floral bushes apart so you have many pieces to stick in different places. If the stems are the kind wrapped in brown paper and you trim a piece down, save the extra, the wires inside can be useful later.

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3. Now you are reading to start placing your stems. Pic a center point to start and poke the stem down into the foam to the height you like. Take a look at your pieces taking account for all the different colors, textures, and sizes. Think about balance and spreading out similar pieces in different areas to create unity. As I went along, I stuffed some extra raffia I had around the foam and stems for some extra stability. IMG_7758

IMG_7760.jpg4. Keep placing stems, keeping in mind eye pleasing placement and what helps to keep the piece balanced.

IMG_77615. Add pieces on each side, fill gaps and spreading out different types of stems. Its always a good idea to step back and look at the piece. See where you need to fill and area, or what looks out of balance of too tall. You can always pull a stem out and trim or readjust it.

6. Now I am going to show you how I made use of those wire pieces inside the stem I trimmed. You can literally peel away individual wire pieces. I took an individual leaf from a floral bush and glued one of the wires into it. This way I have a new stem I can manipulate and put in where ever I need and in a different place than it being attached to the bush. IMG_7766.JPG

I also had a little bird I wanted to use. It came with a clip on it, but adding a wire allowed me to place it higher up and in the arrangement how I liked. So I took another wire, put some hot glue on the end and poked the wire through the bottom of the bird making a sturdy pick.IMG_7762.jpg

7. Continue filling up your bucket or pot till it looks nice and full. I added the bird and a couple of decorative balls I put wires on as well, and some moss to fill in gaps. (The Styrofoam blocks, decorative balls, moss and rocks all came from dollar tree. Great place to find certain craft supplies)

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And there you have it, the finished piece. I am very excited about it. Hope you have fun making your own centerpiece.

Also if you have extra stems or pieces you don’t need, you can save them for other projects.

I saved pieces for a plain burlap wreath I had wrapped previously. And I quickly had a matching wreath!IMG_7771

Fall Simmer Pot

IMG_7635(1)Here is a nice way to make your home smell like fall. A simmer pot is an easy and natural way to put great scent out into your home.

Here’s What You Will Need:IMG_7630

  • 5-6 apples
  • 2-3 oranges
  • cinnamon sticks (or spice if all you have)
  • vanilla extract, or vanilla beans
  1. First cut your fruit into slices, or cubes, whatever you like. You can also just use IMG_7633orange rind, and eat the fruit.
  2. Pull all the fruit in a large pot
  3. Add half a tbs Vanilla and a few cinnamon sticks
  4. Add water covering everything, and bring to a boil
  5.  Once its boiling, reduce heat to barely a simmer and wait for the lovely smells to fill your home. It doesn’t take long. You may need to add some water as it evaporates. IMG_7637(1).JPG

 

And that’s it a very very simple way to bring Autumn home. Hope you enjoy!

 

 

Jack O’ Lantern Stuffed Peppers

IMG_7321Today I am show you a fun little way to give your food a little Halloween flavor. These stuffed Jack O’ Lantern peppers are easy and fun to make. You could stuff them with anything your family likes, chicken salad, tuna salad, taco meat fillings, options are endless. I choose to do chicken salad.IMG_7315.JPG

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 Orange Bell Peppers
  • Rotisserie chicken, or 3 cups shredded chicken
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs Dijon, or yellow mustard
  • Celery
  • 1 Tbs Parsley
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dill

Making the chicken salad:

For the first step cut up or shred your chicken. I got a lemon pepper rotisserie chicken for a little extra flavor. Get it chopped or shredded and put to the side.

Chop your celery to bite size pieces. IMG_7316

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Adjust seasonings to your preference. IMG_7317.JPG

Peppers:

Wash your peppers and cut the tops of, depending on how you want the Jack O’ Lanterns to look. You can leave the stem for a cap, but need to make sure you cut them down far  enough to make sure you don’t get a hole in the cap. Take all the insides and seeds out. You will need a small sharp knife.  Cut little triangles for the eyes and nose and a small sliver for the mouth. Stuff the peppers with your chicken salad. Add their caps if you wish and serve them up.

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