Christmas Gifts in Jars

I had so much fun putting homemade cookies and candy in jars for gifts this year.  I made tags for them and hung them with twine.  I bought containers at the dollar store but then decided to use mason jars which were less expensive.
Next year I will make cut out designs for the tops. Of course I found the perfect paper for them after I finished the gifts. It was the Christmas wrapping paper sitting in a corner of my room.
Check out my buckeyes recipe I made for Christmas.  They looked great in the jars and everyone wants buckeyes at Christmas.
 This year I also made this white trash recipe and added whole pecans.  I will be putting it in jars too.

Buckeyes Chocolate Candy Recipe

Right before Christmas, my daughter and I make cookies and our all time favorite, Buckeyes.  I lost my original recipe so I had to find another one.  I think this one tastes better but It might be because I was so ready for them.

 I put them in mini cupcake liners which makes them look more festive.  Here is the recipe for Buckeyes.  Be prepared to fight yourself off of them daily.  Take my advice and give them away quickly.  Everyone loves them.

BUCKEYES RECIPE


  •  1 1/2 cups  Creamy Peanut Butter
  • Or 1 1/2 cups crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Chocolate Almond Bark

 With a mixer cream together peanut butter and butter.  Add extract and salt.  Add the powdered sugar one cup at the time.  When mixture can be rolled  into a ball, it is the right consistency.  You can add extra powdered sugar if it seems too sticky.
Roll into one inch balls and freeze on a cookie sheet.

While the buckeyes are freezing, melt almond bark chocolate in a double boiler.  Stick toothpicks into  the balls and dip in chocolate leaving a space at the top uncovered.  Pull the toothpick out and pinch the hole to smooth out  the candy.  You may have to refreeze the candy if it slides off the toothpick before you get it covered.  Once they have dried, you can put them into mini cupcake liners.  You will be able to stack the candy.
Get ready for the compliments, it is that good.

How to Stock and Organize Your Pantry

 Today I took inventory of all the food in  my pantries and cabinets. I never dreamed I had so many cans, bottles, jars, packets, boxes, canisters, bags, and spice bottles. I'm getting tired just listing them.

In my defense I'm shooting for a well stocked pantry but I think I missed my mark a little.  When there is so much stuff, there is no way to know what you have.  That's why an inventory list is important.
 Here is my free printable  you can use to list all of your food items. It seems like a lot of trouble to do this but trust me,  it is an eye opener.
 I found I have 10 cans of early peas which were bought on sale.  That is a good thing, but I only have 2 cans of corn so the next time it goes on sale I will know to go easy on the peas and stock up the corn.
  Now I can plan my meals around what I have the most of.  I saw items in my pantry that have been there awhile and that I need to use before they go out of date.  I don't list the expiration date because I purge anything that has expired and only good food items remain. 

 Since my list is in microsoft word, it will be easy to make changes and print out the list when I use or buy pantry items. No more guess work about having an item in your cabinets, once they are organized, they are a breeze to find.
 
This list can go on the refrigerator or inside a cabinet so you will know at a glance what you have for meal planning and grocery shopping.

Ugly Sweater Party and Contest

This year our Christmas Party will include anUgly Sweater Contest.  I Believe it is going to be so much fun.  There is no boring party happening here.  This Party will be full of fun and giggles.
Part of the fun is finding the ugliest sweater ever.   Make it a shopping day with the party goers.  The best place I have found is Goodwill.  If you don't have one near, any thrift store usually has plenty of them.
First send out invitations. 

UGLY SWEATER INVITATIONS

It is always so much fun to send out invitations for parties.  It lets your guests know you are serious about this party.
Ugly and Bright Christmas Sweaters Party Custom Invitations
Ugly and Bright Christmas Sweaters Party Custom Invitations by reflections06
Browse Christmas Invitations online at Zazzle.com


Ugly Sweater Christmas Party Holiday Invitation
Ugly Sweater Christmas Party Holiday Invitation by thatpartygirl
Check out more Tacky Invitations at Zazzle

HOLIDAY HAIR STYLES 

Next we need to find that perfect hairstyle for our Ugly Sweater Party.  This Rudolph style is perfect for the party and also for your office party during the holidays.
No Source

A Couple of pipe cleaners, some fun plastic eyes, and a red pom pom put Rudolph right in the middle of all the fun.


UGLY SWEATER TREATS

Here is the perfect Sweater Cake.  It would be simple to make and would  make a great centerpiece for the party food table.
Source: Yahoo
Source: myrecipes.com
You will need cute drinks to go with your cute cake.  Nothing could be as cuter than these elves hugging a glass.  They can be used for non alcoholic drinks too
Source: Freefunchristmas.com



 HOW TO JUDGE AN UGLY SWEATER CONTEST

Love this game to choose a winner of for the Ugly Sweater Contest.  It is one of the fairest  (and fun) ways I have seen to judge the contest.

Decorations For Thanksgiving

 
Thanksgiving will be here soon and my thoughts are on the huge turkey in my freezer and how much fun we are going to have with our guests.
I've started on my centerpiece for the dining room table. I bought these 3 brass candle holders at a thrift store for $4.00.  I cleaned them with Brasso and I think they look pretty good.  Before Thanksgiving, I'm sure I will add something else to the centerpiece.
 We had friends over the other night and I just had to light my candles even though they are for Thanksgiving Day.  Back to Dollar Tree to find more drip less candles.
  
 We will be playing a Holiday Trivia game I found online.   It is like the game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" and  "Family Feud".  The game lets you call family members or friends when you get stumped on an answer.  How neat will it be to call people who couldn't make it to the dinner?
 It will be a great  way to get us into the holiday spirit and include others in our celebration.
  Click Here for free printables, answer sheet, and instructions.
 
 I love this idea found at Balancing Home.
I will be making this for our guests.  It would be fun to see if we can guess who wrote what they are most grateful for.
Or maybe the kids would like to make these cute pine cone turkeys.
Holiday Family Relay
Holiday Family Relay
  Make feathers from construction paper and have them to write what they are thankful for on each feather.
Here is an idea for that Halloween pumpkin before it finally expires.
 Use it for cold drinks for the kids.  They will love getting juice boxes and other drinks from this carved out pumpkin.
 It can also be used for extra ice for your guests.
I love these turkeys from Our Best Bites.  They would be so cute sitting on the table and other places around the kitchen and dining room.  They are simple to make with Oreo cookies, mini Reese cups, Malt balls, candy corn, and frosting.  Go to the above link for instructions.

Fun Ties for men and Tying Instructions

 I love designing neckties and I always enjoy checking out  the ties men are wearing.  Here are my newest neckties. There are ties for teachers, chefs, new dads, paramedics, pastors, and even one for men who love clowns.
 Novelty neckties that are great conversation starters.  Now you can put a smile on everyone's face.  They make great Christmas gifts or a fun tie for a boyfriend, husband, uncle, father in law, dad, or friend.
Christmas Skull Tie
Christmas Skull Tie by cooltees
Shop for Merry christmas Ties online at Zazzle.com


Red and Green Christmas Tie
Red and Green Christmas Tie by cooltees
See here for Ties

Pink Christmas Bulb Tie
Pink Christmas Bulb Tie by cooltees
Check out these Ties at Zazzle




  
25th Anniversary Necktie
25th Anniversary Necktie by cooltees
Look at another Tie
 
Peacock Feathers Tie
Peacock Feathers Tie by cooltees
Shop for another Zazzle Tie
 
Clown Tie
Clown Tie by cooltees
Shop for Custom Ties online at Zazzle.com

 
Never Give Up Tie
Never Give Up Tie by cooltees
Browse Employee Ties online at Zazzle.com

Pastor Tie
Pastor Tie by cooltees
Shop for Pastor Ties online at Zazzle.com

Pet Paws Tie
Pet Paws Tie by cooltees
Browse for Ties at Zazzle


Buck Fever Neck Ties
Buck Fever Neck Ties by cooltees
View another neck tie at Zazzle

Fully Rely on God Custom Ties
Fully Rely on God Custom Ties by cooltees
Check out Fully Ties online at zazzle



Well seasoned chef ties
Well seasoned chef ties by cooltees
View more Chef Ties at zazzle.com

Never Trust a Skinny Chef Neckwear
Never Trust a Skinny Chef Neckwear by cooltees
Browse more Never trust a skinny chef Ties at Zazzle


Funny I Love Cows Necktie
Funny I Love Cows Necktie by cooltees
See another Tie at Zazzle

Funny School Bus Driver Neckwear
Funny School Bus Driver Neckwear by cooltees
Look at more School bus drivers Ties at zazzle

HOLLYWOOD NECKTIE
HOLLYWOOD NECKTIE by cooltees
Find other Hollywood Ties at zazzle.com


Tying a Necktie: Four-in-Hand Knot

Tying a Necktie: The Four-in-Hand Knot is the most popular type of necktie knot and easiest to learn, probably over 80% of tie wearers knot their ties with this. The knot is long and straight but slightly lopsided.

Tying a Necktie Four-in-Hand Knot

Saving Money at the Grocery Store

 I  love to save money at the grocery store, but I have learned that you need to have a plan in place to save the most money.
 Grocery stores spend a lot money to research ways to get you to put extra food in your grocery cart.  Don't let them outsmart you.  Stick to your grocery plan.
Make your grocery list using weekly ads or go online and find what is on sale at your favorite store for the week. Be sure to note the day the sale ends. I shop several stores in town because we have local grocers that have deals the larger stores don't have. Also remember stores like Dollar General that have great prices on grocery items.
   
 Recently they had a sale on can goods for 50 cents so I bought 20 cans of corn, peas, green beans, and mixed vegetables.
  Sales run in cycles so stock up enough to last until the item goes back on sale.
 I Keep a Notebook in my purse with the grocery stores listed  and the sale items  under the name.  I also put the sale price in parentheses.  I pulled my list out the other day to tell my niece who had mayo on sale and how much it cost.

I will use coupons if I happen to have them but I don't purposely look for them. It doesn't make sense to buy 20 bottles of mustard because you can get it for a few pennies with a coupon.
 I want to save on items that can be used, and I want a well stocked pantry. Honestly, who has room for all that stuff?  If I see a good coupon online I can't resist, I will print it.  Most of my coupons come in the food I buy or something that comes in the mail.  I don't have  time to run down coupons.  If I have them, they are an added bonus.
  Stocking up is the secret to saving on groceries.  Don't buy anything unless it is on sale.
 Plan your grocery list with sale items and plan your menu around the food in your pantry and freezer.
I find it very important to use a notebook or smart phone to  list the stores you visit  and what you need from that store.  This is so helpful keep you from impulse buying and this way you never forget what you need.
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