Ice Cream Cone Ornaments

DIY Ice Cream OrnamentsThe weather outside is frightful, (for real – it’s a mess out there today) but anytime is a good time for ice cream, right? I’m so excited to join  some of my favorite bloggers for another #swapthatdiy exchange. This time with Christmas ornaments. We each made an ornament, and then were assigned a blogger to send it to. (I’ll put all their info below, so you can check out all the ornaments in the exchange). I sent mine to Gwen of The Bold Abode…hopefully she gets it today. 😉 And I got this adorable brushstroke ornament from Laurel. It’s perfect and I love it! 

Here’s the DIY on these easy, non-melting ice cream ornaments: Ornament DIY

I used these amazing colorful ornaments from the Land of Nod. (P.S. My friends at Nod were kind enough to send these ornaments over for this project, and they’re SO perfect for DIY projects. The ones I used are not available anymore; but I linked to a similar geometric set that is adorable). But any solid color ornament will work. Make a cone shape out of kraft paper. (I’ve provided a printable template here). It’s a semi-circle; cut it out, twist it until it becomes a cone, tape the inside to hold it in place; then glue the flap down to the outside. Once the cone is finished; glue the ornament to the cone. I used a thin bead of super glue along the edge of the cone. It worked like a charm. 

DIY Ice Cream Ornament

After the cone is glued to the ornament; brush a thin layer of glue (I like Martha Stewart’s Decoupage; but Mod Podge would be a really good choice, too.) Then grab your favorite sprinkles and a cute helper. Hold the ornament vertically as your helper disperses the sprinkles. Once the sprinkles are sufficiently sprinkled; hang the ornament overnight to dry. An optional step at this point is to do another thin layer of decoupage glue over the top of the sprinkles to seal them in. (If you do this step, give it another 24 hours to dry).
Ice Cream Ornament
I’m so excited about how these ornaments turned out. The kids and I made a bunch more because they’re so cute. Now take a look at the ornaments from these amazing bloggers:

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Teacher Gifts

Remember that fun holiday party I threw with Tiny Prints last year? It seems like it was just last week. Now it’s Christmas again, and I’m excited to team up with Tiny Prints again this holiday season. They sent me a bunch of goodies to jump-start my holiday gifting.* And that is huge, because I live for the thrill of the last-minute. Or I’m lazy. You choose.Custom Wrapping PaperWe’ve got so many teachers in our lives; and I like to get their gifts done early. Not because I’m organized, but because I’ve learned the hard way: it’s the last day of school, and I’m scrambling to the store in my PJs for gift cards. It feels unthoughtful and haphazard. And every year I vow to do something more special for our teachers. Thanks to my friends at Tiny Prints, I’ve got our teacher gifts under control and ready to go. (I wish I could say the same for the rest of my Christmas checklist!) 

Kindergarten GiftsI chose a personalized stationery set for each of my kids’ teachers. There are so many color options and styles to choose from, it was easy to find the right one for each teacher. Side note: I believe there’s a special place in heaven for kindergarten teachers. This set is my very favorite because I love the colors and the patterns.

Teacher Stationery SetTeachers make such a difference between having a great year and a rough one. We’ve really lucked out this year. I want our teachers to know how much we appreciate them. I think getting a customized gift shows your teacher you were actually thinking about her. Plus, having a cute notepad like this will probably make all those “Johnny forgot his homework” notes easier for her to send home.

Tiny PrintsDon’t forget the office staff. You know, the one you call every time you have a question, who reminds you your son’s lunch balance is negative. The one who delivers your daughter’s forgotten backpack at least once a week; or takes care of your son when he skins his knee at recess. Make sure they know they’re appreciated. The office staff are constantly jotting down notes and sending messages…so a stationery gift set is perfect for them, too.

Dance Teacher GiftIf your family is anything like mine, there’s a whole host of teachers that come into play after school is over. I used to be a dance teacher; and I never expected to receive a Christmas gift from a student, but when I did it really made my day. Dance teachers, gymnastic coaches, piano teachers and swim teachers (along with so many others) all really love and invest so much time and effort into our kids…so the holidays are a perfect time to show them how much they mean to us. This note set is perfect for my daughter’s dance teacher. 

Personalized Wrapping Paper Every time I work with Tiny Prints, I’m impressed with the quality of their product and the speed of their work. I’m sure most of you are more prepared with your holiday game plan than I am; but they always make me look like I’ve got my act together, even when that’s the farthest thing from the truth. 
Customized Wrapping PaperTake a look at their gorgeous personalized wrapping paper. This style is my very favorite; but they have a bunch of other cute styles. Personalized gift wrap makes gift tags or cards unnecessary. A lazy-wrapper’s dream come true. Also: the paper is so thick and opaque there’s absolutely  no risk of seeing the gift through the paper. I hate it when that happens. 

Christmas Wrap CustomA huge thanks to Tiny Prints for making my teacher gifts so effortless and beautiful this year. 

*This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints. Tiny Prints sent me all the product for this post. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who support my work. For more information on how I work with brands, please visit my disclosure policy

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Spooky Smoothies

Most Halloweens, I get to the end of the day and realize I haven’t eaten any real food all day. We even have a Halloween birthday in our family; and after all the candy, donuts and other sugar-related shenanigans, choking down that birthday cake nearly does me in every year. Spooky Smoothie BarSince Halloween is on a Saturday this year, I’m going to do a Spooky Smoothie bar for breakfast…so we can throw in a few fruits and vegetables before things get crazy. The kids and I gave the smoothie bar a test-run the other day. It was a hit! You can’t see it very well in the photo, but the “snake venom” is apple juice, and I put an eye-dropper in it so they could add some to their concoctions.
I pretty much raided the fridge + freezer for this, so here are the ingredients I used: 

  • Frozen Fog: ice cubes
  • Eye of Newt: grapes
  • Witch Fingernails: apple slices
  • Pickled Brains: frozen (pitted) cherries
  • Poison Ivy: spinach
  • Vampire Blood: cranberry juice
  • Slug Tails: frozen peaches
  • Swamp Slime: vanilla yogurt + food coloring
  • Hearts of Toad: sliced strawberries
  • Snake Venom: apple juice
  • Bat Droppings: blueberries

Spooky SmoothieI had a label for “mud” that was supposed to be Nutella; but it disappeared while I was setting up. You could label really any food with these labels and your kids will be grossed out. Mine loved it. I gave the kids a cup, they filled it up; and then I blended each smoothie individually. Then I poured it in a black cup with eyes glued onto it. Super quick and easy. 
Smoothie Order FormI decided to change things up a bit for the older kids, with a blind order form. (You can download it here). It’s a checklist of the ingredients, and they pick what goes into their smoothie without knowing what they’ll end up with. Bonus: you don’t have to make the table look pretty with labels and bowls, etc.–just pass out an order form and keep the ingredients in the fridge until you need them.

If you want the printable ingredient labels, they’re available over at Honest to Nod.

Happy Halloween! 

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Caramel Pecan Pie

Let’s talk about pie. There’s nothing better than homemade pie. In fact, I’ve never met one I didn’t like. The only obstacle in my love affair with pie is that I’m terrible at making pie. Like really, really bad. Pie-making for me usually turns into a full cardio workout with a lot of swearing; some burned gunk in the oven, a huge mess in the kitchen and a sad, sad looking pile of fruit at the end. But there IS one pie that I can pull off consistently: Caramel Pecan Pie! 

Thanksgiving Pecan PieThis pecan pie became part of our Thanksgiving celebration around the time my grandmother wasn’t well enough to make pie anymore. She was the expert pie-maker in the family, and she passed the torch to my mom. They make it look easy as…well, pie. Maybe with another decade of practice, I can achieve consistent results. Until then, I’ll stick to pecan pie. 
BattleOfthePiesGraphic copyWhen my buddies at Wayfair invited me to be a part of their Pie Bake Off*, I jumped at the chance. Not because I’m awesome at making pie; but because I love a good contest. And since I’ve only got one pie in my arsenal, deciding what to make didn’t require a lot of thought.  
Pie
I’m sharing the recipe with you here today, in case any of you are similarly pie-challenged. Plus, it’s delicious. My husband claims it’s the best pecan pie he’s ever had. And he’s extensively explored the wide world of pecan pie. For real, though, the pie holds together beautifully without being too gloppy; and it’s topped with beautiful caramel-glazed pecans.

Pecan Pie

Caramel Pecan Pie
Serves 8
Perfect, easy pecan pie; topped with crunchy caramel-glazed pecans.
Print
Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
For the crust
  1. Favorite homemade (or frozen) pie crust recipe
For the filling
  1. 4 eggs
  2. 1 C. Karo syrup
  3. 1/4 C. packed brown sugar
  4. 1/4 C. sugar
  5. 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (melted)
  6. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 tsp. salt
  8. 1 C. chopped pecans
For the topping
  1. 1/3 C. packed brown sugar
  2. 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  3. 3 Tbsp. honey
  4. 1 1/4 C. pecan halves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Prepare crust, according to your favorite recipe (or package directions)
  3. Roll crust to fit a 9" pie dish; with about 1" extra dough hanging over the sides.
  4. Gently ease the crust into the pie dish.
  5. Pierce with a fork in several places.
  6. Tuck the edges under, or make your favorite edge design
For the filling (combine in a large bowl)
  1. 4 eggs (slightly beaten), Karo syrup, brown & white sugars, melted butter, vanilla and salt.
  2. Mix to combine.
  3. Stir in chopped pecans.
  4. Pour into pie pan
  5. Bake for 40 minutes. (check crust intermittently to make sure it's not burning).
While the pie bakes, make the topping
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, honey and brown sugar. Stir constantly over med/low heat until sugar is dissolved. Add the pecans and stir to coat.
  2. After the pie has baked 40 min; remove from over and spread topping evenly on top. Cover the edges of crust with foil and return to oven 10-15 minutes; or until the topping is bubbly and warm.
  3. Cool completely; and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Christina Williams https://christinawilliamsblog.com/
PecanAnd there you have it. My one pie wonder. Happy baking! 
Caramel Pecan Pie

*This post is sponsored by Wayfair. Recipe and photos are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who support my work. Visit my full disclosure policy here, for more information on how I work with brands. 

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