Holiday Bucket List - Iced Chocolate Cocktail

Friday, December 14, 2018

You've heard of hot chocolate, right? But have you tried the Iced Chocolate Cocktail? No! Well it's time you do. I've been at it again, testing out cocktails in the kitchen, and so far this one is winning in taste votes! You don't even have to wait for cocktails with friends. Whip this one up this weekend, just to test the ingredients, and then have a tasting party next week! 

Here is what you'll need! Chocolate Liqueur (go with standard chocolate on this one), Whipped Cream Vodka, Whipping Cream, Whipped Cream (you can totally make homemade), crushed candy canes, and a mini cane for stirring!

Fill a glass half way with ice and add a shot of the chocolate liqueur. Then add a shot of the whipped cream vodka. 

Stir to mix. Then, here's one of the decadent pieces, add a splash of whipping cream! You add milk to your hot chocolate, right? Then there's nothing wrong with whipping cream in your drink!

Top with a mound of whipped cream and crushed candy cane. Add a mini candy cane for presentation and stirring! Drink! And let me add, when you take a sip, and get a mix of the candy cane, whipped cream, and the cocktail, dear lord the combination is heavenly!! Seriously, the best little sip this holiday season! 

Happy Friday!


Holiday Bucket List - Kids Holiday Craft

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Who has been working on a holiday bucket list? Anyone working on mine? Me! I'm working on mine! HA!

Every year, McKinley makes a homemade holiday gift for family members which include his Meme, his great aunt, great great aunt, and great grandmother. This is his gift, but I think it goes beyond that. I love giving a little sweet something to family that his little hands have created and I know they cherish it year after year. Two years ago, he made these Christmas trees out of paper plates. You cut a paper plate in half and wrap it to create a tree. Staple or glue it closed. Paint it green and decorate with mini pom poms! So cute!!

Last year, he decided he wanted to make these cute snowmen. For some reason, I didn't capture photos of him making them, but I assure you he did. You paint a clothes pin white and decorate the face with markers. He added a little extra detail along the body of the snowman. Create the scarf out of pipe cleaners!

This year we tackled reindeer and they have to be the cutest things I've ever seen! I saw a quick glimpse of these when scrolling through Pinterest and knew immediately we had to make them. They also had a snowman version which was painted white and had earmuffs! Here is what you'll need for the reindeer!

We have small terracotta pots, brown pipe cleaners, red mini pom poms, wiggly eyes, scissors, and a glue gun/glue sticks.

You also need a super cute crafter!

Fold each pipe cleaner in half and then cut in the middle to create two pieces.

Take each individual pipe cleaner and make a loop at the top of the cleaner. You are making the antlers!

Thread two pipe cleaners through the hole in the pot. 

Place a dot of glue on each side of the inside of the pot and press the ends of the antlers into the glue.

Now it's time to make the face! Add a dot of glue for each eye and give it a second to cool slightly. You don't want to burn little fingers. Add two eyes to the front of the pot.

Do the same thing for the nose and add a mini red pom pom. 

And there's Rudolph!!

You can leave it alone or add a smile. McKinley said they all needed a smile!

And he signed each one. I went back in later and added the year.

Aren't they darling!!!

Now it's time to make the hanger. When we got started, I didn't have the ribbon hence the background change! 

Cut a small piece of ribbon, enough to create a loop, and use that one piece to be your guide for the number of ornaments you made.

Loop your ribbon.

Add a small dab of glue to the back of the ornament and adhere the looped ribbon to the glue.

And now they are ready for a hook and the tree! 

 And here is the finished product hanging on my parents tree! It's so cute! And so easy for little hands to create. And I know your family and friends will love this super sweet gift!

What do you for holiday gifts from your kids? Do you have them make something? I would love to hear about your crafty gift giving ideas! And if you make this craft, please share with us some pics of the final product!


Holiday Bucket List - Cocktails with Friends

Friday, December 7, 2018

I learned early on that every party deserves a signature cocktail. And who better to learn the ropes than from Sandra Lee! It's always cocktail time at Aunt Sandy's. I've used her cocktail recipes for years. However, I've been dabbling in dessert versions of cocktails over the years so I decided to take a crack on creating my own holiday cocktail to serve the girls when toasting them this season.

I got to work yesterday at my mom's house, she has all the booze, and came up with two versions of what I'm calling the Peppermint Stick! And man was it tasty! Here is what you'll need!

I am using a milk chocolate liqueur and a white chocolate liqueur. I've also got peppermint Schnapps, smashed up candy canes, and candy canes for garnish. The marshmallows are for a follow up cocktail..... I love making drinks in Mason Jars, but you can also get super festive and make them in fun holiday glasses. I have a shot glass and small spoon for mixing.

Fill your glass half way with ice. Pour in a shot of the milk chocolate liqueur, the peppermint Schnapps, and stir until mixed. Top with crushed peppermint and garnish with a broken off piece of a candy cane for a instant stirrer!

Do the exact same thing with the white chocolate liqueur and use a mini candy cane for garnish. It can also be used for a stirrer when the cocktail needs to be mixed! My mom preferred the white chocolate version and I preferred milk chocolate!

I love the idea of having all of my mixes in cute little pitchers versus having all the bottles out. It's less cluttered and makes it a little fancier. If you were going to have a Self Serve bar, write out the direction on a tiny chalk board so your guests know the amounts to add to their glass. Obviously, they can add more or less depending on taste. 

If you want to make a non-alcoholic version, use chocolate milk and peppermint simple syrup. You can still add the crushed peppermint candies and a candy cane for garnish. Perfect for the kiddos!


Holiday Bucket List - Decorating a Gingerbread House

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Over the weekend, we took on the task of decorating gingerbread houses. I purchased a Wilton pack of four mini houses and McKinley couldn't wait to get started. I didn't realize the preparation that was involved! I only say this so that you are aware, in case you purchase this box set. Each house comes together in one sheet and you have to cut each individual piece away from the other. I used a serrated knife to do mine, but I found that it didn't really matter. The edges were jagged, some pieces cracked, and when finally assembled, they sort of leaned.... McKinley didn't seem to notice so I moved on!

Over the years, I've finally figured out the trick to building these guys. You have to be patient! And, allow a lot of time for drying before you ever get started decorating. Like four hours or so before decorating! If this is something you want to accomplish in one day, start the night before so they can dry overnight, or start first thing in the morning, and work on them later in the afternoon. Follow the directions. They are there for a reason. And don't stress. Kids don't really care if they are imperfect. They just want to decorate and eat all the icing provided.

The kits come with everything you need, but I'm one who likes a lot of variety! I use flaked coconut for snow, marshmallows for billows of snow or they would make darling snowmen (I literally just thought of this while typing this post and kicking myself for not thinking of it sooner), green M&Ms for a tiny wreath on the house, sugared gumdrops because they're just so pretty, and any other edible adornments you can think of. I found the cutest candy cane sprinkles by Wilton and they made sweet roof additions! McKinley's idea. I even found colored icing tubes in my baking stash! McKinley wanted to make the windows yellow and the blue was a great option for doors. I used holiday colored NERDS for the doorknobs! This year, the kit came with Christmas lights in different colors. I've saved the leftovers, but hope to find them next year. They are the best!

The last thing I've learned, step back and let them do all the work! It's going to be messy, it's going to be uneven, and it's going to be perfect when they are done! 

 It took us several days to finish them all and they are so cute!! I put the best ones on a cake plate and displayed them our on Hoosier Cabinet in the kitchen. McKinley added Necco wafers as stepping stones and I love way it looks! I might add more coconut around the plate for snow. 

If you want to do something different than the Wilton kits, check out my gingerbread houses from last year. I made them out of graham crackers! McKinley hosted a Gingerbread House Decorating party last year and it was such a fun time! The kids really got into it and it was special afternoon. Get all the details of how it came together here.  

Do you decorate gingerbread houses during the holidays? Do you buy a kit or make your own? Please share with us all the details. We would love to hear what you do!

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