2018 Support Local NB Holiday Gift Guide!

This gift guide was sponsored by the businesses mentioned. All opinions are my own. 

Christmas is just a little over a month away, and this year we are going to be shopping local for much of our gift giving. The kids still want a few toys or video games, but this year we will be looking locally to purchase from our local retailers, artisans and service providers. Below we are highlighting a variety of gift giving options for Children, Teachers, Men and Women. 

A 5% shift towards buying NB = thousands of new jobs + hundreds of millions of dollars towards our economy! ~ Excellence NB

Pinecone Christmas Tree

Pinecone Christmas Tree Craft 

Here's an easy craft for the kids to do. My little guy loved making these.

What you need:

  • Pine cones 
  • Pompoms
  • Glue (white glue works great)
  • Yellow Paper to make star OR Foam Star Stickers

For little kids, I simply put some glue on a plastic plate or sandwich bag and let them dip the pompoms in it. (It washes off the plate no problem when done)

This craft is so easy for little hands and makes them very proud they made a craft all by themselves (with a little guidance).

Adults can make the star for the top, or if you have the foam stars they can even do that part themselves. 

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Holiday Crinkle Cookies Only 4 Ingredients

Holiday Crinkle Cookies Only 4 Ingredients

With a cookie swap looming and trying to pick a recipe for something delicious and easy, I decided to try Cake mix crinkle cookies. I have seen them in a few places and tweeked the recipe to be as simple as possible and festive for the holidays.

These are a soft cookie that everyone in my household loves!! Needless to say, we will be making another batch before the holiday season is over.

20161206_184246

HOLIDAY CRINKLE COOKIES

  • 1 white or yellow cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Optional: Food Colouring (red & green)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line cookie sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
  3. In a mixer or by hand, combine Cake mix, Eggs and Oil.
  4. Once combined divide in half and add food colouring if desired. Mix to evenly distribute colour.
  5. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes. (wrapped in plastic wrap)
  6. Place powdered sugar on a plate or in a low bowl.
  7. Remove dough from fridge and form into 1-2 inch balls.
  8. Roll balls in powdered sugar to cover, and place 1-2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
  9. Bake 10-13 minutes.

Cake Mix – Crinkle Cookies

At Christmas time each year I look for a new cookie or treat to try. I had to bake something for a sale at the school dance and decided to tr y my hand at the cake mix cookies. Keeping it simple, I choose to use a vanilla cake mix and add food colouring to mat them seasonal colours. Rolling the cookies in icing sugar made for a nice touch and brought out the cracks in these easy to make cookies. 

Try adding your own flavourings with extracts, vary the type of cake mix, or add chocolate chips or candy sprinkels to them.

HOLIDAY CRINKLE COOKIES

  • 1 white or yellow cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Optional: Food Colouring (red & green)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line cookie sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
  3. In a mixer or by hand, combine Cake mix, Eggs and Oil.
  4. Once combined divide in half and add food colouring if desired. Mix to evenly distribute colour.
  5. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes. (wrapped in plastic wrap)
  6. Place powdered sugar on a plate or in a low bowl.
  7. Remove dough from fridge and form into 1-2 inch balls.
  8. Roll balls in powdered sugar to cover, and place 1-2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
  9. Bake 10-13 minutes.

Decorative Christmas Wrapping Ideas

Decorative Christmas Wrapping Ideas

We usually spend lots of time picking out the perfect gift and budgeting our purchases, but how much time do we spend on wrapping?
If we are going through the trouble to be creative with our ideas for gifts, why not present them in a beautiful way. Gift wrap does not need to be expensive, as you will see in the examples I found below. Hope these inspire you this holiday season!

SantaBelt

Santa's Belt Gift Wrap: Simple and everyone recognizes what it is. Plain red paper, black ribbon and gold cardstock!

Cookie Exchange Boxes: Auntpeaches.com shared this frugal and creative way to box cookies for a cookie exchange. Saran Wrap, Tin Foil or Parchment paper boxes are the perfect size to box cookies.

DIY Gift Bag: Innova Crafts presents a simple way to make a gift back from a piece of paper.
DIY-gift-bags-Pinterest-01

Here's another DIY Bag variation from Designer Trapped

chipbag

Chip Bag Wrapping: Turn an old chip bag inside out and clean with dish soap to remove any greasy residue. Use as a silver shiny gift bag! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

1-new 2-new1

Cute idea for the kids from Miss Webbie. Colour Me and Car With Road These could be made a little more Christmas themed by using different colour paper or crayons with a Christmas wrapper or tape.

2-reindeer-brown-paper-bag

Another really cute Kids Wrap Idea! From Lines Across:  Make this reindeer from a brown paper lunch bag!

GiftWrap4

Love these from October Afternoon:
It could be as simple as Christmas Washi tape with a bow on top, a Large Glitter Number with paint splattered paper, Paper Pennants and Twine or some Colourful buttons and paper cutouts collage. Use up some of those odds and ends in your paper crafting stash!

6-570x435

My artsy side LOVES these DIY Chalk Board Wrapped Gifts! By Going Home to Roost
You could do this same technique on any dark paper, Green or Red/ Burgundy if you want it a little more "in season". But I really like this idea as it is.

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark, oh so easy!

If you love Candy Canes and Chocolate, then this is the perfect treat for the holidays! Not only does it look amazing, but it is super easy to make and you can whip  batch up quickly.

This is a pretty addition to a cookie or sweet tray. It would also make a lovely gift presented in a mason jar with a pretty label and ribbon.

This year we are packing up some pretty boxes with some of this peppermint bark and some Crunchy Snow Mounds as gifts for friends and teachers.

Peppermint Bark

This is such an easy holiday treat. You can play with the layers, using different variations. White, Dark and then White again. Put peppermint extract only in one of the layers, to help accent the flavour of the candy canes.

  • 1 package White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 package Chocolate Chips (Semi sweet or Milk )
  • 1/2 tsp Peppermint Extract
  • 6-8 Candy Canes
  1. Line cookie sheet with sides (bar pan) with parchment paper.
  2. Melt semi sweet chocolate in the microwave. Put it on 30 seconds and stir, then 30 seconds more until smooth.
  3. Spread chocolate on parchment paper with a spatula and place pan in freezer or fridge for 15 minutes.
  4. Using chopper or zippered bag and rolling pin, crush candy Canes and set aside.
  5. Melt white chocolate in the microwave using the same instructures as above. Stir in Peppermint extract.
  6. Remove cookie sheet from fridge and spread white chocolate in a layer on top of the darker chocolate.
  7. While white chocolate is still soft, sprinkle candy cane on top and tap into the chocolate a little with palm of your hand.
  8. Place in fridge until set, about 1/2 hour, or until chocolate is set. Break in pieces and store in airtight container in fridge for up to 2 weeks .

 

Homemade Christmas Tree Ornaments: Salt Dough

Homemade Christmas Tree Ornaments: Salt Dough

 

Yesterday while we were in the midst of having our house painted, I decided to try to occupy Clayton (almost 3yrs) with a craft. Not having many options in my craft bags, I opted for whipping up a batch of Salt Dough.

 

As I picked a few Christmas/Winter theme cookie cutters out, Clayton informed me that there were Reindeer cutters in his playdough bucket. So, here is what we produced on a whim!

saltdough

Salt Dough Recipe:

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 Tbsp Veg. Oil *
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice **

 

NOTE: Oil and Lemon Juice are optional

Simply combine all ingredients in a bowl to form a sticky dough. remove from bowl and kneed for about 2 minutes. The dough is easy to work with and you can create cut outs or free form creations.

wpid-20151212_101806_2.png

Once all shapes are ready, place in oven at low temp (200 degrees), for about 3 hours.

Once cooled, Paint or colour the ornaments. We used washable markers on ours this time. It is easier for little ones to control, but painting is ALWAYS fun.

* Vegetable Oil makes the dough easier to kneed and a little less dry.

**Lemon Juice helps the dough to harden when baked.