Printable Christmas Bucket List

You asked for it, I loved designing it, and here it is! I hope your Christmas season is filled to the brim with joy, laughter, and memory-making!

Just click on the image below to download (the watermark won’t be on the download version).

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Simple Rustic Cakeplate

Are you in a little bit of a high hover, still trying to find serving pieces for Thanksgiving?  This Simple Rustic Cakeplate is inexpensive and made in a few minutes. This can work for everyday, but I really like it as an addition to my Thanksgiving dessert buffet.

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This is so simple, you can make it in about two minutes. Really.  Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • A slice of wood from the craft store
  • Any substantial candleholder with a flat top (I found this on clearance at Target)
  • Some mounting putty

Ready to make one? Pay attention, because it’s quick!

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Press putty all around the top of the candlestick.

Center the wood slice on the candlestick and press firmly to stick it together.

Ta-da! Told ya it was simple!

A word of caution…if someone else is going to be moving this (like your helpful hubs), be sure you tell him it’s just temporarily fastened together, so he doesn’t lift the top and let the bottom fall off and break. This did not happen to me, I’m just thinking that it could!

If you’re certain you’d always like the same base, feel free to use some E6000 to glue the top and base together. I wanted to be able to switch things up, though, so used the putty.

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Gingerbread Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Psst…looking for something a little different but still pumpkin-y for Thanksgiving? These cupcakes are beyond delicious, I tell you! We made these back in October as we were following along on a Halloween countdown calendar. One of our activities was to make and decorate cupcakes for our neighbors. Of course, we made a few for ourselves as well.Cupcakes-ChaosServedDaily

I wasn’t in the mood to make from-scratch cupcakes on this particular day, so I (happily) had a Krusteaz Gingerbread mix in the pantry. I really like that their mixes don’t have “bad” ingredients, and all of the ones we’ve tried have been quite tasty.  If you’d like to make them from scratch, try this recipe from King Arthur Flour.

For the frosting (and, really, isn’t that why we even eat cupcakes?), I got a little creative with what I had in the refrigerator.  I knew I wanted a cream cheese frosting and thought the pumpkin cream cheese I’d just bought would be yummy in the frosting. If you can’t find pumpkin cream cheese, just stir a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin puree (out of a can) into the frosting and use closer to three cups of powdered sugar than two cups.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 6 oz pumpkin cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Blend together cream cheese and butter, then stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Start with two cups powdered sugar, then add more bit by bit until it’s the right consistency.

2. Spread generously on cupcakes, then sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.

One last suggestion, if you have your Thanksgiving menu all planned and can’t find room for these (but, really?) or if you just don’t want pumpkin in your frosting, lemon or orange extract added to the cream cheese frosting would be delightful, as well. I think of lemon and gingerbread as a Christmas flavor, so I’ll be mixing up another batch with lemon in the frosting. Really soon.

This is enough frosting for 24 cupcakes.  Or 12 cupcakes and as many graham crackers as you can eat while your kids are outside raking leaves. Or so I’ve heard.

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Stampin’ Up!’s Big Holiday Sale

Just wanted to remind you to pop over to my Stampin’ Up! website to check out the great Holiday Sale, going on only until December 2.  There are lots of great deals…I’m sure you’ll find something you can’t live without (I sure did!). 

November Paper Pumpkin {& a CASE’d Thanks}

Once again, I was thrilled to open my red box from Paper Pumpkin this month, and inside I found everything I needed to make four of these cute cards.

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And, of course, after making the four cards, I still had the star and sentiment stamps, as well as half of the star garland. Woohoo! This would be an easy card to duplicate, perhaps as a thank you card with a simple garland created with Stampin’ Up!’s new shredding scissors, available in the Occasions Catalog starting on January 1.  See?Thanks-ChaosServedDaily

I used the Season of Style Designer Series Paper Stack for the baackground (the polka dot part), then Whisper White cardstock stamped with Calypso Coral and Coastal Cabana inks. The stamp set is the photopolymer Another Thank You, with lots of great images. The garland is cut with the Shredding Scissors out of Coastal Cabana, then I made a few flags from Epic Day Washi Tape…to do that, simply fold a piece of tape in half over bakers’ twine, then cut the ends as you would a ribbon. Super cute, don’t ya think?

With the holidays almost upon us, I’m all off kilter. I usually blog about what I’ve read on the last Monday of the month, but I wanted to fit these cards in this month, so instead of listing all the books I read, I’m telling you about my favorite.

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11/22/1963 by Stephen King

My book club read this book, and I was a bit intimidated by its size…but I couldn’t stop reading it! Having read King’s Under the Dome over the summer, I was excited to have a reason to read this one, as well. It did not disappoint, y’all…and how timely, with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK last week. If you’re looking for a real pageturner, this one can’t be beat!

By the way, I’m not a fan of his horror books, but loved this,as well as Under the Dome. A word of advice, though…get the digital editions…my Nook hurts much less when I fall asleep reading and it lands on my face than the 700+ pages of the hardcover!  Here’s the synopsis…I’m a sucker for time travel novels.

If you had the chance to change the course of history, would you? Would the consequences be what you hoped?
Jake Epping, 35, teaches high-school English in Lisbon Falls, Maine, and cries reading the brain-damaged janitor’s story of childhood Halloween massacre by their drunken father. On his deathbed, pal Al divulges a secret portal to 1958 in his diner back pantry, and enlists Jake to prevent the 11/22/1963 Dallas assassination of American President John F. Kennedy. Under the alias George Amberson, our hero joins the cigarette-hazed full-flavored world of Elvis rock’n’roll, Negro discrimination, and freeway gas-guzzlers without seat belts. Will Jake lurk in impoverished immigrant slums beside troubled loner Lee Harvey Oswald, or share small-town friendliness with beautiful high school librarian Sadie Dunhill, the love of his life?

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Baked Apples {and a Menu}

Here’s a fall favorite that I always forget to make until I find myself with a plethora of apples: Baked Apples. When I finally remember to make them, I always wonder why I don’t serve them more often. They’re quick to assemble, and a perfect side dish for barbeque or a light dessert to thrill the hooligans on a weeknight.

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Here’s how to make perfect baked apples:

4 large apples (I use Fuji, or whatever I have other than Granny Smiths)

4 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

Cinnamon for sprinkling

1. Core the apples, but try not to go all the way to the bottom, so all the good stuff doesn’t run out while they bake. Place in your baking pan and preheat the oven to 375.

2. In each core, push 2 Tbsp brown sugar and 1 Tbsp butter, then sprinkle with cinnamon.

3. Bake at 375 degrees, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes, until apples are tender but not mushy. Remove from oven and spoon pan juices over the apples several times.

There…perfect baked apples, whether you choose to eat them as is or with a little ice cream. No one will no but you.

And here’s what we ate this week:

I just realized, while writing this, that I used my slowcooker three nights out of five this week. No wonder I had time to get all the laundry done.  For the pork on Tuesday, I just put a small boneless pork loin roast and a bag of frozen peppers and onions in the slow cooker, added about half a jar of Tastefully Simple Bayou Bourbon Glaze, and let it cook on high a couple of hours, then low for another 6 or 7, until I could shred the pork easily. It was delectable…a little like teriyaki, a little bit of Louisiana heat,,,we’ll definitely have it again!

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TBT: Activity Advent Calendar

My hooligans loved this Activity Advent Calendar last year, so we’ll be counting down the days until Christmas using it again this year.

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To make it, I simply resized and printed out the Days of December page template from Stampin’ Up, then resized and printed Ali Edwards Advent Boxes from DesignerDigitals.com. If you do not want to download the Days of December template, here’s a great alternative from Makoodle.

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Anyhoo, I printed, cut, and then wrote out our list. If you would rather, you can even type the list right on the cards before you print them. I thought it was a nice touch to have my own handwriting on them, though. After I wrote the activities, I figured out what would work on which day of the countdown and glued the backs together. To make it a bit more finished, I rounded the corners of each card.

Then all that was left was to spice up the $4 frame I found at Walmart. This craft allowed me to use both a staple gun to attach the bakers’ twine and a hot glue gun for the burlap background. All that was left to do then was hanging each card with cute little decorated clothespins. Oh, and I looped a wide striped ribbon around the frame to hand the whole shebang.

Voila! The hooligans will have such a great time with this again this year!

Here’s our list, compiled from extensive research (I Googled “activity Advent calendars”):

1. Read the Elf on the Shelf book in preparation for his arrival

2. Clean out and organize toys and donate

3. Buy a toy and donate it to Toys for Tots

4. Make thumbprint tree ornaments from salt dough

5. Write letters to Santa

6.Celebrate St. Nicholas Day

7. Have a family game night

8. Make pinecone birdseed ornaments for outside tree

9. Make paper snowflakes and hang them EVERYWHERE!

10. Watch a Christmas movie

11. Do something kind and helpful for a family member

12. Focus on being kind and polite to everyone you meet

13. Read some Christmas books

14. Draw a Christmas picture

15. Make snow ice cream (hopefully!), or ice cream sundaes

16.Make cinnamon ornaments to tie on granola for neighbors

17. Decorate a gingerbread house

18. Bake and decorate cookies

19. Write Christmas notes to your teachers

20. Make ice candles

21. Drive around to look at lights and drink hot chocolate

22. Decorate birthday cupcakes for Jesus

23. Make a Christmas craft

24. Make popcorn and watch “The Polar Express” movie

Of course, your family’s list will be different…we’re certainly not the poster family for Advent activities! Last year, we went to Disneyworld for a week before Christmas (the 9th through the 14th), so I had to figure out what activities would work in other places than our home.

Lest you think I’m the meanest mom ever and never let my kids have chocolate because I don’t like it, fret not. The commissary had those traditional chocolate filled ones, so they each get one of those to open and feed their sweet tooth after dinner each night. This activity calendar will be perfect to open each morning before school, so they can anticipate the activity all day!

 

Quick and Simple Chunky Knit Cowl

I am overly ambitious when it comes to making knit projects to give as gifts. Thus, the pile of UFO’s (Unfinished Objects) on the shelf in my craft closet. I first panic that I can’t finish it in time for the holidays, then resign myself to the inflexibility of time (why can’t I have an extra 6 hours per day in November and December, anyway?), and decide it will make an excellent Christmas gift…next year.

But I love it when I can knit up a fabulous gift in just a couple of evenings, say while watching the plethora of sappy holiday movies that I DVR each weekend (I’m looking at you, Hallmark Channel). I stumbled upon these gorgeous Chunky Knit Cowls at Flax & Twine, and now I’m a cowl-making fiend, I tell you! I liked this one made (in a color called Spice) that I had to make another for the original intended recipient.Spice-Cowl-Title-ChaosServe

Since I’m not the designer of the cowl, you’ll have to visit Anne’s addictive site for the pattern…but it’s a quick download, and a super easy pattern to knit. This Chunky Moebius Cowl took less than 5 hours to knit, and that was because I kept stopping to fast-forward through commercials.Spice-Cowl-ChaosServedDaily

While I usually prefer using all natural fiber yarn, this Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick makes a cozy, soft cowl to wear on hikes, walking the dog, or just while I enjoy the last bit of fall color in the backyard.  And you can’t beat the price…the pattern calls for 3 skeins, but I only needed two to get the correct length, so it’s less than $15 to make.

One last selling point…it’s knit on straight needles, so if you can knit and purl, you can make this in nothing flat! And if you can’t knit at all, this would be a perfect starter project with very little to learn!

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Fifteen Amazing Christmas Cookies

Yes, it’s not Thanksgiving yet, but I have been craving Christmas cookies…probably because of that Cookie Exchange invite I posted last week. So I’ve rounded up fifteen of our favorites, whether for a cookie swap or just for us to bake and enjoy…or, of course, to package up some great gifts. Some of our friends and neighbors have already dropped not-so-subtle hints as to their choices, which I love because I don’t have to guess which cookies they like best!

Many of these can be made ahead and frozen, so you can have an assortment on hand.  The frosted ones can be baked then frozen, saving the decorating for the day you need them, and the meringues, of course, can’t be frozen…but they will keep for a couple of weeks if stored in an airtight container as soon as they are cool after baking.

It’s so hard to choose a favorite at Christmas time…do you have one (or a dozen?)?

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1. Amaretti  from MyRecipes.com

2. Espresso Crinkles from Cooking Light magazine

3. Chocolate Cherry Meringues from Allrecipes.com

4. Salted Caramel PB Bites

5. Peanut Butter Chocolate Bites

6. Holiday Biscotti with Pistachios and Cranberries from Epicurious.com

7. Peppermint Frosted Chocolate Cookies

8. Melting Snowman Cookies

9. Meringue Peppermint Sticks

10. Eggnog Frosted Cookies from Better Homes and Gardens

11. Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints from Landolakes.com

12. Lemon Ginger Shortbread Buttons

13. Viennese Almond Crescents

14. Red and White Vanilla Pinwheels from KingArthurFlour.com

15. Lucky Pennies from Spoonful.com

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