Sunday, July 25, 2010

Happy July Rudolph Day

There's nothing more exciting than Rudolph Day during Christmas in July! The holiday season is headed our way so time to really get busy preparing.

July is Finish Stocking Stuffer's Month and it's also the time to work on your cards. You will be glad you finished these two tasks early once the busy holiday season is here! You have from today until Rudolph Day in August to finish these two items!

I have an exciting announcement for you....RudolphDay.com

Rudolph Day.com is brought to you by several members of the Merry network. We will be blogging about holiday prep, recipes, traditions, and crafts. I hope you will take a moment to check out the site. We are just getting started but we'd love to hear your comments!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

French Vanilla Cocoa Mix in a Jar

Vanilla is one of my favorites.....so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it!!!


French Vanilla Cocoa Mix in a Jar
Yield: About 8 pint-size jars.

10 1/2 cups non-fat dry milk
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 (8 ounce) jars French vanilla flavored non-dairy powdered creamer
3 1/2 cups chocolate mix for milk (Nestle's Quick)
2 3/4 cup non-dairy powdered creamer
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and ladle into jars. Cover tightly. Attach the following directions on a gift tag:

French Vanilla Cocoa:
Stir 3 heaping tablespoons of cocoa mix into hot water or milk.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Amaretto Cocoa Mix




Amaretto Cocoa Mix in a Jar

Have ready 8 (1-pint) jars.

10 1/2 cups non-fat dry milk
4 cups confectioners sugar
2 (8 ounce) jars Amaretto flavored non-dairy powdered creamer
3 1/2 cups Nestle's Quik
2 3/4 cups non-dairy powdered creamer
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and divide among the jars. Yields approximately 8 pint size gift jars.
Attach the following directions on a card:

Amaretto Cocoa:
Combine 3 heaping tablespoons of cocoa mix into 1 cup hot water or milk.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Peppermint Sugar Scrub


Here's the recipe for the Peppermint Sugar Scrub:

Ingredients
An empty jar with a lid
1 cup granulated white sugar
6 candy canes/peppermint candy (approx ¼ cup), finely crushed into a powder
1/2 cup olive oil (or any of the oils in the basic recipe)
6 drops peppermint essential oil (optional)
Label (if desired)

Directions:
1. Pour the granulated white sugar and crushed peppermint into the jar.
2. Put the lid on the jar and shake it to mix thoroughly until the ingredients are well blended.
3. Pour the liquid ingredients into sugar mix.
4. Put the lid on the jar and shake it to mix thoroughly until the ingredients are well blended.
5. Label the jar as desired.

Notes: I haven't made this yet. I am going to try experimenting without the essential oil and see how the fragarance is using just the candy. I have some peppermint essential oil around here somewhere but can't seem to locate it. Also looking for crushed peppermint (like for cookies etc) since that might be easier to get crushed into powder. Also they have those peppermint puffs (rather than the hard round ones). They always remind me of little pillows...but I know they are softer so might be easier to crush. We like to use them in our ice tea and they melt.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kahlua Brown Sugar Scrub


Here's the recipe for the Kahlua Brown Sugar Scrub

Ingredients
An empty jar with a lid
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup granulated brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
6 drops of vanilla
Label (if desired)

Make it
1. Pour the granulated white sugar and brown sugar into a bowl and mix thoroughly until the ingredients are well blended.
2. Pour the sugar mixture into a jar.
3. Pour the liquid ingredients into sugar mix.
4. Put the lid on the jar and shake it to mix thoroughly until the ingredients are well blended.
5. Label the jar as desired.

Notes: Two things to keep in mind. Try to find dark colored jars for the sugar scrub and also if you want to help increase shelf life you might try adding a small amount of Vitamin E oil. I believe you can buy them as gel pills....snip the end and add the oil to the scrub. Try 1/2 teaspoon as a natural preservative.

Christmas Planning: Gifts in a Jar

A few years back I did some Candy Cane Bath Salts and they turned out very cute. Since then though I haven't used many gifts in a jar type of gifts. I think part of the reason is my mind set. I seem to think that I need to "add" something to the gift in a jar ....gift. Like, in and of itself, it's not enough, Even though ingredients and stuff may equal what I would normally pay for that person's gift. This year with being frugal in mind I am going to make some sets of gifts in a jar and that is going to BE the gift. Or so the plan is for now....

I have four items I'm looking at using...

Two are Sugar Scrubs
  • Peppermint Sugar Scrub
  • Kahlua Brown Sugar Scrub

Two are Cocoa Mixes:

  • Amaretto Cocoa
  • French Vanilla Cocoa

I have five people who will get both kinds of the sugar scrubs in a little gift bag! And three people who will get one of the sugar scrubs and one of the hot chocolate mixes. I also have two people who will get two of the hot cocoa mixes. So with these projects I will knock out basically ten gifts plus have a few random ones left over for hostess gifts or unexpected needs!

September is Gifts in a Jar and Baskets Month so I will make sure I have all jars, baskets, labels made and ingredients bought that month. I will be looking for jars between now and then...recycling jars is fine just sterilize them with boiling water and dry before using! The Cocoa Mixes I will actually make in September because they have a long shelf life. The Sugar Scrubs I will make in December to extend their shelf life once they are given as gifts! As long as I have everything bought and gathered it should be a snap to get them ready one December afternoon or evening!

Just a note: I also read that if you use dark colored jars it helps make the scrubs last longer so like brown glass or that colbalt blue would be good to be looking for. You can use clear glass to but they keep better in the dark.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

July Rudolph Day

Will be here before you know it....yikes!

Finish Stocking Stuffers Month: Don't forget July is the month to finish up stocking stuffers. Don't get sucked into all that cute trinket-y stuff that comes out right before Christmas. Looked at once and tossed aside quickly....so go ahead and pick out some fun stocking stuffers NOW and be done with it!

Christmas Cards: This is the month I start thinking/looking/working on my cards. I always say I am going to make cards but I seldom do...usually buy some on clearance after Christmas...so I get them out in July...admire them, sign them and maybe even address some of them.

On July 25th.....I'll have a special surprise announcement....so be sure and check back here!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Merry Christmas in July

It's July 5th and I am just putting up my first Christmas in July post. Vacation and family has kept me busy for the first few days of the month but Christmas has never been far from my mind!

I have a special surprise for readers.....come July 25th.....so stay tuned for some interesting updates and something new!

This is FINISH STOCKING STUFFERS MONTH...and I plan to work a bit on that tomorrow! So I'll update any progress I make!

Christmas in July is the perfect time to work on Christmas cards. For those that make them...it's time to decide on a design and get your materials ready. Then set up your assembly line and get started. I always say I am going to make my cards but usually end up using ones I have bought on clearance the day after Christmas. There are sooo many lovely designs. This year I have some cute ones. Two boxes...each box has 13 snowman ones and 13 Santa ones for a total of 52 cards. These are for family and friends. I have other cards for the card exchange at MHH. The Snowman cards say Warm Wishes and on the inside have..."for a bright and happy holiday." the Santa ones say Jolly Holidays on the front and..." Hope Santa brings all your favorite things." on the inside of the card.

Sometime this month I will open the boxes and start signing the cards. It's just a little thing but a real time saver come the busy days of December. This year in an effort to "simplify" Christmas I am considering doing away with the news letter. Haven't made a final decision on that yet but it is the way I am leaning.

I'll pop back in soon....with more Christmas in July updates. Until then have a MERRY CHRISTMAS in JULY!!!