Homemade Eggnog

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So, I want to start this blog by stating that prior to this, I have never in my life consumed eggnog. Nothing against it, I’ve just never consumed it. Yeah, my husband was shocked too! When talking to my mom, she informed me that my dad drinks tons of it!
When I told Tony, my husband that I wanted to make this recipe, he asked why I didn’t just buy some. My response: then what would I blog about?
This was really easy to make and super yummy! To start, you will need:
•3 1/2 cups of milk
•1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
•1 tsp ground cinnamon
•1 cinnamon stick (I didn’t use one, but the original blogger can explain it’s use)
•1 generous pinch of ground clove
•6 egg yolks
•3/4 cup sugar
•1/4 tsp nutmeg
•1 cup heavy whipping cream
•1 cup rum *optional*

Start by combining your milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon and clove over medium heat. Bring to a boil slowly, once it boils, remove from heat.

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While that sits, combine your sugar and egg yolks with a mixer until well combined.

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On a side note: I tried a few ways of separating my egg yolks and the easiest way I found was to crack the egg, pour the egg onto my fingers and let the white drip off. My kids thought it was kind of gross, but what are you going to do?
After the sugar and yolks are nice and fluffy, pour your milk mixture over it amd mix it all together. Once that is well combined pour it back into your sauce pan and let it thicken over a medium/low heat. Don’t let it boil or it will curdle!
After it has thickened a bit, whisk in your heavy cream and nutmeg. This is also where you would add the rum, but I was planning to share with my kids, so I skipped that part.

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Refrigerate overnight.
When ready to serve, garnish with a little cinnamon on top. I also added a splash of the spiced rum to my glass for a little extra cheer!
Happy drinking all!

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Chocolate Caramel Pie

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I have a feeling that this would turn out better in a different kind of pie plate, but oh my goodness, it is so delicious! I got the recipe from here and they had simple directions, my favorite kind!
What you need is:
•bag of Oreos (36 cookies)
•1 cup butter
•2/3 cup brown sugar
•1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
•12 oz bag of dark chocolate morsels (I used Hershey’s)

The crust is made by mashing up the Oreos and mixing the smashed cookies with 8 tbsp of butter.
We smashed them with a wooden spoon before putting them in the Magic Bullet

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Chiara loved smashing the cookies!
Once your mashed up cookies are well combined with the butter, press the mixture into your pie plate, original blogger used a 2″ torte dish and hers was much prettier than mine! My crust was also a little mushy because a certain little girl kept stealing my Oreos! Once your crust is pressed, put it in your freezer for 10 minutes so it can set.

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Ready for the filling!
For your caramel filling you combine the brown sugar and 8 tbsp of butter over medium heat, whisking until it’s well combined and boiling. Continue whisking your boiling mixture for about a minute then remove from heat. Whisk in 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream and ensure the mixture is smooth.
Let your caramel cool about 15 minutes before pouring into your crust. Put it back in the freezer for 30-45 minutes to let it set, but not freeze completely.

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Caramel ready to set.
Last step is to make your chocolate topping. Bring your remaining 1 cup of heavy whipping cream to a simmer then pour over your chocolate morsels. Let them sit for a few minutes and then go to town whisking until it is a smooth mixture. Pour over top of your caramel and return to freezer to set yet again.
As I made my pie the night before, I placed mine in the refrigerator overnight and it was perfect the next day.
When your ready to eat, sprinkle some sea salt over the pie for a nice little kick.

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As I said, my crust was a little mushy, so the pie didn’t slice that well, but as previously stated, super delicious!
Happy dining all!

Elf on the Shelf 2014: Installment Four

It’s hard to believe how fast the month has gone by, but here it is, Christmas Eve and Iroh will be making his way back to the North Pole for the year. I know the kids and myself will be looking forward to his return next December.
So, before he goes, here is what Iroh has been doing these last 6 nights:

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Iroh had found himself a perch next to the tv. He had a very good view of the goings on that day!

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Iroh got into the milk and cookies. He was taste testing them for Santa Clause!

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Iroh also enjoyed playing peekaboo from one of my Longaberger Christmas baskets.

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Iroh had to make time to climb the tree. Way up top, next to the angel, is a great place to observe from!

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He also dug into our Christmas hats, finally settling on my elf hat. Even if it is a few sizes too big!

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Sadly, on his last night with us, Iroh found true love with one of my porcelain Barbies.

Elf on the Shelf: Installment One
Elf on the Shelf: Installment Two
Elf on the Shelf: Installment Three

I can’t wait to see what mischief he gets into next year!

Christmas Family Photo

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I’ve mentioned this before, but I love Pinterest. Not just for the ideas they have posted, which my blog is based on, but for how it sparks your own creativity. The original idea for this photo came from here, and it depicts two young children in a bed, dressed in jammies, oversized ornaments on the bed and they are reading a book. I fell in love with it!
I started by buying a prelit strand of greenery from Walmart and wrapping it around my headboard. I love my bed frame! We put on our most Christmas-y bed sheets and comforter and dressed in our jammies.
We used the book The Polar Express as it is a family favorite and the edition we have is beautiful.
I set my camera up on a small tripod and positioned my family with the book opened. We took many photos, as little kids are prone to wiggle. I didn’t want to use the flash, keeping the light muted. No fancy techniques for that, I just unscrewed a few of the lightbulbs in our ceiling light to get the right light levels.
At first I tried getting everyone to look at the book, but quickly realized Chiara couldn’t handle it. Arthur and Tony were watching the book, Chiara needed a focus, so we smiled at each other.
After I finally got the winning shot for our Christmas card, I wanted to try another one, for fun.

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I loved the way this turned out, although I did have to do a little fiddling around to lighten it up. I don’t know what I will do with this photo, but it turned out so beautiful, I’m sure I’ll find the perfect spot. I love how close we are in this one moment in time. I think this is why I love taking photos, because a moment can never be recreated exactly. You can come close, but never perfectly recreate, but a photo can at least preserve the moment forever……..

Peppermint Bath Fizzies

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I originally intended this pin to be part of a Christmas gift. They didn’t turn out quite as pretty as I had hoped, alothough they worked pretty good, so I ended up going in another direction.
This is a really simple spa-type project you can make yourself.
All you need is:

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•1/2 cup olive oil (the original pin listed several other types of oil you can use)
•1/2 cup cornstarch
•1 cup citric acid (I got mine in the canning section at Walmart)
•1 cup baking soda
•peppermint essential oil (I had to break down and go to Giant Eagle for this)
•a mold that you want to use to form your fizzies (I recommend a mini muffin pan)

Start by adding ten drops of peppermint essential oil to your olive oil. I went a little overboard with 15 drops and the smell can be overpowering!
Then you mix everything together until you get a wet sand-like texture:

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Once you have a consistency you’re happy with, pack the mixture into your mold of choice.

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I think my mini muffin Longaberger pan worked best! It lead to the fizzies at the top of the page.
The original pinner mentioned the possibility of plasric egg molds:

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The only problem I had with this was that the two halves didn’t form a whole, so I ended up with pieces that looked like this:

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They’re still usable, but not very uniform!
I’ve used one so far and it was very soothing. The smell of peppermint was very seasonally appropriate and very relaxing! The only concern I had with them was there was a slight oily residue in the tub after my bath.
I’d definitely recommend making them, even if it’s just for yourself. Maybe especially for yourself!
Happy bathing everyone! ^.^

A Gift From the Sugarplum Fairy

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This is a pretty and self explanatory blog. The kids have recently become fans of one of my favorite Christmas movies, Care Bears, The Nutcracker. I love the story! The care bears add a layer of cuteness to an already wonderful story.
Since they started watching it, Chiara has fallen in love with the fact that the Prince’s ring was in the walnut. I had picked up this Frozen snowflake necklace a few months ago and I decided it was a perfect way to wrap it!
I simply took a few scraps of pink tissue paper for backing, wrapped the chain in it and placed it gently in the hollowed out walnut. Then all you have to do is close the walnut:

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I used blue yarn as that’s all I had handy, but you could use a pretty Christmas ribbon to make it more fancy.
I can’t wait to see her face when she finds it in her stocking this year!

Elsa Paper Snowflake

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This was a lot simpler than I thought it would be when I first saw the idea. This one I found from a picture circulating Facebook. No link attached, so I’m sorry to say I can’t credit this one.
You can do this in different sizes, but for an easy first one, I’d recommend the big one, meaning you’ll need six pieces of paper.

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I have the picture guides from when I made my small one, but the idea still comes across. You need squares, so from your six 8 1/2 x 11 sheets, cut them into six 8 1/2″ squares.
Fold them in half diagonally:

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And fold it in half:

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Then you make three cuts in the triangle, make sure you start your cut from the crease side, the further you get down the triangle, the longer the cut. Don’t cut all the way across!:

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When you unfold, you will have something like this:

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Take the two smallest corner pieces, fold them toward each other and tape them together:

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Flip your paper over and do the same with the next set of corners:

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Continue alternating your corners, until you end up with this:

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Now you need to make six of these. I just plopped myself in front of the tv and it went really quick!
Once you have your pieces made, lay them out, with all the points facing the same direction. Pull out your stapler and attach three together at the tip, do the same to the second set. Once you have two pieces, attach them like so:

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It can be a little awkward, but have a little patience and it will work. It turns out beautifully too!

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This was my little one that I made using 3″ squares, meaning one sheet of paper.
Happy crafting all!