Thursday, December 15, 2011

Free Christmas Printable's - Make it Simple and Unique {10}

Not everyone has time to take the time in the evenings and make homemade gift tags, cards, and gifts from scratch. You probably still want to be unique in your gift giving and stand out to those you love and want to make feel special.  So here is how you can do that!  Below I have attached some great free pintables for you to print and create cute unique things for those you love.

Here is something you can use not only for the Christmas season but also for birthdays, showers, and for other gifts you need to wrap!!  Free Printable Wrapping paper:) 

Looking for something for the kidos to do while you wrap gifts?  Visit  to get free printable coloring pages for Christmas and other characters too!

No holiday party is a party without a adorable bunting to hang up!! Click here to get your free printable Christmas Bunting! 

Use ribbon to string together and hang in doorways, on fireplaces or whatever wall needs a little Christmas flare!  

Here is a more traditional bunting I liked as well:  

Did you get your Christmas Cards out yet?  Here is a free card printable to the rescue!  There are a bunch of different cards here but this one was my favorite! 

Some years I like to send a little Christmas Letter to everyone.  Giving family and friends an update on our family and what’s been going on in our lives for the year, especially if they're not on Facebook.  It's really special to receive and nice to write everything down to send in your cards.  Here is a link for cute Christmas stationary to print on:  I liked this one!  

Have you found anything free, fun, and printable for this holiday that you want to share with us?  Merry Christmas its only 10 days away!!! - Cheers*Nicole

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ways to Give a Gift this Holiday without Spending a Dime

 This year I was thinking of the few “gifts” that I would like that would not cost anyone money.  I would love to have help with some things and I thought I would share my ideas with you. I know that everyone’s budgets have been tight the last few years so now is the time to get creative and find ways to show your loved ones how much you love them without breaking the bank.

1.       Give the gift of helping a friend organize or clean their house. I have some drawers in my bedroom and bathroom that have not seen the light of day in a while. I feel the most motivated to clean and organize when I have a partner.  If I had a friend come over to help me get to the little things in my house that I never find time for, I would be ecstatic.  I have quite a few friends who have many kids, busy work schedules, or just struggle with organization in general. I know that many people feel the same way I do. So, offer your time to a friend this year and that would be an incredible Christmas gift.

Learn the best Organization tips at 
2.      Babysit:  I have many friends who rarely get a chance to go have a date or get a chance to read a book alone, go grocery shopping, or have coffee with a friend. Offer to babysit for free so your friends can have a little time to themselves.

3.      Make a meal. I have one friend who works more than full time, is getting her Master’s & Credentials, and is a newlywed. She has a lot on her plate.  Bringing a meal by for her and her husband would be greatly appreciated. Think of someone you know would appreciate this and double up the portions for your own dinner that night and give the extra away.
4.      Volunteer!  I have a handful of friends whose children have illnesses. It is a huge support and encouragement to them when people are willing to volunteer at the non-profit of their choice (examples: kids with cancer foundations, breast cancer foundations, diabetes awareness, etc).  You can run in a 5k with them, volunteer for the non-profits next event, or help get donations for the family.  This is a great way to show someone with a disease or illness how much you care. 

5.      Help with simple things that may overwhelm your friends or family. Example: Walk their dogs, go grocery shopping for them, wash their car, if you are handy with tools, fix their broken fence or squeaky door. Try to think of what would really help this person and meet their need instead of just buying them a present.

These are just a few ideas. I am sure you can think of your own.  I hope this got your wheels turning on what thoughtful things you can do for your friends and family this year.

Merry Christmas!  -Kendall

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Baking Party-12 Days till Chirstmas

There is nothing like receiving a box of homemade goodies in the mail that are packaged cute for your enjoyment!  So this year Cherry Kissed and Friends teamed up to make amazingly delish goodies to send all over the country (to our neighbors and close friends) as their Christmas gifts.  It was a way to give something special, cute, and inexpensive to a lot of people we love.

Click Picture to get the Peppermint Stick Cocoa Jar recipe!

   The goodies we made included: White and Dark Chocolate Dipped Pretzels with Toppings, Cookie Cutter Fudge, Saltine Toffee, Grandma's Tomato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Jars, Mom's Pumpkin Can Bread, and Peppermint Stick Cocoa in Jars!

Some of all the goods! You will need LOTS of space, it’s helpful to set up stations)

 Just to give you an idea, it took three of us ladies approximately 7 hours to complete this task.  Baking, making, creating, decorating, making tags, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, and separating!! With probably another couple of hours for grocery shopping the week before.  We also had to multiply our recipes to get the amounts we wanted.  It was a good lesson in math and creative skills.  None the less, you can do this. It’s super fun and we were all REALLY thrilled with how much we got to take home and send off as adorable gifts that you can't buy in the stores.

Out of everything we made, my favorite (and the items I will continue to make) are Michelle's Saltine Toffee.  It was sooo good and incredibly easy, fast, and inexpensive.  

Click for Recipe: A MUST try! Packaging:Zip-locks with Scrap-booking paper printed on,cut, then stapled:)

The Cocoa Jars were so adorable and took no cooking time at all. They may be a little bit more expensive then some of our other goodies, but still not bad considering they’re tasty and cute!

My other favorite was the Dipped Pretzels because you can make them look so darn cute and the few ingredients can make a TON.

No recipe needed, just dip pretzels in chocolate, almond bark, or candy melting chocolate.  Melting chocolate worked better than regular chips. Right after you dip them in the chocolate put them down on parchment paper and decorate them with anything you like! Coconut would have been cute or mini white chips!  We used Andie’s mint chips, mini chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, Heath chips, and Gingerbread crumbs.

The last but not least favorite of mine was the Cookie Cutter Fudge because we poured the fudge right into foil lined cookie cutters and then decorated, refrigerated, and wrapped them up. After they cool you can remove the foil lining the bottom of each cutter and wrap it up in whatever you want to give out.  It also made a ton!! And the cookie cutters come with the fudge as part of your gift!

Click for Recipe! Easy Peesy fun!

 For the Cookie Cutter Fudge, we got our cutters at Trader Joe’s.  You can get three for a dollar! Wal-Mart couldn't even beat that; there's sold for $2.99 for three cookie cutters.

Fun picture of our Pretzel Stick Assembly Lineup! Shows you how much space you REALLY need!

Those were my top favorites. I loved that we did my Mom's Pumpkin Bread Can's and Kendall's Grandma’s Tomato Spice Cake Jars but I feel they were a lot more work for what you get. But they are really special, so it was worth the extra work! Just start saving up good cans from soups or coffee way in advance for the Mom's Pumpkin Bread recipe.

Finished Pumpkin Breads! They are so cute! My mom would be proud:)

Kendall's Grandma's Layered Spice Cake turned out AMAZING! Gosh, these  little guys are so cute, it’s hard to eat them! Because they have cream cheese frosting, keep them refrigerated. WE scooped the cake and frosting in layers into mason jars.  They are an amazingly special gift to give and especially to receive.  I'm sure there are lots of other cakes you could do this technique with of layering in a jar.  *What we found out to work the best is to use the smaller wide mouth mason jars. That way you can really get your cake in the jar as clean as possible. *It would have also been nice to have a pastry piping bag to get the icing in there a little easier too! Already I had friends see the pictures of these and they hoped they were receiving this as a gift.  Maybe we should have made more.

Finished Pretzel Sticks Bagged up! 

Don't forget the parchment paper needed to cover everything as you prep and lots of cute tags and bags to label all your cute goodies. It really adds that special unique touch! Good luck with your baking extravaganza's this Christmas season. Can't wait to hear what you create.  Do you have any good ideas you want to share?  Please comment on our blog or facebook so that others can learn from your good ideas as well.  

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wrapping Time!

There is one aspect of Christmas that can either be really fun or really taxing.Wrapping Christmas presents!

I have gone through years where i am meticulous in my wrapping and I make sure everything looks great and there have been years that i wait until Christmas Eve and I end up putting all my presents in
Christmas bags with gobs of tissue. I think that with the joy of giving to your loved ones this year, you can really enhance your gifts with creativity and fun through your wrapping.  This year i wanted to give us all inspiration with some great gift wrapping ideas.

I found two websites with some great ideas:
or here

Make your own wrapping

Print your own paper

Stamp Your gifts

Use fabric to wrap your gifts

Use a POTATO CHIP BAG!  so funny

Stack your boxes for a fun look

Use your child's know you are always wondering what to do with it all

For more ideas check the links above.
Happy wrapping!!!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gifts that have Double the Cause

If your going to buy gifts anyway so why not make them be more purposeful, right?.  Do a little more than just giving a gift this year! Here are some awesome company's that donate money to non-profit organizations, shelters, and people who are in need the most. So you can get that some one a special something with a duel purpose and actually be giving more that just the present!
Spinaroos from

My Aunt bought our son Atticus these awesome building toys called Bristle Block Spinaroos  He loves legos and anything he can BUILD with being almost 2, so these toys are amazing and then donate 10 cents for every toy you buy to end child poverty.  Check them out - plus there great learning toys and as your kids get older you can teach them about what it means to help out others in need.

Visit this blog for inspiring ways to give, tons of great gifts from coffee to water botles that have many purposes:

 Want to actually get out and volunterr?? Here is a great calender with many options to give out toys, and deed the hungry.  also Christmas Theatre Productions and More Christmas fun for a good cause...

This is what I have been looking for! A live Nativity to take our son to! 
The Nativity on 12/10 & 17 (Live Nativity)
Time: 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Location: The Auburn Foursquare Church (4065 Grass Valley Hwy, #206, Auburn)
Join us on December 10 & 17 from 6-9pm for an unforgettable free Christmas experience for the whole family. This massive Living Nativity includes live actors, live animals, free petting zoo, Christmas music, lights, free hot apple cider, free hot chocolate and more! You can drive-thru or park and walk to enjoy the event while warming your hands by the fire. For more information, visit
Let's get back to what Christmas is all about. Love, giving, appreciating this season.  Blessings - let us know what your doing to give this year?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How to Make Your Own Holiday Specialty Drinks for Christmas {18}

Only eighteen days left till Christmas!! I'm so excited. I don't know about you but I am in love with Starbucks Holiday drinks.  It is a challenge not to get one everyday, but for the bank's sake I am learning how to make my own at home and its fun and special to create for you family and holiday guests.  Check out these enticing recipes and yummy pictures to get you inspired! 

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Recipe

Recipe type: Drink
Author: Savory Sweet Life
Prep time: 1 min
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 6 mins
Serves: 1
A copy cat recipe for Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Recipe
  • 3 tablespoons Caramel syrup, heated to luke warm
  • Hot Chocolate (4 tablespoons of ganache plus 6 oz. of milk, heated)
  • Canned Whipped Cream
  • Pinch of Medium Coarse Sea Salt
  1. Pour 2 Tablespoons of caramel syrup into a mug so the inside of the mug is coated well. Add hot chocolate and stir everything. Top off with with cream, drizzle with remaining caramel, and sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy! 

Another one I love is the Peppermint Mocha, and it SCREAMS Christmas!  Visit this website to get the recipe:  

Last but not least is a non-caffeinated drink that is sure to warm your belly and spirits! It's the Caramel Apple Spice Cider from Starbucks and it's pure joy in a cup-Enjoy!  


cinnamon syrup, a couple of squirts (sold in the store)

Treetop premium apple juice

whipped cream
caramel syrup drizzled on top


Blend cinnamon syrup with apple juice. Top with whipped cream and caramel syrup. Enjoy!
Hope you have fun making your yummy holiday drinks.  Please let us know how they turn out and if you have any of your own to share! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Goodies

Do you know what one of my favorite things is about the Holidays?

FOOD!!! Despite the few extra pounds I gain every December, I still love to eat all the great food during the holidays!

Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and lots of desserts!

So, I thought I would dedicate this post to some great food that everyone should try this year. 

Here is the menu for an amazing day of food (or you can spread it out over a few days):

Peppermint Chocolate Coffee
The Best Every Blueberry Muffins

Turkey Cranberry Monte Cristo
Cranberry Mojito

Fig-and-Orange-Glazed Ham
Christmas Chutney
Bacon, Cranberry, and Mushroom Rice Stuffing
Baileys Hot Mint Chocolate

Never Fail Fudge


1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
2 tablespoons peppermint syrup or peppermint baking chips
1/2 cup (4-ounces) hot fresh brewed coffee
whipped cream, for garnish
chocolate shavings, for garnish

To a coffee mug, add chocolate syrup, peppermint syrup and coffee. Mix together. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and chocolate shavings. 


**Cook's note-These muffins can be flavored with any variety of fruits and toppings.  Using the muffin recipe as a base for any flavor you like!**

Sugar Topping
1/3 cup (21/3 ounces) sugar
1½ teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon

Streusel Topping
3 T white sugar
3 T brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
5 T melted butter

2 cups (or less if you are me!) fresh blueberries, picked over
1 1/8 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

If topping with lemon sugar, stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until
combined; set aside.
If topping the muffins with streusel, combine ingredients until it is the size of peas and set aside.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare standard muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or liners. Bring 1 cup blueberries, water, and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing the berries with your potato masher or fork several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced by about half.  This will take about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and well combined. Slowly mix in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not over mix.)

Using a cookie scoop or large spoon, divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar or streusel evenly over muffins.

Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

8 slices bread (potato bread, challah, or any other soft bread)
1 cup fontina cheese, grated
8 slices cooked turkey breast
1/2 cup whole cranberry sauce
1 cup baby arugula leaves
3 eggs
1/3 cup milk
pinch nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter

Lay the 4 slices of the bread out on a cutting board.
On each slice, place 2 tablespoons of the fontina, followed by 2 slices of the turkey, and 2 tablespoons of the cranberry sauce.
Equally divide the arugula leaves and place on next layer.
Top with the remaining fontina and remaining bread slices.
Press down firmly on sandwiches to seal in the filling.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and nutmeg.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter.
Dip each sandwich into the egg mixture coating both sides.
When butter is melted in skillet, add the sandwiches and cook until golden brown.
Flip sandwich and repeat with other side, adding more butter if necessary.
Remove from pan, drain on paper towels, and let sit for a few minutes.
Cut in halves and serve.


½ cup water           
½ cup superfine sugar                  
2 oz cranberry                     
½ cup mint (fresh)           
¼ cup lime juice                
1 cup rum
¼ cup club soda                 
1 cup ice        
½ lime cut into wedges

In a saucepan over high heat bring the water to a boil. Add the superfine sugar and cranberries. Mix well and boil for 5 to 10 minutes until the cranberries begin to breakdown.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
Finley chop the mint and add to a large pitcher.
Add the lime juice and cooled down cranberry mixture.
Stir in the rum and club soda.
Place in the refrigerator and allow the mint to steep for 2 to 4 hours.
Taste and add additional sugar if necessary.
Fill up your serving glasses to the rim with ice and pour in the cranberry mojito mixture. Top with a lime wedge and serve immediately.


1 spiral-sliced half ham
1 cup fig jam
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
Preheat the oven as directed on the ham package and follow the instructions for baking the ham. Remove the ham from the oven about 30 minutes before the end of the warming time.

Meanwhile, combine the jam, mustard, and orange zest and juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, just until the jam melts (do not boil). Spoon half of the glaze over the ham and bake for the remaining 30 minutes.

Remove the ham from the oven and spoon the remaining glaze on top. Transfer to a cutting board and carve.


1 pound 8 1/2 ounces Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
9 ounces dried cranberries
1 onion, finely chopped
12 fluid ounces apple cider vinegar
7 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons salt

Slice the apples into halves. Slice the halves lengthways into smaller pieces, roughly 1/4-inch width. Place the apple pieces and finely chopped onion into a saucepan with all the other ingredients. Heat the mixture until it is simmering quickly. Cook the mixture for 45 minutes or until the chutney has thickened slightly and the fruit has become soft.

Spoon the mixture into sterilized jars and screw the lids onto the jars tightly. Allow to cool before storing in a cool, dark place.


4 cups 365 Everyday Value Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
1 (16-ounce) bag Rice Medley
6 slices Bacon, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup roughly chopped sage
1/2 pound button mushrooms, chopped
1 cup whole fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring broth and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium pot, add rice, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until just tender, about 35 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl; set aside. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just crisp, 7 to 9 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate; set aside.

Return skillet to heat, add celery, onion and sage and cook until golden brown and softened, 7 to 9 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until golden brown, 7 to 9 minutes more. Stir in cranberries, cook for 2 minutes, then transfer contents of skillet to bowl with rice. Add maple syrup and egg and fold together to combine. Transfer to a 9- by 13-inch baking dish and bake until hot throughout, about 35 minutes.


4 oz. Baileys Mint Chocolate Irish Cream (25 oz. per bottle)
0.5 oz. Green Chartreuse®
2 cup(s) hot chocolate
2 dollop(s) whipped cream

Build in a mug and float heavy cream on top
Garnish with cracked cinnamon sugar and a cinnamon stick


2 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 stick butter or margarine
1 5.33 oz. can evaporated milk (3/4 c.)
1 - 7 1/2-oz. jar Marshmallow Fluff 
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1 12-oz. package semisweet-chocolate pieces
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan; set aside. In large saucepan
combine first 5 ingredients. Stir over low heat until blended. Heat to
a full-rolling boil being careful not to mistake escaping air bubbles
for boiling. Boil slowly, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Remove from
heat, stir in vanilla and chocolate until chocolate is melted. Add
nuts. Turn into greased pan and cool. Makes 2 1/2 pounds.