Cider Beetles: A Teacher Gift

cider beetles

Before staying home with my kiddos I used to be a teacher. I was always very spoiled every holiday by my student’s parents and received so many gifts, too many to remember. But I will always remember one year when a student made me a Cider Beetle attached to Apple Cider. It was so stinking cute that I told everyone about it. I decided this year I would re-create this adorable little gift.

cider beetles

I was so happy to find the recipe on the Imperial Sugar website. Imperial has a great Christmas page full of recipes and craft ideas you can do with your kids! They are also running a Kids Cookbook Giveaway that runs through Dec. 19th.

The boys did almost all the work here and LOVED it! I love boys who love to cook :)

cider beetles

How to made your own Cider Beetles:

Supplies:

  • 12 oranges
  • 5 cups Imperial Sugar Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • 24 (1 1/2-inch) stick cinnamon
  • 24 small whole nutmegs
  • 48 large whole allspices
  • 192 whole cloves (8 legs on each beetle)

Directions:

  1. Slice oranges in half crosswise; scoop out the pulp, and reserve for other uses.
  2. Place orange half shells, cut side up, on a wire rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 250°F for about 2 hours or until dry and hard. Let these cool completely before assembling the beetles.
  3. Pack brown sugar firmly into each orange shell, mounding it slightly. Arrange spices in brown sugar to resemble a beetle, pressing slightly into the sugar. Use cinnamon sticks for bodies, nutmegs for heads, allspices for eyes, and cloves for legs. If not using immediately, cover tightly with plastic wrap secured with a ribbon. Store in the refrigerator.
  4. To use, unwrap beetle and drop into 1 1/2 quarts apple cider or straight apple juice, simmer 30 minutes. Remove rind and spices to serve. Store the unused cider in the refrigerator.

We started with our oranges.

cider beetles

Remove all the “insides” of the orange.

cider beetles

Then place them on a baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees for about 2 hours.cider beetles

Then for the fun part… making the beetles! Pack the orange full of Imperial Brown Sugar.

cider beetles

cider beetles

cider beetles

Then you arrange all of the beetle parts.

cider beetles

cider beetles

cider beetles

cider beetles

I wrapped them in plastic wrap as soon as we finished and tied them up with a rubber band.

cider beetles

Then I just attached some ribbon around the apple cider and attached the beetle to the top for a perfect little teacher gift! I also attached some directions on how to brew it but I forgot to attach that before I took this picture. Brewing them is the best part because of the smell :) I hope you guys love making these as much as we did!

cider beetles

cider beetles

Salt Dough Napkin Holders

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It’s almost Thanksgiving here in the States so that means it’s time to fill your calendars with family, food and crafts :) These adorable Salt Dough Napkin Holders are not only a pretty way to set the table but also super fun to make! My boys are only 3 and 5 and they did almost everything here. I found the salt dough “recipe” at Imperial Sugar. They have a whole section of their site dedicated to holiday crafting and baking with your kids, not to mention a million great recipes. They also have free coloring and activity sheets for your kids to do over the break!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups salt
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • Tin foil covered baking sheet
  • Red, yellow and orange food coloring
  • Leaf shaped cookie cutter

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Directions:

Stir salt into 1/2 cup of water in a medium saucepan. The boys LOVE measuring so this craft is right up their alley! Cook over medium-low heat until hot then remove from heat.PicMonkey Collage1

In a bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup of water with the cornstarch until smooth.

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Add the cornstarch mixture to the salt mixture. Return the saucepan to the stove and cook, stirring constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens into the consistency of stiff mashed potatoes.

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Turn mixture out onto a glass plate and cover with a damp towel.

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Allow to cool, then divide dough into 3 equal parts. Add red food coloring to one, yellow to the second and orange (often a combination of red and yellow) to the third batch.

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PicMonkey Collage4Flatten the dough with a rolling pin or with your hands.  Use the leaf cookie cutter to cut out multiple shapes.

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Bake the leaves on a tin foil lined baking sheet at 250 degrees for 2-3 hours until completely hard.

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Let cool, then attach to cloth napkins with ribbon, twine, or tulle.

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The boys and I had so much fun making these!! They even helped me set the table for our Friendsgiving that we are having this week. It will be a cute little favor to take home too! Hope you all have a fun and safe Thanksgiving!

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This post was sponsored by Imperial Sugar, all thought and opinion are my own.

DIY Ornament Party

Remember last year when I hosted the first DIY Ornament Party? Well, my friends (the coyotes) had so much fun they insisted on round two ;)

paint dripped ornaments

I kept it simple like last year. I made an appetizer and I asked each girl to bring one too. I also made a dessert and had wine. We meet once a month and we usually have a meal but for this, it’s easier to just have snacks since there is crafting to be done!

For the ornaments I got a pack of clear glass bulbs. Then I set out a bunch of different paint colors and some paint brushes and sponges. At each spot I placed a few paper towels, some water and I used a plastic Tupperware lid for our paint palettes.

diy ornament party

Some of us painted on the outside and some on the inside. I did the “squeeze paint into the ornament” method.

diy ornament party

diy ornament party

They all turned out so pretty and obviously we had fun too!

diy ornament party

diy ornament party

After they dried overnight I wrote the year on the outside with sharpie. This is what I ended up with…

paint dripped ornaments

paint dripped ornaments

So, has anyone hosted a make your own ornament party? I am going to need some more ideas as I see this is becoming an annual thing :)

Make a Fabric Flower Pot

fabric flower pot

Back in 2011, one of the very first things I ever “pinned” was this. A fabric covered flower pot, which also led me to one of my favorite bloggers Ashley Ann Photography. I have thought about them for years but the main problem is that I am not a “plant person”. I am crafty and I am a mom yes, but I kill all plants. But I am trying to change that and I thought a cute pot would help.

I used my new Martha Decoupage because it’s waterproof and it’s my new obsession. I want to cover everything in it.

martha stweart waterproof decoupage

I cut pieces of fabric and started wrapping them around the pot. I started with decoupage underneath. The terracotta really soaks it up so I had to add a thick layer. I just folded the fabric under on the bottom of the pot.

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I used 3 big sections of fabric and overlapped them so I didn’t have any folds.

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It dried pretty quickly and I attempted to pot my plant which is a funny story. I bought the plant a week before potting it and I left it in my hot, Houston garage in the middle of summer for a week. My mom came over and let me know I was suffocating it. I didn’t even know that was a thing. Wish me luck keeping it alive, it already has one strike against it.

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She lives in my craft room now, I have already remembered to water her :) Is anyone else not a green thumb at all?

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Also, (this is totally unrelated to flower pots) this month I was featured in an online publication, DIY Lifestyle Magazine! I am super excited! They are letting all of you guys have the issue for free :) If you have an iPad… Check out the September issue of the DIY Lifestyle Magazine. Many DIY projects were contributed by talented bloggers and my article was published in this month’s issue! For your free trial download the magazine here: http://bit.ly/T2rMXd then click on subscribe. Next, click current subscribers and enter in the promo code: septfree1 to get the current issue for free; and do it soon because the coupon is only valid until October 8, 2013. Enjoy!

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