Tag Archives: gift ideas

white chocolate party mix

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Today the small squeaky kid and I made a start on some Christmas goodies. The dad and the tall kid are away at a day long hockey tournament, so squeaky and I spent our morning at hockey, then out for breakfast at a local diner, and then picked up supplies to make various and assorted goodies to give away for Christmas. Holiday parties are starting, and I like to give something along with the bottle of wine we always take along for the host or hostess.

I don’t really do holiday baking. My idea of Christmas baking is to invite the German-Swiss neighbours for Christmas dinner every year because they bring along a big platter of home-baked German goodies. Hey, it works for me. We’ve been doing it for almost 15 years now. Instead of baking, I have a few treats that I make every Christmas; assorted fudge, irish cream liqueur, dark chocolate bark, and this white chocolate party mix. My co-worker calls it White Trash, but I’m going to go with Santa Mix.

This is easy to make and you really can’t go wrong with some substitutions here and there. You can use a combination of rice chex cereal, corn cereal squares, even chopped up rice crispy squares, as long as you keep the amounts about the same in the end. Some people add in mini-M&M’s, but if you do, I’d add them in after the mix has cooled. I tried it once and the candy coating ran all over the rest of the mix as soon as the melted white chocolate was poured on top of them. It wasn’t pretty.

Oh, and you need a really big bowl or pot to mix this in. You could make a smaller batch, but you’ll eat it right away and need to make a second batch anyway.

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White Chocolate Party Mix (Santa Mix)

  • 1 pound of white chocolate
  • 6 cups rice chex cereal (or combination of cereals of your choice)
  • 3 cups toasted O’s cereal (Cheerios)
  • 2 cups thin pretzel sticks
  • 2 cups peanuts
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Combine cereal, nuts, pretzels and cranberries in a large bowl and stir to mix well.

Slowly melt the white chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water.

Pour melted chocolate over the dry mixture and stir until everything is well coated.

Spread the mixture onto wax paper and allow to cool. Gently break apart into small pieces. Store in air-tight containers or bags and refrigerate to keep fresh (or store it out in the cold garage or woodshed, like we do – just out of the reach of the dogs).

Linked to Simple Lives Thursday, Frugally Sustainable

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traditional housewarming gifts, revisited

I wrote about traditional housewarming gifts a while ago when we were visiting the city cousins in their new home and I wanted to take a housewarming gift along with us. I want to do something similar for my mom, who moved into a new home recently (ok, it was two and a half months ago, but better late than never, right?). She has unpacked, decorated, made curtains, dug a fish pond and flower gardens, screened in the back porch, carpeted the basement steps.. so yeah, I’m just a little bit behind. But I think she likes me, so she’ll probably forgive that.

Just for a refresher, here is the list of traditional gifts again and their meanings:

Bread May those in your home never go hungry.
Broom May your house always be clean and free of evil spirits.
Candles May you always have light through the darkest times.
Coins May you receive luck and good fortune.
Honey May you always enjoy the sweetness of life.
Knives May your home always be protected from intruders.
Olive Oil May you be blessed with health and well-being.
Plants May your home always have life.
Rice May the love in your home multiply. (fertility)
Salt May there always be flavor and spice in your life.
Wine May you always have joy and never go thirsty.
Wood May your home have stability, harmony, and peace.

The last time I included bread, salt, honey, candles and wine in my gift basket. My mom is a teetotaler who used to run a tea room, so I thought I’d give her something a little different. I made some cheddar chive beer bread to include in the basket for the bread portion (except this time I replaced the chives with fresh dill from my pots out on the deck). Instead of traditional salt, I made up some sore muscle soak bath salts to include – she and her partner are always on the go, working hard, so I know someone will be able to use them. I included the lavender beeswax candle in a tea-cup that I made on the weekend, because she loves anything to do with tea and tea cups, and it takes care of the candle portion nicely, and finally, I made some lemon-olive oil gardener’s hand scrub – once again, because I know it’ll get used, and it covers the olive oil portion.

I found the old Ball jars with the glass tops at a yard sale recently and knew they’d be nice for gift packaging. The basket (ahem) actually belongs to my mom, so we’ll just say that I’m returning it, though I’m not sure she even knew that I had it to begin with. There’s no hard and fast rules to the whole thing, you can get a little creative and make up a nice gift basket. I hope she likes it. Shh.. don’t tell her; I’m going to give it to her this morning when she comes to put the monsters kids on the bus.

Linked to Frugally Sustainable, A Pinch of Joy, Sorta Crunchy, Knick of Time Interiors

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homemade lavender beeswax candle

I finally got around to making a beeswax candle. I had a big block of beeswax just sitting around, waiting for me to do something with it. I have gifting plans for this one, but the rest of the gift awaits me getting off of my lazy behind and finishing it. Baby steps.

Beeswax candles smell great, burn with less soot and smoke and have no chemicals. Turns out they are easy to make too, but next time I will enlist the dad and his giant Paul Bunyan paws to grate the huge 5 lb block of beeswax. I got a cramp in my hand.

DIY Beeswax Candle

Materials:

  • beeswax (enough to fill your container)
  • box grater
  • glass measuring bowl
  • essential oil of your choice
  • braided cotton wick and wick clip
  • container of choice to hold the candle

Directions:

Grate the beeswax and melt in 1 or 2 minute increments in the microwave, stopping and stirring occasionally.

While that is happening, pull a length of wick through the wick clip, crimp the clip to hold the wick in place, dip it in a little melted wax and secure it to the bottom of your container to hold it in place. I wrapped the other end of the wick around a pen and centred the pen on top of my tea cup to keep the wick straight as I poured the hot wax.

Once the wax has melted, add in an essential oil of your choice (supposedly 10-12 drops per every 5.5 ounces of wax). I used lavender oil for mine. Then carefully pour it into your container and let it cool. Clip the wick, leaving yourself about 1/2″ to work with.

You can also just add the grated beeswax to your container and melt it in the oven. See the tutorial for that method here.

Linked to Frugally Sustainable, A Pinch of Joy, Sorta Crunchy, Knick of Time Interiors, Homestead Simple, GNOWFGLINS

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