DIY Dot Wrapping Paper

I like using kraft paper as wrapping paper. I find it extremely versatile, and I just can’t resist how it looks with some twine wrapped around it. So simple, yet so pretty.

While I was on my kraft paper kick, I asked Dan to buy me a new roll on Amazon. Well, Dan bought a roll so big and so heavy that I can’t even move the roll myself. With so much paper, I knew I needed to think of new ways to use it.

I was going to wrap my mom’s birthday gift, so I decided to try my hand at painting the kraft paper, and using that to wrap the gift. I kept it easy for my first try, using only a dollop of craft paint and a pencil in this DIY.

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Dip the pencil’s eraser into the paint, not getting to much on it. Press the eraser onto the paper. You should be able to get 2-3 dots before you need to go back for more paint.

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Let the paint completely dry, then go ahead and wrap up your gift. I used twine to finish off the gift, and attached a printed envelope (found here) to the top.

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I’m really happy with the way the paper turned out. The only downside is that you’ll have to factor drying time in when you want to wrap a gift. I’d suggested making a bunch of painted wrapping paper ahead of time, and then just using it when you need it, to save on time.

I’m hoping to try out more ways to punch up kraft paper. I’ll be sure to share when I do.

 

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Peanut Chicken with Udon Noodles

I’m always on the look out for a quick, easy dinner. The less prep/hands on time, the better. Last weekend, we had a gorgeous Sunday with highs in the 60s. In November. No one felt like cooking.

I knew we had some udon noodles in the pantry, so I thought making some sort of Asian dish would be easy. We always have frozen chicken around, and I thought we had some peanut butter in the pantry. Peanut chicken it was!

I found this recipe online, and made a couple changes. I substituted plain yogurt for coconut milk and white balsamic vinegar for red wine vinegar. The recipe didn’t say if the chicken should be thawed or if it would work with frozen chicken, so I just added the chicken while it was still frozen and put the sauce on top.

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I cooked on high for 4 hours, shredded the chicken, and added it back to the pot while I cooked the noodles as the package directed (with a bit of sesame oil). We didn’t have any cilantro, so we topped the dish with green onion instead.

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The total time on this couldn’t have been more than 20 minutes or so, not counting all the time in the crockpot. And it was delicious.

There are two things that make me really like this dish. First of all, every ingredient in the recipe is a staple I have on hand (minus the noodles). That’s the second thing – the peanut chicken can be served with a ton of options like rice, any kind of noodle (even spaghetti in a pinch), or even as the filling for lettuce wraps because of its thickness.

Given the ease of the dish, I know we’ll be making this recipe often. We definitely found a new meal to add into the rotation.

Friendsgiving Pumpkin Cheesecake

Last weekend, my dear friend, Lauren, hosted a Friendsgiving feast. She and her husband made two (!) kinds of turkey, and we all brought sides/dessert to round out the meal.

I made two desserts: the apple cider donut holes that I’d previously made for the bonfire and turned out to be delicious, and a new recipe for me – pumpkin cheesecake.

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I used this recipe as my guide. It was a time intensive dessert to make, but I think the payoff was absolutely worth it.

One serious note of caution – do not turn this cheesecake while it is baking. Usually, I bake an item halfway, turn the item in the oven, then keep on baking. I wasn’t going to turn the cheesecake, but then at the last minute, I decided I would turn it to make sure it cooked evenly on both sides. The second I touched it, the middle part of the cheesecake sloshed around and boom – the perfectly smooth top was ruined! Ugh!

I hoped it would even back out in the final 30 minutes of baking, but no. It came out of the oven completely cracked on top. I didn’t take a photo. I was too distraught.

Dan came up with the idea to add whipped cream to the top to cover the ugliness. Sounded like a plan to me. We whipped up a cup of heavy whipping cream, adding a couple teaspoons of sugar, for sweetness. The morning of Friendsgiving, we topped the cheesecake with the whipped cream and let it set in the fridge for a bit. It worked, mostly. You could still see what happened once we cut up the cake to serve it. See that dip where the whipped cream goes down into the cake on the right? That’s the cake-turning crack.

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Still, the cheesecake turned out to be so very tasty, imperfections aside. There were a lot of steps to it – first making the crust, then letting it cool, then making the batter, then baking it, then letting it cool, then refrigerating it overnight, but the active time isn’t much more than with any other cake. I would absolutely make this cake again. It’s perfect for any fall event and is sure to get a great reaction.

Month of Thanks

Since November is the unofficial start of the holiday season (don’t worry, my tree isn’t up or lit until the day after Thanksgiving), I always find myself thinking about everything I have in my life, and being so grateful for it. Over the past few years, I’ve found different ways to bring thankfulness to top of mind throughout November. I thought I’d compile those projects for you, so you can have your own Month of Thanks.

Back in 2011, I hosted our first Friendsgiving. I placed small paper circles on everyone’s plate, and asked that each person write down one thing for which they are thankful. I took those circle and glued them to sticks that I had placed in a vase. I called this the Thankfulness Tree.

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In 2012, instead of thinking about something I’m thankful for, Dan and I took the month to show our thankfulness for one another. I made Thankful Sticks, which contained one thoughtful thing to do for your spouse each day of November.

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Last year, I made Thankful Books. They contained 30 pages, and each night, Dan and I wrote down one thing we were thankful for that day.

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Are you doing anything with your spouse or family to have November be a Month of Thanks? Hit the comments to share.

Onesie Cupcakes

Aren’t these cupcakes cute?

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And even cuter – they’re made from onesies!

I wanted to get a friend (who was expecting a boy) a little gift, but didn’t want to just put onesies and socks in a gift bag and call it a day. I saw this blog post and thought creating teeny cupcakes from the clothes would be a fun way to wrap the gift.

All you do is fold and roll the onesie around a sock, making sure to leave a bit of the toe sticking out to be the cupcake’s cherry on top. I deviated a bit from the blog’s directions by using colored twine to hold the cupcake together and placing each cupcake in a wrapper.

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The hardest part was finding a cute cupcake box! I found this one at Homegoods, which came in a pack of two. I saw some at Michael’s too, but only in plain white.

The onesie and socks packs I bought came with more onesies and socks than I needed, so I just folded them and placed them on the bottom of the box, putting the cupcakes on top.

I love taking gifts up a notch, and the cupcake presentation certainly did the trick.