I have a confession to make…. I like gummy bears. I could easily go through an entire bag on my own in one sitting. Lately, I have seen a lot of recipes for gummy bears, including wine gummy bears. Being the curious hostess that goes all out to entertain friends, I thought it might be a fun treat to serve for Girl’s Night In.
Here’s what I learned from the wine gummy recipe experiment, and yes I’m calling it an experiment.
Buy good wine. I bought 2 buck chuck to save money on the trial run. The consensus was they looked pretty but tasted like crap. In hindsight, the recipe only calls for a cup, so buy a bottle you will drink and the gummy bears will taste better too.
Don’t add in the food coloring. It’s gross and does nothing for the flavor. Instead, use a good red wine for the same result.
Make sure you fill the molds to the top. I didn’t do that and had a few with really thin heads when I removed them.
Despite them not being a great success the first time, I wasn’t giving up on the idea. I tried them again using a better wine, instead of the cheap stuff. The results are still pending.
Here’s the recipe for the wine gummy bears:
6 packages of unflavored gelatin
1 cup of wine (or juice)
1/2 cup sugar (omit if using a sugary juice)
In a small stock pot, warm the liquids and whisk in the sugar and gelatin. Stir until they dissolve. Bring mixture to a boil and remove from heat. Using a eye dropper, fill in the gummy bear molds. Place molds in an air tight container or in a baking pan and cover with foil. Chill up to two hours before serving.
When they are ready, gently remove them and serve in fun little vessels. I used square bowls, but you could use crystal or champagne flutes. Another idea is wrap a few into pretty cellophane bags and tie with a bow for favors as friends leave.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of hosting a few girlfriends for a quiet evening in. Every event calls for something sweet, but not heavy. I turned to my favorite sugar glitter cookie recipe discovered on Martha’s website. She calls these Glitter Ball Cookies as they are rolled in glittery sanding sugar. I love them because they have just enough buttery sweetness without being over the top and they can be color coordinated for your event. I opted for gold and white for our evening in. Aren’t they pretty?
The recipe calls for:
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
They are super easy to make too.
Start by pre-heating your oven to 350. Cream the sugar, butter and salt in a stand mixer on medium-high until pale and fluffy; about 3-4 minutes. Mix in the vanilla and then gradually add in the flour at a low speed. Mix until well combined.
Roll cookies out into 3/4 inch balls, then roll balls in small bowls with sanding sugar to coat. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes.
Martha makes these into sandwich cookies with a ginger cream filling. I opted to skip the filling and honestly, they don’t need it.
I have made these for Christmas, and Valentine’s Day. It’s fun to mix and match sanding sugar colors for any holiday or event. There are so many colors available too. I was surprised to find it in a pretty gold.
The only problem with these is that they are so light and gently sweet that you’ll find it hard to just eat one. I had a tray of them on our coffee table and found all of us enjoying one and then another all evening. I think I may have the most though…. oops. There were a few left over for tea the next day….
A few summers ago I became infatuated with chalk paint. It requires no sanding, or priming. Simply prep a piece to be painted by wiping it down and then starting to paint. I was thrilled to be asked to review Dixie Belle Chalk Paint and I knew exactly which project I would tackle.
A while back, my mother gifted me these amazing cake tables. I loved the shape and height of them, but the color left a lot to be desired. They were an odd royal blue and went with nothing in my house. I knew that at some point I would paint them; it has not been a priority though. Now I can say they are done and they look fabulous!
I have tried other chalk paints before on the lower end of the price scale, but had not tried theirs yet. It is a better quality than the chalk paints I have used from Michael’s or JoAnne’s and sells at a higher price, still it’s not as expensive as the brand that shall remain nameless. I like that Dixie Belle comes in two sizes and a wide variety of colors.
For my cake table project, I choose their Buttercream. It’s a warm cream that brightened up the tables beautifully. I expected it to take multiple coats of chalk paint to cover the blue and it did. I painted almost three coats over the blue and let each coat dry before applying the next. I then painted a clear coat over it to give it a little glossy shine.
They sent me stain and a wax, but for this project, I wanted the tables to be less aged and more one-dimensional. I have a few other small projects I intend to work on as well, and will try the wax out then.
I have to admit; I did not follow the instructions, and realized I could have thinned out the paint with a little water. It may have helped it to go on more smoothly. Honestly, I do not think I would have had a better outcome had I watered it a bit.
Tell me what you think? Did these come out beautifully? I think they are my new found favorites.
*Sponsored Post – Dixie Belle Paint Company sent me some paint for the purposes of this review.
If you’re like me keeping clutter at bay is a must. I know I can let it get away from me on occasion, which leads to a large scale clean up on my part from time to time. The old adage ” Everything in it’s place” is for some, better said than done. It’s something I am working on diligently, being married to a neat freak does help. For those of that are clutter challenged, I’ve uncovered a few tips that may be worth making a habit.
Do a daily 5 minute clean up. Patrol “hot”spots through out your house to where stuff tends to gather and make a quick sweep. I usually do this right before Kevin comes home. I also keep a basket at the ready so when he starts picking up he has a place to dump my stuff, allowing me to handle it.
Open mail over the trash can or recycling bin and conduct your bill paying on line. Mail is the chief culprit of clutter for some.
File Newspapers and Magazines once a week. If you haven’t looked at in two weeks, it’s better to toss it. I, on the other hand, have a filing system for my magazines. I used to hold onto all of my design magazines, but found they took up too much extra space in the office. I found an easier way to keep what I wanted without stacks of mags. I created a binder to store my “tear sheets” (I’ll have more on this shortly)
No Wire Hangers! Purge those things monthly. If you have a bunch return them to the dry cleaners. They would be happy to recycle them. I found wooden hangers that make our closet look uniform and well, more stylish.
Clear closets yearly. My rule is if I haven’t worn it in a year chances are I won’t wear it again. Donate your items to charity, unless it’s Lilly, put it on ebay! Another great option is to turn your unwanted clothing into cash by ordering a Thredup bag. You can stuff the bag they send you with what ever you don’t want, send it back and they will send you cash. Awesome concept.
Arrange wardrobe by type. Sort clothes into categories and then color, or use what ever system will work for you.
Fold sheet sets inside one pillow case and store in the linen closet as unit. It will take up less space and let you store several sets together.
Don’t over stuff drawers. Don’t let a drawer get more the 3/4 full. It will become a jammed mess otherwise.
Eliminate unused items in the kitchen. Go through cabinets and drawers, collect never used items for charity.
Make a list before you shop. Take stock of what you need in order to get things under control. More skirt hangers? Another storage box? Then figure out where everything will go.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to curb the clutter too.
Did you know that summer is one of the busiest times for moves? It seems a lot of people are buying and selling homes this time of year. Of course with a new home comes the much anticipated housewarming party and the gifts that go along with it.
Origins of the Housewarming Party
The idea of a housewarming party can be traced back to France with the intention of literally warming the home. It’s often thought that the bringing together of friends and family helps to rid the once empty home of “evil spirits” and provide warmth to for the new homeowners. Guests would bestow gifts on the homeowners, ranging from firewood to burden baskets, thought to keep ones burdens from entering the home.
Fast forward to today and housewarming parties are still quite popular. Gift ideas have been elevated from firewood to more useful items like personalized planter boxes, or items for the bar. I’ve picked out a few of my favorite gift ideas in hopes of inspiring your next housewarming gift purchase.
1. Personalized Ceramic pot sourced from ATGStores
2. Pedestal Hurricane Candle Holders sourced from Pier One
3. Marble Coasters sourced from Williams and Sonoma
4. Kubu Basket sourced from Pier One
5. Slate Cheese Board sourced from Williams and Sonoma
One trick I like to employ is buying a basket or a planter and filling it with useful items, like candles, fancy dish towels, and luxury hand soap similar to what you can pick up at Bath at Body Works. Often times I find unique options at HomeGoods, Marshall’s or TJ Maxx.
All of these are priced under $100.00 and a few are less than $50.00. As with any gift purchase think of it as something you would like the receiver to have, rather than something they want. If it’s something they have asked for it’s a present.