Christmas Tablescape “Up on the Housetop Reindeer Pause …”

The table is set and ready for a Christmas Brunch with Fitz and Floyd “Florentine Christmas White Stag Reindeer” dressed and ready for their important flight on Christmas Eve! Saddles are trimmed with holly and tassels and lie cushioned on the reindeer’s back atop cheery red and green blankets (that look like they were made by Santa’s elves!)  Encircling their necks are pine branch harnesses festooned with pine cones, holly leaves and bows.

reindeer

Antique snack sets are stacked and ready to be filled with finger foods.  Christmas punch or Percolator Spiced Tea will fill the matching cups that set in special compartments on the glass trays.

s&p snack sets

A gauzy runner with beaded edges weaves around a pine garland with tiny twinkle lights that add a touch of Christmas magic.

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 Shimmering gold is repeated in the brass stand holding a carafe … a shiny picture frame, … and a line of dessert spoons.  The colors in the picture “Noel” are a perfect match to the colors of the reindeer and serving pieces, so it became a bit of “whimsy” and a part of the tablescape, propped on a golden easel.  Nearby, a sweet little creamer and sugar bowl are nestled close and adorned with Christmas bows.

.    NOEL … From Church Latin in reference to the birthday of Christ, from natus, past participle of nasci “be born.” 

NOEL

Gold forks and linen napkins edged in lace are lined up for easy buffet-style serving.

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This Fitz and Floyd “Florentine Christmas” Canape Plate will hold Peanut Cluster Blitz-ens!  (; topped with Christmas sprinkles!

dessert plate

Fitz and Floyd “Snowy Woods” stacked serving platter is waiting to be loaded with Cheesy Bacon Pinwheels  shortly after the Christmas guests, arrive.

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Fitz and Floyd “Jolly St Nick” platter awaits Delicious Yuletide Appetizer – Chicken Enchilada Dip

serving platter

Everything is set and ready …

“Ho-Ho-Ho who wouldn’t go …” ??? (:

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From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda

 

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A Woodland Christmas with … White Chocolate and Cranberry Dessert Dip

The buffet is set and ready for Christmas with a woodland scene starring a Santa or two from my collection of Old World Santa’s. This dapper Santa looks like a well-dressed woodsman with his fur rimmed hat, flocked buttoned vest, coat with brocade sleeves and draping chains, and a pack filled with surprises flung over his shoulder.  Snow flocked and copper colored bottle brush trees and gilded holly with berries create a magical Christmas backdrop.

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A birdhouse frosted with snow is tucked among “the holly and the ivy” and a little winter nest is filled with glittered acorns and glass copper pine cones.

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A pedestal cake plate with birdies perched on either side holds woodland treasures cushioned on a bed of moss … a wee lantern with a flickering light looks like it came straight from the set of Amahl and the Night Visitors and a tiny glass jewel box with a bird perched on it’s lid.

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Nestled under the cake plate is a little mercury glassed birdie near clusters of purple grapes tumbling out of an antique sugar bowl.

underneath plate

Another Woodland Santa wears a wooly coat and carries a wooden staff encircled with twigs.  Pine cones and berries wreath his furry cap and white doves perch on a brim-filled pack and on his coat.

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A grove of bottle brush trees, a miniature bird bath filled with millet, mercury glass mushrooms and copper pine cones resting on their sides add storybook whimsy to the woodland setting.

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Another Santa perches on the tea cart waiting for some Christmas refreshment!

tea cart Santa

An ornate silver bowl with brass interior holds a moss-lined nest and little brass bird and is decked “with boughs of holly.”silver bowl.jpg

Click on the following link from the “Cottage Chronicles” to see …

  A Woodland-Christmas Tablescape

woodland-collage

And a Christmas snack fitting for a woodland setting on the buffet … a delicious White Chocolate and Cranberry Dessert Dip formed in the shape of a hedgehog surrounded by a layer of Triple Ginger Cookie Thins and Butter Waffle Cookies from Trader Joe’s.

dessert dip buffet

I made this dessert dip for our Church Life Group Christmas Party this weekend.  The amount I had remaining in the refrigerator was just enough for one baby hedgehog! (:

 

White Chocolate & Cranberry Dessert Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8oz) package softened cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 (3.4 oz) package Cheesecake Instant pudding mix
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Nestle’s white chocolate morsels
  • whole almonds or slivered almonds to cover dip

Instructions:

  1. Beat the softened cream cheese and butter together in a mixer on medium-high speed until well blended. 
  2. Add the pudding mix and powdered sugar.  Beat on low to medium speed until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and beat on high until filling is mixed.
  4. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate morsels; mix well.
  5. Scrape the dessert dip into plastic wrap and gently mold into the shape desired for the hedgehog.
  6. Unwrap, place hedgehog shaped dessert dip on a serving platter.  Begin inserting almonds (at an angle and in staggered rows) into the dip to resemble the “body” of a hedgehog.  
  7. Place a chocolate morsel on the “face” (the dip that is not covered with almonds) of the hedgehog  to resemble the nose and use two mini-morsels for the eyes, or chop regular sized morsels into smaller pieces for the eyes.
  8. Refrigerate to “set” almonds in place, until ready to serve.  (NOTE: for traditional shaped dessert dip, after mixing, wrap dessert into plastic wrap and form into ball.  Refrigerate until ready to serve, then unwrap, place on serving plate and cover surface with slivered almonds.)
  9. Serve with gingersnaps, butter waffle cookies, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, animal crackers …

Baby hedgehog

Here’s a sweet little woodland poem about small gifts gathered from the heart; I think it’s the perfect way to end today’s Woodland themed blog!

Small Gifts

He gathers gifts for his dear friends
Searching among the forest trees
And only from his heart he spends. 

For Squirrel, an acorn split he mends
And with a quiet joyful ease
He gathers gifts for his dear friends. 

To Bear, a blueberry he sends
With tender care that it won’t freeze
And only from his heart he spends. 

For Deer, green leaves he subtly rends
Although found sparse in wintry breeze
He gathers gifts for his dear friends. 

To Bird, he gives a branch that bends
A perch to rest her tired knees
And only from his heart he spends. 

For all the creatures at Earth’s ends
As Christmas joy in time he sees
He gathers gifts for his dear friends
And only from his heart he spends. 

~  by Benjamin Oldham

Wishing you joy during this blessed season and that … only from the heart you’ll spend!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site:  cottagegreenonthelake.com

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Countdown to Christmas! DIY Christmas Advent Calendar

“Haul out the holly; Put up the tree … Fill up the stocking.  I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now.  Santa, dear, we’re in a hurry.”  I am in a hurry!  I planned on showing you how to make this charming and nostalgic Advent Calendar on the first day of December!  However, the countdown to Christmas continues and this Calendar is so easy and fun to make, you’ll be able to enjoy it for the rest of the season and psssst! …. your “kids” of all ages “from 1 to 92” will love playing catch-up when you finish making it and opening several envelopes at once! (;

Santa envelopes

Click on the following link Ella Claire Free Printable Vintage Christmas Advent Calendar for complete instructions and a free printable for making the envelopes and cards.  I love these miniature envelopes and the little pine cone sprig on the card insert.  I’m already planning other “fun” ways to use them!  The printable is free and I chose a creamy 8 1/2″ x 11″ card stock paper from Michael’s to print my envelopes and cards on.

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 This is a sample of what the envelope looks like after I cut out the pattern.  I’ve penciled in dashed lines to show you where to fold your envelopes.  Note: The vertical fold-line on both sides is where the rounded slope of the paper meets the straight cut!  The card stock paper I used was thick and I used the plastic grip of my scissors to firmly crease each fold. (Hey, I just thought of a stocking stuffer I need … a bone folder! (: ) I didn’t want to wait for my envelopes to dry so instead of using glue, I taped my envelopes together with clear Scotch tape.

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After you finish making all your envelopes, write different Christmas activities you would enjoy doing on each of the 25 cards and slip the card into a corresponding envelope. e.g. pop some popcorn and watch a Hallmark Christmas movie … make hot chocolate, top with Cool Whip, decorate with lots of sprinkles and sip with a peppermint straw! … put the kids in their pajamas and go for a drive to look at Christmas lights!   I wrote my activity on the card that wasn’t dated, so it will be easy to use the same calendar next year and I can easily re-arrange my activities. cards and envelopes snowman.png

 I also tucked a little “trinket” in each envelope. Little gifts of candy, Christmas cookie cutters and tiny ornaments for a special tiny Christmas tree for little folks!

Miss Mouse

I nailed my ribbons (needed for hanging the envelopes) to the frame of my “4 the seasons” chalkboard I love this rustic chalkboard with it’s natural cedar frame that a dear friend made for me.  I added some “chalk art” before nailing in my ribbon … with the heading “Countdown to Christmas” and a border of holly leaves.  Ella draped her calendar over a vintage ladder; you can hang your advent calendar across a mirror, on a bulletin board, or on a door in your family room.

chalkboard art

And … all the envelopes “were hung by the ‘chalkboard’ with care.” (;

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I set up our Advent Calendar on a little table in our screened porch where Richard and I sit and have our morning coffee.  Our Texas winter’s are so delightful, we enjoy sitting out here every season, especially since we have an electric reproduction stove with “pretend” flames for the coldest days! (;

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A little “Holly Jolly” cuteness to start the day!

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 Daisy, our little grand dog … waiting for Santa!

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You know one of my favorite decorating “tricks” is using every day objects in unusual ways.  I filled this wrought iron planter with Christmas books and a basket of poinsettias … handy, and “at the ready” beside our chairs for reading!  I think it’s a perfect book cache for our outdoor room!

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“Have a holly, jolly Christmas; It’s the best time of the year …” 

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“I don’t know if there’ll be snow but have a cup of cheer …”

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Sweet little envelopes all pinned up on a ribbon clothesline … Countdown to Christmas!

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Get your paper and printer ready, make yourself a large “cup of cheer,” put your feet up and have fun making this Advent Calendar … 

“For we need a little Christmas

Right this very minute,

Candles in the window,

Carols at the spinet.

Yes, we need a little Christmas

Right this very minute.

It hasn’t snowed a single flurry,

But Santa, dear, we’re in a hurry;

So climb down the chimney;

Put up the brightest string of lights I’ve ever seen.

Slice up the fruitcake;

It’s time we hung some tinsel on that evergreen bough …”

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As this Christmas season of busy-ness begins, my desire is to have my heart “tuned” to focus on Jesus, the reason for the season!  These words from our Choir Christmas Cantata written by Sue Smith haunt me.  “There was no room in the inn.  No room for Heaven’s amazing gift of love.  No room for the long-awaited Messiah.  No room for our only hope of salvation.  No room.  Time and again these two simple words stir our hearts, and we vow to make sure it never happens with us.” 

These words are a solemn reminder; my prayer this Christmas is … Lord, whatever I do or don’t get done during this Christmas season, let my focus be on YOU!  I want Him to know … I have a room reserved just for Him; there IS room in the Inn! ❤

“O come let us adore Him … Christ the Lord!

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“Come, let us bow down in worship. let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker …”  Psalm 95:6

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda 

Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com

FOLLOW ME on Pinterest!  Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake.com

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The Last of Autumn … “Something Told the Wild Geese”

As I was taking a picture of this glorious Ash Tree, I recognized a sound above me, like the whoosh of a wave approaching the shore.  I hurriedly snapped the picture and was thrilled when I saw I had “captured” these pelicans in flight!  As I stood there and marveled, phone still poised and ready, 3 more “squadron” of pelicans flew over!  I felt like I had just been presented with a gift … as indeed, I had! (:  NOTE: A group of pelicans have many collective names … BRIEF, POD, POUCH, SCOOP, and SQUADRON … are all names for a group of pelicans.

 ash tree geese

As I stood there reflecting on what I had just seen, I thought of this poem …

Something Told the Wild Geese

Something told the wild geese

It was time to go,

Though the fields lay golden

Something whispered, “snow.”

Leaves were green and stirring,

Berries, luster-glossed,

But beneath warm feathers

Something cautioned, “frost.”

All the sagging orchards

Steamed with amber spice,

But each wild breast stiffened

At remembered ice.

Something told the wild geese

It was time to fly,

Summer sun was on their wings,

Winter in their cry.  

 ~by Rachel Fields

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Here are the pictures I promised I would share with you of Autumn in November at Cottage Green on the Lake.

Golden leaves on this young Eastern Redbud and more golden leaves on our Ash tree down by the lake contrast beautifully with the red bark and the red roof on our boat dock and stand out brilliantly against a backdrop of green.

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The red leaves of the Sweet Gum Tree and the golden yellow leaves of our Ash trees blaze against the blue of the lake and autumn sky.  Fallen leaves cover the lawn in gold!

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Chartreuse Sweet potato vine rambles over a treasured hand pump that Richard’s mother used in “days gone by.” ❤

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Flowering Kale and Cabbage and sweet-faced pansies line the the paved sideyard.

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Azaleas, Coleus, and Impatiens in varying shades of vivid pink.

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 “It was November … the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate winds songs in the pines.”  ~ L.M. Montgomery

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” … let the whole earth be filled with His glory.”  Psalms 72:19

Today is the last day of November and Autumn.  I hope you enjoyed seeing “The Last of Autumn” on Cedar Creek Lake!  Tomorrow is the beginning of Winter and December and I will be showing you how to make a fun and nostalgic Advent Calendar to begin the countdown to … C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S!  (:

  From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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This week I’m joining:

Lisa from Feathering My Empty Nest

Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com

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Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake.com

 

Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece and Autumn in November

cropped-img_0452-e1510254818805.pngby Trenda

Today was a cool day with gray skies that made the autumn colors so vivid, they almost glowed!  I went outside to “gather” some cuttings from our yard to make our Thanksgiving Centerpiece and afterwards, I walked around just taking pictures of beautiful Autumn in November at Cottage Green on the Lake! (:  And those yard “gatherings” I clipped and snipped from our yard made a lovely and grand arrangement on the dining room table that only took minutes to make; my only cost was the fresh Eucalyptus I bought from Trader Joe’s, for $2.99!

Thanksgiving Cpiece cover

If you want to keep this arrangement on your table throughout the Thanksgiving season you will need to use soaked floral foam (protect your table by placing the floral foam in a container!) or use floral vials to insert your live clippings into.  Both the floral foam and the arrangement vials are available at your florist or any craft store on the flowering arranging aisle.  However, this arrangement is so easy to assemble, you can do it the day of your Feast! 

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Much like setting out and marking your serving dishes with what you will be serving in them … set the preliminary stages of your arrangement.  I placed my table runner down the length of  the table, set my candlesticks where I wanted them, then interspersed my pheasant and pumpkins down the length of the runner so I could easily come back and tuck in my Loropetalum and Eucalyptus, later.  fresh eucalyptus.jpg

Any time you want to make an arrangement like this, just clip your branches the morning of “your event” and keep any live branches or flowers in a vase of water until you are ready to make your arrangement.  Then dry the ends of your branches before placing and tucking them along your table runner and light your candles!

Fresh Eucalyptus in a vase filled with water awaiting placement on table runner. closeup eucalyptus.png

Here is a great picture showing how I mixed the “faux” garland with autumn leaves with the live burgundy leaves and branches of the Loropetalum and the fresh Eucalyptus.  Even as I look at this picture I have a hard time distinguishing what leaves are real and fake!  I love making arrangements and since we serve our Thanksgiving meal buffet style, we only need enough room on our table for the plates and glasses, our Fitz and Floyd Pilgrim salt & pepper shakers, a basket full of yeast rolls, and a beautiful Golden Carnival Glass compote filled with ruby colored Apple-Cranberry Salad

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A brass pheasant matches the brass candlesticks I used in my arrangement and looks at home among the autumn foliage.

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Tiger striped miniature pumpkins are nestled among the burgundy foliage of the Loropetalum branches.

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Carved wooden pilgrims bring gifts of vegetables to the gathering.

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 Nestled among the real and “faux” flora and fauna, this miniature pumpkin looks so perfect, it almost looks unreal and reminds me again what a Master Artist and Creator the Lord is!

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Candles glow in the lengthening shadows and “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart.” ❤

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AND those pictures I told you I took after gathering my clippings for my Thanksgiving centerpiece … I’ll share with you in my next blog, but here’s one I particularly love, this sweet moss-covered cherub pondering in our birdbath.  

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

 

Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com

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Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake.com

This week I’m joining:

Carol from The Red Painted Cottage 

Courtney with Feathered Nest Friday

 

 

 

 

 

The Cottage Series Part 2 … Ready & Waiting for Thanksgiving

by Trenda

Cottage Series 2

In the “The Cottage Series” Part 1 I said I have a passion for cubby’s and shelves and just hearing the word “cupboard” my mind conjures up delightful visions of stacked plates, old creamers in the shape of cows or thatched roof cottages, and folded piles of embroidered tablecloths, cup towels, and napkins edged in carefully stitched crochet!  Today, for “The Cottage Series” Part 2 a peek inside the crooks and crannies of our buffet.pottery

Antique linens hand-stitched with WASH DAY, little chicks, roosters, flowers, cottages, and the dearest of all, crocheted in red and embroidered by my grandmother with my mother’s name … “Cherie.” ❤ 

cup towels

  Below, in all shades of brown, a collection of Hull, Marcrest, and Pfaltsgraff pottery … sweet little bean pots, soup crocks, chili bowls, plates, sugar bowls, creamers, and pitchers. 

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Another buffet drawer filled with place cards and stacks of carefully ironed and starched Battenberg lace napkins, napkins edged in carefully stitched crochet with little quilted flowers, and napkins with cross-stitched flowers. 

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And a cherished set of napkins embroidered for our family by my mother. ❤

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Below are folded table runners and tablecloths “4 the seasons.” (;

tablecloths.png And on the shelf below, antique amber glassware and serving pieces that I use with our Johnson Brothers “The Friendly Village” dishes made in England with their scalloped edges and border of leaves and our Fitz and Floyd Pilgrim salt & pepper shakers … all standing in a row and waiting to be placed on the Thanksgiving table. 

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Waiting for Thanksgiving!

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Mantel dressed with gifts of the season …

Beau day.pngA over-sized basket on the coffee table holds a mercury glass “Cinderella” pumpkin with twinkly lights, a Tiger-striped miniature pumpkin and glittery acorns.

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Henry David Thoreau said, “I am grateful for what I am and have.  My thanksgiving is perpetual. 

My thanksgiving is perpetual.  Hope you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving sharing time with the people you love … grateful and giving thanks.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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I’m joining Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate

Halloween Tablescape “Trick or Treat … Give Me Something Good to Eat!”

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Just in time for Halloween night S’more Ghost Peeps and Candy Coated Pretzel Wands are easy to make.  These festive looking treats are perfect to grab “on the go” or to serve after your Halloween dinner and they are “something good to eat!”

S’more Peeps – The best part of these adorable treats … there is  “no baking” required!  Just “gather” ingredients and put them into treat bags!

 

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • graham crackers
  • fun size Hershey bars
  • Ghost Peeps
  • favor bags (I used Wilton’s small, clear, favor bags from the baking aisle in Michael’s)
  • Halloween ribbon
  • package of blank gift tags or tag punch (I used my Recollection tag punch)
  • Halloween stamps
  • ink pad
  • standard hole punch
  • Halloween plastic rings (I bought mine from the Dollar Tree)

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Instructions:

  1.  Open gift tags or punch out gift tags, using a die-cut punch  
  2. Stamp each tag with a Halloween stamp of your choice (since I was adding spider rings to my treat bags, I stamped each tag with a picture of a spider
  3. Using a standard hole punch, punch a hole in the top of each tag
  4. Break a graham cracker sheet into 2 squares and slide both squares into a clear favor bag
  5. Place 2 fun size Hershey bars on top of the graham crackers
  6. Top Hershey bars with one Ghost Peep
  7. Tie top of bag with Halloween ribbon in a simple knot
  8. Slide tag onto ribbon and knot again
  9. Slip Halloween ring over knot

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Candy Coated Pretzel Wands

Ingredients & Supplies

  • 1 bag of Salted Pretzel rods
  • Wilton vanilla baking chips (I used bright green and purple)
  • Halloween sprinkles and nonpareils 
  • large treat bags, large enough to cover entire pretzel (I used Wilton’s large favor bags located on the baking aisle in Michael’s)
  • Halloween ribbon
  • black tulle 
  • Halloween plastic rings (I bought mine at Dollar Tree)

Directions: 

  1. Melt baking chips according to directions on package (I used a tall mug to melt my baking chips)
  2. After baking chips are melted, insert pretzel rod into candy and swirl to cover. 
  3. Place candy covered pretzel on wax paper placed on a cookie sheet 
  4. Repeat until pretzels are all covered with candy
  5. If you are only coating your pretzels with one coat of candy and one color, sprinkle the warm candy coating with decorations and nonpareils.  Do not sprinkle decorations on the pretzels that you want to coat with a 2nd layer of melted candy. (See picture below)
  6. Place cookie sheet in freezer to speed up hardening of candy
  7. If you would like a 2nd color of candy coating on your pretzel, repeat process of melting baking chips and dipping pretzel, after the first coating has hardened (10-15 minutes in freezer)
  8. Sprinkle 2nd coating of candy with sprinkles or nonpareils
  9. Cool until candy hardens.  NOTE: I placed my cookie sheet filled with pretzels into the freezer to harden.  If cooling in freezer, do not place pretzels in favor bags until coating has reached room temperature to prevent condensation from forming in favor bag!
  10. Slide candy coated pretzel into favor bag and close the opening by tying with a 7-8″ strip of black tulle and Halloween ribbon.
  11. Place Halloween ring over the knot in the ribbon

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 Ready to eat!

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It’s Halloween!!!  Time to …

“Unfurl the tablecloth, set out the plates!

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Put out the punch bowl, if tarnished, that’s great!”  It’s Halloween Night! by Trenda

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Glitzy Spider Napkin Rings add a little bling to black and white napkins covered with bats.

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Little Ghost S’mores don’t scare anyone, but they look so cute standing upright on a antique relish tray, next to a twinkly gazing ball.  Candied Pretzel Wands are tucked into a copper canister with Boo! tags, spiders, and bats …”oh my!”

gazing ball

Dangling from spooky branches painted black our Treat Bags are filled and ready to be “picked” by our kids and grand kids, coming for Halloween dinner.

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Hope you have a spook-tacular Halloween with plenty of “sweets” and even sweeter moments to look back on.  

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

scripture Halloween

 

Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com

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Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake.com

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This week I’m joining Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate