- This one is a diorama of The Holy Family, the shepherds and the Wise men all over it.
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I love looking for new nativity scenes during the Christmas Season. I have a small collection of nativities, including a special on from Ecuador and a handmade one from Maddy which are treasures, that I put out each year. So, this blog post is one of my favorites to write during the Christmas season because I get to spend time "researching" what nativities are out there that I havent seen. (By researching, I may mean shopping for my own collection.)
I am going to start this year's collection of my favorite finds with one figurine that is not a nativity, but it does remind me of the Savior and I love it so much that I had to add it to today's collection. It is called "White Woodland Santa with Baby Jesus." It is so sweet. When my children were little, I would tell them that Santa would never have begun bringing gifts if it hadn't been for Jesus' birth. Now that they are all adults and have outgrown Santa, they believe in Jesus more than ever so, this figure really spoke to me when I saw it and I want it! It is a Jim Shore piece.
I am a big fan of Jim Shore's work, so it is no wonder that I included a couple more of his pieces. Here are two nativity ornaments that I love.
I also enjoy nativities that keep you gazing at them because they are so intricate or detailed.
I always like to make sure that there is a nativity set that my grandchildren are allowed to touch and play with. What better way for them to learn the true story of the birth of Jesus Christ? This year, I am looking at this set by Melissa and Doug! Melissa and Doug products are always good quality. This set looks sturdy and durable. There is a simple to assemble stable and 11 wooden figures. I know my grandchildren would love it!
. This year I am again participating in #LIghtTheWorld. It is a way of "transforming Christmas into a season of service." If you participate, you can receive a text each day reminding you of small acts of service that you can perform each day until Christmas. Today I just finished Day 4. I have been able to do each act of service so far and my heart is full of love for my Savior and for my fellowman today! If you would like to take part,just click this link and find out what you can do and how easy it is. It will change you and you will feel joy!
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This is the first year in many years that we haven't participated in a craft show and sold our beloved Hot Cocoa Bombs. So many of our past customers have contacted me wanting to know where we are! Many are discovering our Hot Cocoa Bomb Idea booklet on Etsy. So, I thought today I would re-post our original tutorial that shows how to make the best and most entertaining Hot Cocoa ever!
The time has come! I am going to introduce the method we use to make our Hot Cocoa Bombs with all of their chocolaty goodness and hidden surprises! Believe me, it took a lot of trial and error to get them to come out the way we imagined them. Today, I am going to start you out with the basic Chocolate Marshmallow Bomb. After that, the flavors and decorating ideas are endless.
To begin, here are the tools and supplies I use:
Wilton Brownie Pop Molds (Easy to order through Amazon!) Here is the kind I am using, and here is a Halloween one! You can sometimes find Christmas ones as well!
One double boiler
One soup sized spoon
One rubber spatula
1 bag of chocolate chips per tray (I use whatever is on sale.)
Candy Melts and sprinkles to decorate
Begin by using a double boiler to melt the chocolate chips over hot water. That is the best way to melt the chocolate to a creamy consistency and to avoid burning it. (Don't let the water run out in the bottom, or you will burn it.) If you temper the chocolate correctly, it will make the chocolate shine when it cools.
* I want to note here that you may be tempted to try to melt flavored chips to make the shell of your bombs. My experience has been that the cinnamon, mint and other flavored chips do not harden as well to make a firm shell. If you want to use those flavors in your cocoa, you may use them inside the shell as I will show you in future tutorials.
So, melt the chips until they are smooth and silky chocolate!
After the Chocolate has melted nicely, use the soup spoon filled as pictured below to put chocolate into the cavity of the mold.
Next, I put them in the freezer to harden for at least 20 min. (Usually I get busy and forget to get them out to finish hours later, but either way works). Anyway, after they are hardened, take them out of the freezer. The next step is very important if you do not want to break most of your shells. After a lot of broken bombs and frustration, we discovered this method. Pop the shells out of the mold like this: FIRST-stretch the mold a little bit around the shells. SECOND-flip the mold over and push them out from the bottom onto a towel or waxed paper. THIRD-pop them back into the molds. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FILL THEM BEFORE POPPING THEM OUT THE FIRST TIME. THIS WILL ONLY FRUSTRATE YOUR LIFE!
Oops, this one has a little hole. That is okay, just patch it up with a quick dot of chocolate from the chocolate that is left over for the tops. If you aren't quick the hot chocolate will just melt the hole bigger, so it takes a quick touch and pop it back into the mold.
Now, it is time to fill them! One of the best things about these Hot Cocoa Bombs is that the marshmallows pop up from them when it is time to melt and drink your bomb! So, the first thing we do is pack them with 5 or 6 mini marshmallows. Then, we put about a tsp and a half of Nesquick in with the marshmallows. We have used the store brand of chocolate milk mix, but we have discovered that the Nestle brand, Nesquik, really does dissolve more smoothly.
Finally, we top them with a last layer of melted chocolate!
Back in the freezer they go for another 20 minutes or more. Then you pop them out and the decorating begins!
I kept these simple using a little white topping. The candy melts harden quickly on the frozen cocoa bombs.
Time to taste them! Make some nice, hot milk. I love real cocoa made in milk rather than the water kind. Don't you? Fill your mug about 3/4 full of the hot milk, drop in your Hot Cocoa Bomb, and stir! You will love it!
Up pops the mallows! Yum!
* Since we first came up with the Hot Cocoa Bomb Idea, we have developed many flavors and ideas as we have progressed! We have a Hot Cocoa Bomb Recipe and Idea book available for purchase here!
If you would like to watch a video that shows how to make Hot Cocoa Bombs, go here to our YouTube Channel and watch! Be sure to follow us there and here as well. Thanks!
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Recently I wrote about how much I love the buffalo plaid trend and I promised to write more about it. Now that Thanksgiving is over, it is time to bring out the Christmas decor! I've been having so much fun finding buffalo plaid items to add to my decoration collection. Some of my things have seen better days and it is nice to replace a few of them. Buffalo plaid seems like a classic Christmas motif that will never really go out of style. I don't know why I have just now latched onto it, but I can't get enough.
One place that I like to shop online is on Etsy. So many artists who sell on Etsy have such cool ideas that you just can't find in the store. This makes my decorations a little unique and not the run of the mill that you find everywhere. Today, I thought I would share some of my favorite finds!
Printables: The great thing about printable files is that there is no shipping charge! You just download and print and use the file the way you would like to.
Table Runners: Instead of or on top of a tablecloth?
Ornaments, tree skirt and decor: To die for!
Those are just a few of the things that caught my eye on Etsy. If you find something adorable that I missed, please let me know!
You can find these trees on Etsy, too!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to ten and counting! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!
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