Cranberry Eggnog Cupcakes with Spiced White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Warm, cozy cranberry eggnog flavored cupcakes are topped with a light and fluffy spiced white chocolate buttercream. With a little bit of magic in every bite– these Cranberry Eggnog Cupcakes with Spiced White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting are a perfect way to savor the season of Christmas with every bite.

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Peppermint Sugar Cookie Bark

Friday the sons and I made this bark that was so freakin’ delicious I almost ate my arm off because it was attached to the bark. Shh! It happens.

With delicious sugar cookie dough center sandwiched between two delectable layers of white chocolate and sprinkled with crushed candy cane bits, it just screams ‘holiday’. It’s perfectly peppermint-y and, in my opinion, pairs best with a big ol mug full of hot chocolate.

 Peppermint Sugar Cookie Bark

Despite my childhood experiences, as I grew up I was disappointed to learn that Peppermint candies do not in fact just grown on trees. Stupid deceptive childhood board games! So until some miraculous day in the future when science can finally crack the genetic code of the candy cane tree this peppermint ‘bark’ will just have to suffice. I think we’ll survive. 😉

Peppermint Sugar Cookie Bark

Peppermin Sugar Cookie Bark

recipe adapted from Crazy For Crust

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 cup all purpose flour
16 ounces white candy melts or baking chocolate
4 regular size candy canes, or 12-14 mini candy canes

Directions

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in the vanilla and salt until incorporated. Slowly add in teh flour, a little at a time, mixing until fully incorporated. Your dough will be pretty thick (that’s OK!), but should be smooth and all the ingredients evenly combined.
2. Cover a cutting board with a large piece of wax paper. Place the dough in the center, press it down flat, and cover it with another piece of wax paper. Roll the dough into a rectangle (about 8’x10′) between the two pieces of wax paper. I used an acrylic glass to roll mine out, but use a rolling pin if you want to be all fancy and pretty about it. Chill the rolled dough for at least 10 minutes.
3. Place your candy canes in a quart-sized ziploc bag. You can either roll them with a rolling pin to crush, or you could go with a few well-aimed whacks of a mallet. The sons love any excuse to whack something with the meat mallet. Tiny hole will appear in the bag though, so perform this operation with care, or at least on a cutting board to minimize mess.
4. Line a cookie sheet with more wax paper. Melt your white chocolate according to the package directions. Pour about half of the melted chocolate out onto the wax paper and use a spatula to spread it into a rectangle a little bit bigger than the dough.
5. Remove one piece of wax paper from the dough, place that side down onto the spread chocolate, and then remove the top piece of wax paper. Pour the remaining melted chocolate over top of the dough and use a spatula to spread it to cover the dough, making sure to meet the edges of the bottom layer to seal the dough inside. Sprinkle the top with the crushed candy canes.
6. Chill until set, about least 30 minutes, or if you’re more patient than we were, leave it on the counter top to set itself. Because the cookie dough is so moist and won’t set firm, breaking this bark apart will most likely result in the chocolate separating from the dough. We can’t have that, so it’s best if you gently cut it into wedge shaped pieces. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, but serve them at room temperature.

Christmas ‘Grinch’ Punch

This is the perfect holiday drink to get your family in the mood to CELEBRATE! My kids love it, and it’s a hit at every holiday party. I typically make this several times during the holiday season, and it’s a must on Christmas movie night. I love the little cherry ‘hearts’, but my kids hate them and convinced me to leave them out this year. Settle in to watch your favorite Christmas movie with a delicious glass of this. Pop in a movie, check out Abc Family’s 25 Days of Christmas, or check out some Christmas lights; get festive and get your ‘Grinch’ on!

Christmas ‘Grinch’ Punch

4 Sons 'R' Us: Christmas 'Grinch' Punch

1 carton frozen green punch base
several scoops lime sherbet, to taste
lemon-lime soda or ginger ale
maraschino cherries (optional)
1/3 cup sugar
green food coloring

Directions

1. Mix thawed punch mix, sherbet, and soda together. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl add sugar. Add a few drops of green food coloring, stirring until evenly combined.
3. When your sugar is satisfyingly green, dip the rim of a glass into water. You just want to get the rim wet. Dip the rim of the cup immediately into the bowl of sugar. Remove and set sugar-coated cup right side up. Repeat for the number of cups you’re using.
4. Add desired amount of punch to each cup, and if using add 1 maraschino cherry to each glass for the Grinch’s heart that was 3x too small.

The Sock Snowman Tutorial

Christmas & Crafts. Two of my most favorite things EVER. Combined. This is what I’m talking about people. This is what I live for! These little guys, just the idea of them, stole my heart.

My best friend called me right after we’d put our kids on the bus to tell me about them, and I spent the rest of they day working on my own set in my spare time. Our four year old even got in on the action, helping me fill the socks, dress them, and glue on accessories. Of course, then I spent the rest of the day removing contraband (stolen rubber bands) from his possession as he tried to shoot things with them. Thanks, older sons for teaching him that little gem.

Either way, these adorable little creatures found their way into our home and are here to stay, at least until spring. Who knows, maybe they’ll even bring us a little luck and a little snow. (I walked in on son # 4 rubbing it’s belly and wishing for some of the white stuff to come our way. I’ll keep my fingers crossed along with him) This is the perfect craft idea for kids (and adults) this Thanksgiving day/weekend as we usher in the Holiday season. Plus, it helps to have something constructive for them to do and be entertained while the adults wait out their tryptophan carbohydrate-induced coma. 😉

The Sock Snowman Tutorial

4 Sons 'R' Us: Sock Snowman Photo Tutorial 2

one white tube sock, or more depending on how many snowmen you’re making
decorative socks (optional)
rice, for filler
rubber bands
buttons
something for the nose, I used different buttons but feel free to be creative (the tip of a wooden skewer painted orange would work VERY well

Directions

4 Sons 'R' Us: sock snowman photo tutorial

1. Cut the foot part off of your sock and set aside.
2. Turn the tube part of your sock inside out and wrap a rubber band around the bottom.  Make sure it is wrapped tightly.  Then turn it inside out again so the rubber band is on the inside.
3. Fill the sock with rice.  Be sure to push the rice down as you go.  This will help stretch the sock a bit and ensure that you get a nice plump snowman in the end.  Then, close the top by wrapping another rubber band around the top as shown in the photo above.
4. Squeeze the middle of your snowman until you’ve created an indention to separate it’s ‘head’ and ‘body’. Wrap another rubber band around the indention to create a ‘neck’.
5. Using the foot part of the sock, put on your snowman’s hat/nightcap.
6. If desired, remove the hat and cut a thin strip to use as his scarf. Otherwise, use a scrap of fabric.
7. Tie the scarf and make sure it’s covering up the rubber band neck.
8. Add button eyes and buttons down the body. If you want to get creative, use an old sock that’s lost it’s mate to make a sweater and matching cap. Again, cut the foot away from the tube of the sock. Use the foot as the cap and cut the tube part to fit the belly of your snowman.

Quick Tips:

-Using old socks with missing mates will prevent you from having to buy new socks for the project
-Rice isn’t the only option as a filler. Beans would work well too.
-Consider adding some potpourri to the inside with the rice or beans to help scent the room you’ve chosen to display your snowman in.
-All of my socks came from  The Dollar Tree. They have a large variety of color and designs to choose from, and can help keep this craft on a budget. Also, consider checking the dollar bins at Target.

Seriously, how cute are these little guys?!

4 Sons 'R' Us: sock snowmen

While I love all of my snowchildrenmen, I do have a favorite. (I can’t tell them that though!) The sock ‘sweater’ just tickles my fancy. Isn’t he just too cute? All bundled up and just absolutely adorable! What a dapper little dude. Here he is all ‘up close, and personal’. You just can’t help but love himthem.

4 Sons 'R' Us: sock snowman