Advent Calendars – DIY, Printable and More

Every year, I vow to be “better prepared” than the last year, and every year December 1st sneaks up on me.  For the last THREE years, I’ve wanted to do a homemade advent calendar or Christmas countdown calendar with my kids.  And for the last THREE years, I’ve forgotten until it was too late, and… well, that’s where the “better prepared” vow comes in.

First, from andersruff.etsy.com, an inexpensive printable Christmas countdown cones version.  The cones can be hung from your tree or a mantle. Simply purchase from andersruff, print, cut out and put together… and voila, a fun and beautiful DIY advent calendar.

And another fabulous and inexpensive printable countdown calendar from andersruff, the mitten version!

I just can’t decide which one I want to use – but I can assure you I will be choosing one of them!

Here’s another fun idea… use matchboxes to make a decorative tree and advent calendar all in one!

Another seriously CUTE idea is the “baby sock” advent calendar craft from Martha Stewart.  Click the link for the full how-to on this adorable idea!

And one last idea from etsy, this time from Sweet Anne Handcrafted Designs… a  block printable countdown calendar for only $2.50.  (Oh, this one is tempting me too!).

NOW, to figure out what kind of little goodies I want to get to put IN the cones… or mittens… or boxes.

 

Tuesday Trend – Marshmallow Party

I’ve been seeing marshmallows popping up everywhere lately!  Lots and lots of s’mores ideas out there, and hot chocolate recipes with adorable marshmallow toppings, and of course, Marshmallow POPS.  Here are a few inspirations for you today.

Do you know how to make homemade marshmallows?  You’ll be surprised just how easy they are to make!  And they taste incredible!!  Here’s Martha Stewart marshmallow recipe that includes, if you want, how to make marshmallow snowflakes (you can also just cut them into squares:):


Want some great ideas on how to decorate marshmallows?

First, from Hostess with the Mostess blog, marshmallow snowmen:

From the Make’n Mold website, recipes for two fun chocolate covered marshmallow pops:

From the Betty Crocker website, Marshmallow S’mores Bars:

And, because I can’t resist… from Gimme Some Oven, S’mores on a STICK (or s’more pops):

Happy Marshmallow-ing!

Buffalo Chicken Risotto – Soooooo good!

Let me confess that I’ve NEVER had buffalo chicken wings or chip.  Never really appealed to me.  But when I read over this recipe it seemed to scream at me to make it.  The appeal was the flavorful broth that the risotto cooked in, a combination of  hot sauce, chicken broth, lager beer, honey and a touch of Worcestershire.  And it did not disappointment.  In fact – this might belong up there in my top 10 favorite recipes – it’s that good.

The recipe is simple to make.  Like any risotto, it just takes a bit of time and a stir ever few minutes.  I doubled the amount of chicken that the original recipe called – I wanted this to be a hearty entree.  When serving, it’s delicious with the crumbled blue cheese or without.

Turn to Diva Entertains when looking for stylish party favors!

Happy Thanksgiving…

Best wishes to you and yours this holiday season!

Announcing DIY Holiday Photo Cards

We are SO excited to be introducing the DIY Diva Shop, an online boutique shop associated with Diva Entertains that offers affordable DIY favors, cards and invitations.

And…for our first offering – beautiful Holiday Photo Greeting Cards.  With your photo and text info, we will create a custom photo Christmas card or custom Holiday photo card designed just for you!  

So, how does this work? 

You purchase a card design, send your photo(s) and info to us by email, and receive back by email a completely customized FINISHED holiday photo card in JPG format.  You can then upload that file to the photo printing place of your choice (Walmart, Walgreens, Costco, etc), and get as MANY photo cards printed as you like!

Click HERE to access our order form page for the Holiday Photo cards.

Now… because we are SO excited about this new venture, we’re also offering two FREE printable holiday cards, as a gift just for you.   Click HERE to download the PDF file, which includes instructions and BOTH card designs..  Print your card of choice onto cardstock, affix your favorite holiday photo right to the card with scrapbook-safe glue “dots” (like THESE) or double-stick tape, add your message and name(s) to the inside and… voila, instant card, ready to mail! These are both 5×7 size cards, one with space for a 4×6 size photo on the front, and the other with space for a 3×5 size photo.

Now, for the “extreme” DIY’ers, we also have a slightly MORE detailed DIY version.  You can download the {extra strength} FREE DIY holiday card HERE.  Instructions are included with the file to make one fabulous GLAM photo frame holiday card.

And don’t forget… if you want Diva Entertains to do the customization FOR you, you can visit our Holiday photo cards page and place your order anytime.

 

 

Chocolate Mousse Filled Angel Food Cake

As you plan your holiday menus with family and friends, this Chocolate Mousse Filled Angel Cake recipe would be a terrific addition.  It’s beautiful to present, delicious to eat and not very hard to create.  Use a purchased angel food cake from the supermarket and it just became even easier!

This in another outstanding recipe from the That Skinny Chick Can Bake Blog.  A very talented and prolific cook, her recipes never disappoint.  Her creation was adapted from two sources, Cooks Country magazine and Alton Brown of Food Network.   The luscious chocolate mousse cake filling does not call for eggs which is a bonus since so many are concerned with raw egg food safety.

Turn to Diva Entertains for your party favor and decor needs!

Fab Friday – Eye Candy (and cakes and cookies)

It’s no secret that candy (and cupcake and cookie) buffets are all the rage at parties these days.  Birthday parties, wedding receptions, bridal and baby showers – simply add a BUFFET of goodies and make your guests very happy!  Follow below for some *FAB* candy buffet ideas!

Check out some of the more FAB candy buffet pictures and inspirations I’ve found lately. (Click on the BOLD text below and read more about each photo).

Elmo Birthday Party, with lots of RAINBOW touches:

Winter Candyland Birthday:

DIY Cake  Stands or Cookie stands – PERFECT for the next buffet!

More “eye candy” from Project Wedding:

And some SERIOUS candy / dessert buffet inspiration can be found at Couture Candy Buffet:

Last but not least, for this FAB Friday, if looking for *fab* Thanksgiving dessert ideas check out this stunning Thanksgiving theme candy and dessert buffet:

Where to buy candy jars for wedding and other events? We love shopping the glass vase aisle at Michael’s – they have a LARGE selection of lidded jars in all shapes and sizes.  Even better, use one of their coupons to take 40% the cost of the jar!  Click here to Download and Print Michaels coupons.

Thrifty Thursday – Last Minute DIY Thanksgiving Fun

We’ve got one week, peeps.  One week until the big Turkey Day.  I am mostly ready, but I can’t help myself when it comes to looking for last minute ideas to make the special day just THAT. MUCH. BETTER.  (It’s a sickness, I know).

But, you benefit from it… because I found some super fab easy-peasy ideas for DIY Thanksgiving – and I’m sharing them with you!

First up, mini pumpkin piesclick HERE for the details:

But, if a mini pie isn’t your thing… how about a lovely Thanksgiving pie topper instead?  Get the DIY instructions here

Carrying on the pumpkin theme, how about a gorgeous pumpkin vase as a centerpiece?  You can read the quick instructions HERE (and as a special bonus, there are FIVE other Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas to check out when you click that link).


One more pumpkin centerpiece idea, but with mini pumpkins… and goblets… and candles.


And, we can’t forget the kids at Thanksgiving. Look at the fun printable Thanksgiving placemat for kids I found from Whatever Dee-Dee Wants.  If you click HERE, you’ll get an entire post full of free Thanksgiving printables to go with this place mat.

Have YOU found anything just perfect for decorating on Turkey Day?  Please share… we’d love to hear!

Gorgeous Baby Shower Inspirations

Are you planning a baby shower?

Well, if so, you should know that the themes… they are endless!  I’m in awe at all the gorgeous party themes that are available for the baby shower these days.

You’ll see what I mean with today’s inspirations!

Lisa Storms offers up a simple AND stunning theme for a baby shower – CLOUDS:

For a very MODERN look, check out Elephants on Parade for a Polka Dot Baby Shower Theme:

If it’s “Winter Glam”, you are after, you’ll LOVE all the photos from Snow Sprinkle for a winter baby shower:

A pastel baby shower is always in style!  I just love this “Happy Trails” theme:

And for the super cool, rock star mom-to-be, there is even a Rock Star Baby shower theme:

Don’t forget… we have FABULOUS baby shower favors for all KINDS of themes in the Diva Entertains shop!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake (or Bread)

I’ve been making this pumpkin chocolate chip cake recipe for about 20 years.  It’s that good! Don’t think light and airy, tho.  This is a dense, super-moist cake.  With hints of cinnamon and nutmeg and a fabulous taste that will have you coming back for seconds (and thirds!).  Or, you can make two loaves of pumpkin chocolate chip bread with the recipe below.

The recipe is very easy to make and freezes beautifully.  It will fast become a family favorite!  It is rich and wonderful on its own without frosting – although a light dusting of powdered sugar would be lovely.  I frost mine because I’m a frosting freak – just love the stuff.  I simply mix 1 stick of unsalted butter, 2 cups of powder sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. of vanilla and enough heavy cream (start with 2 Tbsp). until I achieve a spreadable consistency.

 

 

This post is linked up to:  Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Mingle Monday, Mangia Monday, Linky Party Sundays from Petite Hermine, and Think Pink Sundays.

 

Diva Entertains has a beautiful and thoughtful selection of Breast Cancer Favors.  Diva Entertains donates a portion of each sale to breast cancer research.