Stocking Stuffers for Your Pup

Each Christmas morning, we have such a blast watching our pups retrieve and tear into these pet-friendly stocking stuffers.

They are easy to make with items you probably already have:

  • Empty paper towel cardboard centers
  • White tissue paper
  • Brown kraft paper (or plain white paper)
  • Pup treats - Pup-Peroni or Beggin' Strips work well
  • Paw labels (optional)

Cut paper towel roll into three equal pieces, tear tissue paper into half sheets, and cut or break pup treats into appropriate sizes for your pet.  

Wrap a treat in a half sheet of plain white tissue paper and stuff into cardboard roll.  

Wrap the treat filled cardboard roll in plain brown kraft paper, twisting ends to secure (no tape needed).

This year I added the round paw labels just for fun.  

I created them in Word for Avery 5293 round labels by copying a free paw graphic online and pasting it into the label template and printing.  There's no risk of our pups consuming the toner - they ignore the center of the stuffers and go right to the ends to pull out the tissue paper.  

The pups have a lot of fun when they pick up the scent of the treat, and rip into the tissue paper to pull it out and find the hidden treasure.

We've also noticed that each pup has their own method for unwrapping --- one will tear thru end of the cardboard roll to quickly get to the tissue paper covered treat.  Another will very carefully and deliberately pull the tissue paper from the roll in small pieces, eventually reaching the treat.

Do your pups open Santa gifts or stocking stuffers on Christmas morning?  What types of treats do they receive?


Both pups devoured the stocking stuffers again this year and it was so much fun watching them have a great time!

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I look forward to your thoughts and ideas!  I try to respond to comments via email as soon as I can. If your email address isn't available, I will comment here. Thanks so much for visiting!

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Christmas Tablescape

Christmas prep is really not complete for me until I've come up with a plan for our dining room tablescape.  

This year I once again drew from items we have on hand.  

The base placemat is square, woven and gold.  They're no longer available, but a similar style can be found at Distinctive-Decor

Resting on the square gold placemat is my favorite charger ever ... they're round rattan with scalloped edges and I found them a few years ago at Pier One.  They appear to also be discontinued, but Pier One carries a really lovely round charger without scalloped edging HERE.

 (Note:  I was not compensated in any way for this post - 
the opinions expressed are my own and reflect personal experience.)

The rattan charger is topped with a red plastic charger to complete a trio of placemats/chargers that provides nice texture.

A creamy white porcelain dinner plate contrasts the red charger.  This dinnerware set has been the perfect foundation for holidays and special occasions.  With basic white, you can add any color combination/design of complimentary salad plates and bowls.  I'm so glad I bought 12 place settings several years ago.  

This set is Red Vanilla Classic from Overstock and you can find it HERE

Now for the cutest little holiday plates!  Have you seen the adorable holiday dinnerware collection at Walmart?  I wouldn't have believed it, either!  But, they have an entire set of several different winterscape designs - I chose Santa with his reindeer pulling his sleigh.  Other designs include a Christmas tree, a little deer, the popular red car/truck with Christmas tree, winter landscape and several other designs.  

Each year we enjoy crackers (or do you call them poppers?).  This year's are red with a gold glitter scroll design.

Napkins are red cloth and napkin rings were a last minute project.

The cardboard "rings" are twine ball centers that I saved and they're really sturdy and thick cardboard.  One quick coat of my "go to" metallic gold paint was all it took to give them a little gilding.

The paint is from Target and it's Valspar's Devine Color in Karat.  It comes out beautifully when I've used it on plastic, metal, wood and now, cardboard! 

An added touch of glitz with decorative ribbon and the napkin rings were all set to go.

Our Christmas Day meal will be buffet style and silverware will be in the caddy nearby.  Final touch to the tablescape was water goblets and I called it done.

The centerpiece is a large, clear glass cloche filled with red and gold ornaments, placed on a tray encircled with red and gold strands of garland.

The tray is one of a set of two from Decor Steals.  They're farmhouse style wood trays with metal handles.

Now that the table is all set, I guess I'd better firm up the menu!  

Are you all set for a holiday meal?  We start out buffet style (using the wonderful Crock-Pot Hook Up connectable entertaining unit), and then favorite dishes seem to find their way to the dining table.

Do you serve buffet style, or family style with serving dishes on the table?  Or, like us ... a mix of both?

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I look forward to your thoughts and ideas!  I try to respond to comments via email as soon as I can. If your email address isn't available, I will comment here. Thanks so much for visiting!

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Building a Fun Lego Tray

When hubby and I discovered that our sweet grandson had Legos on his Santa wish list for Christmas, we decided to make this tray to keep the pieces contained and make it easier for him to relocate and store his creations between building sessions.

The construction design is super simple - basically a plywood base surrounded by wood trim.

Lego Gray Baseplates - 6 pieces
1/2" plywood cut to 17" x 22"
1" x 1" boards - 2 pieces cut to 17" long
1" x 1" boards - 2 pieces cut to 22" long
1" x 1/4" wood strips - 2 pieces 18-1/2" long
1" x 1/4" wood strips - 2 pieces 16-1/2" long
1-1/2" diameter self-adhesive felt pads
Construction adhesive (we used Gorilla Glue All Surface)
Wood glue
Furniture clamps
Brad nailer and 1/2" brads
Paint or stain
Fine sandpaper

NOTE:  Carefully sand all wood pieces to remove any splinter hazards.

To begin, we connected the 6 baseplates together using Legos.  

Apply construction adhesive liberally and evenly to the plywood.  

Leaving the Legos in place as spacers, we placed the connected baseplates centered evenly on the adhesive covered plywood and pressed all baseplates firmly to ensure adhesion to the plywood.  Reposition quickly as needed so that you have the same amount of exposed plywood on each side.

Let dry overnight.

After gluing the baseplates to the plywood, I found I didn't like being able to see the plywood between the baseplate seams.


Soooo using a super thin artist's brush I used dark grey paint to paint the seams and the top edges of the plywood.  If you're less obsessive (and likely, you ARE!), you don't need to paint at all.  :) 

Hubby did a little fancy carpentry at this point and made gorgeous lap corners in the trim pieces that served to hide the sides of the plywood.  But, you can use straight cuts and connect straight ends for an easier option. 

The top trim pieces were attached to the outer edges of the top of the tray with wood glue and brad nails and we used clamps to hold them in place while allowing the wood glue to dry overnight.

With the top of the tray assembled, we then worked on the underside by attaching thin wood strips with brad nails and wood glue.  We used scrap strips, but if buying them,  1" x 1/4" trim boards work well.  The strips covered any rough edges or gaps, to prevent splinters in little fingers.  

At this point you can get creative with paint or wood stain.  

We chose to paint the underside with dark espresso latex paint and for a rustic farmhouse look, left the top trim natural and applied clear polyurethane.  

After applying two coats of polyurethane to the top trim boards, letting it dry, and attaching the felt pads to the underside of each corner, the tray was complete and ready to gift wrap for Christmas!

We're hoping our sweet little guy enjoys this Lego tray!  Do you have a little one (or not so little one) on your gift list that is crazy about Lego?  It's not too late to make one of these trays just in time for Christmas!

UPDATE:  We celebrated Christmas with the little ones this past weekend and the Lego tray was a big hit!

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I look forward to your thoughts and ideas!  I try to respond to comments via email as soon as I can. If your email address isn't available, I will comment here. Thanks so much for visiting!

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Classic Pizzelle Cookies

A few years ago we started a new family tradition - making homemade pizzelles for the holidays.  These thin, crisp and crunchy sweet cookies are so tasty!

Pizzelles are Italian cookies made with a press that looks very similar to a waffle iron.  The plates are decorative and give the cookies an embossed appearance.  They can be served flat, or while warm, can be rolled and filled to make cannoli.

There are many pizzelle press styles available and for many families, the well loved press is a treasured heirloom passed down through the generations.

My press is a Cuisinart model WM-PZ2 and I'm very pleased with it.  It heats evenly and the nonstick plates are a breeze to clean with a damp paper towel.

This recipe comes from a very old church fundraiser cookbook.  I can't recall the name of the cookbook, but the recipe is for basic pizzelles.

Classic Pizzelles

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or anise

Plug in the press to heat while preparing the batter - on Setting 3.

In a small bowl, mix and set aside the flour and baking powder.

In a medium bowl, mix eggs and sugar with a mixer on medium speed for 1 minute.  

On low speed, add melted butter and vanilla or anise extract (not both!), just until blended - about 15 seconds.

Slowly add flour mixture and mix until combined, about 15 seconds.  Do not over mix.

Spray press plates with cooking oil.

Drop 2 teaspoons of batter onto center of each press plate.  

Close the lid and lock.  Red indicator light will be on.

When red light goes off and green indicator light comes on, open lid and carefully remove pizzelles using a heatproof plastic spatula.

Place pizzelles on a cooling rack to cool completely.

NOTE:  Adjust the press setting to a higher number for darker pizzelles, or to a lower number for lighter pizzelles.  Our family likes dark cookies so I make them on Setting 5.

Or, while warm, wrap pizzelle around a dowel to form cannoli shells.

There are many recipe variations as well - for chocolate pizzelles, cocoa can be added to the batter.  For marble pizzelle, add 2 ounces of chopped chocolate to the batter.  

SAFETY TIP - the pizzelle press cannot be left unattended - the batter cooks very quickly and therefore, can burn very quickly.  If you find you need to leave them unattended, unplug the press.

These are a great treat to have on hand when you'd like a sweet but light snack - awesome with a hot cup of coffee or tea following a generous holiday meal!  

Have you made pizzelles?  Or, eaten homemade or store-bought versions?  Do you like them? 

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I look forward to your thoughts and ideas!  I try to respond to comments via email as soon as I can. If your email address isn't available, I will comment here. Thanks so much for visiting!

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