DIY Mini Popcorn Wreath Place Cards

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DIY Mini Popcorn Wreath Place Cards by @cydconverse

The holiday season is my favorite time of year to get crafty and, incidentally, it’s also my favorite time of year to host friends and family! Today I’m excited to be working with the Frito-Lay “Season’s Sweetings” SMARTFOOD DIY Challenge to share this fun little DIY project with you. Inspired by classic popcorn garlands (and the SMARTFOOD® brand’s two new holiday flavors, SMARTFOOD Cinnamon Brown Sugar Popcorn and SMARTFOOD Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn Popcorn) we’re making little mini popcorn wreaths that make really darling place cards for all of your holiday entertaining needs. Bonus! They also double as ornaments so you can use these to trim the tree, too.

DIY Mini Popcorn Wreaths by @cydconverse

DIY Mini Popcorn Wreaths

  • SMARTFOOD popcorn flavor of choice
  • Floral wire or similar thin gauge wire
  • Small shipping tags
  • Cranberries
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Scissors or wire cutters

DIY Mini Popcorn Wreath Place Cards by @cydconverse

DIY Mini Popcorn Wreaths by @cydconverse DIY Mini Popcorn Wreaths by @cydconverse

Begin by cutting a length of wire about 10″ long. This is longer than you’ll need, but it will make sure you have plenty to work with as you go along. Then start threading your popcorn onto your wire, one piece at a time. For mine I used 14 pieces of popcorn for each little wreath.

DIY Mini Popcorn Wreaths by @cydconverse

Alternately, mix up the look by making a few wreaths that combine popcorn and fresh cranberries. We’re drawing from classic Christmas decor as our inspiration here, so you can have fun and include whatever you’d like. Little gum drop candies would be adorable, too! (Oh and snacking while crafting is completely encouraged. The boys helped me make these and they’re in love with the SMARTFOOD Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn Popcorn!)

DIY Mini Popcorn Wreath Place Cards by @cydconverse DIY Mini Popcorn Wreath Place Cards by @cydconverse

At this point if you want to add a little something extra to your wreaths, you can use the ends of the wire to attach a couple of rosemary sprigs. If you happen to have a bit of pine or boxwood trimmings available either of those would be perfect. To finish off the wreath, gather the ends of your wire and twist together to secure. Make sure everything is nicely secured and then trim to ends of the wire.

DIY Mini Popcorn Wreath Place Cards

DIY Mini Popcorn Wreaths by @cydconverse DIY Mini Popcorn Wreath Place Cards by @cydconverse

When you get to this stage, your wreaths are ready to rock it out on the Christmas tree as really fun ornaments that are easy enough for the kids to help you make. Or, take it one step further and attach a small shipping tag. Tie the ends of the tag around the top of the wreath, tie securely in a knot and trim the ends. Pen a name on each tag and you’re ready to set the table! (Plus, both the SMARTFOOD Cinnamon Brown Sugar Popcorn and SMARTFOOD Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn Popcorn flavors make great party snacks!) As a third option, you could use these tied to packages as really amazing gift tags, too.

DIY Mini Popcorn Wreath Place Cards by @cydconverse

And now it’s your turn to get crafty! The folks at SMARTFOOD popcorn want to see how their yummy snack flavors are inspiring your holiday decor this year! Share your awesome holiday-themed craft creations using the hashtags #SmartfoodDIY and #SweetEntry for a chance to win a $250 gift card (see official rules at Fritolay.com.) That’s right! You can win a $250 gift card! To get started, follow Frito-Lay on Instagram and Twitter where they’re sharing loads of fun party and crafting ideas all season long. I can’t wait to see what you make!

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[Design, photos + styling by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]

This post was sponsored by Frito-Lays Season’s Sweetings. Read more about our editorial policies

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Chocolate Cheesecake Christmas Trees

I’m jumping up and down excited to welcome back Melina of Sugary & Buttery today with her monthly recipe. Today Melina is sharing these amazing chocolate cheesecake Christmas trees, which I’m convinced are actually too cute to eat! But surprise, they are entirely edible and promise to be insanely delicious. I love this recipe, because it’s the type of thing where the kids (whether they’re your own or nieces and nephews) can get messy with you in the kitchen and then taste their own handiwork when they get done. Also, don’t let these fool you – they’re surprisingly simple to make so you don’t have to be Betty Crocker to pull these off. If you make yourself some cheesecake trees the day before, you can plate them and use them as part of your centerpiece at a holiday party, too. Bottom line, these are amazing and I really hope you give this a try! Many thanks to Melina for sharing and be sure to pop over and pay her a visit this holiday season, because I know she’ll be making many delicious things!

Chocolate Cheesecake Christmas Trees from @cydconverse

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Makes 6 trees

For the Filling

  • 1 pack cream cheese (8oz)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 cups whipped cream
  • 1 large Hersheys milk chocolate bar

For the Coating

  • 1 egg white
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar (or more)
  • 4 cups shredded coconut

You will also need 6 ice cream waffle cones

Chocolate Cheesecake Christmas Trees from @cydconverse

Break up the Hersheys chocolate bar into a bowl and melt it over a double boiler. Line the cones with chocolate by filling up a cone with melted chocolate, turning upside down and letting the chocolate run back into the bowl.  Place the cones in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to let the chocolate harden. This step is important to seal the inside of the cones and prevent moisture of the cheesecake filling to soak the cones. (Also, if you want different sized trees, trim some of the ice cream cones down before starting.)

Melt the chocolate chips. With a hand mixer, whisk the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. With your mixer on medium speed, add the melted chocolate into the cream cheese mix. Add the whipped cream and whisk until well combined. Transfer the cheesecake into a piping bag with a round tip attached. Carefully pipe the cream cheese into the cones, making sure to fill them all the way down to the tip of the cones. Refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Whisk together the egg white and the powdered sugar, adding enough sugar to make a thick paste. Brush the outside of the cones with the icing and roll them in shredded coconut. Place on a plate with granulated sugar and decorate as you wish. (I found this little deer cake topper on Etsy.)

Chocolate Cheesecake Christmas Trees from @cydconverse

Chocolate Cheesecake Christmas Trees from @cydconverse

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[Photos by Sugary & Buttery for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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Shop By Pattern: Buffalo Plaid

It’s no secret that buffalo plaid is having a major moment in fashion right now. I, for one, am all over this trend. I’ve been a huge fan of classic plaid patterns for a long time and always pick up cool vintage wool blankets and scarves when I stumble upon them. Right now you can find the buffalo check appearing just about everywhere – even on this adorable baby onesie! While it does make appearances in other colors, I’m most fond of the traditional red and black. Paired with denim or a chic wool coat or even stripes, the look can be surprisingly chic while still feeling super cozy. I think the scarf and the cocktail shaker are my favorites! I will take one of each, please and thank you.

Shop by Pattern: Buffalo Plaid from @cydconverse

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[1: Infinity scarf | 2: Zip pouch | 3: Trapper hat | 4: Baby onesie | 5: Satchel | 6: iPhone case | 7: Cocktail shaker | 8: Slippers | 9: Backpack.]

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Boozy Orange Hot Chocolate

This time of year I love playing around with yummy variations on the classic hot chocolate. Because who doesn’t love hot chocolate? Every once in a while, it’s fun to booze it up a little bit to give the classic a little twist. This boozy orange hot chocolate is festive and seasonal and crazy delicious. Honestly, it’s kind of outright decadent. Just what the situation calls for when Jack Frost is nipping at your nose! Made with yummy things like chocolate and fresh orange zest and brandy, it’s guaranteed to warm you up and make you feel all cozy. To get the recipe and add a little warmth to some chilly evening this week, pop over to Momtastic where I’m breaking it down for you.

Boozy Orange Hot Chocolate by @cydconverse

Boozy Orange Hot Chocolate by @cydconverse

Boozy Orange Hot Chocolate by @cydconverse

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[Photos + recipe by Cyd Converse for Momtastic.]

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Festive + Nostalgic Christmas Decor

I know I’m not the only one who feels all levels of nostalgia come the holiday season. For me that nostalgia snuck up on me in full force as we spent the weekend doing so many of the things I remember doing as a kid. On Saturday we pulled out all of our boxes of decorations and ornaments and put up our tree. We baked cookies. We tortured the dog by dressing her up in garland. We blasted Christmas music for hours on end. Yesterday the boys and my mom helped me get a jump on a few upcoming posts. We spent the day in the kitchen and crafting and playing cards. All of those are things I always loved doing with my mom and my grandmother during the holidays and that nostalgic vibe definitely influences my personal taste in Christmas decor, too. My decorations are a collection of things I’ve picked up here and there over the years and a whole bunch of baubles and decorations I inherited when my grandmother passed. I tend to gravitate toward classic holiday decor with a touch of a woodland vibe, a bit of a Scandinavian influence and the occasional modern element. I don’t go out and buy a whole bunch of new things each year, opting to stick with the things I already own and love, but every year I usually find a new favorite to bring home and love. These are the things I’ve been eyeing this year in particular. The red candlesticks or the felt garland might just be my favorite. What’s your Christmas decor style? I’d love to hear all about it!

Festive + Nostalgic Christmas Decor from @cydconverse

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[Row 1: Cut glass jar candle | Gold star ornament set | Red Candlesticks | Row 2: Gold bottle brush tree | Monogram stocking | Ceramic Santa | Row 3: Christmas fabric tape | Gold stemwareRed glass ornaments | Row 4: Felt garland | Stag bust | Snowy spruce trees.]

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