DIY Terrarium Winter Scene

DIY Terrarium Winter Scene | Christmas DIY ideas, homemade Christmas decorations and more from @cydconverse

Christmas is easily and undoubtedly my favorite excuse to craft. Hands down, no contest. Every year as we pull our boxes and bins of Christmas decorations down from the attic and set to decking the halls, I feel the same joy that I felt as a kid as my parents started unraveling long strands of lights. My mom isn’t exactly the craftiest lady, but most years she had some kind of crafty pursuit for us, whether it be ornaments for the tree or cute gift boxes loaded with cookies and good cheese for our bus driver and teachers. This little Christmas craft is the easiest thing you’ll ever make. In fact, it’s so easy it’s almost belittling to call this a tutorial. That said, I always try to throw out a few ideas that everyone of all crafting levels can make and this year, this one is it! We’re talking DIY terrarium winter scenes with the cutest little bottle brushes and a big handful of snow. You know, the fake kind. Naturally.

DIY Terrarium Winter Scene | Christmas DIY ideas, homemade Christmas decorations and more from @cydconverse

DIY Terrarium Winter Scene | Christmas DIY ideas, homemade Christmas decorations and more from @cydconverse

DIY Terrarium Winter Scene | Christmas DIY ideas, homemade Christmas decorations and more from @cydconverse

Supplies

  • Glass cylinder vases or similar
  • Fake snow (I used two varieties)
  • Bottle brush trees
  • Florist moss

DIY Terrarium Winter Scene | Christmas DIY ideas, homemade Christmas decorations and more from @cydconverse

DIY Terrarium Winter Scene | Christmas DIY ideas, homemade Christmas decorations and more from @cydconverse

I found all of these materials at Michaels and each terrarium took just about five minutes to make. (And that might even be a stretch, honestly.) I kept mine simple with just moss, snow and trees, but you could deck out your vignette with more detail if you’d like. A little house, perhaps, or even a tiny light pole or two. All of these things are readily available at craft stores this time of year. I began with simple, modern wide-mouthed cylinder vases and added a bit of green florist moss to the bottom to provide a base.

DIY Terrarium Winter Scene | Christmas DIY ideas, homemade Christmas decorations and more from @cydconverse

DIY Terrarium Winter Scene | Christmas DIY ideas, homemade Christmas decorations and more from @cydconverse

DIY Terrarium Winter Scene | Christmas DIY ideas, homemade Christmas decorations and more from @cydconverse

DIY Terrarium Winter Scene | Christmas DIY ideas, homemade Christmas decorations and more from @cydconverse

Next up, it’s all about those trees! I loved how cute my terrariums looked with just trees and I used a couple of different sizes to keep it looking somewhat natural. Then I sprinkled a whole bunch of snow all over everything! I used a combination of the plain white fluffy snow (which you’ll also find in the Christmas village type section in craft stores) and topped everything off with a dose of the sparkling snow. The combination of the two makes things look pretty and festive without being too fake or glittery looking. (Because clearly we’re going for realism here.) It’s as simple as that, friends! Both of mine have had a prime spot in our dining room since I made them and they’ve gotten a lot of compliments already. For being so easy to make, they sure are cute! Remember, if you give this or any of my other Christmas DIY ideas or recipes a try, share with me on Instagram using #thesweetestholidays!

DIY Terrarium Winter Scene | Christmas DIY ideas, homemade Christmas decorations and more from @cydconverse

DIY Terrarium Winter Scene | Christmas DIY ideas, homemade Christmas decorations and more from @cydconverse

DIY Terrarium Winter Scene | Christmas DIY ideas, homemade Christmas decorations and more from @cydconverse

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[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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Christmas Chocolate Bark Six Ways

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

This fall I was reminded how easy it is to make chocolate bark when I made a bunch of Halloween candy bark, which inspired me to create a whole bunch of Christmas chocolate bark recipes for you! Our kids are crazy for chocolate bark and, since I’ve been keeping them in ample supply, so are all of our neighbors. It’s fun because it’s really easy to make, especially with kids, and you can mix and match the flavors in an infinite number of ways. I am showing you six ways to make bark here to help inspire you to dream up the flavor combinations you’ll love best. Chocolate bark makes a really sweet homemade gift, especially when it’s packaged in a cute little box with tissue paper, tied up with a bit of baker’s twine. Take your cookie plates to the next level, friends! Honestly, as much as I love them, frosted cut-out sugar cookies basically have nothing on this stuff!

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

Basic Chocolate Bark Recipe

  • 20 oz (or roughly 4 cups) of chocolate morsels or chopped chocolate
  • 2 cups (approximate) various toppings (nuts, candy, dried fruit, marshmallows, etc.)

Begin by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, carefully melt chocolate over a double boiler, mixing often with a rubber spatula until fully melted and smooth. Alternately, you can microwave in a heat seat bowl, microwaving in 15 – 20 second intervals and stirring in between to ensure even heating. Once fully melted, carefully pour melted chocolate onto the center of your baking sheet, then use a rubber spatula to gently smooth out until approximately 1/4” thick. Recruit the kids to help you sprinkle your toppings such as nuts or pretzels across the surface of the melted chocolate. Transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and chill for at least one hour or, ideally, overnight. Remove from the fridge and use the back of a spoon or similar to smash the bark into pieces. Alternately you could use a knife to cut into rectangles.

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

S’mores Chocolate Bark

  • 20 oz (or roughly 4 cups) milk chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup graham crackers, broken into small pieces

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

  • 20 oz (or roughly 4 cups) dark chocolate morsels
  • 2 cups crushed/broken candy canes or peppermint candies

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

Fruitcake Chocolate Bark

  • 20 oz (or roughly 4 cups) milk chocolate morsels
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup golden raisins

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

Almond Coconut Chocolate Bark

  • 20 oz (or roughly 4 cups) milk chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

Pistachio Cranberry Bark

  • 20 oz (or roughly 4 cups) dark chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup halved pistachios
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

Peanut Butterscotch Bark

  • 20 oz (or roughly 4 cups) milk chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup lightly salted peanuts
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

To package up my chocolate bark to give as gifts, I used super cute bakery boxes from Shop Sweet Lulu and some pretty tissue paper I had on hand. The tags are part of the printable gift tag bundle that Erika Firm designed exclusively for The Sweetest Occasion readers, which you can download here! Then just add a bit of baker’s twine and you have a really thoughtful gift that your friends and family will love!

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

6 Christmas Chocolate Bark Recipes | Homemade Christmas gifts, Christmas recipes and more from @cydconverse

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[Art direction by Cyd Converse | Printables by Erika Firm | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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The Gift Guide: Edible Gifts for Foodies Under $30

The Gift Guide: Edible Gifts for Foodies Under $30 | Gift ideas, homemade Christmas gifts and more from @cydconverse

I missed doing gift guides last year after doing them for years dating back to 2011 or maybe even 2010. With a tiny little newborn, finding hours to comb the internet for the coolest gifts and compile them into the perfect lists was just too much. Honestly, it’s trickier and far more time consuming than you’d think! This year I’m bringing them back though and kicking off the season with fun edible gifts for foodies! All of these gifts ring in at under $30 so they make great hostess gifts, gifts for coworkers or thoughtful gestures for a teacher or maybe your mail carrier. Stay tuned for dozens and dozens of additional gift ideas over the next couple of weeks and happy shopping!

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Note: This post contains affiliate links. Read more about our editorial policies.

Pipcorn Truffle Popcorn ($25) | Noble Tonic 01: Bourbon Barrel Maple Syrup ($28.95) | French Deluxe Vanilla Powder ($12.99) | DIY Goat Cheese Kit ($27.95) | Mast Milk Chocolate ($20) | Mike’s Hot Honey ($14.89) | Inna Jam Seascape Strawberry ($13.50) | Stumptown Coffee Roasters House Blend ($15) | Pomodoro Pasta Sauce ($12) | Jacobsen Flake Finishing Sea Salt ($12) | Peppermint Bark Cookies ($24.50) | Balsamic Mustard ($10)

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Oh So Merry Desktop Backgrounds

Free Christmas Desktop Backgrounds and Christmas iPhone Wallpaper | Free Christmas printables from @cydconverse

I’ve become such a fan of fun, artsy iPhone wallpaper designs and desktop backgrounds over the last couple of years so this holiday season I really wanted to offer you something cute and festive to dress up your tech. Because she’s insanely talented and also one of the best friends a lady could ask for, I asked my girl Erika Firm to create this series of downloads for you! What she came back with? Pure genius! Today we have seven wallpaper designs for you, all available for iPhone and Android in addition to desktop. There is a little something here for everyone’s holiday style, from the abstract to the more traditional. I’ve personally been sporting the HOHOXO design (featuring a cool hand painted background) on my phone for a couple of weeks already now. Scroll through to see them all, then just click on the links below each image to download in the format you prefer. Enjoy!

Free Christmas Desktop Backgrounds and Christmas iPhone Wallpaper | Free Christmas printables from @cydconverse

Download: Desktop | iPhone | Android

Free Christmas Desktop Backgrounds and Christmas iPhone Wallpaper | Free Christmas printables from @cydconverse

Download: Desktop | iPhone | Android

Free Christmas Desktop Backgrounds and Christmas iPhone Wallpaper | Free Christmas printables from @cydconverse

Download: Desktop | iPhone | Android

Keep reading…

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A Kid Approved Holiday Brunch Menu

This post was sponsored by Cuties. Thank you for supporting
the sponsors that 
help make The Sweetest Occasion possible!

A Kid Approved Holiday Brunch Menu | Brunch ideas, brunch recipes, holiday recipes and more from @cydconverse

With zero contest, brunch is our favorite meal in this family. Every single one of us is crazy about breakfast foods in general so on the weekends and on holidays, the kids get really excited to hang out with us in the kitchen and cook. We’re big on eating as little processed food as possible, and especially at home an easy 95% of our diet or more comes exclusively from whole, fresh ingredients. We love to make everything from scratch, right down to the baked goods. For us that’s in part because we enjoy spending the time together in the kitchen, but also because we truly believe it’s better for us and helps to teach the kids the importance of knowing what they’re eating and how to prepare their own food. All of that said, when Cuties reached out and asked me to help spread the word about their #AskAGrower campaign, encouraging kids to be curious about where their food comes from, I was all in! It’s exactly the kind of thing we try to teach our kiddos on a daily basis.

A Kid Approved Holiday Brunch Menu | Brunch ideas, brunch recipes, holiday recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Kid Approved Holiday Brunch Menu | Brunch ideas, brunch recipes, holiday recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Kid Approved Holiday Brunch Menu | Brunch ideas, brunch recipes, holiday recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Kid Approved Holiday Brunch Menu | Brunch ideas, brunch recipes, holiday recipes and more from @cydconverse

If you join Cuties on Facebook, you can chime in with the hashtag #AskAGrower to explore with your kids where food comes from in order to help encourage them in developing healthy eating habits for a lifetime. Cuties are grown with love on family farms in California and then shipped directly from the grove to local grocery stores across the country. They’re tasty, delicious and completely natural with no other ingredients or additives. Today I’m sharing a fuss-free, kid-approved holiday brunch menu with that same thing in mind! All of these recipes use simple, wholesome ingredients that make it easy for you to serve up a really delicious meal during the holidays while serving your family food you can feel good about. The best part, these are all dishes your kids will gladly gobble right up. (I know because I asked our kids to chime in!)

A Kid Approved Holiday Brunch Menu

  • Pancakes with Cuties + maple syrup
  • Baked eggs with spinach + mozzarella
  • Citrus cranberry muffins
  • Unlimited fresh Cuties

Citrus Cranberry Muffin Recipe | Brunch ideas, entertaining tips, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Kid Approved Holiday Brunch Menu | Brunch ideas, brunch recipes, holiday recipes and more from @cydconverse

Citrus Cranberry Muffin Recipe | Brunch ideas, entertaining tips, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Citrus Cranberry Muffins
Makes 18 muffins

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Zest + juice of 4 Cuties
  • 3-½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350° and prepare a muffin tin with nonstick spray or paper liners. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer and a mixing bowl), beat the butter for 1 – 2 minutes. Add both sugars and cream together for an additional 1 – 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowls as needed. Add eggs, vanilla, the zest of four Cuties and the applesauce, then mix until thoroughly combined. In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Once combined, slowly add it to the wet ingredients a quarter of the flour at a time, with the mixer on medium to combine well between each addition. Add in the milk and the juice of four Cuties and mix, then fold in the cranberries to finish. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling them 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 25 – 28 minutes then remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing the muffins and placing them on a cooling rack. Serve slightly warm with butter or at room temperature.

Baked Eggs with Spinach | Brunch ideas, entertaining tips, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Kid Approved Holiday Brunch Menu | Brunch ideas, brunch recipes, holiday recipes and more from @cydconverse

Baked Eggs with Spinach | Brunch ideas, entertaining tips, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Baked Eggs with Spinach + Mozzarella
Makes 10 servings

  • 12 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350° then crack all 12 eggs into a mixing bowl. Add milk, garlic powder, pepper and salt then whisk thoroughly. Add mozzarella and fold to combine. Roughly tear up the spinach and add to the egg mixture, then mix to combine. Pour into a cast iron skillet or greased baking dish. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, making note that the baking time will be different depending on the size and shape of your baking dish. When it’s done the egg will have puffed up and be slightly golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly for a few minutes before slicing and baking. (Note: It’s normal for the eggs to “deflate” while cooling.)

A Kid Approved Holiday Brunch Menu | Brunch ideas, brunch recipes, holiday recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Kid Approved Holiday Brunch Menu | Brunch ideas, brunch recipes, holiday recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Kid Approved Holiday Brunch Menu | Brunch ideas, brunch recipes, holiday recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Kid Approved Holiday Brunch Menu | Brunch ideas, brunch recipes, holiday recipes and more from @cydconverse

Pancakes with Cuties + Maple Syrup

Top your favorite pancake recipe with slices of Cuties then drizzle generously with warmed maple syrup. The warm the maple syrup, place it in a microwave safe container and warm in 15 second intervals until warmed thoroughly, mixing each time. Alternately, pour syrup into a small saucepan and heat over low heat until simmering.

A Kid Approved Holiday Brunch Menu | Brunch ideas, brunch recipes, holiday recipes and more from @cydconverse

Citrus Cranberry Muffin Recipe | Brunch ideas, entertaining tips, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

To make your brunch feel extra special, you can set the table with real linens, which is always my personal preference anyway. Yes, even with kids! Fabric linens wash easily in the washing machine and make everything feel a touch more festive during the holidays. Fill a bowl with a big mountain of Cuties to serve as both a colorful centerpiece and to encourage the kids to grab and eat fresh fruit with brunch. You can bake the muffins a day or two in advance and mix the eggs to bake up while you’re having your morning coffee. Have the kids roll up their sleeves and help with cracking eggs and mixing and whisking, so they feel even more involved in what they’re eating. Nothing here is too complicated, so in no time you’ll be ready to serve up brunch on Christmas morning or New Year’s Day or on a cozy winter’s morning during the holidays!

A Kid Approved Holiday Brunch Menu | Brunch ideas, brunch recipes, holiday recipes and more from @cydconverse

Citrus Cranberry Muffin Recipe | Brunch ideas, entertaining tips, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

For more fun ways to get your kids involved in knowing more about the foods they’re eating, check out the Grown With Love video series with your kiddos and be sure to pop over to Facebook where a Cuties grower will be personally answering your questions if you join the discussion using #AskAGrower. (You can also find fun snack ideas and recipes, too!)

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[Recipes, styling + art direction by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

This post was sponsored by Cuties. Join Cuties on Facebook for more great recipes, fun snack ideas and more! I received compensation for this post, but all opinions are my own. Read more about our editorial policies.

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