Our last installment in the DIY gift series is all about how to say “thank you” to our neighbors.
Neighbors look out for our dogs while we are on vacation and cook meals when we welcome a new baby in to our family. They babysit in a pinch or have our kids over when we need an hour alone to decompress. Our neighbors become our village, crucial to raising children, feeling as if we belong and giving us a sense of home. These invaluable friends deserve a token of our appreciation.
A DIY gift is a perfectly simple way to say thank you, and we have outlined some ways to make that gift-giving easy and affordable!
Our first recommendation is to get to cooking, or at least assembling! In our busy lives, it’s often hard to find the time to prepare a home-cooked meal or dessert. It becomes somewhat of a luxury to eat a from-scratch meal or treat. And gifting a delicious homemade snack is sure to be treasured and appreciated.
Saltine Toffee aka “Christmas Crack” will hit the spot. This stuff is delicious, addicting and universally appealing to all taste buds. Wrap 3-4 pieces with a ribbon, and place several bundles in a cute craft paper box. Tie with a ribbon, and hand out. It really is that easy!
What you will need:
- 2 sleeves of saltine crackers
- 1 cup of butter
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 1 16 oz. bag of Hershey’s dark chocolate morsels
- 1 cup of chopped, toasted pecans
How to prepare:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper (this is a must to avoid sticking and ruining entire batch!). Place crackers, side by side and touching to cover entire sheet pan.
Next, over medium-high heat melt the butter and brown sugar together to create a caramel. Watch closely and once it begins to boil, set timer for three minutes. At the end of three minutes remove from heat and pour mixture over the crackers. Use a spatula to spread out caramel so that all surfaces of the crackers are covered. Place in preheated over for 5 minutes.
Once removed from oven, sprinkle dark chocolate morsels over the crackers and caramel. Place back in the oven for 1-2 minutes to soften chocolates. Remove and use spatula again to spread out and cover the entirety of the crackers. Sprinkle chopped pecans over the chocolate and let set for 10-15 minutes at room temperature. Place in refrigerator for two hours once they have reached room temperature.
Following the two hours of chilling, remove and score the outline of the crackers with a knife. Break apart in to pretty squares. Bundle together and keep refrigerated until ready to give. These will keep in a covered container for a week!
Cinnamon Sugar Mini Muffins
Another perfect gift-giving snack is my grandmother’s recipe of cinnamon sugar muffins. She’s been making these puppies for at least 50 years and everyone goes crazy for them. Funny enough, while watching the one and only Pioneer Woman one day, I couldn’t believe my eyes when she made her own version with the almost EXACT same concoction.
I, personally, prefer to omit the nutmeg, as that would be true to my grandma’s recipe, but other than that this recipe will never steer you wrong. I also love to make these into mini-muffins, simply reduce the baking time in half. Link to recipe here.
Wrap 10-12 in tissue and secure in a craft box. Leave a note for neighbors to enjoy on Christmas morning, and you’ve given them something to munch on when opening presents and given them back the gift of time as well!
Rein”Beer” Gift Pack
Are your neighbors the type who will meet you after a long week in your driveway for a cold one? If, so you’ve won the neighbor lottery! Are you low on time, but still want to give? Make a Rein”Beer” gift pack! Simply purchase a six pack of beer. Wrap pipe cleaners around the tops each bottle to form the antlers. Stick on some google eyes and a Rudolph nose and you are set! You can also do the same with Root Beer so the kids can enjoy too.
The Gift of Spring
The winter months can be long. Giving the gift of green can be much appreciated and herbs are the perfect way to remind them Spring is coming….albeit in three months. Wah, wah…
In order to execute, find a small container, place a packet of herbs in the jar and some pretty tissue paper. Wrap each jar with a ribbon and tie on a recipe they can make during the cold winter ahead. Simple, pretty and useful!
Happy making and giving.