Candy Bar Trains for Christmas

Make candy trains for Christmas! I’m SO excited to share this post with you guys! Did I say that yesterday too? Well, this year I am sharing a bunch of really fun holiday things that mean a lot to me. You know, like wine cake and such. Because cake with wine is VERY exciting. And today I’m sharing these awesome candy bar trains! This is something me mom made when we were growing up. And while I don’t remember making my own, I think these are the PERFECT alternative to gingerbread houses. Gingerbread houses can be so hard!!! Unless you glue gun the walls together, they often collapse and seem a bit fragile.  But these trains are a little bit easier and such a fun idea for families to do together at the holidays.

Make candy trains for Christmas! When I told my mom that I wanted to do a post on her trains, she searched her archives and came up with these written instructions for how she made them including a supply list. And then she left on a cruise. So I poured over her instructions and started gathering materials. And then got busy and put off making the actual train. And weeks later, my mom was back in town and I was finally ready to take photos of the candy bar train making process. So I invited her over to help me put it all together! I love having my mom help with posts! We pretty much followed her instructions this first go round but I can’t wait to make more and really get creative!

Make candy trains for Christmas! We got everything together and did a little mock-up before starting glueing things together with the royal icing. In doing so, we learned that candy has changed a bit since she first made these. Some things are larger and some things are smaller. Feel free to use whatever candies you think are best and please you, aesthetically. Also, she used to make a train track out of thin black licorice laces. I couldn’t find those anywhere! I also had a hard time finding rolls of Lifesavers (which we didn’t end up using anyway) and the larger Tootsie Rolls which make perfect logs. I feel like you can’t go wrong by buying the candy that looks fun to you and then see what you come up with. And if you have kids, the extra candy certainly isn’t going to go to waste…

Make candy trains for Christmas! We made (I say we, but really my mom made it) royal icing which would act as the glue to hold the train together. We probably could have used a little less of the icing but we wanted to make sure that things stuck really well.

Make candy trains for Christmas! My mom’s diagrams were very detailed about the front train car. But the rest of the cars can be whatever you want them to be. Have fun with it!  This is the back of the first car by the way.

Vintage Christmas miniaturesA few years ago my mom gave me her tin of vintage miniatures that she used for her trains and a few other food crafts she made.  So many memories in that tin! It was awesome to go through and remember all the old plastic figures and show them to my kids.

Make candy trains for Christmas! We let my son decide where Santa should sit. I think he made the right decision.

Make candy trains for Christmas!Our second train car holds a bunch of presents and toys and the final car is the log car. It dawned on me that it would have probably looked a little bit more like logs if we stacked another row in the center and on top of the bottom row. But it’s been probably 30 years since we’ve seen one of these trains so…we forgot. I just love how it came out!

Make candy trains for Christmas! How fun is this tree?! I added a little more royal icing to look like snow.

Make candy trains for Christmas! And of course we added edible glitter to have even more of a snow-like look although it is pretty hard to see. Like gingerbread houses, these are edible, but since all of the candy has been manhandled I wouldn’t recommend eating them. My kids asked so incessantly that I finally said they could eat their cars. Turns out all the different flavors of candy don’t taste that great together. So they stopped eating them instead of picking the candy off individually…dummies. (Yes I just called my kids dummies. But as a joke. That is kind of ironic. Especially since my 3rd grader had to go ask his teacher how to do one of his homework math problems since I couldn’t figure it out…)

Make candy trains for Christmas! I think this will be a tradition that we do with our kids every year. And I can’t wait to share it with the cousins and friends!

Make candy trains for Christmas!I put my train on a cake board that I got from the local craft store. It came in a pack of 5 so you could easily have each kid make their own mutli-car train.

Make candy trains for Christmas!When my youngest son got home from school he skipped lunch (truth be told he had candy for lunch) to make his train. He was so excited! He’s almost 6 and this was really easy for him. Where we had used a piping bag and decorating tip, we gave him a little paint brush to use with the royal icing and it worked really well. In hindsight, we probably would have had a cleaner look if we had used the paintbrush.

Make candy trains for Christmas!This would be a super fun idea for a family holiday party. I had only bought 6 of the large candy bars but the candy used to decorate was very plentiful. I could have made a ton of train cars by just picking up a few more Snickers bars, which is what we’ve always used. I guess you could use a different kind. But you would ruin Christmas…so…

Make candy trains for Christmas!We ended up having a last-minute playdate after school that day so my older son and his friend decided to make them too. Turns out, with a little imagination, your train car can be a sports car.  And a new tradition may be born.

Here is a very general list of what you might need to make a candy bar train with 3 cars like I’ve made above:

Large Snickers bars for the train cars (so 3 Snickers bars for the full train I made)

Fun Size Snickers bar for the front car

14 Peppermint candies for the wheels (note: the first car has 2 extra wheels – and they probably aren’t called wheels are they…)

1 gummy fruit slice for the corn catcher at the front of the train

4 Werther’s or several Lifesavers for the front of the train car

1 JUJU Bee for the light on the very front of the train

1 Gum Drop for the front train car

1 Lifesaver and 1 Rolo for the smoke stack on the first train car

Thin licorice laces to connect the train cars. Can also be used for the train tracks if you decide to add them to your cake board

14 M&M’s for decoration on the wheels

Several Tootsie Rolls for the log car.  The full size work best but you can also stack the Midgees if you can’t find the regular ones.

White edible glitter for snow

Royal Icing and a pastry bag and tips. You can also use a smallish paintbrush instead or if you have a young child where a pastry bag might be too hard to manage.

Assorted Miniatures

Tweezers might also come in handy (if you want to be all type-a about it)

To make Royal Icing: 

3 level TBSP Meringue Powder

4 cups powdered sugar

6 TBSP water

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a mixer for 7 to 10 minutes.

If you make one share it with me on instagram!!!! Tag me at @cupcakescutlery and use the #cupcakesandcandytrains

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestStumbleUponShare

Old Town Temecula Tour #LorimarSleepover

Lorimar Winery in Temecula. #LorimarSleepoverI worked with Lorimar Winery and VisistTemeculaValley.com to put together a fun wine tasting trip to Temecula for myself and 7 other bloggers including a sleepover in a home just off these lovely vineyards. Our costs were generously covered by several companies.  All opinions are my own.

So pretty, right?! This was the view of Lorimar Winery off my balcony on our second day of our #LorimarSleepover.  You can check out our first day in of wine tasting in Temecula here. I can’t imagine heading home after a day of wine tasting so staying in town is key. The rental property behind Lorimar is amazing and has you right among the grapes and horses. And with views like these in the morning, well, they were lucky we left on our own. There was talk of squatting.

Hot air balloons in Temecula. #LorimarSleepoverAnd then I heard Lauren outside on the balcony gasping. I looked over and there was a hot air balloon straight out in front of us, pretty much at eye level. It was huge. And then we noticed others that had already taken off just flying over the vineyards. I had heard that Temecula is known for this (they have a huge balloon festival each year) but had never really wanted to do it. But when you see them in action, it is awesome! [Read more…]

#LorimarSleepover Wine Tasting Trip to Temecula

Wine Tasting Trip to Lorimar Winery. #LorimarSleepoverOn my previous trip to Temecula, I fell in love with Lorimar Winery. Not only are the grounds gorgeous, but the people are also my favorite. So when the marketing department said I should bring a group of bloggers to visit, I was SUPER excited.  They also invited us to stay in a rental home behind the property for the night. We worked with VisitTemeculaValley.com to put together a really fun wine tasting adventure. The visit was a blast! Read on to find out why I’ve fallen in love with the Temecula Valley!  [Read more…]

Things I Love : November, 2014

Take time to stop and bake mini donuts with your kids. Random things that I loved this month…

I usually work on blog stuff in the mornings. Even the weekend. So it was a really nice change of pace when my son found our mini donut baker in the garage and all but demanded we make them immediately. So we did.  And they loved them. And it was really fun to make something for breakfast and take a little more time with them instead of being on the computer. I guess sometimes you have to stop and smell the mini donuts.

The styling in Bon Appetit Magazine is the best. They get me. I die for food magazines. I rarely make anything from them, but I have to read them each month. Over the last year or so I’ve been falling in love with Bon Appetit and their styling. They just get me. It’s all I can do to wait patiently for the new issue to arrive each month. The creative direction is SO GOOD. Like, I want to rip out these pages and decoupage them on my dresser like I did with bands in high school.

Celebrating a friend who is following her dream. This didn’t happen in October but I didn’t download the photo until now so it missed last month’s ‘Things I Love.” My dear friend, Erika, was an extra on Brooklyn 99, one of my fave shows. So of course we had to have a viewing party at her house and experience it together. It was the Halloween episode. She nailed it. I love watching her explore this new path in her life and think she is awesome. See her on Cougar Town here.

My favorite Erin Wasson for RVCA shirt and vintage necklace. You guys. I’ve only been wine tasting twice now but both times I really felt like I needed to wear this vintage grape necklace that my grandma gave me. Do you really need to have a good luck charm for wine tasting? Because I think this is mine. My grandma wasn’t in to wine per se although she always ordered a Chablis when we ate at the pizzeria. One of the funniest conversations I ever had with my grandparents was them making fun of pretentious wine tasters and the adjectives they use to describe the wine. I will never forget it. I love this necklace. And this shirt. I will die if anything happens to it. It’s Erin Wasson for RVCA and it is my all time fave. If we’ve hung out in person you have certainly seen me in it. And I love my new necklace from Shop Serene Sky. I won it at a blogger event and it’s totally my style! So glad I didn’t win the free month of exercise.

Fried Green Beans from The Habit. Dearest fried green bean, how did I not know about you until now? I saw someone post about these on their instagram account and later that day went to try them. I adore green beans. It’s the world’s best vegetable. And fried?! Yum. This was my first time at The Habit, although it is in the same parking lot as my Joann’s so you know I’ve passed it and smelled it like a gazillion times. The burger was also amazing! Can’t wait to go back and try out more things! I also love that they put a gummy hamburger in the kids meals! Nice touch.

Nerds against bullying! You know I love Nerds, right? They are my fave. But if Nerds and green beans got in to a fight, I’m not sure whose earrings I would hold. That’s not true. I would mean mug the green beans and back my Nerds. And then eat the green beans and then the Nerds.  So when Geeky Hostess posted this it made my heart sing. Candy against bullying. Now that is a cause I can get behind. Well done Wonka.

High waisted jeans changed my life. YOU GUYS! I’m sorry to shout at you but these pants changed my life. So I’m pretty cheap about my denim. I used to buy pricey pants, and they really did fit and wear well. But it just isn’t the right time for me to spend a lot on good denim. So I’ve been hitting the cheapy stores for my pants. These stores usually go for a younger audience so the pants are all low-rise and terrible whiskering. Well, I finally came across that was high-waisted (but not in a Jessica Simpson high-waisted pants debacle, high waist) jeans and they are awesome! The whiskering and details are still not something I would typically go for, but the fact that my muffin top is fully ensconced in these pants is amazing! I instantly felt pounds lighter. Shirts lay nicer. And I don’t constantly have to hitch them up. Because they sit above my hip bones, they don’t slip down much to create saggy butt. Life changing. So now I wear them every day. I apologize in advance.

Kids on the red carpet. This one is also from last month. My husband has a friend who is an artist and he created some custom pieces for a show at the Long Beach Museum of Art. One of the pieces is a sort of team photo from a made up sport and my husband is one of the players. So of course we had to go see my husband hanging on a museum wall.  We took the kids and they were so much fun to have there. My oldest dressed like he was going for an art heist (here he is missing the beanie and hood up). And my youngest was super in to the receptions happening outside including dancing like a spaz to the band and sucking down Sprite from the bar. And, of course, we had to get them on the red carpet. The docents only had to talk to the boys a dozen times to remind them not to touch anything.

My favorite wines from @lorimarwinery/.I have new favorite wines! I fell in love with Trio from Lorimar Winery on my first visit (a red with notes of coconut, yum). But this last visit I was lucky enough to get to taste even more of their wines. Their sparkling wine is my fave sparkling! SO delicious!  And the Grenache Blanc is where it’s at. I can’t wait to crack that baby open! Looks like I’ve got my holiday drinking game plan set.

Tillamook Chef event with Haven Gastro Pub at Provisions Market in Orange. I was invited to attend a Tillamook cheese event a few weeks ago and it was amazing. Tillamook partners with chefs from all over the country and has them create sensational dishes using Tillamook product. This event was in conjunction with the Chef’s of Haven Gastro Pub and Provisions Market in Orange. The servers strolled around with platters of beer and cheese beignets and other delightful cheesey dishes. There was a fantastic cheese tasting spread set out complete with beer pairings and then there was this Mac and Cheese. Best. Ever. For this recipe they used the Extra Sharp White Cheddar and added bacon and other yummy goodness.  The event was awesome but my favorite part is that they are sharing all the recipes! I want to make everything!  Here is the White Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese.  I fell in love with the Black Pepper White Cheddar and can’t wait to find that again in a grocery store. Mmmmmm.

Best Pencil Sharpener Ever

White desk with bright office supplies.Ok. You guys might think this post is crazy. Like, Sharon, you can’t possibly love a pencil sharpener this much. But it’s legit. My love is real. So much so that I want to share my love of an inanimate object with you. So much so that I sought Classroom Friendly Supplies out to do a review for them, at my request. They sent me a sleek, chic black pencil sharpener so my photos would be cuter but I have had a blue one for about 6 months. It’s kind of like part of the family now. And it’s the best pencil sharpener ever.

White and bright office space.With school starting and homework routines being set, my mom decided that my boys needed a really good pencil sharpener. I give her all the credit. She researched online, read reviews and spent time on this. It seems a good, manual pencil sharpener is hard to find. But then she came across this one by Classroom Friendly Supplies. It showed up at our house and the boys immediately started sharpening all of their pencils. I had no idea they would take to the sharpener the way I did.

Best manual pencil sharpener ever. I use only pencil for my editorial calendar and blog planning. The first time I used the pencil sharpener my world changed. I usually grab whatever dull pencil is lying around, left out by the boys. But a nice sharp pencil really does something for my productivity. We don’t have an office area set up at the house (thank you to Lauren for letting me borrow her workspace for these photos!) so the pencil sharpener sits on one of the counters in our kitchen where we keep the homework supplies. I couldn’t take a picture of it here because it is literally sitting next to a jar of mayo (unopened but still, ew gross – a result of pantry cabinet overflow) and a big jug of cranberry juice. No one wants to see that. This pencil sharpener needs to shine!

Best pencil sharpener. Ever. The pencil sharpener comes with a clamp so that it stays put when you are using it but we just hold it steady with our hands since we move it all around the house to where ever we need it. It comes in other colors as well, and they also have a discount if you buy 3 of them. And you should totally buy these for your kids teachers. They will totally want one.

Best pencil sharpener. Ever. Isn’t she pretty?

Best pencil sharpener. Ever. Recently I thought we killed ours. My kids sharpen far more pencils with it than they really need to. I was devastated. The price is not outrageous (they are $25 each) but I really didn’t want to spend another chunk of money on a pencil sharpener around the holidays). But as I was looking at the site, I came across their videos to troubleshoot problems. You guys!  It turns out that there was just lead stuck in the sharpener! I was able to take it apart, following their instructions on the video, and fix it!  World saved! This is a hearty little machine. It’s going to last you a nice, long time.

Best pencil sharpener. Ever. You see how the front part of the pencil sharpener, the metal part, is away from the body? Well, that holds the pencil and feeds it in to the blade for you as you crank. It’s so smooth and makes the nicest point. Yes, I’m a nerd and love this pencil sharpener.

The best pencil sharpener ever. For real. It's manual and it's perfect. And yes, I think it's odd that I love a pencil sharpener this much also...The shavings go right in to this little drawer that you can empty right in to the trashcan. It. is. the. best. ever. I am sure that the people on your holiday gift list don’t realize that they want this pencil sharpener. But they totally do! Or surprise them with it as a back to school present. This is THE only pencil sharpener you should ever have.

*I asked Classroom Friendly Supplies to send me a black pencil sharpener for my photos because I need you to know about this amazing product. And they did. Because they are awesome. And they are available for all your pencil sharpener needs.