Category: <span>Holidays</span>

7: Drink hot cocoa together.



6. Make holiday flavored milkshakes or ice cream.
(peppermint, pumpkin pie, eggnog, gingerbread)

This one is fun because I used to love Eggnog milkshakes from McDonald’s years ago, and it was always something I had to find during the season. I don’t get them now (probably because I’d rather have a gingerbread latte from Starbucks), but that doesn’t mean that you can’t try them yourselves! If you don’t want to take the time to make milkshakes, try holiday flavored ice cream tonight for a fun dessert! Add a fun candy cane or gingerbread cookie to complete the effect and make them really special. This is something the kids will certainly remember and want to do every year! I know I want to!

Here’s some recipes to try that I found online:


Eggnog Shake:
1 cup eggnog
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 scoop vanilla ice cream

In a blender combine first 3 ingredients and mix until frothy. Sprinkle with nutmeg.


Peppermint Shake:

4 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup milk
4 large peppermint patties
Peppermint sticks
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with peppermint sticks.

Gingerbread Shake:
1½ oz. gingerbread syrup (which I need to dig out of the garage)
2 oz. milk
1 tablespoon Graham Cracker crumbs
14 oz. vanilla ice cream

Blend syrup, milk, ice cream. Garnish with whipped cream, Graham Cracker crumbs, and a gingersnap.


Pumpkin Pie Shake:

4 oz. canned pumpkin, chilled
1-1/2 cups cold low fat milk
8 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg (optional)
1 tap. vanilla

Combine all ingredients until smooth. Top with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg.

Holidays Recipes/Cooking


5. Send Christmas cards to family and friends or make one for someone special.

Mine will not be ready yet, but maybe you are on top of things better than me… we will send ours shortly.


4: Listen to Christmas music.

Turn on the holiday tunes… pop a cd into your car player, or even at work to brighten your holiday spirits. You can also try Pandora Radio on the computer, which allows you to search for an type pf music and creates a station suited to your likes (I personally love it and can listen to it from my phone which is great). When you get home, play the local radio Christmas station while you cook dinner to make things more fun.

My favs are always Diana Krall, The Charlie Brown Christmas, and any jazz (like the Pottery Barn compilations). And I will always love “All I want for Christmas is You” by Maria Carey. What are your favorites?


3: Make a snowman.

This one may depend on whether there’s snow. For people like us in the south… there isn’t hardly ever snow so for those who wish for something else, here’s an alternative:

Do something nice for someone today. (For example, offer to help mom or dad set the table or do a chore.)



I wanted to share what I made and sent to the younger kids in the family… it is an advent calendar with a twist. The round tins are magnetic and have a “little surprise” inside each one starting Dec. 1 and going all the way to Christmas morning. Here’s another view.

I wanted to do something a little special to remind the little ones of what Christmas should mean and the things they should enjoy. I also thought that each day (if I remember) I will try to post the little notes that I put in each one… please consider doing these with us and post what you think or how you celebrated each one (posting pictures would be even better!!!). It is not necessary to do these, but I just thought they might reinforce the simple joys of the holiday… some things you may have already done or maybe you haven’t even thought of them so far, but you can try to plan it for the week or post about it later (there’s no pressure here… just good ol’ fashioned fun).

PLUS, I thought it would be a nice way to bring the family together through activities without us actually “being together.” This way we can all watch a movie together or drink cocoa together, etc. So here we go… bring on the Holiday Spirit:

Dec. 1: Have a house lighting ceremony, complete with a tongued drum roll! (like in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation)


Gather & Swap: Stir up your favorite recipes and invite your friends to do the same. I think I am doing this in December because it looks fun and is not as cumbersome as a dinner. And I like that you get an assortment of cookies for the holidays without having to do 10 batches! Just think… coffee, cocoa, eggnog and COOKIES! Okay, let’s not forget the wine too! LOL!

Anyhow, here are some tips from online in case people wanted to plan one:

  • Send invitations three to four weeks in advance, before friends’ schedules fill up. On the invitations, be sure to include how many cookies to bring (ask for homemade), specifics on packaging the cookies, and any other special features you plan for the event.
  • Ask each attendee to bring at least three dozen cookies to make sure everyone has plenty of cookies to take home. If you plan to serve some at the party, ask guests to bring an extra dozen or two for a sampling buffet.
  • Make the cookie exchange the entertainment at your gathering, or plan the exchange as a bonus to a caroling, tree-trimming, or sledding party.
  • Serve an assortment of holiday foods and beverages appropriate to the time of day and level of formality you desire. Suggestions: a holiday tea party, an appetizer and drinks soiree, a casual open house, a festive salad luncheon, or a lazy weekend brunch.
  • If kids are invited, plan an activity such as a cookie-decorating contest or story hour, or make sure games are available. Be ready to serve child-friendly foods and beverages.
  • Highlight the stars of the party (the cookies) with pretty serving plates and dishes. Provide cake stands, large parfait glasses, clear-glass bowls, and baskets lined with holiday linens.
  • Send your guests — and their cookies — home in fine style by supplying pretty packages for the cookies. Hand-stamped bags, clear holiday boxes decorated with decals, Chinese-food takeout containers, or inexpensive plastic carryalls garnished with ribbons and bows all make pretty carrying cases.
  • And this tip is my own: Remember those with dietary restrictions and make sure there is an assortment of cookies they can sample too (i.e. diabetics need sugar free, vegans need a cookie using no eggs or milk, and those with Celiacs disease need gluten-free).

Holidays Recipes/Cooking

This year we went out on the town with some friends so we revived some costumes that we had. David wore his Jack Sparrow costume that I made him several years ago and I went as my favorite black raven costume with wings, feather wrist cuffs, a black boa, and fancy black feather lashes. I even put a little bird in my hair. I have a mask on a stick that goes with it for the costume, but did not hold it up for the picture. We had a great Halloween, although passing out candy earlier in the night was a little lame due to rain. I have a TON of candy still at the house… YUCK! Hope everyone’s Halloween was spooktacular!


I know Halloween is tomorrow, but people have been asking about the decorations for this year’s Halloween and I thought I would post a few low cost ideas I used this year. Some are Martha ideas and I have included the links.

The bats I have done in previous years, but the idea was renewed when I saw the idea in Martha’s magazine. I used her template (you can find here) and cut them out of black cardstock, then tied fishing line to them. I tied the other end to paper clips and then hung them in places around the house, like in the doorway shown, above my kitchen sink, and on the lights near the bathroom and in the living room. They are just so cute and wave a little in the breeze.

And these curtains are one of my favs and really set the scene… we also put two in David’s office. Again, these were a Target buy a few years back that I got for 50%… I don’t pay full price for anything because you can find almost everything the day after Halloween at 50% off or you can use a coupon! BUT AGAIN, YOU CAN MAKE THESE SO EASY! I have two options for you… one is a Martha Stewart idea using black garbage bags… yes, GARBAGE BAGS (go here)! You can cut them open or leave them as is for a double layer and just cut strips into them… then pull them and you get interesting, scraggly shapes that mimic these curtains. OR, if you are a sewer (and you really don’t even have to be) you can get black fabric, cut a starting point and then rip up so you get the shreds. You can even use a stapler to make the seam to slide onto your rod (no need to be fancy). You can also go the cheesecloth route which look like spiderwebs or just old ratty fabric, which my mom did (go here for Martha tutorial). Martha even has some made out of black paper/cardstock (go here) and crepe paper (go here)! Seriously, get creative and don’t spend a lot of money. I only got these because they were cheap after the season.

And my monsters on the wall were a bigger hit than I even could have imagined. I have three frames that hang in my dining room with tomato prints (usually)… I decided to cover those up with some monster prints in black and white. I found Frankenstein, Dracula, and a Werewolf online, turned them black and white, and printed them on cardstock to hang in the frames. You can go download them in my FlickR.

I have many more ideas posted on my website, including using bedsheets for tablecloths and furniture covers, buying and tearing cheesecloth and more, so if you are interested go check them out

Creative Holidays Homes

Fathersday09 (219k image)
Let’s all wish our Father’s a Happy Day!

Delaney did a List of the Top 10 reasons she loves her Dad for Father


katemat (79k image)

Materials Needed:
* Zip-Top Sandwich Bag
* Small Red and Green Candies
* Paper
Simply put a handfull of of red and green candies (use holiday M and Ms, jelly beans, ect.) in the zip-top sandwich bag to be the “poop”. If you want a little more variety, add some Christmas colored sprinkles or some edible glitter.
Print out the poem, cut it out, and stapled it to the top of the sandwich bag …

elfpooptag (41k image)

Holidays Recipes/Cooking