Even though I’ve been personally feeling the holiday blues a little bit lately, there have been a few things that have really lifted my spirits – and they might surprise you.
Can you believe that Christmas is just a few short days away? This year we aren’t having any guests over and it will just be the five of us here, however in year’s past we’ve had friends and family stay with us over the holidays, and even though I’m going to have a house full of hustle and bustle this year, I’m going to appreciate the time spent together with just us and the kids.
If you are going to have a house full of guests this next week, you are probably in full preparation mode, making sure the pantry is stocked and towels are washed. I think that it doesn’t take a lot to make guests happy, you just a few holiday necessities that can be easily created and purchased. Here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind to stock up this next week:
1. Lots of good snacks – it’s the holiday season! Keep your pantry stocked with tasty morsels to keep everyone’s stomach happy.
2. Games and activities – make sure you dust off the board games and make a quick plan of ideas for activities that you can do to ensure everyone has something fun to do.
3. Kleenex – when you are reuniting with family you are sure to have lots of fun and memorable stories come up. Make sure you have lots of Kleenex® on hand in case there are some tears of joy. (The Kleenex® Holiday Oval is the perfect tissue to always have on hand throughout the holidays!)
4. A stocked up bathroom – with many extra people in the house, it’s important to have the bathroom fully stocked with extra toilet paper, hand towels, and air freshener. Scott® has a great deal at Walmart where you can get 1100 sheets instead of the normal 1000 package.
5. Paper towels – lots of snacks = lots of messes. It’s great to have extra paper towels so that guests can easily clean things up themselves. Viva® Paper Towels are amazing because they are durable and have a cloth like texture that can handle wet or dry messes.
Whether you are cooking together, baking treats, creating ornaments, or playing games, I hope that you have an amazing time with your guests this next week. Remember, don’t sweat the small stuff, take a deep breath, and appreciate the opportunity!
Are there any other things that you can think of to stock up on before guests arrive? I’d love to hear! Comment below!
Are you ready to stock up on holiday essentials for your home? Be sure to check out the Ibotta app where you can find great deals at your local Walmart on all Kleenex, Viva, Scott and Cottonelle products. With the Ibotta app, you can get:
$1 off Cottonelle 12-ct or larger
$1 off Scott 12-ct or larger
$1 off Viva 6-ct or larger
Buy two products and get an extra dollar back
Happy Holidays my friends!
This last weekend was…kind of crazy. The kids have been rather short tempered and tried my patience at times. I’m not sure if it’s just a change in the weather (gloomy days outside), anticipation of all of the holiday activities, or what, but I knew somehow, someway, I needed to get them to change. We went and picked out our tree – that didn’t help. Then, we got two children to agree on a tree, the other didn’t like it. We went and watched a tree lighting ceremony in our small town, and barely made it in time because they played around at dinner time. I was exhausted.
Finally, I turned up the Christmas music, and gave up. I brought out the dessert I made for this weekend anyways: a Joyous white peppermint ice cream cake made with Pillsbury™ Funfetti® cake with vanilla ice cream with crushed M&M’s® White Peppermint candies . I figured, if you can’t beat them, join them, right? Sometimes it’s just better to get through the rough times by celebrating life anyways. I tried to sit back and focus on my blessings, rather than my frustrations.
We sat down and sliced up the ice cream cake, poured some milk – and started talking. We talked about past Christmases – like where we bought our trees and which place was our favorite. Then we talked about how the holidays were when I was a kid, and what everyone’s favorite parts of the holidays were.
Sometimes, small celebrations like enjoying cake made with love can bring everyone together and make a good memory. I hope the kids will look back one day after they are grown and smile.
And I am grateful. I know that not every child out there can eat treats, or even drink milk on a regular basis. There are hungry children and families in every community and it breaks my heart. Unlike a lot of foods, milk isn’t typically donated to food banks – even though it’s in high demand. Right now, for a small donation at pourmilklove.com the Great American Milk Drive will deliver a gallon of milk to a family in need in YOUR community. Right now, when you purchase 2 bags of M&M’s® at Walmart (9.4 oz. bags or larger) for your holiday baking, up to a gallon of milk will be donated to the drive.
Below is my recipe for the White Peppermint Ice Cream cake, but there are also bunch more fun recipes online as well! Select influencers are currently competing to win a kitchen makeover, and by voting on your favorite photo, you are entered in a drawing to win one of eight KitchenAid® mixers.
Joyous White Peppermint Ice Cream Cake
White Peppermint Ice Cream CakePrint This
- For the cake:
- 2 boxes of Pillsbury™ Funfetti® cake mix
- 2 containers of Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Vanilla frosting
- 8 egg whites (per cake mix instructions)
- 1 cup of oil (per cake mix instructions)
- 1 ½ cups of water
- 1 package of M&M's® White Peppermint candies for decoration
- Coconut, if desired
- For the ice cream:
- 2 quarts of half and half
- ½ pint heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
- 1 package of M&M's® White Peppermint candies
- For the topper:
- 1 cup of white chocolate bark
- M&M's® Holiday Milk Chocolate
- Icing (use leftover Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Vanilla frosting
Bake the cakes per the instructions found on the back of the box and place into 8” round pans. You should make a total of 4 cakes. Cool on wire racks until room temperature.
You can either make the ice cream in your ice cream maker, or if you are rushed for time buy a good quality vanilla ice cream. If making your own ice cream, add all ingredients into your ice cream maker and churn until done. Mix in crushed M&M’s® White Peppermint candies by hand when finished.
After the cakes are completely cooled, level each layer with a cake leveler or large knife.
Begin assembling the cake. Place the first layer on your cake stand, then top with a thin layer of icing. Scoop ice cream onto the cake evenly. Continue to do this until all four layers of cake are assembled. If need be, place the cake into the freezer halfway through to firm up.
Using an icing bag pipe frosting onto the sides of the cake and then gently pat on the sprinkles which come with the Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Vanilla frosting. Press additional M&M’s® White Peppermint candies into the ice cream layers. Top with coconut if desired. Place in freezer until ready to serve.
When your household gets crazy what do you do? What tips and tricks do you have to bring back the peace?
Check out this website for more fun holiday baking ideas!
Join Feeding America in The Great American Milk Drive, the first-ever national program to help deliver highly desired and nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry families who need it most. Log onto milklife.com/give to learn about the need for more nutritious foods in America’s food banks and how your small donation can make a big impact.
Yesterday I had multiple events (again) that I was invited to attend. This time of the year is just so much fun – and incredibly busy.
We got done watching a wild middle school basketball game at 5pm and I was supposed to head off in one direction while Wayne took the kids to Noah’s wrestling practice.
But I changed my mind.
Instead, I took the girls, drove home, finished cooking tacos for dinner and sat down and decorated cookies with them, and not just any cookie: Nutter Butter cookies.
You guys – it’s here. The Holiday season is upon us which means parties, dinners, events, and outings are surrounding us – as well as many opportunities to be featured in everyone’s photos.
It’s hard not to be self-conscious or shy of photos this year – after all, we are all eating a little more and probably partaking a little more than usual. But that doesn’t mean that next time your co-worker grabs your hand and drags you into the photo booth at the company’s holiday party that you should duck and run for cover.
In fact, I think you should do quite the opposite. This year, throw all of your insecurities aside and say ‘cheese’. Have fun, celebrate, and make memories.
So I’m sitting here this morning writing a list when I realized that I must really enjoy creating lists because I do it quite often (and share them with you!) I guess it’s my way of staying somewhat organized and it helps keeps my thoughts in order.
This morning was the unofficial start of the holiday season in my opinion, being December 1st and all, and I knew that I wanted to do something special for the kids to ring in this magical season, so I threw together a little surprise box with Hallmark Northpole items that I found at Walmart. They have a cute new storybook called “Once upon a Northpole Christmas “(Have you seen the movie on the Hallmark Channel yet?) Fun little magic snowballs that light up when you throw them, Find Me Snowflakes that mesmerize kids with the changing colors as well as let Santa spot the right house to stop by when children hang them in their window. The item that was my children’s absolute favorite though was called The Northpole Communicator. Every day from December 1st- 25th the kids can ‘call in’ and talk to someone from the Northpole. Noah was SO excited today!
I was glad I bought these sweet gifts to get everyone excited to countdown for Christmas, but there are so many ways to get everyone in the holiday spirit and show them that you care this season, so we do a variety of traditions each year, and here’s a few of my favorites:
7 Ways to Show Your Kids You Care This Holiday Season
1. Friday night dance off parties // It’s really just an excuse to blast Christmas music and drink eggnog, but the kids love being able to show off all of their fancy footwork and see mom and dad get silly.
2. Leave little notes // Create a sticky note trail, or a scavenger hunt for them to discover after school with a holiday surprise at the end (hot cocoa and cookies perhaps?) Putting a little creativity and thought behind simple holiday treats will help make them more memorable.
3. Handmade ornaments // The kids have SO much more fun decorating the tree when it has ornaments they’ve created – in fact we made some salt dough ornaments a few days ago and they are patiently waiting to place them on a tree.
4. Holiday game night // Many people have holiday movie nights, but you can also do a themed game night for the kids! The Peppermint Ring Fling and Rooftop Drop are a couple of fun ones to get your started.
5. Christmas light drive // Once a year we load everyone up in the care with candy canes and stop at a local coffee shop for peppermint mocha’s and cocoa, then we take an hour and explore, hunting for lights and displays. The kids say “Oooh” and “Aaah” and then we all vote on our favorites.
6. Storybook countdown // Just one more way to get the kids excited for the big day, plus the holiday stories get them excited about reading. The Lights on Lights Off storybook and The Northpole City storybook are good ones to add to your collection.
7. Show more affection // Sometimes it gets so busy this time of the year that we forget that it’s often the smallest acts that have the largest impact. I dare you to run up and kiss your kids to no reason or make a point to say “I love you” a little more often – your actions are the best present they will ever receive!
Here’s a short video with a little more information about the new Hallmark Northpole story and products: