Wine.com Review (The gift for all occasions)

                                    

(This is a sponsored post with all my own opinions.) 
There are times when you want to give a thoughtful gift and you don’t know where to start especially for the person who has everything. Are you perhaps going to a dinner party and don’t know what to bring? Or do want to send a special gift basket to someone as a thank you?  Or maybe you have thought a monthly wine club would make a perfect gift for yourself? From birthdays to weddings and anniversaries…wine is a great gift.
Plus shipping wine is easy and so convenient!
Wine.com has numerous solutions to the “I dunno what to give?” problem.

One of the main goals of wine.com is to choose the wines that are best for you
In fact it can good resource with suggestions on which wines to pair with certain meals.
I love wine but always welcome suggestions on which labels and types to consider since I’m not an expert.
How to select the best wine bottle!
Not only can you learn about new wines from regions all over the world, wine.com lets you share your opinions/reviews and become part of their wine community by creating your own profile and keeping track of your favorites.
Don’t forget that wine accessories like decanters, stoppers, and aerators are perfect gifts for wine enthusiasts!

                                                                Vinturi Deluxe Wine Aerator with Tower Gift Set

Wine.com also has helpful tips like:
Make sure to sign up for their money saving email offers and join them on Facebook & Twitter to stay in touch!

A fancy frugal Christmas party

The first weekend in December we hosted my husband’s work team and their families for a big Christmas dinner party at our home. 
Photo: Hosted a big holiday dinner party for J's work ppl and their families..It was a success! We r wiped though.
This is why my Christmas was up pretty early this year 🙂 Take the tour here if you haven’t already.
 My husband’s company supplied a beautiful ham from the Honey Baked Ham Co, and I made the side dishes. Co workers brought some appetizers to share. 
Someone also brought some yummy punch that my kids loved!

I made some goodies that day that have already been featured on my blog you may recognize.

The box cake lemon cookies can be found here.
And the recipe for my grandma’s easy mini blackberry tarts with pie crusts are here.
I had a craft area set up for the kids that was really a hit.




They made some paper plate and cotton ball Santa faces.
We also did a gift exchange for the kids. I picked up this super cute Velveteen rabbit and book at Kohl’s for $5 each. Have you seen those? It’s so soft.
My daughter and I did our Santa nails that day….

We all drank and ate way too much! Including these two 🙂

 These party poopers passed out!
We had such a great party with some really fun people. I thought it was nice and more personal than going out to a restaurant, however if they want to do a restaurant next year, I’m in! lol 
 Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes

 Hi! Are you busy Christmas-ing? Man Christmas requires so many trips to Costco and Target doesn’t it? I think I’m finally done shopping. 
 We are so excited to have my MIL stay with us for the next ten days! Whoo hoo she’s my fun Goodwill partner 🙂 And I see an overdue date night in our future..Yay!
My son has his birthday over the break so tomorrow he is bringing in these hot cocoa cupcakes into his class to celebrate a little early.
Thanks to Lick the Bowl Good for this brilliant idea of using a mini candy cane as a handle for these cupcakes. Mine are just devil’s food cake from a box and this recipe for white frosting.
I topped mine with marshmallows and chocolate sprinkles.
This week we had my son’s holiday program….singing kids are just so awesomely cute!
 My little man, with the tie in front, was very into it! My heart was happy.

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My Grandma Bonnie’s Almond Roca Recipe

Each year we get a package in the mail full of edible treats from my Grandma Bonnie. She is one of those special people you could sit and have coffee and laugh and gossip with forever! I just adore her so much. Here she is pictured with my kids Christmas 2008.  (Awe they were so little then!)
As soon as I opened the box and tasted these Almond Roca pieces, I called her right away for the recipe! They are A-mazing…
So today I’m sharing her recipe with you. She said she’s been making these for years during the holidays and you can use Saltine or graham crackers…
Grandma Bonnie’s Almond Roca:
Ingredients:
2 sticks of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 sleeve of graham crackers
1 cup of chopped almonds
1- 12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Line a 9×12 casserole oven dish with foil including the sides.
3. Make one layer of crackers on the bottom of pan.
3. Melt butter and brown sugar on the stove and heat to a boil. Let boil (with bubbles) for 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn.
4. Pour and spread mixture evenly on top of the crackers.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 min.
5. Pour chocolate chips on top and spread around as they melt.
6. Sprinkle the almonds on top. (She said to kind of pat them gently down into chocolate so they don’t fall off.)
7. Refrigerate for a couple hours.
8. Break in pieces to serve.

I think these would be a great treat for Santa…
I know not the healthiest….just make one pan and share! lol I made two pans yesterday and gave them away for neighbor gifts. This recipe is so easy and tastes awesome.

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Homemade baby gifts

Good morning! How is everyone holding up? I’ve been so emotional and crying every time I hear the news or something on Facebook about the poor victims in Connecticut. I’ve also been so moved by the many quick thinking heroic teachers who saved their students…amazing. 
It’s also crazy how when something terrible happens like this, every tiny thing I was stressing about is suddenly meaningless and we gain instant perspective on what’s important…our loved ones.
My son’s wonderful teacher is having a baby next month so Saturday I spent the morning loving on my kids and sewing her some homemade baby gifts.
The kids are having a mini shower for her this week.  
(I forgot to mention I bought those cute BabyLegs for $3 online a few weeks ago.)

I had a little bit of this cute Riley Blake fabric in my stash and thought it looked perfect for a boy.

I made an applique elephant onesie…we love elephants around here.

I know my lines are hardly straight…oh well 🙂
I also made a tie applique…
And finally one of these cute jumbo ric rac burp clothes. Read how these is done here. I’ve done lots of these for gifts. Read here about how I do applique…you all know I’m crazy about that as well! 🙂

I hope you all have a great week! I am looking forward to my 1st grader’s holiday program tonight at school. 

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DIY Santa Hat Nail Art

Ladies….Get out your red and white nail polish!
Here’s a fun and festive way to get your nails ready for Christmas! My daughter and I had fun playing nails while we got ready for our big Christmas party last weekend. These were inspired by the awesome nail art youtube channel Cutepolish
They are really easy!

All you need for this nail art are the following:
 Nail dotting tool or a bobby pin, or pen.
White polish
Red Polish
Tape (I think most types would work)
Topcoat

First tape your nails like I did as shown. I used blue painter’s tape so you would be able to see it. Clear tape works too.
Next paint two coats of red polish.
Then use a nail dotting tool or bobby pin to dot on the hat detail.
(I use a piece of scrap paper to put some polish on and then dip you tool in that and dot it on your nail.)
After they are dry, finish with a topcoat.
My daughter’s little nails look too cute!
Now be prepared for a bunch of people to stop you and ask how you did that? 🙂

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Some kid told my child there is no Santa. Here’s what I did.

A few days ago a neighbor boy told my 6 year old, “There is no Santa, it’s all make believe.” 
It’s funny though, when my son told me this my knee jerk reaction as a mom was to get angry at this kid and I wanted to march over there and set him straight, but my sweet son said, “Mom he can believe in whatever he wants. I believe Santa. He doesn’t.”

Man, kids are so smart aren’t they?!

 I feel like my little man is so wise! That was it and he dropped the subject.

He was right…it’s fine if this kid doesn’t believe.  It has nothing to do with what we believe and that can be applied to so many other situations 🙂

Just in case there was some sort of doubt though, I remembered this awesome free printable mailing label from Santa via Design Dazzle.

                                         

I filled a shipping box with two inexpensive toys and candy canes and used the shipping label from the North Pole!
When my kids were upstairs,I rang the doorbell and softly shut the door and went in another room. They came downstairs and this was on the doorstep. It was also frozen because the North Pole is cold! 
This picture was taken after they calmed down, but they were screaming with excitement. I’m kicking myself now for not video-taping it! Darn…
I loved that this led into a long conversation about what Santa’s house and workshop looked like. Their imaginations are so fun…My daughter looked at her toy from Walgreens and said, “Wow an elf made this!” HA 
 
Isn’t this a fun idea?! They LOVED it….
Has anyone tried to squash your child’s Christmas spirit?
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Ribbon Christmas Card Tree Display (How I Display Christmas Cards)

My husband teases me because the only time I get the mail (we have a community box up the street) is in December 🙂
Sadly that is true…but this is the reason..Christmas cards! It’s great having little treats in there, right?
I used a few thumb tacks to secure leftover ribbon from my Christmas bins to the wall.
It’s so simple.
And then I happened to find these cute present wall stickers on black Friday at Joanne’s for just a few dollars for the pack.
Also I used a Sharpie to color the brass pins so they didn’t show as much. 

I was using double stick tape to secure cards but they were falling, so now I use clothes pins.

 This little card tree looks great behind the front door!
How do you display holiday cards?
Thanks for all your wonderful comments on my Christmas decor. It’s always fun to read!

Elf On the Shelf Ideas (Our Elf)

Yep we have him too…Our Elf in the Shelf has been in full effect this month! My kids named him “Nankee” two years ago. I have no clue why..it literally is a made up name 🙂
We don’t get super into it though. Half the time I forget to move him, or I mean he forgets to move until the last second before the kids wake up. The kids do get super excited to see who can find him first. Plus I am cherishing every second of their young imaginations and wonder.
In case you haven’t heard by now, the elf is Santa’s eyes and ears keeping an eye out on behavior reporting back to Santa…
I’m not sure he’s really affected my kids’ behavior noticeably..ha 
But it does make them feel even more excited about Christmas!
There have been a few notably creative moments for our elf. Here are a few I thought of…
Nankee has “Skyped” with Santa from our doll house.
Yep our elf is crafty.
Sometimes he’s an absolute angel.
He does like to go on a safari.
And sometimes he gets into mom’s makeup….
What fun things does your elf do?..
Do your kids love their elf? What’s your opinion? I’m curious to hear from you!

Moms do you find yourself telling your kids, “Quit fighting the elf is watching!”….a few times a day?
And because it’s kinda true if you think about it…. 🙂
Funny Christmas Season Ecard: Hey Santa, what's the deal with this creepy elf my mom says is watching us all the time?
Ha! 
Thanks for stopping in and have a great week.

Lemon Box Cake Cookies

Hi friends! Yesterday we had our Christmas holiday party and man I am wiped out…That’s a ton of work…all the cleaning and cooking and then the clean up…I actually can’t really move today my whole body is sore. Ha
It turned out wonderful though! I think we are also in a food coma 🙂
I’m planning on posting some details from last night, but for today I’m sharing the recipe for these super easy lemon cookies that turned out awesome!
I had a box of lemon cake in the pantry so I searched online on how to use them as a cookie and here is the recipe I followed.
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Easy Lemon Cookies:
Recipe from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
– one 18 oz box of cake mix
– two eggs
– 1/3 C vegetable oil
– 1 teaspoon lemon extract
– 1/3 cup confectioners sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, and lemon extract until well blended.
(I refrigerated my dough for about 20 minutes before I went further because it was kinda sticky).

 Roll 1 teaspoon full of dough in powdered sugar to coat and place on cookie sheet.
Bake on 375 degrees fro 6-9 minutes until the bottoms are light brown and inside is chewy.
They were a great big hit! If you are going to a cookie exchange or want to make some for the holidays these are perfect!
These two party poopers passed out last night 🙂 
This is how I feel today…ha 
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