Sunday, December 27, 2020

How to make an inexpensive hot chocolate bar

Merry Christmas! 

I know Christmas was a couple of days ago, but I celebrated it over a couple of days.   As you may have noticed I did not post a Dare to Share party this past Friday because I was spending time with my daughter.  On Saturday I celebrated Christmas with my boyfriend, and as you can see in the picture, he bought me an actual Dollar Tree. We saw it a few days ago while out shopping for Christmas presents. He saw how much I loved it, so he decided to surprise me with it.  While he does not understand my Dollar Tree addiction, he does help enable it.  LOL!! 

Yesterday we did a little after Christmas clearance shopping at Dollar Tree and Walmart.  I have been wanting to put together a hot chocolate bar for a few weeks, and with some of my awesome clearance finds I put together one for just a few dollars. 

I don't really have a space where I can sit my hot chocolate bar long term, so I am using a tray and carry box with handles that can easily be moved.   I already had the buffalo plaid tray, which you can see more about on my buffalo plaid Christmas post from a couple of years ago.  

A couple of weeks ago, we went through the McDonalds drive through and was given this awesome cardboard cup holder.  I like this version so much better than the kind they used to use, and immediately knew I could reuse it in some kind of manner. The cocoa packets fit perfectly in it.  To make it look festive, I added a cup of cocoa vinyl cling from a cute set I bought at the Dollar Tree.  

The pails, mugs and mini paper cups were all on clearance.  Found the Santa pails for .49 each, and a packet of 12 mini cups for .84 at Walmart.  I got 4 hot cocoa themed mugs from the Dollar Tree for .50 each. I only have 3 in the picture but the 4th one already had cocoa in it.  :)  The candy canes and sticks were .50 a box, the sugar cookie and hot chocolate kisses were on sale for $1.49 a bag, the peppermint and chocolate spoons I got at the Dollar Tree. 

I found this super cut ornament for only $1.48.  I had to get it, because I know a really rambunctious puppy who would totally eat all of Santa's cookies.  She eats everything! 

While at Walmart,  I found a box of Lucky Charms hot chocolate.  Since I love Lucky Charms the cereal I decided to try it. While it is basically just regular hot chocolate with Lucky Charms marshmallows, I really liked it.  

If you are out shopping the after Christmas sales, hopefully you will find some great deals too.  

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Saturday, December 19, 2020

Three Christmas Gift Basket Ideas

I posted in some of my recent posts that I am giving  themed gift baskets to my boyfriend's kids.  Two of the are teenagers and one is in his 20s.  I found so many great things while shopping at the Dollar Tree, I thought I would share my finds to maybe give you inspiration on what you can give as a gift as well. 

First up are the things I bought for his daughter.  She loves art, shrimp and quirky, silly things.  Seen in this photo is a pizza eraser, a flamingo tape expenses, 2 scratch art kits, a donut coin purse, a LED glow art maker, a 300 piece Bob Ross puzzle, and a donut and bacon notebook. 

The T-shirt is not from Dollar Tree but from Kohls (the only non DT present). I got a great deal on it about a month ago, and bought it because she is obsessed with shrimp  She also likes shiny, glittery things so I got her the reindeer tie and glasses.  I think 90% of my socks are from DT.  I found some really cute one the last few months.  I know she will love the sloth holding the donut, a llama flying a plane, and a pair with sushi and shrimp.  Not pictured because I bought it after I took the picture is a stuffed piece of shrimp sushi. 

The scared narwhal pen has that look on his face, because I forgot to put him in the pictures. 

The next themed basket is for his teenage son who likes to play games.  There are so many great games that I found to put in his basket.  A mini pool table, a tabletop basketball set, a tabletop dart set, a tabletop cornhole set, a mini wooden tower game, left center, right dice game, and a brain teaser wooden puzzle. 

I look forward to playing some of these card games with their family.  I picked up Family Fued, Deal or No Deal, Wheel of Fortune, and an Escape Room Challenge. I also picked up a Jeopardy game, but I kept that one for my myself. 

Since he just turned 16 and really wants to get a jeep, I am putting two jeep hot wheels in the basket.  While it is kind of silly, but also kind of fun, I am also giving him a fart machine. I am sure he will also be challenging people with his fighting finger robots.  I think he will like the Christmas tree tie, and the Christmas tree glasses. 

The last gift basket is for his oldest son.  He is learning how to cook, and is on the spectrum. To encourage his love of cooking I am giving him a kitchen/cooking basket.  In the top picture I am giving him a mixing bow with a handle, a small strainer, several Betty Crocker utensils, a spoon rest, a red oven mitt, and a red silicone trivet that can also be used as a pot holder.  Not picture was a measuring cup and a package of Reynold Wrap pre cut squares. 

Some more items I found are a Duncan Hines brownie mix, a Betty Crocker cookie mix, a cutting board, a dicer utensil, two dish towels, two different size cooking bags, five made simple cook books, and for fun a Santa themed apron.  Tonight while out looking for a basket big enough to hold everything, I found two more simple recipe cookbooks.  

Each of the kids will also be getting some candy.   Fast food gummies, a candy bar with a million dollars on the wrapper, a chocolate Rudolph, and some Rudolph snacks. 

It has been a lot of fun putting these baskets together.  There were so many great gifts to put in them this year.  

Updated 12/23 
I gave the kids their baskets on Sunday night, since I was not going to be there on Christmas.  The kids took turns and opened them one at a time.  I told each of them that I chose their gifts based on what I knew about them.  His daughter went first.  When I asked her what she thought I knew about her, she said that she loved art and shrimp. She loved all the fun quirky items I found, and immediately put on the shrimp socks.  Next up was his youngest son. He told me that I knew he liked games and wanted a jeep.  He also was happy with all of fun games he received. His oldest son was the last to open his basket.  I originally bought him a green basket too, but there was just too much stuff to fit it in, so I went back and bought the bigger white one. He also loved all of the kitchen items he received. He looked through every cookbook, and found several recipes he wanted to try and make for the family. Since the gift baskets were such a great gift, I am going to start looking now for great gifts to give on their birthdays and next Christmas.   
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Friday, December 18, 2020

Dare to Share #448

It is Friday night, and you know what that means.. 
It is time to Dare to Share! 

Well I made thru holiday week, and I am now on break until next year.  Of course, next year is only a few weeks away, but it does sound funny to say. As of right now the plan is our district plans to go back in early January, but I have head there is a chance we might postpone a week or two as well. Now that I have time off of school, I hope to finish up on a few things I still need to do to get ready for Christmas.  Do you have all your shopping done?  I have just a couple of small things I would like to get.  I also do not have anything for Christmas dinner for me and the kids.  Hopefully I will get that early in the week.  

I did share a post this week showing some of the great last minute stocking stuffers you can find at the Dollar Tree.  I was hoping to post some gift basket ideas last night, but I had too much on my to do list that I had to get done before I can get on the computer.   It will be up this weekend though. I have to get one more thing for my cooking basket and take some of the final pics for the post.  

Well it is getting to be time for the party to start, and I am ready to get some rest after a long week at school.  

Link up and HAVE FUN!! 

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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Last minute Stocking Stuffers

Christmas is coming, and it is coming very quickly.  Christmas Eve is just over a week away.  Are you ready?   I am for the most part.  The last gift that I was waiting for finally arrived today. I ordered it at the end of November. I probably will pick up a couple more gifts for my son who has refused to give me ideas this weekend.  I plan on sending my oldest a care package of Christmas/birthday gifts after Christmas. (her birthday is in January, and hopefully shipping will be easier and quicker then.  

As you know from my posts, I love the Dollar Tree and this year the Christmas stock has been amazing.  It has been so good that I got all of my stocking stuffers, and even things for themed gift baskets there this year.   

Since the people I bought these stocking stuffers for do not read my blog, I can share with you pictures of some of the great finds, in case you still need ideas.  

 These items I plan on putting in my daughter's stocking who loves make up and beauty items. In the first picture is a foot sugar file, a diamond nail file, a silicone make up blender, cucumber eye compresses, Botanico eye compresses, and two lip balms.  In the bottom picture are lip glosses I found for 90% off after Halloween at Meijer. (the only non Dollar Tree product)  


My boyfriend's 16 yr old son loves playing games. While I plan on making him a themed gift with these some of these games, they are perfect stocking stuffers for a teen, older child, or someone who loves games.  In the top photo are table top darts, cornhole, and a generic Jenga game. Also included is a block puzzle, Sloth Rummy, an Escape Room Challenge, Left Center Right dice game, and finger Robots.   In the bottom picture is card versions of the game shows Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, Deal or No Deal, and Jeopardy.

His daughter who is the same age as my daughter, loves fun quirky things. These are some of the items I bought for her.  Notebooks with  pictures of bacon and donuts, a donut zipper purse, scratch art kits in two colors, and a flamingo tape dispenser. 

I love the themed socks DT has available.  Some of my fun finds have been a llama flying an airplane, gnomes, a sloth hugging a donut, and pretzels.  

These items are for my boyfriend. He loves German food, and served in Germany for a few years so I know he will will the pretzel socks and beer mask. Other things in this pic are a small tool set, camper sock and a Hot Wheels ID muscle car. What is really cool about the ID cars if you can find them, is you can play/race them on an app on your phone.  

If you like squishy toys they have this Christmas set. All are adorable, but I think I like the snowman the best. 

These are going in MY stocking. Flavored lip balms in the flavors are some of my favorite cereals and pop. 

There are a lot of unicorn themed items available.  Unicorn sticker books, a rainbow calendar, an unicorn marque light, an unicorn glitter banner, several different types of stuff unicorn, and a cute unicorn light up desk light. 

You can find many kinds of Disney items like these cute Tsum Tsums. Not pictured but also available are Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. 

You can find fun and silly items like a fart machine and glow art maker. 

 I found a lot of great candy stocking stuffers are well.  In the top pic are Rudolph themed items.  A chocolate Rudolph and lip pops in Rudolph Bumble.   There are lot of different types of boxed candy as well, gummy blocks, peppermint bark, and peppermint crunch Junior Mints.  (I can tell you that they are good, I may or may not have already eaten a box of them.)  

Check back tomorrow.  I will be posting some gift basket ideas for teens and young adults.  

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Saturday, December 12, 2020

Dare to Share #447

It is Friday night, and you know what that means... 
It is time to Dare to Share! 

We are now halfway through December. Christmas is two weeks from tonight.  My tree is up now, and it's been a crazy week. We have one more week of school before Christmas break.  Today I had yet another close call and almost needed to quarantine, but was just far enough away not to be considered close contact.  Tomorrow was also supposed to be the annual Ohio State-University of Michigan game.  It is a game we look forward to all year, but this year for the first time in 103 years it will not be played.  While I understand why it had to be canceled, it is still seems weird that we will not play.  

Do you have any fun Christmas plans for this weekend?  We are going to make a gingerbread house and then go see Christmas lights.   While this year is definitely not normal, hopefully doing some of our annual traditions will make it feel a little bit close to normal.  

Well it looks to be that time, so let's get this party started.  

Link up and HAVE FUN!  


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Saturday, December 5, 2020

Dare to Share #446

It is Friday night, and you know what that means.. 
It is time to Dare to Share! 

We are one week in December.  How are you doing with your Christmas shopping?  This is the first year I did not go out at all on Black Friday.  I have done most of my shopping online this year taking advantage of the stores great virtual deals.  Thankfully I am mostly done.  I still did not get anything for my son, because he has not given me any ideas. My tree is up, but not decorated yet.  I hope to change that this week. The first thing I need to do is find where I put my Christmas ornaments.  I am one of those people who puts things in a place where I think I will easily find the next year, only to forgot where that place is.  Anyone else here do that?  

One thing I did get accomplished this week was finally finishing some of my red truck Christmas crafts. I made this 3D tree truck and some ornaments for my bedroom red truck Christmas tree.  

Well it looks to be about that time again.  Time to get this week's party started.  Link up and HAVE FUN! 


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Thursday, December 3, 2020

Red Truck Christmas Crafts


I have been wanting to work on this craft for several weeks, but I have been so busy with school, that I did not have a chance until this past weekend.  As you may know from my blog and Instagram posts, I love anything red truck.  When I was able to find a few of the wooden trucks at the Dollar Tree, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them.  

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

I started this project with two DIY wooden Christmas Trucks , a piece of pallet wood from the Crafter Square aisle, and a package of the Christmas trees from the Cobblestone Christmas Village.  I forgot to take a picture of the pallet before I painted it. As you can see I painted it dark brown.  

Added: New in 2021 Dollar Tree has added a few new trucks to their inventory  a paintable MDF truck, and this wooden truck with Christmas tree and trailer

An alternative to the pallet wood, is the wooden rectangular crate, which is available online in small quantities. 

Since I wanted to make a double sided 3D truck and the wooden trucks had doors on the same side, I had to remove the extra pieces and glue them on the opposite side of one of the trucks.  The pieces are glued on pretty well with wood glue, so they were not super easy to remove. I did slightly damage the door, but it gives the truck some charm and will be on the back side of the truck. I painted both of the truck pieces the same on both sides and added details.  You will see in one of my later pics how I added extra details like shading and snow, but I don't have a picture of it at this step. 

Using a bit of hot glue, I glued the pallet to the back side of one of the trucks.  This will be the truck bed where you will place the Christmas trees. 

To make my truck stand up, I added hot glue to the second side of the pallet and then attached the second truck while holding them upright. I wanted to make sure they were lined up evenly. 

After deciding where to place on the pallet, I decided to glue them down.  This step is completely optional.  I am considering picking up another package of the trees and adding a few more.  I really loved how the truck turned out but I thought it was missing a little something. 

I remembered that I had found these mini ornaments for only $1.88.  I believe they are from Walmart.  The Farm Fresh Trees ornament  was the perfect size for the door of the truck. 

I hot glued the ornament to the truck, and it finished the look.  I love how this turned out.  I think it will look cool on a white snow blanket with a few other trees around it. I am still in the process of getting out my Christmas decorations.  Hopefully once I get everything out, I will add it to Instagram. 

Another red truck craft I made were these wooden ornaments for my red truck themed Christmas tree.  I found them in the Christmas craft aisle at the Dollar tree.  As with the large wooden truck.  I painted them all the same, and then added the details on the truck and snow on the tree. I painted them on both sides, so they could face in either direction when on the tree.  

I used jute twine to make the loop to hang them on the tree, but I wanted to add just a little more.  I bought this amazing Christmas ribbon tower from Walmart for only $4.88. (only .82 per roll!)   I love all the ribbon that is included in this set. I decided on the buffalo check trees to make little bows to tie on the jute twine. 

Here are what the final ornaments look like.  I just love them and how they look on the tree. 

Added: If you prefer not to paint red trucks, has this  version of the red truck ornament available online in small quantities. 

I just love my red truck tree. I seriously can not stop looking at it. It is in the corner of my bedroom, and makes me smile every time I see it.  You can see one of the ornaments in the bottom picture. I added a camper ornament behind it that I also found at the dollar tree.  

I have a few more red truck crafts to complete that I will be adding soon! 

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