Saturday, December 31, 2022

The Happy New Year Dare to Share Party!

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

Happy New Year! 

Welcome to the last Dare to Share party of the year! 

I am sure I am not the only one who felt this year FLEW! It seriously has been the fastest year to do for me. Possibly because it was one of major changes for me.  I moved back to my home state, and for the moment anyway, no longer teaching.  I am still learning my new town, but it is starting to feel like home.  I had more time for my blog, and my Etsy shop.  I just joined a new crafting group in my area, and will be meeting new friends. My kids have been going through some pretty big changes too, probably the biggest was my son moved out on his own and started attending a Big 10 school in the field that he has wanted to do since he was in grade school. If I had to sum up 2022 in one word, it would be CHANGE.  I have decided that my work for 2023 is going to be GROWTH. I hope to grow my Etsy business, my blog, new friendships, my social media and more.. 

Do you choose a word for the year?  If so, what is your word for this upcoming year? 

This week we had a lot going on, so I was not on the computer as much.  I was able to write one blog post, The Week We Eat Cheese, based on the meme when all the days blend together this week an we are full of cheese.  I shared some of our new gifts for the kitchen which I hope to use when  making new recipes for the blog. 

In my Etsy Shop,  I updated my Vision and Goal Planner, and my Printable Love Coupons that are great for Valentine's Day and Anniversaries.  I have a long list of items that I will be adding to my shop in time for Valentine's Day.  

Well looking at the clock it is officially New Year's Eve.  The day that hopefully Ohio State beats Georgia, and Michigan beats TCU so we can have an epic National Championship game with Ohio State and Michigan.. We shall find out soon! 

Whatever happens, I hope you have a very Happy and Safe New Year Celebration. 

Let's get this party started, link up and HAVE FUN! 


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Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The Week We Eat Cheese


You have probably seen this popular meme that is all over the internet every year at this time. I'm not sure who the original creator is so I can credit it. Does anyone know? 

This meme is so popular though, because it is so TRUE! For many people this week is time off from work, the days blend together, and we are snacking on all the leftover treats. 

We still have not made all of our holiday treats yet at our house though, we have one more holiday celebration and then New Year's Eve to plan for.  

**this post contains affiliate links 

This year we got some really cool new presents that I will be able to use to make yummy things, and share more recipes on the blog.  The one I am most excited about is our Gourmia Dual Basket Air Fryer. There are so many cool features that this air fryer can do.  It addition to being an air fryer, it can roast, bake, dehydrate, broil, reheat, and keep food warm.  Each of the dual baskets have their own controls, so you can make two things at once with different temps, or use both the same for an extra large batch. There are so many cool recipes in their booklet and online.  I can't wait to start using it, and and sharing my recipes on the blog. 

In the meantime if you are looking for a great air fryer recipe for New Year's Eve, here are two of my favorites. 

This gift came with raving reviews from my boyfriend's mom.  She liked her MyMini Egg Cooker so much that she bought us all one.  After we opened our gifts, she gave us a demo on how to make the perfect hard boiled eggs. (its simple and quick!)   This mini appliance also has a special tray to make omelets. I will be sharing some deviled egg and omelet recipes soon.  

The last gift was this Oster Diamondforce Waffle Maker. We really like waffles, but did not have a good waffle maker.  I used to have one several years ago, but I am not sure what happened to it. It's possible it is packed away with some of my things in storage.   A few years back I had a waffle week where I shared recipes you can make with a waffle maker. 

One of those recipes was this Bacon, Egg and Cheese Sandwich Waffle.  

Another interesting thing we tried was to make this Tater Waffle in the waffle maker out of tator tots. We really liked them this way, even if they did not stay together as one piece very well.  

Did you get any new presents that you are excited about? I would love to hear about them. 

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Friday, December 23, 2022

Its the Christmas Dare to Share Party


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

Merry Christmas!! 

Have you been affected by this crazy winter storm? I know quite a bit of the country is in a frozen tundra right now.  While we only got a few inches of snow in my part of Ohio, we are definitely FREEZING. Today the wind chills were way below zero because of the strong winds, and the roads were snow covered and icy.  D and I had to go out and finish our shopping because we were not able to get it done earlier.  While we were out, we saw several accidents. One of the highways near our house has been close for hours due to accidents.  On the plus side for us, is a lot of people stayed home, so our last minute shopping was not completely crazy.  

This week I had plans to get more done on the blog, but had too much on my to do list that took up my time.  

Earlier this week I shared Reindeer on Rye, and fun appetizer sandwich that my son created when he was doing his Cooking with Kyle series.  On that post I link all of his family friendly recipes.  We really enjoyed having a kid chef in the house.  He is grown now and off to college, but hopefully he never loses his joy of cooking.  

Had I had a chance to post in the last two days, I had planned on making and sharing our Reindeer Marshmallow Pops.  

When my youngest was in about 5th grade she told me last minute that she needed treats for her music class party. These yummy pops were easy to make, and the kids loved them.  I plan on making them again this year, we just have not had a chance to make our goodies yet.  I still might post them in the next few days.  

 Over in the shop, I have added a New Years Trivia Bundle  perfect for your New Year's Eve parties.   I have so much fun making trivia games. So far I have one for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  I may try to add some for other holidays as well. 

If you have ever thought about making your own printables to sell, I highly recommend learning how from Gold City Ventures. I took their course, and I am part of their online Facebook group. It is the best group to be a part of. They are so supportive, and I have learned so much from them. They have a free Ebook available about making seasonal products and earning a passive income, if you would like to find out more. 

Well it looks like it is time to get this party started.. Link up, and HAVE FUN! 

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Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Countdown to Christmas- Reindeer on Rye

 Several years ago, my son had a cooking series on my blog called Cooking with Kyle. He was very interested in cooking, and developing his own recipes.  While he only did it for a few years, he has lots of good recipes on this blog.  (which you can see below)  

One of those recipes was this fun Christmas appetizer Reindeer on Rye. (you can seen the original post here.)

I'm thinking this might have been one of his last cooking posts.  He was 15 in this photo. Its so nice to see his face without a lot of facial hair. He has had a beard for several years now, so I have not seen his clean shaven face in a long time. 

Kyle was hungry, and since it was just a few days before Christmas he decided to make something Christmas themed. 

The first thing he did was sandwiches on rye bread. The size of the loaf is much smaller than regular bread, and perfect for an appetizer.   He chose to use turkey, swiss, miracle whip and Dijon mustard.  

*this is an affiliate link 

He cut out circles from mozzerella slices with the center part of an apple slicer - corer.  The noses are cherry tomatoes sliced in half. 

He has some trouble figuring out the what to use for the pupil.  He originally thought pepperoni, but it did not work right.  Even though he was not a fan of black olives, we both agreed they looked the best.

The last step was to add the antlers.  We only had mini pretzels on hand so the antlers were a little small, but they still were cute. 

Would you like to see some of Kyle's other Cooking with Kyle posts. He has some great family recipes, that you can make with your kids.   You can see the posts below. 

Chicken Salad Surprise

Breakfast Burrito

Grilled Turkey with Cheese


Ham and Cheese Bundles

Cheesy Chicken Legs

Marinated Pork Chops

Shredded Pork Tacos/Burritos

Cheese Fries

Chicken Marsala

Pizza Bites

Chocolate Strawberry Muffins

Cheese BBQ Sliders

Homemade Egg Potato Salad

Homemade Pizza with a Twist

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Saturday, December 17, 2022

It's Party Time! Let's Dare to Share!


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

Are you in the middle of Christmas craziness like me?  We still have some decorating, baking, shopping and more to do. I'm really behind this year.  The big tree in the living room is still not up, but two of my smaller trees are. Instead of me and D combining our ornaments on one tree, I put my woodland themed tree in the dining room, and my gingerbread tree in the kitchen.  The big tree with their family ornaments will be going up Sunday night after our other events.  Tomorrow is the family wedding a few hours away, and Sunday the family Christmas party an hour away.   

What do you still have on your Christmas to do list? 

This week I posted four new Countdown to Christmas posts.

On Monday I shared Christmas Treat Jars. I made these for a craft show a few years ago. They are easy to make, and look really cute.  One thing you can do with them is  fill them with treats and give them as gifts.  

 On Tuesday I shared my  Christmas Cracker DIY.  Christmas crackers are a traditional party favor that are filled with treats.  Buddy and Joy wanted to show how a Christmas cracker would be a fun surprise from the North Pole for the kids.  

On Wednesday, Buddy help me show how to make several Christmas Ball Ornaments. There are six different ornaments that are easy to DIY 

Earlier today, I shared my recipe for Magic Reindeer Corn. This stuff is so yummy!  I seriously could eat an entire bathch on my  own. You can use it to give a little to help Santa's reindeer to find your house on Christmas Eve, but then you are definitely going to want to eat the rest. 

If you are thinking of having a Christmas Scavenger Hunt to find presents or treats this year, I have just listed scavenger hunt cards in my shop.  You can find them here if you are interested. 

One more thing to add before I get the party started.  I just started an email list sign up, if you would like to receive my personalized weekly newsletter.  I used to rely on auto reminders, but I want to add a more personal touch. The sign up box is in the upper right corner of the blog.

Now it is time to get this party started.  LINK UP and HAVE FUN!

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Friday, December 16, 2022

Countdown to Christmas - Magic Reindeer Corn

I have not shared a treat in a bit, so today I am going to share one of our favorites.  Reindeer corn is easy to make, and delicious to eat.    

We made it one year to leave a bag of it  for Santa's Reindeer.  It not just meant for reindeer though, but humans love it too. 

In a large bowl dump in a bag of premade or homemade popcorn, mini marshmallows, M & Ms, red and green swirled chips.  We added a few gummy bears for good measure. 

This reindeer was quite interested in what we were making, and approved of the recipe. 

Melt  white chocolate chips and mix it throughout the the popcorn and goodies.  You can melt them on the stove or in the microwave.    I like to use the 30 second microwave method when melting my chips.  Place them in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds and stir well.  Then in 30 second increments continue to melt and stir until it is completely melted. 


Once the mixture is covered in white chocolate, spread it out on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper.  Put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes to harden the chocolate.  Break into small pieces and enjoy! 

You can store it in a container, but if you want to share it with others or leave for the reindeer.  I recommend putting it in treat bag when giving out to friends.  

I currently have in my Etsy Shop,  Magical Reindeer Corn Treat Bag Toppers that include the recipe as a bonus. This would be a great treat for friends, neighbors, and parties. 

Writing this post has made me hungry for some, I think I am going to go see if we have everything to make them now. :)  

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Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Countdown to Christmas - Easy Ball Ornament DIYs

When we got some of my Christmas boxes out of storage the other day, I found some of my items I have not seen in awhile. I did not have space to use them in my apartment, but I was not ready to get rid of them either. It has literally been just like Christmas (LOL!!)  opening the boxes and finding the treasures that are inside them. 

The Christmas before moving from my house to an apartment, I did a craft show. In the boxes from storage, I found several ornaments that I had made for the show. When I was looking through them, I thought they would make a great Christmas countdown DIY post.  They are easy to make, and would make great gifts.

Buddy was very happy I found his favorite elf inspired ornaments again.  It's been awhile since he had seen them. You can see them in this post, Elf on the Shelf Ideas and Dollar Tree accessories.

It is a dreary, overcast day here in Ohio, so it was hard to get good photos.  I tried to use different types of lights, but since these ornaments are glass, I kept getting weird reflections.  

**these are affiliate links 

If you would try to make these ornaments yourself, the Dollar Tree has clear plastic ornaments in a 2 pack of smaller ornaments, a 4 inch, and a larger 5 inch ball.

The first thing I did with this ornament was fill it half way with faux snow. I then took a thin paintbrush, and painted on white birch trees and a few cardinals.  I also added a red ribbon to hang it on the tree.  I now have them on my Woodland themed Christmas tree.

This melted snowman ornament is very easy to make.  I pulled up my original photo from 2012, because you could see it better than the ones I took today. In my original ornament, I used craft foam for the nose, eyes, and buttons.  In the updated version, I used a little bit of orange air dry clay to make the carrot nose. I then used peppercorns for the rest, because they look more like tiny pieces of coal.  In both, I used a small piece of red felt fringed on the ends for the scarf. Fill the half full with faux snow before added the snowman pieces.  

All you need to make the elf inspired ornaments are some red ball ornaments like these currently available at Dollar Tree in small quantities, and a wooden or paper mache stocking.  Paint them red, and add white felt. 


When we had the craft show, the movie Frozen was still very popular.  At the show we sold a lot of snow wands, a few tulle skirts in Anna and Elsa colors, and these hand painted Olaf ornaments  I filled the ornament completely full with faux snow and then painted Olaf's face. If you prefer not to paint it, you might be able to make an Olaf face using a Cricut machine. 

I also sold hand painted Christmas Tree ornaments.  If you would like to see how to paint one of your own, here is my step by step tutorial from a post in 2013.  It is easier to do than you think! 

I recently had someone email me asking me about this  ornament.  I looked through the entire blog (11 years worth) looking for it.  I could not find a post, nor did I remember making it. Fast forward to a week later, I find the box of forgotten ornaments.  Now I understand why I could not remember it, they have been in storage since 2015. 😀 This Santa themed ornament is very easy to make.  I filled the ornament with red metallic basket filler. The belt is make from a strip of faux leather, which you can now find in the Crafters Square aisle of Dollar Tree. Santa's belt buckle is a rhinestone that had been glued on with hot glue. 

While looking for older pictures, I found a BONUS ornament. 

This ornament is probably still packed away with some Christmas decorations we did not get out yet.  I added blue glitter to the faux snow and painted on some snow paint on top that looked like real snow when it dried.  It turned out so pretty.  

Happy Crafting! 


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Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Countdown to Christmas - Christmas Cracker DIY


You may be wondering what is a Christmas Cracker.  I have to admit, I have always wondered too.  Being the teacher I am, I am always curious to learn new things that I do not know. I did some research so I can share what they are with you.  

A Christmas cracker is a cardboard tube wrapped in paper that is filled with small gifts, treats, jokes etc. While it is not as well known in America, they are a tradition in area such as the United Kingdom and  Australia.   Around 1850, Tom Smith, a candy maker in London, invented them to sells his sweets. He was not successful at first, until one day when he was inspired by the crackle of a log in his fireplace.  That spark got him to imagine how much people would enjoy opening his toys and sweets, if the wrapping made a cracking noise when pulled apart.   He ran with that idea, and the concept of Christmas Crackers were born. 

Traditionally Christmas crackers are sat by each plate a Christmas dinner. 

Do you have a Christmas dinner tradition in your family? 

To make a homemade Christmas crackers fill a cardboard tube with treats such as wrapped candy, small toys, and confetti.

Next wrap the filled cardboard tubes in wrapping paper.  It is does not have be peppermint inspired like what I used,  but I wanted to use mine to look like a large piece of candy.  I added paper circles to cover the ends to look more like a peppermint, but it can also be made by having an couple inches of paper on each side of the tube as well

I wrapped in plastic wrap to make it look more like candy, and to hold the candy in the tube.  Tie the a piece of ribbon around the ends of the tube.  

While homemade cardboard tubes might not make a cracking sound they can be broke open to get to the treats. If you put paper on the ends like what I did above, then the paper ends can be popped open as well.   

 Christmas crackers filled with treats could be a fun gift that your elf could bring your kids as we get closer to Christmas. 

If you are looking for elf inspiration with ideas that entire family can do, I have Elf Activity Cards in my Etsy Shop.  Your elf can bring different cards for the kids, or even the entire family can do as we enjoy the Christmas season.  

**these are affiliate links 

While doing my research on Christmas crackers I found some really cute ones online that you may be interested in.. 

These are an 8 pc no snap set of Christmas crackers. I really like how they have the wrapping lined up to look like different characters.  Each on includes a silver hat, a small gift and a joke. 

This 12 piece set, includes several different games. I adore the elf one! 

They are not just decorated in kids prints. I love all things buffalo print and this 10 pack of Christmas crackers are currently on sale. 

They even have Thanksgiving Crackers and they are 60% off, and the cheapest price they have been. This is something you can buy now, and save for next year.  

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