Wednesday, December 21, 2011

THE Best Holiday e-cards!

If you're looking for the funniest, most entertaining, e-cards available to send holiday cheer this year....look no further than


You'll need to spend a little time getting your pictures just right, but it is sooooo worth it!

Happy Holidays!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Gifts in a Jar

Homemade gifts in a jar are a fun, frugal, and easy holiday gift to share with loved ones.
Over the years I’ve made several homemade Christmas gifts in a jar for friends, family, and neighbors.
There are endless possibilities with what can be placed in a jar. Jars containing layered mixes for cookies, muffins, and brownies are yummy for those with a sweet tooth. Soup mixes are super for those who like savory ingredients. I’ve also given quality chocolates, bulk candy, and nuts in decorated jars.

Gifts in a jar are easy to make. Just take a glass jar (canning jars, mason jars, or even recycled mustard jars), layer with ingredients, and then top with a gift tag. To help you get your jar-on this holiday season, I’ve created several free printable gift tags for download. You supply the homemade goodness.

Here are 3 frugal holiday gift ideas (and recipes) in a jar:

1. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar

This recipe makes about 36 cookies.


Layer in a large wide mouthed 1 quart mason jar:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Pour mixture into a 1 quart (1 liter) mason jar and pack down. Mix oatmeal in a blender. Pack on top of flour in mason jar. Add white sugar and pack down. Add brown sugar and pack down. Layer chopped nuts on top of brown sugar. Finish layering jar with mini or regular chocolate chips.

Printable Gift Tags:

Download Printable Gift Tags: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (PDF)

2. Ultimate Chocolate Brownie Mix in a Jar

This recipe makes one pan of chocolate brownies.


Layer in a large wide mouthed 1 quart mason jar:
  • 1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Any combination of: mini chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, junior mints, chocolate candy bar
  • 1/2 cup almonds
Layer ingredients in 1 quart mason jar. Tap gently on the counter after each layer before adding the next. Add additional mix-ins to fill any small gaps if necessary.

Printable Gift Tags:

Download Printable Gift Tags: Chocolate Brownies (PDF)

3. Chicken Noodle Soup in a Jar

This recipe makes a pot of soup.


Layer in a 1/2 quart (2 cup) glass jar:
  • 1/4 cup of red lentils
  • 2 tbsp dried onion flakes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill weed or dill seed
  • 1/8 tsp each celery seed and garlic powder
  • 1 cup medium egg noodles
  • 1 bay leaf
In a 2 cup glass jar, layer from bottom in the order listed above.

Printable Gift Tags:

Download Printable Gift Tags: Chicken Noodle Soup in a Jar (PDF)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Movies

These are the memory-makers of Christmas movies, they're the perfect thing for helping to get everyone into the holiday spirit. Who cares if the weather outside is frightful when good movies and family fun keep us warm?
Just a few classics are listed below, but don't settle for just a movie. Make it an event. Fun, family centered ideas are included to help you and your family get the most from your home theater this holiday season.

1. It's a Wonderful Life: No self respecting list of Christmas movies would be complete without this feel good classic. Who could forget the goodness of George and Mary Bailey who find themselves in the insidious clutches of mean and greedy Mr. Potter on what should be the happiest day of the year, Christmas Eve.
While watching keep hands and mouths busy eating and stinging popcorn. Once the movie is over and the happy ending tears are dry, it is time to trim the tree and the popcorn string is an old time touch the will attest to the goodness of this film. To make the popcorn strings more visually appealing add a few red or green beads into the mix.
Little hands might find the popcorn a challenge to string can still be included. Children as young as two enjoy stringing beads. Have them try stringing all beads or using hemp lines with knots at intervals to hold groups of beads together.

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas:
There is the original cartoon version sans Jim Carey, or the longer live action movie...either is a good choice. We have Dr. Seuss to thank for both movies. In a classic tale, that could only have come from the mind and rhymes of Dr. Seuss we meet the lovably unlovable Grinch a foul, sour hearted creature that lives in isolation in the mountains near the utopian society of Whoville.
Employing his unwilling accomplice, Max his dog, and impersonating a certain rotund elf who wears red, the Grinch puts his plan into motion. At the last minute the Grinch has a change of heart, but is it too late to undo what he has already done? Gather the family around the TV and find out!
When all the movie fun is over, follow up with a night of family gift wrapping. This is a fun way to get the necessary work of gift wrapping done. An additional bonus is that you are getting it done early and with help!

3. Elf: Sneaking into Santa's sack in an orphanage as a toddler, Buddy the human-sized elf is far from fitting in Santa's workshop. Though proudly carrying more Christmas spirit than others, he is oversized and clumsy, and is reluctantly told by Papa Elf that his calling is in New York City. He must go find his father, Walter Hobbs, a disgruntled and naughty-listed children's book publisher, played by James Caan.
Buddy is played by Will Ferrell, who is in wonderful form, playing childish ignorance like only he can, and it is his journey around the Big Apple that brings the real fun.
After the movie, gather everyone around the kitchen table and get crafty! From simple holiday crafts to detailed homemade gifts, make it a night to bring out the creative elf in yourselves. For younger children, the footprint reindeer is a way to record their growth over the years. Older kids can make thoughtful gifts for other family members, helping them to understand that Christmas gifts from the heart are among the favorites every year. Check Christmas Crafts or Homemade Gifts for ideas.