Oct 182013
 

Thank you to Global Influence for sponsoring this post and to Hershey’s for providing product samples so that I could create this molasses cookie recipe for you.  All words and thoughts are my own.

One of my favorite parts of any holiday is having an excuse to bake.  I really don’t need an excuse, of course; I bake on a pretty regular basis.  But when it comes to holiday treats, you tend to go the extra step and make them a little more special than at other times.

Christmas is an obvious time of year to get a little fancy with your cooking, but I have to admit that Halloween has always been the one other holiday where I tend to go all-out.  Growing up we had a party at my grandparents’ house each Halloween, and my Gram would bake for two days straight to prep.  There were frosted chocolate brownies with jack-o’-lantern faces drawn on, sugar cookies with Halloween-themed words piped on, apple cider, dishes full of Hershey’s candy, and then the icing on the cake: homemade chocolate and vanilla doughnuts fried fresh as you waited.

Molasses Cookie Recipe: Pumpkin Spice-Filled Molasses Cookie Cups #HersheysHalloween

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Jul 182013
 

Bubbles has been very interested in all the projects I’ve been working on for the Christmas in July series and she has wanted to lend a hand in most of them.  Not all of them lend themselves well to her age group, but today I have a fun and easy craft that you and your kiddos can do together.  You may want to do the mixing part yourself, but once the salt dough ornaments are done, the kids can have fun painting and personalizing them.

This recipe is great because you can use it to make pretty much anything.  We used cookie cutters to cut out holiday shapes; some of them we painted, some we’ll leave “natural”.  You can also press the kids’ hands or fingerprints in them to make milestone ornaments (which make great, inexpensive gifts for the grandparents, too).

Crafts with Kids: Salt Dough Ornaments #CIJ13

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Jul 172013
 

I previously shared this ornament a couple of years ago just before my brother and now-sister-in-law got married.  A lot of people do different creative things with the couple’s wedding invitation; return it to them in their card, frame it, etc.  I wanted something just a tiny bit out of the ordinary and this ornament fit the bill for me.

I thought I would re-share it with you now as it fits in well with the Christmas in July theme.  There are usually lots of summer weddings, so you can start collecting your invitations and getting started on your ornaments now.  By the time the holidays roll around, you’ll have memorable ornaments to present.

DIY Wedding Invitation Our First Christmas Ornament Tutorial

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Jul 152013
 

There are a number of fun things to do through the holiday season.  Carols, hot cocoa, snuggling in new PJs while watching The Polar Express.  Growing up I was even lucky enough most winters to go on a real sleigh ride pulled by horses.  Sometimes the sleigh would even show up, like magic, at our house, driven by Santa.  I didn’t need much of a nudge to be in love with the holidays, but that certainly whispered some Christmas magic into a young girl’s ear.

I put together a December Bucket List with suggestions to make your holidays extra-fun.  Some of them might not be feasible in all parts of the country – building a snowman in Florida, for example, is a bit of a challenge.  Maybe you could make a sandman on the beach instead!  Whatever you choose to cross off from the list, the main point of this type of bucket list is just to have a good time and make some memories with your families.

Christmas Bucket List

Christmas in July: Christmas Bucket List #CIJ13

Click the image above for a printable version.

What items are on your personal December bucket list?  I’d love to hear what traditions you and your family share.

Jul 152013
 

There are lots of yummy treats during the Christmas holidays.  Cakes, cookies, brownies, cheesecakes and more.  I love to make a wide variety of them, but they can take a little time to bake and assemble.  So what can you make when you have guests on the way or when your kids remind you that they need to take a treat to class in an hour?

Try making these yummy marshmallows.  With colored candy coatings and festive sprinkles, they look like the gourmet marshmallows you buy from confectionery stores but are low-cost, quick and easy to do.

Christmas in July: 31 Days of Christmas Crafts, Recipes, DIY & More - Gourmet Christmas Marshmallows

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