Browsing Tag:

christmas

  • Holiday

    Present Wrapping Step by Step

    Girlspring, present wrapping step by step; do it yourself; Christmas

    Wrapping presents has always been my safe-haven during the holidays. It’s a little piece of time that I carve out of my busy schedule to sit on my living room floor, with the sound of Christmas music in the background, and admire my good taste in presents.

    If you feel the opposite way about gift wrap, then let me walk you through a simple process to get it over with:

    Step 1 

    If you are buying baby presents for someone, go to Buy Buy Baby. Their items are no more expensive than Target, and they usually have coupons. Plus, they wrap gifts for you! No mess. No buying rolls and rolls of over-priced paper. It’s that simple. I’m sure the associates would also assist if you’re riding the struggle bus that particular day.

    Step 2 

    If you don’t have any expecting mothers or little ones to buy for this season, go ahead and purchase a roll or two of your favorite wrapping paper. Saving money by getting the cheaper paper may seem efficient, but the paper might tear easily and you to use more of it.

    Step 3 

    Find ample space of floor or tabletop that is comfortable for you to use as a workstation. Mine is the living floor. My mom prefers her large bed. And my grandmother always roped off the kitchen and displayed her elegant paper all over the place (and not on purpose, I should add).

    Step 4 

    Take a break. You’ve gotten pretty far already, and nothing defeats holiday cheer more than overworking yourself.

    Step 5 

    Reluctantly move from whatever relaxed position you’re in, to your workspace. It’s okay, though, because we are about to make wrapping go by quickly.

    Step 6 

    Unravel one of the pieces of wrapping paper for a few in inches. Then place the item to be wrapped on top of the bottom of the paper (the white or light-colored side that sometimes has dotted lines). Take the open end of the wrapping paper and cover half of the item. Then, bring the roll over the item, being sure only to overlap a little. Make sure to mark where the roll overlaps so that you can cut evenly.

    Step 7 

    Cut the place you previously marked, all the way across the paper.

    Step 8

    Move the roll to the side and start focusing on your present

    Step 9 

    Fold one end of the length of the wrapping paper under 1 inch. When the two sides of the length overlap on top of the present, one side will be folded under to form a sleek line instead of jagged scissor lines.

    Step 10 

    Tape the length of the wrapping paper (but don’t tape the excess that goes over the edges of the present. We need those to be flexible).

    Step 11 

    You can turn the present to where the width of it is directly in front of you. The length should be horizontal right now. You have two options now: be fancy or done.

    To get it over with, all you need to do is lay the top part of the wrapping paper down against the side of the present. Then bring the bottom half up and over the top half. There should be a line in the center where the two parts of the paper meet. Tape them together. And you’re done!

    Follow the remaining steps for a nicer looking package.

    Step 12 

    Tuck the sides of the paper in towards the center, creating a triangle figure with the top piece of paper.

    Step 13 

    The bottom should have pulled up some in response to tucking the top half. Fold the top of the bottom paper over about an inch, then lay this paper across the top half. You may have to wrestle with the tape a little bit to get it to lay flat.

    Step 14 

    Repeat steps 11-13 on the opposite side of the present. Then, add a premade tag with who it is to, and who it is from, to the top left-hand corner of the present. Leave enough space for a bow!

    I hope these steps made enough sense for you not to get frustrated with wrapping presents this year. The Christmas music also helps. Comment down below if you have any wrapping tips of your own, or if you have a favorite Christmas song!

    Here is a link to a more detailed list of present wrapping tips:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYXaxeJBj5k

  • DIY, Photography

    Christmas DIY Projects

    Holiday Do it yourself projects. For Christmas

    Christmas DIY Projects

    I’m going to be honest. I do not do a lot of DIY crafts. But for some reason, the Christmas season forces it out of me. I love making crafted gifts and just doing projects with a little kid that I babysit. Each year we come up with some new to try. This year we’re going to be creating Marbled Christmas Ornaments, Candy Sleighs, and Rudolf Hot Chocolate Bags.

    Marbled Christmas Ornaments

    The Marbled Christmas Ornaments are simple. You need a single or multi-pack of glass or plastic Christmas ornaments and some Acrylic paint. Take the silver topper off the ornament and squirt a little bit of the colored paints you want into the ornament. Then, you can place the topper back on or hold something over the opening to shake it. Once you’re done shaking, you can choose to add more colors or glue the topper back on. Et Voila! You have made a cute homemade gift for you or someone else.

    Here’s a breakdown of the Marbled Christmas Ornaments supplies:

    Glass (or plastic) clear ornaments

    Hot glue

    Acrylic paint (whichever colors you like)

    Here is a link to another way to make the ornaments using water and nail polish:

    http://www.aliceandlois.com/diy-indigo-marbled-ornaments/

    Candy Sleighs

    The candy sleighs should not be too difficult. All you need are candy bars that you, or whoever you’re giving them to, enjoy. You will want three-five different size bars to make the sleigh look cooler, and you need two candy canes for each one.

    Lay your two candy canes parallel from one another, then glue your largest candy bar lengthwise them. Now, to stack the rest of the candy bars you can use either glue, tape, or pray they stay in place with a ribbon. If you want your sleigh to be a candy surprise you can always wrap the bars in wrapping paper.

    Once the final bar or piece of candy is stacked, take a shred of ribbon (it doesn’t matter what kind or color you use) and wrap it vertically around the candy cane and stack. Tie at the top in a single knot. Then take another ribbon of the same pattern and color and wrap it around the stack horizontally (the candy cane will not be wrapped with this one). Tie at the top with a single knot. If you don’t want to tie them, you can tape them flat to the top piece of candy.

    Finally, take a bow of your choosing and place it atop the candy sleigh. And now you have something both cute and delicious.

    Here’s an overview of the supplies needed for the Candy Sleigh:

    Candy Bars (different sizes)

    Two Candy Canes (per each sleigh)

    Hot Glue

    Tape

    Ribbon

    Bows

    Here is a link to a Pinterest post on how to do this with extensive details:

    https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/candy-sleighs.html

    Rudolf Hot Chocolate Bags

    The last craft is the Rudolf Hot Chocolate Bags. This one will take a little bit more effort, because it requires printing (already prepared) tags, punching holes in them, and threading a ribbon. But the tags are important because they hold the instructions, so just bear with that step.

    To begin, make sure you have these supplies:

    Googly Eyes (can be bought at craft stores or Target)

    Little Red Pom Poms (again, at craft stores or Target)

    Brown Pipe Cleaners (Target, Walmart, or craft store)

    Icing Piping Bags (Target or Walmart)

    Box of Hot Chocolate Packets

    Bag of Mini Marshmallows

    Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

    Ribbon

    Printer

    Glue (hot or sticky)

    You can either start with placing the ingredients inside the Piping bags or you can decorate the outside (whichever works best for you). If you choose to do the ingredients first, then empty a packet of hot chocolate into a piping bag, making sure it all goes to the point of the bag.

    Then, add in the semi-sweet chocolate chips (a handful or less should be enough). Add in some mini marshmallows, making sure to leave some space to seal the bag. Wrap a ribbon around the sealed part of the bag, adding the printed, prepared tag to it.

    Take two pipe cleaners and glue them to the back side of the piping bag parallel to each other. You can bend and twist the pipe cleaners until they reach a sort of antler shape. Next place two googly eyes a few centimeters apart in the center of the bag or over the chocolate chips. Be sure the eyes are on the opposite side of the bag that the antlers were glued.

    Take a single red pom pom and glue it a few centimeters above the tip of the piping bag. That’s it. You’re done! You have successfully created THREE Holiday DIY projects. Everyone will love them, and you will appreciate the little effort and money you put into them.

    Here is a link to more detailed Reindeer Hot Chocolate Bag instructions:

    https://everydaysavvy.com/easy-diy-gift-reindeer-hot-chocolate-recipe-instuctions/#_a5y_p=1123007

  • Holiday

    Seasonal Favorites

    The holidays bring a lot of joy for many reasons, but my favorite is the seasonal food and drink items. There’s a reason drinks like the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks are considered “basic”: it’s delicious and can only be bought certain times of the year!

    I want to share my list of favorite holiday beverages and food items with you:

    • Starbucks Toasted White Chocolate Mocha (Frappuccino or Latte)
    • McDonald’s Eggnog Shake
    • IHOP Vanilla Grinch Pancakes
    • McDonald’s Holiday Pie
    • Disney World’s Santa Rice Krispy
    • Cracker Barrell’s Spiral Slices Sugar Cured Ham

     

    I could list Starbucks drinks all day, but I will leave you with this one recommendation today: Toasted White Chocolate Mocha. Whether you like your drinks frozen, iced, or hot, this beverage is the way to go. It is super sweet and tastes just like you’re drinking a coffee flavored Smore. Who doesn’t love coffee and smores? It wasn’t until last year that I got on the Starbuck’s holiday drinks bandwagon and each time I order it always comes down to this drink or Caramel Brulee Latte. Both delicious. And both only available for a short time, so make sure to grab one before your store runs out of the syrup!

    There are two items on the list from McDonald’s. What can a girl say? I have a passion for fast and tasty. Now, sometimes eating foods at fast food places can be hit or miss. Well, the holiday pie and Eggnog shake are definitely a hit! I am lactose intolerant, but I will go to my dairy grave over some vanilla and eggnog flavored ice cream. Even though they don’t offer the shake all year ‘round, here is a link I found for making your own:

    https://copykat.com/2012/12/16/mcdonalds-eggnog-shake/

    If you love breakfast food, then you’ve probably been to IHOP or Cracker Barrell once in your life. Why not go again? Except this time try out their seasonal items, such as the Grinch Pancakes from IHOP or the Ham from Cracker Barrell. Whether you have a sweet tooth or not, both recipes will have you wanting more. You could even get them To-Go and pair them for an at-home Christmas morning meal. Yum!

    The final seasonal item on the list is from the “most magical place on Earth”. If you’ve never been to Disney World or don’t plan on going anytime soon, don’t get discouraged. I have a copy recipe for this desert as well (I’ll link it below). What more could you want from a snack than to have rice krispies covered in chocolate and shaped like Mickey? They may be overpriced like everything else in the theme parks, but their taste and magical feel are amazing.

    Link for copycat recipe:

    https://www.momendeavors.com/disney-copycat-mickey-rice-krispies-treats/

    If you or your family have favorite seasonal foods, whether they’re sweet or not, please share them down below in the comments. I am always on the look out for more things to try!

  • Movies

    Hallmark vs. Netflix: Christmas Movies

    Hallmark vs. Netflix: Christmas Movies

    This Christmas, before you settle down to watch another Hallmark movie, consider flipping over to Netflix.

    There are plenty of new movies to watch that rival Hallmark in more than one way. You can watch Netflix anywhere, their movies have better female role models, and the relationships are more realistic.

    Hallmark is a staple for the holidays, whether it be finding romance through a secret billionaire, or building an Inn with a stranger after someone you knew passed away and left it to you. There is no doubt that these movies are entertaining. I watch them with my mom and best friend every week. However, there is always that nagging feeling that the women are not getting the attention they deserve. I noticed that a lot of the movies end up with less focus on the girls’ careers and more on her finding love and moving away to where the guy lives.

    I am all for finding romance and fantasizing about what you could have. However, dreaming about the perfect job is just as valid. In the future, I want to support myself financially and love what I do for a living before I love and support someone else. Some of the Hallmark movies do allow women to have bits of their success. However, most don’t, and I am tired of the male-dominated success and males characters leaping in to save the day.

    I need a strong female role model that gets to have her career and her romance, too.

    This is what you get with the Netflix movies The Holiday Calendar and The Princess Switch. Both films have a romantic plot, but also have a career motivated subplot. Go ahead and watch them if you haven’t. Bonnie from The Vampire Diaries and Vanessa Hudgens are in them.

    While watching one Netflix movie, I was prepared to guess the ending they. Guy proposes to the girl after knowing her for three weeks; the girl says yes, and a week later they’re married under a romantic canopy of lights. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised to know that the characters considered their relations rationally and allowed time to grow their bonds. There was not one instance where someone cheated on a spouse through flirtation or physical touch.

    Hallmark finds it romantic to fall for the guy who was awful at the beginning or the guy who wants to leave his fiancé for the other woman. It’s crazy to think about how that would go down in real life. Consider you have a significant other. Said significant other gets called away to business in some small snow-covered town miles away. A local girl bakes him a pie when his car breaks down, and immediately it becomes about her being his long-lost soul mate. How would you feel? Enraged? I would hope so. It would all sound so romantic if you were the girl and some guy in a fancy tuxedo came to your bakery two nights before Christmas. It would be fate, then. No, it’s just adultery.

    Don’t get me wrong; I will continue to watch Hallmark movies as I am just as addicted as the next fan. My point is, keep in mind that these are not all healthy romantic plots. They are just fantasies.

    Here are some links to Hallmark and Netflix movies that I love:

    http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/christmas-at-pemberley-manor

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8954732/

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4767950/

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8262802/

  • Holiday

    My Family’s Christmas Traditions

    My Family’s Christmas Traditions

    I have a large family, so part of my immediate family’s holiday tradition is juggling houses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. If we pull out the microscope and dive into my mother’s side of the family’s tradition, we’ll find BBQ sandwich platters and two rounds of Dirty Santa.

    Dirty Santa, for those of you who have that quizzical look, is traditionally a game where people bring a gag gift wrapped (or in a bag) to a Christmas party. At first my family went along with this, until people began to get upset with the dollar amount they spent on their gag gift versus the dollar amount spent on the one they ended up with. It’s not like there would have been a melt down if we had continued to do it the first way, but during this season of giving, we upped the stakes.

    Instead of gag gifts, there would be actual secret presents. Each person would bring a $10 present(s) and put it in a pile in the center of the room. This would lead to everyone drawing a number out of whatever bowl, hat, or bucket was available that year, and would begin playing. The rules are simple for our household:

    1. Place hidden (wrapped or bagged) gift in center of the room with other presents
    2. Count how many people are playing and put individual strips of paper in a hat with numbers representing the amount of people on them
    3. Everyone draws a number
    4. # 1 gets to pick a present first
    5. # 1 opens their present and shows it to the room
    6. # 2 picks a present and shows it to the room
    7. # 2 can then decide to keep their gift or “steal” # 1’s gift

    This continues with each number thereafter. A gift can only be “stolen” 3 times before it is stuck with someone. The person that is # 1 will get a chance to “steal” someone’s gift after the last number has gone. It’s all fun and games until a 10 years-old is crying over not getting what she wanted because cousin Tony wanted it, too.

    In the end, everyone leaves happy with a single present and the fun of hanging out with family.

    My dad’s side of the family is a little different. We actually cook food for this one. If you’re anything like me and are not a seasoned Chef, then I have some good news for you. I could easily burn a packaged sheet of cookies with the directions listed plainly in front of me, but I never go wrong with these two family recipes: French Potatoes and Chicken Dumplings.

    French Potatoes are identical to some Scalloped Potatoes recipes but sound fancier. You start off by peeling, washing, and cutting potatoes into chip-like slices. The preparation for both recipes is the only bad part.

    Then, heat up equal parts mustard and butter in a pot. Add in some salt. I’m not giving you specific amounts, because it really just depends on how many calories you’re feeling like eating that day. Give it about an estimated cup-cup and a half of each, minus the salt (that’d be a lot of salt, but there is never enough butter). The next step is to layer some potato slices onto a lightly greased pan. Cover the first layer with the butter, salt, mustard mixture. Add some parmesan cheese from those little bottles, next. And continue this process until all your potatoes are covered in heaps of sauce and cheese. Sounds healthy, right?

    Here’s a plain list of ingredients:

    Butter (to your heart’s content)

    Mustard

    Parmesan Cheese

    Salt

    Potatoes (of course!)

    Heat your oven to 350 degrees or 400 degrees if you’re impatient like me. I’m sure there’s some cooking logic somewhere that argues changing the temperature does not work the same just faster.

    Leave in for 45 minutes (or 30), and voila!

    The next recipe, the Chicken and Dumplings, are a favorite with my family. I even make these throughout the year if I’m feeling particularly culinary. You just need a little patience or some extra hands for this one.

    Grab two cans of regular (or large) size biscuits from your local grocer. I’m sure you could make them from scratch, but I’m just not at that point in my life right now.

    Roll out some parchment paper or clean your counter space. Cover the area with some Self-Rising flour. Make sure to have extra flour because the rolling process for these biscuits can get pretty needy (I definitely could have made a pun here, but I’ll spare you).

    Break open the cans, place a single biscuit onto the floured surface. Cover it with a little bit of flour and use either a roller or plastic cup to flatten it out. Then take a knife and slice the flattened pieces into long, thin strips. Continue this process until both cans of biscuits are now heaps of thin dough.

    Take two cans of Cream of Chicken soup (Campbell’s or off-brand both work) and place them into a large pot on the stove. Add in a cup of water for each can and toss some pepper and salt for taste. Let boil on medium heat for thirty minutes. Then, toss in the dough strips. Let cook for fifteen-twenty minutes until dough is cooked. You may need to stir a lot near the end of the time to keep it from sticking to your pot.

    If you’re not begging for more after your first taste, then I’m not sure you’re a real person.

    Here is a list of ingredients:

    2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup

    2 cans of ready to make biscuits

    Salt

    Pepper

    Self-rising flour

    I hope that you enjoy some of my family’s holiday traditions, and feel free to comment your own down below!

  • Gifts, Holiday

    Great Gift Ideas for Family

    With Christmas coming up fast, it’s always a good idea to get a head start on shopping for your loved ones. We know that it’s hard to show everyone how much they mean to you in a creative way, while also not breaking the bank, so we have compiled a list of some ideas for just some of the important people in your life. Let them know how much you love them this holiday season with these ideas!

    For Your Brother

    Socks are a necessity for every boy, and you can make them individual to your brother by customizing them to fit his personality. Does he favorite football team or food? You can find socks with either! You can find all kind of funky socks especially for your brother at Happy Socks in Birmingham.

    For Your Sister

    Shopping for sisters can either go extremely right or extremely wrong, depending on how well you can judge your sister’s taste. However, a simple but powerful gift that is sure to please any sister are the Giving Key necklaces. There is a plethora of different words that you can find imprinted on the different jewelry pieces. There are necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and more all emblazoned with words like “create”, “love”, and “strength”. Pick the perfect word for your sis and watch her smile. You can find these online, or at boutiques in Birmingham, like Lizard Thicket.

    For Your Mom

    Your mom finally learned to FaceTime, and now she won’t forget to have her charger on her always with the Lightning Cable Key Ring. It fits right on her keys and you’ll be so thankful she’ll be able to FaceTime you all the time! These are easy to find online to purchase.

    For Your Dad

    Do your parents like to entertain a lot? Then a perfect gift idea for dad is a serving board in the shape of his home state. Whether that be Alabama, Michigan, or any state in between, your dad could serve up his favorite cheeses and other snacks on his favorite state. If your dad happens to be extremely patriotic, you could choose a serving board in the shape of the United States instead. These are also easily found on Etsy, or a similar website.

    Have fun shopping for your loved ones this holiday season!