11.26.2014

Get Inspired for the Holidays: Coke Bottle Reindeer!

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #RealMagic
coke bottle reindeer #RealMagic #Ad #Cbias

Hi, my name is Alexa and I live with a Coca-Cola addict.

Ok, ok, maybe not a complete addict, but pretty close. Brian loves Coke! And around the holiday, it seems to be one of the preferred beverages for movie nights, parties, and now, neighborhood gifts! If you’re looking for a simple gift for your favorite Coke fanatic, neighbors, or friends, we’ve got you covered. Get inspired for the holidays with Reindeer Coke Bottles! Check out the tutorial below.

coke bottle reindeer #RealMagic #Ad #Cbias coke bottle reindeer #RealMagic #Ad #Cbias coke bottle reindeer #RealMagic #Ad #Cbias

Supplies Needed(I found all my supplies at Walmart!)

Classic Coca-Cola in glass bottles
Gold pipe cleaner
Red pompoms
Small Eyeballs
Hot glue gun
Ribbon

Christmas coke bottle reindeer #RealMagic #Ad #Cbias Christmas coke bottle reindeer #RealMagic #Ad #Cbias

ONE Shape one gold pipe cleaner into a “U” shape. Cut two small pieces of another pipe cleaner, and twist into antler shapes.

Christmas coke bottle reindeer #RealMagic #Ad #Cbias Christmas coke bottle reindeer #RealMagic #Ad #Cbias

TWO Twist antler pipe cleaners onto coke bottle. To secure, twist in back or add a drop of hot glue.

Christmas coke bottle reindeer #RealMagic #Ad #Cbias

THREE Hot glue eyes and nose to bottle. Repeat with remaining bottles. Carefully place back in box and tie with a ribbon.

Christmas coke bottle reindeer #RealMagic #Ad #Cbias

FOUR Share your craft and tutorial on twitter! As you share your special video moments of #RealMagic or your smile with the same hashtag on Twitter or Instagram after Dec. 1st, and they will send a special message or smile back! (Or join the #RealMagic twitter party on Dec 9!) And as you share the magic of the season or make someone smile, you can check off items from Santa's wish list on My Coke Rewards, and earn points! The more points you earn, the more rewards you receive, like gift cards to Best Buy or the movie theater! (Hello, stocking stuffers!) (More info on facebook, twitter, and instagram)

Christmas coke bottle reindeer #RealMagic #Ad #Cbias

And now if you can deliver your gift without taking a sip first, extra points for you! ;) Happy Holiday weekend! XOXO

11.25.2014

First Snowfall

Sunday was the first snow of the season! I spent all day sneezing…my childhood in the desert has made me allergic to the snow…or so I claim ;) Ellie on the other hand, could not believe her eyes! “Snow! Snow! Snow!” she chanted. Before we warmed up in the car on the way to church, I let Ellie run around in powder. She twirled and danced and was only slightly freaked out when she touched it. ;) I may not be a big fan of winter, snow, or cold in general, but I may come around if it includes watching Ellie’s complete and utter excitement for the season. 

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11.24.2014

holiday shopping and ice cream galore

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Feast4All
Ice Cream Bars (3) copy

Call me crazy, but I prefer to have all my holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving. I know there’s fabulous Black Friday deals and holiday sales, but when it comes to braving the crowds, I’m a wimp! Something about pushing a stroller/running after a surprisingly fast two year old among thousands of other shoppers isn't as fun as you may think. :) I prefer to shop sales throughout the year and do any last minute shopping at the beginning of November. It takes some planning, but it totally works! Instead of wrestling with the holiday traffic, we curl up in our pajamas and enjoy some ice cream.  We come from a long line of ice cream lovers, it's in our genes. Ice cream in the winter? Doesn't even phase us. After a long day of holiday shopping, Ellie and I sat down to enjoy the most delicious caramel gelato bars from HÄAGEN-DAZS. Ice cream after a long day of shopping? Yes, please! The perfect pick me up. With a lot of family in town for the holidays, we may have to pick up a few more to share!

Thanksgiving Ice Cream Bars
^^Something about the cold weather makes us want to get in our pajamas so early! Pajamas and ice cream? Our favorite.^^
Thanksgiving Ice Cream Bars Thanksgiving Ice Cream Bars
^^ This little one kept trying to eat mine! This summer we ate a lot of popsicles and Ellie tried to eat mine every time! ^^
Thanksgiving Ice Cream Bars
Thanksgiving Ice Cream Bars
^^ We found our ice cream bars perusing the aisles at Walmart. Ellie couldn’t have been happier! In fact, the entire time we were there, she kept asking in her teeny, tiny voice when we could eat them. Soon, baby, soon!^^
Ice Cream Bars (2)
^^Do yourself a favor and pick up more than one box. Trust me, they're that good!^^
Ice Cream Bars (5)
Thanksgiving Ice Cream Bars

Do you get your holiday shopping done early? Or are you a brave soul and fight the crowds? :) Ah, I love that it's the holiday season. Happy (almost!) Thanksgiving, friends! xoxo

Cash for Christmas Giveaway!

Looking for a little extra Cash for Christmas??? I've teamed up with some friends for a $400 Giveaway of a Visa or Mastercard gift card (practically cash) where you can buy anything your heart desires!

Cash for Christmas Mastercard Visa Giveaway

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

11.21.2014

5 Secrets for a Stress-Free Holiday

stress-free-christmas

Hello there! Isn't Alexa just the greatest? I came across this blog a few years ago and have been in love ever since. It is a dream to be here today! My name is Melissa, but you can call me Mel. I blog over at So Festive! , the place to find simple ways to celebrate! I started So Festive! in honor of my mom. She was the most festive person ever--making everyday a celebration. She passed away from cancer when I was 15, but I determined to keep her festiveness alive. I share easy holiday traditions, party ideas, and other simple ways to celebrate life! So, the Christmas season can be a hectic one. And super stressful, right? Today, I'm sharing 5 secrets that I've found to help keep stress out of the holidays. You ready for them? Here we go!

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 1. Shop early. I remember so many Christmases as a child when we were scrambling around on Christmas Eve to do last minute shopping. The stores would literally have to kick us out at closing. Of course, then we didn't eat our fancy Christmas Eve Dinner until 8 pm or later. Moral of the story: shop early! Chances are you already know 80% of the items you'll need to buy. Do you have traditional stocking stuffers like toothbrushes and candy canes? Buy them now. Do you always have beignets on Christmas morning? Buy the mix now. This fun Holiday Planning Guide will help you make your shopping lists and check them twice. Shopping early will greatly reduce your stress this Christmas season!  

christmas-cookies

2. Stop thinking about yourself. One of the best ways to forget our own problems or stress is by serving someone else. The Christmas season has so many opportunities to serve in small and big ways. Serve at a local soup kitchen, take some socks to a homeless person, go caroling at an old-folks home, leave some cookies on a doorstep, or drop some spare change into the Salvation Army tins--to name just a few. Some of my favorite Christmas memories come from when I was helping someone else. So this Christmas, go out and serve! It will take the stress of trying to find the "perfect" gift away--all because of the new perspective you will gain from helping someone else.

christmas-presents

 3. Wrap your gifts early. Waiting to the last minute to wrap gifts can cause a lot of unnecessary stress. Who wants to be staying up until 5 am on Christmas morning to wrap gifts? Not me. I'd rather be sleeping. So, set aside one night to wrap gifts. Turn on a Christmas movie and make a party out of it. Tip: Growing up, our Santa gifts were never wrapped. And we never knew anything different. If wrapping adds extra stress, don't feel like you have to wrap them all! Also, believe it or not, tape prices increase during the Christmas season. So buy wrapping supplies like tape, gift wrap, ribbon and scissors now!

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 4. Keep a stash of paper goods on hand. It seems like the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season starts the day after Thanksgiving and doesn't end until New Years. Between that time, you will likely have multiple gatherings of some sort or another. Whether it's a spontaneous dinner party or just an extra busy night, using paper products will eliminate one item from your to-do list. When the party is over, just throw them away. You'll get to enjoy the party rather than being on kitchen duty the entire night.

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 5. Simplify. In this day of Pinterest and lists, it's easy to get caught up in the idea that we have to do all "157 things to make your holiday special". Now, don't get me wrong because I am a list person through and through. Ha! Even this post is a list. But...we have to be careful that we don't think we have to do it ALL to have a fun holiday season. It's hard letting go and I'm the first to admit that I want to do every fun and festive thing there is to do. But, I'm learning (slowly!) that it isn't always worth it. And by trying to cram in just one more thing may be the difference of agreat holiday to a stressful holiday! This year, I'm going to be more deliberate in what we do and I think it will make all the difference. Instead of just choosing what to do this Christmas, think of what you can take out. Simplify! ... How do you keep your holiday season stress-free?

Thanks for having me!

Come say hello on my blog or connect with me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram! xo, Mel

I think you'll really love these posts, too!

Simple Holiday Ideas

 The easiest 12 Days of Christmas you'll ever do + Printables // Party Planning Made Easy // Advent Sundays: My Favorite Christmas Tradition

11.20.2014

Mini Caramel Apple Pies

mini caramel apple pies recipe

I buy large quantities of apples in the fall. Caramel apples, I say! Apple crisp, it’s calling my name! And then, life gets busy and apples get mushy. I was determined not to let our apples get bruised and soft after rolling around in the bottom drawer of the fridge. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I decided to whip out a pie. Well, a mini pie, but a pie nonetheless! I “forgot” that Brian doesn’t like apple pie, so more for me, right? Wrong! My apple pie despising husband actually liked this stuff! Time to make more, I guess. ;) These little babies are super easy to make and they’ll make your sweet tooth VERY happy.

You will need:
2 apples, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Vanilla, a few drops
Dash of salt

1 cup flour
1/3 heaping cup of Crisco
2 1/2 tbs cold water
1 tsp (ish) of salt
3 soft, caramels, cubed
(makes 6 muffin tin sized pies)

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First, peel and cube two apples. In a bowl, mix together sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Combine well, then mix in apples. Coat apples evenly and well. Set aside. Cube caramels, set aside also. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, Crisco, salt, and water with a fork. The Crisco in this recipe will make your crust extra flaky, yum! Roll out thinly onto a floured surface, then use a cup or cookie cutter to cut into circles. Press into ungreased cupcake tin. Fill with apple, sugar mixture then top with caramels. Use remaining dough to cover the top. Be sure to work quickly while using your dough, otherwise it will dry out (like mine did!) and become harder to work with. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes, the tops should be golden brown! (And your house, it should smell heavenly!) I love how the caramel seeps through the top and leaves the crust slightly candy coated. Mmm!

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Pretty sure I’ll be making these again soon! (And working on perfecting my lattice top) I was a little impatient while removing one of the pies from the pan, so it crumbled a bit. Are you impatient too? No need to worry! Simply crumble the broken pie into a fancy glass, top with vanilla ice cream and a dash of cinnamon. I can’t decide which I like more!

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