New Year’s Eve is right around the corner and its time to start gearing up for the holiday. Whether you’re hosting a NYE party or heading out to one you should bring one our favorite must-haves. All of our favorites on this list can be found at your local grocery store of Target which always seem to be right next to each other. You might want to grab your party favors or presents soon, since New Years Eve is only a few days away.
They are not just fun for the kiddos but adults, teenagers alike; just make sure to be safe. Never light sparklers inside or in a dry area. Try gathering everyone outside in the backyard or in front street if its safe, when it gets dark, so you can all light up the night. If you are attending, check with host if they already have sparklers or not yet before bringing.
You can’t have a New Year’s Eve party without a bottle of champagne to toast in the new year. For the kiddos and everyone under 21, sparkling apple cider is a great way to make them feel grown up and included in the festivities. If you are attending and you know there will be kids, bring a few bottles of both Champagne and sparkling apple cider.
Christmas is the time for a glorious sit-down meal with delicious recipes like turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. New Year’s Eve is the perfect place for hand held foods and small sweets like chocolate covered strawberries, truffles and brownie bites. If you are attending, ask the host what to bring and if they say anything, try this 3 ingredient truffle recipe: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a48823/oreo-truffles-recipe/
Unless you live in a small apartment, noise makers and confetti poppers are fun way to ring in the new year. Make sure to give the kids their noise makers later in the night unless you want to hear them practicing before the ball drop. When opening the confetti poppers, ask your guest to pop them inside or near a place that can be cleaned easily. If you are attending, head to the dollar store or Target for finding an assortment of noise makers to bring to the party.
Photo Wall & Props
Creating a photo wall may sound intimidating, but it really only requires a wall space, something to hang with and craft materials. The more enthusiastic you get the more elaborate it can be. It’s a fun way to engage with your guest and capture some memories to last for years to come. If you are attending, ask the host if you can bring some props that you can pick up from the dollar store or maybe you have a fancy or fun camera you can bring for pictures.
Happy New Year Everyone and We Will See You Next Year
There is nothing better than visiting family, friends and other relatives during the holiday/ winter season but can also be very stressful. I think everyone can agree that winter in the Northwest is dreary and the lack of sun or snow is just depressing. Weather you’re taking the family for a fun warm weather vacation or maybe you’re heading across the country to spend some quality time with your relatives this winter season. Whatever you are choosing to do, traveling by plane, train or automobile can be difficult to plan and stressful on your family. We wanted to share our favorite tips and tricks for traveling with your family during the holiday season.
Check the weather
We recommend checking the weather not only for your destination but also surrounding the flight path. While winter in the northwest is rarely ever bad enough to stop planes, but many storms cross the Midwest and Northeast can delay planes from getting to your destinations or come back home to SeaTac.
Prep your home
Make sure you set the thermostat to 65 degrees so your pipes wont freeze if we get a freak winter storm. If you can coordinate with the post office to stop your mail during your travels or have a neighbor hold it for you, then you will have one less thing to worry about. Stop by the hardware store to pick up some light timers and set them up before you head out.
Pack your bags
Packing is tricky if you are leaving from a cold place and going to a warm vacation or vice versa, but I always head to the airport with a thick shawl or blanket scarf to use when I am cold waiting in the airport or on the plane. If you are traveling with kids make sure to help them pack enough clothes and pack a tote bag of activities for the plane or car. Lastly make sure you pack your important necessitates like identification, charges and medicine in your carry on in carry in case you loose your checked bag.
If you are lucky enough to be attending a Christmas dinner, lunch or breakfast this year rather than hosting then you should be feeling stress free. But who can be totally stress free during the holidays even if you’re not hosting, you might be bringing gifts, décor or food over the holiday events. So to help you ease your worry and plan ahead we gathered our favorite Christmas recipes for you to use this next week. Just make sure to plan ahead and get all your ingredients before stores close on either Christmas eve or Christmas day.
Pull Apart Christmas Tree
This is the perfect 40 min recipe that can be served as an appetizer or side dish for Christmas dinner. You can vary the size of this dish by the number of people your serving or by how much pizza dough you choose to use. Grab the kids, because this recipe can be made more fun with the help of little ones. To find the recipe, click here: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a50528/pull-apart-christmas-tree-recipe/
Garlic and Bacon Green beans
It’s important to eat your vegetables even on a holiday, but they taste better with some garlic and bacon of course. This stress-free recipe only calls for six ingredients, half you probably already have at your home. Grab some fresh veggies and prepare this amazing recipe an hour or two before you leave for a perfect side dish to the big dinner. To find the recipe, click here: https://juliasalbum.com/garlic-and-bacon-green-beans/
Sugar Cookie Truffles
If you’re in charge of desserts and not much of a baker, then why not try these decadent but easy truffles. It may seem daunting to make this recipe but anybody even the kiddos can help with these delicious cookie truffles. Make sure to grab some sugar cookies from the store, if you don’t want to make them yourself. To find the recipe, click here: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a24856051/sugar-cookie-truffles-recipe/
Holiday Punch Recipe
One of the simplest and stress-free things to bring to any holiday party or event is punch. While is not very easy to transport the completed recipe, we recommend bringing the ingredients and maybe a drink holder if the host does not have one. This recipe literally only takes 5 minutes to prepare, how much easier could it be. To find the recipe, click here: https://www.iheartnaptime.net/holiday-punch-recipe/
Everyone knows how stressful December can be, there is countless of things to do, arrange and prep for. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you might still be buying gifts for coworkers, neighbors and especially for family. Plus, there is all the cooking, holiday parties, family gatherings and work events to prepare for. When you should be just enjoying the magic of the holidays with your friends and family. I know its not easy to get any time to yourself when you have a family and major holiday to prep for, but its very important to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. We put together a list of our favorite ways to relax this holiday season.
Schedule a manicure, pedicure or a massage at your favorite place. Take an hour or longer to pamper yourself, schedule a babysitter if you must; this is time you can use to recharge yourself. If you absolutely can’t get away for that long, try soaking in the tub with a face mask and some candles at home. Grab some essentials oils from the store to give your self the true spa treatment at home.
You probably have a few books on your Kindle or reading list you haven’t been able to get around to, block off some time and snuggle up with a good blanket. If you can coordinate a glass or wine, great book while soaking in the tub, props to you. Head to a local coffee shop and scope out a corner for yourself where you can do some serious reading.
If you’re someone who finds relaxation and stress relief at the gym, then more power to you. Carve out some time for a workout or yoga class this December. Try converting your living room to your own workout space and checkout YouTube, they always have inspirational and fantastic home workouts. If you don’t feel like being alone, grab some friends and try a new class or maybe even the lap pool for something different.
I always find some much clarity and relaxation when I get to be creative, so why not try crafting something at home. Get the kids together and try a new recipe, if it goes well you should share with your neighbors. Head to the local craft store or scroll through Pinterest for some ideas and inspiration.
Its beginning to look like Christmas, new years and the rest of the holiday season but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to have any fun with your family and friends. This weekend is the perfect time to cherish a little holiday magic and spend a little time relaxing before the hectic weeks ahead. Make sure that you have plenty of warm clothes and hot cocoa for the many wonderful holiday festivities you can enjoy this weekend, all across the Puget sound. We put together a list of our favorite holiday activities for family fun across the Puget sound that you can try this weekend.
Snowflake Lane: is a festive parade and musical event at the Bellevue collection every night at 7pm. Make sure to see this family fun event before its over on Christmas Eve. Grab your coats and a thermos full of hot cocoa for night of festive activities. To get full details, https://snowflakelane.com/
Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink: is currently set up where the water feature normally is and it’s the best weekend activity for you and your family. Share some holiday spirit by taking in part in a beloved holiday tradition of ice skating. For all Alaska Airlines card holders every Monday you and a friend can skate for free. To get more info, http://bellevue.com/ice-skating.php
Pike Place Market: is the perfect place to go for any last-minute gift shopping and to view some stunning festive décor. If you have time to swing by the market today, you cant miss out on a favorite holiday event called Sanatcon where everyone dons the perfect St Nick suit. To learn more about Sanatcon and what Pike Place Market has to offer, http://pikeplacemarket.org/ https://www.santacon.info/Seattle-WA/
Gingerbread Village: at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Seattle. This is one of my favorite Seattle holiday activities, I would always go with my family to see the intricate gingerbread creations. This year’s theme is Welcome to Whoville in honor of the classic holiday movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas. You won’t need your winter coats, but it might be fun to bring along some hot cocoa for this adventure. To see complete details, https://gingerbreadvillage.org/page.php?groupingID=events
Everyone knows the term millennial (describing the generation born in the new millennium) but many people have negative associates with the younger generation for being dumb, naïve or apathetic. As the baby boomers start to age, the millennial generation is starting to redefine the job market, marriage and now the housing market. The Washington Post just released an article detailing a new study suggesting that millennial's are making home-ownership a priority. Retirement was ranked the number one priority to millennial's; travel, marriage and a baby followed after home-ownership.
The rising cost of renting an apartment or home is one of the major reasons pushing the younger generation to settle down and start some roots. Millennial's now are starting to buy even without a spouse or partner because they are tired of spending one third of their income on housing. Lowering mortgage rates and low interest rates will also help push the younger generation to consider home buying. Millennial's may carry the burden of labels like dumb and naïve but in fact many younger people are stating to plan for the future, by setting up retirement plans and buying a home that will best serve them in the future. Some millennial's are buying large properties in hopes to start a family soon and or increase the family they have currently.
One of the biggest barriers to owning a home for millennial's in the soaring amount of school debt. Mortgage lenders won’t approve a loan with too high of a debt to income ratio which is usually the problem for many millennial's. But with opportunities to reduce school loans and getting stables jobs, have helped the younger generation to pay off debt sooner and even start saving for the future.
What does this mean? It means that millennial's are becoming more serious about their futures and starting to plan now. If they haven’t already started to enter the Seattle area housing market, give it 5-10 years and they will be the largest generation purchasing homes in this area and across the country.
While candy canes and hot cocoa are essential holiday treats, I would argue that the holiday cookie is the most delicious treat for December. Every holiday party you attend will have a wide spread of cookies, and we prepare them special for Santa every Christmas eve. You probably have fond memories of your parents, grandparents or other relatives baking your favorite treats during Thanksgiving to prepare for December; now it’s your chance to make some new memories with your family. The cookie is a perfect holiday gift at parties, for secret Santa or anyone else on your list including yourself. Weather you’re a fan of ginger-bread, chocolate chip, peanut butter or traditional sugar cookies, be sure to make enough for everyone this holiday season. We gathered our favorite cookie recipes for you share and enjoy this December.
Peanut Butter Blossoms
These cookies remind me of my childhood, when my aunt would host her annual holiday party, she always made a few extra cookies for me to take home at the end of the night. This recipe might take a little more work than the others but well worth all the hard work especially if you get some little ones to help out. Recipe and instructions can be found here: https://sugarspunrun.com/peanut-butter-blossoms/
Whenever I bake sugar cookies, I always always use Martha Stewart's recipe. There is such perfect balance of flavors and texture that happens whenever I bake her cookies. Martha’s recipe is a bit detailed and can take longer than other recipes on this list but will be such a great reward. Her recipe and video can be found here: https://www.marthastewart.com/354971/sugar-cookies
Gingerbread men are the perfect traditional holiday cookie filled with yummy spices and lots of sugar. This recipe will be perfect for your next holiday party, handing out as holiday gifts for coworkers and neighbors, plus don’t forget about the big man coming down the chimney. Head to the store and grab some molasses because who has any of that in their home now a days along with some fun cookies cutters to make things extra fun. You can find the perfect Gingerbread recipe here: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipes/a50468/gingerbread-cookies-recipe/
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
A good friend of mine made these for me a year ago and I fell in love with them. They are the perfect combination of sweetness and chocolatiness. I would recommend baking a double batch, one for yourself and one to share. This is a great recipe to make with the whole family, just make sure not to spill the powered sugar everywhere, like I did. Recipe can be found here: https://showmetheyummy.com/chocolate-crinkle-cookies-recipe/
December is a magical month anywhere, but especially in the Seattle area. One of my favorite memories during the holiday season is going to see the Christmas lights. So many outdoor locations across the Puget sound put up spectacular light shows and displays. The holiday season can already be costly enough on any person, buying presets, traveling and all the holiday parties; so why not see some holiday lights with out busting your budget. We put together a list of our favorite places to see and enjoy some twinkling holiday lights. Grab your jackets, mittens and scarves for a night of stunning installations and yuletide fun.
Woodland Park Zoo lights
Starts on Dec 1st and run until Jan 5th, the Woodland Park Zoo displays a 600,000 light show called Wildlights. Sip some hot cocoa while strolling through the magical light installation and if you’re lucky you might even spot some animals getting ready for Santa. To get tickets and learn more about Wildlights, click here: https://www.zoo.org/wildlights
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Lights
For all our southern end Puget Sound neighbors there is a great light installation happening at the Point Defiance Zoo called Zoolights. The zoo brings the holiday spirit alive with 3-D animal light displays and over 700,000 LED lights. If it’s too cold outside with the lights, you can head on in and warm up with some sharks in the South Pacific Aquarium. To get tickets and learn more about the event, click here: https://www.pdza.org/event/zoolights/
The Bellevue Botanical garden installs a gorgeous light display every year across the grounds for all to enjoy. The Garden d’Lights show starts at 4:30pm and runs till 9pm between Nov 24th to Dec 30th. This holiday light show is a must see and at only $5 a ticket, its great for any budget. To get parking info and see event details, click here: https://bellevuebotanical.org/garden-dlights/
Green Lake Lights
On Saturday Dec 8th between 4:30 and 7:30pm lights will illuminate the Green Lake circuit, paths and docks. There will be local musicians scattered around the lake to bring more of the holiday spirit alive. If this light show hasn’t already sold you, then one more thing might sweeten the deal; this event is free, so bring your friends, family and everyone to share this fun holiday treat. To see event info and learn more, find their Facebook event at “2018 Annual Green Lake Pathway of Lights”.
Its that time of year again, where holidays lights go, Christmas décor comes out and there are candy canes of plenty. If you are like my family then you’ve had your Christmas and holiday decorations up since the day after thanksgiving; now it’s time to add something new to your home. You probably already have lights and Christmas tree decorations, but why not add some homemade crafts to your collection. These DIY creations can go up in your home or why not make some extra and spread some holiday spirit. Grab your hot cocoa, Christmas cookies and your craft supplies and start creating some holiday memories. All these DIY holiday decorations can be made with just a small trip to the craft store.
Mason Jar Ring Ornaments:
Grab some old maps from a thrift store or the second ad book store of your favorite places. Next you will need some mason jar lids, if you head to the grocery store or the craft store you might be able to get some lids with out a ton of extra jars. The last few items you will need are puff paint, sharpie, hot glue gun, string and scissors. Grab the kiddos and set up your table for some serious crafting. Complete tutorial and instructions, click here: https://www.happy-mothering.com/12/crafts-diy/mason-jar-ring-map-ornament/
This is a great DIY to add a new twist on your parent’s popcorn garland and all you need is three items. Place this rustic looking garland along your mantel or use it as a back drop during your next holiday party. If you want to add some extra sparkle to your festive garland; try dusting glitter over a thin layer of glue on top of the coffee filters before fastening them to the twine. To see an example and find instructions, click here: https://www.countryliving.com/diy-crafts/tips/g907/craft-ideas-for-christmas-decorations-1209/
Peppermint Twist Wreath:
Put literally a new twist on boring old wreaths with this fun and festive addition. What is more iconic holiday treat than the peppermint, so why try adding dozens to you holiday décor. This simple but stunning wreath only takes a few different items to create and just one trip to the craft store. To see the full list of items and instructions, click here: https://www.womansday.com/home/crafts-projects/how-to/a6285/craft-how-to-peppermint-twist/
Happy holidays and happy crafting.
You’ve survived a weekend of family, food and shopping now its time to gear up for the December holiday season. If you cooked or hosted Thanksgiving dinner at your house, then you most likely still have leftovers lying around. You tried to give away as much food to your guest as they were leaving, but some how you still ended up with so much extra food. Its time to clear out your fridge to make way for delicious treats and meals that will be shared in the upcoming holiday month. So take stock of your fridge and head to the grocery store for some basic items and you can turn those turkey day leftovers into a scrumptious meal. Below we have put together our favorite Thanksgiving leftover recipes.
Deep Fired Loaded Mashed Potatoes Bites:
The mashed potatoes made by my Aunt Nancy are like my favorite thing in the world but there is always so much leftover at the end of thanksgiving. This recipe gives the dinner staple new life with delicious additions like bacon and cheese. Make these as appetizers or for a lite snack, either way you will be loaded with goodness. Click to see full recipe and get ingredient list: https://www.thecookierookie.com/deep-fried-loaded-mashed-potato-bites/
Cranberry Asiago Turkey Sandwiches:
We all know that no one ate the cranberry sauce and you probably made more turkey than you needed, so this recipe is perfect to eat up those leftovers. This four-ingredient recipe is perfect for lunch, dinner, snack or an appetizer and if you already have two of the ingredients it’s a breeze. Head on down to the famers market or the local bakery to pick up some fresh buns and delicious asiago cheese to complete this meal. Click to get full recipe: https://www.willcookforsmiles.com/cranberry-asiago-turkey-sliders/#_a5y_p=4649194
Slow Cooker Turkey Quinoa Chili:
If you are tired of the same thanksgiving turkey leftover sandwiches, why not mix it up with this delicious recipe for you and the whole family. This meal will require you to get a few extra ingredients if you don’t already have like quinoa, black beans or sweet potatoes but the reward is unbelievably scrumptious. If you double the recipe that you can meal prep lunches for the next day or week. Use up your leftovers so that you can make way for new ones. Click here to get the ingredient list and recipe: https://www.wellplated.com/slow-cooker-turkey-quinoa-chili/