Friday, November 27, 2015

Christmas Traditions: Advent Calendar Activities - The 2015 Edition!

Smitten Holiday Advent Calendar Mittens

I'm pretty excited about this year's Advent Calendar Activities. This will be our third year doing something holiday focused everyday leading up to Christmas. I love celebrating the season with Molly and Maggie this way. Sometimes we even let Scott take part.


November 27: Decorate the House for Christmas  
November 28: Visit Santa Claus for Santa Photos
November 29: Make a Gingerbread House 
November 30: Visit Swanson's Nursery to see the Reindeer
December 1: Visit the Bellevue Botanical Garden Christmas Lights 
December 2: Make Ornaments 
December 3: Make Holiday Cards for our Teachers
December 4: Visit the Sheraton Gingerbread Village
December 5: Make Christmas Cookies for the neighbors
December 6: See The Nutcracker
December 7: Make a Paper Garland for the Tree
December 8: Make Christmas Cards for Grandparents 
December 9: Paint Sparkly Nails and watch a Christmas Movie
December 10: Celebrate Grandpa Burgess on his birthday by visiting his niche
December 11: Play Gingerbread Factory with Homemade Play dough 
December 12: Do the Greenlake Pathway of Lights
December 13: Have a Hot Coco and Olympic Manor Christmas Lights Party
December 14: Drink Hot Cocoa at a coffee shop
December 15: Write a letter to Santa Claus
December16:  Drive Candy Cane Lane to look at Christmas Lights 
December 17: Read Twas the Night Before Christmas
December 18: Donate a gift to someone in need through a Giving Tree
December 19: Take pictures of Christmas Tree Lights with Mommy's Camera & Sing Happy Birthday to Mommy
December 20: Do the WildLights at the Zoo!
December 21: Sing/Play Christmas Music & Celebrate Maggie's Birthday
December 22: Donate food to families in need
December 23: Buy Christmas Cookies for Santa at Larsen's Bakery
December 24: Attend Christmas Eve Church Service

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thanksgiving Prep!

My favorite holiday is a week away and I am heavy into prep mode! I've made my list, sorted my recipes and placed my grocery delivery order. Next week, I start cooking while my family gets ready to feast.

While preparing my recipes, I asked a few of my favorite Seattle bloggers for their favorite Thanksgiving recipes and then wrote about it for Seattle Refined. I've incorporated a bunch of these recipes into my plans. I'm also excited that I don't have any stories due to anyone next week. I'm taking a week off!

What are your Thanksgiving plans? What will you be making? I'd love to hear what will be on your Thanksgiving Day table.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween Rice Krispy Bark


We have a love for Rice Krispy treats around here. They are quick and simple to make. You can dress them up or keep them simple. We love them! I thought it would be fun to make a Halloween version and so I did. It was such a tasty experiment, I decided that I had to share them. I think they'd make a delightful addition to any Halloween celebration.


Halloween Rice Krispy Bark
by Rebecca Mongrain
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients (Makes 24 Treats)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups Miniature Marshmallows
  • 6 cups Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® cereal
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 package White Chocolate Baking Chips, 11 oz
  • 1 package Milk Chocolate Baking Chips, 11 oz
  • Pretzel Sticks, Broken In Half
  • Mini Oreo's, Chopped
  • Brach's Autumn Mix - Candy Corn, Candy Pumpkins, etc.
  • Optional: Misc Ingredients such as Mini Marshmallows, M & M's, Colored Sprinkles, Nuts
In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add miniature marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Add in the vanilla extract. Remove from heat.
Add Rice Krispies cereal cereal. Stir until well coated.
Press evening into a greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan and allow to cool.
While the rice krispy treats are cooling, make the Halloween Bark.
Melt the white chocolate and milk chocolate chips separately over a double boiler. Stir until smooth and then pour over the rice krispy treats. I poured the white chocolate in first and then placed big spoonfuls of the milk chocolate over the white chocolate before dragging a knife through the chocolate to swirl it.
Sprinkle on pretzels, mini oreos, halloween candy, etc. Lightly press the ingredients with your fingertips to make sure they're all on.
Place the pan in the fridge and allow it to set completely. Cut the pan into bars and enjoy!
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Monday, October 26, 2015

July, August & September Book Report(s)


After my last book report post in July, my reading stalled out a bit. I got stuck on a book which I'm still reading. I kept trying to slog through it but I've put it aside for now which brought back my reading mojo! Without further adieu, here is my July, August & September book report! 


Dinner, A Love Story - I really enjoyed this book. Former Magazine Editor, Jenny Rosenstrach has been keeping a list of her dinners for years. She wove her menus into stories about her life and her job. I was hooked! And the best part, this book contains a ton of recipes which I've been cooking a lot of our meals from. 


now i see you - This was another memoir. I got a bit into the memoirs this summer and I don't regret it a bit. Nicole Kear has a degenerative eye disease which is slowly causing her to go blind but she won't admit it, she won't talk about it and that is making life hard for her. She talks about how she learned that she had this eye problem and how she tried to deny it. Along the way she gets married and has a child. Soon she can't deny her eyesight issues and starts to learn how to survive in a sighted world without sight. I loved this book. Her story is told with some humor which made it even more engaging. 


Winter's Journey - I got this book of poetry from the library. It was selected to fulfill my "Read a book on Poetry" bingo square. It was a quick read and quite good but reminded me that poetry really isn't where my reading interests lie. 

Bossypants - I've been meaning to read this for a long time and it was ok. I think Tina Fey is hilarious but she's not really a book writer. It was entertaining in parts, rambling in others and head tilting at times. Overall it was a good read but not something that I'd really recommend to others. 


Yes, Please! This book came highly recommended by several friends and while I love Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, I did not love this book. In fact it made me cringe a few times from vulgarity which is not something I expected. I wanted to love this book but ehh. 


The Dirty Life - Now that I have a backyard garden and chickens, I envision myself an urban farmer. But after reading this book, I am no where close to being a real farmer. Kristin Kimball took on an onerous task with her then boyfriend, now husband by taking on the running of a farm. I spent most of my time reading this book with awe in my eyes. This is a must-read in my eyes. It was a fantastically entertaining read. 


Orchard House - Full Disclosure, I know Tara Austen Weaver and have even taken care of the chickens at Orchard House. I really enjoyed this book and it inspired me to take a look at both my garden and myself. Both have so much room to grow. I was enthralled with Tara's tales and stories. This is a must-read in my eyes as it was so wonderfully well written. 

You can see all of my previous book reports here
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