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Last minute gift ideas and stocking stuffers

 

Stocking

We’re coming down to the wire. Christmas is NEXT WEEK! Can you believe it? It seems like just yesterday the kids were going back to school.

Are you done with your holiday shopping yet? Thankfully we finally are. Normally I’m done by November but this year we cut it pretty close. I’m just glad we’re done shopping. Now we just have to wrap.

I do have to pick up some stocking stuffers for my kids. They are older now so I usually get them an orange, some candy and a few small items for their stockings (earphones, lip gloss, gift card…).

This year my kids are going to find some holiday PEEPS® in their stockings.

PEEPS

There are so many holiday themed PEEPS® to choose from.

  • PEEPS® Milk Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cookie Flavored Chicks (3 ct)
  • PEEPS® Gingerbread-Flavored Marshmallow Gingerbread Men (6 ct and 3 ct)
  • PEEPS® Chocolate Dipped Candy Cane Flavored Chicks (3 ct)
  • PEEPS® Milk Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Mint Flavored Trees (individually wrapped)
  • PEEPS® Chocolate Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Reindeer (6 ct)
  • PEEPS® Marshmallow Trees (3 and 9 ct)
  • PEEPS® Marshmallow Snowmen (3 and 9 ct)
  • PEEPS® Holiday Rainbow POP (4 ct)

This year PEEPS has a few new marshmallow treats to choose from.

  • NEW PEEPS® Marshmallow Minions (6ct)
  • NEW PEEPS® Hot Cocoa & Cream Flavored Marshmallow Dipped Chicks in White Fudge (3 ct)
  • NEW PEEPS® Candy Cane Flavored Marshmallow Chicks (10 ct)
  • NEW PEEPS® Large Marshmallow Snowmen (1 ct and 3 ct)

I LOVE the PEEPS® Chocolate Dipped Candy Cane Flavored Chicks! They are like potato chips – it’s hard to stop at just one. They are the perfect combination of marshmallow, peppermint and chocolate. Mmm… I wish I had more. Now I’m craving them.

PEEPS® was kind enough to send me some holiday PEEPS® to try out.

The PEEPS® Large Marshmallow Snowmen are HUGE. I love marshmallows in my hot chocolate so I put one in a mug of hot chocolate. It was way too big. :-) It was like drinking a mug of marshmallow topped with hot chocolate. That’s OK. It was still good.

The large PEEP was a bit too big for my mug of hot chocolate - but it was still yummy!

The large PEEP was a bit too big for my mug of hot chocolate – but it was still yummy!

Recently my kids and I made “cookies” out of graham crackers. We dipped/smeared melted chocolate on graham crackers and topped them with nuts, sprinkles, candy canes and PEEPS®. In a way it was like eating a S’more because it had a graham cracker, chocolate and marshmallow.

PEEPS® make great stocking stuffers AND additions to you holiday baking and treat making.

Cookies-2

My son even put one of the treats we made into the microwave for 15 seconds to malt the PEEP so that it was mroe like a S’more.

Smore

I wanted to do something “crafty” with the PEEPS® too. Since it’s the holiday season my first thought was an ornament. PEEPS® get hard (stale) when left out in the air. I thought I could put an ornament “hanger” into a PEEP, let it go stale and hang it from the tree.

The idea was interesting… but not such a good idea when you have a dog and cats. It’s just one more temptation for them to want to get into the tree. So I nixed that idea. Maybe some day I’ll try it.

My next thought was a bouquet/centerpiece made out PEEPS®, but I wanted to keep them in the packages so they wouldn’t go stale.

It took me a bit to get it to work but I finally did it. If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw the photo already.

Peeps Basket

I thought something like this would be fun to set out at a holiday party (for adults or children) so that people can “pick” one of the packages of PEEPS® out of the bouquet and enjoy (either at the party or when they go home). It also makes a cute centerpiece.

Even our cat Bella liked the PEEPS® bouquet/centerpiece I made. So much so she was chewing on the packages trying to get them to open.

PEEP BELLA

This year PEEPS® has Minion shaped PEEPS®. I love the Minions! I had heard of the Minion PEEPS® but couldn’t find them in the store. I am thrilled that PEEPS® sent me some. They are so cute! These would make a cute gift addition for the Minion fan in your life.

Minion PEEPS

Too cute! The Minion PEEPS® are big too.

As you can see, PEEPS® can make a fun addition to your holiday, whether it’s for stocking stuffers, hot cocoa or even thinking outside of the box and creating something fun with them.

For more creative ideas using these fun and flavorful marshmallow treats visit www.MarshmallowPeeps.com. You can also check out the brand’s site, www.PeepsandCompany.com. You can also find them on social media.

Do you enjoy PEEPS®? What is your favorite flavor/shape? Have you ever used PEEPS® in a recipe or craft?

Peeps logo

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Creating Memories with Holiday Baking

 

Gingerbread Cookies

 

I love this time of the year for so many reasons – the decorations, parties, music and all the delicious foods. This has to be the one time of the year when people go all out – especially when it comes to baking.

I am not much of a baker. I wish I was but I’m not. I’m a good cook but I have never really excelled at baking.

This time of year homemade (and not so homemade) cookies are in abundance. I love cookies. I wouldn’t mind a box of homemade cookies showing up at my door. :-)

One day I’d love to participate in a cookie exchange. Those sound like a lot of fun, but I guess I need to perfect baking before I can do that.

My mom wasn’t really into baking either. I wish she was because I would have loved to have stood next to her in the kitchen baking up mouth watering treats for our family. It’s also something I wish I could have passed down to my daughter.

Family Baking

I have family and friends who tell me stories about the times they spent with their mom or grandmother baking. It was a special bonding time where family recipes were passed down from one generation to another, as well as family stories. I think the experience (for me anyway) is more about the bonding then it is the baking. The baking is just a “bonus”.

I received a package from Macy’s filled with some goodies to help me bake some cookies with my family. Sadly my son really doesn’t have much interest in it (he rather eat the cookies then bake them). My teenage daughter wanted to make the cookies herself. She’ll be off to college next year and she wants to be able to do things on her own – without our help (got to love teenagers). She begged me to let her make the cookies that Macy’s sent us on her own.

I wanted to spend the time bonding with her and talking, but she wanted to take on the challenge of doing them on her own. So I let her make the cookies on her own.

Macys

Macy’s sent a mason jar that was layered with ingredients to make cookies. All she needed to add was two eggs and some butter.

In addition to the cookie mix, Macy’s sent us a really nice spatula and oven mitt from the Martha Stewart Collection.

Macy's Baking

Cookies

Mixing Cookies

The directions were pretty simple, but my daughter mis-read something. Instead of making four dozen cookies she made about two dozen cookies – and she made them too big. As they baked they expanded to the point that they were all connecting with the ones around them. The cookie sheet looked like one big cookie. LOL!

Originally she was going to make shaped cookies (Gingerbread Man and Candy Cane) but then she decided she wanted to make the cookies with the Hershey’s Kiss in the middle. Needless to say that didn’t happen.

Macys Cookies

Even though the cookies came out mis-shapened and not the kind she originally started out making (the ones with the Kisses) they still turned out great and we got a huge laugh out of the experience. She wasn’t disappointed or upset that her cookies didn’t turn out the way she had hoped – she laughed about it even going so far as to say she should just stick to cooking and leave baking up to the experts. Ha Ha.

Believe it or not this cookie experience DID create a family memory. We’ll always remember this as the time our daughter’s cookies spread out all over the cookie sheet and she made giant cookies. I’m sure this will come up in conversation in the future when we make the attempt to bake cookies from scratch again.

A special “thank you” to Macy’s for the yummy cookie mix and great kitchen helpers from the Martha Stewart Collection.

For more information about Macy’s, or to find a location near you, visit Macys.com. You can also find them on social media.

Do you have any fond memories baking holiday treats? Feel free to share your stories.

Macy's Logo

 

Kimberly

*I received free product samples. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Sock It to Me – Fun and Funky Socks for Women, Men and Children

 

Sock 2

One work some might use to describe me is “quirky”. I tend to “march to the beat of my own drums”, so to speak. My husband is quirky too. I think that is why we get along so well.

Boring and “stuffy” we are not. :-)

Buying a gift for me is easy. I like and appreciate so many things. I don’t really have any set “likes” or “dislikes”. Case in point, I was at the drug store yesterday looking for a few last minute stocking stuffer ideas when I came across an adorable plush teddy bear. He was $2.99. At that price point he’s not exactly a quality made product, but I don’t mind. He makes me smile every time I look at him and he’s nice to hold (he’s very fluffy). He currently sits on my desk next to my computer.

Some people might look at the teddy bear on my desk as silly or childish. Not me. If anything I’m a big kid at heart and a fun person.

I like to wear fun things too. Would YOU wear socks with bacon on them? Or what about very colorful knee high socks? I do! And I love them.

Socks tend to go missing in my home. I don’t mean sock being swallowed by the washer and dryer (but that does happen too). I mean that my family some how manages to get my socks mixed up with their socks. That is what happens when everyone wears the same type of sock and in the same boring color – white. So I’ll end up with my husband’s socks and my son will end up with my daughter’s socks… it’s a never ending cycle.

I purchased socks with different colors on the heel which helps to identify which are my socks. An even better solution are socks from Sock It to Me.

SITM

Sock It to Me is a Portland-based designer of fun and funky socks for women, men and children.

Sock It to Me offers 200+ design-focused styles including eye-popping Argyles, Mustaches, Pugs, Cupcakes, Dancing Cats, Burger, Super Hero and even a Bacon sock! The brand also has a cute assortment of Holiday socks, making a perfect gift idea. Retailing from $9 – $18, the socks are now available at 3,500+ retailers worldwide, as well as online at www.SockItToMe.com.

Sock It to Me sent me and my family some delightful socks to review. We received socks with a lightening bolt on it, argyle, colorful strips, sharks and even bacon.

Sock It to Me socks are very well made. We’ve worn and washed the pairs we received to review many times already and they have held up nicely. The colors are still vibrant and there are no lose strings, rips or tears.

My whole family likes the socks, including my teenagers and husband.

Here my son is “modeling” two pairs of socks from Sock It to Me that he wears.

Socks 1

Socks 2

 

 

Socks 3

 

The socks are comfortable to wear too.

I’m a “plus size” person and sometimes socks that are shin or knee high are not comfortable to wear. They feel like they are cutting off circulation.

Sock It to Me carries a line of socks for people with “thicker” calves. They are called STRETCH-IT socks. They are also available in the same fun and colorful designs as regular Sock It to Me socks.

Here are a few more examples of these delightful socks.

Sock it to me

These socks would make a great gift or stocking stuffer. You can still order in time for Christmas if you use next day air by December 19, 2014. Sock It to Me can be found at various kiosks around Oregon.

Even if you can’t order them in time for Christmas you can still enjoy these fun socks any time of the year.

Don’t forget to check out their current sales and specials. Right now if you order four pairs you can save 15% off your order automatically (no coupon required).

With Sock It to Me socks you’ll never have to worry about someone in your family getting your socks by accident. Plus you can add a bit of fun and whimsy to your everyday outfits.

For more information about Sock It to Me or to check out the socks visit www.SockIttoMe.com. You can also find the brand on social media (links are found on top of the home page).

What do you think about Sock It to Me socks? Is it something you would wear? Would you give these as gifts? Feel free to share your thoughts.

sock-it-to-me-logo

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Traditions matter because…

 

Family Tradition

… they help to strengthen the bond between family members. Traditions are also important because they help connect generations within a family. Sharing traditions with your family also helps to create lasting memories.

My family has several traditions. Some are traditions passed down from our families. Other traditions are ones we developed as our own family.

One tradition my family has is going out to eat at a fancy restaurant on Christmas Eve (the kind where you have to get dressed up). Then afterwards we drive around town checking out the holiday decorations. We act as “judges” and “award” the displays we see with virtual awards such as “Most Beautiful”, “Funniest”, “Tackiest” and “Most Creative”.

This wasn’t always a tradition. It came out of necessity. We used to spend Christmas Eve with my husband’s family. He’s from an Italian family and Christmas Eve was a big event. My mother in law would cook ever seafood imaginable and there was always a lot of food, fun and laughter. Sadly, after my mother in law passed away things changed. My husband was deeply affected. He was very close to his mom (the last one to leave the next). The first Christmas Eve after she passed he didn’t want to be around family. It only reminded him of his mom and that she was no longer with us. Instead of being with family we went to dinner with friends of ours to a fancy Italian restaurant. It was nice and we have a wonderful time.

We ate early and  it was still early in the evening. Instead of going right home we opted to drive around town and look at decorations. It was the first time we pretended to be judges (our kids were young). Our kids had so much fun they requested to do it again the following year. Our friends had other plans so we decided to go out to dinner ourselves and then drive around town afterwards. And so a tradition began.

This year we plan on doing the same thing (eat at a fancy Italian restaurant and drive around town looking at the holiday decorations). Even though our kids are teenagers now they still look forward to our family time together on Christmas Eve. It’s also nice because they can recall past Christmas Eves and the fun (and not so fun) things that happened.

Hickory-Farms-Melt-a-Way-Mints-HickoryTradition

Most families have traditions. I still have the urge to purchase Melt Away Mints from Hickory Farms. It’s a long story but my whole family used to buy our great-grandfather Melt Away Mints for Christmas. It was his favorite and he looked forward to them every year. It seemed like we could only get them around the holidays (this was long before the internet). It wasn’t Christmas without seeing my great-grandfather enjoying his Melt Away Mints. :-)

Hickory Farms has been a part of many family traditions over 60 years, providing consumers with gift options that are not budget friendly and delicious. Hickory Farms takes great pride in providing quality and fresh holiday gifts and treats.

Did you know that Hickory Farms Signature Summer Sausage was rated the #1 Summer Sausage in America, winning the Masters of Taste Gold Medal for Superior Taste, in 2011. I’ve tried it before and it is very flavorful. I can see why it won.

Hickory Farms is known for their sausages and cheeses. This year Hickory Farms is proud to introduce its first ever Signature Chocolate Collection. The new one pound chocolate assortment offers the true taste of American confectionery craftsmanship. The chocolate is made in small batches using the finest ingredients and paired with premium milk or dark chocolate.

Chocolates

You can find the new Hickory Farms Signature Chocolate Collection in select stores, from the catalog and online at HickoryFarms.com.

Hickory Farms also has five products that have FREE shipping to military APO and FPO addresses, including the “Festive Cheese Sampler” gift basket and “Beef Hearty Hickory” basket.

Did you know that Hickory Farm is also a charitable brand? Hickory Farms is proud to support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. If you are unfamiliar with the charity, Share Our Strength, it’s a non-profit organization working to end childhood hunger in America.

Hickory Farms and their valued customers have help to raise $3.3 million for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. These contributions help to provide funding for summer meal programs, emergency food assistance, nutrition education, holiday charitable giving and long-term solutions for families in need.

You can help, and pick up a great gift for someone special on your holiday shopping list.

No Kid Hungry

For every Party Planner gift box sold this holiday season, Hickory Farms will donate $5 to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign.

The gift box includes;

  • 7 oz. Our Signature Beef Summer Sausage
  • 5 oz. Spicy & Savory Summer Sausage
  • 5 oz. Brown Sugar & Honey Turkey Summer Sausage
  • 6 oz. Smoked Gouda Blend
  • 4 oz. Farmhouse Cheddar
  • 4 oz. Smoked Cheddar Blend
  • 4 oz. Creamy Swiss Blend
  • 4 oz. Cranberry & Sesame Nut Mix
  • 3.5 oz. Classic Mixed Nuts
  • 2.5 oz. Cranberry Mustard
  • 2.25 oz Sweet Hot Mustard

You could give the entire gift box as a gift or purchase one for yourself to serve to holiday guests (or enjoy it all for yourself). Remember, $5 for every Party Planner gift box sold goes towards Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign. That means if you buy three sets, $15 dollars will be donated, and five sets will total a $25 donation.

If you’d like to check out the Party Planner gift box or other Hickory Farms products (Melt Away Mints!) visit HickoryFarms.com. You can also check them out on social media. The links are found on the bottom right of their home page.

Do you have any wonderful holiday traditions? Is Hickory Farms a part of your holidays? Feel free to share your thoughts. I love to hear from readers.

Hickory-Farms-Logo

Kimberly

*Compensation and products for review were provided by Hickory Farms via MomTrends. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hickory Farms. 

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Make cookie decorating easier with Walkers Festive Shapes cookies

 

Walkers Shortbread Festive Shapes

I have mentioned it in the past how I am not that talented when it comes to baking. I wish I was. I would love to be a baker. I love sweet treats. Sadly my skills fall short when it comes to baking, but I do give it a try as often as I can.

When I think about the holiday season I always think about cookies. I’ve always wanted to participate in a cookie exchange. That is on my “Bucket List”. There is nothing I love more than freshly made cookies decorated in festive ways.

I do love to decorate cookies. I think that is fun. It’s great to be able to put a little bit of your personality into your designs.

Walkers Shortbread has holiday shaped cookies that can give you the cookie decorating experience without having to make and bake cookies.

I grew up on Walkers Shortbread cookies. They’ve been around since 1898. My great-grandparents bought their cookies all the time. My family comes from Wales (UK). Walkers Shortbread hails from the Scottish Highlands. In fact their original family store is still in operation. They export their yummy treats to over 80 countries around the world, including the U.S.

Walkers Shortbreads contain no artificial flavorings, colorings or additives. All of their shortbread, oatcakes and biscuits are certified Kosher OUD.

Festive Shapes

Walkers Shortbread Festive Shapes, which are available in fun holiday shapes like Christmas Bells, trees and Santa, are a great option that can make cookie-decorating with the family delicious and stress-free!

Decorating Walkers Shortbread is a great option for the kids (or anyone) when you may not have enough time to bake cookies, but still want to engage in a fun and festive activity. It’s as easy as paint by numbers: the festive shapes’ imprints will guide your decorating, allowing you and your children/grandchild to easily create an edible masterpiece.

Walkers sent me a package of their Festive Shapes cookies and some decorating “essentials” to decorate some cookies. I let my kids enjoy decorating the cookies (I was too tempted to eat them instead of decorate them – I love Walkers Shortbread cookies).

Decorated Cookies

I don’t know why my daughter used the big, red “sprinkles” for eyes. It makes Santa look like something from a horror movie. LOL!

Walkers Shortbread cookies are available in other fun shapes that families can decorate year round including animals, sheep and Scottie dogs.

Now even non-cookie bakers like me can give my family the cookie decorating experience without offering them burnt and misshapen cookies.

For more information about Walkers Shortbread cookies and other Walkers products visit www.WalkersShortbread.com. At the top of the screen where you see the U.K. flag, click on the drop down arrow to select the U.S. flag so that you shop from the U.S. site.

You can also find the brand on Facebook and Pinterest.

Have you ever tried any of the Walkers products before? If so, what did you think about them?

What do you think about using pre-shaped cookies to decorate instead of homemade ones?

Walkers Shortbread Logo

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Have you ever heard of the Christmas Pickle?

 

Pickle

I really enjoy holiday traditions. Growing up my family had their own traditions, as did my husband. When we got married we melted our traditions together and created our own traditions.

Traditions are a delightful way to connect families together across generations. Traditions also create memories that last a lifetime. I think it’s especially wonderful how traditions are passed down from generation to generation.

Some of my family’s favorite holiday traditions are driving around at night on Christmas Eve and looking at all the decorations around town and pretending to be judges and awarding the displays with see with virtual awards such as “Most Beautiful”, “Most Creative”, “Most Original” and “Most Tackiest”.

Another tradition we have is watching A Christmas Story when we get back home on Christmas Eve together as a family in front of the Christmas tree.

We used to spend Christmas Eve with my husband’s family. He comes from a very large Italian family and Christmas Eve meant seafood – lots and lots of seafood (my mother in law cooked like crazy on Christmas Eve). After her passing (and a lot of family drama) my family and I have made it a tradition to go out to a fancy restaurant on Christmas Eve for dinner – one where you have to get all dressed up.

I’ve heard about plenty of beautiful holiday family traditions over the years, but I’ve never heard of the Christmas Pickle. I have seen pickle ornaments in catalogs, but I never really understood what the connection between Christmas and pickles were.

Set

I was sent to review the The Christmas Pickle Tradition Gift Set to review. FINALLY! Know I know the connection between Christmas and pickles.

The gift set comes in a keepsake box. Inside you’ll find a beautifully illustrated hard cover book and a lovely green pickle ornament.

No one really knows how or where the tradition of the Christmas pickle began. I Googled it and its origins are unknown.

The idea behind the Christmas pickle is to hide the pickle in the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. In the morning the family gathers around the tree. Everyone then looks for the pickle. The first person to find it either gets an extra present or good luck in the upcoming year (there are different forms of the Christmas pickle tradition).

With the Christmas Pickle Tradition Gift Set you get a hardcover book about a mischievous little elf named Pickle who learns the true magic of giving and the importance of giving from the heart. It’s an adorable story that would be fun to read to children on Christmas Eve (the same way you would ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas story).

The set even comes with an area where you can write down the name of the”Pickle Finder” each year.

The pickle ornament is made really well. I love the “hook” that comes with it. Its very pretty.

Its a fun addition to our Christmas tree. My husband was surprised to see it on the tree. After I told him about the story and the tradition he thought it was a fun idea too. Too bad our kids are teenagers and most likely wouldn’t go for looking for the pickle on Christmas morning. If they were little I would have done it. Maybe some day when we are grandparents we can do it with our grandchildren.

This is a wonderful gift set that would make a great gift for anyone on your holiday shopping list, or for your own family.

If you would like to learn more visit www.ChristmasPickleTradition.com. You can also connect with The Christmas Pickle Tradition on social media. All the links are found on the website (bottom right).

Does your family participate in the Christmas Pickle Tradition? What holiday traditions does your family have?

The Christmas Pickle

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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