Soapy Snowball Craft

soapy snowball craft

Looking for a fun craft idea to help wash away the winter blues? Make soap snowballs!  These snowballs are fun and easy to make, and when you hide a little toy inside they are a great way to motivate kids to wash away winter germs.

snowflake divider imageSoapy Snowball Craft:

Materials:

  • 4 (4.5 oz) bars of soap (Ivory Soap works especially well)
  • A cheese grater (or a food processor with a grating tool)
  • ½ cup of lukewarm water
  • Small toys to put inside the snowballs (optional)
  • Peppermint extract (optional) 

Directions:

  1. Use your cheese grater or food processor to shred your soap into a large bowl. (Be sure to watch little fingers during this part.)
  2. If you want to add a minty scent to your snowballs, add a few drops of mint extract to ½ cup of lukewarm water.
  3. Add the water, a little bit at a time, to the bowl of shredded soap until it forms a claylike texture. Mix the soap and water with your hands as you add it to be sure you are getting the consistency you want.
  4. If you are adding a toy surprise, start with that and mold a large handful of the soap mixture around it to form a snowball.
  5. Set your snowballs on a tray or rack to dry. It usually takes about 24 hours for the snowballs to fully dry.  

** Be sure to really rinse off  any utensils that you used to make your soapy snowballs before putting them in the dishwasher, otherwise you might get more sudsy action than you bargained for! 🙂





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A Christmas Cocktail Idea

Santa’s Little Helper
Christmas Cocktail

Christmas cocktail

It’s the holiday season, time to take a break and celebrate with friends and family. Last night I went to a fun Christmas party and discovered this festive Christmas cocktail, aptly named a Santa’s Little Helper. Totally yummy! This recipe comes courtesy of Ronny, the amazing bartender at the Multnomah Club in Portland, Oregon. Enjoy!

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How to make a Santa’s Little Helper

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Stoli Vanilla Vodka
  • .5 oz. Chocolate Liqueur
  • .5 oz. Peppermint Schnapps
  • Aztec Chocolate Bitters
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • 1 Small Candy Cane
  • Crushed Candy Canes (for sugar rim)

Directions:

1. This drink is served in a martini glass. To start, crush some candy canes and place the small pieces on a small plate. Wet the rim of your glass and spin it in the crushed candy to form a holiday themed sugar rim.

2. Next, drizzle Hershey’s syrup in the shape of a star in the bottom and up the sides of the glass.

3. Mix vodka, chocolate liqueur, schnapps, and bitters with ice in a cocktail shaker to mix and chill your drink. Pour into your glass.

4. Add a finishing touch by hanging a small candy cane off the side of your glass for an extra treat!

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Santa Hat Chex Mix

Deliciously Addictive Christmas Snack Mix

How to make amazingly delicious Santa hat Chex mix

Directions for making some amazingly delicious (and totally addictive) Santa hat Chex mix!

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of mini pretzels
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups peanuts
  • 4 cups Rice Chex cereal
  • red and green M&Ms
  • Bugle Santa hats
  • 10 oz white chocolate

Santa Hat Bugles
 

  • Bugles                                                                    ingredients for Santa hat Chex mix
  • red candy melts
  • mini marshmallows
  • non-perils, white

Directions For Bugle Santa Hats

Melt red candy melts according to directions.  Place a handful of Bugles in the melted candy at a time.  Use two forks to turn Bugles to coat with the melted candy.  Remove and place on a sheet of wax paper to set.  Continue this process with remaining Bugles.
Reheat the red candy melts and dip the bottom in the melted candy and then dip into a shallow bowl of the non-perils.  Add a mini marshmallow to the top and let set.

Direction For the Mix

Add all ingredients, except for the M&Ms, into a large bowl.  Melt  10 oz of white chocolate according to directions.  Pour over the mix, and toss gently to coat.  Let cool to set.
Add 2 cups red and green M&Ms, and some of the Santa Hat Bugles.  Mix gently.  Put into containers to store, or give as gifts.

 







How to Find the Perfect White Elephant Gift

How to find the perfect white elephant gift

The white elephant party is a tradition in our home. We have been hosting this party (almost) every year for the past 15 years, and by now our friends are getting pretty savvy as to what makes an excellent white elephant gift. Coming up with new and creative ideas is always part of the fun. The most important thing to remember when choosing a white elephant gift is that it should be something that makes everyone laugh, groan, or at least smile a little. Here are our top ideas to help you find the perfect white elephant gift, including ten different categories of great white elephant gifting, with sample ideas for each. All the specific gifts you see can be found on Amazon.com, so you know you can get them and get them fast.  Have fun!

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1. Something Retro

Is there a toy that brings back special memories for you? Chances are that this will pull at the heartstrings of at least some of your friends. For my husband and his pals the big ticket item one year was the classic Mattel hand-held electronic football game. Wow! I thought we were going to have some tackling on our family room floor to get a hold of this gift. Another big winner was the Stretch Armstrong doll. (*A note here that it does seem to be the guys who are secretly very attached to the toys of their youth.)


Mattel Football

Stretch Armstrong

Retro Atari Games

2. Something with the Potential to be Really Great

Our favorite idea for this category is lottery scratchers. These can stand alone or be a fun incentive topper for any other gift. It’s up to you if you want to tell your guests that they can’t scratch the tickets until all of the swapping is over. One year someone brought fake lottery tickets so the person who wound up with the gift thought she won a million dollars for a few sweet minutes.
A shotski makes a great white elephant gift

3. Something  Handmade

This is a wide open category. You might bring something really cool, or really not-so-cool.  The best handmade gift that has ever shown up at our party is probably a shotski. This was made by white elephant gift idea -- the shotskisuper gluing shot glasses to an old ski. The fun of this gift is filling all the shot glasses and then having people line up to do a “group shot” together. We have this hanging on the wall in our game room during the off season.

 

4. Something Embarrassing to Wear

white elephant gift ideasOkay, so this category lends itself immediately to underwear. Funny boxers, huge granny panties, and racy Christmas lingerie are all good ideas. You might also go with an ugly Christmas sweater (these are super popular these days) or a funny tee shirt. The possibilities are endless. Extra bonus if the gift recipient poses for a picture in their new attire!

5. Something You Know Will be Secretly Coveted by at Least One Person

Do you know anyone at the party with a favorite hobby, activity, or other life love? Cats maybe? Golfer? Needlepoint enthusiast? These can be great inspirations, and you can bet that they will be sought after by at least one person.


Potty Putter

Funny Cookbooks

Themed Ornaments

6. Something You Just Want to Get Rid Of

Do you have a giant teddy bear from last year’s county fair sitting in your attic? Lace doilies from grandma’s house? Really annoying toys that the kids have outgrown? A white elephant is a great excuse to clear out your closets and find that “special something” that is just taking up space. (* This is the best category of gift for those who really hate shopping.)

7. A Special Treasure from Goodwill

This category is my personal favorite because I love poking around Goodwill to find something that makes me smile. There are no rules here. I have found a pink bowling ball with matching case and shoes which was a big hit, a Jane Fonda workout tape and leg warmers, a traveling bar set and many more treasures that are sure to be white elephant hits. Look below for more great Goodwill inspirations!How to find the perfect white elephant gift

white elephant gift ideas

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Something Slightly Racy

This one can easily tie back to the underwear category, or it can also branch out on its own. For example, one year a DVD on the art of belly dancing with matching symbols was highly sought after. Another year a friend who is a plastic surgeon brought actual silicone breast implants to the party. (Unfortunately assembly was not included.) The Kama Sutra or anything vaguely suggesting male genitalia are also gifts sure to lead to giggles and blushing.

9. A Snuggie

When in doubt, you can never go wrong with a Snuggie. These days they come in all kinds of colors and patterns and they are super versatile! They are the gift that everyone loves to hate (but probably secretly loves.)

10. Something that will Make You Laugh

You can find so many great gag gifts these days that are sure to be good for a chuckle, and in the end that is the best quality of a good white elephant gift. Here are a few inspirations that I might put on my short list for our next party.



How to host a great white elephant party --tips, directions, invitations, and more!Do you Want to host your own white elephant party? Be sure to check out our white elephant party ideas page, with tons of ideas on how to play, and hints to make your party extra successful!