Toppings for Your Popcorn

A big bowl of popcorn and your favorite movie are the perfect combination for a cold winter’s night at home. Yes, popcorn is a great snack all by itself. But if you want an extra kick, consider the following toppings for your popcorn.

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  • Crushed Oreos (Or your favorite cookie. Simply crush and mix into your already made popcorn).
  • Butterscotch Chips (Sprinkle butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, or other type of baking chips on your warm already made popcorn. The heat from the popcorn melts the chips for a delicious mixture).
  • Mini M&Ms
  • A Light Sprinkle of Cinnamon and Sugar
  • Mini Marshmallows and Chocolate Chips
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Garlic Power or Garlic Salt
  • Nacho Flavoring
  • Paprika
  • White Chocolate Chips and Crushed Peppermint Candies (This is a great one for the holiday season; simply use candy canes).
  • Chili Pepper
  • Mixture of Melted Marshmallow Cream and Peanut Butter
  • “Everything Bagel” Mixture (Use Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Sesame Seeds, and Poppy Seeds. Mix to suit your individual taste).

Experiment with your popcorn toppings. Mix and match flavors to find the perfect treat. For family night, allow everyone their own bowl of popcorn with a variety of options for toppings. Of course, a little extra melted butter is always a go-to favorite when snacking on popcorn.

New Year’s Eve Family Night Ideas

Who is ready for 2022? Let’s hope 2022 brings good health and happiness to all. Are skipping the parties this year to stay home with your family? Don’t worry. You are not alone.

Many people are ditching fancy parties to stay home with family. But staying home does not mean a boring evening. With some last-minute planning, you and your family can turn New Year’s Eve into a lasting memory.

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Family-Friendly Ideas to Enjoy New Year’s Eve

Your New Year’s Eve celebration does not need to be elaborate, just fun. Check out the following for New Year’s Eve family night ideas.

Food: Everyone Loves to Eat

Food for your New Year’s Eve should be your family’s favorites. The holiday only comes once a year. So, time to have some fun. Do you need some food ideas? Check out the following 5 ideas to help you plan for your New Year’s Eve family night.

  1. Pizza: Who doesn’t love pizza at parties? Pizza is alway a go-to take out item. Order from your favorite local pizza place. Remember to place orders early to ensure timely delivery. Or make homemade pizzas together to fit everyone’s exact tastes.
  2. Favorite Meal: What is your family’s favorite meal? Make the dinner together as a family to enjoy on New Year’s Eve.
  3. Finger Food: Make finger sandwiches. Even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into fours are an excellent treat for New Year’s Eve. Spread different types of sandwiches out on a tray for everyone to enjoy. Create a picnic indoors as part of your holiday fun.
  4. Sweets: Serve special treats for your New Year’s Eve family night. Bake cookies, brownies, or other family favorites to rind in the new year.
  5. Celebration Cake: Buy or make a 2022 cake. The cake does not need to be fancy. A simple cake with white frosting and 2022 written in bright-colored frosting is perfect.
  6. Ice Cream: Buy your favorite gallon of ice cream or two. Create a sundae bar with different topping choices, including whipped cream, syrups, nuts, candy sprinkles, marshmallows, and cherries. Allow everyone to create their own sundae masterpiece.

Drinks

Serve different family-friendly drinks for your festive evening activities. Of course, water should always be on the menu. But consider sparkling cider or punch for a midnight toast. Homemade hot cocoa is another delicious idea to add to the celebration.

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Activities

Plan various family fun activities to keep everyone busy until midnight. If you have younger children, they may fall asleep before the clock strikes twelve.

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  1. Games: Play board or card games. Sitting together and talking is great for quality family time. Remember to turn the television on to watch the ball drop.
  2. Video Games: Multi-player games are perfect for a New Year’s Eve family fun night.
  3. Do Crafts: Make paper crowns or silly hats out of construction paper for your New Year’s Eve celebration. Create themed decorations to display.
  4. Movies: Binge-watch your favorite movie or series until midnight. Then, turn your channel over to watch the ball drop at midnight.
  5. Scavenger Hunt: Hide clues throughout your home to lead to a final treasure. Plain white envelopes work well for this activity. Place a note with enough information to lead your searchers from one clue to the next. The final treasure can be a special treat, coupons for future activities, movie tickets, gift cards, or cash.
  6. Balloon Pop: Blow up several balloons. Write different times on each balloon. As the night progresses, pop each balloon at the specific time. Make sure there’s enough balloons for everyone to pop at midnight.
  7. Light Sparklers: Check with your city’s ordinances first. But light fireworks or sparklers to ring in 2022.

Make Unforgettable Memories

The best part about spending New Year’s Eve at home is making memories.

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  1. Photo Booth: Create a photo area. Use a blanket, sheet, shower curtain, or large piece of material for a backdrop. Place different props out, including hats, crowns, beads, scarves, and cardboard cut-outs. The accessories can be homemade, or go to your local dollar store to find items. Make a point to take pictures every hour leading up to midnight. The sillier the photo, the better; remember to print your photos to place into a 2022 scrapbook.
  2. Time Capsule: Create a time capsule. Ask your family or friends questions. For example, what do you want to do when you grow up? The question is simple. But when opening the time capsule the following year or two, you may find the answer amusing or inspiring. Place photos, stories, or other memorabilia into your time capsule. Yes, a shoebox works as a time capsule.
  3. Make Memory Cards: Index cards work well for this type of activity. Ask each of your family members to write out favorite moments in 2021. You may need to help younger children. Encourage drawing. Each card is a perfect addition to a scrapbook or photo album.
  4. Create a Video: Make a YouTube or TikTok video saying good-bye to 2021 and hello to 2022. Share the video on your social media platfroms.
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Regardless of how you celebrate, enjoy your evening with your family. Remember, ringing 2022 is a once in your lifetime event. Happy New Year!

8 Alternatives to Trick-or-Treating

Are you going to pass on trick-or-treating this year? Do not worry, you are not alone. Many families forego trick-or-treating for numerous reasons. Chilly weather, scheduling conflicts, health and safety concerns, or the time of trick-or-treating are often big factors. Even without trick-or-treating, your Halloween can still be lots of fun.

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Trick-or-Treating Alternatives  

  1. Halloween Party: Throw your own Halloween party. Halloween costumes, treats, themed music, and games are a perfect combination for a night of fun.
  2. Bonfire Night: With or without costumes a bonfire night is a fun activity for the entire family to enjoy. Just be careful around the fire and don’t forget the S’mores.
  3. Movie Night: On a cold, rainy Halloween, cuddling under blankets, sipping hot cocoa, and watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a perfect evening.
  4. Candy Scavenger Hunt: Hide the candy. No, seriously hide the candy for a scavenger hunt. Kids love to search for “hidden treasures.” A candy scavenger hunt is a superb way to celebrate Halloween.
  5. Craft Day: Spend the day doing Halloween themed crafts. Even your local dollar store has Halloween themed craft products. Make masks, draw haunted scenes, or paint fake pumpkins for a day of Halloween fun.
  6. Community Event: If you are concerned about safety, attend a community sponsored event. Trunk-or-treat, pumpkin walk, or Halloween at the zoo are great sponsored events for Halloween.
  7. Halloween-Themed Baking: Bake Halloween treats together. Deliver treats to neighbors. Or use the Halloween-themed goodies as part of your movie night.
  8. Halloween Pail:  A Halloween bucket is like an Easter basket. Grab a Halloween themed bucket and fill it with your kids’ favorite treats. Controlling the amount of candy is the best part. Add books, magazines, small toys, or other themed goodies to fill the bucket.

Yes, trick-or-treating is a fun part of childhood. When the weather or other issues get in the way, finding the best alternative to trick-or-treating is a fantastic way to celebrate Halloween

Rebecca Reviewed It: Oh Mi Organics

A couple weeks ago, I went out to eat with my sister and our dad. After the fantastic home-style cooked meal at Dershy’s Cafe, we stopped next door at Oh Mi Organics. Dubbed the Chocolate Studio, Oh Mi Organics provides “chocolate your body understands.”

Now, I do not claim to be a gourmet foodie. But I do know what I like. And, Oh Mi Organics chocolate is in my “like” category.

The General Information

Oh Mi Organics is located at 109 W. Higham Street., St Johns, MI 48879. They serve over 180 different flavors of chocolate. Serving a healthier alternative, many of the premium chocolates are gluten-free, dairy-free, or without peanuts. Along with chocolates, there were a few beverages, cold coffee, and hummus available.

Customer Service

In a word, the customer service was outstanding! The cashier was polite, quick to answer questions, and always had a smile on her face. When she found out, we were first-time visitors, she immediately offered samples.

At first, the customer service representative gave each of us a sample of the base chocolate. Next, the cashier had us test the Neapolitan chocolate. Listening to the instructions of the cashier, we held the chocolate on our tongues. When the chocolate dissolves, we really could taste each flavor. Yes, the flavors were yummy.

Sampling the chocolates!

Will I Return?

Yes! Oh Mi Organics offers a great incentive to return, a punch card. After purchasing 12 dozen chocolates, you receive a dozen of chocolates free. And, every Tuesday is double punch day.

The punch card from Oh Mi Organics.

The outstanding customer service went beyond being inside the store. The packaging of the chocolate was superior. Each chocolate was placed in trays then set inside of a box, for easy travel. The best part, the cashier wrote on the side of the tray to identify the type of chocolates.

Easy identification of each chocolate!

Next time you are in St. Johns, Michigan, do not forget to stop by Oh Mi Organics for great-tasting chocolate.

Staycation Ideas for Labor Day Weekend

It’s here the long 3-day holiday weekend. Millions of people will travel this weekend, the unofficial end of summer. Did you decide to stay home for the long Labor Day weekend? Don’t worry; there are still plenty of things to do close to home. Many of these staycation ideas are free or have minimal costs.

Low Cost or No Cost Activities for Labor Day Weekend

  1. Go Hiking: Get outdoors and enjoy nature. Find a new trail to hike. Hiking is a great activity for the entire family.
  2. Beach Day: Pack a lunch and spend an entire day at the beach.
  3. Go to a Local Winery: Many wineries allow taste testing. Gather your friends, enjoy the sights, and sample different wines.
  4. Host a BBQ
  5. Classic Game Night: Dust off your favorite Monopoly or other board game for a fun night of friendly competition. Don’t forget the snacks.
  6. Picnic in the Park: Pack your favorite goodies and head to a local park.
  7. Host a Bonfire Night: Don’t forget the S’mores.
  8.  Host a Themed Movie Night: Order pizza, make popcorn, and play your favorite movies.
  9. Do Crafts: It’s never too early to start holiday crafts.
  10. Read a Book: How long has that book been setting on the shelf? Labor Day weekend is a great time to snuggle under a cozy blanket and read.
  11. Go to a Local Sporting Event: Football and other events are a fun activiy for everyone. Don’t forget to tailgate.
  12. Attend a Local Community Event: Parades, concerts, and other events are generally part of the Labor Day weekend.
  13. Volunteer: MDA and other organizations use the 3-day to collect funds. Volunteer to help locally.
  14. Make a Themed Meal: Create a meal based on your favorite movie. Or use the vegetables from your recent trip to the Farmer’s Market.
  15. Go on a Day Trip: Travel close to home. Visit sites in the next town over. Or go on a long car ride.
  16. Go for Bike Ride: Enjoy the sunshine. Before cold weather sets in, get out and ride your bike.
  17. Visit a Local Restaurant or Business: Is there a new cafe, restaurant, or other local business in town? Go check out the establishment. Who knows you may find a new favorite spot.
  18. Be a Hometown Tourist: Visist all the local sites.
  19. Get Organized: Spend time organizing your living space.
  20. Just Relax: There’s no harm in doing absolutely nothing over the Labor Day weekend. Take long naps or sleep in.

Have fun! Enjoy time with family and friends.

As an Amazon affiliate, “I earn income from qualifying purchases.”

How to Make New Year’s Eve Family Night

Who is ready for 2021? Last year at this time, no one knew how 2020 would play out. The year has been full of challenges. Now, 2021 is almost here. The obstacles are still present, but hope and vision for a better year are on the horizon.

Like most of the year, staying home with your family is your plan for New Year’s Eve.  Use the evening for quality time, host a family fun night. Make ringing in 2021 a celebration for your whole family to enjoy.

Ways to Enjoy New Year’s Eve With Your Family

Your New Year’s Eve celebration does not need to be elaborate. With a little planning, you can easily turn your evening into a long-lasting memory.

Party Food

Food for your New Year’s Eve should be your family’s favorites. The holiday only comes once a year. So, time to have some fun. Do you need some food ideas? Check out the following list to help you plan for your New Year’s Eve family night.

    • Pizza: Who doesn’t love pizza at parties? Order your favorite pizza. Or make homemade pizzas together to fit everyone’s exact tastes.
    • Finger Food: Make finger sandwiches. Even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into fours are an excellent treat for New Year’s Eve.
    • Sweets: Serve special treats for your New Year’s Eve family night. Bake cookies, brownies, or other family favorites.
    • Celebration Cake: Buy or make a 2021 cake. The cake does not need to be fancy. A simple cake with white frosting and 2021 written in bright-colored frosting is perfect.
    • Ice Cream: Buy your favorite gallon of ice cream or two. Create a sundae bar with different topping choices, including whipped cream, syrups, nuts, candy sprinkles, marshmallows, and cherries. Allow everyone to create their own sundae masterpiece.

Drinks

Serve different family-friendly drinks for the evening activities. Of course, water should always be on the menu. But consider sparkling cider or punch for a midnight toast. Homemade hot cocoa is another delicious idea to add to the celebration.

Activities

Plan various family fun activities leading up to midnight.

  • Games: Play board or card games. Sitting together and talking is great for quality family time.
  • Video Games: Multi-player games are perfect for a New Year’s Eve family fun night.
  • Do Crafts: Make paper crowns or silly hats out of construction paper for your New Year’s Eve celebration. Create themed decorations to display.
  • Movies: Binge-watch your favorite movie or series until midnight.
  • Scavenger Hunt: Hide clues throughout your home to lead to a final treasure. Plain white envelopes work well for this activity. Place a note with enough information to lead your searchers from one clue to the next. The final treasure can be a special treat, coupons for future activities, or, depending on your children’s age, cash.

Make Unforgettable Memories

The best part about spending New Year’s Eve at home is making memories.

  • Photo Booth: Create a photo area. Use a blanket, sheet, shower curtain, or large piece of material for a backdrop. Place different props out, including hats, crowns, beads, scarves, and cardboard cut-outs. The accessories can be homemade, or go to your local dollar store to find items. Make a point to take pictures every hour leading up to midnight. The sillier the photo, the better; remember to print your photos to place into a 2021 scrapbook.
  • Time Capsule: Create a time capsule. Ask your family or friends questions. For example, what do you want to do when you grow up? The question is simple. But when opening the time capsule the following year or two, you may find the answer amusing or inspiring. Place photos, stories, or other memorabilia into your time capsule. Yes, a shoebox works as a time capsule.
  • Make Memory Cards: Index cards work well for this type of activity. Ask each of your family members to write out favorite moments in 2020. You may need to help younger children. Encourage drawing. Each card is a perfect addition to a scrapbook or photo album.

Regardless of how you celebrate, enjoy the evening with your family. You only get to ring in 2021 once in your lifetime.

How to Make a Christingle

Is this the first time hearing the word Christingle? Are you asking yourself, “what exactly is a Christingle?” Well, before you start searching, continue reading about the long-standing history of Christingle.

Christingle is a symbolic way to celebrate the Christian faith. Dating back to the mid-1700s, Christingle was part of a German worship service. Representing Jesus bringing light to the world,  John de Watteville, a minister, gave each child a lighted candle with a red ribbon.

In the late 1960s, Christingles became popular in England. Generally, Christingle services are held the week before or part of Christmas Eve services. Due to the pandemic, Christmas 2020 is going to be different. But you and your family can try new things. Making a Christingle is a wonderful new tradition to begin.

How to Make a Christingle

Are you wondering how to make a Christingle? The activity is simple; however, each piece has a specific meaning.

List of Needed Items

I used the candy that I had on hand.

  • Orange: The base of the Christingle is an orange or tangerine representing the whole world.
  • White Candle: Standing tall and straight, the white candle represents God giving light to the world.
  • Red Ribbon: Tying the ribbon around the orange represents the blood of Jesus and dying on the cross.
  • Four Skewers or Toothpicks: The four toothpicks represent North, South, East, and West. They also represent the four changing seasons. If you use skewers, you can fit more pieces of fruit and candy on to your stick.
  • Pieces of Dried Fruits: In addition to dried fruit, you can use nuts, miniature marshmallows, and sweets. The items represent the fruits of the Earth.

In addition to the list above, you will need tin foil. The tinfoil is a precautionary measure to prevent the dripping candle wax from getting into the orange’s interior.

Next, you start the task of creating your own Christingle. Younger children will need help with the first step. Slicing the top of your orange makes a hole large enough to fit your white candle’s base. Before pushing the candle down into the orange, cover the opening with foil.

When your base is complete, set aside. Now begin to place the dried fruits or other sweets onto the skewers. Repeat this step four times.

Place the candy, dried fruits, marshmallows, or nuts on to the skewers.

Now, push the four skewers into the orange. Place the skewers on each side to create a balanced appearance. Finally, wrap your piece of red ribbon around the orange and tie it into a bow. Congratulations on finishing your first Christingle.

I sat my Christingle on top of a Mason jar while I worked on it.

Staying close to home for the holidays is the time to do family crafts. Have fun making Christingles. Light the candles to take a photo in front of your tree on Christmas Eve. (Always practice safety procedures when using candles).

Make extras to give away. Just remember, do not cut the hole into the orange until you are ready to give your Christingle to the intended person.

Reference:

The History of Christingles.  https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/christingles.shtml

Sugar Cookies: A Christmas Tradition

Are you looking for another simple way to celebrate the Christmas season? Baking during the holidays is a long-standing tradition. Sugar cookies are a tasty treat to decorate, share, and eat. Helping to reduce the stress of the holiday mad-dash of baking, sugar cookies can be frozen to decorate later.

Dig out your favorite sugar cookie recipe, find a new one on Pinterest, or grab a tube of dough at your local store. Regardless of your method, sugar cookies are a fun way to celebrate the Christmas season.

  1. Bake your cookies from the method of choice.
  2. Allow your batch of sugar cookies to cool.
  3. Frost cookies.
  4. Decorate

Do you want to get the kids involved in making sugar cookies to celebrate the Christmas season? Set out different types of holiday sprinkles, marshmallows, nuts, and other toppings. Then, ask your children to help decorate the cookies. Making up new designs and colors provides added fun. Enjoy the creative process going into each cookie.

Finally, time to eat the cookies! Put a plate of cookies out as part of family night. Share a batch with a neighbor.

You can always add a nice cup of hot chocolate or milk to the celebration. Now, the next challenge, who gets to pick the Christmas movie for family night?

Christmas Pretzel Treats

Is the hustle and bustle of the holiday season keeping you busy? Do you need a quick and easy snack for a holiday gathering or family movie night? Chocolate covered pretzel treats are a fun way to celebrate Christmas. The pretzel treats are an easy make-ahead snack.

Materials Needed:

  • Dipping chocolate (For added Christmas fun, purchase red or green colored dipping cholate)
  • Pretzels of any style will work.
  • Christmas sprinkles, marshmallows, nuts, chocolate chips, shredded coconut

Instructions:

  1. Melt dipping chocolate as directed. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave or use a double boiler pan.
  2. Melt chocolate to desired consistency. Smooth, well-heated chocolate is easy to apply to pretzels.
  3. Dip pretzels in chocolate.
  4. Add sprinkles. For extra fun, allow your children to help decorate with the sprinkles. Creating their own snacks is a great way to get everyone involved.
  5. Allow the chocolate to harden.
  6. You can store the pretzels in a plastic bag or airtight container.

Self-Care Ideas for November

Daily demands, the pandemic, election coverage, and the upcoming holiday season can be overwhelming. Practicing self-care is critical to your overall health and well-being. Check out the following self-care ideas for November.

  1. Go for a walk (Nature walks are perfect this time of year).
  2. Take a long, warm bath or shower.
  3. Vote-make your voice be heard.
  4. Rent, stream, or purchase a movie from the 1950s, 1960s, etc.
  5. Take your dog for a long walk. (Don’t have a dog? Volunteer to be a dog walker at your local rescue or animal shelter).
  6. Create a new playlist.
  7. Practice saying, “no.” You do not have to take on extra responsibilities.
  8. Buy yourself something. You do not need to spend a lot. Go to your local dollar store. Buy yourself a candle, figurine, or a box of crackers. The choice is yours.
  9. Meditate or pray. Play inspirational music in the background.
  10. Go hiking.
  11. Make homemade hot cocoa to enjoy on a cold night.
  12. Order take out from a new restaurant.
  13. Spend an afternoon reading or indulge by re-reading your favorite.
  14. Get a new hair cute. Or learn a new style. (YouTube has lots of how-to videos).
  15. Call an older relative to just chat.
  16. Write a letter to a classmate from grade school, junior high, or high school. Reminisce about a favorite time.
  17. Go for a long drive. Play the music loud and sing along.
  18. Have a fall picnic. (Yes, having one in your living room with your dog counts).
  19. Spend an afternoon painting, drawing, or doing crafts.
  20. Start decorating for the Christmas season early.
  21. Give yourself a day to do nothing.
  22. Watch uplifting videos or watch Christmas shows on the Hallmark channel.
  23. Bake
  24. Give yourself an in-home spa treatment.
  25. Make a gratitude list.
  26. Happy Thanksgiving! Eat dessert.
  27. Eat leftovers, stay in your pajamas (or comfy pants), and enjoy your day.
  28. Declutter or organize a space.
  29. Try a new recipe.
  30. Write lists, plans, and other details for the upcoming Christmas season.
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