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?

Make Putting Up Your Christmas Tree a Grand Event

Are you getting ready to put up your Christmas tree? Make the tree decorating a family fun event. (Yes, your dog counts as a family member). Spend an afternoon or evening decorating your Christmas tree together.

Ways to Make Putting Up Your Christmas Tree a Grand Event

Due to the ongoing pandemic, most community events will not take place this year. But you can quickly turn Christmas decorating into a grand affair. Check out the following list for ideas to make lasting memories while merely putting up your Christmas tree.

  • Homemade Ornaments: Make homemade ornaments for your tree. For example, salt dough ornaments are simple to create. Before putting up your tree, make a batch of salt dough ornaments. You and your family can easily cut the decorations into specific shapes with cookie cutters. Bake, paint and date your ornaments as directed. Then, on the day of putting up your Christmas tree, you can hang your new ornament creations.
  • Special Ornaments: Purchase a new ornament for each family member. If you are on a tight budget, dollar store ornaments work wonderfully. Date or add different embellishments to your decorations to create a one of a kind appearance.
  • Make Your Garland: String popcorn, create paper chains, or use other materials to create your tree’s garland.
  • Play Christmas Music: Set your radio on the Christmas music channel or create playlists full of your holiday favorites.
  • Listen to an Audio Book: Listening to children’s Christmas stories is always fun. Playing the stories in the background will add extra fun to your Christmas tree event.
  • Watch Christmas Shows: Play old classic Christmas shows while decorating the tree. Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Polar Express, or A Charlie Brown Christmas are all wonderful holiday programs for your whole family to enjoy.
  • Bake Christmas Goodies: Before setting up your tree, bake holiday-themed goodies. Cookies, pretzels, hot cocoa, or other treats help make putting up your Christmas tree a grand event.
  • Countdown Ceremony: Before plugging in your Christmas tree, have a countdown ceremony. Children love the hype of a countdown ceremony.
  • Photo Time: Wear matching holiday pajamas or ugly Christmas sweaters to pose in front of the tree. Creating a new Christmas tree ceremony selfie can be a new tradition for you and your family.

Remember to take lots of pictures while putting up your Christmas tree. Print your photos and create a special scrapbook. 2020 is definitely a year to remember.

 

Halloween Fear Challenge–Food Edition

Are you staying home for Halloween? Are you looking for fun ways to celebrate with your family? How about hosting a Halloween fear challenge night? Trying new foods is always a fun family activity, right?

Grocery List Ideas

Ask yourself, what food items would be a challenge for your family? Do you need some assistance? Check out the following ideas.

  • Edible Insects: There is a wide selection of edible insects available at your local specialty shop or online.
    Original Worm Snack. Believe it or not, these come in different flavors.

    Like the Larvets, these Crick-eets are available in different flavors; Bacon & Cheese, Salt & Vinegar, and Sour Cream & Onion.
  • Bugs in a Sucker: A sucker is a perfect chance to eat a little sweet before getting down to the bug.

    There are suckers available with scorpions, crickets, ants, worms, and more. They come in a wide variety of flavors.
  • Chocolate Covered Bugs: Other bugs come covered in chocolate. For many, eating chocolate-covered larvae is easier.
  • Pickled Eggs: Pickled eggs are an acquired taste. Many find the soft squishy pickled eggs a challenge to eat.
  • Rattlesnake: For many, Eating a snake is definitely a challenge. But a rattlesnake can add an extra element of fear.
  • Gummy Bugs: If you have younger children who may want to join the fun but will not try other real insects, purchase gummy bugs. Eating a gummy worm or other insects may be a challenge to younger children.
  • Fruit or Vegetable: The produce section is another place to look for food challenge options. If your family has never tried a turnip, radish, leek, pomegranate, avocado, or dragon fruit, add these to your food fear challenge night. The fruits and vegetables are a fun addition.

Your Halloween Food Challenge Night

Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong way to set up for your Halloween food challenge night.

  • Use Halloween themed plates or trays to spread out your food selection.
  • Provide plenty of water to wash down the food choices.
  • Do not force anyone to try a choice.
  • Film the experience to use on YouTube or Instagram.
  • Take pictures. Use the photos to make a scrapbook later.
  • Have fun. Who knows, maybe you can cross items to try off your bucket list.

What food do you consider a fear challenge?

 

Simple Halloween Ghost Cookies

Halloween (or any holiday) is an excellent time to start new traditions. Whether you are staying close to home due to the pandemic or avoiding the cold weather, making simple Halloween ghost cookies is a great way to celebrate. Anyways, who doesn’t like warm, gooey marshmallow cookies?

Grocery List

  • Cookie dough or the ingredients to your favorite cookie recipe.
  • Marshmallow shaped ghosts
  • Halloween sprinkles (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven.
  • Bake cookies as directed.
  • Remove at the proper time.
  • Place the ghost marshmallows and sprinkles on to the warm cookies. The marshmallow begins to melt from the heat.
  • Serve warm.
  • Enjoy the extra sweet, gooey goodness of simple Halloween ghost cookies.

These simple but tasty Halloween ghost cookies are a perfect snack for family movie night.

Family Fun Month: Hiking

Exploring the outdoors is a wholesome activity for the entire family (including the dog) to enjoy. Hiking provides physical exercise, reduces stress, and boosts creativity.

Find the Right Trail

Before heading out, do your research. Find the right hiking trail for you and your family to safely enjoy. Trails generally run from easy to extremely difficult with numerous obstacles. Finding the best one for your family requires research. If you are uncertain about where to start, set out on an easy trail than work your way through the rest.

What to Pack

If you are just beginning, day trips are the best. Heading out on the trail for a day gives your family a chance to familiarize themselves with the trails and the equipment.

Do you need ideas for the basics for backpacking essentials for day trips?

  • Backpack: Use a high-quality backpack to protect your basic hiking necessities. Even younger children can carry a lightweight backpack.
  • Water: Staying hydrated is critical when hiking.
  • Food: Pack plenty of food to get you through your hiking trip. Small children may require frequent stops with extra snacks. Pack to meet each family members’ needs.
  • First Aid: Bringing a first aid kit is essential for handling minor scrapes and cuts on the trail.
  • Compass: Do not always rely on your cell phone. If your battery goes dead, you may need an alternative navigation device.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Use to clean your hands before eating.
  • Mask: Once you are on the open trail away from people, you will not need a mask. However, certain areas of the park may require a face covering. Be respectful of others. Pack a mask to follow any restrictions.
  • Extra Socks and Hiking Shoes: If you accidentally get your feet wet, having additional foot attire is a priority, especially with children. You want to make hiking a positive experience.

Before You Hit the Trail

Before heading to your destination, check the weather forecast. Dress in weather-appropriate clothing. Remember, clothing layers are the best option for being outdoors. If you are uncertain what to wear, add an extra layer. If the weather is too warm, a sweatshirt is easy to remove.

Have Fun

Hiking is not a race to get through the trails as fast as possible. Take your time with your family. Pause to view numerous scenic areas or enjoy nature.

Ask your children open-ended questions or make up stories. Being outdoors increases creativity. Encourage conversation among your family about the experience. Bring your camera or use your cell phone to take lots of photos to create a memory book. Wildlife and nature discoveries can lead to a lifetime love of the outdoors.

 

Family Fun Month: Sunday Dinners

With school fast approaching, either virtual or in-session, daily homework, work, and other commitments will quickly fill your schedule. Did you know August is Family Fun Month? Celebrating the small moments is essential for you and your family. One way to celebrate Family Fun Month is hosting Sunday dinners.

Hosting Sunday Dinners

Keep in mind, when you start planning, there is no right or wrong way to host a Sunday dinner for Family Fun Month. If you need a little inspiration, check out the following ideas.

  • Traditional Meal: Cook a full course meal. For example, turkey or ham with baked potatoes, vegetables, a side salad, and apple pie is a great traditional dinner.
  • BBQ: With the weather being beautiful, starting up the barbecue grill is a wonderful way to celebrate Family Fun Month.
  • Picnic: Make sandwiches, snacks, and other treats and go on a picnic. Get outdoors. Numerous state and local parks have picnic areas. Or pack a blanket, sit on the ground, and enjoy your meal under the open sky.
  • Try Something New: Use Sunday dinners as a way to explore new cultures. Research recipes from different cultures around the world. Pinterest is a great resource. Try something new. Who knows, the new recipe may quickly turn into a family favorite.
  • Cook Together: Even a simple meal can turn into a learning experience. Cook together as a family. Share stories and enjoy them.
  • Order Take Out: If you don’t feel like cooking, order take out. Yes, when you are all together, pizza counts as a family meal.

Family Fun Month is a great time to celebrate with Sunday dinners. Enjoy your time with your family. Small celebrations quickly turn into long-lasting memories for you and your family.

Happy 40th Birthday, Harry Potter!

Today, July 31st, 2020, is J. K. Rowling’s character, Harry Potter’s 40th birthday. If you do not know by now, J.K. Rowling’s birthday is also today. So, here is wishing a Happy 40th Birthday to Harry Potter, “the boy who lived” and the author who brought magic alive for millions of fans.

Why celebrate? Well, the real question is, “why not celebrate.” Stay at home orders, social distancing, and other restrictions lead to canceled plans for you, your friends, or your family. Finding little things to celebrate is a great way to make memories during this current health crisis.

Ways to Celebrate Harry Potter’s Birthday

Are you looking for simple ways to celebrate? Well, binge-watching the Harry Potter series is one of the best ways to celebrate. For extra fun, make popcorn, order pizza, or host a watch party online.

For the love of a fandom

Other ways to celebrate include:

  • Read: The new illustrated editions draw you right into the Wizarding World.
  • Join a Group: Social media hosts numerous groups, including Adult Fans of Harry Potter. Connecting with other Harry Potter fans is a beautiful way to chat about the growing fandom.
  • Subscribe: GeekGear and other monthly subscription boxes brings your love of the Wizarding World right to your doorstep.
  • Listen to a Podcast: Finding a new podcast or listening to an old favorite provides insight into the world of Harry Potter.
  • Do Crafts: Let your creativity shine.
  • Make Food: Pinterest has thousands of recipes relating to the Wizarding World. Maybe you can discover your inner chef.
  • Host a Zoom Session: Invite friends to chat with you about Harry Potter.
  • Write Fan Fiction: Put your pen to paper or start typing to write a story about the Wizarding World, Hogwarts, or the characters in the books.
  • Join a Cause: The Harry Potter Alliance advocates different worthy causes. Learn different ways to transform your love for Harry Potter to real life situations.

Celebrate July 31st; small occasions can quickly turn into lasting memories for you and your family.  For millions of fans, the day is just the beginning of Harry Potter’s magical tale.

10 Days of Harry Potter: Ornament Craft

Are you searching for another craft to keep your children busy? Making Harry Potter themed ornaments is an excellent way to pass the time. The ornaments will make a great addition to your Christmas tree later in the year. Or, you can display your ornament creations on your bookcase, curtain rod, or other noticeable areas.

Materials Needed:

  • Clay (The type of material used is completely up to you. You can purchase baking clay at your local supermarket or craft shop. Or you can look up a recipe on Pinterest to make porcelain or salt dough.)

    Purchased at Wal-Mart
  • Cookie sheet
  • Various Harry Potter themed cookie cutters. (This kit is sold at William Sonoma).
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes

Instructions:

  1. Make the dough according to instructions. Or tear off pieces of the clay to use.
  2. Work into the desired consistency.
  3. Roll out the clay.
  4. Push the cookie cutter into the clay.
  5. Place the ornament unto the cookie sheet.
  6. Poke holes in the ornament to hang later. (A small wooden dowel works great)
  7. Bake the ornaments as directed.
  8. Allow the ornaments to completely cool.

The best part of the ornament craft, children of all ages can enjoy the painting process. Remember to place a date on the back of the ornament. A simple afternoon craft can easily turn into a cherished memory down the road.

10 Days of Harry Potter: Owl Craft 2

In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, owls are useful for sending letters, packages, and more. If you were attending Hogwart’s, wouldn’t you want an owl?

Now think about your owl:

  • What is the color of your owl?
  • What color eyes does your owl have?
  • What is your owl’s name?
  • Who would be the first person you sent a letter to via your owl?

Materials Needed:

  • A ceramic owl (Wal-Mart sells ceramic owls for under $4).
  • Paint in the colors of your choice
  • Paintbrushes

Instructions:

  1. Put newspaper or other protective material down for painting.
  2. Paint your owl.
  3. Allow your owl to dry.
  4. Display your owl, proudly.

Write a story about your owl. Enjoy the entire creative process of making your owl.

 

10 Days of Harry Potter: Chocolate Frogs, Coins, and More

In J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter series, large feasts, parties, sneaking down to the kitchens, or devouring Molly’s home cooking, food is a common theme. Who wouldn’t want to eat their way through a Hogwart’s start of term feast or the extravagant Halloween festivities?

Are you wondering how to celebrate Harry Potter with special treats? Consider the following ideas.

Chocolate Frogs and Chocolate Coins

Materials Needed:

  • Frog and coin molds
    Silicone Frog Mold

  • Dipping chocolate

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.
  3. When ready, carefully spoon the chocolate into the molds.
  4. Allow hardening.
  5. Serve.

Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean 

Pick up a box of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean. Try and guess each flavor without looking at the guide.

Added Fun

When having a fun-filled Harry Potter food night, try something new. Many novelty stores or specialty shops sell edible insects. Make memories by trying something completely new. Who is the brave one in your family?