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Christmas Cookie Exchange Printables

Fa la la la la la la la lots of cookies!  Christmas is synonymous with baking, eating, and exchanging cookies isn’t it?  I’m sure there are many a cookie exchanges planned that you are preparing for.  To help you out I’ve created some super easy cookie exchange printables to go along with your favorite cookie recipe.

I’ve talked about how to host a cookie exchange before here.  I think they’re a great way to find new recipes, try new cookies, and mix up the selection you have at home.

Now if you’re invited to a cookie exchange this season all you have to do is print out these tags and add them to your plate of cookies.  Be sure to include the recipe so the other party guests will know how to recreate your favorite recipe.

Cookie Exchange Printables

Cookie Exchange Printable, cookie exchange ideas, cookie exchange tags, gift tags

These tags are great to tie onto a plate of cookies, but they are simple enough to use for gifts and presents under the tree too.  Just click on the picture, download, print, and cut the tags out.

Do the same with the recipe cards below.  These would also make a great gift if you wanted to do a cookie mix in a mason jar.  Just attach the recipe to the mason jar full of cookie ingredients (only the dry ingredients) and deliver to friends and neighbors.

Need an even faster gift?  Print the recipe cards out below and attach to a store bought cookie mix.  Add a festive kitchen towel or mixing spoon and you can wrap all you need for this gift up at the grocery store. 
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Growing up I loved being in the kitchen making cookies with my mom.  We usually did the standard chocolate chip cookie.  We did it so much growing up that I have the recipe memorized and it only takes me a few minutes to whip up a batch of these cookies.  This is a double edge sword though.

It’s great that I can quickly throw some cookies together, especially if I’m in a time crunch.  But when I’m craving chocolate chip cookies, it’s almost too easy to make some and then they are too accessible around the house for munching.

Want to know my biggest piece of chocolate chip cookie baking advice?  Buy this butter flavored Crisco to replace the butter in the recipe.  It gives you perfectly chewy cookies.  #nocrunchycookiesplease

What’s your go to Christmas cookie?  Do you have any special cooking baking memories from growing up?

 

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3rd Annual Thanksgiving Cooking Timeline Printable

Every year I go on and on about how I don’t have double ovens, and then every year I do this post because it’s so helpful.  If you only have one oven like me, then you need this oven rotation cooking timeline printable.  It will save your life!  One of these days I’ll get double ovens, even if I do only use them on Thanksgiving, ha!

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It’s so helpful because it allows you to plan out when and how you’re going to put things in the oven to make sure everything gets cooked and is still hot when it’s time to eat.  Just click here or on the picture above to download and print out your free cooking timeline printable.

You can see the last two years printables here and here. Looking back I think my design skills have improved a ton too!

Tips for Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner

Here are a few of my top tips when it comes to cooking Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Always cook things with the highest temperature first, so there is less time for the oven to cool down rather than heat up
  • Be sure to thaw your turkey WELL in advance
  • Brine your turkey so you can cook everything else while it rests and it won’t get dried out (brine recipe I used last year)
  • Do as much prep work as possible in advance (chop, cut, mix things the day before)
  • Bake pies a day in advance, they can sit for 24 hours and still be delicious
  • My favorite Thanksgiving recipes here
  • Check out last week’s post about a stress free Thanksgiving

What are your top tips for cooking Thanksgiving dinner?  Is there a favorite dish you must have? Please share in the comments below, I love seeing what you have to say!

I sincerely hope you have the happiest Thanksgiving surrounding a table full of delicious food that brings back memories and surrounded by those you love and those that love you!  I’ll be taking a little blogging break this week to spend time with my family.  I hope you can do the same!

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Halloween Boo Basket Ideas and a FREE Printable

Welcome back for the weekend.  I know it’s already Tuesday, but I worked this past weekend, so Monday was definitely a day for me to catch up. Hopefully you had a fall-filled, fun weekend.

I feel like I just keep gushing over how fun our neighborhood is, but it’s the best.  We have great neighbors and do fun things all year long.  One thing we experienced for the first time last year was the idea of a “Boo Basket.”  I had vaguely heard about them previously, but was so excited to actually get one last year.

Do you know what a Boo Basket is?  Does your neighborhood do them? It’s such a great way to celebrate Halloween in your neighborhood!

The basic idea is to spread some ghostly cheer around Halloween.  The rules are pretty simple, put together two Boo Baskets filled with candy, Halloween themed items and treats.  Then place it by your neighbor’s front door and sneak off without them knowing.

Once you get “boo’ed” it’s your turn to “boo” someone else in your neighborhood.  It’s so fun to walk through your neighborhood and see how one little act can spread throughout the whole neighborhood!

You’re in luck today.  If you want to start this fun tradition in your neighborhood, I’ve included everything you need, just add treats!  Click on the printables below to download and print off all of your Boo Basket information.

Halloween Boo Basket Ideas, How to Make a Boo Basket, Boo Basket Printables

Halloween Boo Basket Ideas, How to Make a Boo Basket, Boo Basket Printables

 

Boo Basket Ideas

I used a variety of Halloween treats in my boo baskets.  I basically just went to Target and raided the Dollar Spot.

Halloween Boo Basket Ideas, How to Make a Boo Basket, Boo Basket PrintablesHere’s a list of a bunch of great things you could include in your own Boo Basket:

  • Candy
  • Glow sticks
  • Halloween decor
  • Halloween napkins
  • Fake spiderwebs
  • Orange and black straws
  • Mini Pumpkins
  • Pumpkin carving set
  • Googly eyes (they literally work for everything!)

Feel free to use the ideas above to inspire your own Boo Baskets. Put everything in a basket, include the printables above and add some “You’ve Been Boo’ed” tags then sneak them onto your neighbors front porch or by their front door.

Halloween Boo Basket Ideas, How to Make a Boo Basket, Boo Basket Printables

Happy Boo-ing!  I hope you get just as excited as me when you start seeing the “We’ve Been Boo’ed” signs popping up all over your neighborhood.  Boo Baskets are such a fun way to spread some Halloween cheer throughout your neighborhood!

 

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Neighborhood Fall Festival Party Plan Checklist

Well, the days have started turning more crisp and you can feel fall in the air here.  It’s such a nice change from hot weather, but I’m not looking forward to what comes next. Good thing I’ve got an area to keep winter out of my house.  To celebrate fall I created this fun party plan checklist to host a neighborhood fall festival.

Fall neighborhood block party ideas, neighbor gift ideas, neighborhood parties, neighborhood fall partyWe have a pretty active neighborhood and have started having neighborhood gatherings a few times a year.  Fall is a great time to get together and celebrate. Use this party plan as inspiration and to gather your neighbors and celebrate the cooler weather. Just click on the picture and download the checklist to start planning your party today!

Fall neighborhood block party ideas, neighbor gift ideas, neighborhood parties, neighborhood fall partyParty Theme and Decor

For your party you first need a theme.  There is nothing more synonymous with fall than plaid and pumpkins. Let those things be your guide for your party theme and decor.  Use plaid blankets as tablecloths and over hay bales for a fun seating area.  Set hay bales up in the street around a fire pit or bonfire to help you stay warm during chilly evenings.

Decorate the party with multi-colored mums and pumpkins. Create table runners from pumpkins for the dining area. The best part is that it will be heavy enough to hold down the tablecloths.

Guest List

Be sure to design an on theme invitation to send to all of your neighbors with all the details of the party. You can easily make one yourself with these tips and it’s free.  Walk them door to door or send them out via email. Because you’re inviting your neighbors there is no need to stamp an envelope.

Food and Drinks

Feeding a large group of people is hard, so don’t take on the task yourself.  Plan the neighborhood party as a pot luck.  I highly recommend assigning people a different dish or having categories that people sign up to bring.  Doing so assures that a full menu is covered and that there will be enough for everyone.

A delicious and on theme menu for any fall party revolves around soups, chili’s, and stews.  Start with that and then expand to include fall themed sides dishes.  Things like cornbread, stuffing, vegetable casseroles, and fall salads.  Check out my Pinterest board for lots of inspiration.

For dessert, you can’t go wrong with smore’s, especially if your party is set up around a fire pit or bonfire.  Another on theme dessert would be caramel apples.  You could make these ahead of time or set up a buffet station where guests could dip their own apples and cover them with a variety of toppings like nuts, chocolate, sprinkles, or crushed cookies.

Fall neighborhood block party ideas, neighbor gift ideas, neighborhood parties, neighborhood fall partyDrinking apple cider is kind of a must at this time of year so offering an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version will allow everyone to enjoy it.  You could also offer hot cocoa or mulled cider.

Activities and Games

If your neighborhood is like mine and full of kiddos, you’ll need some activities to keep the kids occupied so the adults can enjoy conversation and a bowl of chili.

There are so many fall themed activities you could include at your festival.  A pumpkin carving contest is a great way to get people excited even before the party since they’ll have to carve their pumpkin beforehand and then have it judged at the party.  You oculd elect judges or just do a simple voting system for the best pumpkin.

Bobbing for apples is a great game for the kids. Just be sure to regularly change out the water or have individual buckets for bobbing to keep things a little more hygienic.

Fall neighborhood block party ideas, neighbor gift ideas, neighborhood parties, neighborhood fall partyOrganizing a neighborhood hayride would be so fun.  If you don’t have a tractor and trailer, try making hayrides in wagons for the little kids or the back of a pick up truck for the older kids.

Other go to party activities would be to have someone talented do face painting or organize a fall themed neighborhood scavenger hunt.  Bike races for the kids are fun, and what toddler doesn’t love a bounce house?

Be sure to click the here or the image below to download and print your own Neighborhood Fall Festival Party Plan Checklist to start planning your party.

Fall neighborhood block party ideas, neighbor gift ideas, neighborhood parties, neighborhood fall partyA neighborhood party is such a great way to get to know your neighbors.  It helps to break from the monotony of just waving hello when you see your neighbors out.  It forces you to work together to put the party on, and get to know each other over a bowl of chili.  Who knows what you might find you have in common or what kind of friendship can be built.

Happy Fall Y’all!

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Back to School Checklist

Well, I’m back after having a baby and taking a few weeks off.  It was nice, but I missed blogging more than I thought I would.  I especially missed the routine I had gotten into before having the baby.  He’s adorable and cuddly, so I’m enjoying that too!  Check out my Instagram Stories to see a sneak peak of the little guy.

I know most kids have started going back to school, at least they have where I live.  However, my daughter doesn’t start pre-school until August 21st, so I still have time to put this back to school checklist to use and I hope you do too.

I’ve compiled a few items that I think everyone probably needs to think about right before school starts.  I’m sure there are many more that aren’t included on this list that are specific to your school or grade of your child.  If you know of a really good one that we could all be reminded of be sure to leave a note in the comments for us to benefit from.

Click on the picture below to download and print out the checklist to use before school starts!

Some things like school supplies are a no brainer when getting ready for school, but others may need reminding.  Have you gotten all the forms filled out and turned in that are required before school starts? Why are there so many forms?  What about figuring out the routine of before and after school?  I’d recommend doing a dry run before school starts just so everyone in the family knows what they need to do.

Did your homework station survive over the summer?  Does it need a little effort into setting it up again?  Doing so will mean once the kiddos bring home homework they aren’t stumbling looking for a pen or a quiet place to read.

Take some chaos out of the morning shuffle by setting up a lunch packing station in your refrigerator and pantry.  Encouraging your kids to pack their own lunches will also cut down the time to get out the door in the morning.  Having easy snacks, lunches, and drinks on hand and available to throw into a lunchbox will make it much more likely that the kids will do it on their own.

My personal favorite on the checklist is the last item.  I love the idea of hosting a back to school party or an end of summer soiree.  A simple neighborhood ice cream social or a back to school breakfast with a few friends is a great way to celebrate the anticipation of a new school year.  Here are a few parties that do a great job celebrating back to school.

Don’t forget to click on the checklist above and have a handy reminder of all that needs to be done before school starts.  And be sure to leave a comment with your best back to school reminder for us all.   Or let me know what you’re looking forward to the most this school year.

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Celebrating everyday!