Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Potato Soup Cooked In InstantPot Reviewed

Easy And Delicious Potato Soup

potato for soup
Potatoes for soup image from pixabay.com
Want to make some potato soup for your family to enjoy this winter? I can review a recipe that will delight your taste buds and be easy on your purse strings. 

Last year I asked Santa for an InstantPot and was delighted that he thought I was a good enough girl to get one. Since then, I have made many wonderful meals in that multi function pressure cooker. Just this past weekend, I tried some potato soup. Let me just say that it was a real hit in my house. I will even go so far as to say that it is the best potato soup that I have ever had. That is saying a lot on my part because my Mom's was pretty danged good stuff. 

This is an easy recipe that won't take you all day to make if you cook it in an instant pot. I think that it took me about an hour with the prep time and cooking time. The prep time and waiting for the pot to preheat took more time than the actual cooking time. Still, about an hour from start to that first delicious mouthful.

Potato Soup (Instant Pot) Recipe

Ingredients:
5 lbs potatoes peeled and cubed
1 shallot minced
4 Tblsp butter
1/3 cup cream cheese - softened and cut in small pieces
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1-2 cups of milk (enough to get your desired consistency)
1/2 cup bacon bits
Shredded cheese for garnish
Green onion cut for garnish

Add the shallot and potatoes to the pot and cover with the chicken broth. Cover and cook on the Soup setting for 10 minutes. Release the pressure with the quick release method. Let your pot stay on the keep warm setting.

You can mash the potatoes at this point if you like although I don't think you need to.

Add butter, cream cheese and sour cream and mix well until butter is melted and the cream cheese and sour cream are blended. Add part of the bacon bits saving some for garnish in the bowls.

Add the desired amount of milk, stir and serve in bowls with desired garnishes. 

A few hints:
When cubing your potatoes, keep the size of the cubes rather large. Perhaps a medium to large size is best. The reason for this is the pressure cooking will cook those cubes down quite a lot and if the cubes are too small you will end up with "mashed potato" soup. You want some potatoes that you can bite into. If some seem too large you can cut them after the pressure cooking is done. Honestly, I feared that I had cut the potatoes too large but when they were done they were the perfect size and were completely cooked through. 

The cream cheese needs to be in very small pieces in order for it to melt quickly when added and stirred into the hot potato mixture. Having to stir the mixture too much will continually break up your cooked potatoes. 

Personally, I had to add more salt and pepper after cooking. That will be a matter of personal preference so try it with the amount given and adjust to your taste afterward. You can always add more but if you add too much to begin with; well, you can't take it out. 

So, that is my potato soup recipe cooked in my InstantPot. I hope you give this a try because I think you will really love it. It is perfect on a cold winter day! It also makes enough that you are sure to have enough to enjoy for another meal or too. You can keep it refrigerated for a couple of days and just reheat in a saucepan. As with so many meals, it tastes even better on the second day. All those ingredients kind of marry each other while resting in the fridge. Trust me, this is really very good!





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Monday, December 17, 2018

How to Make Super Easy Gingerbread Cookies

If you have wanted to make gingerbread men but are too intimidated or short on time I have a great kitchen cheat for you! Even I was able to successfully bake these cookies with Wilton Gingerbread Man Cookie pans and Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix. However, please note that the Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie mix is "limited edition". Perhaps it is only seasonal. So stock up now for your future gingerbread cookie-baking adventures.


Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix



I depend on cookie mixes. And have had really good luck with the Snickerdoodle and the Peanut Butter flavors. So it was an easy thing for me to buy the Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix.


I followed the directions on the bag to make the cookie dough. The ingredients list is super short:

  • bag of cookie mix 
  • stick of butter 
  • one egg 
  • tablespoon of water.

I split the dough in half - using one half for each pan - and dropped by small spoonfuls into the pans. 





Wilton Gingerbread Man Cookie Pan


When I saw these adorable cookie pans at a local big box store, I could not resist. I'm not at all skilled with baking, but I really wanted to try these shaped cookie pans. I have had a great time making these cookies and I think these would be fun pans to use when baking with a child.

The pans are nearly 12" tall! They are non-stick (I still used a very light coating of spray cooking oil). And the pans have raised details that create slight indentations in the finished cookies. The indentations can be guides for icing placement. I left mine plain (I tell myself that because I left the frosting off the cookies were a "healthier" version of cookie!)


Big Gingerbread Man cookie pans by Wilton



Super Easy Gingerbread Cookie Pros and Cons



The best things about these super easy gingerbread cookies are that they are quick, easy, and tasty. Minimal time is spend in the kitchen and the cookies are oh so good.

When the pans are filled using the "dropped by small spoonfuls" technique the cookies are big and soft (similar to a brownie). I prefer that type of cookie.

My picky-eater friend said that the flavor was very good. I agree.

The possible "cons" of these cookies are that these are not the gingerbread cookies your grandmother made. If you are looking for original gingerbread men, this may not be what you are looking for. 

These cookies were not the "crispy"/"crunchy"  original style of gingerbread men. 

I have made these cookies using these pans three times. I have learned that the gingerbread dough does not "spread" during baking as much as some other cookie dough. So my first attempts resulted in the hands and feet not being fully formed. On my most recent attempt, I dropped small spoonfuls of dough in the cookie pans feet and hands. That created fully formed hands and feet.

My next attempt will include pressing the dough down into the pan to see if the result with be the thinner and more crunchy cookies. 




Related Link:


Do you love Snickerdoodles? 
Do you prefer super thick, cake-like cookies?  

Me too! 

Check out my Easy Snickerdoodle Cookie Pie recipe. 




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Sunday, December 16, 2018

How to Create a Zodiac Sign Themed Party

If you're planning a zodiac themed party, below you'll find ideas to help get you started.

Your astrology party is all about the décor, the games, the prizes and the food. Anything you do that incorporates astrology will work. Incorporate one or all of these suggestions:

1. The Decorations and Accessories
  • Use wine glasses that feature each zodiac sign. Depending on the size of your party, and budget permitting, determine how many wine glass duplicates you'll need. In other words, if you have more than one person per zodiac sign, you'll need multiple wine glasses in that sign.
  • If purchasing wine glasses for multiple signs to cover all the zodiac signs is too expensive, then opt for astrology wine charms. Get multiple sets so that each person can grab their astrology sign wine charm and attach it to their wine glass.
  • Use zodiac astrology table cloths and napkins. Of course you can purchase the table cloths, however, to save money, you can also DIY this part of your décor. Get plain white tablecloths from the dollar store, and use a permanent marker to write a sign or multiple signs directly onto it. If you're having a large party and happen to have twelve tables, give each table a sign name. If you only have a few tables, or one table, write multiple sign names on each. You could split up the groupings according to the zodiac elements, Earth, Fire, Water, and Air.
  • Use the symbols for each sign as wall décor. As an example, Leo the Lion, Taurus the Bull, and so on. That gives you twelve posters to feature around the room.
  • Use crystal balls as table center pieces.
2. The Games and Entertainment
  • Budget permitting, hire a Psychic for the party! If nothing else, it will get everyone talking!
  • On twelve large sheets of paper, write 5 personality traits that typically represent each sign. Put the sheets on the wall where everyone can see and read them. Then, on a piece of paper, have people write which sign matches each of the 12 traits. The top three winners each get a prize.
  • Print out the constellations for each sign, or buy the posters of each, and have people match the astrology sign name with the constellation. Again, they'd write their answers down and hand them in to be graded for the winning prize.
  • Play scrabble, but add a rule that all words have to be astrology, astronomy, or space related.
  • Create a music playlist that features songs that are mystical or space related
3. Prize Ideas for Your Astrology Party
  • Astrology fridge magnets that give the traits of the person. Here's an example.
  • Astrology T-shirts
  • Lottery Tickets
  • Crystals that represent each sign
  • A Moon Lamp
  • Books about Astrology
  • A Trip to Mars (They'll have to settle for a book about it)
4. Food Ideas for Your Astrology Party
  • Cupcakes with each Zodiac sign spelled out in Icing on top
  • Have a speciality cake made that highlights all 12 of the zodiac signs on it
  • Homemade or store bought moon pies
  • Cheese balls (the moon), 
  • Vegetables trays in the shape of each zodiac sign
  • Foods related to each zodiac sign
  • Use each element to categorize foods: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Choose foods related to each one. Use fruits, veggies, meats for Earth - Air chilled meats and popcorn for Air - Spicy foods for Fire, and Seafood for Water.



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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Reviewing How To Reboot Your Body

reviewing how to reboot your body
The end of the year is often a time for reflection  and our New Years start off with  promises to ourselves of keeping good habits, kicking bad habits, taking time out for gratitude and other things.

This year I started my January by doing Arbonne's 30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond plan and I felt fantastic on it.   This plan is a great way to basically give your body a reboot!

I will be 'rebooting my body' again in January 2019 and I'm going to review the reasons why as well as the what, whys and hows of the plan.

Why I Love The Basic Principles of The 30DTHL Plan


There are three principles behind the plan as I see it -
  • First foods that are often allergenic, acidic or hard for the body to digest are eliminated - don't worry it's only for 30 days!
  • Second, you nourish your body with good, clean food and quality supplements.
  • Thirdly you support your body as it goes through it's rebooting process.
Doesn't that sound good?  This was what attracted me to this plan as I had discovered over 10 years ago that a certain food could cause my Rheumatoid Arthritis to flare up and yet other foods that cause other people to flare up didn't appear to affect me.

The idea of eliminating and then (this plan does include the words and beyond) re-introducing the different foods gradually so that you can see how they may or may not affect you, this idea is one that I think is brilliant.  Everyone is different, but I do think that everyone would benefit from a reboot at least once so that they can find out how different foods affect them.

I also love how the importance of nourishing your body correctly is handled.  This program provides you with protein powder to use twice a day leaving you to only have to prepare one meal a day (and snacks).  Initially I was a little unsure how I felt about this, however if I had to prepare three meals to the proportions recommended and not including processed foods I would probably not have lasted the whole 30 days.

We live busy lives and that's what Arbonne gets.   The protein powders are specially formulated (and by the way all of the products are vegan, gluten-free & kosher) and although I was skeptical about them filling me up they really do!   If you don't want shakes that's fine as you can cook with the protein powder too and there are recipes available for protein porridge, pancakes and lots more ideas.

Personally I love making up a shake in the morning as I find it quick, easy and filling.   On the weekends I will often treat myself to a smoothie bowl -

https://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2018/05/reviewing-smoothie-bowl-recipes.htmlReviewing Smoothie Bowl Recipes
A smoothie bowl is essentially a thick smoothie that is served up in a bowl with a variety of toppings. It is delicious and feels like a decadent treat while also being a very healthy choice.

Gently supporting your body in a delicious way with their herbal tea and body cleanse is also great.   If you live in the US, Canada or the UK you also get what they call Digestion Plus to take every day and this works wonders on your gut health which is really important.

Who Needs to Reboot Their Body?

I think most of us need to reboot our body at some point so that it's working efficiently.  I think of when my internet connection is dropping out or just seems to hang, the first thing I do is hit the reset button on my wifi router and 99% of the time that's all it takes.

So why would you need to hit the reset button on your body?  Well let me list a few symptoms that may show your body isn't working as well as it could be -


signs you may need to detox
  • Bloating
  • Bad Breath 
  • Feeling Tired
  • Dry Lips 
  • Insomnia
  • Sore Muscles 
  • Hormonal Imbalance
  • Low Libido 
  • Brain Fog
  • Skin Breakouts 
  • Headaches
  • Depression 
  • Gas
  • Skin Rashes 
  • Low Energy


What Do I Get with the 30 Day Pack?


When you order the plan you will receive 2 x bags of protein, 2 x boxes of herbal tea, 2 x boxes of fizz sticks, 1 x bag of fibre, 1 x box digestion plus*, 1 x box of Body Cleanse and 1 x tub of Greens Balance.

*Only available in the US, Canada & UK

You also get access to a private coaching group on facebook, a downloadable recipe book, 30 days worth of meal plans (both vegan and non-vegan plans) and you can message me any time.   I've actually done this plan a few times so can help with any questions you have.

30 days to healthy living and beyond - rebooting your body the healthy way
30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond

Changes I Have Personally Experienced


When I did my first 30 days to healthy living I found that I had lost 5kg (11 lb), I had lots of energy, I wasn't experiencing any mood swings (I am menopausal and these had been quite bad), my hot flushes had stopped, my sleeping had improved, my energy levels were really high and (as a total surprise) I was no longer sore or stiff in the morning when I woke up.

Now that last point was a big surprise to me as I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis approx 16 years ago.  I had come off of my medications about a decade ago and had been managing my condition with diet & lifestyle.   I had accepted, however, that I would be stiff in the mornings and sometimes a little sore - a combination of RA and getting older.   I have discovered that while doing this plan that was no longer the case and hasn't been all year!

Now I'm not claiming that this will work for everyone, but I can't think why you wouldn't give it a try!

What Happens After the Reboot


Part of the health reboot is eliminating certain foods for 30 days, now if you want to maximize the effect of this plan you need to gradually reintroduce these foods one at a time over the following few weeks.   This way you can pinpoint which foods (if any) effect you.

Foods can affect you differently as you age as well.  When we get older our bodies produce less digestive enzymes and this is why when I was on an elimination diet over a decade ago only one food seemed to effect me.   I now know that I have to reduce how often I eat other foods too.

The other thing that will happen after you've been making your clean meals for one meal a day (most people have dinners, but you may have chosen lunch) is that it's much easier to make your second meal as well.   I admit that a number of people I know actually continue to have a smoothie for their breakfast after finishing the plan.   In my case it's because it's easy, yummy and keeps me full!

Interested in Learning More?


Contact me via messenger on my Facebook page or leave a comment below and I'll get back to you with more information including how to order it at a discount.





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Friday, December 14, 2018

Finding Father Christmas Hallmark Movie Reviewed

Finding Father Christmas Hallmark Movie Reviewed
Hallmark never fails to bring us movies that are touching and wonderful!  Finding Father Christmas was no exception.

I especially love watching the Hallmark movies during the holidays.  I suspect that is simply because Christmas time tends to get hectic and we all need breaks from the work. Since Hallmark is a trusted source of great entertainment, I enjoy taking my breaks with Hallmark and watching the Hallmark Christmas movies offered online.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, yes, of course there is romance in the air too, but it is not with Father Christmas!


Hallmark Movie:  Finding Father Christmas


The movie opens with Miranda (Erin Krakow) as a child watching and listening to her mother performing in a production of "Scrooge" onstage.  Having heard her mother play the part many times, Miranda also has all of the lines memorized.  When her mother suddenly stops speaking, Miranda races to her to find that she has died.  Needless to say, having her mother die at Christmas when she was only 9 years old, leaves her avoiding Christmas celebrations in the future.  

The movie quickly transitions to Miranda as an adult at Christmas time.  She receives a call from a gentleman at the theater where her mother died.  While renovating the theater, he had found an old suitcase that belonged to Miranda's mother and wishes to give it to Miranda.  When Miranda goes through her mother's belongings, she finds a few clues about her unknown father, including an angel bracelet and a picture of Father Christmas.  She imagines these clues will at least show her where she might find him.  She immediately plans a trip to Carlton Heath, Vermont in the hopes of finding her father, but first, she must find Father Christmas to determine why his picture was among her mother's hidden treasures. 

 

The Sequel is also available!



Currently, "Finding Father Christmas" is also available on Amazon with a subscription to the Hallmark Channel.  
 


 Hallmark Channel Subscription on Amazon


More Movies REVIEWED ON REVIEW THIS!
Available with Subscription to the Hallmark Channel






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Finding Father Christmas Hallmark Movie Reviewed Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 


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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Review of Hot Drink for the Holidays

Hot Holiday Punch Recipe Postcard
by mbgphoto 

Hot Drink for Cold Days

I love to entertain during the holiday season. When my guests come in from a cold winters evening a cup of hot holiday punch will make them feel warm and festive.

Over the years I have experimented with several combinations for hot drinks and have ended up using this one for the past ten years or so.  It has just the right blend of juices and spices and is great with or without alcohol added.  I always serve the alcohol on the side and let the guest decide how much to add or not.

Hot Holiday Punch

Ingredients


  • 1 Jar (48 oz) cranberry juice 
  • 1 can (46 ox) unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • one orange cut into slices

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in large crockpot and heat.  I put a decanter of rum nearby for those who would like to add a bit of liquor.

At the beginning of this page I added a link to a recipe card for the punch that you can purchase on Zazzle.

Mugs for Hot Drinks

Here are some festive mugs I found on Zazzle.
The first one can be personalized with your name.

Watercolor Pine Tree Joyeux Noel Espresso Cup
I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a festive holiday season!!




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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Why Should You Have a Beautiful Advent Wreath?

We are in the full season of Christmas and part of that in our family is lighting the Advent Candles on our Christmas wreath.

The meaning of the candles and the wreath as a meditation for Christmas and beyond.  


Most people recognize an Advent Wreath when they see them.  They can be made out of many different types of materials.  The most common are evergreens, but there are many other beautiful options.  The wreath (round just by it's name)  usually has 4 candle holders spaced evenly around the wreath.   These four candles are usually in purple and pink( 3 purple and one pink), for religious celebrations of Advent.  Some have a central larger candle in White.  Other Advents wreaths can have red or white candles or whatever color you happen to like.

What's the significance of the colors in a Religious Advent Wreath?

Advent is a time of waiting and preparation.  Purple is the color of both Advent and Lent in religious ceremonies.  Both  of these seasons Liturgically are waiting periods.  Advent we wait for the coming of the Saviour in the stable and Lent we wait for the Resurrection from the Grave.  Let's focus on Christmas and Advent right now.

Each candle has it's own meaning.

  1.  The 1st Sunday of Advent is for Hope (purple)
  2.   The 2nd Sunday is for Peace (purple)
  3.   The 3rd Sunday is for Joy (pink)(it's pink because the light of the two other candles illuminates this week a little bit more and joy is bright)
  4.   The 4th Sunday is for Love (purple)
  5.   Christmas Day the center candle is lit, if you have an Advent wreath with 5 candles.  This central candle (usually in white) represents the Christ, the Saviour whose birthday we celebrate at this time.
The way we use our wreath, is to light one candle on the first Sunday, two on the second Sunday, three on the Third Sunday and all four candles on the Fourth Sunday.  For this reason it is advisable to use a good sized candle or long tapers.  After 4 weeks the first candle will be considerably smaller than the other 3.

If you want to increase the religious aspect of Advent, you can use Bible verses as a meditation for each of the four weeks, or sing some Christmas carols that speak more to the coming of the Saviour rather than  Santa Claus.  There are also some lovely Advent prayers to be found on You Tube and I have selected one for you with music.  The sound is soothing and a reminder of what Christmas is all about!  Check it out right here, and bookmark it if you like so that you have it for all 4 weeks.



Quiet Meditative Time 


Christmas with all it's hustle and bustle can sometimes overwhelm children, parents and other members of the family.  Do you ever wonder why you seem to see so many children having emotional meltdowns at this time of year.  I personally think it has a lot to do with sensory overload and children not having the coping mechanisms in place to deal with it all.

You might find yourself in that position of having to back away from all the noise, lights, music and people.  Taking some quality quiet time for yourself during this hectic time, is not only a great idea, but a necessity for some.  Everyone is different and will relate to the stimulus differently too.  One thing I do know from my own experience is that taking the time to light one candle for every weekend before Christmas is necessary for my well being.  It's a quiet meditative time for me and a way to refresh and renew my sagging spirit.

If you want to know more about sensory overload or aren't sure if that's what has you in it's grips, there is a great article here on Healthline.  It's worth the time it takes to read it. Not only will it help you to understand this malady, but it will also give you some coping mechanisms.  If you are looking for a more "spiritual way" to cope then I would recommend this article on Seasonal Depression and coping.

When you are faced with this "overload" and you know which methods of coping work for you, then it's time to put it into practice.  This is where my Advent Wreath plays a central role.  For me, coping with the seasonal overload means finding some quiet time, and meditating(some might call it praying).  Christmas for me has always been a "spiritual time" and while I love some of the more secular things about Christmas, I still try to keep it as a spiritual time in my home.  I have to do this for my own peace of mind and you might just find some peace if you try this too!



Why Should You Have a Beautiful Advent Wreath?  www.reviewthisreviews.com




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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Immersion Hand Blender Reviewed

Easy Way To Blend or Puree Foods

tomato soup
Soup probably pureed with an Immersion Blender
image courtesy of pixabay.com 
I don't own an immersion hand blender yet but I want one pretty darned bad. So, I thought I would review the one that I think that I will purchase in the near future. 

The main reason that I want one of these hand held blenders is that I love tomato soup and I want to be able to make my own. In order to get the correct consistency the soup needs to be pureed. Now, cooking up a big pot of tomatoes for soup and then having to pour batches of it into a regular blender is a pain in the royal keester. For one thing there is the most likely possibility that I will burn myself or spill quite a lot while trying to maneuver the contents from pot to blender. There is also the time involved! Not to mention that the clean-up will be a hot mess! I would have to clean up the pot that the soup is cooked in, the blender and the pot that I would need to put the pureed soup into while going through the blending process. An immersion blender solves all of those obstacles. 

With a hand held blender I can just puree the tomatoes in the pot that they have cooked in eliminating the use of so many tools, the burn factor and the spill factor. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! 

So, I have been looking at my options and there are several to choose from. I can go the expensive route or I can try to save myself a little money. I decided that maybe the best route to pursue is the one that most folks seem to be happy with. So, I looked at ones that have the best reviews and then picked the one that is marked as Amazon's choice; which by the way, happens to have the best review history.

Here is the model that I believe I will purchase after the holidays. There is a possibility that Santa might leave me one so that is why I plan to wait. 

I like that it has two attachments. One for blending and a whisk. So, I will be able to puree all sorts of foods or easily whisk ingredients for many recipes. There are six speeds so that should be handy, too. I will be able to make smooth and wonderful tomato soup or wonderful fruit smoothies. I think my possibilities will only be limited by my own imagination.

I think it might be helpful if I let you on something. Depending on the cook these hand blenders are known as immersion blenders or sometimes they are called emulsion blenders. Those two words are describing the same tool.

How about you? Do you own an immersion hand blender? If not, do you think it would be something that you would use? Not only do I plan on using mine a lot but I think this is a wonderful idea as a wedding gift or a holiday gift for your favorite cook. 



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Monday, December 10, 2018

Snowglobes are Great Gifts and Seasonal Decor

Holiday snowglobes on Review This!
There is something magical about snowglobes. It doesn't seem logical. After all, Snowglobes are simply water-filled globes of glass (or plastic) encasing some sort of item or scene. Shake the globe and the little flakes begin to "snow". But there is something special about that frozen moment in time surrounded by the movement of falling snow.

At this time of year, snowglobes always come to my mind. They are a wonderful part of holiday decorations. Because holiday snowglobes are offered in such a wide variety of styles they can also be very thoughtful gifts. Each one individualized to reflect special interests of the giver or the receiver. Snowglobes range from the tiny plastic trinkets that you can find at just about any souvenir gift shop to high-quality pieces of seasonal art that can be enjoyed and passed down for generations. 


Santa Claus Snowglobes



This review came to mind after recently purchasing a beautiful snowglobe depicting Santa's workshop. There was a piece of synchronicity that led me to thoughts of how special snowglobes can be. 

Scenes with Santa are my favorite snowglobes. And there are MANY Santa scenes to choose from:
  • Seated in his workshop with the elves, making toys. 
  • Flying in his sleigh through the snowy sky. 
  • Dressed in his suit with the huge bag of toys slung over his shoulder. 
  • Seated with a child seated on his knee
Santa's Workshop - musical snowglobe


Musical Snowglobes


Some snowglobes come with a music box option. Typically, the music box key is under the base of the snow globe. Simply turn the globe over, turn the key a few times, then place the snowglobe on the table to watch the snow and listen to the tune.

Tunes that are as familiar as Jingle Bells and as traditional as Oh Holy Night can be found with some snowglobes.


Religious Snowglobes



A variety of religious scenes are depicted in snowglobes. From angels to the nativity scenes (simple and ornate) a snowglobe reminding us of the "reason for the season" can be found.


Nativity - musical snowglobe



Snowglobes and Nature Scenes



In the areas of the world that have four seasons and the possibility of snow during the holidays, snowy naturescapes are reminiscent of Christmas. Trees drop their leaves and make unique silhouettes against the sky. Native backyard birds are easier to see against the white background of snow. Polar bears, penguins, and white hares are wildlife that are often associated with a winter wonderland. 


Penguin snowglobe - plays "Let It Snow"



Baby's First Christmas Snowglobe



Special occasions, such as baby's first Christmas, can be commemorated with an engraved snowglobe. And those globes can last a lifetime.

Baby's 1st Christmas snowglobe



Snowglobes with Favorite Movies, Places, Things



Perhaps your family has made a tradition of watching the Nutcracker during the holidays. Or watching the Wizard of Oz has become an annual event as the holidays approach. 

Maybe you've traveled during the holidays and want a reminder of those special places.


Whatever your holiday traditions include, chances are good that there is a snowglobe that gives a shout out to those special memories.

design courtesy of pixabay.com

Whether you are looking for long-lasting holiday decorations or a special gift for that special someone, snowglobes are a great choice. 

My love of snowglobes was recently renewed during an incident of coincidence. Or maybe it wasn't coincidence at all. I'm not completely sure. If you would like to read about how I came to own my most recent Santa Claus snowglobe you can read about it on my personal blog. 


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Sunday, December 9, 2018

10 Easy Ways to Personalize a Birthday Party

If you're planning a birthday party but want it to be personalized, here's a list of affordable ways you can accomplish your goal:

1. Make A Personalized Card:

Make the card from scratch on your own, or have the kids do it. There are numerous places online where you can design your own. Zazzle.com is a popular place to create custom cards. If you're sending out invitations, you can personalize them to reflect the chosen theme of the party.

2. Write a Personal Message Inside Your Birthday Card:

Writing personal messages is probably one of the most valuable gifts you can give. Get inspired from some of the personal messages here. Use them as is, or modify them to fit what you really want to say.

Place a giant card on the wall, or at a table where everyone can write their own personal message inside of it. When a card fills up, bring out another one.

3. Personalize a Birthday Cake, Say More than Just Happy Birthday:

Who says a birthday cake has to say, 'happy birthday'. Have a funny quote, loving message, or other pertinent saying displayed on the cake. If you need some ideas on what to write, you can find a list of suggestions here. Have the balloons behind the cake with the words 'happy birthday' on them. That way you still have 'happy birthday' expressed with the cake.

4. Create a Birthday Playlist:

Music makes the party. Put together a playlist of birthday themed songs, or songs that express messages about growing up, aging and celebrating milestones. If you need some help finding the songs to include, here's a place with unique and lovely birthday song ideas.

5. Decorate a Birthday Tree:

Pick a tree that works best for the space your party is in. Decorate the tree with photos of the birthday person, items important to them, birthday ornaments, personal messages written on cards, plus anything else pertaining to the birthday person's life. Use tree lights that include their favorite color. 

6. Party Favor Bags Made with Retro Candy from the Birthday Person's Generation:

You can find retro candy from many places online. Amazon usually has every decade covered in this department. Who doesn't like the candy from their childhood! It's a personal and thoughtful party bag favor to create.

7. For Large Parties, Name the Tables after Major Events or Famous People from the Birthday Person's Generation:

Name each table based on the birthday person's interests. If they love current events, give each table a name pertaining to a news event of that time. Or, if they love the movies use movie names or actors. If they're big fans of music, name the tables after famous singers of that day.

8. Personalize Napkins for the Party:

You can personalize just about anything these days. Decorate each table setting with personalized napkins. Choose napkins in their favorite color and have their name or favorite quotes featured on them. Position one on every plate to add to the décor.

9. Use Tablecloths that Reflect their Year of Birth:

Again, there are multiple angles you can use here. News events, décor themes, tv shows, music or games. If you search online you're sure to find tablecloths that tie into what you're looking for.

10. Have Guests Dress Up in Clothes that Reflect the Year the Person was Born or the Year they were a Teenager:

By doing this, you've turned the event into a costume party. If full costumes are too much, have people show up wearing one piece of clothing that reflects the era you want to the party centered around. Clothing ideas are: Wigs, scarfs, hats, shirts, pants, ties or bow ties, skirts, dresses, shoes and belts.



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