Get Baking with the Kids and Make Some Tasty Fall Treats!

Bake Some Fall Treats

I love the aroma of homemade booked goods in my home. Go online and find some recipes that are sure to warm your home and your tummy! Pumpkin muffins and bread, warm apple cider, apple and pumpkin pie are just a few treats that scream fall. Spend a lazy weekend afternoon baking with the kids. Bring the season of thanksgiving in by sharing your goodies with neighbors, friends, relatives, or give your kid’s classroom a treat by making extra pastries and putting them in a pretty basket.

Try these recipes:
Pumpkin Muffins with Chocolate Chips
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip-Muffins/Detail.aspx

My favorite -Bananna Muffins
http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/banana-muffins-ii/Detail.aspx

Hot Apple Cider
http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/hot-apple-cider/Detail.aspx

 
Apple Crisp
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Apple-Crisp-II/Detail.aspx
 
Pumpkin Cookies
http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/iced-pumpkin-cookies/Detail.aspx

Create a Personal Haven for Your Guests During The Holidays

The holiday season is upon us and many of us will be hosting overnight guests. I love having guests, I know the preparation can be a bit stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! The idea is to enjoy your guests and create a welcoming space for them. Try these ideas to create an inviting guestroom.

Clean your Guest Room

  • Clear the clutter out of your guestroom. De-clutter the closets, shelves, and remove anything under the bed.
  • Clean the windows, wipe down windowsills, and make sure the room is dust free.
  • The closets should provide enough space for them to hang their clothes.Clear out at least two drawers for their belongings. They will feel at ease if they aren’t living out of their suitcase for their stay.

Bedding

  • Air out the mattress for a day, and squirt some fabric freshener on it for a fresh smell.
  • Change the sheets and wash the bed spread.
  • Add some throw pillows and a few extra blankets and pillows. Place a couple pieces of good chocolate on their pillow for a sweet touch.

Bathroom Necessities
Nothing is worse than getting out of the shower and realizing you have no towel!

  • On a chair, dresser, or if they have their own bathroom, have at least 3-4 towels and wash cloths available.
  • Have a fresh cake of soap, a new toothbrush in case they forget theirs, toothpaste, a shower cap, small shampoos/conditioners, and lotion

Personal Touches
Make their stay memorable by adding some personal touches.

  • On a nightstand place some cheerful flowers in a vase, if you know their favorite flowers try to put them in the room.
  • Place scented or unscented candles around the room for a sense of coziness.
  • Surprise your guest by placing a few framed pictures of you and them on their nightstand.
  • Give a welcome gift. Some great ideas are:; bath salts, a box of chocolates, or a photo album for the pictures of their visit. Remember to add a pretty card with a personal message, thanking them for visiting. 

Practical Tips

  • If a television is in the guest room, change the batteries in the remote control.
  • Place some updated magazines in a magazine rack for reading materials. Have a nightlight for them, so they aren’t stumbling in the dark.
  • Give them spare set of keys along with a list of useful phone numbers in case you won’t be with them.

Being a hostess to your friends and family is a great privilege. Opening up your home is a meaningful way to love your neighbor and to show your gratitude for your relationship with them. Be sure not to get carried away with all the details. Spend quality time together, remember it is the simplest pleasures and gestures that mean the most.

Thanksgiving Countdown-9 Days

Guest Preparation
Touch Base with Your Guests –  Confirm with your guests that they are coming and what time to expect dinner.
Food Preferences– You should probably do this before grocery shopping, but ask your guests if they have any food aversions this can help avoid an uncomfortable situation.
Prepare the Guestroom – If you have guests who are staying the night, start preparing their room and keep it off limits to everyone else. Change the linen, clean under the beds and in the closet, lay out the towels,maybe put some fresh flowers in a vase, and add any other small touches that will make them feel at home, for example candles, a small thank you gift for coming, their favorite chocolates, a good book, these are a few ideas to show your appreciation.

Thanksgiving Countdown-10 Days!

Can you believe Thanksgiving is in 10 days!!! Here are some to do’s for this week:

  • Prepare Your Menu– Take a half an hour out of your day, sit down and plan your dinner menu. Create a list of all the food, drinks, deserts, and ingredients required to prepare your meal. This may seem like a no brainer, but I’ve had to run to the store an hour before guests arrived many of times because of my lack of planning. If you are cooking a new dish this year, you may want to have a trial run with your family. Many grocery stores will have great discounts, make sure you take advantage of them and start clipping those coupons now.
  • Take Inventory of Your Dinnerware– Make sure you have enough dishes, silverware, glasses, serving trays, pots, pans, and utensils for your meal and your guests. Think about how you want your table to look, and the little details such as, if you will use linen or cloth napkins, do you want a casual or formal dinner, will you have a kids table, or are there seating arrangements, these are all details you want to decide before the holiday.
  • Grocery Shop– Grocery shopping depends on your schedule. Some people rather wait until the week of Thanksgiving in hopes of taking advantage of bigger bargains. Personally, I find the last week to be too hectic and the stores too frantic. Choose a day that you won’t be rushed. Be armed with your list and a plan. You may want to bring your children depending on their age to share in the experience of preparing for the meal.

The Season of Giving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love the fact that we’re celebrating simply being grateful. It is a time for friends and families to gather together, have good conversation, eat, and reflect upon why they are grateful. Our reflection on gratefulness shouldn’t occur only once a year we should be thinking about how grateful we are every day. It is important that as parents we try to instill an attitude of gratefulness in our children. In this day and age I’m incredibly surprised at how our society feels so entitled, especially our children. Just go into any toy store and you are sure to hear tantrums going on in the aisles. Now, I know children are children and it’s hard for them to grasp the concept that they can’t have everything they want. Heck, it is hard for some adults to grasp that concept. But, it is our responsibility to teach our children about being grateful and the duty we have to give unto others.

Jesus was the most giving person who ever lived. He gave his life to die for our sins. Of course none of us could ever out give Jesus, but wouldn’t be nice if we can teach our children how to at least try to imitate that loving kindness that Jesus so unselfishly dispersed among his children. This season make the holidays memorable for your children by giving them the opportunity to give of themselves. Here are some projects that are great for all ages.

Offer a Helping Hand
Do you know of an elderly person who needs assistance? A neighbor whose yard needs racking? Have your children offer a helping hand, whether it is for someone outside of the family or for a family member. This goes beyond chores, what you want them to do is to thoughtfully help someone in need. Maybe it is grandma who needs help cleaning out her basement, or dad who needs help with a household project, the idea is for them to give their time.

Volunteer at a Shelter
If your children are of age, sign the whole family up for a day of service at a shelter. This is a wonderful way for your children to understand how grateful they should be. If your kids are too young, then let them help you collect canned goods to a food bank. Make sure they are involved in the whole process, the collection and the delivery.

Donate
Get the whole family involved in cleaning out their closets and gathering all those gently worn clothes they don’t wear anymore, or toys they don’t play with and donate them to a charity, church, or shelter.

Write Grateful Cards
Cards aren’t just for Christmas and birthdays. Have your kids create a list of all the important people in their life (family, friends, teachers, coaches, etc.) then have them write a note to them expressing why they are grateful to have them in their life. I am particularly fond of this activity because writing personal letters have become a lost art. Everyone uses technology, which is fine but how nice is it to receive a handwritten note that you can cherish. Writing notes also gives your children time to really reflect on why this person is important to them and how grateful they are. If you have little ones let them draw a picture that expresses their gratitude it will be priceless to the person on the receiving end.

Participate in Fundraisers
I notice an increase in the number of walking fundraisers during this time of year. Check the Internet for walking fundraisers in your area and sign up the whole family. This provides great bonding time while participating in a worthwhile cause.

The activities are limitless! Also don’t reserve saying what you are grateful for only on Thanksgiving day, why not implement this at the dinner table during the whole month of November. Each family member can say something they are grateful for. This season encourage your family to focus on their blessings and to be a blessing to others.