Needs some Christmas drink recipes your family can enjoy? Here are our favorites!
I could sip on hot drinks all day long. I start my day with coffee, make herbal tea mid-morning, have coffee again in the afternoon, then more tea in the evening… (and yes, I drink water all day too). ;)
There’s just something so cozy and comforting about hot drinks. When I ever have a chance to sit and visit with someone, sipping on a hot drink makes it 100% better – I’m not sure why? Am I the only one?
At Christmastime, these drinks taste even better. I give credit to the beauty of the Christmas lights I’m looking at while sipping drinks. :)
Do you need some last-minute homemade gift ideas? I bet you can make most of these with items you already have around your house!
If you’re hoping to save money by making homemade gifts, we have some great ideas for you! These ideas are lovely yet simple. I’d enjoy receiving any one of these gifts!
This gift might sound silly, but having Homemade Instant Oatmeal on hand saves time and makes for a delicious breakfast or snack for someone who is busy. Make this gluten-free if needed. Get the directions here.
This can be made for pennies and personalized for your special recipient. Simply find a fun bottle or container and mix this up in just a few minutes. So much fun!
These are fun to make and incredibly easy. Find socks that your recipient will enjoy and put these together quickly.
This Seasoned Salt is simple and fun and makes a great small gift or stocking stuffer. Get the recipe and cards here.
I think I could sit with my 7-year old and make these all day long. Make these for little nieces, or consider putting together a little craft kit with all the supplies for these to give as a gift to a young child who enjoys simple crafts.
This is a fun gift to put together! If you like, gift it along with a new bread pan. Or simply give the mix to someone as-is.
These smell amazing and are fun to put together. Get the “recipe” here.
This is very easy to mix together and makes a very nice, yet inexpensive gift. Get the recipe here!
How adorable are these? Make them for super cheap and obviously, they are very easy! Here’s how to make these recipe card holders.
10. Quick Bread
Make any Quick Bread recipe, wrap it up, tie a ribbon around it and give it as a gift. EVERYONE loves homemade goodies for gifts!
Here are our favorite Quick Bread Recipes:
11. Cookies and Other Treats
Put any of these treats together in fun gift packaging and you’ve created a gift everyone will love!
Remember! Club Members have access to this fantastic Gift Basket Ideas printable pack. It shares wonderful and inexpensive ideas for so many great gift baskets you can put together. Club Members, access yours on the Printables Page. Not a member? Join us here!
Need some Christmas party snack recipes and ideas? I have a list for you (and no, they aren’t all chip dips, which I realize is shocking). :)
The truth you probably already know about me: I love chip dips of all kinds. A party isn’t a party without chips and dip. So I’ll start the list of my favorite dip recipes. Then we’ll move into other fun ideas for recipes you can make to share at a party!
All of these recipes work well to make and take to a party. They are a hit with a crowd and easy to put together!
Ooooh, and some of my dip recipes we serve with vegetables. I can eat all kinds of veggies when you give me a dip to go with it. :)
Here’s another fun idea: Set up a Decorate your Own Cookie Station!
Want another idea? Put together this set of tasty Popcorn Flavor Shakers. Make a bunch of popcorn and set it out with the flavor options!
What are your favorite snacks to take to a party?
You probably have traditional desserts you make on the big day. But if you’d like some new Christmas dessert ideas, I have a list for you!
Many of these desserts can be put together in just a few minutes! Several can be made ahead of time and frozen until you need them. Lots are perfect to deliver to co-workers or neighbors. Enjoy working your way through these recipes!
What are your favorite desserts to enjoy at Christmastime?
I’m planning Christmas for our tribe and I thought it would be fun to process “out loud” while I work out details!
You know I love to go all out at Christmastime. But how I used to do Christmas when there were only six of us does not work now that there are 14 of us.
I’m looking for ways to have a lot of fun without spending as much money this year also. Here’s how I’m hoping to get away with spending very little out of pocket this year.
Meanwhile, I’ve found some great deals here and there and have been buying and tucking away stocking stuffers for a few weeks.
You might remember that our traditional Christmas dinner for the past several years has been Lasagna. I’m changing that this year because 1 out of 14 of us refuses to eat lasagna. NEVER do I ever cater to one person’s pickiness on a regular day. But this Christmas I’ve decided to. Why? Because our Christmas meal is supposed to be special, and if my daughter can’t possibly put lasagna into her mouth and it causes a fight at mealtime? No thanks. Not on Christmas. (This is my gift to me.)
So we’re having a Nacho Bar. Everyone can fix their bowl or plate the way they like and everyone wins. Plus, by the time we’re hungry enough to eat Christmas dinner after a big breakfast, it’ll probably be time to pull out games anyway. So we can munch on nachos and play games in the afternoon. It’s perfect!
What about that big breakfast? I’ll make an Easy Breakfast Casserole ahead of time and bake it while we dig into gifts that morning. I’ll serve it with fresh fruit and one or two of the following (I haven’t decided yet!):
Do you have fun Christmas traditions or some that you’re starting this year? I’d love to hear!
Ready to see our November groceries and some of the meals we ate last month? Spoiler: We ate a turkey.
Early in the month, I had a huge stock-up day in Lincoln at Sam’s and Costco. Why not just one or the other? Here are reasons I love both. :)
I completely forgot to take a picture of my Sam’s groceries. :/ I got stocked up on grass-fed ground beef and a few other meat items, peanut butter, honey, chicken broth, tomato soup, mac and cheese, canned corn, cheese sticks, gogo squeeze applesauce, chips, brown sugar, ketchup, and cheese slices.
Later in the day at Costco, I loaded up on boneless chicken thighs, fresh fruits and veggies, frozen veggies, sour cream, shredded cheese, coffee, baked beans, beef hotdogs, ground turkey, granola bars, chocolate chips, frozen pizza, butter, half-and-half, and a variety of breads. And I remembered a picture this time!
When I got home to my dearest husband – who had held down the fort all day long without me (a huge feat with this many littles!!) – the babes were all in bed and the bigs were all out. So Matt took twenty-eleven trips back and forth from the van to bring in groceries while I worked to put everything away. Here’s just part of our haul:
I spent $957 on food that day. Oy!
$1,300 total for the month.
Here are some highlights from our kitchen last month!
I’d put in an Azure Standard order for a case of frozen hashbrowns. I didn’t realize I’d ordered the 30-pound box, and that all 30 pounds of hashbrowns would come in one enormous bag. Here’s what 30-pounds of frozen hashbrown potatoes looks like:
I spent time one morning dividing them all into gallon freezer bags. While I was at it, I put together several meals.
Hashbrown meal #1: Easy Breakfast Casserole. I made a great big one to put into the freezer and serve to company.
Hashbrown Meal #2: I made a big Ham and Cheesy Potato Casserole for the freezer. While I was at it, I made a tiny one to share with a friend who had surgery.
Hashbrown Meal #3: I made a big pot of Spicy Ham and Potato Soup to warm up and eat the next day after church. Then I put the rest of the potatoes into the freezer. :)
We celebrated Matt’s birthday early in the month, so of course, I made a Fruit Cobbler. This one had blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries in it because that’s what I had in the fridge and freezer. :)
For one of Matt’s special birthday meals, I made “Super Mama Waffles.” None of us can remember why our older boys started calling them that. :) Probably because they top them with fruit and whipped cream – so they are more than “just waffles??” Either way, I made sausage, bacon, fruit, and this waffle recipe x5 to have enough to feed our army. This is what we had left.
THEN, we had one more birthday meal for him with a few more of our kids joining. Apparently he likes breakfast for dinner! We had Biscuits and Gravy, cheesy eggs, sausage (for those who didn’t want sausage gravy), blackberries, blueberries, applesauce, and cuties. In case you’re curious, I think we went through 24 eggs for the 12 of us that night – I couldn’t keep up!
I had picked up several pounds of ground turkey at Costco in an effort to cut some costs since ground turkey is cheaper than ground beef. One morning, I cooked all of it and made it all into Sloppy Joe Meat. I froze the prepped meat in meal-sized portions for the freezer. Then for lunch that day, I made Sloppy Cornbread.
I’d never made this dish before for all of our littles, and I was glad that it went over so well!
One evening for company, I made a huge pan of pasta. I boiled two pounds of noodles, made a double batch of Alfredo Sauce, cut and cooked two pounds of chicken in olive oil with spices, then stirred it all together with a jar of spaghetti sauce. IT WAS SO GOOD.
I had bananas turning brown, so I made three loaves of Banana Bread one morning. It was all gone by that night. :)
A friend of mine reminded me of the joy of “Eggs in the Nest.” Somehow I’d forgotten about these! I started making them for my kids before they leave for school and they are loving it! (Side note: Our elementary kids have to leave the house for the bus stop at 7:01 so I let them sleep in as long as possible. This month I started waking them up just 5-minutes earlier than I had been so that they could get more good food in their bellies before they leave. This has been VERY good for them! And since we do the “get dressed the night before” trick, they still get enough rest.)
I had to be gone for three days when I went out of state for my Nana’s funeral. Before I left, I made a big pot of Chili for my family to eat while I was gone.
Here’s a simple meal I made on a cold day in November: Smoked Beef Sausages, peas, fruit, and this homemade bread. The bread baked while we ate the rest of our meal. Then we enjoyed “dessert” of fresh hot bread with butter and honey!
I’ve been experimenting with thermoses that I got from Costco to send a hot lunch with my elementary kids to school. I made a pan of Beanie Weanies one evening, warmed it up the next morning while the kids ate breakfast, then sent them on their way. The thermoses kept their food hot and they loved their lunch!
Another evening, I made a double batch of this Warm Chocolate Soother while I was making that night’s dinner. I let the soother cool, then refrigerated it. The next morning, I re-warmed it for my kids to drink for breakfast. It was perfect! They were warm and filled with nourishment as they headed to the bus stop!
Our little pre-school pumpkin thought it was a huge privilege to drink his Warm Chocolate Soother out of a “glass cup.” :) :) :)
Fun fact: If you make Warm Chocolate Soother for your kids but serve it with something else that is sweet, they may not like this delicious drink. The first time I served it to them, I had simply made some sausage links to eat alongside it. The next time I made it, I got out the cereal. The kids ate their cereal first (Cinnamon Chex) and then didn’t like the Soother. The third time around, I went back to serving a hearty protein with it and they liked it again. Phew, parenting is so easy.
One Saturday before Thanksgiving, I made Pumpkin Breadx4 (this recipe but without the chocolate chips), and I attempted to make a Cheesecake Swirl on top. The swirl didn’t really work, but it did taste good!
Shall we pause a moment to take a look at what my kitchen looks like on a regular basis:
Most days, I run my very full dishwasher three times, ha! It’s kind of nuts. And I kind of love it. My two two-year-olds think it’s great fun to help me unload the dishwasher (whether the dishes or clean or dirty, mmmhmm). But just think, in a few years I will have worked myself out of that job!
See that glass of Green Goodness up there in the picture? That’s what I sip (or chug, depending on how much time I have) each morning.
I decided to embarrass myself by showing you how full I stuff my blender while making these smoothies for the kids. Never try this at home, friends. Shoot, I hadn’t even added the milk yet.
It all works out ok though because while there is a lot of spinach in there, it blends down very quickly and doesn’t blow the lid off the top while it’s blending (as long as I stand there and hold the lid on with all my might).
Our eight, seven, and four-year-olds are becoming good helpers and they took multiple trips out to our van with Malachi (17) to bring everything in. Every time I go to the store I think, “Well, this should take care of us for a while!” And it does. For about a week. Then suddenly I need to shop again. How great that they are all becoming such good eaters!
When the van gets unloaded, everyone just drops the bags on the floor. This time, I was very impressed by how well Brayden and Bonus Girl (7) did with putting away groceries where they go. They might have been motivated to get the job done because I’d told them that if everyone worked together we could put the Christmas tree up that night. :)
The day before Thanksgiving, Kelsey (Justus’ wife) and I made Pumpkin Pies and a Chocolate Fudge Pie. Eva (Asa’s wife) was still in their home and she made a Pecan Pie to bring when they came. Meanwhile, we had a bunch of hungry kids who needed regular meals. For breakfast that morning I served Instant Oatmeal, Pumpkin Bread, and pears. I also made a huge batch of Mudballs for snacks.
Thanksgiving day was amazing, with 20 of us here. Justus smoked our turkey, which turned out amazing.
When we were cleaning up leftovers, we made a couple of plates to deliver to some sick friends.
The day after Thanksgiving, I made a huge batch of turkey broth like this. It turned out delicious! I used some that night to make turkey and potato soup.
I used four cups of the broth to make Stick of Butter Rice. Then I stirred it together with some leftover turkey and burrito fixins’ to make 24 burritos for the freezer. Our older boys ate a bunch while watching the World Cup one afternoon!
Our final “leftover turkey” meal was an experiment. I baked some potatoes, then smashed them along with sour cream, cheese, ranch dressing mix, turkey, and bacon. It was delicious!
I still have some broth that should give us three more meals also!
How was your November? Did you eat anything fun you want to tell us about?
This Sweet and Salty Nut and Pretzel Snack Mix is great to have on hand to serve guests during the holidays or even to package up and give as gifts!
You can use any of your favorite nuts in this recipe. Our favorites are almonds and cashews. The salty combo of nuts with pretzels with the light sugary coating is perfect!
Our favorite source for organic nuts is Braga Farms. We visited their farm a few years ago. They are fantastic people. I buy from them when I can. :)
I’ve done a little searching and have found several great items I want to recommend in this year’s Holiday Gift Guide! It’s short and sweet, and I snuck in some recipes too! (Plus some realllllly good deals.) ;)
I discounted these for a limited time so you can order as many as you need for yourself and your loved ones! Simple Real Food Recipes is just $10.95 right now and High Five Recipes is only $9.95. Get them for teachers, aunts, sisters, brothers, uncles, friends, plus teen and adult children…. :)
Look through these offers from ChristianBook.com! We love every Peaceable Kingdom game we’ve played and plan to add to our kids’ collection this year. I recommend searching for those and supporting this site!
Yum Earth!! These candies are free from artificial food dyes, high fructose corn syrup, and these allergens:
What a fun treat to put in your kids’ stockings!! Get $10 off your first purchase of $20 or more! (Plus get free shipping if you spend $40.)
We go through cases of applesauce pouches at our house. But these Brainiac snacks are a step above and would make a great stocking stuffer that your family would consider a great treat! Get free shipping on orders over $35, which makes this even better!
Our friends at MadeOn skin care have been helping people fix their dry skin with their 3-ingredient Beesilk lotion bars for years. I LOVE using their products, and all of my kids do too. That’s why I put several lotion bars and lip balms in all my kids’ stockings. I’m going to buy them anyway, might as well use them as gifts, right?!
THIS LINK will get you $3.00 off the regular-sized lotion bar. Plus use the code: HH10 for an additional 10% off your entire order!
Lilla Rose is a company I’ve loved for years. Their Flexi-Clips are gorgeous and practical, which makes them a perfect gift.
If you think men are harder to shop for, this page will prove you wrong by giving you really great ideas! These gifts are highly discounted also. I can find great gifts for all five of my men here!
Look through all of these wonderful products from Barista Warrior for the coffee lovers in your life. They have lovely French Presses or beautiful Pour Over Kettles. Look around at their Black Friday deals here!
Brewpoint Coffee has some delicious selections of whole bean or ground coffee to choose from to go with your gift or to be a stand alone gift.
Click through these recipe links to make inexpensive and tasty gifts!
I’ll continue to update this page as I find more great offers!
Last year’s Junior Chef Club subscription was a huge hit and it’s time for round two! I have gotten great feedback on this program and I’m so grateful. Now we’ve got 52 brand new recipes ready for your Junior Chefs!
The Junior Chef Club is a weekly cooking subscription just for kids! (Bonus: Parents get to enjoy all the recipes and food too, and maybe even a night off!) Here’s how it works:
Each week, we’ll send a brand new Recipe Printable Packet to your inbox. You can print this packet and turn it over to your Junior Chef! It will share simple prep instructions for a brand new recipe plus a Grocery List, a Kitchen Supply List, and a bonus page with Serving and Sharing Ideas.
We suggest that you print the pages each week and let your Junior Chef add them to a 3-ring binder as they build their Junior Chef Cookbook.
This makes an awesome Christmas gift that gives to your kids all year long!
If your Junior Chefs enjoyed last year’s cookbook-building experience, they’ll love getting this year’s even more! And if you’re new to this club, you’re in for a huge treat! We have a new theme for this year’s recipes:
All 52 recipes included in this year’s subscription can be made quickly and easily. Here’s a peek at some of the recipes:
Your Junior Chef will receive an email packet of recipes and printables every single week. What a super fun gift that keeps on giving! Here are the pricing options:
To make it easy, we have options to make it work for your budget. What works best for you?
We want to encourage you to save money with our yearly subscription fee, plus we want to set your Junior Chef up for success!
If you choose to jump in for an entire year, you’ll save a lot of money AND receive the following printables right away so that you can get your kids set up with a fantastic 3-ring binder and begin to Build a Cookbook. Check out the freebies that come with the 2023 Yearly Jr. Chef Club subscription:
Here’s a peek at the eight cookbook cover pages to choose from:
Your child can pick any they like as they begin to build their cookbook! And here’s a look at this year’s cookbook binder/divider pages:
These gifts are worth an additional $36, but yearly subscribers get them for FREE!!
You’ll receive all of these freebies when your subscription automatically renews or when you sign up with a new subscription this year. We suggest that you print off all of these bonuses you think your kids would enjoy and use them as stocking stuffers and additional gifts for your kids!
These bonuses add $36 to the value of the subscription. Ready to sign up your Junior Chef?
Let’s see if we can answer them for you!
When will I receive the free Bonus Pages? If you choose to become a yearly subscriber, we’ll email you all the bonuses right away.
When will my Junior Chef start to receive new recipes? We figure a lot of you will plan to give this subscription as a gift to your Junior Chef at Christmastime! Therefore, we will begin emailing the Recipe Packets starting Wednesday, December 21.
So the printables to get started will hit your inbox immediately after purchase, as described above. But the year’s worth of recipes won’t start coming in until right before Christmas. When your Junior Chef opens the Cookbook Binder on Christmas morning, you can explain what they’re getting, and you’ll have a starter pack of recipes waiting for them in your inbox to get them going!
What if I have more than one Junior Chef in my family? Awesome! We allow the printables to be used for more than one person IN YOUR IMMEDIATE FAMILY.
For what age is the Junior Chef Club appropriate? You know your kids best but I’d say ages 7 up through teenagers.
Cart closed until November 2023.