Monday, December 28, 2015

New Years Eve Cranberry Lime Party Punch #NaturallyCheesy #ad #cbias

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NaturallyCheesy #CollectiveBias
2016 is just a few days away! Have you been making some new resolutions and goals for the new year? I've been working on my reading goals for 2016 by joining some fun reading challenges and making lists of all the great books I want to devour this coming year. We're looking forward to a fun celebration with friends on New Year's Eve and my Cranberry Lime Party Punch will be great to bring along---especially paired with a Cracker Barrel Cheese Tray from Walmart.

Our family enjoyed this cheese tray over the weekend. It features four varieties of cheese: Pepper Jack, Cheddar Jack, Asiago, and Extra Sharp Cheddar. Each of us had a favorite and I had more than one request to buy another one soon.

I found the Cracker Barrel Cheese Tray in the cheese section at Walmart. It was in the bottom of the display near the large cheese bricks and bags of shredded cheese.

This Cranberry Lime Party Punch is a family favorite. I first made it at Thanksgiving as a substitute for a fizzy cranberry drink that Jamie and I have made a part of our festivities ever since our wedding. We've had a hard time finding it since we moved to Arkansas so I decided to come up with my own version. 

I start by thawing a can of frozen cranberry juice and pouring it into a glass container. I love this pretty drink dispenser Jamie got me for my birthday. Then I add a 2 liter of lemon-lime soda to the juice concentrate.

Next, I add a bag of fresh cranberries. These are so festive-looking and are very inexpensive.

Then I add a couple of sliced limes. Not only do they add a pretty contrasting color, but they give the punch a wonderful flavor.

I fill the rest of the container with ice and my punch is ready to serve. Such a fun and simple drink to add to my New Year's Eve table. All I need now is some meat and crackers to go with my flavorful cheese tray and I'm ready for guests.

Cranberry Lime Party Punch

12 oz. frozen cranberry juice concentrate
2 liter lemon-lime soda
12 oz. fresh cranberries
2 limes

Thaw juice and mix all the ingredients together. Add ice and serve.

Make sure to look for Kraft coupons and shop Walmart for your Cracker Barrel Cheese Tray this New Year's Eve. Will you use it as part of a savory appetizer or enjoy it alone? 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Victorian Reading Challenge

Hello! Welcome to Vintage Show & Tell #5. Wow---can it really be the week of Christmas already? Unbelievable! Other than one quick obligation tomorrow and a very short shopping trip, I plan to stay home all week and enjoy my family! Today is our youngest's birthday---miss Brenna Evangeline turns 3 today!

For this week's Vintage Show & Tell, I'm doing something a little different. Each year, I love to challenge myself to read at least 50 books. The past couple years, I've joined more specific reading challenges and had a blast! This year, I'm hosting one of my own on my book blog, Belle's Library.

With an upcoming trip to England, including a visit to the Brontes old stomping grounds, I've got Victoriana on the brain. This year's reading challenge will be all about the Victorians. Make sure to visit Belle's Library to check it out and sign up. There will be prizes and lots of reading inspiration!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Prep and Everyday Essentials Made Easy with Sam's Club Pickup #fullhomehappyhome #ad

There are all kinds of great challenges that come with having a big family. One of them is shopping. When I was a kid, my mom did the grocery shopping every two weeks---but she didn't have nine children! It used to be that I'd have to go out twice a week for at least a cartful, but since moving to NW Arkansas two years ago, I've really been utilizing our Sam's Club membership. I love how I can buy bulk packs of products that will get us through a week or two. "Family Size" isn't really family size when it comes to our family, but stocking up on everyday essentials at Sam's Club allows me to take the phrase to a whole new level.

What's even better is that I can take advantage of the Club Pickup option. It's so simple to go online and put in my order, pay, and schedule a time to pick it up. Then I just pull up to the pickup area and load up my purchases. Super easy and so convenient!

Sam’s Club is helping shoppers maximize their money this season, offering great deals on things we use every day. Be sure your home is ready for the holidays by stocking up on bulk sizes of brands like Bounty, Olay, Swiffer, Febreze, and Gain at Sam’s Club. Members who stock up on participating essentials will save about $97 this season.

A couple weeks ago, I used the pickup service for the first time---just to check it out. It's really great for bulky items that you don't want to carry or cart around the club and especially awesome if you know what you need and just want to get it fast. I'd been wanting to try out these Tide Pods, as well as the Swiffer Dusters, so I ordered a box of each. When I arrived at the club, my order was sitting here waiting for me to pickup. I've used them for a week now and am loving them both! I really like finding new products that make homemaking easier and more fun. 

Sam's Club has some super cute holiday gifs and fun items to make your home more cozy this season. Each Christmas, I like to buy a new book and a new DVD for the family to share. I love this Christmas ABC book illustrated by one of my favorites, Eloise Wilkin. And how did we ever have Christmas without, A Charlie Brown Christmas? I have no idea.

I found a few gifts for Lynzie, including this fun book of hairstyles inspired by FROZEN's Anna and Elsa. She's really into fun hairstyles and I know she'll love it! Also, our family has a tradition of getting new pajamas for Christmas each year and our family welcomed a new kitty this year so these pajamas will be perfect for her!

I also bought Lynzie a super cozy purple throw blanket to go with the new bedding set we got her. Then I thought, I want one of those! So, I splurged and bought myself a red one to use when I'm curled up watching Christmas movies. I love it!

Have you used the Sam's Club Pickup option? If not, give it a try and see how easy it is to save time by ordering online and grabbing your purchases at your convenience.

Sam's Club is giving away 5 gift cards so make sure to enter the giveaway below!

$100 Sam's Club Gift Card Giveaway for Everyday Essentials

Vendor calculation based on proprietary methodology comparing average non-promoted retail price per unit from a combination of leading U.S. retail outlets vs. average retail price per unit at Sam’s Club® for 2 months ending September 26, 2015. Pricing and item availability may vary in Alaska, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Wisconsin, and on SamsClub.com.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Gift Giving Made Easy at TheGiftCardShop.com #eHolidays #ad #cbias

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #eHolidays #CollectiveBias

By this time tomorrow, I should be totally done with my Christmas shopping! Sometimes it takes awhile for me to find the perfect thing for all the people on my list. Everyone has loved ones who seem to have everything, want nothing, or are otherwise difficult to buy for. My Dad is the most mind-boggling person to buy for in the entire universe. On top of that, he lives 1,800 miles away, so it's not super convenient for me to just make him a plate of goodies. Gift cards are the perfect gift for him and digital cards are the best. He lives alone so he often doesn't check his mailbox for up to two weeks at a time. If I send him a Home Depot, Bass Pro Shops, or Cabela's card by email, he'll actually get it and spend it before the year is out.

In the past, I've been one of those who felt guilty for "just" giving a gift card---but I love receiving them myself so why wouldn't others? In fact, the majority of people ask for them over any other gift. When it comes to gift cards, 70% of Americans would prefer a digital gift card over a physical gift card because of all the unique ways you can send it.

Digital gift cards are extra special when you attach photos and a message. They're the perfect solution to the question of what to get for that one person that's always tough to buy for. Buying my dad and others gift cards helps keep me from feeling like I'm wasting money on something random just to get a name crossed off my list. Instead, I'm giving a heartfelt message, a few fun photos of our year, and a gift card that they can use however they'd like.

TheGiftCardShop.com offers memorable ways to customize gift cards, such as personalized digital Holiday Photobooks, Santa Videos, and eCards. All you need to do is add photos and memories for a unique touch to your gift. Best of all, they’re free, easy to design, and convenient.
There are lots of stores to choose from so you'll be sure to find something for everyone on your list. TheGiftCardShop.com has a couple great promotions going on:
  • Receive a FREE personalized greeting card and a $5 eBay Gift Card when you purchase a $100 eBay Gift Card.
  • Receive a FREE Triple Chocolate Meltdown dessert when you purchase a $25 Applebee’s Gift Card.
I've given more gift cards this year than ever before---and I've experienced less stress about my loved ones liking their gifts. What about you? How would the customized options from TheGiftCardShop.com bless you as you prepare for these last few days before Christmas?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol #FCBlogger

Special thanks to Family Christian for sending me this book to enjoy. All opinions are my own.

Thanks for stopping by the {Not Just} Homemaking Party! Today I'm sharing a fun Christmas book.

Charles Dickens', A Christmas Carol, is probably the most beloved Christmas story of all time---second to the Biblical accounts of Jesus' birth, that is. Who doesn't love the characters of Bob Cratchit, the nephew Fred, Tiny Tim...and who doesn't relate to Ebenezer Scrooge now and then? 

My annual reading of A Christmas Carol this year has been much more enriched by this short book from Bob Welch: 52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol. I'll be honest---I usually shy away from compilations like this as many seem contrived and sort of old-lady-perfumish, but this one really reveals the hearts of Dickens' characters and shows me how much Dickens understood humanity when he created them. 

I wish I would have discovered this humorous study a couple months ago as it would have been fun to read one daily leading up to Christmas. It's definitely something I'll keep in mind for next year, though. Actually---why wait? I've been looking for a great Bible study so why not use one based on a beloved classic?

You can find 52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol online at Family Christian or in your local Family Christian store.

Now it's time for the party! Can't wait to see what you all have got to share!
Linking with: These Great Parties

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Easy Homemade Pasta Sauce for the Freezer

Hi Everyone! My mom is guest posting today with some tips I gave her on making homemade pasta sauce. Enjoy!

A few years ago my daughter taught me how to make homemade pasta sauce from my extra tomatoes from harvest. Since then, each fall I make a batch and now I am pleased to say, we never waste those precious ripe tomatoes!

First, wash and stem tomatoes. Then, cut in large pieces and place in a large pot. Cook on the stove top with salt until they are soft and falling apart, (approx 2 hours). I add salt, but you could also add Italian seasoning. Cool and freeze. My daughter stores her sauce in quart size zip lock bags so they lay flat in her freezer.

When thawed, squish them in the bag with your hands, then pour in a pot and add seasonings, meat, veggies, and more for a great pasta sauce. You can use it on something yummy like this One Pot Spaghetti.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

White Christmas Popcorn Snack Mix

I'm dreaming of some yummy Christmas goodies!! I've been working on freeing up my schedule these next couple weeks because I really don't want this Christmas season to go by too quickly!

About 10 years ago, Jamie's cousin Amy made this delicious popcorn mix and I was hooked right away! I've not made it in all that time so I put some together a couple weeks ago for the kids. It was a hit! I hope you'll try it out too and let me know what you think!

White Christmas Popcorn Snack Mix (or, in our house, Amy's Popcorn)
8 c. popped popcorn
2 c. mini pretzels
1 c. peanuts
1/2 c. dried cranberries
12 oz. white chocolate chips
1 tsp. oil

Mix popcorn, pretzels, peanuts, and cranberries in a large bowl. Melt chocolate chips and oil and stir until smooth. Stir into dry ingredients. Continue stirring every 15-20 for a couple hours until chocolate has completely hardened. This will keep it all broken up for a nice munching mix!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Pink Christmas Favorites

Welcome to Vintage Show & Tell!  Hope you're feeling peaceful and blessed as you prepare to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year!

I've just about got all my Christmas decorations up and am getting ready to work on a couple crafty projects---including a little house scene with a Frozen Charlotte doll in front. I've been having fun with my Pink Christmas things and thought I'd feature some here today.   

I started out, a few years ago, just decorating this one hutch with pink things. Now I've got about half the living room decked out in pink! 

I love this pretty vintage angel tray I found in a shop north of Seattle a few years ago.  I'd love to find some more like it but all the ones I've found so far have been black and gold.
I found this cute little winter girl at a yard sale a few summers ago.  I'm also collecting these vintage tree toppers.  This blue one looks pretty with my tray.

Do you have a unique Christmas style or do you prefer the traditional red and green? I can't wait to see what you've got to share today at Vintage Show & Tell! Thanks for stopping by!
Linking with: These great parties

Celebrate the Season with an Easy Dinner Idea from the Sam's Club Cafe #FamilyPizzaCombo #ad #cbias

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FamilyPizzaCombo #CollectiveBias
One of our favorite family Christmas traditions is to go out one night and look at everyone's Christmas lights. There are some gorgeous displays here---some have even been set to music. My favorites, however, are the simple ones put up by a loving husband to brighten up his family home. With our big family, any outing is a big deal that requires some extra planning. I love being able to stop off at the cafe at Sam's Club and grab a couple of Family Pizza Combos. It makes nights like these simpler on me so I don't stress about dinner after our fun night out.

The lights on the Bentonville Square are one of our favorite attractions during this season. A couple weeks ago, we attended the lighting of the square and downtown Christmas tree. Then we watched an ice skating show featuring local talents. It's so great to spend time with our community---the spirit of family, friendship, and love is definitely in the air surrounding the Bentonville Square!

Last Friday night, the teens had a homeschool Christmas party so we stopped off to get photos at the Square and check out the lights display again. It never gets old!

Our family loves this Family Pizza Combo on a busy night. For $13.98, we can pick up a 16 inch pizza, a tray of cheesy breadsticks with marinara, six chocolate chip cookies, and a 2 liter of Coca-Cola. Two combos is enough for all of us and they bake them to order so they're hot and fresh in about 15 minutes.

You can find the Family Pizza Combo at the Sam's Club cafe. This simple, affordable and convenient dinner plan will satisfy your whole family, leaving you lots of time to enjoy celebrating the Christmas season! 

I look forward to the fall and winter holidays every year and it's hard to watch them fly by. The older the kids get, the busier we get and I feel like I'm always rearranging our schedule to try and fit everything in peacefully. One thing that really helps me is to have a few cheats---like my table setting basket.

Throughout the year, I save the extra paper plates, cups, and tablecloths from the kids' birthday parties and pull them out during the holidays to use on busy evenings. I buy a pretty Christmasy set of plates and napkins to keep in the front of the basket and put the non-Christmasy stuff in the back. I start out with everything that is close to looking holiday-themed, but after awhile we find ourselves pulling out the camo plates and polka dot napkins. The Christmasy things stay in front until Christmas day and then we use them for our dessert.

I've always got an extra plastic tablecloth or two so I make sure to include one in the basket. It's amazing how a tablecloth can bring some specialness to a family meal. Assorted plastic tableware is stored inside whatever throwaway cups I have on hand to keep my basket tidy.

I hope this simple idea helps you make some fun family memories with less stress. The holidays are all about celebrating family and friends so let's make it a goal to do it peacefully! It's ok to have a few cheats if the end result is a special time to remember.

Make sure to check out the Family Pizza Combo at Sam's Club and let me know what holiday hacks you use to give your family a less stressed holiday season.

Holiday Decorating Tea Party with Milo's Tea #HolidaysWithMilos #DrinkMilos #Pmedia #ad

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Milo’s Tea, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #HolidaysWithMilos  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
Have you finished your Christmas decorating? I found a few bags of bottle brush trees a couple days ago so I've got to arrange those and then I'm done! I love getting my house all fixed up beautiful to enjoy a peaceful holiday season with my family. We've got a lot of decorations so it usually takes a couple days to get it all done. No problem when I've got my favorite Milo's Tea and Grammy's Nut Cookies for fuel. I just pour a glass and have a little holiday tea party while I'm setting things out!

Milo’s Tea Company uses only fresh and natural ingredients, making this tea different from others.  There are no preservatives or additives and it's an excellent beverage to serve at holiday gatherings. Milo’s is available in Sweetened with Pure Cane Sugar, No Calorie and Unsweet varieties.  

You can find Milo's Sweet Tea in the refrigerated drinks section of Walmart near the coffee creamer and juice. You can buy two gallons of Milo's Tea on Rollback for $5, while supplies last. I first tried Milo's almost two years ago in the perfect Southern sweet tea experience. My friend Lana invited me over to hang out on her porch and poured me some delicious Milo's in a canning jar. She served homemade muffins and we sat on the porch and chatted while the kids played in the grass. It was a great introduction to Southern living for this Oregon girl and it's been my favorite bottled sweet tea ever since!

I've really been enjoying getting out all our sweet ornaments and decorations this year. We've been collecting nutcrackers for Lynzie since she was just a baby. She gets a new one every year. This year I gave her the one with the black hair. It reminded me of a guard at Buckingham Palace and since we went to England this past fall I thought it was appropriate. I'm going to have to get Jamie to start buying me some of my own though because my mantel will be empty once she leaves the house with all of these!

I've been adding to my collection of early to mid-century kitschy ornaments for a few years now. This sweet angel is one of my favorites. You can see some of my Tavern and Gurley tree candles in the background. Remember, I talked about them a couple weeks ago when I was showing off my Thanksgiving pairs.

Christmas decorating is always more fun when you've got a sweet treat to munch on. Jamie bought me a cute drink dispenser and a set of canning jar glasses for my birthday so I can recreate my sunny front porch experience even during the cold, cloudy days of winter. Milo's Tea is excellent for  holiday get-togethers too. I can't wait to show off my new dispenser full of Milo's when my guests come over!

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Milo’s Tea, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #HolidaysWithMilos  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Pampered Chef Deals!

Welcome to the Homemaking Party! Wow! I got so busy last night with the awesome Pampered Chef party I held that I forgot to put up my Homemaking Party! So sorry! Hope you're all having a beautiful week so far. If you've not visited my Pampered Chef website in awhile, take a minute to check it out! They've extended the Cyber Monday deal through midnight on Dec. 3rd. You get FREE SHIPPING on $75 orders plus a 2-Cup Prep Bowl set free!

Thanks for linking up to the {Not Just} Homemaking Party!

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