Bring the Magic of Christmas to your Child with Portable North Pole

Bring the Magic of Christmas to your Child with Portable North Pole

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

The best part of Christmas is seeing how magical it is through the eyes of a child.  To hear a little one gasp with excitement when they see Santa or open the smallest of gifts, yet smile so big… and another way to help bring the magic of Christmas to your child this year is with the Portable North Pole.

 

Portable North Pole gives you several options to customize a video message or a phone call for your child.  While, it is a basic script, you are able to upload pictures and the name of your child to somewhat customize the message.

It even has messages for groups of grown-ups too.  So if you want to liven up your workplace during the holidays, it could add a bit of fun!

You can create several different videos or calls and your account is active until next year… so if you need to send a call to your child in July to remind them to be good and that Santa is watching all year long…. well, this just might do the trick to keep them on the nice list all year long!

 

Make Christmas Magic with Portable North Pole Portable North Pole 2017 (PNP) lets you make Christmas even more magical by sending personalized video messages and calls from Santa from the enchanted North Pole to children young and old. Watch them be amazed as they see Santa in his home, the magical reindeer, and the hustle and bustle of the elves as they prepare for Christmas Eve. As the top free mobile Santa app with more than 160 million videos viewed, PNP is a cherished, modern holiday tradition for families worldwide. In just moments, create an adorable video from Santa that you and your child will remember forever. Simply visit the PNP website or download the mobile app on iOS or Android.

PNP offers a free video for every child with a new option to purchase a single premium video ($4.99) or upgrade to a premium package, including the Video Pass ($9.99) or Magic Pass ($13.99). Both packages provide six enchanting video storylines to choose from, with each offering five or more minutes of footage to watch, from exploring Santa’s workshop to the amazing gift-wrapping machine, as well as the Reaction Recorder (available on mobile app only). In addition, you can create an unlimited number of videos, and receive a special “Santa’s Coming” video to watch on Christmas Eve…

 

 

 

5-Minute Homemade Christmas Tree Ornaments

5-Minute Homemade Christmas Tree Ornaments

Do you ever look at all of the beautiful DIY Christmas crafts on Pinterest and think to yourself, “there’s no way that I could ever do that!”  Well, these Christmas ornaments are not only beautiful and sparkly on the tree, but they are quick and super-easy to make!  You can literally make these ornaments in less than 5 minutes!But I promise that no one will know, because they are so pretty it will look like you spent hours on them… it will just be our little secret…

And because these ornaments are so easy to make, they are perfect for your kids to help make.  Did I mention that all of the paint, glue, and glitter go inside the ornament??  So no worrying about letting the paint dry or having glitter fall off.

 

No mess, quick, easy… and last, but certainly not least, these ornaments are actually plastic (not glass!) so you don’t have to worry about your little ones or pets making them fall off the tree and break.

 

4 Ornaments in 5 Minutes:

 

Mixed Paint

  • Take the top off the ornament
  • Choose 3 colors of paint, carefully pour inside ornament
  • Put the top back on
  • Swirl paint around until inside of ornament is fully covered

Tip: Turn ornament occasionally until all the paint is dry inside to prevent paint from pooling in one area

 

Gift Wrap and Sparkle

  • Take the top off the ornament

Fill with gift basket filler, pieces of tinsel, pom-poms, etc…

  • Put the top back on

 

Glitter

  • Take the top off the ornament
  • Carefully pour clear glue inside ornament
  • Swirl around until the glue even coats the inside
  • Pour glitter in the ornament
  • Put the top back on
  • Shake around to help evenly spread out the glitter

Tip: Make sure not to pour too much glue in, just use enough to coat the inside.

 

Snowball

  • Take the top off the ornament
  • Carefully pour clear glue inside ornament
  • Swirl around until the glue even coats the inside
  • Pour iridescent snow flake sprinkles into ornament
  • Put the top back on
  • Shake around to help evenly spread out the snow flakes

 

Quick, easy and no-mess tutorial for making the ornaments:

 

 

More Christmas Crafts:

You might also enjoy learning how to make this ‘Warm Up with a Cup of Cheer’ DIY Rustic Christmas Sign.

 

Merry Christmas!

Northeast Ohio Christmas Lights Display: Magic of Lights

Northeast Ohio Christmas Lights Display: Magic of Lights

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content.  Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

Every year, we try to fit in fun Christmas activities and events leading up to Christmas.  It is easy to get busy with all of the things that have to get done, that actually relaxing and enjoying the holiday can get overlooked.  So just taking a family night to go and look at Christmas lights is a lot of fun!  This year, we chose Magic of Lights at Victory Park in North Ridgeville for our night out.

Magic of Lights features a variety of festive scenes celebrating the holiday season.  This light display is drive-through– which is great, because it was cold and snowy the night we went!  To add to the Christmas mood, it is suggested that guests tune into Cleveland’s Star 102.1 FM and enjoy Christmas music on the drive through the lights.

Magic of Lights  offers a winding 1-2 mile course through the park to view sparkling LED displays depicting the favorite characters of the season, including animated snowmen, elves, poinsettias, candy canes, and more!

It was pretty cool to find out that the light displays were actually created by local STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) students!  That had to be a fun learning activity!

The lights display even ends with a drive through tunnel!

You can pay at the gate, but you get a bit of a discount if you purchase your ticket ahead of time online at MagicOfLights.com.

 

Merry Christmas!

Package from Santa: a review

Package from Santa: a review

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content.  Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

My youngest son is six years old… and has two older brothers, so keeping Christmas magical for him can be a bit of a challenge.  His older brothers are really good, though, about keeping the secret and helping to make things fun for him while he is still little.  So, this year, I thought it would be fun to surprise my little guy with a Package from Santa.

At packagefromsanta.com You can get personalized LETTERS, PACKAGES, CALLS and VIDEOS from SANTA!

As a parent, it is truly a joy to see your children’s face light up with excitement.  And it seems like Derek really thought his package from Santa was pretty cool!

One of the things that I liked the best is that there were several themes to choose from:

This way, no matter what your current situation is, there is a letter that would be just perfect!  Once you choose a theme, you are still able to fully customize the letter to make the specific wording just the way you want.

Every package also comes with a FREE personalized CALL and VIDEO FROM SANTA that can be scheduled any time– so we chose to get a call from Santa on Christmas Eve!  I think he’s going to love hearing from Santa and knowing that he needs to get in bed so Santa can bring his gifts…

Review:
  1. Quick Service–Once ordered, our Package From Santa arrived within a few days.  Emails were sent confirming the order and letting me know when the package had been sent.
  2. Affordable pricing options– there are different packages to choose from, so it is easy to find one to fit your budget.
  3. Easily Customizable– I really liked all of the themes to choose from, and that each theme was fully customizable.  Having the ability to make the edits that I wanted to make it personal for my son truly made it more meaningful!

 

Get one for your child:

Click here to see a video to learn more about this very special Santa memory service that will be a part of my family for years to come!

The Silver Package ($24.95) comes in a red box & includes:

  • Personalized Letter from Santa
  • BONUS! Personalized Video from Santa (retail $9.99)
  • BONUS! Personalized Phone Call from Santa to a cell phone OR land line! (retail $9.99)
  • Personalized Nice List Certificate
  • Autographed Santa Claus Photo
  • Autographed Rudolph Photo
  • Genuine North Pole Stamp
  • …and so much more!

It also comes with a 60-Day money-back guarantee because they are THAT confident your child will LOVE it!

There are 3 different packages offered, so you can choose a price point that works with your budget. I will be reviewed the Silver package ($29.95).

 

How to order:

Order this holiday must-have for your child at PackageFromSanta.com and save 25% OFF your order when you use code: FAMS17 at checkout.

 

Peppermint Candy Cane Christmas Sugar Cookies

Peppermint Candy Cane Christmas Sugar Cookies

Here’s a fun twist to a Christmas cookie classic!  These peppermint sugar cookies are a great way to make festive-looking Christmas cookies without having to take the time to frost and decorate…

Of course, you can add icing and decorate with sprinkles, but these candy cane sugar cookies are beautiful on their own…

If you’ve ever made cut-out cookies, there are only a few extra steps that you need to take to make these beautiful, candy-cane striped cookies.

  1. Separate cookie dough into two parts
  2. Add red food coloring to one of the parts
  3. Refrigerate 15 minutes before using
  4. Take small pieces of each color and start rolling into long “ropes”
  5. Alternate color strands
  6. Roll out
  7. Cut out in candy cane shape

Here’s a quick video to walk you through the process:

Full recipe:

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

Candy Cane Sugar Cookie Recipe

  • 3¾ cups sifted, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Red food coloring
  • *Optional* Peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, stir together flour and baking powder.

In another bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy and light.

Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Stir in flour mixture, a third at a time to make a stiff dough.

Separate dough into two equal parts and add red food coloring to half.  *Optional* You may also choose to add some peppermint extract.

*For best results, refrigerate for 15 minutes before rolling out cookie dough.

Take a small ball of dough and use your hands to roll into long cylinder (you know, the way you used to make a “snake” out of Play-doh?!)

Make several of these long ropes of cookie dough.  Alternating the red and white pieces, place close together and roll out, using a piece of wax paper between the dough and rolling pin.

Roll dough out on floured counter-top.  Make cookies approx. 3/8 inch thick.

You should be able to reuse the dough that remains around each cookie and still separate the colors if you keep it refrigerated between each use (if you let the dough get too warm, you two colors of dough will stick together and you probably won’t be able to re-use it).

Bake 8-10 minutes.

Icing
1 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla (or peppermint)
2 ½ cup confectioners sugar
3 Tbsp milk
Beat butter, vanilla, and confectioner’s sugar until smooth.
Add in milk 1 Tbsp at a time.

Make Christmas Magical for Your Child with a Package from Santa

Make Christmas Magical for Your Child with a Package from Santa

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content.  Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

Start a new and memorable tradition this Christmas with a Package from Santa.  You can get personalized LETTERS, PACKAGES, CALLS and VIDEOS from SANTA!

As a parent, it is truly a joy to see your children’s face light up in amazement.  And this is sure to happen when they get a personalized letter from Santa Claus!

This not just a letter from Santa. It’s an amazing experience – it’s joy, memories, wonder and happiness in a box! You can choose a specific letter theme and then customize it yourself to include details that only Santa would know!

Every package also comes with a FREE personalized CALL and VIDEO FROM SANTA that can be scheduled any time. I have a feeling me little guy is going to be absolutely amazed to receive a call and video from Santa!

Here are the details:

Package From Santa has an A+ Rating with the BBB due to their unmatched, high-touch customer service so you can be confident that you are making a wise purchase. They have real people on the phone ready to help answer questions.

Click here to see a video to learn more about this very special Santa memory service that will be a part of my family for years to come!

The Silver Package ($24.95) comes in a red box & includes:

  • Personalized Letter from Santa
  • BONUS! Personalized Video from Santa (retail $9.99)
  • BONUS! Personalized Phone Call from Santa to a cell phone OR land line! (retail $9.99)
  • Personalized Nice List Certificate
  • Autographed Santa Claus Photo
  • Autographed Rudolph Photo
  • Genuine North Pole Stamp
  • …and so much more!

It also comes with a 60-Day money-back guarantee because they are THAT confident your child will LOVE it!

There are 3 different packages offered, so you can choose a price point that works with your budget. I will be reviewing the Silver package ($29.95).

Order this holiday must-have for your child at PackageFromSanta.com and save 25% OFF your order when you use code: FAMS17 at checkout.

‘Warm Up with a Cup of Cheer’ DIY Rustic Christmas Sign

‘Warm Up with a Cup of Cheer’ DIY Rustic Christmas Sign Tutorial + FREE Printable

The weather is getting colder, the days are shorter, snowflakes are starting to fly… it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!  And there is absolutely nothing better to do on these cold, overcast days than to warm up with a cup of cheer (aka coffee!), turn on some holiday music, and decorate for Christmas!

I love decorating for Christmas… and I love getting new items that I can add into my holiday décor.  But sometimes it can be pretty costly to buy new decorations or home décor, especially at the beginning of the season.  Of course, you can probably load up on everything Christmas on December 26 when everything goes on sale… that is, if you can find the items you wanted because things are pretty well picked over by the time the after-Christmas sale rolls around.

So, if you don’t want to pay full-price before Christmas, and you don’t want to wait until the after-Christmas sale, what should you do?  Well, you can make your own beautiful Christmas décor and it costs a lot less than paying before-Christmas prices to buy something already made!

Watch the video tutorial here:

Here’s what you will need:
  • Canvas
  • Paint Markers
  • Tracing Paper
  • My FREE Printable Design

I chose a burlap canvas with the middle painted white this was the rustic, farmhouse look that I was going for.  But you can use the canvas of your choice…  You will also need tracing paper.  It doesn’t matter if you choose a light or dark canvas, just make sure that you get the right kind of tracing paper.  I bought the dark tracing paper because I was working with a light canvas.  Obviously, if you are working with a dark surface, make sure you get the light tracing paper…  If you have paint markers in the right colors, you are ready to go!  (Just in case you are wondering, I used a chisel point paint marker for the lettering and a medium point paint marker for the wreath).

Here’s my FREE, printable design.

If you have a color printer, you can just print it out and use it as is (or crop it to the size that you need):

Email my {free} printable!



 

Make a Sign using the Color Printable:

Print out the sign in color (using cardstock), cut it down to the size needed, mount on some red cardstock, and hang it up using twine and small clothes pins… super easy!

Beautiful… and interchangeable.  Which is nice too because now I can just print out another design and keep the same sign as part of my décor even after Christmas.

Are you ready to Warm up with a cup of Cheer?

Love this design? Why not get your own mug and warm up with your own cup of cheer?! Great for gifting too!

 

Merry Christmas!

 

Don’t Waste Money on Christmas Gifts that No One Wants

Don’t Waste Money on Christmas Gifts that No One Wants

Have you ever opened a gift and had to try to grin and say thank you when you have no idea what it is?  Or it was so atrocious—like the pink bunny pajamas that Ralphie got from Aunt Clara in A Christmas Story—that you know you will never wear it or use it.

Perhaps you received a gift, like a $30 canister of gourmet popcorn and thought, “I would have rather had the money that was spent on that instead.”  You know, the nice gift that you really didn’t need or want.  The one that may never be used… I think that we’ve all received them, and probably even given them.  So this year, if you aren’t sure about what to buy, give something that is more meaningful… and here are a few ideas:

For new parents or parents of toddlers

Offer babysitting as your gift.  Seriously, any new parent or parent of a toddler knows that free babysitting is pure GOLD.  I guarantee they will love this gift!

For grandparents

Make a keepsake ornament from the kids.  Grandparents love anything that is made by their grandchildren, so whether it’s a handprint ornament, craft, or special card, it will be way more meaningful than a sweatshirt that says “World’s Best Grandpa.”

I’ll let you in on a secret… No one really wants to wear these shirts.  Ever.

For mom and dad

Dad doesn’t need another tie.  Mom doesn’t want kitchen utensils.

They probably just want some extra time with you.

So, instead of spending money on something that they don’t really need, invite your mom out to lunch just because, and make time to go on that hunting trip with dad that you have been too busy to take… they will appreciate this much more…

For your kids

As parents we want to make sure that our kids have a HUGE pile of gifts to open.  Because what is better than the joy on their faces and they run downstairs on Christmas morning to see all the wonderful packages that Santa left?!  But, we all know that joy only lasts as long as there are more gifts to tear open and when the dust settles (or, in this case, the wrapping paper and bows), the kids play with their new loot for about 5 minutes and then life goes back to normal—and all those big bucks you spent to fulfil every Christmas list wish are seemingly wasted.  Talk to your kids about the true meaning of Christmas and find a way to have them learn the joy of giving… that will last for them a lot longer than getting the hottest, most expensive toy of the season…

Make Christmas memories for them.  How do you make a memory?  Give them experiences to remember:

  • Bake Christmas Cut-Out Cookies with them
  • Make Christmas Ornaments
  • Go on a Christmas outing with Grandparents, cousins, or friends— go see a Christmas light display, visit a LIVE nativity, go Christmas caroling, take a train ride with Santa…

Your kids may not remember what they got for Christmas two years ago, but they probably will remember that time that they got to walk through a million twinkling Christmas lights with their cousins…

Buying the Perfect Gift is Not an Excuse to Overspend | Money Savvy Living

You probably noticed that these gifts don’t actually cost you any money either.  They only cost a little time and thoughtfulness.

So before you go into debt trying to splurge and buy the perfect Christmas gift, think about what your family and friends would truly want…

Check out one of my posts, 10 Ways to Avoid Overspending This Year for Christmas and find out even more ways to get the perfect gift without overspending and going into debt.

10 Ways to Avoid Overspending this Christmas | Money Savvy Living

How I Get Free Gas for my Car Just for Buying Christmas Gifts

How I Get Free Gas for my Car Just for Buying Christmas Gifts

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

Can you believe it’s already less than two months until Christmas is here?! So that means it is time to start Christmas shopping… Ok, I have to admit, I already started! When I see a good sale and I think that it’s something one of kids would like, I just go ahead and get it—and save it for Christmas. For those that are a bit harder to shop for, I typically go with gift cards—and that’s how I am able to get free gas for my car just for buying Christmas gifts!

Free gas… for shopping?? I know, I doesn’t make sense. But trust me, it is not a typo. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: almost everything you buy at Giant Eagle gives you points in the Fuel Perks Plus program! So whether I am buying my weekly groceries, a yoga mat, nail polish, shampoo and conditioner, laundry detergent, a book, stationary, or gift cards—I am earning points towards free gas or groceries!

How to get started:

More Perks, More Places, More Savings. Learn how the Perks Program works and get 100 bonus perks by clicking here!

You need a Giant Eagle Advantage card to keep track of all your points. It’s free to get, and besides keeping track of your points, being a Giant Eagle Advantage customer gives you access to extra savings and weekly specials. If you’d like to sign up for one, you can visit the Customer Service desk at your neighborhood Giant Eagle where you can register for free in less than five minutes! Or, you can register by phone—just call 1-800-553-2324.

Once you have signed up, you can also view perks status on Giant Eagle’s new mobile app available for iOS and Android devices.

*If you don’t have an advantage card and would like to sign up to track when you earn and redeem perks, you can visit the Customer Service desk. Or, you can register by phone—just call 1-866-620-0216.

Exactly how does Fuel Perks Plus work?

Start earning points. Every time you shop at Giant Eagle, make sure to scan your Advantage card:

  • You earn 1 perk for every dollar spent on groceries, health and beauty, gift cards, and more in-store.
  • You earn 2 perks for every gallon of gasoline you purchase at the GetGo.
  • You earn 50 bonus perks for every 5 qualifying prescriptions that you have filled at the Giant Eagle pharmacy.

*Check out the Fuel Perks Plus program details, terms, and conditions here.

What can you earn?

There is no limit to the amount of perks that you can earn! For every 50 perks accumulated, you can redeem them for 2 percent off on groceries or $0.10 off per gallon of fuel. You can redeem them for up to 20 percent off any single grocery order or up to a FREE tank of gas (up to 30 gallons of fuel)! If you have earned more points than you can redeem in a single visit, no problem, those points will roll forward and you can use them on a future visit.

On my last trip to Giant Eagle, I was able to redeem my Fuel Perks points and save $0.30 per gallon when I filled up my car.

And the best part is that I was even able to earn more Fuel Perks points on the purchase of the gas!

I have been stocking up on gift cards to use for Christmas gifts, but Giant Eagle also offers a nice selection of gifts for occasions year-round. So it doesn’t really matter what holiday or event is coming up, I can shop at Giant Eagle and save money on groceries or get FREE gas for everyday items that I was going to purchase anyways!

So what are you waiting for?  Start earning your Fuel Perks on the things you buy everyday!

Cranberry Cinnamon Roll Drop Biscuits

Cranberry Cinnamon Roll Drop Biscuits

Cranberry Cinnamon Roll Drop Biscuits | Money Savvy Living

Christmas morning is less than one week away.  If your home is anything like ours, the kids will be up probably several times throughout the night and then ready to run downstairs and see what Santa left for them!  So at 5am, you are probably not ready to cook a huge breakfast, but I have the perfect solution for you… cranberry cinnamon roll drop biscuits.  They are quick and easy to make or you can even make them the night before so you don’t have to do anything Christmas morning except for try to wake up with your cup of coffee while the kids feverishly rip open their gifts…

Cranberry Cinnamon Roll Drop Biscuits | Money Savvy Living

I’m making these with cranberries to make a wonderful Christmas morning treat, but this basic recipe could be used year round by substituting the cranberries with raisins, blueberries & lavender, strawberries, pumpkin you get the idea…

I also have to admit, I’m not exactly making these from scratch, but I guarantee, you won’t be able to tell!

Cranberry Cinnamon Roll Drop Biscuits | Money Savvy Living

I am using Bisquick baking mix for my base, so this makes it quick and easy and just a little bit healthier because all I have to do for the base is add milk to the Bisquick.  If I was making this from scratch, I’d typically cut in cold butter to make biscuits.

So I am going to start by cutting up about ¼ cup of Craisins so they are smaller bits and spread out more evenly in the drop biscuits.  And I am going to soak them in a bit of water to help moisten them up.

Cranberry Cinnamon Roll Drop Biscuits | Money Savvy Living

*If you have an adult only Christmas morning, you could soak the Craisins in rum or vodka…

Combine the Bisquick and milk.  Add the Craisins, cinnamon, sugar, melted butter and maple syrup.  Drop onto baking sheet.  I like to line the baking sheet with parchment paper so the biscuits don’t stick and it makes for easier clean up when you put the icing on too.

Cranberry Cinnamon Roll Drop Biscuits | Money Savvy Living

While the biscuits are in the oven, mix the powdered sugar, butter, milk, and maple flavoring for the icing/glaze.

If you put the icing on when the biscuits come out of the oven, it will melt down over the biscuits like a glaze… YUM!

Cranberry Cinnamon Roll Drop Biscuits | Money Savvy Living

 

It all comes together pretty easily:


Cranberry Cinnamon Roll Drop Biscuits

  • Servings: 4-6 biscuits
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 1/2 cup Bisquick baking mix

1/2 cup milk (I use 2%)

1/4 cup soaked Craisins *optional reserve some for garnish*

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp sugar

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine all ingredients.  Spoon onto baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

While the biscuits are baking, make the icing:

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp milk

1/8 tsp maple flavor

*Put icing on while biscuits are hot…will melt like a glaze

 


Cranberry Cinnamon Roll Drop Biscuits | Money Savvy LivingSo delicious and so easy!  I love this because you will still have plenty of time to watch the kids open gifts and relax… and still make a homemade breakfast!  Perfect for Christmas morning!

Have a very Merry Christmas!

 

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