Family, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Fun Family Winter Activities

Don’t let winter get you down! Even if you live where the weather is frightful, there are plenty of delightful activities for you and your family to do. We compiled a list of some of our favorite ideas here, along with a few tips and useful products to help you get the most out of your experience!

Outdoor Activities with Snow

  • Build a snowman or a snow fort
  • Go sledding or snow tubing
  • Go skiing
  • Make snow angels
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Snow paint (see details below!)

How do you snow paint?

All you need is empty spray bottles, water and food coloring! Rinse out the bottles, fill them with water and add 20 drops of food coloring to each bottle. Start with 1 bottle each of red, blue and yellow. If you have more bottles, you can create more colors by combining them (just like in art class)!

  • 10 drops of red + 10 drops of blue = purple
  • 10 drops of red + 10 drops of yellow = orange
  • 10 drops of blue + 10 drops of yellow = green

Your kids will love spray painting snow men, snowballs or just drawing pictures on that big white snow canvas!

Outdoor Activities (No Snow Required)

  • Rent a cabin in the woods
  • Go on a self-guided holiday light tour
  • Collect pinecones and small evergreen branches to create a centerpiece
  • Take a hike through the woods
  • Blow bubbles and watch them freeze (below 32° F)
  • Set up an “ice gem” treasure hunt for the kids (see details below!)

What are “ice gems”?

Ice gems are simply ice cubes that have been made with food coloring. Fill an ice tray with water, add 2 or 3 drops of food coloring to each compartment and put it in the freezer. Use different colors to represent different types of gems (rubies, emeralds, sapphires, etc.).

Indoor Activities

  • Build a cozy blanket fort with lights
  • Set up an indoor scavenger hunt
  • Bake cookies
  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Make bird feeders (see below for details!)

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts, if desired

Steps

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl, beat softened butter and sugars with electric mixer on medium speed or with spoon until fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth. Stir in flour mixture just until blended and dough is stiff. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  4. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown (center will be soft). Cool 2 minutes. Remove cookies and place on cooling rack for about 30 minutes.  

If you would like to add this recipe to your collection, download the Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe card.

This blot post was courtesy of Thirty One Gifts. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Tasty Tuesday: Brown Butter Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Thank you Baker by Nature for today’s recipe….

Prep: ook

Cool: ield: 2 dozen

 

Ingredients

For the Buttered Pecans:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups pecan halves, finely chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Brown Butter Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Chunk Cookies:

  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted until browned
  • 2 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (don’t pack the flour into the measuring cup!)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet OR dark chocolate, roughly chopped into chunks
  • 24 pecan halves, for decoration, optional

Instructions

For the Buttered Pecans:

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in chopped pecans and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside until needed.

For the Brown Butter:

  1. Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and cook for about 3 minutes – stirring almost constantly – until the butter has browned.
  2. Pour the brown butter into a heatproof bowl, being sure to scrape all of the “toasted” bits into the bowl as well.
  3. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or until the butter is at room temperature. You’ll know the butter is at room temperature when you press a finger into the top and it makes a slight indentation. It should not be liquid at all.
  4. Once the butter is at room temperature, you’re ready to get baking!

For the Brown Butter Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Chunk Cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside until needed.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda; whisk well to combine then set aside until needed.
  3. In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine browned butter and both sugars and beat on medium-speed until light and fluffy; about 2 minutes. Add in the vanilla and bourbon and beat until combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating for 15 seconds after each addition. Turn mixer off. Using a wooden spoon or sturdy rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour, stirring only until the flour begins to disappear. Fold in the chocolate chunks and buttered pecans.
  4. Roll 3 tablespoon sized scoops of dough between your palms to form a ball (they should be big; almost a 1/4 cup), then place on prepared sheets (make sure to leave enough room in between each cookie for inevitable spreading). Continue this process until all the dough has been rolled. Press a pecan on the top of each cookie dough mound, if desired.
  5. Place baking sheets in preheated oven, one at a time, and bake for 9 to 10 minutes, or until golden at the edges but still soft in the middle. Repeat with all cookie dough. Sprinkle cookies with sea salt right when they come out of the oven. Let cookies cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire wrack to cool completely.

Remember if you submit a recipe to me and I use it in my blog, YOU will receive a FREE gift from me….What is your favorite recipe during the holiday season?

Pack up those holiday cookies and take them with you as a hostess gift to your next party.  Thirty One’s Little Carry Alls are perfect for this…These novelty Littles Carry-All Caddys are also the perfect solution for organizing the little things in your life. From office supplies to eating utensils and cosmetics, this caddy helps keep your life in order by keeping everything right at your fingertips. Great for gifts, small toys, crafts, office desks, candy and seasonal home décor.  Lots of choices for everyone in the family.  You can even use these as a stocking stuffer instead of traditional stockings.

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Tasty Tuesday: All-American Beefy Mac


Thank you Hungry Girl for today’s recipe….

Do you remember Hamburger Helper?  When life was crazy busy – full-time job, active kid and not a lot of time to plan meals, this and macaroni and cheese was a go to meal.  I kind of miss those days so this is a great way to enjoy the same yummy taste in a healthier way.

Whether you call it beefy mac, beefaroni, or American chop suey, a hearty pasta meal full of ground beef and rich tomato sauce rocks. Indulge in our AMAZING recipe without a lick of guilt…

Prep: 20 minutes     Cook: 30 minutes     Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups frozen cauliflower florets
  • 4 1/2 oz. (about 1 1/4 cups) high-fiber elbow macaroni
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 lb. raw extra-lean ground beef (4% fat or less)
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt and black pepper
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 2 tbsp. canned tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • Optional seasoning: crushed red pepper

Directions:

  1. Place cauliflower in a large microwave-safe bowl; cover and microwave for 3 minutes. Uncover and stir. Re-cover and microwave for 2 minutes, or until hot. Drain excess liquid.
  2. Roughly chop cauliflower, return to the bowl, and cover to keep warm.
  3. In a large pot, cook pasta per package instructions, about 7 minutes. Drain pasta, and stir into cauliflower. Re-cover to keep warm.
  4. Spray the pot with nonstick spray, and bring to medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper, and cook and stir until browned, about 4 minutes.
  5. To the pot, add ground beef, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stir, and crumble until beef is fully cooked and veggies are soft, about 6 minutes.
  6. Add all remaining ingredients to the pot, and stir well. Bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to low, and stir in cauliflower-pasta mixture. Cook until hot and well mixed, about 2 minutes.

Serving Size: 1/4th of recipe (about 2 1/2 cups):  Calories: 375; Fat: 6g; Sodium: 690mg; Carbs: 50g; Fiber: 10g; Sugars: 13.5g; Protein: 33g     PointsPlus® value 9*

Be sure to pack your leftovers for lunch the next day in Thirty One’s Around the Clock Thermal.  This is one of our most versatile totes.  It is great for lunch or snacks anytime, anywhere—work, school, festivals, road trips, pool, beach, golf course, boating or sporting events. The water-resistant thermal lining keeps contents cool and makes cleanup easier. A removable shoulder strap means you can carry it any number of ways, including crossbody for hands-free movement. An interior mesh pocket and exterior front zipper pocket provide separate storage options when needed. Makes a great gift for friends, neighbors, kids, teachers and everyone else on the go!

Have a blessed day!

Hope Wissel

Tasty Tuesday: Flourless Pumpkin Pancakes

It is the Pumpkin Spice time of year from coffee to cookies to marshmallows….These yummy pancakes will surely be a hit in your house.

Nutrition facts for the entire recipe: 169 calories, 4g total fat (0.5g sat fat), 420mg sodium, 16g carbs, 6.5g fiber, 4.5g sugars, 19.5g protein

Prep5 minutes     Cook:  5 minutes     FreestyleSmartPoints® value 2*  Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup powdered peanut butter
  • 1 packet natural no-calorie sweetener (like Truvia)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup (about 2 large) egg whites or fat-free liquid egg substitute
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Seasonings:

  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Optional toppings: lite pancake syrup, light butter

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix powdered peanut butter, sweetener, baking powder, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
  2. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract, and stir until uniform. (Batter will be thick.)
  3. Bring a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat.
  4. Add batter to form three medium pancakes (about 1/4 cup each).
  5. Cook until solid enough to flip, about 2 minutes. Gently flip, and cook until both sides are lightly browned and the inside is cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Need to go grocery shopping for your ingredients?  Why not check out Thirty One’s Pink Sky Super Solution Set..You can step up your grocery game with a great deal on the Deluxe Utility Tote in Charcoal Crosshatch, plus 2 Essential Storage Totes in Perfectly Plaid designed to fit right inside. This handpicked solution set is also perfect for sports or band practice, home or garage organization and toting all those holiday gifts. But hurry – limited quantities are available, and only until October 31, 2019! (Please note that this item is not eligible to qualify for the Monthly Customer Special) Personalization is not available for this set. No substitutions.  It usually retails for $110 but can be yours for $75!  Think of all of the possibilities.

Have a blessed day!

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Tasty Tuesday: Winter Squash Stew

On this Tasty Tuesday, I want to wish my AMAZING daughter Belinda a “happy birthday”.

Thank you Alene Brennan for today’s recipe…

I know we had a summer relapse last week with temps near 90 but I think the fall weather is finally going to settle in OR at least I hope it does.

Prep Time: 5 minutes     Cooking Time: 15 minutes     Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 winter squash, seeded, peeled, chopped (butternut, acorn, pumpkin, delcata)
  • Veggie or chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

Directions:

  1. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until onions become translucent.
  2. In a pot place squash and fill with stock until just covered.
  3. Add curry powder, cumin, onion and garlic.
  4. Boil until squash becomes tender and remove pot from heat.
  5. With an immersion blender purée squash until smooth. (I prefer mine chunky)

Notes:   Add chopped fresh cilantro or parsley and/or toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish.

I’m the only one who eats squash in my house so there would be some leftovers….. Did you know Thirty One has a cool way to send your kids off with school lunches?  Our thermals got got a makeover with the Off to Lunch Thermal! This soft (but structured) insulated cooler bag is perfect for the school cafeteria or to add a dash of fun to the office. It also makes a great travel snack bag for road trips, the pool or daycare. A webbed top handle makes it easy to carry this reusable lunch bag, and an interior thermal lining keeps food cool or warm.
The best part about this cute thermal is it is part of Thirty One’s Online Extras…….so it is on sale for $24 BUT if you spend $35 on any item, you can get this for 1/2 price (plus one more item) for this month only.  That is a deal, right?
Have a blessed day!
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