Christmas Traditions | 5 Christmas Party Ideas!

christmas party ideas

We’ve got some great posts to share with you this week on Christmas Traditions & I’d like to get the ball rolling with this fun post shared by Barbie over at CouponingMadeSimple! I sure am getting in the mood for Christmas Parties!

We love Traditions around here and one that makes the holiday season even more fun are the parties.  Here are a few of my favorite Party Ideas:

Cookie Exchange

There are many variations, but the one that I like best is when everyone selects their favorite cookie recipe.  They will need to prepare one dozen cookies for each person attending.  So if you have invited 5 guests each will need to bring 6 dozen cookies.  One dozen for you.  One for them.  And one dozen for each of the remaining 4 guests.
The day before the party have your guests e-mail you their cookie recipes so you can have them printed and ready to distribute.  Be sure to have enough copies of each recipe so that everyone takes home each of the recipes.  While you are at it, make labels for the cookies as well.
Have cute take home containers ready.  Anything from paper plates to Chinese take-out containers work.  Just be sure it is something your guests won’t have to hassle with returning to you.
Be sure to have plenty of goodies and drinks for your guests.  I like serve fruits, veggies, crackers and cheeses so that my guests have something less sweet .  Then just sit back, relax and enjoy your party.

 

Death By Chocolate

Again, this is for those of us with a sweet tooth.  Ask each of your guests to bring something sinfully delicious with chocolate as the star.  This is a huge favorite with my friends who love chocolate as much as I do.  We like to make this a ladies night only.  Leave the hubbies and kid-o’s home, go to your favorite restaurant for dinner and then have a death by chocolate dessert.  WOW!  Don’t forget to bring copies of your recipe along, as I’m sure everyone will want a copy.

 

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White Elephant or Yankee Swap

 

The rules for White Elephant Gift Exchange are so varied.  I have played many versions and the one I like best involve a little more competition than the ones where you read a story passing the gifts left and right around a circle.  (Here is a great story if you would like to give it a try:  Left, Right, The Night Before Christmas Game.)

In my family the rules are simple.  We sit in a circle with the gifts in a pile in the middle.  Someone (usually the youngest goes first) picks a present.  They open the gift.  Then it’s the next persons turn.  They may either steal an opened gift or select a present from the pile.  If a gift is stolen, the person who just lost their gift then takes a turn to select a present from the pile or steal a gift from someone else.  We set a limit that a gift can only be stolen 3 times after the initial unwrapping.  That way the game ends, eventually.
The definition of a White Elephant Gift is something that costs more to maintain than is worth.  Keep that in mind while shopping/savaging for your White Elephant Gift, but anything useless is always fun.  A few of the items we “won” last year included:  a large McDonald’s bag of individual servings of ketchup, a Styrofoam head, and a collection of cords to various electronics that had gone the way of the dump.

My mom always hides a treat in her gifts and my grandma usually adds some money somewhere.  So if you know someone who is notorious for adding a little something extra, pay close attention when they add their gifts to the pile and work on your poker face when you open the gift and keep the goodie hidden.  You don’t want to let on you actually got something good.
A word to the wise…don’t pick the “pretty” gift.  In my experience that is always a sign that you are getting something really awful.

 

Ugly Sweater Party

 

Ugly Sweater Parties are a fashion show and a party all in one.  What could be better!
First things first…you need an ugly sweater.  HERE is my favorite place to buy them.  Also, check your local thrift and second hand stores.  They usually have some this time of year.
Second:  Plan a few fun games to keep your guests entertained.  Maybe have a White Elephant Exchange.
Third:  Food!  (May I suggest a pot luck) Be sure to have lots and Lots of good things to eat and drink as your guests will be hungry since they will be to embarrassed to go out before the party.  Last year my husband and I, after sitting in the parking lot at the grocery store saying “I’m not going in”  “Well, I’m not going in”, ended up at the McDonald’s drive through and got a bunch of hamburgers and apple pies to take as our pot luck item.  When we got to the party we learned we where not the only ones with the same problem.
Prizes:  Don’t forget you will need prizes for the ugliest, ugly sweater.  My husband who won first place in the Ugly Sweater Contest last year took home a gallon of milk.  The point is, it’s an ugly sweater party…just make it fun.

Caroling Party

All you need to pull a Caroling Party off is:  A group of friends and/or family who enjoy singing, song books, and something hot cocoa or cider and cookies for after the caroling.  You can go door to do or just stay in and gather round the tree and sing.  What a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays.

20 Best Patio Garden Plants

patio garden plants

When perusing the gardening center, you might be wondering which plants are *best* if all you are working with is a small space such as a patio.

Patio Gardens are really perfect places t0 try your hand at growing your own food, as they are typically sunny and allow you to get water to them easily via a watering can or water bucket. If you are debating about planning a patio garden, take a look below at the perfect plants. These plants are not only the ideal size to grow in patio planters, but easy to care for.

The Perfect Patio Garden Plants:

  1. Tomatos & Cherry Tomatoes
  2. Potatoes (with these cool potato planter bags!)
  3. Peppers
  4. Strawberry plants
  5. Blueberry bushes
  6. Miniature fruit tree varieties
  7. Zuchinni & Summer Squash
  8. Spinach
  9. Pickling cucumbers
  10. Radishes
  11. Mint
  12. Sage
  13. Oregano
  14. Basil
  15. Chives
  16. Parsley
  17. Cilantro
  18. Rosemary
  19. Chives
  20. Thyme

The herbs mentioned above often need little space and actually do very well in a stacked pot like this one.

wallplanter

For those with a tiny patio – go vertical to allow you to grow more plants!  Hanging wall planters like this one make it simple!

When you arrange small pots and even trellised varieties of these plants together, the end result is a lovely assortment of plants on your patio that offer color, convenience, and of course an abundance of food. All of these varieties are ideal for small spaces or to be grown in pots or by the use of trellis.

No matter what time of season it is, head to your local gardening center and see what varieties of these plants may be available. They are fool proof starter plants not only perfect for a garden patio, but perfect for a gardener who is just getting started out.

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If you’re looking for decorative patio plants – check out our post on making the perfect DIY Flower Planters!

Easter Clearance Items: What You Should Look For

 

Easter Clearance Items on www.time2saveworkshops.com

Easter Clearance Items … What to Look For!

Walmart and Target have marked down their Easter Clearance to 50% OFF – and it’s a great time to snag goodies for next year!

Wondering what Easter clearance items you should look for? Start by setting a little money aside so that next year you’ll be stocked up. Luckily, there are many ways to save by taking advantage of after Easter sales!

For example, if your child doesn’t already have a good basket you can reuse every year after Easter then it’s time to buy a durable one. If you’ve had your eyes on one of the baskets with a fancy monogrammed liner, now is the time to consider purchasing it. Speaking of baskets, this is also a great time to stock up on things like grass, Easter eggs, and basket fillers for next year! [Read more...]

Ham & Egg Breakfast Cups Recipe {Perfect for Easter Ham leftovers!}

Disclosure: I wrote this post will participating in a campaign as a Good Cook Kitchen Expert, on behalf of Good Cook and received Good Cook kitchen products to facilitate a review. All views and and opinions regard to the products or company itself are my own and were not influenced, nor reviewed by the company prior to posting.
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ham and egg

Ham & Egg Breakfast Cups Recipe

This yummy recipe is reposted from a previous date and I wanted to remind you in case you have holiday Ham leftovers! :)

We usually travel every Thanksgiving, so I don’t typically have any leftovers. However, I LOVE my mama’s baked ham so much I asked if she would send some home with us. Like most, my kids and hubby aren’t typically excited about eating leftovers.

I have found that if I prepare a dish that is totally different than the original, sometimes they don’t even realize we are having leftovers. So, instead of traditional dishes with leftover ham, I made ham and egg breakfast cups for breakfast. An easy meal, packed with protein!

You’ll need:

[Read more...]

The Best Coconut Cake EVER!

coconut cake
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My grandmother’s homemade Coconut Cake is the very best coconut cake in the entire world. I have never found another coconut cake that remotely compares. Coconut Cake has been a staple at my family’s Christmas and Easter gatherings every year since I was a tiny girl. Now that I have a family of my own and we don’t usually travel at Easter, I make it for my family. It’s such a simple recipe starting off with a 1-2-3-4 cake and 7 minute frosting. Keep reading and I’ll share the secret to what makes this cake so moist and amazing! [Read more...]

Best Buttermilk Pie Recipe

Best Buttermilk Pie Recipe on Time2saveworkshops.com

This Best Buttermilk Pie Recipe is an older post, but one of our MOST pinned recipes here on Time2Save!  It would make a scrumptious Easter Dessert :)

Kasey here, I have barely cooked the past couple of months because I’ve felt so yucky from morning sickness. (In case you missed my announcement on Mother’s Day we are expecting a new addition in November of this year.) I made it up to my family today by making our favorite Best Buttermilk Pie before Gary starts a new AdvoCare 24-day challenge this week.

If you haven’t tried Buttermilk Pie, it is simply amazing!!! One of my absolute favorite desserts, it melts in your mouth and it’s so so easy to make.

buttermilk pie moms recipe

This particular recipe, comes straight from my mama’s kitchen. She made me this precious handwritten recipe book when I first got married 17 years ago. By far, it is the most used recipe book in my kitchen. It includes all my family’s favorite recipes. Since it’s not a “secret” recipe I thought I’d share with you.

Best Buttermilk Pie Recipe

Best Buttermilk Pie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 1 unbaked regular 9 inch pie shell

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, and butter in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
  4. Add buttermilk, vanilla, and salt.
  5. Pour into pie shell and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the middle is softly set.
  6. I usually bake mine 50 minutes, but it will depend on how hot your oven cooks.
  7. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, move pie to bottom shelf of oven to crisp crust.
  8. **Update - I've been cooking mine closer to 55 minutes so that the filling sets up properly. Depending on your oven it may take less time.
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