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Category : Living

Give your health a boost with fantastic smoothies

Fruits and vegetables have undeniable nutrition benefits, but some days it seems impossible to get in enough servings to meet your personal nutrition goals. Smoothies are a healthy — and delicious — way to add servings of fruits and vegetables to your diet for a boost of nutrition. Texture and sweetness of smoothies are a matter of personal taste, but we rounded up twelve amazing smoothie recipes we think you’ll love.

smoothie recipes
Green smoothies add bunches of nutrients
  • The Green Power Smoothie from A New Bloom packs a serious nutritional punch. The smoothie adds veggies, fruits, healthy fats — and even ingredients to keep your stomach settled. The balanced nutrition in the smoothie will increase your energy throughout the day. Like A New Bloom for more healthy recipe and lifestyle inspiration.
  • Love Me, Feed Me offers a recipe for a green smoothie bursting with tropical fruit flavor in her Tropical Mint Green Smoothie. In a delicious twist, the green smoothie can even be frozen into creamy popsicles. Follow Leah on Instagram for more fantastic, plant-based recipes.
  • Coconut water adds a refreshing burst to the Perfect “Pick Me Up” Green Smoothie. The recipe, from Fashionable Foods, adds a healthy dose of electrolytes and is filling enough to replace a meal — or be split into two snack-size portions. Like Fashionable Foods for healthy recipes — including gluten free tips.
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Green Power Smoothie
Tropical Mint Smoothie
Pick Me Up Green Smoothie
Blueberry Smoothie
Kefir Smoothie
Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie
Cashew Cardamom Date Smoothie
Cherry Almond Breakfast Shake
Red Velvet Smoothie
Pineapple Nutmeg Detox Smoothie
Heart Beet Smoothie
Kombucha Berry Smoothie
Berry smoothies offer a sweet start to your day
  • The Blueberry Smoothie from The Loveliest Food is simple but filled with nutritious fruits and veggies. Not only is it beautiful, but the ingredients will keep you full until lunch. Like The Loveliest Food on Facebook to answer the always-pressing, “what’s for dinner?” question.
  • The Kefir Smoothie from The Merrythought uses berries and kefir to create a delicious smoothie that’s great for your tummy health. Kefir is 99% lactose-free and packed with pro-biotics, making it an ideal smoothie ingredient for people trying to cut back on dairy because of stomach upset. Follow The Merrythought on Instagram for fabulous DIY projects, recipes, and home decor tips.
  • Tattooed Martha shared a Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie with Allison at Dream a Little Bigger, and we’re dying to try it. It takes like dessert, but Greek yogurt gives the smoothie a boost of calcium and protein. Follow both Tattooed Martha and Dream a Little Bigger on Facebook for more fabulous ideas.
You’ll go nuts over these nut-based smoothies
  • Dishing Up the Dirt finds the perfect balance of sweet and spicy in her Cashew, Cardamom, and Date Smoothie. Dates are fabulous for muscle development, so this is the perfect post-workout smoothie. Follow Andrea on Instagram; she’s an organic farmer in the Pacific Northwest with wonderful recipes.
  • Try a Cherry Almond Breakfast Shake from This Gal Cooks. The antioxidants in the cherries and the protein in the almonds make this a nutritious smoothie to begin your day. Like This Gal Cooks on Facebook for simple — and delicious — recipes.
  • Nutrition isn’t normally the first thing that comes to mind when hearing the words “Red Velvet.” The Healthy Red Velvet Smoothie from The Balanced Berry will have you thinking about red velvet in a whole new — nutritious — way. Follow The Balanced Berry on Instagram for a glimpse into the life of a personal trainer who loves food.
Delicious smoothie ingredients that might surprise you
  • The Pineapple Nutmeg Detox Smoothie is a fantastic smoothie recipe from A Clean Bake. The veggie combined with pineapple and nutmeg might surprise you — it was the first recipe I tried with the ingredient, and I loved it! Follow A Clean Bake on Instagram for delicious recipes that combine baking with clean eating.
  • The Little Epicurean maximizes the cleansing properties of beets in this Heart Beet Smoothie. Beets are a sweet veggie, so this smoothie is just as tasty as it is beautiful. Follow The Little Epicurean on Instagram, where Maryanne entertains with food and travel photos.
  • Reap health benefits with the Kombucha Berry Smoothie from Veganosity. If you haven’t yet developed a taste for the healthy, fermented tea, this smoothie is perfect for you. It’s packed with veggies and berries for optimized nutrition. Like Veganosity on Facebook for more vegan living inspiration.
What are your favorite smoothie ingredients?
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Muffin tins make dinners easy… and delicious

10 Easy Muffin Tin Recipes

Kids love everything mini, so when it comes to making your favorite recipes, using a muffin tin is beyond brilliant — instant mini-meals! These 10 easy muffin tin recipes will turn any family meal into kid-sized portions that they’ll instantly love.

10 Muffin tin recipes your kids will love

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Muffin Tin Recipes- Breakfast Burrito Bites
Muffin Tin Recipes- Chicken Pot Pie
Muffin Tin Recipes- Deep Dish Pizza Bites
Muffin Tin Recipes- Lasagna
Muffin Tin Recipes- Mac N Cheese
Muffin Tin Recipes- Meatloaf Cupcakes
Muffin Tin Recipes- Mini Cheesy Corn Dog Muffin Bites
Muffin Tin Recipes- Omelet Breakfast Bites
Muffin Tin Recipes- Sloppy Joes
Muffin Tin Recipes- Taco Cups

1. Breakfast Burrito Bites from Ella Claire
Muffin tin recipes don’t have to be limited to dinners! These breakfast burrito bites use a tortilla as a base, keeping all of the yummy ingredients easily contained.

2. Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes from Sunny Slide Up
Comfort food in a muffin tin-sized portion is the perfect way to recreate this family favorite for your kids.

3. Deep Dish Pizza Cupcakes from Plain Chicken
We could all use a new twist on pizza, right moms? Try making pizzas in muffin tins the next time your kids are begging for pizza delivery.

4. Lasagna Cupcakes from The Girl Who Ate Everything
Lasagna is time consuming to make… unless you use muffin tins! This recipe uses wonton wrappers instead of lasagna noodles, which is a delicious — and easy — swap.

5. Mac and Cheese Muffins with Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese from Hip Foodie Mom
However you make mac and cheese at home, try making it in muffin tins. We love this recipe because it doesn’t skimp on what we love most about mac and cheese just because the portions have been sized-down.

6. Meatloaf Cupcakes from Six Sisters’ Stuff
Your kids may not eat meatloaf when you make it in the traditional way, but we guarantee that they will devour these little meatloaf cupcakes.

7. Mini Cheesy Corn Dog Muffins from Cooking with Mel
These corn dog muffins are a great idea for weekend lunches and using cheese-filled hot dogs is a twist that your kids will adore. Pass the ketchup!

8. Omelet Breakfast Bites from A Mitten Full of Savings
Another yummy muffin tin recipe that’s perfect for breakfast, you can adapt this recipe to include your family’s favorite omelet ingredients or customize different muffin tin cups for different palettes.

9. Sloppy Joe Cups from Recipe by Photo
Make that not-so-sloppy-joes! These will save you a ton of post-meal clean-up, since the sloppy part of the joes is contained in a muffin tin.

10. Easy Six-Layer Baked Taco Cups from Averie Cooks
Fun for dinner or for an appetizer, taco cups are such a fun twist on your traditional taco night and you can even let your kids add their own toppings!

Do you make any of your recipes in a muffin tin?
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Mason jar salads are a perfect healthy lunch option

Moms make sure their bags are filled with snacks for their little ones, but when their own hunger hits, they’re often left hunting for healthy options. The mason jar salad craze lets health-conscious mamas craft  flavorful, nutritious lunches in batches — the glass jar keeps the ingredients fresh, and the attractive layers make the salads look like the best option in the refrigerator.

mason jar salads

Farmer’s Fridge gives mason jar salads a whole new treatment

Instead of defaulting to a vending machine, Farmer’s Fridge wants you to feed your hunger at one of their veggie machines. There are currently 14 Farmer’s Fridge kiosks in the Chicagoland area, and the company is growing. The gorgeous kiosks are made of reclaimed wood, but the contents are even more savory. In addition to seven fresh salads, Farmer’s Fridge kiosks offer breakfasts, snacks, and protein-filled jars of fresh, delicious food.

mason jar salads

How Farmer’s Fridge works
  • We get fresh produce every morning.
  • We arrive at 5 a.m. and make everything from scratch… daily.
  • We make everything in our local, fully licensed, shared kitchen… daily.
  • We deliver the salads to the machine by 11 a.m. and remove the unsold salads (which we donate to a local food pantry)… daily.
  • We discount any unsold salads by $1 at 6 p.m. … nightly.

mason jar salads

Luke’s 5 steps to making the perfect Mediterranean Mason Jar Salad
  1. Prep the Dressing Early: Start salad construction by combining the dressing ingredients the night before to allow all the flavors to marinate and meld together. To make the Red Wine Vinaigrette for the Mediterranean Salad, whisk together red wine vinegar, water, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, oregano and basil in a medium-sized bowl. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil.
  2. Choose Your Greens: Instead of the standard romaine or iceberg lettuce, swap out the greens with something new. Experiment with varieties like arugula, kale and spinach. Each type of leafy green offers different health benefits ranging from improving immune defenses, lowering cholesterol, strengthening bones, combatting heart disease and promoting healthy vision.
  3. Start the Jar with Hearty Veggies: By reverse layering salad ingredients within the jars, the salad will be right side up and ready to eat when the jar is flipped. Base layers of Mason jar salads should include the heartier vegetables that can take the weight of the other ingredients – when the salad is flipped onto a plate, the lettuce will be on the bottom and other vegetables will be on top. To start the Mediterranean Salad, layer the quartered artichokes followed by grape tomatoes, English cucumbers, cannellini beans, parmesan and Kalamata olives.
  4. Layer it Up: After the heavy ingredients, pack the rest of the Mason jar with greens and garnishes such as croutons, berries, protein or nuts. For the Mediterranean Salad, top the ingredients with mixed greens and pine nuts. To finish, store separate 2 oz. container of dressing on top of the salad, screw on the jar’s lid and the salad is ready to go.
  5. Know How to Store the Salad: To prevent the salad from getting soggy, pack everything into the jar as tightly as possible to keep ingredients from moving around. Leaving the greens for last creates a moisture barrier making the salad able to stay in the fridge for a few days. Salads can be enjoyed on a plate or in a bowl, or ingredients can be shaken up and the salad can be eaten directly from the jar.

mason jar salads

Farmer’s Fridge Mediterranean Salad Recipe

If you aren’t lucky enough to live in the Chicago area, you can use Luke’s tips to craft your own mason jar salad.

Dressing:

  • Red Wine Vinegar – ½ cup
  • Water – 6 Tbsp.
  • Olive Oil – 2 Tbsp.
  • Honey – 2 tsp.
  • Dijon Mustard – 1 tsp.
  • Salt – ½ tsp.
  • Black Pepper – ¼ tsp.
  • Oregano – 1 tsp.
  • Basil – ½ tsp.

Salad:

  • Artichokes (canned) – 4 quarters
  • Grape Tomatoes (sliced in half) – 2 each
  • English Cucumbers (quartered and thinly sliced) – ¼ cup
  • Cannellini Beans (canned) – ¼ cup
  • Parmesan Cheese (grated) – 1 Tbsp.
  • Kalamata Olives (sliced) – 2 Tbsp.
  • Mixed Greens – 1.5 cups
  • Pine Nuts (roasted) – 1 Tbsp.

Start by layering the quartered artichokes followed by grape tomatoes, English cucumbers, cannellini beans parmesan, Kalamata olives, mixed greens and pine nuts. To make the dressing, whisk together the red wine vinegar, water, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, oregano and basil in a medium size bowl. While you are still whisking slowly pour in the olive oil. Dressing can be stored in a 2 ounce portion cup on top of the salad.

Do you have a favorite mason jar salad recipe to share?
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We have had quite a start to 2015! We were invited to the BodyLab Launch on Tuesday (January 6) in Santa Monica. We sat down with Jennifer Lopez and her partners, Chantelle Daines and Dr. Amy Heaton who showed us a look into their new lifestyle and fitness brand. Lopez looked absolutely flawless, wearing a Brunello Cucinelli champagne-colored low plunge sweater, with a Enza Costa tan wrap skirt that had a thigh-high slit paired with nude Louboutin pumps.

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“I want to inspire women to be the best and happiest versions of themselves,” she said with excitement. J.Lo does it all and she wants to share her secret with woman to help them to become “the girl of their dreams!”

“Yes, I’m an entertainer and I’m a dancer,” Lopez explains, “But ladies, we’re all athletes. We all have that in us. We do things for our men, our children, our families, our careers. What we have to do, it’s like a marathon daily. Every single day.”

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The 45-year-old (yes 45!) is the face and founder of the lifestyle and fitness brand, tailored for women. “I joined the BodyLab family not only because of their commitment to creating great health and fitness products for women, by women, but also because of their approach to the holistic lifestyle. It’s not a solution-in-a-bottle. It’s not a fad diet. It’s part of a health regimen that makes your metabolism work as hard as you do. It’s a way to love your body.”

We would have to agree with Lopez when she says “It’s like a marathon daily,” but it was relaxing to spend a few hours at the gorgeous Annenberg Beach House surrounded by inspiring woman drinking yummy protein smoothies! Lopez’s favorite is the chocolate protein!

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BodyLab is available in stores now. To learn more, visit www.BodyLab.com.

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Home organization ideas to kick off the new year

Now that the holidays are over, what’s on the mind of nearly every mom? Getting organized for the new year. We know that getting started is the hardest part, so we’ve pulled up 12 of our favorite blogs for their best home organization ideas. From tackling projects you’ve been meaning to check off of your to-do list since 2014 to clearing the clutter to strategies for stopping it before it starts, these are must-save ideas for 2015.

12 Home organization ideas for 2015

12 Home Organization Ideas

Clockwise, starting in the top left corner:

The 5 Best Playroom Organizing Tools from Sunlit Spaces
It’s likely that the playroom is the most unorganized space in your home after having your kids home for winter break, so get started there! We love these tips and especially how she uses a behind-the-door shoe holder to keep craft supplies and toy instructions organized.

Make Your Own School Papers Organizer from Painted Therapy
So many school papers. You know how this story ends. By the time Friday rolls around, they are all over your kitchen, your car and your entryway. This school paper organizing idea can be a DIY, like it was on Painted Therapy, or it can inspire you to simply buy a similar wooden holder for keeping school papers in check.

Weekly Wipe-Off Menu Board and Magnets from Little Birdie Secrets
You may have seen this cool idea on Pinterest and we’re so excited to have scouted out the original post! Getting your menu planning in order is the perfect way to get organized at home in the new year and with this cute wipe-off menu board to hang in your kitchen, you’ll be dying to create your weekly menu. (Psst! She has a very cute Etsy shop, too!)

Purse Organization from A Bowl Full of Lemons
When you’re organizing your home, oftentimes organizing your purse can be an afterthought. But, considering how much we tote it around, making sure it’s ready to go for the new year should be a priority.

Desk Organization: Receipts from Homestead Revival
This simple, yet effective, method for stashing receipts caught our eye. Use an oversized jar that you can keep on your desk and stuff receipts in all month long. It’s easy, it is a full piece of office decor and you’ll be so pleased to have everything in order when 2016 rolls around!

Chalkboard Spice Jars from Raising up Rubies
Everyone has those little projects around the house they’ve been itching to do and this is one of ours — finally finding a way to organize spices in our kitchen!

DIY Chalkboard Magnetic Calendar from The 36th Avenue
You don’t have to make this chalkboard calendar yourself (although, there are easy instructions included in the post!), but let it get you thinking about how a large, centrally-located family calendar could help keep your family organized in the new year.

How to Organize Files from I Heart Planners
Keeping your household and financial papers organized is hardly any fun… unless you have a cute filing system, like this one. She even includes a how-to for creating those colorful labels.

4 Things to Include When Setting Up Your New Planner from Creative Home Keeper
For moms who use a paper planner, rather than a calendar phone app, to keep their day-to-day life scheduled, these tips will make sure you are starting the new year off on the right foot. (And, did we mention that we love her cute planner, too?)

$10 Linen Closet Redo from A Bird and a Bean
Trust us, we’ve pinned some pretty amazing, gorgeous, inspirational linen closets in our time. But, considering its current state, we know how outrageous those dream pins really were. We love this linen closet inspiration because it’s functional, real and on-budget.

Wrapping Paper Storage from The Chic Site
Still have Christmas stuff lurking around the house? No need to be ashamed. You aren’t the only one. We give this wrapping paper storage idea a huge endorsement for keeping Christmas paper organized (and out of the way the rest of the year!).

Laundry Room Organization from The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking
We spend so much time in our laundry rooms each year that it makes perfect sense to spend some time getting it organized in the new year. Take a tip or two from this guide to laundry room organization that really works for families.

What’s on your home organizing list for 2015?
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Dove® Chocolate has a few new friends

After all of the holiday sweets and treats, you’d think it might be a perfect time to take a break from chocolate. There’s something about a bit of chocolate that makes any meal or snack a little more decadent, and Dove® Chocolate is one of our favorite ways to indulgence a chocolate craving. This January, Dove® Fruit will be available for you to enjoy Dove Chocolate in a whole new way.

  • DOVE® Whole Blueberries Dipped In Dark Chocolate
  • DOVE® Whole Cranberries Dipped in Dark Chocolate
  • DOVE® Whole Cherries Dipped in Dark Chocolate

Dove Fruit

Why chocolate-lovers will enjoy Dove Fruit

The three fruits Dove chose to pair with the smooth and silky Dove Dark Chocolate are packed with flavor — and are the best-selling fruits on the market. The whole blueberries, whole cranberries, and whole cherries are all real fruit, and the taste of the sweet treats reflects that. Bite-sized and rich, Dove Fruit pairs a punch of fruit flavor into the beloved taste of Dove Dark Chocolate.

Fruit dipped in chocolate is a sweet-lover’s dream

We were lucky enough to get our hands on all three flavors of Dove Whole Fruit Dipped in Dark Chocolate, and the little bite-sized temptations are just as delicious as you might expect. One of our favorite parts of the berries covered in chocolate was the combination of the tart fruit with the rich dark chocolate. The amount of chocolate in each bite is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth without overwhelming the individual tastes of the berries. Dove is America’s #1 silky smooth Dark Chocolate for a reason, and the silky chocolate is perfectly balanced by the tartness of the berries. And by perfectly, we mean our hands kept going back for “just one more.”

Dove Dark Chocolate

Make Dove Fruit part of an afternoon pick-me-up

Even if your New Year’s resolution involves making healthier food choices, you can still sneak in a little bit of chocolate into your selections. Cranberries, blueberries, and cherries have the advantage of packing a bunch of antioxidants into their small, delicious packages, so they make a positive impact on any diet. A crisp, green apple is a tart, nutritious snack, and the fiber helps you feel full until dinnertime. Pairing a small apple with just a few DOVE® Whole Cranberries Dipped in Dark Chocolate turns an afternoon snack into an indulgent treat.

How would you eat Dove Fruit?
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A new year, a new planner

A new year, a new planner! If you’re still using a paper calendar instead of an app to stay organized these 2015 planners and calendars are the perfect way to start you off. There’s something here for every mom — from huge wall calendars that will put the family’s schedule up for everyone to see to chic, stylish planners that you can slip in your purse easily. If you still need a planner or calendar for 2015, snag one of these now… the new year is right around the corner!

12 Best 2015 planners and calendars

2015 Planners and Calendars

1. 2015 17-Month Large Agenda, kate spade new york, $36
We might have a bit of a thing for kate spade planners (Katie uses this exact one!) and this year’s edition is super sassy, while still being useful. At 9×7-inches, there’s plenty of room to keep track of the entire family’s schedules.

2. 2015 Monthly Planner, ShePlans via Etsy, $36
This beauty caught our eye on Etsy and when we saw all of the different covers available, we knew is was a must-have in the 2015 planners. We also love that there are tons of extra lined-sheets in the back of the planner for taking quick notes or keeping can’t-miss reminders.

3. 2015 Wall Calendar, Hippie Projects via Etsy, $21
Simple is chic for 2015, including in the world of keeping organized. This wall calendar comes from Berlin, Germany and includes the hanging clips for a cool calendar design that will also become one of your favorite home decor accessories.

4. 2015 Great Big Wall Calendar, Paper Source, $25
When they say “Great Big Wall Calendar,” they aren’t kidding. This 2015 calendar comes in at nearly 20×25-inches, giving you plenty of room to keep your family organized in the new year.

5. Oh! What a Week! Weekly Schedule Pad, Erin Condren, $30
You already know Erin Condren for her amazingly colorful and helpful Life Planners, but have you peeked around at her other cool products? This weekly schedule pad is one of our favorites for 2015 because sometimes, a week at a time is all we can handle!

6. Sugar Paper 2015 Daily Planner, Target, $10
The perfect choice in 2015 planners for a mom who doesn’t want to spend a fortune on her calendar, this one is under $10, but still offers a lot of space to stay organized and a cute, foil-printed cover that you’ll love.

7. Jonathan Adler 2015 Agenda, Lifeguard Press, $20
If you need a little punch in your planner, this one from Jonathan Adler is a great choice. Its design is fun and colorful and you’ll never, ever lose it in the bottom of your purse!

8. 2015 Simplified Planner, Emily Ley, $58
You’ll notice that these 2015 planners are already sold out and there’s a good reason why — it’s because they are amazing. Emily Ley is a mom who designed the planner of our dreams, with both daily and weekly editions and they sell out in the blink of an eye every year. Additional copies are available at retailers and later this year. Visit emilyley.com to subscribe to her email updates for more details.

9. 2015 Textured Leather Time Planner, kikki.K, $56 (on sale!)
For a planner that you can keep from year-to-year, these are a gorgeous option. Purchase the leather cover and 2015 inserts now, then update them next year when 2016 rolls around. Additional sizes are also available, if you’re looking for something a bit smaller.

10. Monthly Calendar Notepad, KaHootie Co., $17
Sometimes, if you need a bit more flexibility, a blank calendar notepad is a better option. We love these from KaHootie Co. You can fill out each month as you please, rip off another sheet mid-month if you need to and use multiple calendars for different schedules or kids or sports.

11. The Day Designer by Whitney English, The Day Designer
Another planner that is so popular that it’s already sold out before 2015 even begins, The Day Designer by Whitney English will be available again starting January 6. Be sure to sign up for their email updates for more details!

12. 2015 Wall Calendar, Sam Osborne Store via Etsy, $24
At first, we thought it might be crazy to see the entire year ahead of us in one calendar, but this wall calendar from the UK has caught our organization-loving hearts!

Have you bought your 2015 planners yet?
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At-home New Year’s Eve ideas

Whether you couldn’t find a baby sitter or simply decided on a more low-key New Year’s Eve, you don’t need to spend the evening in your yoga pants. Celebrate at home with a few festive New Year’s Eve ideas. With a little planning, you can ring in the New Year in style, even if you are doing it from your couch.

New Years Eve Ideas
Start with fabulous lighting

Changing your lighting can turn your everyday living room into an intimate, celebratory setting. Clusters of candles work wonders, but if you’re looking for something a little more dramatic, consider the Ruffled Lotus Lantern tutorial from Aunt Peaches. With a few simple materials, you definitely have time to create this lantern between now and New Year’s Eve. Tailor the size to your room, and it will completely change the ambiance of the room where you’ll welcome in the new year.

New Years Eve ideas

Look festive — without sacrificing comfort

Andrea put together two fabulous looks for New Year’s Eve, and I personally think you can pick and choose from either for a New Year’s date night at home. I adore the gold, but if you’re partial to silver, she created a beautiful look in that hue as well. The best part? Both looks are centered on a pair of jeans that are comfortable enough to wear all evening. Even just adding a dangly pair of earrings and metallic nails can transform the simplest look into something celebration-worthy.

New Years Eve ideas

Plan a special menu

If your at-home New Year’s involves the kids spending the night with Grandma and Grandpa, you might have the time to create a full, sit-down dinner. If you’ll be noshing after putting the kids to bed, you might want to consider a tapas-style meal. Making a few different appetizers allows you to sample different flavors without feeling too full for dessert. Start with the Open Face Fig and Blue Cheese Crostini Sandwiches from From Calculus to Cupcakes.

New Years Eve ideas
Whether you spend the evening munching on appetizers or decide to prepare a main course, be sure to save room for the Decadent Frosted Brownies from Dine & Dish. Enjoy every bite of the rich dessert — your New Year’s resolutions don’t start until the morning.

Peppermint martini

Ring in the New Year with a holiday cocktail

Champagne — or other sparkling wine — is the standard for toasting the end of one year and the beginning of another. Before you pop the cork on your favorite bottle, start with a holiday cocktail with a peppermint punch. The creamy cocktail is almost like a second dessert!

What are your favorite New Year’s Eve traditions?
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Making the holidays easier… one meal at a time

Our normal, everyday lives as moms and families are busy enough on their own, aren’t they? So when you add in the craziness of the holidays into the mix, sometimes those everyday tasks end up taking a backseat. And, the first to go is often meal planning. This year, American Express is helping us find ways to make all of our lives a little bit easier — during the holiday season and well into the new year — with their My Everyday Meals video series on YouTube.

We’ve been testing these holiday recipes out in our own kitchen to make sure they are easy-to-make and kid-approved so that you can throw them together in the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle. Check out a few of our favorites!

For breakfast

American Express French Toast

This breakfast is a go-to favorite for the holidays because you probably already have all of the ingredients in your pantry and fridge, but with the help of My Everyday Dish, it will look and taste gourmet. Even if you already have a standard french toast recipe, there are some great tips for perfecting it in Emme’s My Everyday Dish video for French Toast. Yum!

For dinner

American Express Mac and Cheese

While this Homemade Mac N’ Cheese from the My Everyday Dish series does take a bit of babysitting on the stove, the end result is worth it and your kids will agree! We actually made it earlier in the day so that it was ready to simply pop in the oven at dinnertime. Don’t forget the breadcrumb topping with a tiny sprinkle of cayenne for heat!

For dessert

American Express Dessert

Need a dessert that will get you through all of your holiday work parties, teacher gifts and last-minute coffee dates with your mom friends? The Meringue Cookies from My Everyday Dish are perfect. They’re simple to make and you can even give them a holiday twist with a hint of peppermint!

And, a couple of cool kitchen tricks…

American Express Everday Genius

While you’re waiting for your latest holiday meal to cook, peek at the American Express Everyday Genius video series. They feature the coolest life hacks for the kitchen, with how-to videos that are fun to watch and super handy.

American Express Everyday Genius with Cola

Learning how to unstick a dirty pan was my personal favorite because I may or may not have a few pans that need a little love in my kitchen. I had no idea that I could use cola to get them clean… and I’ve tried nearly every pan-cleaning product on the market.

I also loved seeing all of the creative ways for how to open a stubborn jar… and was surprised at how quickly a little “tap, tap, tap” on the lid of a jar actually worked when I tried it at home.

Here’s to hoping that we helped you make everyday life during the holiday season a little easier with these holiday recipes and tricks! You can find all of the American Express Everyday Genius and My Everyday Meal videos on the American Express YouTube page. Be sure to stay tuned to Savvy Sassy Moms for more great holiday recipes and tips from American Express!

This was a sponsored post. All sassy opinions are my own.
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Gift giving made easy… and budget-friendly

Gifts for teachers. Gifts for your kids’ buddies. Gifts for your office BFF. Gifts that you can pull out of your closet at the very last minute because someone gave you an unexpected gift this year. These 20 gifts under $20 will bring a lot of holiday cheer to the loved ones in your life… without breaking the bank!

20 Gifts under $20

20 Gifts Under $20

Gifts for Moms

1. Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer-Making Mix, Anthropologie, $15
2. Kate Spade New York Stripe Thermal Travel Mug, Nordstrom, $18
3. Our Q&A a Day Three-Year Journal, ModCloth, $17
4. Jill Makes Leather Tassel Necklace, Shoppe by Scout Mob, $18
5. Gold Glitter Heart Canvas Tote Bag, Etsy, $15
6. Peach Tree Lace Custom State Charm Brass Necklace, Shoppe by Scout Mob, $18
7. Pinch Provisions Icebreaker Minimergency Kit, Nordstrom, $18
8. Rifle Paper Co. Safari Pocket Notebooks, Ruche, $11 for a set of two
9. Kinivo Mini Portable Speaker, Amazon, $19
10. Wet Happened? Laundry Bag, The Container Store, $18
11. Orla Kiely Bamboo Glass Water Bottle, Target, $15

Gifts for Kids

12. Glowing Memo Board Alarm Clock, Amazon, $15
13. Spot It! Holiday Game, Amazon, $14
14. Dress Your Doll Clothing Pattern, The Land of Nod, $13
15. Slush & Shake Maker, Zoku, $20
16. Fresh & Fancy Gift Set, Poppy Drops, $20
17. Enemies Socks, Uncommon Goods, $15 for a set of three
18. Poof-Slinky Ideal Mini-Sno Markers, Nordstrom, $15
19. Wooden Magnet Letters, Pottery Barn Kids, $20
20. Personalized Memory Game, Pinhole Press, $20

What are your go-to gifts under $20?
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