Ideas for Your Elf on a Shelf…What Kind of Mischeif Can He Get Into?

November 21, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

Do you have young children? Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? It’s only one of the best ways to help your brood behave throughout the holidays. He’s been around for years and it seems now almost everyone with kids has one. When do you  bring out your elf? Some have him visit a week before Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving night. Maybe the day after Thanksgiving or December 1st. Regardless of when your elf arrives, if your elf has been making an appearance for years, you might be in need of some fresh, fun ideas. Allow us…

15 Mischievous Ideas for Your Elf on a Shelf

elfonashelf

1. Make snow angels with flour on your kitchen counter.

2. Hide in the freezer. (He probably really misses the North Pole, right?)

3. Get into the left over Halloween candy and scatter it all over the floor.

4. Take a bite out of your Christmas Cookie stash or be found peeking out of the cookie jar.

5. Ride a Barbie horse or My Little Pony.

6. Write his name on the bathroom mirror with toothpaste and hang out by the sink.

7. Be found reading a new Christmas themed book.

8. Build a fort out of blocks.

9. Cover up the names on your stockings with  masking tape and replace them with his own.

10. Write a Christmas message on the easel chalkboard or whiteboard.

11. Found in a coat pocket.

12. Found playing on the computer because he “elfed” your family at www.elfyourself.com.

13. Hiding in the Christmas tree.

14. Bring matching Christmas pajamas for everyone.

15. Set up a board game to play.

Don’t have an elf? Get one here!

Simple Minestrone Soup

November 17, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk, Meals In Minutes

We love a good bowl of soup on a cold wintery day. The veggies in this recipe are available year round so they’re always available at your local market and fresh! Make a batch to eat now or freeze some for later!

minestronesoup_sharpmoms

What You Need:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, sliced

1 stalk celery, sliced

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped (or substitute with 1 teaspoon garlic powder)

1 tablespoon pot herbs (or substitute with a teaspoon of oregano and basil)

1 can chicken broth (about 2 cups)

1 can diced tomatoes (also add one can water)

1 can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup cooked elbow macaroni

Fix it Fast

1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium/high heat.

2. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and herbs.

3. Cook, stirring until onions look slightly wilted.

4. Add broth, tomatoes, water and beans. Bring to a boil, then turn heat on low and simmer 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.

5. Add peas and macaroni to hot soup, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and serve!

What We Love Right Now November 16, 2011: No Bake Pilgrim Hat Cookies

November 16, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk, Party Planning

Our no bake streak continues with these super cute, simple pilgrim hat cookies! They’re sure to be the big hit at your weekly play group or as the centerpiece and dessert at the Thanksgiving kid’s table!

pigrimhatcookies_sharpmoms

{image via}

All you need to make these cute creations are fudge stripe cookies, mini Reese’s cups, and yellow icing. The picture shown uses orange Chiclets at the hat buckle, but we think substituting with orange M&M’s or Reese’s Pieces would be just as adorable!

Pottery Barn Kids Coupon Code Giveaway!

November 15, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

If you love Pottery Barn Kids, then you’re gonna love this giveaway! The holidays are right around the corner and PBK offers such a cute selection of decor and gifts for the upcoming occasions we’ll be celebrating–from Thanksgiving and Hanukkah to Christmas! We’re giving away a 15% code good on your next order from PBK and winning the coupon code is simple!

Here’s all you have to do:

1. Like us on Facebook or Twitter (@sharpmoms). Be sure to tell us in the comments here if you’re you’re a fan/fellow tweep! (share this deal on Facebook or Twitter and earn an extra entry!)

and

2. Leave a comment here telling us what you love from the Holiday selections at PBK.

We’ll choose a winner and announce it on our Facebook page! Giveaway ends Thursday, Nov. 17th, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Coupon code can only be used online. Must be redeemed by Nov. 22, 2011.

And, just for fun, here are a few of our holiday favorites from the PBK catalog this year…

bags

Mini Bags for the kiddie table…love!

calendar

Fun Hanukkah countdown calendar

elfontheshelf

Elf on the Shelf tableware

quilted stockings

Quilted Stocking

{all images via}

5 Quick Tips for Healthy Eating

November 15, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Diet & Weight Loss, Girl Talk

With the holidays coming up soon, you’re probably already looking forward to the extra goodies that will be cooked up by yourself and loved ones. Or you might be dreading the extra calories you’re going to end up consuming! Here are a five quick  kitchen shortcuts to help you cut back on salt intake, fat, and calories. Eat better now and enjoy a few extra treats later!

dipsharpmoms

1. Think before you reach for the salt shaker! There are a few ways you can add flavor without adding salt. Try a bit of fresh squeezed lemon to a lightly salted meal. It will make the salt taste like there is more than there actually is. You can also perk up your taste buds with a little vinegar or pepper.

2. We all love yummy dips and spreads at holiday parties (or while you’re just snacking at home!). For those that call for cream cheese, substitute half a cup of ricotta cheese blended with half a cup of fat-free cream cheese. This offers a yummy-and healthy-alternative dip to accompany your party veggie tray.

3. It’s comfort food season! The weather is crisp and the air is getting cooler. When making soups and casseroles that call for heavy cream, try replacing it with evaporated fat-free milk. And, don’t forget to bulk up your stews and soups with extra beans and veggies!

4. Have you gotten into pie-baking mode yet? Instead of using pastry dough as your crust, try graham crackers!

5. Use applesauce rather than butter and oil when baking. A half-cup of applesauce equals one cup of oil or butter.

How do you cut back on calories and fat when cooking? We’d love to hear your tips!

Give Thanks: A Cute DIY Thanksgiving Board

November 3, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Arts & Crafts, Girl Talk

thankboard_sharpmoms

Can you believe it’s November?! It seemed like as soon as Halloween was over the holiday ads started up. I love this time year and all the holidays that come along with it. Thanksgiving tends to kind of be forgotten holiday, but it’s really one of the most important and a great time to relax and enjoy a day of family, food, and blessings. Making turkeys, pilgrims, and other cute crafts with your children is always fun, but this Thanksgiving board is something a little different and just as fun and easy to create. All you need are left over scraps of scrapbook paper or wrapping paper, index cards, ribbon, and a large piece of poster board or cardboard. Use the scraps of paper, along with glue, to create pockets (one for each day of the month). Then fill each day with something you and your family are thankful for. You’ll all have a great time sharing what you’re thankful for each day!