8 Fun & Simple Ways to Entertain on New Year’s Eve

This post was originally published last December, but the suggestions still hold water for your upcoming New Year’s festivities!

A New Year’s Eve celebration at home was always my preferred party mode and now that we have little ones, it’s an even more attractive way to ring in the New Year. No hefty babysitter fee, no cover charge, no late-night winter driving, just a good time in the comforts of our own home.

Of course, it’s also a great excuse to invite a few close friends over to play board games, set out some simple party food, chill a bottle of champagne in the snowbank, and set off fireworks at midnight. That pretty much sums up how we’ll be spending the last few hours of 2011.

There’s no better night than New Year’s Eve to entertain, but many of us are often worn out from the Christmas festivities and not interested in another cooking/cleaning project. The trick is to keep it simple and enlist plenty of helping hands instead of attempting an elaborate event on your own strength.

Choose one of these entertaining suggestions, customize it to your tastes, and start the new year surrounded by friends, but not completely exhausted.

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We Wish You A Merry Christmas

This week has been a busy blur of Christmas preparations, wrapping up projects, getting greeting cards out and a hundred other small tasks. Each day I packed lunches and got Danny and Noah out the door to work and school before starting on my own day, which inevitably went too fast. And on top of everything, I developed a cold. Again.

We’re ready for a break, a long one, and it starts this afternoon when Danny wraps up work for two weeks and Noah has holidays to match. We’ve planned a quiet Christmas, (no back-to-back parties, thank you very much) and I am looking forward to putting my feet up with my knitting project and a plate of cookies.

Today’s post doesn’t offer any last minute appetizers, turkey tips, entertaining pointers, or menu suggestions. I figured you had probably had enough of those! Instead, I’m sharing a little peek into our home this Christmas. Welcome!

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Easy Gluten-Free Entertaining (Recipe: Black Forest Brownie Trifles)

Even if you aren’t eating gluten-free it’s easy to entertain gluten-free guests without having to buy a lot of specialty items.

Although most of the people I know who eat gluten-free truly don’t mind if there are certain items on the table that they can’t eat, it’s nice to make the extra effort and have all the food able to be enjoyed by everyone. It’s just more fun if all your guests can partake in every part of the meal – that way there are no temptations and nobody feels left out.

It doesn’t have to be stressful to cook gluten-free. With these few quick tips, you can have a great meal on the table in no time. [Read more…]

How to Survive Grocery Shopping with Your Toddler

Today I’m excited to be guest posting for my friend Annie and her popular blog PhD in Parenting. She’s created a Carnival of Toddlers and is addressing issues had on that we all face as parents of toddlers. Discipline, food, fun and survival are just a few of the topics that Annie and a line-up of guest writers are covering.

I’m keeping it real in today’s post on How to Survive and Thrive While Grocery Shopping with Your Toddler. I give my best tips for making the best possible grocery shopping experience with your toddler and offer suggestions for making the outing a learning experience.

From the post:

We must have looked a sight, my three-year-old, Mateo and I. It was my last minute attempt to hit up a grocery store before beginning my serious holiday cooking and baking blitz. My shopping list was lengthy and detailed, my time limited, and my energy flagging even before I unbuckled my son and stepped toward my local IGA.

I shivered in the December winds, my winter coat not giving much protection to my 6-month pregnant shape, and inwardly cursed myself for –yet again- forgetting to bring a couple of reusable shopping bags.

Once inside, Mateo shrieked and his little snowsuit-clad form staggered across the wet floors and lurched into a massive red plastic fire truck shopping cart. As I tossed my purse into the top of it, my iPhone dinged to let me know that my email was piling up as I ran errands.

Continue reading How to Survive and Thrive While Grocery Shopping with Your Toddler on PhD in Parenting.

I’ll see you in the comments section over on Annie’s blog!

Weekend Links: Eat Well, Spend Less Wrap-Up

The countdown to Christmas is really on now and we’ve got plenty of tips for the festivities ahead.

This month in the Eat Well, Spend Less series we took a look at simple holiday entertaining and how to keep the budget under control. Seven contributors weighed in on topics such as easy appetizers, do-ahead breakfasts, and stocking up on essentials.

I’m sure you’ll find this recap helpful as you head into holiday mode!

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