Elf on the Shelf Ideas (Again)

Elf on the Shelf Ideas (Again)If you love the idea of the Elf on the Shelf, but aren’t sure about where to begin, take a look at some of these fun poses you can try! Kids will love waking up each day and seeing what the elf is up to, and these ideas are some of the perfect places to start. Take a look at these 10 fun Elf on the Shelf ideas to get you started. Remember, if you love the idea but the look of one Elf isn’t appealing- check out our list of alternatives to Elf on the Shelf!  And… if you need more ideas, here are some other fun and creative Elf on the Shelf ideas!

Tangled in lights Elf:

elf blue lights
Poor Elf! He wanted to be helpful with the holiday lights but instead got into a jumbled mess! Wrap up your elf in twinkle lights, plug them in, and he will look like he was quite unsuccessful at untangling them! Set him up by the tree to make the scene look extra real.

Tea Time Elf:

elf tea pot
Elves love tea time. For this pose, have your elf hold a tea bag and place him inside the tea pot. This pose offers an unexpected surprise that is sure to bring out the giggles. You can even set out tea cups and sugar cubes if you wish.

Egg Carton Elf:

elf eggs
Make breakfast more exciting when you create egg carton Elf! Simply remove two eggs and place the elf (folded) into the spaces instead. You can even prop an egg in his hands. He will look like he is ready to help with breakfast. Omelets anyone?

Starbucks Elf:

elf starbucks
Elf loves a warm cup of coffee! The baristas love writing his name on his cup too. Save a Starbucks cup and write “Elf” or the name of your elf on the side. Have him hold it as though he just placed an order. Coffee is served!

Toast Elf:

elf  toast
Make mornings extra special when you create this toast elf. Simply make some toast and leave the elf near it with a cookie cutter or bread stamp. It will look like he worked really hard creating the perfect breakfast treat!

Sugar Sprinkle Elf:

elf blue sugar

Elves love sugar sprinkles. Pour some out onto a piece of paper and trace the name of the elf into the sugar. This is fun to do before baking cookies or as a surprise for when the kids get home from school.

Spa Elf:

elf mac cheese
Elves love treating themselves to spa treatments. Prop your elf up in the bathroom along with a pore strip. Or, you can even make your own with a piece of tape. Place the strip on the face of the elf and then set him up for some relaxation. Pure bliss!

Mac n Cheese Elf:

elf on the shelf mac cheese
Who doesn’t love a hot bowl of man n cheese? Elves sure do! Take an empty box of mac n cheese and place the elf inside. You can also add a spoon to the box since he is extra hungry. Leave this set up out before dinner time so kids can see how much their elf loves to cook.

Piggy Bank Elf:

elf bank
Poor Elf! He wants to start his holiday shopping NOW! Place him next to a piggy bank with a hammer in his hand. He will look as though he is ready to smash and run. He won’t though. He will do his best to be patient since he knows Santa is watching.

Online Shopping Elf:

elf editing
Elves love having their friends around. Have your elf prop up on the keyboard of your computer with the page opened to Amazon. You can have pictures of various Elf on a Shelf dolls for sale. For this example, we chose a pretty girl elf. It will look as though he is shopping for a friend.

See how fun it can be to create these Elf on a Shelf scenarios? Give them a try!

Elf on the Shelf Alternatives

By now most people have heard of the Elf on the Shelf.

elf starbucks

 

I’ve even posted him on here….and Christopher PopinKins.  But they aren’t the only elves in town.  Given that December is just a few weeks away and many of us have our elves arriving Thanksgiving night, I thought I’d share some of the OTHER elves I’ve seen – we all have our own style and taste, and to be honest, I want one of each. (I love Christmas!)

I also wanted to note- we do move our Elves almost every night (sometimes we forget).  Our elves in our house do NOT “report” on behavior.  You’ll see some elves in this post that go along with that idea, you’ll see beloved character friends, a Hannukah “elf” alternative and more.  I love the spirit of Christmas and find the elf tradition to just add to that fun and magic of the holiday season, so I embrace it.  So many of our friends do crazy elf antics that I’ve done (and have more planned) whole posts about Elf on the Shelf ideas!

 

Elf on the Shelf Alternatives

elf on the shelf alternatives

Christmas Angel

Photo from Christmas Angel

Photo from Christmas Angel

 

Christopher Pop-in-Kins

popinkins

Photo from ElfFun.com

 

Elf Magic

elf-magic

Hide-n-Hug Olaf

Credit: Hide and Hug Olaf

Credit: Hide and Hug Olaf

 

Annalee

annalee-elf

Credit: Annalee

Elves Around the World

elves around world

Credit: Elves Around the World

Santa’s Secret Elf (Fiesta)

santas-secret-elf

Credit: Fiesta

 

Mensch on a Bench

mensch-on-bench

Credit: Mensch on a Bench

Sitting Elves JWM Collection

sitting-elves

Photo Credit: JWM Collection

RAZ Imports Poseable Elf

raz-poseable-elf

Amber’s Elves (Handmade)

Credit: Amber's Elves

Credit: Amber’s Elves

Kindness Elves (Handmade)

For some sweet ideas on what to do with a Kindness Elf? Check the Imagination Tree’s Kindess Elf post.

kindness-elf

 

Uncle Si the Christmas Elf

Yes, THAT Uncle Si.  From Duck Dynasty.

 

si-elf-duck-dynasty

 

Do you have elves that come to your house for the holidays?

Fun Santa Claus Crafts

We love celebrating the 12 day of Christmas as we count down for the big day and all of the fun activities, gifts and parties to attend. This year you can create on of these great  Santa Claus Crafts fore each of the days of Christmas! Fun ornaments, decorations and more make this list perfect for both kids and adults alike.

12 SANTA CLAUS CRAFTS

12 Fun Santa Claus Crafts

 

 

Footprint Sleigh & Santa Craft For Kids

christmas-footprint-sleigh-fingerprint-santa-and-reindeer-300x216

Knitted Bearded Santa Hat Tutorial

double beard santa hat

Santa Mason Jar

Santa-Mason-Jar

Santa Belly Ornament

santa belly ornament

Santa Chimney Place Setting

santa-chimney-place-setting

 

Paper Plate Santa & Rudolph

paper-plate-christmas-characters-santa-snowman-rudolph-CBA

Repurposed Santa Treat Box

santa treat box collage

Santa’s Belly Treat Cups

santas belly treat cups

Santa Button Ornament

button santa ornament

Easy Santa Claus Ornament Craft

DIY-Santa-Claus-Ornament-Craft

Santa Stop Here Door Hanger

santa-stop-here-doorhanger

Santa Christmas Candy Gift Jar

Christmas-candy-bottles-5-678x1024

Have fun with your kids as you celebrate the holiday season with these great Santa Claus crafts. Black, red and white are sure to be the theme in your house as you count the days until Christmas.

 

Raw Veggie Challenge #V8VegOut!

V8 is on a mission to get the world to step up their game when it comes to veggies, and This Mama Loves has graciously accepted the challenge! V8’s commitment to providing vegetables that match their consumers lifestyle needs has been an ever-evolving effort of over 75 years! Remember the original V8 Juice, that tasted like tomatoes? My husband loved it, but I preferred a sweeter taste for my juice, and steered away from it.

Through research, Campbell found that I wasn’t the only one. In fact, many consumers wanted a quick and easy way to get veggies in their diets, but preferred a sweeter taste. Campbell’s product innovation team heard their request, and went right to work. In 2006, they introduced V8 V-Fusion juice. If you haven’t tried this juice yet, you’re seriously missing out! Along with an awesome fruity taste, it also contain a full serving of fruit AND a full serving of vegetables in EVERY 8-ounce glass. My kids have no clue how many nutritious components are in this juice… they just know it’s good!

 

What’s the challenge? This month we’re putting our nutrition where our mouth is! The V8 VegOut! Challenge is inviting you to share your passion for fruit and veggies in a fun and exciting way! During this time you’ll be invited to partake in challenges, dares, and to share your best recipes, videos and photos. You’ll also have the opportunity to win tons of great surprises and collect awesome fun facts and recipes to use of your own!

going-raw-veggie

How do you participate? Head on over the V8’s Facebook Page to join the fun! Here you can accept challenges and dares. Your Mission, if you choose to accept… Ready for a challenge? The first challenge I’ll be doing is the Raw Veggies challenge. During this challenge, I’ll be going an entire day without eating ANY cooked veggies. That’s right, I’ll ONLY eat raw veggies for the entire day!

v8-veg-out

Think you can make it? Give it a try! Be sure to share your pictures with the hash tag #V8VegOut so I can see! I’m excited about this mission, and look forward to seeing how you all fair! What’s your favorite raw veggie?

 

 
This is a sponsored post.  Opinions are my own.

Marie Callender Comforts from Home

This post brought to you by Marie Callender’s. All opinions are 100% mine.

Apple spice and pumpkin scents.

 

The sight of burnt red and orange leaves littering my entire neighborhood.

 

The smell of a hearty home cooked meal cooking in the oven.

 

These are just a few of the things that remind me of fall. And home. They remind me of growing. When I smell the smells, see the sights, and taste the taste memories come flooding back with great ease.

 

Some remind me of the things I thought during that time.

 

Others remind me of the things I did.

All of them remind of the things that I felt. A sense of comfort and peace. A sense of belonging, and the feeling of home… things that can’t be replaced.

Whether I’m near home, or far way, I can count on these things to help me feel like I haven’t missed a beat.

 

I wonder, however, how it must feel to not only be away from home… but away from all the comforts and reminders of how “home” feels. I especially  imagine what it must feel like to be a solider, stationed abroad.

How great would it be to be able to provide them some of the comforts from home?

 

Marie Callender’s Comforts From Home Project is providing a small piece of “home” to the brave men and women of the U.S. Army and you can help!

Marie Callenders photo 93f387c2-0475-4776-b747-0963c2885de6_zps7603529f.png

Here’s how it works:

 

-Purchase specially marked package of Marie Callender’s dinners and or desserts. These packages will have an eight-digit code.

-Visit www.comfortsfromhome.com and enter the eight-digit code.

That’s all!

 

For each and every code that you enter, Marie Callender’s will donate $0.50 to the USO2GO program. This brings kits filled with a few of the comforts from home, to soliders. These include items such as games, athletic equipment, books and furnishings and more. They help transform a remote base to a place where soldiers can relax in bean bags, organize pick-up games, or contact loved ones via email!

 

The not-so-fine print:

For every entry by 1/31/2015 of an 8-digit code found on participating products, Marie Callender’s will donate $.50 to the USO2GO program. Guaranteed minimum donation: $100,000. Maximum donation: $250,000. Limit 5 code entries per person/computer each day. Valid in U.S. Only. Marie Callender’s Facebook

 

What comforts remind you of home?

 

Visit Sponsor's Site

Vitamins to boost immunity

It’s the time of year for colds again. It’s even worse when you have kids! The combination of the weather changing, pollen count, and being stuffed up in the house more often paired with the beginning of school and daily interaction with other germ spreading little creatures (aka children) makes it difficult to keep your family healthy at times.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Walgreens via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Walgreens.

 

It is true what they say, however. What you put into your body, is almost certainly what you will get out of it. This time of year it’s MOST important to jam pack your body with all of the good things it needs to help it ward off illness throughout the fall and winter seasons.


vitamins-boost-immunity-fall

What are these good things I speak of?

 

Here are a few vitamins I consider essentials for keeping your family healthy during cold season.

 

Vitamin C

 

This is one of the best vitamins to boost your immune system. It’s also something that’s much harder to get naturally during the months where you are getting less direct sunlight. Hope over to you local Walgreens and stock up on Vitamin C tablets or drops that are safe for the entire family!

 

If your body already has a vitamin deficiency, like so many of us do, Vitamin C will go along way in helping you to fight illness including the flu!

 orannges

Zinc

 

Zinc is another great vitamin choice. It does wonders in helping your body to ward off cold causing germs and bacteria. This is something you’ll definitely want in your medicine cabinets!

 

Echinacea 

 

This is perhaps a less spoken about vitamin, but probably one of the most important. Echinacea actually helps to fight off respiratory illness; something quite common in small children and the elderly. If this vitamin isn’t on your radar yet, it should be.

 

We have a recipe for an Immunity Boosting Smoothie you may enjoy!

 

immune boost smoothie ingredients

In addition to vitamins, it’s always a good idea to keep clean and sanitized. Frequent hand washing and disinfecting, paired with a good multi-vitamin are things you should do all year round to keep well!

Walgreens_CornerOf_Lockup_Standard_Multi_RGB

When shopping for vitamins, you might find it useful to know that you can help a child in need with every vitamins or supplements purchase at Walgreens. Millions of children around the world are suffering from ‘hidden hunger’, a lack of micronutrients that can lead to disease and even death. In fact, 45% of all childhood deaths are attributable to under-nutrition. Walgreens is giving a portion of all vitamin retail sales to Vitamin Angels to help 100 million children in the U.S. and abroad get the vitamins they need to live well.                     

What’s a vitamin you find essential?

 

Best Photo Editing Apps

You don’t need a fancy DSLR camera to take great photos. You can create beautiful images with just your smartphone. How? By using photo editing apps! With these apps, you’ll be able to edit photos, add filters, add text, and much more. Here are a few apps that are available on both iOS and Android devices, and are all free.

photoapps

Snapseed. Snapseed was voted the Best Mobile Photo App in 2012. You are able to do a lot of photo editing within this one app alone. It does have a learning curve, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. You can edit images by adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation, shadows and much more. Snapseed also has filters, similar to Instagram.

VSCO Cam. It’s similar to Snapseed in that there are various ways to edit your photos to give them that professional touch. The only downside is that you must take photos using the app, as opposed to being able to upload photos into the app (which you can do on Snapseed).

Aviary. Aviary has many editing tools, but also features filters, stickers, frames, and the ability to draw and add text to your photos. The app also has tools to fix redeye, remove blemishes and whiten teeth. If you’re looking for an app that can edit photos and add text, this is the app for you.

Instasize. Isn’t it annoying when you want to upload a photo to Instagram but it gets cropped due to the square size? Well, Instasize can help with that. You’re able to upload your photo and have the entire photo sized for social media. The photo will have white borders, but your original image won’t be cropped. Furthermore, you’re able to move around your image, or expand it, in order to change the border size around the picture. Here’s an example:

Phonto. Want to solely add text to your images? Phonto should be your go-to app. With Phonto, not only can you add text, but you can control various things about how the text appears. Besides just size and color, you can change the shadow, stroke, background color, spacing, tilt and opacity.
With the help of a few apps, you can create beautiful images in seconds. Some of these tools have a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to quickly come up with the photo you want. If you’re not the most tech-savvy person, choose one app and simply start with that one. Good luck in your photography endeavors!

 

What are your fave photo editing apps?

Mr. Peabody Pretzels

The excitement was palpable in my house over the weekend because “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” was released on DVD last week, which became the perfect choice for our Friday family movie night!

I decided to have a little extra fun and make this movie night into a viewing party with the kids’ friends. We enjoyed our regular movie treats, but added in some delicious creativity with Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps® Original Minis and Cheddar Minis.

At first I was going to make a fun trail mix (still will make that!), but then I looked at the art on the DVD cover and realized that the Minis shape would make great Mr. Peabody heads. Hence the name…

mr-peabody-sherman-box-art

 

Mr. Peabody Pretzels

mr-peabody-puppy-pretzels

I surprised the family with the Mr. Peabody Pretzels, but think next time the kids can help assemble, especially if their friends are coming over again too!

Ingredients:

  • Pretzel Crisps Original Minis
  • White Chocolate chips (about 1/3 bag will cover about 1/2 bag of the Minis) or melting chocolates (about 1/3 bag)
  • Something brown or black for a nose – I used brown Sixlets chocolates.
  • Something black (or blue) for eyes. I used black Sweetworks Pearls.
  • Red gum for bow ties
  • Black icing or a food marker

Directions:

  1. Lay all of your ingredients out on the counter
  2. Melt your white chocolate in a bowl or on the stovetop (don’t do more than half at once or it will harden before you finish)
  3. Drag each mini through the melted chocolate and lay it atop the parchment to dry/set
  4. As puppy faces are drying, add the eyes and nose
  5. Cut red gum into little triangles for Mr. Peabody’s bow tie. Pointed ends face one another. If the chocolate has set and won’t stick to the gum, dip your tips of the gum into the bowl of melted chocolate.
  6. As the chocolate all sets and hardens, you can go ahead and add the eyeglasses around Mr. Peabody’s eyes.

Voila! Mr. Peabody Puppy Pretzels!

Not hard, not rocket science, but TONS of fun for a fun family movie night! The kids loved them!

puppy-pretzels-collage

 

Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps® Minis are wholesome, bite-sized snacking options that all members of the family can enjoy at home or on the go. They are delicious and have a LOT of crunch in a mini little pretzel bite. Feeling like you want something a little salty and definitely crunchy? Grab some Pretzel Crisps Minis!

The regular sized Pretzel Crisps are delicious too, but really, the Minis are more fun.  Pretzel Crisps Minis are kind of like Mr. Peabody – a whole lot of personality in a small package!

 

We almost always have Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps in our house in one flavor (or size) or another.  Why? Well, mostly because all five of us love them. Quick and easy and a little serving goes a long way. Plus – less calories and fat than other leading snacks (potato chips, tortilla chips). 42 Original Minis or 35 Cheddar Minis equal just 110 calories!

That’s a great snack size, and perfect for on the go. You can find them in the deli section of your local stores.

oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies-with-avocado-pretzel-crisps-recipe

 

Not into Puppy Pretzels (yea, right! Of course you are!)?? These are GREAT for eating plain, or dipping into things. Who doesn’t love to dip? You could also make up some of our Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pretzel and Avocado Cookies.

 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PretzelCrisps

Twitter https://twitter.com/PretzelCrisps

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/pretzelcrisps/

Instagram http://instagram.com/pretzelcrisps

 

What’s YOUR favorite way to enjoy Pretzel Crisps Minis?

 

 

Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps ® in partnership with DreamWorks ® is currently running a sweepstakes with the chance to win a Southwest family vacation getaway to Washington D.C. It’s a perfect opportunity to sneak a little history lesson into a fun filled trip! Enter here: http://pretzelcrisps.com/peabody

 

This article is sponsored by Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps®.

 

Thanks to Pretzel Crisps Minis for sponsoring today’s post and recipe. Opinions are my own.  Calories consumed are your own!

 

 

Hosting a {Family Friendly} Oktoberfest Party

Does your family love to get together and party?

 

We do!

 

Any reason that we can get together and spend some time together is a good enough reason for us! While there are tons of holidays throughout the year that give us reason to celebrate, some are just more fun than others.

 

Oktoberfest is one of those!

 

What’s Oktoberfest?

 

This is a holiday that comes from Germany. Basically many spend this holiday drinking beer (lots of beer), and just hanging out with friends! Your party doesn’t HAVE to involve alcohol though.

 

Our family involves our children in just about everything that we do. Oktoberfest isn’t any different! Since not all of our friends choose to celebrate Halloween, Oktoberfest is actually an optimal time to plan a fall party. That’s exactly what we did!

Here are the staples you’ll need to plan your Oktoberfest party!

oktoberfest-party-idea

Finger Foods: Like any other party, finger food is a very important part of planning for Oktoberfest! Our favorite finger food is Ristorante frozen pizza by Dr. Oetker. Not only will you enjoy the yumminess of it, it’s quick and easy to make. It’s also quite versatile in that it can be used as a main dish or an appetizer.

oktoberfest-finger-food

Sparkling punch: Just because you aren’t serving alcohol, doesn’t mean you can’t whip up some pretty awesome drinks! I like to make a simple punch with orange sherbet and sprite! It’s delicious and matches the color scheme well.

 

Sweets: No party is complete without a few sweet treats! Puppy chow, caramel apples, and pretty much anything pumpkin flavored are great treats for a fall party. You can also double a treat as a craft time by allowing your guest to assemble it themselves.

apple-butterfinger-chocolate-main

Do you have any special plans for Oktoberfest?

 

I’d love to hear about them! Drop me a line in the comments below.

 

ristorante quattro fromaggi

To learn more about Ristorante by Dr. Oetker, be sure to visit their website and like them on Facebook! To see if Ristorante pizzas are available near you, check out the Store Locator. Don’t see Ristorante in your supermarket? You can put in a request with the store manager!

tasty triumphs

Be sure to enter Ristorante’s Tasty Triumphs Sweepstakes which runs on Facebook until November 5th! There’s a chance to win up to $1,500 in prizes and hundreds of daily instant win prizes.

 

 

 

 

This post is brought to you by Ristorante.  Opinions are my own.

Mocha Cornflake No Bake Cookies

I found a fun, quick and simple little treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth and may even give you a little pep in your step! A little bit of coffee adds a great mocha flavor to these no bake cookies.

Mocha Cornflake Cookies



no bake mocha cornflake cookies

Ingredients –

4 cups cornflakes, any brand

1/3 cup light corn syrup

4 tbs. butter

½ cup sugar

½ cup peanut butter

1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

2-3 tsp. instant coffee

 MochaCornflake3

Directions –

#1. Cover 2 baking sheets with wax paper or foil.

#2. In a medium saucepan melt the peanut butter, cocoa, butter sugar and corn syrup on low heat until melted. Add in the 2-3 tsp. of instant coffee. Stir well until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the 4 cups of cornflakes. Stir well to completely coat the cornflakes.

*Makes approximately 1 dozen cookies. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Total prep time = 45 minutes.

Mocha Cornflake No Bake Cookies
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 cups cornflakes, any brand
  • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
  • 4 tbs. butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tsp. instant coffee
Instructions
  1. #1. Cover 2 baking sheets with wax paper or foil.
  2. #2. In a medium saucepan melt the peanut butter, cocoa, butter sugar and corn syrup on low heat until melted. Add in the 2-3 tsp. of instant coffee. Stir well until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the 4 cups of cornflakes. Stir well to completely coat the cornflakes.
  3. *Makes approximately 1 dozen cookies. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Total prep time = 45 minutes.