Holiday Cookies in a Tin

I’m always stumped on what to give teachers for the holidays. Starbucks giftcard seems a little too generic, but with three kids I don’t want to break the bank either. Since baking is my new go- to the kids and I decided to bake cookies. We found these super cute tins at the dollar tree and we will fill them with fresh baked cookies to bring to their teachers the last day before winter break.

I would RUN to your nearest Dollar tree, as these cute tins won’t last long.

I have also included a festive double chocolate mint cookie recipe below, but feel free to get creative with the cookies you include (maybe ask your child’s teacher to make sure there are no allergies or even just what their favorite cookie is) I hope this gets your brain moving and at the very least gives you a starting place on what to gift those amazing teachers and mentors in your life!

Double Chocolate Mint Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour spooned and leveled
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter softened (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (If you like a less sweet option, 1/2 cup would work!)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup mint fudge flavored chocolate chunks

Instructions

  • Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. 
  • In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugars until fluffy.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and continue mixing until combined. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Slowly mix in the dry ingredients on low speed until incorporated. 
  • Turn off the electric mixer and stir in the chocolate chunks. You can also set aside a 1/4 cup of chocolate chunks for sprinkling on top
  • Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours or up to 48.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and take the dough out of the fridge for 10-15 minutes to warm up slightly. 
  • Form dough into balls 3 tablespoons in size and place 3 inches apart on baking sheets. (Or form into balls of 1 – 1.5 tablespoons in size and place 2 inches apart). 
  • Bake cookies for 11-13 minutes until the tops are just set (or 8-10 minutes for smaller cookies). Remove from oven and let cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to continue cooling. Sprinkle the remaining Mint chunks right on top before cooled. That’s it!

I hope this gives you some good inspiration on gifts for those teachers and mentors in your life. I’ve also included a cute mug (okay, basic gift is included lol) with a coffee and cookie too I’d you think the cookies isn’t enough. These little sets are $9 at Walmart and so cute! The perfect finishing touch!

I’ve connected with some amazing Bloggers to share some blogs featuring Christmas! Regardless if you’ve decked the halls or not, you don’t wanna miss these! Recipes, crafts, decor & more! Head to each of their blogs to check out what they are sharing.

Cheyenne 

The Ultimate Kids Gift Guide For An Intentional Christmas 

Latifah 

Holiday Cookies in a Tin ✨

https://gypsyatheart.blog/2020/11/17/holiday-cookies-in-a-tin/

Kimmy 

Holiday Playdough for the Kids

Lori

The Easiest Way I’ve Learned To Make A Glitter Tumbler

https://www.heyitslori.com/blog/2020/11/16/the-easiest-way-ive-learned-how-to-make-a-glitter-tumbler

Laila 

Double Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies! 

HEATHER

Christmas Decor Inspo: My Blush Christmas Tree Reveal

Ann 

Take A Trip Down Candy Cane Lane! 

https://www.texascharmedlife.com/post/take-a-trip-down-candy-cane-lane-with-me

Thankful For…

This year has been a rollercoaster to say the least. It’s had us all take a deep look into our lives and forced us to confront some very uncomfortable topics. I see so much divide on social media and just in general, but on the opposite side of that I’m grateful for so much.

I wanted to shake things up and just say what I’m most thankful for right now and that is great relationships. I say relationships over family/friends because there are people in my life I’m thankful for and it isn’t always the traditional “family” you would think.

As we speak, it’s an emotional morning. My baby sister flew out to Nebraska on Monday and is at the airport flying home. Life is just so full of bittersweet moments. How cool though to think that my twenty year old sister could take a plane ride anywhere and she chose to be here with us…THANKFUL. The kids love her, she’s such a sweet and loving sister and I couldn’t be happier to be her big sis.

We moved here under a year ago and we’ve had almost every member (my baby sister has been here twice now) of our immediate family visit. That’s so crazy to me, I feel so loved and just so THANKFUL.

There are quite a few challenges of living in a state and not knowing many people, Our best friends who we moved here for are amazing though. They help with the day to day stuff when our families are so far and the love and support is just wonderful….THANKFUL.

I know the kids miss California. They mention it often. But I believe wholeheartedly this is where we are meant to be right now. Life is all about seasons and chapters of our lives. Nebraska may not be our final chapter but it’s a good one for right now. I look around at what we’ve gained as a family since being here and it’s truly amazing….We just wouldn’tt have this time together if we were still in CA and for that i’m THANKFUL.

Another thing we’ve gained is having actual seasons! We enjoyed the hot summer and swam the days away, experienced the cooler Fall temps and leaves changing and falling, and were so excited at the first snowfall last week…THANKFUL.

We’re all healthy. Man isn’t that a big one these days? I mean with everything going on around us and just really looking at what we have health is high up on the list of things to be THANKFUL for.

And last but certainly not least Jesus! I mean my faith has helped me out of so many devastating periods in my life, To know that I can look to God for peace, comfort, and loves the most amazing feeling. I’m just so THANKFUL for my relationship with God.

I literally could go on all day, because I have learned that in every hardship or trial in your life, there are five other things to be THANKFUL for. Try to remember that when things get hard. Perspective is everything and having a grateful heart will get you through even the worst days and the hardest of times.

After School Halloween Snacks

I’m always running out of ideas for after school snacks. So I decided to make it a fun afternoon preparing for Halloween, and keeping the snacks on theme! Cookie spiders and tangerine pumpkins is what seemed the easiest! Read below for a semi sweet and semi healthy afternoon/after school snack idea!

What you need:

Cuties Tangerines

Green M&M’s

Pretzel sticks

Oreos

Nutella

Candy eyeballs (Walmart is where I purchased mine)

That’s it!

Tangerine Pumpkins:

First you will peel your tangerine, then break a pretzel stick in two and stick one price in the middle of the tangerine opening, next stick the green m&m right next to the pretzel stick. First snack all done!

Cookie spiders:

Open your Oreo container take one out, then take a few pretzel sticks and break them in half, stick the pretzels inside the Oreos (four on each side) to act as the eight spider legs. Then put a small amount of Nutella (or whatever you may have at home to act as glue: melted chocolate works too) on the back of the candy eyeballs. Stick the candy eyeballs on the Oreos, pressing down lightly to make them stick. Then you’re done!


This fun Halloween snack idea is yummy and will be a big hit for the kids! I hope you enjoyed it!

I’ve connected with some amazing Bloggers to share some blogs featuring some spooky and sweet treat! Head to each of their blogs to check out what they are sharing:

Jessica

Fun And Spooky Pumpkin Quesadilla Treat For Kids

Kimmy

Graveyard Smash – Halloween Treat

Laila

Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Burgers 

Laura

Kids Halloween Charcuterie Board

https://noturaveragemomof5.wordpress.com/2020/10/14/kids-halloween-charcuterie-board/


Christmas Gift Guide- Childen’s Books

Oh man. Less than three months away from Christmas and I’m blown away. As wild as this year was, it definitely flew by. So naturally, it’s time to start creating those Christmas lists! We all know what toys our own kiddos are interested in, so I didn’t want to create a guide about toys. Instead, being the bibliophile that I am, a book guide seemed perfect. Keep reading for some ideas on what new and classic books I recommend for kids up to age 10!

  1. Stellaluna

This was my ultimate favorite book as a child! About a bat that gets separated by her family and taken in by a bird, this adventure is a great one! It’s all about friendship and acceptance of differences.

2. Corduroy

This book is definitely a classic! About a bear looking for a home and friends in a big department store. it’s such a great one to teach friendship, hope and of course love.

3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This one you may already have in your collection but may be a great choice for a new baby in the family, or possibly to gift to a friend with a little one. About well, a very hungry caterpillar! This book goes through as the caterpillar grows and eats tons of yummy foods until it grows into a beautiful butterfly. This is a great one teaching growth and transformation as well as teaching young readers numbers, colors, and insect biology!

4. Room on the Broom

With Halloween around the corner this one seemed like an obvious fun one to include on the list! About a witch that loses various items and her friends help her find them and save her from danger! A true lesson on friendship and being helpful.

5. Guess How Much I Love You

This book was my little sister’s favorite book when we were little. This book goes through using larger and larger measurements to describe just how much they love each other. it’s a simple and sweet book to gift someone you love.

6. The Office: A Day at Dunder Mifflin Elementary

Okay you guys. I don’t think i’ve ever been THIS excited about a children’s book like ever. Last but certainly not least: Office fans, now you have a book get your little one involved in the obsession lol. This book stars Michael Scott as the line leader at Dunder Mifflin Elementary! This book is a perfect gift and teaches that everyone needs help sometimes!

I will be adding to this list so check back for a guide including some picks for the older children as well!

I’ve connected with some amazing Bloggers to share some blogs featuring gift guide for Christmas. Gift guide for kids, gifts by age, shop small gifts and so much more.  Head to each of their blogs to check out what they are sharing:

Heather 

4 Categories You Should Include on Your Child’s Christmas List

Kimmy 

Christmas Gift Guide – Husbands Edition

Jessica

A Christmas Gift Guide For The Simple Living Minimalist In Your Life

Halloween Fun Under $70

Okay, so this entire year has been quite the whirlwind. With news circulating that not all areas will recommend Trick or Treating I knew I had to have a back- up idea for Halloween.

Of course, I headed to Target and Target.com to score some fun stuff and was very impressed with their Hyde and Eek Boutique, which is mainly found in the Bullseye’s Playground. (Otherwise known in my home as the dollar spot!)

Everything pictured totaled out to be less than $70 (Keep in mind the quantity you will need, depending on how many kids you will have) I hope you are inspired and get some good ideas for your own at home party.

The top picture is the ring toss and is $10.00. The rest of it is $6.00 each!

Pictured from top to bottom:

Ring Toss Game- Shaped like Witches hat cones

Halloween Bingo Game

Pin the Skeleton Game

Bean Bag Toss Game

Spider Web Splat Game

All of these games have a fun twist on classic favorites and totally kid-friendly!

Top: $3.00 Bottom: $6.00

This Happy Halloween Paper Banner is so cute and a perfect addition to the party.
The 84”x 60” Pumpkin Toss Halloween Tablecloth has the perfect colors and will go with most classic party decor!

Mummy Bowling Game $10.00

My kids love bowling and this is such a fun game to incorporate into your Halloween fun! There are 10 bowling pins and 2 plastic balls. This is suitable for ages 3 and up!

100 count Orange Indoor/Outdoor Halloween Mini Fairy String Lights $5.00

These cute lights can be hung indoors above your main table, and a fun easy way to spruce up the place!

4 piece Halloween Gift Packaging Set $5.00 each

Social distancing doesn’t have to mean excluding friends from all Halloween activities. You can BOO them! Drop off a bag of goodies for them to include them in all the Halloween fun! This kit comes with a tote bag, a card, and envelope, and a door hanger reading “You’ve been Booed.” Fill the bag up, and customize it for your friends and family members.

All of these baskets pictured above are only $1.00!

The top baskets are fun and colorful, they are also taller than your typical basket. My kids love these ones because of the pink and blue options.

The middle basket is a glow in the dark style and is neon green when placed in a dark setting. If you can trick or treat in your area, this is a fun choice.

The bottom basket is the original basket and so fun. Even if the kids would rather use the other styles, this one is fun to fill with candy or snacks and use as decoration around the house.

This was a grand total of $64.00 (for our three kids) and I love all of it. You can certainly put your own spin on it and grab plates, cups, and snacks to your hearts desire, but I hope this gets the gears in your head turning as a start. No matter how you spend your Halloween, be carefree, stress-free and enjoy the little moments. This year especially, just have fun!

I’ve connected with some amazing Bloggers to share some blogs featuring Halloween At Home. Traditions, ideas, decor, recipes and so much more! Head to each of their blogs to check out what they are sharing.

| CHEYENNE 

https://www.babybumpsandmombuns.com

| JESSICA

https://www.mamabearwooten.com

| KARI

https://www.raisingwilliams.com

| TAYLOR

https://aikensadventures.com/

| LAILA

http://www.thegoodwivesblog.com

| KIMMY 

https://www.kimmymanzo.home.blog

| LATIFAH 

https://gypsyatheart.blog

Apple cinnamon Bread

Fall is here and I’m so excited you guys! It’s my absolute favorite time of the year. The colors, the decor, the clothing, the weather, and most importantly the food!

I have tried various recipes and breads but this one is by far my favorite and a huge hit with my family as well. So keep reading and get the recipe!

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

4 cups flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 eggs

2 cups milk

2/3 cup oil (Vegetable or canola world best)

3 apples diced and peeled (I love tons of apples in mine, if you don’t 2 apples would work fine.)

Topping:

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Beat eggs, milk and oil until just combined. (Do not over mix.)
  • Gradually add dry mixture to wet until just moist.
  • Add apples and cinnamon.
  • Grease baking dishes and pour mixture an inch below to the top to compensate for rise.
  • Combine cinnamon and sugar.
  • Spoon topping onto each loaf and swirl in with a knife.
  • Bake 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean.

It’s such an easy recipe and such a great taste of Fall! Try it out and let me know what you think!

I’ve also connected with some amazing Bloggers to share some blogs featuring ALL THINGS FALL! Bucket lists, recipes decor and more! 🍂 Head to each of their blogs to check out what they are sharing.

| CHEYENNE 

https://www.babybumpsandmombuns.com

| JESSICA

https://www.mamabearwooten.com

| TAYLOR

https://aikensadventures.com/

| NOEMI

https://misssnoemiblogs.wixsite.com/mysite

| HEATHER

https://www.sexonaweekday.com

| KIMMY 

https://www.kimmymanzo.home.blog

| LATIFAH 

https://gypsyatheart.blog

Barbacoa Tacos

Barbacoa is braised beef in a chili sauce and a total family favorite over here.

You will need:

2 ancho chilis

5 California chilis

3 wahoo chilis

Chuck roast

Cumin

Cloves

Small stick of cinnamon

Bay leaves, onion, garlic, salt and pepper (to taste)

You will start off by putting the chuck roast in a pot with water. You will add half an onion, a couple teeth of garlic, a couple bay leaves on high heat until boiling and then lower the heat to low/medium and cover.

While that is cooking, you will open up the chilis and take the seeds out, and put the chilis in the pot with the beef for five minutes (or until they soften up a bit.

Take the chilis out, put them in the blender with a couple teeth of garlic, a quarter of an onion, cumin, the ground up cloves, salt, pepper and some of the broth from the beef and blend!

You will then pour it back in to the pot with the beef and let simmer for 3-4 hours or until you are able to shred the beef with the tongs.

Now that your star of the show is finished eat it with rice and beans, tortillas, homemade salsa or your own yummy choice of side!

We will be enjoying this with our weekly Taco meal!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and subscribe for more recipes in the future!

I’ve connected with some amazing Bloggers to share some blogs featuring tacos. Tacos, fajitas, nachos and all things taco themed. Head to each of their blogs to check out what they are sharing:

| CHEYENNE 

https://babybumpsandmombuns.com

| JESSICA

https://www.mamabearwooten.com

| KIMMY 

https://www.kimmymanzo.home.blog

 | LATIFAH

https://gypsyatheart.blog

| TAYLOR

https://aikensadventures.com/

| SHELLY

https://www.envision31.com/hope

|LAILA

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Well hello strangers, I’m just so happy to be back! As I’m sure you’re feeling it, life is crazy. Things have been rough, to say the least.
So, I’m really excited to share a fun lighthearted blog post inspired by National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

So follow along (below) for my peanut butter & chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches!

Ingredients

·       1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

·       1 teaspoon baking soda

·       1/2 teaspoon salt

·       1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)

·       1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

·       3 tablespoons granulated sugar

·       1 large egg

·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·       1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 

·     1 cup peanut butter chips

· 1 scoop of ice cream (I used Vanilla bean)

Instructions

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray.. (To get best results, use parchment paper)

2.   In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt together.

3.   In another large bowl, beat together the butter, and sugars until smooth and mixed together well.

4. Add the egg and vanilla and mix just until mixed in.

5. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix in until just incorporated. Do not overmix.

6.  Add Peanut butter chips and chocolate chips then stir, again no overmixing, just until incorporated.

7. Use an ice cream scoop or tablespoon to drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. (Note: For chocolate chip cookies, the dough needs to be chilled for best results, so stick the cookie mix in the fridge for about 30 minutes before baking).

8. Bake cookies until bottoms and edges are lightly browned and the tops feel firm when lightly touched, This is 8-10 for smaller cookies and 10-13 minutes for larger cookies.

9.  Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

10. Once cookies are completely cooled, lay one cookies down and scoop 1 spoonful of ice cream onto cookie. Then close the sandwich with another cookie on top & enjoy!

if you end up making this recipe be sure to tag me on Instagram: Instagram.com/gypsyheartedmama 💕

I’ve connected with some amazing Bloggers to share some blogs featuring Recipes, Hacks, and more for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Head to each of their blogs to check out what they are sharing:

 | CHEYENNE 

https://www.babybumpsandmombuns.com

| KALAH

https://www.kayandbabe.com

| HEATHER

https://www.sexonaweekday.com

| ANNE 

http://www.texascharmedlife.com/

 | NOEMI 

https://misssnoemiblogs.wixsite.com/mysite

Spring Drink: Strawberry Mojitos

Well the weather is warming up here in Nebraska and we are on to exciting things like getting more plants, fun in the sun, and being able to enjoy a nice drink with my husband!

Some of my blogger friends and I have created a drink train to showcase our favorite Spring Drinks! I’ve linked those bloggers and their pages at the bottom of this post!

My favorite adult beverage is a refreshing Mojito! So of course, I had to share this recipe with you!

Here are all the ingredients you will need :

1 lime cut into slices

6 strawberries (More for garnish)

8 fresh mint leaves (more for garnish)

2 tablespoons sugar

4 ounces of rum (Your choice, we used pineapple Captain Morgan)

Club soda

Ice cubes

Muddler (Mine is from the brand Houdini, I got it at Target for $9.99)

First, you will need to add 2 lime slices, 4 fresh mint leaves, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and half of your strawberries to each glass.

Second, you will muddle together all of the ingredients in the glass until the sugar has dissolved.

Next, you’ll add the ice cubes, and your garnish of fresh mint leaves and sliced strawberries around the inside of the glass.

Lastly, pour 2 ounces of rum in each glass, stirring well. Top off each glass with your chilled club soda and that’s it! Now it’s time to enjoy your fresh fruit strawberry mojito!

**We made a second round of drinks and replaced the chilled club soda with chilled pineapple juice and that was very yummy too! **

I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe and that you’ll recreate it or maybe even switch out some of the ingredient for some of your own favorites! That is truly what makes it the most fun!

If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, subscribe for more recipes, crafts, and everyday adventures of a Gypsy mama!

Happy Drinking! Head over to these accounts to check out their drink recipes too:

Kaysdailyinsight.com. Instagram.com/kaysdailyinsight

Briasnyder.com Instagram.com/Bria.snyder

https://misssnoemiblogs.wixsite.com/mysite Instagram.com/_noemielizabeth

Kayandbabe.com. Instagram.com/kayandbabe

Mombunsandmargaritas.com Instagram.com/mombunsandmargaritas

Mamallamallama.com Instagram.com/mamallama.llama

https://smileytalkblog.wordpress.com/ Instagram.com/1000smiles

Www.noturaveragemomof5.com Instagram.com/noturaveragemomof5

Www.theblissfulmomma.com Instagram.com/theblissfulmomma

Www.babybumpsandmombuns.com Instagram.com/babybumpsandmombuns_

#womenbloggerscreate

Easy Spring Treat

Hi everyone! It feels SO GOOD to publish a new blog post! I’ve really missed it!

This is one that (as you can see below) we’re pretty stoked about hehe. I hope you enjoy it too!

You’ll only need three ingredients!

  1. Snyder’s Butter Snap pretzels

2. Ghirardelli’s White Chocolate Baking Bar (I have seen others use the baking drops or even white chocolate chips.)

3. M&M’s

First you will need to lay your pretzels out on a tray or plate. After, break two of your white chocolate bar pieces off and place in a microwave safe bowl.

Put the bowl in the microwave for about 15 seconds and check. Depending on the wattage of your microwave the time will vary. Mine was ready in 25 seconds, You will know it’s ready when you stir it and it’s melted.

Next, you will take a spoon and spread the melted chocolate evenly on each pretzel. Immediately after, place an M&M in the center of the pretzel. You’ll then put six more M&M’s around the outside of the middle M&M. Let stand 15-20 minutes.

That’s it! I told you it was an easy one!

The kids absolutely loved helping. I recommend this one for smaller children, since it’s quick and easy. It will keep them focused for a little while and let them be creative with their colors! We took the opportunity to work on colors and counting with the ones below.

I hope you liked this easy (and a little messy) treat idea. If so, subscribe for more mom hacks, fun activities, and everyday adventures of a Gypsy Hearted Mama. Thanks for joining me!

**Also, head over to these blogs to get some more fun Spring treat ideas:

Instagram.com/kaysdailyinsight Kaysdailyinsight.com

Instagram.com/bria.snyder
briasnyder.com

Instagram.com/mamallama.llama mamallamallama.com

instagram.com/_noemielizabeth. misssnoemiblogs.wixsite.com

Instagram.com/babybumpsandmombuns_ babybumpsandmombuns.com