Super Easy Halloween Party Games (You Can Play Using Soda Bottles!)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CVS4FantaFun #CollectiveBias

Whether you need a last-minute Halloween party game without a ton of setup, or just an impromptu boredom buster, these awesome games take minutes to set up and are easy for anyone to play-- just grab some Orange Fanta, a few cups, and some tape, and you're all set! #CVS4FantaFun #ad

Halloween is pretty much upon us… in fact, with less than a week away, busy moms, I’m hearing your cry. Today, we’re getting ready for Halloween, and whether you’re planning a party with all of your friends, need a last-minute game to become the coolest car at the Trunk-or-Treat, or just want some post-Halloween boredom busters to burn off extra energy, this is the game plan for you.

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Summer Grilling: Fruit and Veggie Skewers with 5-Minute Dips!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FireUpTheGrill #CollectiveBias

Looking for an easy summer recipe? Try these 5-minute dips. One is perfect for fresh vegetables, with it's easy cheesy flavor. The other, a fruit dip with tart lemon flavor! You'll love how they taste with these fruit and vegetable skewers-- get your summer grilling tips here! #FireUpTheGrill #Ad

In summer, I totally hate heating up the whole house. I mentioned that recently, and I’ll say it again– dinner is not worth turning an oven on for! That’s why summer dinner is better on the grill. But how often do we think of grilling as being all about the meat? Forget those days– fresh veggies and fruit on the grill are all the rage, and I’ve got the easiest way to do it, plus two dips to pair with dinner!

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Must-Make Lemon White Chocolate Toll House Cookie Bars

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EasterEssentials #CollectiveBias

The Easter season can be crazy busy... drop in guests, fitting meals between egg hunts and events and beautiful weather. Make life easier at Easter by getting your #EasterEssentials taken care of with Nestle! Try these must-make lemon white chocolate bars, using pudding, whipped cream, and lemon white chocolate chip Toll House cookie dough! They're quick and easy, so you can get back to your busy season. #ad

The Easter season is upon us. Can you believe it? I certainly can’t– this year is flying by! One of the things I love about springtime, and about the Easter season, is that the weather is nice and you can finally get out. No more snow to hold you back from visiting friends and neighbors or just enjoying the great weather. But between egg hunts, time with family, and those drop in guests, the Easter season is busy. Who has time to bake during all of that craziness? You. That’s who. Because these awesome lemon white chocolate bars are semi-homemade using NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® White Chip Lemon Refrigerated Cookie Dough, making them quick and easy to prepare (especially if you have unexpected company)!

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5 Tips for Making Easter Entertaining Easier

It is hard to host a holiday celebration, and to be honest, it’s a lot of stress that can be hard to handle, especially if you’re a perfectionist. But I’ve got five great tips to help you make your Easter celebration a little easier for everyone, especially you.

In advance of the dinner, you’re going to want to make some decisions. Rather than competing with trying to get in dinner, an egg hunt, or whatever else you need to do in the post-church lunch, why not consider switching your Easter dinner to Saturday instead of the traditional Sunday? Or, postpone it by a week and celebrate the following Saturday. This will allow you plenty of time to enjoy Easter dinner with your family, and will open Sunday open to put your focus on what Easter is really all about, beyond the bunny and the eggs. Plus, you’re not worrying about running home after church to cook before everyone gets there. Just one simple date switch can help change the entire mood of the celebration, and gives you more time to prepare.

Once you have your date figured out, it’s time to trim and polish your guest list. By only inviting as many guests as you personally can handle, you’ll make it easier on yourself. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t mind hosting a 40-guest feast, then open yourself up to a large party. But if a larger party stresses you out, trim the guest list until it’s more manageable for you. If you’re afraid of hurting feelings by not inviting someone, then just go with the “We just don’t have as much space as we’d like, so we’re going with a more intimate celebration this year.” When paring the guest list, if there’s anyone that causes a lot of stress for you that you can remove from the guest list tactfully, now is the time to make that cut, again, using the space excuse if you must. Sometimes, trimming a few negative nellies is a good way to make Easter a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

As you start planning your menu, consider how you want dinner to be served. Rather than building a whole sit down dinner, why not consider a buffet-style serving method? This will allow you less job serving everyone, and more time enjoying the meal with your family and friends. Plus, if you have multiple tables (like a kid’s table and an adult table, or a dining table and a kitchen table, to accommodate more guests), you’re not having to worry about doing things like providing rolls and food to every table. Instead, everyone can dip their food and come back for more if they need to.

Once you’ve figured out your Easter menu, you can start looking at what foods can be prepared early. The earlier you can prepare some of your foods, the less you need to do the day of the meal. For example, you can hardboil eggs up to 7 days in advance, and devil them later, to cut down on boiling needs the day of. Consider making as many foods ahead as possible. The Rustic Carrot Cookies I shared can keep for several days in an airtight container in the freezer. Plus, if you find a really good type of roll the day before, is anyone really going to miss the ones that take you all day to make? For dinner, some store-bought stuff can work just as well as the real-deal. The best part is that you can even decorate the day before– the night before your celebration, go ahead and decorate the table, set up the buffet centerpiece, and more so you can have it all ready in advance of the actual meal. Then, at meal time, you can just set the food out and everyone will be impressed with how hard you worked! Even better, if you know your kids are old enough to know not to touch it, or if you’re using a dining room that can be closed off, and you won’t be using it for a few days in advance of Easter, you can always set up even days in advance. It’s one less thing to do the day of the main event!

Finally, the day of, while you can control most factors, it seems that kids are the wild card. Consider providing activities or games for the kids to do that will entertain them. Aside from the traditional egg hunt, you could consider offering coloring pages, or a small craft. Alternately, you could see about asking/bribing/blackmailing one of the older kids/younger teens to do some fun egg dyeing techniques for them (but no, really, consider asking families with kids for a small donation to pay for the teen to play with and entertain the kiddos– the kids get fun and attention, the teen gets a little pocket money, and the adults get a stress-free dinner without worrying that it’s their kid who is going to leave sharpie on the dining room table). Both the Easy Marble Egg Dye (link) and Volcano Egg Dye (link) are popular at the moment, have a big wow factor, and can keep kids entertained and your life much less stressful. Looking for something even the younger set can really enjoy safely? Try the Edible Peeps PlayDough recipe that’s been floating around the web (link)!



What are your tips for keeping Easter entertaining stress-free? Share them in the comments below!

Sweet Microwave Meatballs and Pepped Up Tomato Soup Shooters

Throughout college, we had a lot of movie nights turned potlucks where everyone brought a snack to share. Typically, people brought chips and dip or whatever granola bars and Pop Tarts they had in their dorm room, but me? I had to shake things up. And, since I didn’t have access to a stove or oven, I relied on a very trusty book, A Man, A Can, A Microwave. In fact, this book became such a part of my college experience that I started buying it as a gift for dorm-bound high school graduates.

These meatballs are modified from one of those fantastic microwave recipes in that book, and they’re so easy to throw together with a few cans and very little prep work. I like to keep the ingredients on hand for unexpected guests since it makes such a great appetizer.

All you do is grab a microwave safe dish or bowl, like a Pyrex bowl, and pour in 1 can of sloppy joe sauce (I love Manwich brand!), 8 ounces of crushed pineapple (Dole is my favorite), 2 Tablespoons of Teriyaki Sauce (La Choy around here), 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar, 1/2 a cup of finely chopped green bell pepper, and 2 teaspoons of Tastefully Simple Fiesta Dip Mix, to add a kick. After mixing that together, add in a pound of frozen pre-cooked meatballs. Microwave that for 12-14 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Now, I’ve dressed up these meatballs on a pretty plate with cocktail forks from Party City for a girls’ night in party, but you can serve them fresh out of the bowl at a tailgate party. They’re perfect for dressing them up or down, however you please.

In the back of the above picture, I also have my pepped up tomato soup shooters and two-cheese faux grilled cheese. These were two more college recipes that eventually became party favorites.

The Tomato Soup is super easy! Just take one can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup, and instead of making it with water, make it with milk to keep it extra creamy. Add in 1 teaspoon of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Microwave or warm on the stove until heated through, and, if you’d like, serve in a soup bowl with a swirl of sour cream and some oyster crackers, or serve in these elegant cordial glasses from Party City.

Top it with skewered Two-Cheese Faux Grilled Cheese, and you’re all set. What makes it faux grilled cheese, though? Well, this isn’t your ordinary stovetop grilled cheese… take two slices of bread and stick them in the toaster. When they pop up, immediately sandwich a slice of American Cheese and a slice of Provolone between them and let the cheese melt. If it’s not quite melted enough, pop it in the microwave for about 10 seconds until the cheese melts, then slice into triangles.

Perfect recipes, and you don’t even need access to a stove to make them!