December 2017 | Olive and Tate

Hot Santa Cider




This is our very first year really, truly playing Santa and we can't wait.
Our big boy is the embodiment of Christmas Spirit and it makes things like a Toys 'R' Us run at 8pm for the newest Sea Patroler completely and totally worth it. 

Knowing that we'll be staying up late to build a baby activity gym and Paw Patrol dream land, Justin and I have decided to start a few new Christmas Eve/Santa's Helper traditions of our own. I'm stealing one tradition from my parents: each year they rented (in the days of Blockbuster) a movie that they both wanted to see but had saved for that night. Once the movie was over, they knew we would be in a deep sleep and the Santa shenanigans could begin. This year, Justin and I will pick a movie on Netflix to watch while we build the baby's play jail - my vote is Love Actually for the one millionth time but I have a feeling we'll be watching Rogue One....again. 

While we wrap presents, pretend to understand the order of the Star Wars movies and eat Santa cookies, we'll need a beverage to quench our thirst. An adult beverage. 



I present to you the easiest, coziest, most festive holiday drink in all the land -perfect for single servings or to serve a crowd

Hot Santa Cider



Ingredients

Trader Joe's Spiced Cider (seasonal and only available in the Fall and Winter)
Spiced Rum 
Trader Joe's candied orange slices




Method

In a small sauce pan, combine 16oz Spiced Cider with 4 oz of Spiced Rum 
Heat on low heat until warm
Serve with a candied orange slice dropped into the mug just before drinking 

The candied orange slices are gorgeous, a great conversation starter and add the perfect amount of sweetness for those who don't love the taste of rum. 



Yields two mugs

For a large crowd, mix in a pot on the stove or in a crock pot, simmer or low and allow guests to serve themselves - it makes the house smell amazing! 




Cheers, friends! 

An Intentional Holiday - Stovetop Potpourri Teacher Gifts


This post was written in partnership with Cuties

I'm in love with year three - my big boy is kind hearted, talks my ear off and is a sponge for all things. He is building friendships, learning to navigate group dynamics in his class and repeats every single thing that he hears. When I drop him off at school in the mornings, the very last thing I say to him is "be a kind friend!". Last week, after I shouted that to him as he shimmied out of the car, he waved and said "you too Mommy, remember to be a kind friend...to Georgia!".  

With all that Gray is learning, I really wanted this to be the year that we started talking about, thinking of and doing for others over the holiday season. Seeing as he's still so little, I really wanted to think of age appropriate things we could do together to show him that holidays really are about giving and not about receiving. I know many of you saw the Santa Sacks that I purchased to start our new Christmas Eve tradition and I can't wait to help him fill his sack with toys for other good little girls and boys.

Over the weekend, I told Gray that we would be working on something special for his teachers. I told him that he and I would get to spend time together making something that would show his teachers just how much he loves them and how lucky he is to learn all that they have to teach. He was so excited to do a special one on one activity with me and I soaked up every single second. While we got to work, we talked about some of his favorite things from this school year, what each of his teachers does to make him laugh and how they give the very best hugs.

He was so proud of his finished product and he absolutely cannot wait to give them to his teachers at their class party. 

Wanna see what we were up to? 



How cute are these stove top potpourri kits, packed with Cuties, cinnamon, cranberries and rosemary?? I am so in love with them and, oh man, do they make your house smell unreal - like the perfect mix of citrus and sweet!

Here's how we did it

Ingredients:

4 Cuties 
1 bag of fresh cranberries
Sprigs of fresh rosemary
cinamon sticks
Plastic gift bags
Ribbon



Method:

1. Preheat oven to the lowest possible setting (mine was 170 degrees)
2. Pass a Cutie to your helper and have them peel one. They are super easy for little hands to peel and eat, plus the peel itself has all of the yummy flavoring. Keep the peels for yourself and make your own batch of stove top potpourri with it! 
3. Slice the clementines approximately 1/4" thick - too thick and they won't dry out, too thin and they'll get crunchy and break
4. Place the Cuties slices on a rack placed over a baking sheet 
"cook" in the oven for 2-3 hours, until the slices are dry



Once the Cuties are cooled, let your helper grab a handful of each of the ingredients and drop them in the bag (yes, the recipe really is this easy!): 

A handful of dried Cuties
A handful of cinnamon sticks
A handful of cranberries
A few sprigs of rosemary 



I chose the plastic bags that had a sticky strip to seal them up, then tied them with a ribbon and attached one of Gray's little gift cards. 


On the back of the gift tag I wrote the following instructions:

"Dump in pot filled with H2O
Enough to cover the potpourri and you're good to go.
Add a dash of vanilla if you wish
Simmer on the stove until it smells delish!" 


Gray will deliver his little hand made gifts during the class holiday party - and a few extras to our neighbors! I, of course, want our sweet teachers to treat themselves so we've contributed to the class gift, but I know my big boy will always remember how proud he felt when he gifted his very first hand made present.

P.S. Cuties are officially in season! To celebrate, Cuties is launching 100 Days of Sunshine, a time to brighten someone's day and share the sweetness of the season. I am honored to partner with a company that strives to remind us that "no matter how big our differences, we are no match for the power of love".  You can read more about the 100 Days of Sunshine project here

Gift Guide: For The Guys! (and a giveaway!)


Is it just me or are guys the hardest to buy for? Whether its my dad, brother or husband, I really have to think about a gift that they will actually like, use or wear. I honestly think I've rounded up some great ideas this year - all of these gifts are either on my list or something we own and love! Take a peek and be sure to make it to the end of this post for a huge giveaway!

1. Knife
The one thing Justin cared about when we were registering for our wedding was the whole knife situation - which set, which block, which specialty knives - I honestly had no idea he cared but he was into it. Fast forward five years and guess what was lost in our last move? Yep, one single box that contained our knife block and cereal bowls. We'll be slowly replacing our knives and I'm loving this one as our first replacement.

Justin is always talking about how there is no guy version of leggings - well buddy, meet the jogger pant. Soft, somewhat put together with a half zip and off we go to donuts in the morning. 

My guy isn't bearded but I know a lot of you are coming off of a no-shave November and your men could use some grooming. This beard comb feels super luxe (for a manly man, of course) and the beard oil is full of five star reviews. 

Ok, I found these the other day on Etsy and I am so disappointed they don't currently make a Clemson one! I think this is just such a unique gift for a college sports loving guy - and the aesthetic is really clean, which is hard to find in college memorabilia (trust me). This is an overhead shot of the Duke basketball area and most major college basketball programs are represented. 

I talked about this little baby on my Insta stories the other day but if you have a wine lover in your life, this is the gift for them. Justin was given this version from my parents a few years ago and he loves any excuse to use it. The science behind it is really cool and it allows you to pour a glass of wine without actually uncorking the bottle. Seriously, go check it out, we love ours. 

Work or play, I honestly love Justin in a blue check button down. I think I give him one every Christmas, sorry not sorry.

Perfect for chilling any liquor drink to the correct temp (not just whiskey!), these are perfect stocking stuffers (we own two sets!).

Ok, does anyone else get asked to hold random things for your husband in your purse? Like my purse doesn't weigh enough toting all of the things our offspring require...Anyway! I'm thinking this phone case may be the answer - it's leather, can be monogrammed and holds the important cards and ID's all in one spot. Bonus: it's under $25! 

I've had my eye on these gorgeous handcrafted, magnetic bottle openers for a while because I follow the makers on Instagram - they make each piece as a family and I think their woodworking is stunning. I honestly wouldn't mind displaying this bottle opener in my home but it's perfect for a man cave! 

Just a cute little stocking stuffer for $5, these vintage style hotel room key chains come in a ton of different collegiate colors (especially southern schools). 

Justin is constantly unraveling cords, chargers and headphone wires from his backpack when we are traveling and it drives me nuts when we're squished together in little airplane seats. Problem. Solved. 

Perfect for the bedside table, which in our house, never seems to look like anything but a catch all spot! 

Structured, neutral, comfortable and durable. These will be under the tree this year! 

Oh hey, in case you need a little extra help in the Santa department, I've got something just for you.... 


  
 Hi everyone! Today I'm teaming up with some amazing bloggers and #Girlbosses to bring you an amazing holiday giveaway! 

One lucky follower will be able to win a $1000 Target gift card and have some holiday cash to spend! If you'd like to enter, just use the Rafflecopter widget below (PS: you get 10 bonus entries for completing all the tasks!). 

 What will you buy with your gift card if you win? 
Comment below?

To enter, click on the link below and good luck! 

Chicken and Waffle Casserole



Growing up, it was a Christmas tradition to eat sausage and egg casserole on Christmas morning. My mom would make it every Christmas Eve and leave it in the fridge overnight, ready to hit the oven in the AM. While sausage and egg casserole basically tastes like the holidays to me, I have a little confession: I don't really love it. Sorry, Mom! Hope you aren't reading this! 


Not only am I not a huge fan, I know my three year old and husband won't be super into a spicy sausage egg bake either. And this year, we'll be in our own little house, just the four of us, on Christmas morning so I wanted to find a casserole dish that I can prep the night before if I want or with little effort on Christmas morning. I couldn't find just what I was looking for, so I made one up!

Behold, Chicken and Waffle Casserole - perfect for Christmas morning, New Years Day, brunch or just because!

(And you can cheat your way through it in no time flat)



Ingredients

3 boxes of Trader Joe's frozen Belgian Waffles 
12 Chick Fil A chicken nuggets, chopped into large bites
(you can buy trays of frozen nuggets to have on hand or they keep in the refrigerator for a few days)
6 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
dash of Cayenne Powder (to taste)
salt and pepper
cooking spray

To Make

Bake the waffles on a sheet pan per the instructions on the box - do not over brown
While waffles are baking, chop chicken nuggets and set aside
In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, maple syrup, cayenne and salt and pepper 




Spray the inside of a casserole dish or baking dish with cooking spray
Once the waffles are cooked, break them into small pieces and layer 1/3 at the bottom of the baking dish
layer in half of the chicken nuggets
add another layer of waffles, then nuggets and top with waffles! 


Pour the egg mix over the layers

You can let the casserole sit over night in the fridge, for 30 mins or so to soak up some of the egg or pop it right into a preheated 350 degree oven

Bake at 350, uncovered, until the egg mixture is cooked through
In my oven, it took 45 minutes for the center to become firm. 

Serve with maple syrup poured over for those who love it sweet or with a side of honey mustard for those who love to dip! 


This was a hit with my husband and three year old so I think we'll be making a tradition out it!




The Best Holiday Hostess Gifts Under $20 with Pier 1

The best hostess gifts for  $5, $10, $15 and $20 with Pier 1 #Pier1_partner #Pier1Love

This post was sponsored by Pier 1. All gifting genius is my own.

It's party season! The invites are rolling in and you need gifts - and not just standard, boring gifts, but fun, unique and preferably not crazy pricey gifts for everyone from the preschool room mom to the hostess of your fave annual Christmas Cocktail Party. No time to stress over the details? Don't worry, I've partnered with Pier 1 Imports to source the best hostess gifts under $20 (and two are under $10). Stock up on a few and you'll be set for the entire season!

The best hostess gifts for  $5, $10, $15 and $20 with Pier 1 #Pier1_partner #Pier1Love
Under $5

It sounds simple, but you just can't go wrong with a festive dish towel. Wrap it up with a bright ribbon and, if you're super Pinterest-y, a sprig of fresh rosemary, and you're set to mingle. If you want to up your gift giving game, take the dishtowel and wrap it around a bottle of wine, tie it with a bow and prepare to be the most popular guest at the get-together. I like to stock up on a few bottles of inexpensive red wine to have on hand for this very purpose (or for when my kids are climbing the curtains during winter break).

The best hostess gifts for  $5, $10, $15 and $20 with Pier 1 #Pier1_partner #Pier1Love

Under $10

The best hostess gifts for  $5, $10, $15 and $20 with Pier 1 #Pier1_partner #Pier1Love

How cute is this cherry red mini baking dish? It is truly a tiny version of the classic stoneware Dutch Oven and would be perfect for your friend, the domestic goddess. She'll use it to serve candied lemons in her cheese board, hold marshmallows for hot chocolate station or to warm a small brie. I myself would use it as decor but I totally have a friend in mind who will put this tiny beauty to good use (and will let me crash her party when she does!).

Under $15

The best hostess gifts for  $5, $10, $15 and $20 with Pier 1 #Pier1_partner #Pier1Love
File this under "Best Invention Ever" and also, "the perfect gift for the hostess of my Mom's Group holiday play date". A stainless steel wine chiller that ensures you never have a warm glass of white wine and also promises to make you popular among friends who don't have the kind of time it requires to chill wine is probably the best kind of gift you can give.

The best hostess gifts for  $5, $10, $15 and $20 with Pier 1 #Pier1_partner #Pier1Love

Under $20

The best hostess gifts for  $5, $10, $15 and $20 with Pier 1 #Pier1_partner #Pier1Love

I love this marble coaster set for an office gift swap or as a gift for a co-worker because it truly looks (and feels) so much more pricey than it is. It also happens to have a masculine touch and would look just as gorgeous holding a pint glass as a wine glass.

The best hostess gifts for  $5, $10, $15 and $20 with Pier 1 #Pier1_partner #Pier1Love

Another under $20 (well, almost!) gift idea is to pair two hammered copper bar utensils together - no need to wrap, just tie with a ribbon, add a sweet note on a gift tag and hand off to your host or hostess as you walk in the door. The hammered bronze will go with any bar set and would be a stand out on a bar cart. I particularly love the ice scoop because I rarely see them on bar set up, so I know they'll be one of a kind!

And, if you're in need of a white elephant gift or just a little something with a touch of sparkle, I've got that covered, too! Who wouldn't love a wine bottle decked out in a sequin and faux fur Santa suit??

The best hostess gifts for  $5, $10, $15 and $20 with Pier 1 #Pier1_partner #Pier1Love

And to make sure everyone is in the holiday spirit, I'm giving away a $25 gift card to Pier 1.
Many thanks to Pier 1 for making this possible!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Happy party going!