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Trim Down The Holiday Trimmings!

Keep Holiday Lights Safe From Rain!

ssd-holiday-lightsDuring the holidays, have you ever come home one rainy night to see your holiday lights are out? When water gets into those electrical connections (like where extension cords connect to holiday lights), it can create a short which trips the circuit breaker – causing all your outdoor lights associated with that breaker to go out!

This Simple Holiday Survival tip is sure to help prevent that from happening!

SimpleSolutionsDiva.com's tip to keep outdoor lights from blowing out!
SimpleSolutionsDiva.com’s tip to keep outdoor lights from blowing out!

Save Space in The Oven For The Holidays

Keep The Family Entertained & Interacting This Holiday!

SSD Family Fun.jpg

The holidays mean lots of family time! But with people of different ages coming together, how do you keep everyone entertained and interacting? Try a few, fun holiday games to bring the family together to laugh and be silly – something all ages can get into!

Snowball Toss

What You Need:

  • Jumbo marshmallows (or you can use regular marshmallows) in a big bowl
  • Christmas Wreath with wire or ribbon to hang in a doorway.
  • A Bucket
  • A kitchen timer or someone to watch the time!

Directions:

Suspend the wreath from a doorframe about chest high. Place the bucket on floor just behind the wreath. Stand about 6 feet from the wreath. Throw the “Snowball” marshmallows through the wreath and get them to land in the bucket. You have 60 seconds to get 10 in the bucket.

 

Christmas Charades

Have the family play a classic with a holiday twist!  Here’s a Handy Sheet you can print out and cut up to use for this classic game:

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 2.42.25 PM

 

Christmas Tree Minute To Win It!

What You Need:

  • 36 Red Plastic Cups
  • A Flat Surface For the Game (a large table or cocktail table)

Directions:

Using only one hand, you have one minute to stack all 36 cups to make a Christmas tree pyramid. 

 

Ornament Balance

This is like Jenga with ornaments!

What You Need:

  • Shatterproof ornaments with wire hooks on them.
  • One Wooden Yard Stick
  • Empty Paper Towel Tube – I covered mine with red construction paper, just to be festive!

Directions:

Stand the paper towel tube on one end. Place the yard stick on top of the tube, making sure to center it as best as possible (See photo below!).

Balanace

Participants take turns placing ornament on either side of the yardstick. The game is over when the yardstick becomes unbalanced and it tumbles!

BAlanace2

 

 

Off The Top Of My Head 

A funny drawing game where even the family artist will be challenged!

What You Need:

  • Cheap Paper Plates
  • Markers

Directions:

Give every participant a plate and a marker. Each participant places the plate on their head. Next, they follow these directions (Someone needs to lead this game!):

  1. Draw a line for a floor.
  2. Draw a Christmas Tree, adding decorations if you would like.
  3. Draw a star on top of the tree.
  4. Draw a Fireplace with a mantle next to the tree.
  5. Draw Stockings hanging from the mantle on the fireplace.
  6. Draw a present below the tree.

Or you can draw this as a second round of the game:

  1. Draw a circle for the face/head.
  2. Draw two eyes.
  3. Draw antlers on top of the head.
  4. Draw a nose in the center of the face.
  5. Draw a smile.

 

Jingle Junk In The Trunk 

This is sure to get people moving in this challenge!

What You Need:

  • Two empty facial tissue boxes (the long, rectangular size are best!) – Cover them with red paper or holiday paper, if you would like!
  • Two belts (or enough ribbon to use as a belt for each box)
  • 16 jingle bells
  • Holiday Music

Directions:

Make two slices on the bottom of the tissue boxes – large enough to thread the belt or ribbon through.

Tissue

Feed the belt or ribbon through the holes.

Tissue 2

Tie or belt the boxes onto each participant so the box is on, or near, their rear end. Place 8 bells into each tissue box and “Cue The Music”! Each participant starts shaking and moving to the holiday music – first one to bounce all the jingle bells out of their box is the winner!

 

A Unique & Simple Holiday Hostess Gift

Simple Recipe: Party Potatoes!

This super-simple potato casserole will become your go-to favorite. Probably the easiest recipe, besides buying pre-made potatoes! I’m whipping this up for Easter Dinner this year. How will YOU use them? At a party? A family meal?
A big thank you to my sister-in-law, Lisa, who shared this recipe with me!
SSD Party Potatoes

Party Potatoes

Ingredients:
  • 1 30 oz. Bag Frozen Shredded Potatoes (I used Oreida Frozen Hash Brown Potatoes)
  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 Pint Sour Cream (NOTE: I used 1 cup of sour cream by accident in the video, and they still tasted good! )
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 chopped, sauteed onions (optional)
Directions:
Using cooking spray, grease the bottom of a 13×9 inch pan. Line the bottom of the pan with the frozen, shredded potatoes.
In a large bowl, mix together the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and shredded cheese (add the onions, too, if using them!)
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes – 1 hr. It will bubble all along the sides!
Enjoy!

Share The Love With A Holiday Giving Plate

The Simple Solutions Diva has an answer to an age old question:

How do you get your plate back from a holiday party?

The simple answer? Don’t ask for it back — Create a Season of Giving Plate!

The concept is: you share the plate, along with the food you bring to a party. Then the host is free to use it when THEY go to a holiday party, and the plate moves from home to home throughout the holidays!

The instructions are easy: It is as simple as buying a pretty plate from the Dollar Tree Store, writing a nice verse (for suggestion, see below) on the plate in permanent marker, baking it at 350 degrees for approximately 30 mins. This baking process will set the permanent marker so it won’t wash off.

You can write whatever you would like, but if you are in need of something, try this:

Season Of Giving

In this Season Of Giving, we share so much joy,

& plates full of cookies for all to enjoy!

This plate is for giving, not keeping for one.

So pass this plate on to others, and share all the fun!

 

It is a beautiful way to share the love this holiday season!

Season Of Giving Plate
Season Of Giving Plate from SimpleSolutionsDiva.com.

Beautiful Holiday Tablescapes Without Spending A Fortune!



Screenshot 2014-10-18 10.32.58Holiday Time means festive décor – including setting the perfect table for the holiday! But don’t spend upwards of $75-$100 per place setting! Check out your local Dollar Tree, THE holiday headquarters for affordable decorations, and get some holiday inspiration! And since everything at Dollar Tree is just $1.00, you can create some beautiful tablescapes without ruining your holiday budget!

Traditional

DT XMAS Traditional
Traditional Centerpiece Using Dollar Tree Items.

Here is a traditional look using Dollar Tree items, including a gold charger plate, gold-rimmed plate, bowl, coffee cup, and wine glass. Traditional stainless steel flatware and a red table runner finish off the look. Plus I’ve created a simple centerpiece (see below) using three glass candle holders, fresh cranberries and hydrangeas. I’ve used a pinecone ornament as a place card holder. This cost only $15.00 for everything (not including the flowers and cranberries!) from Dollar Tree!

Traditional Centerpiece Using Dollar Tree Glass Candleholders.
Traditional Centerpiece Using Dollar Tree Glass Candleholders.

Whimsical

DT XMAS whimsy1
Whimsical Holiday Setting Using Dollar Tree Items.

This snowflake setting is so cute! A blue placemat layered with snowflake placemat sets the theme. Add a snowflake plate and matching coffee mug, a simple red wine glass. A funky red floral Christmas clip/decoration creates a napkin ring. Stainless steel flatware with a hammered look completes the festive place setting. In addition, I created the centerpiece (see below) from floral stems, containers, candy canes and holiday ornaments. Including the centerpiece, this cost a total of $24.00.

Whimsical Centerpiece Using Materials All From Dollar Tree!
Whimsical Centerpiece Using Materials All From Dollar Tree!

Contemporary

DT Contemporary
Contemporary Holiday Setting Using Dollar Tree Items.

I LOVE this simple contemporary look! I’ve used a cool plastic tray as a charger to create the contemporary look, plus a crisp white plate and sleek stainless steel flatware. I’ve taken the martini glass and filled it with pompoms, plus topped it all off with the cute present place card holder (which is just a Christmas ornament). In addition, I have created a contemporary centerpiece (see below) using glass vases, votive candle holders, more pompoms, and mirrored candle holders. Total cost, including the centerpiece: $21.00.

Contemporary Centerpiece Using Glass Votives, Glass Vases, and Votives From Dollar Tree.
Contemporary Centerpiece Using Glass Votives, Glass Vases, and Votives From Dollar Tree.

Stepping It Up For Christmas

While I was shopping at Dollar Tree, I overheard one woman say, “Dollar Tree really has stepped up their Christmas selection!” — and they have! They have stockings, plus everything you could want to stuff in those stockings, like candies, toys and more, gift wrap, boxes and bags. Serving pieces and holiday decorations for the home!

With everything in the store just $1.00, Dollar Tree will help keep a little jingle in your wallet this holiday season! Visit ileavehappy.com for more holiday inspiration!

Thank you to Dollar Tree for sponsoring this project, and to WTLV-TV’s First Coast Living for inviting me on to share these Holiday ideas!

DT XMAS 3

Simple Ways To Ring In The New Year

Ringing in the New Year is a fun tradition, and Simple Solutions Diva has a few simple ideas on how to bring in the New Year with a little style and not a lot of money! A BIG thank you to WTLV-TV’s First Coast Living (Weekdays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m) for inviting Simple Solutions Diva on to share these ideas!

Choose To Make Nicer New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be about loosing weight or radically changing behaviors. Those types of resolutions are much harder to keep because they require drastic changes.  Try making nicer resolutions that are more like goals you work towards all year. Need some ideas? Print out this Nicer New Year’s Resolution Worksheet below; it includes prompts to help you get your creative juices flowing! (Be sure to print it out in landscape format!)

Make a resolution to be nicer to yourself when it comes to your resolutions! Use this Printable worksheet to get your creative juices flowing!
Make a resolution to be nicer to yourself when it comes to your resolutions! Use this Printable worksheet to get your creative juices flowing! (Be sure to prit in landscape format!)

 

Plan a Giving 2014 New Year

This is a great idea for a family celebration! Each family member submits several family volunteering ideas for 2014; Use New Year’s Day to decide, as a group, what volunteer opportunities the family will commit to for 2014 and schedule them into your calendar. Giving back and helping others really makes life enjoyable!

Start A Memory Jar For 2014

2014 Memory Jar, from SimpleSolutionsDiva.com.
Remember the fun times all year with a 2014 Memory Jar, from SimpleSolutionsDiva.com.

Create a Decorative Jar filled with memories collected over 2014; near New Year’s 2014, open the jar and relive the fun memories from 2014!

Image 5 Supplies Needed:

  • A Clean Glass Jar
  • Small, blank tags, cards, or bookmarks (I used bookmarks)
  • Chalkboard Self-Stick Labels (I got this little packet, including chalk, for $1.00 at Michaels!)
  • Decorative Pen

Instructions: 

Clean the jar and remove all sticky price labels. Let dry. Apply the chalkboard label to the glass jar.  Write 2014 on the chalkboard label. Add blank bookmarks or cards and a pen. Place Jar in active place in the house (ours is in the kitchen). As fun events or memories happen, write them down on the blank cards and place them in the jar.  At the end of year, sit down with family and revisit all the fun times over 2014 by reading the cards aloud.  Wipe 2014 off with a slight damp cloth, and write the new year and start all over again!

 

Kids New Year’s Eve Party

Pick a time in the early evening to invite the kids over and toast the New Year early with DIY Noise Makers and a Cookies & Milk “Midnight” Toast!

DIY Kids'Noise Makers, from SimpleSolutionsDiva.com.
DIY Kids’Noise Makers, from SimpleSolutionsDiva.com.

 

 

Image 6DIY Noise Maker Supplies:

  • Empty and clean water bottles, with labels removed.
  • Craft Beads
  • Variety of stickers

Instructions:

Add a handful of craft beads to the empty water bottles and secure the top. Lay out the stickers and let the kids decorate their own shaker.

 

 

New Year's Eve Kids "Midnight" Cookies & Milk Toast, by SimpleSolutionsDiva.com.
New Year’s Eve Kids “Midnight” Cookies &Milk Toast, by SimpleSolutionsDiva.com.

Cookies & Milk “Midnight Toast Supplies:

  • “Fancy” glasses (these can be champagne glasses, wine glasses or whatever works for you)
  • Hot Fudge Sauce (I used Smucker’s brand)
  • Colored Sprinkles
  • Milk
  • Chocolate Chip or M&M cookies (I bought mine pre-made from the grocery store)

Instructions:

Using a knife or back of a spoon, rim the top of the glasses with room-temperature hot fudge sauce. Pour sprinkles into a bowl or small plate. Roll the fudge covered rims of the glasses in the sprinkles, so sprinkles adhere to the glass & fudge. Fill with milk. Place a cookie on top of glass and serve.

 

Simple Party For The Adults

SSD Party

Try a Dessert & Champagne Party! Simple Solutions Diva featured a whole “how-to” video and outline to create a simple party.  Click Here to see the video and all of the suggestions to make a party easy for you!

 

Simple Solutions Diva Talks Simple Ways To Ring In The New Year On First Coast Living

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