christmas gifts and favors

Suburban Soiree

Movie Night: The Grinch... All of Them!

Christmas, Movie NightAmy WileyComment

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This movie night is all about not just one… but three movies! That’s right, we watched all three versions of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. We broke it up into a few different evenings of fun.

I always pick up a “Grump Tree” at Trader Joe’s because it’s such a fitting accessory for our favorite Christmas villain.

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We headed off to the theater to see the new Grinch movie and I wore a themed tee because that’s what all cool 41-year-olds do. My family absolutely loved that latest version! It is sweet, touching, and full of great music. You should go see it if you haven’t already.

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After the movie we headed to IHOP for green Grinch pancakes. Aren’t they so fun?!? We all enjoyed eating breakfast for dinner… although it was more like dessert!

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Sadly, our location was out of the Minty Who Hot Chocolate. The Grinch menu is still going on, but you might want to call ahead to your particular IHOP.

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Not easily deterred, we set out to make our own Grinch hot chocolate at home. This was the night we watched the Jim Carrey version. The key to this was our new fancy whipped cream dispenser! This exact one is no longer available, but this one is the same idea and you’ll need to buy the chargers too. After using this I don’t think I can go back to the canned stuff! It’s so much more fresh and delicious. Plus, it’s too much fun to use.

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I simply made cups of hot chocolate, added our whipped cream with green food coloring, and topped with these sprinkles.

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I spotted these cookies at Safeway and gladly added them to the mix.

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Cookies and hot chocolate make for an extra cozy movie night. So do Grinch pajamas!

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I also found these little Grinch gingerbread house kits at Safeway. They make the tiniest, sweetest little houses!

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Many weeks ago I found these bath bomb sets in the Dollar Spot at Target. A bath bomb always adds some enthusiasm to bath time for my kids!

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He’s green, he’s mean… and he makes our hearts grow three sizes each year. Whether you watch the original cartoon, the Jim Carrey movie, or the new version in theaters, The Grinch is essential viewing this time of year!

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Enjoy your weekend!

Teacher Gift Ideas... They Actually Want

Christmas, Tuesday TreatsAmy WileyComment

I love many teachers and many of them are also close friends. A reader reached out and asked for teacher gift ideas and I was happy to share. I am passionate about doing my best to bless teachers.

I’m always quizzing my teacher friends about what they want… and what they don’t want. Bottom line… they love gift cards and useful things! You can still be creative and make it pretty, but practical is the way to go. Teachers don’t need another coffee mug or clever sign. I know many also would rather not receive home-baked items for a number of reasons. With all that in mind… here are my go-to teacher gifts.

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Fancy Markers and Pens

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Teachers have a deep appreciation for good pens and markers. This is an affordable, functional gift any time of year! I like to give these pens and these markers. A fresh package full of fun colors is such a treat.

A Little Chocolate and a Gift Card

Gift cards paired with chocolate are another one of my go-to gifts. I love these little boxes of caramels from Trader Joe’s with a convenient slot for the gift card.

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My other favorite I’ve given dozens of times over the years is a bag of Ghiradelli chocolate caramel squares. This is my favorite variety, but there are so many to choose from. I use a hole puncher to put two holes at the top of the bag, then thread ribbon through and tie a bow. You can give as-is or step it up by adding a gift card to Starbucks or Amazon. I like to use glue dots to attach them.

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Personalized Notepad

The next idea came from a wise teacher friend of mine. These notepads come in sets of 8. You can put a different name on each one and give them to all the teachers on your list! This is a lovely gift and it comes out to under $4 per notepad. I like to wrap them in a cello bag and you can easily add a gift card to the mix if you like.

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Money Tree

I did this several years ago for a class gift to our preschool teacher. Everyone donated money and we presented it as a money tree. You can find tiny live Christmas trees this time of year just about anywhere, or use one like this so it will last forever. I thought this little flocked tree was darling. Simply tie paper money with twine or ribbon all over the tree. Who wouldn’t love this?! I used dollar bills I had on hand for this example but of course you could go bigger… especially if it’s a group gift.

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It’s a great time of year to bless the teachers who do so much. Happy gifting!

Movie Night: Elf Pets: Santa's St. Bernards Save Christmas

Christmas, Movie NightAmy WileyComment

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We are in pretty deep with the Elf on the Shelf with my daughter these days, so I decided to get the new movie, Elf Pets: Santa’s St. Bernards Save Christmas. I am pleased to tell you that we were pleasantly surprised and delighted by this little movie! Of course we needed an Elf Pet and book too.

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We usually watch An Elf’s Story to celebrate the arrival of our elves, Percy and Snowflake, but we enjoyed switching it up. The new movie focuses on kindness and Christmas spirit. It offers a lovely message to kids this time of year.

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When Pottery Barn Kids had an Elf on the Shelf collection a couple of years ago, I got these plates. It’s so fun to set our table for the first Christmas movie night of the year!

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The plates make me smile every time.

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I highly recommend this one. It’s sweet, thoughtful, not too long, and appropriate for little ones. My kids named the dog “Peppermint” and my daughter sleeps with it every night.

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For dinner, we grilled steaks and finished up the rest of our Thanksgiving leftovers as sides. Dessert was the amazing Blue Bell Christmas Cookie ice cream. It’s sooo good!

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Here’s to a season of Christmas movies, elf shenanigans, kindness, and Christmas spirit!