12 Dates of Christmas

Christmas is a busy season. From parties, to family get together sans trying to “do it all”. I often found it became very difficult to really enjoy the season. Then one day I watched the movie on what’s now Freeform called the 12 Dates of Christmas and while it’s repeat dates it sparked an idea. 

So for at least the last 6 years at Christmas my husband and I have done the 12 Dates of Christmas. The last 2 years we have incorporated a mix of family dates with just Mommy and Daddy Dates.  This all started when we lived in Orlando and I worked at Walt Disney World where it was really easy to come up with so many Christmas dates. One of my favorite dates was when we left for Chicago Christmas night the first year we had off at Christmas, and we did many of our Christmas dates while there. 

I’ve had to get a little more creative over the years, but that is all the fun in it. While I will say last year we didn’t get to 12 Dates as between the 3 of us we spent a lot of December sick we tried the best we could. This has truly become one of my absolute favorite Christmas Traditions. My best friend and her fiance started this tradition as well a few years ago  after we did and got engaged on their 12th date of Christmas last year! Even though it wasn’t my date it is one of my favorite 12 Dates of Christmas stories. 

 

So how do we come up with all our dates, and are they all actually going out  and spending money on  dates? No definitely not we actually do a lot of free dates. So here are some tips for planning the 12 Dates of Christmas for your spouse and family.

1. Think of things you already do at Christmas 

  •  pick out a Christmas Tree
  • decorate the tree 
  • movies you watch 

2. Look for events in Your Area 

  • Christmas Parades 
  • Tree Lightings
  • plays or shows in the area

3. Get Creative 

  • are you traveling for the holidays? Look in the local area festivities 
  • service projects/ giving back
  • Church Services

Here are some ideas of some of our favorite Adult only Christmas Dates 

Ones for the Whole Family

For anyone spending any time at Disney 

I will say we do try to start this before Thanksgiving sometimes, and may go up until New Years. I love Christmas, I decorate early because it takes me a while to do and I want time to enjoy it, and that’s the same for all the activities. When we lived in Florida we started really early because Disney Christmas starts early. It was fun last year to incorporate a few  Disney things in again, and this year we will do the same with more!  

One thing we always incorporate is Christmas Eve service at Church. It’s super important to make sure we are truly celebrating the reason for the season. 

We truly value our family time, and time together. So slow down this Christmas season and spend more time with those you love. Cherish the moments and Celebrate the Season together. I’ll be sharing some new things we are doing this season over the next few weeks here and on my social media (follow me here) and I want to hear  about your dates too so tag me in your post or email me for a chance to be featured. 

Disney Parks Inspired Mickey Rice Krispy Treats

Disney Parks Inspired Mickey Rice Krispy Treats

One of my all time favorite Disney treats are their Rice Krispy treats. I don’t know what the secret is but they are just so good! You can get rice krispy treats in the park in a variety of shapes and sizes. I mean have you ever seen the giant mickey head rice krispy treat? I love how the designs can change from season to season. When we did our Magic Kingdom inspired date night, you can see the details here, I knew these yummy treats just had to be a part of it!

To make these treats you will need :

3 tbs of butter

1 bag of marshmallows ( I prefer to use the mini ones)

6 cups of Rice Krispies

1tsp of vanilla

baking sheet

wax paper

Mickey Cookie Cutter ( I use this one http://amzn.to/2gXRR0I that is actually a sandwich cutter)

Popsicles sticks (optional)

melting chocolate, sprinkles and M&Ms for decorating (or whatever you choose)

Melt butter and marshmallows in a large pot, once melted add in vanilla and  then rice krispies. Stir until the rice krispies are fully coated. Because I used a cookie cutter for shapes I spread these onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper. You will need these to be a bit thicker so they hold the cut shape. You will want them to be about an inch thick. Once its spread out let it set for about 5-10 min so you can cut it into shapes. I did this just like I was cutting cookies. Once cut through and the sides  are left roll it back up and smooth it back out. The sooner you do this after they are made the better. The trick to doing it with these was to spray my spatula with cooking spray to keep it from sticking. Transfer all cut out pieces to fresh pieces of wax paper for decorating. I didn’t want to waste the extra which is why I rolled it back out.

If you’re using popsicles sticks you will want to add those in after you have your pieces cut. Melt your chocolates according to the directions. The easiest way is the microwave. To make my favorite M&M’s one just like at Disney I used milk chocolate and M&M’s. Pour melted chocolate onto a flat plate (or melt a pretty deep bowl) and dip the front of the rice krispy treat right in. Have another plate full of M&M’s to dip it in after the chocolate. Then take a spoon and drizzle chocolate over the top of that and set on wax paper to dry. I also melted some white chocolate and did the same thing as well as added Sprinkles on some. You could seriously add anything!

In Disney Springs you can visit Goofy’s Candy Kitchen and create a rice krispy treat with the toppings you want, just like you can at home. Do you love Disney Rice Kripsy Treats? What is your favorite Disney treat?

 

How to Plan a Star Wars Themed Date Night

How to Plan a Star Wars Themed Date Night

 

Today is the final date night of my Date Night in series. Its long over due so thanks for sticking around!  These have been really fun to share with you, so this series will be continuing one every month! 

This one was fun. We have recently really gotten into Star Wars, and we wanted to start rewatching again so a Star Wars Date Night In was perfect. When Disney acquired the franchise I decided it was time to at least watch them and to my surprise I enjoyed them. I actually remember seeing one as a kid with my Dad and falling asleep in the theatre. I can follow them so much easier now. 

I fell in love with all the droids in the movies but my favorite is the newest droid the the franchise BB-8. Our cocktail for the evening was inspired by him. Because of our entree choice I went with a Margarita. I wanted a blood orange margarita but had a hard time finding a mix. So I went with Bai bubbles Jamaican blood orange. Here is the recipe I used, it makes 2 drinks. 

3oz tequila

1 oz triple sec 

Juice of 3 limes 

3oz of coconut water 

1 can of Bai Bubbles Jamaican Blood orange 

Mix all the ingredients except for the Bai into shaker, and mix. Pour into glass and top with the Bai Blood Orange and serve. These were really good but I’m not sure it tasted like blood orange. Actually they almost had a peachy flavor which I liked but my husband wasn’t a fan of because he doesn’t care much for peach. 

For dinner we created Dark Side Nachos.  Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, Seasoned ground beef, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and taco sauce. We are kind of picky but of course you can also add lettuce, tomato, salsa, onion whatever you would like.  I tried to create a storm trooper out of the sour cream and I failed miserably so this was the end result.

We also enjoyed light saber Churros and Edible Ewoks. The churros were the other half of the bag from Trader Joe’s. I used red sugar mixed with cinnamon for these. You can never go wrong with a churro and they were the perfect dessert to the nachos. To add another fun movie treat we enjoyed some “Edible Ewoks.”

 

We made it through 2 of the movies the day of our date. We watched Episode 1 The Phantom Menace during nap time and then had our date night with Episode 2 Attack of the Clones. If we had an entire day we might have been able to make it through several more. We have the others ready to watch as we recorded them all on May the Fourth. We are hoping to get to sit down and enjoy the rest over the next few weeks. Life with a toddler is for sure busy so it may take a while. Which of the Star Wars movies is your favorite?

 

How to Plan a Magic Kingdom Inspired Date Night

How to Plan a Magic Kingdom Inspired Date Night

 

*this post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small commision for products purchased through my links. I do not recommend products I don’t love myself 

 

I can’t believe we are already on week 3 of  my Date Night series! It has really been so fun and this weeks was no exception. One of our absolute favorite things to do when at Disney is eat. Ya we love the food. We used to head out after to work to the Magic Kingdom for some Casey’s mini corn dogs, dole whip floats, and other things get a spot for the night time parade and then watch Wishes. We would literally didn’t even leave the Main Street area. While I could not completely recreate this exact date you better believe I did the best I could!

The first thing I wanted to figure out was a fun activity to add in other than just eating. I remembered we had Disney Scene It game ( you can get yours here) , and I knew that trivia was the perfect addition to the evening. While Hub Grass was not really a thing when we lived there, it is now so the best I could do to recreate this was a picnic on the ground with a green ( ya I know it’s mint green) blanket.



Casey’s Corner mini corn dogs are my favorite, even though I sure do miss the “plastic” cheese that made them taste even better! While I could have made them myself and they would have tasted much better there were just other things I wanted to make. Also I am a toddler Mama my time is very limited. The nuggets we used are just the State Fair brand mini corn dogs. Trust me they are not Casey’s mini corn dogs and I will be working up a recipe for these puppies so I can have them at home. We also made some shoe string fries to go along with the Casey’s theme.

It’s just not Magic Kingdom to me without a Dole Whip float. I recently came up with a recipe for a Dairy Free Dole Whip inspired popsicle (coming to the blog on Monday) so we did miniature Dole Whip Floats that way. They were so good, and of course easy!

Once I was completing things I realized we had way too many sweet treats! Those seem to be our favorite in the kingdom. We added some delicious homemade Mickey Rice Krispy treats dipped in chocolate and M&M’s just like our favorite from the Main Street Confectionary.

When I was walking through Trader Joe’s one day I came across these mini churros and knew they were also perfect for this date night. Of course my husband insisted on some chocolate sauce too. I’m more all about eating them as they are, but to each their own. Also if you love churros these did not disappoint so head on over to your local Trader Joe’s!

Magic Kingdom makes me think of all the Disney classics. Playing the Disney Scene it Trivia game and eating all our favorite Magic Kingdom snacks helped in making it almost feel as if we were HOME. Plus who doesn’t love to get competitive with their spouse, it’s fun right? Make sure to share with me your at home Disney dates. Happy Planning!

 

 

How to Plan the Ultimate Beauty and the Beast Date Night In

How to Plan the Ultimate Beauty and the Beast Date Night In

Today marks week 2 of my Date Night in Series. This week my husband and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary.  Our Anniversary being this month is what made me decide to do this Date Night in series in June specifically. Since it fell in the middle of the week we decided on a date night in, and to go out and celebrate over the weekend. The date also just happened to be the release date for the Beauty and the Beast live action film to come out on Blue Ray. I saw the movie in theaters but he had not. When  I saw the announcement I knew that  was exactly what our date night in would consist of. Here are some things to do to create the Ultimate Beauty and the Beast Date Night In.

When you think of dining for Beauty and the Beast what comes to  my mind is the Be Our Guest Scene. This is the ultimate scene from the movie and they over exceeded my expectations in the live action film. I knew when planning our menu we had to have The Grey Stuff for dessert. I did this dessert differently in more of a no bake cheesecake type dessert. They were so good, and you can find my recipe for them here. 

So the Ultimate Beauty and the Beast date night needs more than dessert right? Absolutely. If you have ever dined at Be Our Guest at Walt Disney World you would know an appetizer on their menu is a charcuterie board (It is actually called assortment of meats, no cheese but its a charcuterie board.)  This is such a perfect French themed appetizer and so easy to create. All you need is an assortment of meats, cheeses, crackers, olives whatever you want to add. These are typically mostly meats but I change it up. I kept it pretty simple since there was only 2 of us. I went with a fig and honey goat cheese, dried cranberries, salami, and cheddar cheese. We also did some French loaf with Olive Oil. My favorite place to get meats and cheeses is definitely Trader Joes. They have a fantastic selection of affordable cheeses.

We wanted to do a nice dinner so we got some bacon wrapped filets, and asparagus for the main course. I suppose pommes frites would have made it a little closer to the steak on the Be Our Guest menu but not everything needs to be perfectly the same. Another great option is a Croque Madame, Cheese Soufflé, or even FrenchOnion Soup. Make this night you own, its is totally up to you but the theme is part of the fun!

We decided to set up a little cozier on the coffee table instead of setting at the dinner table. It made the date itself feel more intimate rather than a big table for only 2 people. You could even picnic on the living room floor! I grabbed disposable plates that were a little more fun at Target because I don’t have fancy plates, fun napkins, and my ice bucket for the wine. It is really simple to not only make this themed but also affordable for very little. I even created a small menu for the evening.

After our daughter went to bed my husband got the grill going. I got everything else set up, including a bottle of bubbly. (Prosecco we aren’t big champagne fans) We dined, and chatted and watched the new movie and just enjoyed a quiet relaxing evening together with very little clean up.

Remember how important it is to make the time to Date Your Spouse. The last few weeks have been crazy in this house. My husbands business travel, toddler changes, among other things have made for little time together. However one thing remains constant, we do everything we can to make a date night in happen to reconnect since we cant get out as often. However I sure cant wait for us to get out on an actual date this weekend!

If you still have not snagged your copy of the new Beauty and the Beast Film can you do so right here.  I have also created a FREE printable menu for you to use for when you plan you date night in.  Sign up here to receive your FREE printable.

*this post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission off any products purchased through my links. I don’t recommend products I don’t love.

 


“Grey Stuff” Inspired No Bake Cheesecake

“Grey Stuff” Inspired No Bake Cheesecake

 

The Live Action Beauty and the Beast movie comes out on Blue Ray/DVD today! If you have yet to see it go out and get a copy because Disney did an absolutely amazing job with this LIVE action remake of an animated classic. You can order it here. I also happen to be celebrating my 8th wedding anniversary with my husband today so I have a little Beauty and the Beast date night in planned for the evening. I am excited for him to see the movie for the first time.

With the Beauty and the Beast theme in mind I wanted to whip up a dessert for the evening. Of course the “Grey Stuff”came to my mind but I wanted to play a twist on it a bit. After much thought and looking through my dessert board on Pinterest to see if anything gave me that inspiration, I decided on a Grey Stuff Inspired No Bake Cheesecake.

This was super easy to make, and I really enjoy the flavor of it more than the cool whip flavored recipe that is floating around, and is used in the park.

Here is what you need:

18 Oreos

10 oz of cream cheese softened

1.5 oz of milk ( I used Ripple Milk( dairy free(

1 packet of Simply Jello Vanilla Pudding

wine glass, jars, or whatever you would like to serve it in

Lay your cream cheese out to soften. Mix 1 cup of the milk with the pudding mix until it thickens, then add in  12 of the crushed Oreos. You can crush Oreos by placing in a baggy and using a cup or rolling pin. For the first 12 I left the cream in the center. Mix together. Remove the filling from the remaining 6 Oreos and add to the mixture, with the cream cheese. Mix all together and then refrigerate for one hour. Crush the remaining 6 Oreos, divide and place in bottom of your serving dish of choice. Top with the cheesecake mixture.

You can spoon it in or use a pipping bag which I found much easier with using wine glasses. Place back in the fridge for a few hours before serving. Mine made these 2 huge wine glasses and 2 small cheesecakes, which we enjoyed as soon as they were set. You could definitely get 6-8 servings out of this depending on how you portion them.

Pop in the animated classic or the new LIVE action film, and enjoy this tasty treat with the entire family, or just your significant other!

*This post may contain affiliate links, that means I may receive a small commission. I don’t recommend items I don’t personally love.


Disney’s Toy Story Date Night In

Disney’s Toy Story Date Night In

 

Today starts my Date Night In Series.  Dating your spouse is so important! When you add a child into the mix, the dynamic of things change. Those weekly date nights, time alone with just your spouse become few and far between. By the time bedtime rolls around for the kids you are just plain exhausted. Budgets can be tight not allowing for a date night and a sitter, and even schedules can get crazy. However you can’t let that foundation you set for your marriage fade. That is why date nights even if they are not out of the home are so important.

We are lucky that we have grandparents that watch our daughter about once a month so we can get out. Otherwise we would not have nights out very often at all. Not everyone has that option, and lets be real leaving a young child with a sitter is hard. Because of this and our need to make sure we are creating that time more than once a month we started Date Nights In at our house.

I am not talking always starting up Netflix and getting cozy on the couch more often. I am talking really creating a night where you can talk, dream, and inspire each other and have that one on one time without the distractions. That can even be tough on a real date night out. Find things to do that maybe take you back to things you used to love to do together.

I love to create things with a theme.  These date nights at home give me the ability to do so. When my daughter is old enough to watch and enjoy these things I can see many family themed date nights with movies in our future. I love to plan also, and as a Mom I’ve lost the ability to be creative as often as I would like to be so this gives me the ability to do it a few times a month.

A lot of this all started when I created our 12 Dates of Christmas.Something that has been a tradition of ours for the last 6 years or more. I’ll share more about that when Christmas is closer. I’ve been picking my brain for sometime about the things we loved to do and a lot of our most favorite dates night take us back to Disney Date nights from our time in Florida. The first date night in My Date Night In series, is Toy Story themed.

When we lived in Florida we absolutely loved hitting up the parks for really fun yet simple date nights. One of our favorites was to hit up Hollywood Studios for Pizza Planet and Toy Story Mania. (It was best during the non busy times.) Of course we would hit the other parks too. The goal was to create that at home for us and I did just that!

So the making of this date night was combined of homemade pizza, a Sheriff Woody inspired drink we called ” There’s a Snake in my Boot”, White Chocolate Chex Mix, and the Nintendo Wii Toy Story Midway Mania game. We also decided to pop in Toy Story 3 when we tired out from the game.

The Sheriff Woody inspired drink was actually fairly simple. Add 1.5 oz of Bourbon into a cup, top with  Ale 8 One which is a soda from Kentucky that is kind of a mix of Sprite and Ginger Ale. You can find it here. The glass bottle is better if you just want to drink it but we stock up when we go to Kentucky. These are a tad pricey to order online but you can sometimes find them at a local Kroger or Harris Teeter. Even Cracker Barrel sometimes has them as  they have started to expand outside of Kentucky! Add a few gummy worms and you have a “There’s A Snake In My Boot.” If you don’t have these just use ginger ale.

The recipe for the White Chocolate Chex Mix can be found here. Its super easy and the perfect movie snack!

We had the best time being competitive with each other playing Toy Story Mid Way Mania. Sometimes it is easy to forget how much fun you can have. For the dinner portion we decided it would be a non family dinner  night. We were more than ok and we would have dinner just the 2 of us after our daughter was in bed. It was the perfect time for conversation which does not happen much at dinner anymore. We are both are lucky enough to eat while trying to make sure our daughter is fed, not attempting to find a way out of her high chair, or dumping her plate on the floor.

There are so many ways you can create these great date nights at home. Most of this one with our grocery budget or things we already have in the house so this can definitely be done on a budget. Make sure to stay tuned as more Date Night In’s are coming every Friday in the month of June!

*This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase something through my link I may  get a small commission from it.