m.o.mLiving:ENTERTAINING ~> Sweets, Treats and Holiday Fun for All M.O.Ms to Conquer

I love the Holiday Season!  The house is decorated, lot’s of family reunions, and most of all parties and kid-like fun with lots o' treats!

Here are some very m.o.m friendly ways to enjoy the 'sweet' holiday season and some new traditions to enjoy with family. 
Capture the times now in print! With the virtual world, it's so easy just to post pictures and send an email update, etc... but I much more enjoy flipping through an album and reading comments to remember that holiday, year, or special occassion and how we celebrated it with my family & kids.  It's a keepsake.

This year we received this sack of 'reindeer treats'.  So, on Christmas Eve we are going to sprinkle the treats around the yard and it may just also help Santa find his way to us!

Playing outside in the cold is fun because we get to come back in and enjoy some hot cocoa!  My boys can tolerate 'mint' this year, so we fill up 'daddy's' espresso cups to have 'cool- daddy' cups, add a few marshmallows and hang a candycane treat (&watch it melt). 

We also cheat on busy days and go for the pre-made holiday cookies and yogurt covered tree pretzils.  Makes for a last minute playdate easy to put together.

With plenty of advanced noticed though and you need reinforcements for a great treat during the holiday party season, our good friends at Better Bit of Butter Cookies are the yummy answer!  Check out these holiday designs!

For more cookie options: http://www.betterbitofbutter.com/

Now for those M.O.Ms who want to take advantage of the 'naptime' and channel their inner 'Martha', speaking of, MarthaStewart.com has a very easy and adorable cupcake you (& the kids) can master!

The cupcakes can be baked a week ahead and frozen, but decorate them no more than a day before serving. Set up an assembly line, and put kids in charge of affixing candy eyes, gumdrop cheeks, and other trimmings. Pack the cupcakes in a shallow plastic container, and stuff crumpled waxed paper in between. Then dole them out and watch kids marvel for a second before opening wide!

This snowman wears a fine winter hat: a chocolate-covered mint beret. His plump figure is two marshmallows -- cut a slice off the top one and squish to make it smaller. Dabs of icing hold parts together. His eyes are chocolate sprinkles (poke holes first with a wet toothpick), and his nose is cut from a gummy fish.

Now, as the site proclaims, Your Guide to Entertaining in Style, Courtney from Pizzazzerie has made it very easy for all of us M.O.Ms to do just that!  With her guidance and style, we too can master the art of the Holiday Gingerbread House (in this case a graham cracker house)!  Below is Courtney's DIY tips for us M.O.Ms, so enjoy.

Save your old milk cartons or any sturdy cardboard boxes which become the base for each gingerbread house. Use either hot glue or Royal Icing to glue the crackers to the box. The top of the milk carton becomes the roof; however, for added support, cut a little larger rectangle out of heavy cardboard and hot glue this as the roof. Don’t put crackers on the roof. After all the graham crackers are glued to the sides of the box, you can outline the roof and sides with Royal Icing Glue and let harden overnight. An inexpensive cake decorator works fine to decorate your house. When the icing outline has hardened, make another batch of icing. Smear icing on the roof first and then place candy into this icing. Continue decorating the sides and front until the house has enough candy. Jellybeans, M&M’s, peppermint candy canes, cinnamon red hots, gumdrops, small cookies (teddy bear grahams) and Christmas ribbon bows. The possibilities here are infinite, and your own imagination will kick in as your architectural skills expand. By the time you finish this project you will be well on your way to becoming a gingerbread house queen! Let the icing harden overnight after you complete your house.

These houses can be stored after Christmas and used for several years. It is also a wonderful activity for young kids, when you make the houses and pipe the edges several days before needed. All the kids have to do is decorate, an opportunity they will love. Have plenty of icing and candy and let the fun begin. These houses are a child’s delight.

Royal Icing Glue
2 large egg whites
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water

Beat egg whites and water until foamy. Add sugar and beat until fluffy with soft peaks. The recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups of icing. If icing is not stiff enough, just add a little more sugar. If too stiff, add a little water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Since it dries quickly, keep the icing covered with a damp cloth while working. Do not make too far ahead.

A 9-inch wide and 14-inch tall graham cracker gingerbread house makes an outstanding centerpiece for a dining room table. Using a cardboard box, construct the size you desire. It’s also fun to make a tea cookie gingerbread house for each guest. Remember that an unexpected gift at an unexpected time always touches the heart. My mom made her first big gingerbread house when we lived in Charleston, SC. We lived in an old Charleston single house, and my five-year-old brother wanted to make “his” house. During the first night of drying, the house gave way due to the weight of the candy and was leaning sideways by the next morning. As my Mom said, “My son thought it was perfect because it looked just as if it had been through the great Charleston earthquake.” Since then I have made hundreds of gingerbread houses and realize they don’t have to be perfect, but we do learn from experience.

For other gingerbread DIY options- visit Pizzazzerie

Feel free to comment and share your Holiday Traditions, treats and sweets with us M.O.Ms.
Happy Holidays and Cheers to a Successful New Year!

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