Thursday, December 19, 2019

Cute Gift Card Idea for Teachers

Today and tomorrow are my kids' class holiday parties and then they are out of school for two weeks!!! I'm so excited and can't wait to have them home over Christmas. Since I'm one of the room moms for their classes I'm helping with the teacher gifts from the class.  I know teachers love gift cards so instead of doing one large gift card I decided to put together these little gift card trees.

It's such a cute and easy gift card idea if you have a group going in together for one large gift.

I found the mini trees at Target this year (I got them from Walmart last year) and added a ribbon to the top.  Then I gathered gift cards to all of our teachers' favorite places.  We collected money from parents at the beginning of the year to help with things like class parties and teacher gifts, but you could even ask parents to donate a gift card towards the group gift. 

Some are smaller amounts ($5 to Starbucks or $10 to Chick-fil-a) and some are a larger amounts to their favorite restaurant or store.  I just try to get enough to fill up the tree!  I removed the cards from their packaging, write the value of the card on the back with a Sharpie, and tie them on the trees to be the "ornaments." 

These gift card trees are such an easy thing to put together and fun for the teachers to receive because not only are the getting gift cards to a lot of their favorite places, but they also get to keep the mini tree for their classroom or their home!

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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Downton Abbey Movie Party

We've been expecting you. Yes, you Downton Abbey Movie DVD. The Downton Abbey DVD was released yesterday, but by the grace of the Countess herself we somehow managed to get our hands on it a little early!

We've been excited ever since we heard there was going to be a Downton Abbey movie. Then it came and went in theaters this past Fall before we had a chance to see it. But that's okay - because watching things at home sometimes is so much better. Especially when good girl friends are able to join you.

We instantly texted all our of fellow Downton Abbey obsessed friends, and set out to have a viewing party worthy of our own royal visitors.


First, we love that the Downton Abbey movie is an extension of the show itself.  The movie features the same cast of characters set in the infamous home we all grew to love over the course of six seasons.

The movie picks up in 1927 with our favorite Crawley family members preparing for a royal visit from the King and Queen of England. Their (mostly) loyal staff gets in a tizzy because they learn that the royals have decided to bring their own chef and staff with them.

Cue the intrigue, drama, romance, and scandals that fill both the Downton Abbey downstairs and our hearts.  Certain details come forward about a beloved family member, and you are made to wonder if this is "the end" for Downton Abbey.

Without giving away any spoilers, the movie did an excellent job of giving us a little bit more closure than the series finale did. We loved it all and we still want more! (Pretty please?)

The movie has more than enough twists, turns, glamour and excellent story that if you haven't seen an episode, you can still enjoy it as a standalone. But be warned - you won't be able to stop with just the movie. So go ahead and clear your January so you can binge watch it all.


We just couldn't contain our excitement for the DVD release. We gathered everyone up and decided to do a little royal party plotting of our own. We could have had a regular old release watching party, but decided to put a little twist into it for our guests. Utilizing an idea from the movie plot, we asked that party attendees bring a Downton worthy recipe/dish to share with other guests.

After everything each dish had been sampled we put the recipes to a vote to see which downstairs dish was really worthy of the royal (movie viewers) table.

We set the table with flowers, linens, lace, silver, and crystal. We even dug out our old beauty queen and wedding crowns for the occasion. Guests then arrived and placed their dish on the table for submission. After each dish is sampled we put it to a vote to see which one was the crowd favorite.

There were submissions of appetizers, desserts, and a main course (cut to appetizer size). We had a hard time deciding because all were just so good!

Crawley's Cinnamon Cake won the majority vote though. It melted in your mouth without being overly sweet. And it complimented the sparkling juice we had flowing quite nicely.

We might have had a piece (or three) for breakfast the next day while we re-watched the movie.

Here's the recipe for you to enjoy while you watch your own showing of the Downton Movie DVD.


Serves - 15 to 20
Prep Time - 10 mins
Total Time - 60 mins


  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cups of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2/3 cups of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • optional: chopped pecans
For Glaze
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Generously grease a bundt pan (remember interior and outer walls).
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. 
  4. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, butter, and vanilla with a mixer until smooth and creamy. 
  5. Add eggs to the mixture and mix. 
  6. Pour the flour mixture into the batter with milk. Mix until smooth. (Mix in pecans if desired at the step.)
  7. Pour batter mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Test with a toothpick to see if center is baked through. 
  8. Remove cake from oven and let cool for approximately 10 minutes. 
  9. While the cake is cooling prepare the cinnamon glaze by mixing all ingredients together in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. It will be ready when the mixture is slightly thickened. 
  10. Drizzle glaze mixture over cooled cake. 
  11. Serve and enjoy! 

We loved getting to immerse ourselves into Downton Abbey at least one more time. Watching it with our friends and having a little fun along the way made it that much more enjoyable!

If you are a fan of the show you have to grab yourself a copy of the Downton Abbey Movie DVD and enjoy it all over again too! It is now available for purchase at Walmart and! 

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This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment , but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #DowntonAbbeyAtWalmart

Grab a copy of the new Downton Abbey Movie DVD from Walmart and host your own at home watch party today!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Bourbon Apple Cider Recipe

Happy Monday friends! We're one and a half week's out from Christmas Day, the school activities are a plenty, and the to do list doesn't seem to be shrinking as fast as we want it to. Our brains are running on caffeine and Christmas carols. 

And cocktails. 

'Tis the season! 

Today we have a yummy drink recipe for you because in the South bourbon makes everything better. From cocktail parties to surviving those long lines at the mall - this Bourbon Apple Cider will get you through. 

It's a holiday favorite just because it gives us a break from all things peppermint and cranberry. It's light enough to not make you feel like you're on a pure sugar rush - we like to save that feeling for the 9,398 holiday cookies we tend to consume from Thanksgiving to New Years. Yet it still has that winter bite to it that makes sharing it during the holidays the perfect holiday party drink. 

Or, you know, the perfect one to consume while wrapping that palette of presents that arrives daily from Amazon. We'll let you decide. 


Serves: 4
Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins


  • 16 ounces of apple cider
  • 8 ounces of bourbon
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 orange
  • optional garnish: cinnamon, orange slice & spring of rosemary
  1. Combine cinnamon and sugar on a plate.
  2. Cut an orange into wedge slices. Use wedge to wet the rim of the glass. Dip glass rim into sugar mixture. 
  3. In a shaker mix cider and bourbon over ice. Stir to combine. 
  4. Pour mixture into garnished glass over ice. 
  5. Serve and enjoy! 

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Friday, December 13, 2019

DIY Stamped Books

Earlier this week I shared about our Girls Craft Night (you can see the post HERE) and promised I would share the details about these DIY stamped books.  

I have seen similar products sold online or in local boutiques and always loved them, but didn't want to spend the money on them.  Well, I decided that I could probably make these myself and it was seriously the EASIEST project ever. 

Paperback books 
Stamps (I used this set
Baby wipes 
Greenery sprigs 
Wire cutters 

The first step is to find the books.  You may have a bunch of old books laying around your house that you could use for this, but if you want to purchase cheap paper back books the best place is the Dollar Store!!! 

I didn't even know they had books, but they do. Goodwill is another great option, but their books are between $2-3 and the Dollar Tree books are obviously only $1.  I stocked up on all that they had and actually made a trip to another Dollar Tree to grab some more. The only thing you need to make sure of is that they are thick enough to be able to fit the letter stamps.  

Once you have your books the next step is to literally rip the covers off. I know this seems bad and at first I felt horrible tearing off the covers. However, that gives you the rustic/farmhouse look and makes the spines blank to be able to stamp.  You can also rip off a few pages until you find the title or dedication page. Just something that is pretty plain to be on the top of your stack.

Now you are ready to start stamping. I found tons of inspiration on Pinterest and also just Googled "hand stamped books" to get some ideas. You could do anything from family names and holiday sayings to Bible verses or hometown locations.

We decided that we liked the look of using all lowercase stamps so that is what we used. I also found it helpful to write down what you are going to put on the books unless you are great at spelling backwards. I am not, especially after a glass of wine, so I wrote it down and then was able to work backwards...lining up all of the ends of the words with the end of the books.

The stamping was simple.  One tip I would share is that after getting the stamp wet with the ink from the stamp pad, wipe around the edges with a baby wipe or wet paper towel to get the excess ink off.  You just want to make sure the ink is on the actual letter, but not all around the letter or it will show up when you stamp the book.

After all the stamping is done, line up the books, wrap the jute twine around a few times and tie in a bow. We cut little pieces off of the greenery spray to tuck into the twine and just add a little something extra to the project.

This was such an easy project and so fun to make!  I feel like these stacks would be great as a personalized gifts for hostesses, a fun addition to a Christmas gifts, or just to make for your own home!

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Online Urgent Care

Compensation was provided by Amwell via Momtrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Amwell or Momtrends. 

I get sick around the holidays almost every.single.year. It never fails. I've had strep throat, ear infections, some crazy rash, a sinus infection, hives, and the list goes on and on.  I know it's because we are SO incredibly busy during the month of December and that I just run myself ragged until my body can't take it anymore.  

We just go, go, go with sports, school performances, holiday traditions, class parties, school performances, neighborhood gatherings and just about anything else you can think of! 

I usually wait to go to the doctor until I can't bare it any longer and by that time I feel worse than if I had just gone at the onset of the symptoms. To be honest though, I usually can't find a time to squeeze in a visit to the doctor. You'd think I would learn to slow down, but we are MOMS!!!  We don't really know how to do that and very rarely do we have the luxury of time on our side.

Amwell Urgent Care to the rescue!

If I had known about Amwell during all of those crazy holiday sicknesses before I most certainly would have used it!  Amwell is a telehealth company with a 24/7 urgent care service.  You can access doctors from your phone or computer in the comfort of your own home or when you are on the go. 

You can see a doctor, face-to-face, through the app or their website without an appointment! Through video, providers can look, listen, and engage with you diagnose health concerns and provide an effective treatment plan. Traveling for the holidays and someone gets sick?  Have a kid that can't stop vomiting in the middle of the night and need a little peace of mind? This is the perfect solution for you and your family if someone should come down with a minor illness or injury.

Common uses:
Cold and flu
Sinus Infections
Stomach bugs
Pink Eye

Obviously Amwell compliments in-person care and not for emergency situations, but having access to a service like this is a game changer for busy moms and on the go families.

What is the cost?

Each Amwell urgent care visit is only $69 which is a lot less than the national average cost for an office visit. They also accept most insurances, making the cost even less.   We have a coupon code for our readers!  Use code MAGNOLIA to get 50% off a $69 urgent care visit. We certainly hope that no one gets sick and needs this, but if you do we know you'll be happy to save a little money and a lot of time. The best part about the code is that it NEVER EXPIRES so you can use it whenever you may need it.   CLICK HERE to start your discounted doctor visit.

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Monday, December 9, 2019

Girls Craft Night!

Happy Monday!  I can hardly believe we are so close to Christmas.  It's such a crazy time of year for our schedules, but we were able to squeeze in a some crafting fun a few weeks ago.  You know all of those Pinterest projects that you always see and want to make, but never take the time to do?!?  Well, we decided to finally make it happen!

We crafted, ate snacks, drank wine, laughed, and had the best time!  Want to host a craft night of your own?  Here is what we did. Each person picks one craft to be in charge of for the evening. They buy enough supplies for everyone who will be attending the craft night and come with the knowledge of how to complete the project. You can have picture examples, step-by-step directions, or even just a "wing it" mentality...whatever works best for you.  Then you take turns completing each craft and end up going home with several different projects from the evening!

For our projects we painted mason jars with chalk paint and then distressed them and added embellishments, we hand-stamped books, and we made wooded bead garland.  I LOVED all three of our projects and how they could each be personalized and unique.

Today I'm going to share how we made the wooden bead garland and later this week I will share details about the stamped books! First I bought these wooden beads and needed to paint them.  You can paint them any color, but I wanted them to be neutral so I went with an off-white color.  I liked the idea of them not being a solid color and just looking more like a stain so I mixed about 1/2 paint and 1/2 water in a bowl. I just made sure each of the beads was covered and put them out on an old towel and patted them to take the excess paint off before letting them sit to dry.  I would recommend doing this step at least a day in advance. 

They ended up looking like this with sort of a whitewash look to them which I loved. For this project you will also need some jute twine.

These aren't the best pictures because we did our craft night late and it was so dark, but wanted to show you how to make the tassel for the end of the garland. First you wrap the twine around your hand about 10 times.  Then you will cut all of the pieces on one end and string another longer piece of twine through the other end. Lastly, you take a small piece and wrap it around the top to create the tassel.

These beaded garlands can be made any length you like!  I found that wrapping a small piece of tape around the end of the jute twine made it easier to string the beads before making another tassel and attaching it to the opposite end.  

There are a ton of YouTube tutorials that show each step, but this was a simple project and these beads can be put over books, put around a vase, laid on an entry table or used just about anywhere in your home!  I love the idea of making different colored ones for each holiday, so that might be my next project! 

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