Holiday Drink: Cranberry Tequila Fizz

The holidays means time with family and friends and I love experimenting with spirits.  A delicious and unique signature cocktail recipe can really elevate a casual holiday gathering and make for a fun conversation topic.

This cocktail uses classic holiday flavors like ginger and cranberries with a tequila twist.  It’s a simple process (a shaker or mason jar will do) with a big wow factor.

Easy Holiday Drink

Cranberry Tequila Fizz

1 Tbsp Cranberry Sauce

1.5 oz Tequila

4 oz Ginger Ale

Shake cranberry sauce and tequila together (in a shaker or mason jar).  Pour mixture over ice and top with ginger ale.

 

You can prepare these in advance but these are easy enough to make as needed, too.  Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Olive Oil Bread Dip

Bread. Oh, delicious, bread.  Plain, buttered, toasted or dipped. I’m a fan of it all.  This easy dip is similar to those you’d find when dining out at an Italian restaurant.  I am so excited to share this recipe using these ingredients to create a perfectly balanced olive oil dip recipe.  I received this product free from Moms Meet, May Media Group LLC, who received the product directly from the manufacturer.  As a Moms Meet Blogger I agreed to try this product and share my opinions (which, are, as always, 100% my own).

Olive Oil Dip

Farchioni olive oil has just a hint of a fruity, yet delicate, taste because it is a European EVOO, which works perfectly with the other ingredients in this recipe.  By using the best ingredients, like Farchioni extra virgin olive oil and freshly cracked pepper, you can create a nice appetizer at home.

Olive Garden Dip Recipe

Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves of garlic (minced)

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Mix ingredients well in a small bowl or ramekin.  Serve with cubed bread pieces (Italian or French bread, something with a nice crust).

This recipe can be modified depending on your taste.  I prefer more red pepper flakes, but my kids don’t like the extra kick.  It’s an easy enough recipe that I can happily make two batches!

 

Party Favors People Actually WANT!

I love parties.  Hosting, planning, decorating and celebrating!  Party favors are not a necessity but I love thanking our guests with a little something before they leave.  And the best kind of thank you is edible, if you ask me!

I have fallen victim to the little toys and the candy,  and don’t get me wrong, kids love those kind of favors, too.  But adults and kids love food.  Food that fits your party theme is an even bigger hit.  Which is why Cierra’s Bake Shoppe is the perfect place to get cookies for your guests.  You can serve themed cookies during the actual party, too, which is also a huge hit.  And then offer guests a packaged cookie as they leave!

Party Favors

At our ocean themed pool party over the summer we had sunglasses, fish, turtles and more.  The guests raved over how cute they were but loved the taste even more!!  Then, after the party we handed out the big pineapples (which a friend pointed out would be perfect for a Sponge Bob party!).  Cierra’s Bake Shoppe packaged them up for us, I didn’t need to do a thing!! They can even deliver (depending on location and order).

Ocean and Beach Themed Cookies

You might think offering these kinds of favors will be too pricey or more expensive than little toys and candy, but the truth is, Cierra’s Bake Shoppe is so affordable.   You can find them at Momma’s Organic Market on Saturdays or online and taste the delicious baked goods!  You can order custom cookies   They just revealed a new Pokemon cookie, too! Perfect for your little (or big) Pokemon fans.

Whether you are planning a party or just want some cute and tasty cookies, I definitely recommend Cierra’s Bake Shoppe!  The kids and parents love them!

DIY Ocean Themed Under the Sea Party Decorations

Party themes are so much fun, plus they help me focus while planning.  I’ve seen many variations of Ocean themed parties, like:

Mermaid Party

Under The Sea (or One-der the Sea for those first birthdays)

Beach or Pool Party

Sea Creature Party Decorations

These easy DIY decorations are not only inexpensive, they are fun, too!  I used these decorations in the entryway, so guests would see them as soon as you walk in and on an empty wall in the dining room.  It helped tie the theme together and use budget-friendly decorations.

You Will Need:

Tape

Construction Paper

Green Crepe Paper

I looked up some sea creatures online and did a rough sketch on construction paper.  You can always trace the outlines to make it even easier!  I did a few kinds of creatures in a couple different sizes and cut them out of construction paper in all different colors.  Once I was satisfied with the number of animals, I started taping them up to the areas I planned to decorate.

Next I ripped (you can cut if you prefer a neater look) strands of crepe paper.  I measured by eye decided approximately where I wanted the ‘seaweed’ to go.  I placed each strand by taping the bottom down near the floor board and loosely twisting.  I secure the top with another piece of tape.

Sea Party Decorations

Make sure to take a step back to admire your work.  You may want to move some creatures to get the desired look.  You may, like me, decide you want more sea creatures and add them after. Either way, it’s a nice addition to any ocean/sea themed party.  One of our little guests exclaimed “It’s like the inside of an aquarium!” when she arrived.  Precisely.

 

 

Disneyland Vacation (Tips and Tricks)

We love to travel.  The travel bug caught me at a young age and my kiddos are no different. So a while back, we started saving for a debt free (no credit card) trip to Disneyland.  Many gift cards and monthly deposits later we were ready.  We set off on our road trip for four nights and three days in the parks.  Hopefully, you follow along on Instagram for up to date pictures and tips!

Disneyland Tips

 

 

If you’ve been around a while, you know we started saving for a debt free (no credit card) trip to Disneyland.  Many gift cards and monthly deposits later we were ready.  We set off on our road trip for four nights and three days in the parks.  Hopefully, you follow along on Instagram for up to date pictures and tips!

 

Food

We definitely went on a budget vacation but I tend to like to splurge a bit when it comes to trips.  In this case, splurging met character dining and restaurant reservations in the park.  Eating in the parks can really add up but it was so worth it.  Each restaurant was pretty accommodating when it came to my little vegan so don’t worry too much about dietary restrictions.  We did research before arriving but don’t be afraid to ask!

Disneyland Food

Tip: Make a late dinner reservation at the Carnation Cafe for right around when the evening parade starts.  They don’t allow people to stand in front of the patio so the view is pretty nice and being able to avoid the crowds made it a fabulous experience for us all.

Souvenirs

We gave each kiddo a budget for souvenirs (using gift cards we’d been given throughout the year) and let them shop on the last day.  In addition to their own gift cards, I picked up some Disney items on sale, like this lightsaber, and brought them along, hidden in my suitcase.  Each day the kids found these little souvenirs in our hotel room. We also tried our hand at pin trading.

Tip: I picked up some Disney pins online (be careful of fakes or scrapers, but you can find great deals online) and the kids loved finding pin boards in shops and restaurants.  We purchased some mystery pins in the park, too, and traded between ourselves.  I highly recommend this activity; pin trading was a really fun experience!

Hotel

Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel

We stayed at a wonderful Good Neighbor hotel within walking distance, Hotel Menage.  It isn’t right across the street but it is down the street and the price is so reasonable.  Accommodations were clean and friendly and the view of the Disneyland fireworks is one of the best aspects of this hotel.  If the walk proves too much (I mean Disneyland is ALL about walking) Hotel Menage is right on the ART line, in fact, it was the last stop on the way to Disneyland, making it super fast to get to the park.  My husband and I agree, we’d definitely stay at this hotel near Disneyland again!

Tip: Hotel Menage has a 24 hour pool (that is heated at night) which is the perfect way to end a long day of traveling!

 

The kids are still talking about all the amazing things they say and experienced on our fun adventure.  I’m so glad we were able to take them and have zero debt involved.  Disneyland can be pricey but with a plan and a budget you can make it work and make some amazing memories.

Vegan Chocolate Cookies

Healthy Vegan Cookies

My teenager recently became vegan.  While the rest of our home remains omnivores (with a love for meat), I still make sure she’s able to enjoy dessert and special treats as much as possible.  My husband called me the other night while I was at a meeting at the kids’ school and asked what, if anything, was for dessert?  I had pudding ready to go for the boys, but was stumped at what to offer our little vegan.  I joked with my husband, “Name a dessert without dairy?  I dare you!”.  It is tougher than you think!  With a bit of playing around, I came up with this recipe using substitutes for the dairy, sugar and eggs in most cookie recipes.

 

Avocado Vegan Cookies

What You Will Need:

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Vegan Chocolate Cookies
Course Dessert
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Course Dessert
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1 avocado, peeled and mashed well

1/2- 1 cup agave nectar (or honey) depending on taste and how sweet you want these

1 tsp baking soda mixed with 1 tbsp of white vinegar  (this is an egg substitute)

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup (or MORE!) vegan chocolate chips

1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix mashed avocado, agave nectar (these won’t be very sweet unless you add the full cup and even then they are still semi-sweet) and egg substitute (1 tsp baking soda and 1 tbsp vinegar).

Add cocoa powder and baking soda.

Lastly, add those chocolate chips.

Spoon dough onto parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Vegan Chocolate Cookies

 

Screen Time Check List: Free Printable

Now that summer is here we know that the kids will be asking for screen time.  To curb the constant questions asking for video games and TV I created this free printable.  This makes it easy for kids to try other forms of entertainment and fulfill responsibilities before their precious screen time.

Summer Activities for Kids

 

We’ll be posting it on the wall of the playroom and when they ask I’ll direct the kids to it.  Hopefully, it’ll help keep screen time down this summer and keep the kids accountable for some of their own free time during the summer holiday.

Free Summer Printable

What do you do to ensure your kids don’t spend too much time on the table, TV or playing video games?

Welcome to Custom Built Mom

I am certainly no super mom, but I’m doing the best I can for my family. We all are.Arizona Blogger

I started Custom Built Mom to share my experiences on this journey we call life.  I have an incredible family and some stories, ideas, crafts, recipes and maybe even some rants I think most moms can relate to.

As a wife and mom I know how busy our days can get.  I know the many hats you wear, I wear them, too!  I understand how stressful, yet completely satisfying, a single day in your shoes can be.  Custom Built Mom is a place to learn, share and inspire each other.  We are all uniquely made from our own experiences for our own little families.

Here are just a few of the great things you’ll find here on Custom Built Mom:

• Local events and businesses

• Recipes and Food

• DIY attempts and crafting

• Travel tips and experiences