Archive for the Christmas Category

Dec 1 2016

Christmas Advent Calendar

Hello December!

This month is a special one for many reasons. First and foremost it’s the month in which we celebrate our Savior’s birth! It’s a month full of traditions and celebrations, including my daughter’s first birthday….I can’t even believe how quickly this year has gone by and that I’m going to have a one year old!

I want to savor each and every day this month with my family, soaking up the sounds, smells and tastes of the season!  One of my favorite traditions and ways to make this month special is by creating an advent calendar.  When I was younger we’d always have one, whether it was one of those cardboard houses with the chocolates behind each window or one made from strips of construction paper to make a chain.

Keeping with tradition, I put together a new advent calendar for this year. I wanted to keep it simple and neutral, and that’s just what I did.  It was super easy and I know it’s already December 1st, but it’s not too late to make one yourself!  Just take a quick trip to the craft store (don’t forget your coupon!)


Here’s what you will need:

  • 24 muslin drawstring bags (found in the wedding craft aisle at Michael’s)
  • 1 star Christmas ornament (roughly the same size as the bags)
  • 25 mini clear Command hooks/strips
  • Stickers numbered 1 through 25 (or stencils or stamps and paint)
  • List of activities and small goodies to fill your bags with
  • Large chalkboard, canvas or wall to attach your bags to

You may find, like I did, that the muslin bags come in packs of 12.  I only needed 25 and wasn’t about to buy a third bag just to use one from it.  I decided to use a star Christmas ornament for Day 1 of my advent calendar.  You’ll then place stickers 2 through 25 on the muslin bags.  Attach command strip hooks to your chalkboard/wall/whatever surface you choose.  I decided to arrange mine in the shape of a Christmas tree.  My bags came with the strings tied in a knot.  I untied them and tied a bow keeping a small loop between the bag and the bow so I could hang from the hooks.  Also, this way the bags didn’t hand so low from the hooks.  Fill each bag with a fun activity to do that day of December or with a small little candy or gift.  For larger items, add a clue for where to find the gift in the little bag.  There you have it, and pretty inexpensive too!

Make this your own, keep it simple and work with what you have. If you have a bulletin board, hang the bags with push pins, or run strips of ribbon on your wall or backdrop and attach the bags to the ribbon with small clothespins.  You can see the advent calendar I made last year here.





Here are some ideas of activities you could include in your advent calendar:

  • Decorate Christmas Tree
  • Visit Santa Claus
  • Go For a Drive to Look at Christmas Lights
  • Decorate a Gingerbread House
  • Make Christmas Cookies
  • Watch a Christmas Movie – Home Alone, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, etc.
  • Pack a Shoe Box with Gifts For a Child In Need
  • Make Hot Cocoa
  • Go Christmas Caroling
  • Deliver Candy to a Neighbor

Can’t wait to experience the magic of Christmas through this little one’s eyes! She is excited for our Christmas Advent Calendar.


Wishing you the Merriest Christmas Season!

Signature - Alisa




Nov 28 2016

Our Etsy Shop!

Hello Everyone!  It’s been such a long time!  We have missed this space and all of you!  We hope that you all are doing well and had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  A lot has happened with both of us since we’ve updated you last.  We both had baby girls who are now one and almost one, both of us moved into new homes which with kiddos is no small feat!   Last year, after both having baby girls six months apart we took a little break from blogging, as you probably noticed. We have continued to find ways to be creative, and that’s how our new business, Alivia and Lillie, was born… Inspired by our sweet girls we started making headbands and bows.


We were excited to formally launch our business at a Holiday Open House a week ago and were so grateful for the wonderful turnout!  We’ve been working hard to get our Etsy shop up and running in time for the holiday season.  We are excited to say that it is now open!


Our headbands are one size fits most and made with a nylon band that is very comfortable on your little ones heads.  Our Christmas prints are perfect for upcoming Christmas photos or for stocking stuffers.



My Lillie girl is modeling one of my favorite bows….the Lillie bow!  This soft pink looks so darling!  And sweet Alivia is modleing our Cora bow.



We have so many cute patterns! I’m loving this sweet pink and black and white combo!  Mix and match and create a fun color combo to add to your little one’s collection!



We would be so honored to have you all check it out and if you have any feedback we would welcome that as well.  If you would like to email us your thoughts that would be wonderful!  Also, go check out and please like our Facebook page, so that you can be the first to know news about our Etsy shop! We are also on Instagram as well @alivia_and_lillie. We would love to have you follow us on our new adventure!  We are offering 20% off any purchase today for cyber Monday.  Enter coupon code CYBERMONDAY20. And we would love for your to share us with your friends!  We are so thankful for your continued support and encouragement.  We hope you have a wonderful week!


Nov 29 2015

Christmas Card Wreath

Happy Monday Everyone!

Hope you all had a wonderful joy-filled Thanksgiving with your families.  We are so thankful for each and every one of you that read our blog, send us emails and leave sweet and encouraging comments.  You all are the best!

Today we are participating in a Creative Christmas Craft Blog Hop and we have a super easy and inexpensive Christmas craft to share with you.  Let’s face it, you will be getting a ton of Christmas cards in the mail these next coming weeks and you only have so much room on the fridge or mantel to display.  So, why not make a Christmas card wreath to display your cards!

DIY Christmas Card Wreath

Materials Needed:

  • (1) 14 inch embroidery hoop
  • (9) mini wooden clothespins (1 3/4 inch long)
  • Wood glue
  • Ribbon
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

Christmas Card Wreath materials


Step 1: Using a ruler or sewing measuring tape, space out your clothespins evenly around the embroidery hoop.  You will want to alternate the clothespins so that every other clothespin opens in the opposite direction (1 inward, the next one outward).  Start with the clothespin at the very bottom of the hoop and position in in line with the screw at the top of the embroidery hoop.  If the hoop was a clock, the bottom clothespin would be at the 6:00 position.  Space 4 clothespins evenly to the right and left of the bottom clothespin.

Christmas Card Wreath Step 1

Step 2: Use a pencil and carefully mark the placement of each of your clothespins, in case they move before you secure them.  Carefully attach your clothespins to the embroidery hoop using wood glue.  Again, make sure to alternate the clothespins to that every other one opens in the opposite direction.  You can use a glue gun, however they will not be as secure as when using wood glue and may fall off when opening and closing the clothespins or when storing your wreath after the Christmas season.

Christmas Card Wreath Step 2

Step 3: Once your wood glue has dried (may take a few hours), tie a ribbon around the top of the embroidery hoop, covering the screw.  You will want to leave room between the hoop and the knot of the bow so that the bow doesn’t sit directly on the hoop.  This allows more space for your Christmas cards.

Christmas Card Wreath Step 3

Step 4: Tie a piece of twine to the ribbon to use to hang your wreath.

Christmas Card Wreath Step 4

Step 5: Clip your Christmas cards to your clothespins.  Instead of cards you can also use to display cute Christmas themed scrapbook paper or notecards!

Christmas Card Wreath by All In Good Twine

Christmas Card Wreath

There you have it!  Super simple right?  Now you have somewhere to display all those Christmas cards that will be pouring in soon!  Get creative and put your own spin on it: paint the embroidery hoop or add washi tape to the clothespins.  To hold even more cards, you can add more clothespins, or attach a second or third embroidery hoop to the first one.  You could even do 3 different embroidery hoop sizes to resemble a snowman.  You could use this same concept to create an advent calendar; instead of displaying Christmas cards, clip envelopes with numbers 1 through 25 and fill the envelope with an activity to do as a family.

Hope you try this out and make your own!  How do you like to display your Christmas cards?

Also, check out how to make our DIY Advent Calendar here!


Be sure to check out the rest of the crafts in the Creative Christmas Blog Hop by clicking on the links below!


Nov 6 2015

Christmas! {An Advent Book}

Hi Everyone!

I can’t believe we are into November already!  Christmas is right around the corner and I want to share with you a wonderful Advent Book that just came out this month!  It’s called “Christmas! The whole story of the God who loves” by Natasha Metzler.  This book is wonderful for the whole family and I love that it tells the story of Jesus’ birth starting at the very beginning in Genesis!  For each day, there is a very short (one minute) Bible story and a gorgeous illustration to go with it.  Below are some sample pages of the book.


Kids will love hunting for a little bug that is hidden on each page!


It reminds me a lot of the Jesus Storybook Bible that my family loves to read.  I really love how the author of this advent book shows how each story, even in the Old Testament, points back to Jesus.  The one word titles are very powerful.  I also love how every time the author mentions when God speaks she adds “Really great things happen when God speaks.”   I can’t wait to do read this advent book with my family this year, especially with how much my son loves Bible stories and is understanding more and more.

Here are some ideas I have for ways to incorporate this advent book into your Christmas season with your family:

  1.  This is a great supplement to an advent calendar.  It really puts the focus on Jesus.  Read the story first and then do your advent calendar.
  2. Read the day’s story at the dinner table before or after the meal and start a discussion with the family.
  3. Make a craft or activity to go with each day.  You can find lots of crafts to go with Bible stories through Pinterest.  We have really enjoyed these file folder games for preschool age kiddos.
  4. Act out the story with your family.
  5. Discuss, with your children, how the illustration on each page helps to tell that day’s story.
  6. Before reading the day’s story, show your children the illustration from the previous day and recap what happened.
  7. Use water colors to recreate the picture for each day or create your own picture to go with what stood out to you in the story.
  8. After reading the day’s story (for older kids) use the titles to say or write a summary or for younger kiddos, draw a picture.
  9. Each day when you read the story work on memorizing all of the titles of the chapters in order so that at the end you have a 25 word summary of the Christmas story.  This would be really cool to recite on Christmas!

Christmas!” is now available on Amazon.  Go buy a copy so you can start on December 1st!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

*affiliate links used.  Thank you to the author, Natasha, for providing me with a copy to review.  As always all opinions are mine.

Signature - Marissa

Feb 20 2015

The Rancho Bernardo Inn

I have been wanting to stay at the Rancho Bernardo Inn ever since I laid eyes on it, so I was so honored to be chosen as the December 2014 #INNfluencer for the RB Inn.  It is a hidden gem in the heart of North County San Diego.  Set nestled back in a residential area of Rancho Bernardo the Inn is a quiet retreat filled with luxuries to enjoy.  The grounds are gorgeous and include a golf course, ballrooms, restaurants, pools, and spa facilities.

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We were so excited to participate in their “December Nights,” which was a fun family event that included pictures with Santa, gingerbread cookie decorating, story time, music, snacks, and lots of beautiful Christmas decor and lights.

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As you can see we got our token picture with Santa 😉


My son really enjoyed decorating his gingerbread cookie.

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He enjoyed eating it too!

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Our room was beautiful, overlooking the golf course.

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My son loved the tent for him to sleep in provided by the hotel.  They even left him a new stuffed animal friend (now affectionately called Rainy in our family).  The RB Inn thought of so many great ways to make it special for families that came to enjoy the night.

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My sweet mother-in-law offered to take my son so that my husband and I could have the night to ourselves.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner just the two of us.  I didn’t have to cut anyone’s food, rush through dinner, or keep a little one entertained…it was wonderful!  We enjoyed every bite and sat for a long time talking and enjoying the atmosphere at the Veranda Fireside Lounge and Restaurant.  Their chips and guacamole was yummy and the salmon was amazing!  It was one of the best meals I have ever had!!  This was one of my favorite parts of our stay.






We ended the night cuddled up enjoying the fire….perfection!

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Mornings are beautiful and quiet at the Inn.  We enjoyed the Veranda’s breakfast buffet and once again took our time and enjoyed the views.

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It was fun to walk around the Inn and take in all the beauty it has to offer.

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Every once and a while my husband and I like to getaway just the two of us and the Rancho Bernardo Inn was the perfect spot!  We loved every minute!!

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If you are looking for a place to getaway and relax I highly recommend the Rancho Bernardo Inn.  You won’t be sorry!!!

*This was in collaboration with the Rancho Bernardo Inn.  As always all opinions are mine.

Signature - Marissa

Nov 21 2014

Gift Ideas For: The Guys

Hi There!

Continuing on with the holiday gift idea series, today is all about the guys in your life.  Am I the only one, or do you have trouble coming up with gift ideas for your husband, dad, brother, father-in-law, brother-in-law, grandpa…?  I feel like girls are a lot easier (probably because I am one :) ).  Guys seem to be a bit more difficult, but I’ve rounded up some of my favorite gift ideas to share with you.  Some are practical, and others a bit more fun.  Be sure to scroll all the way down, as I’ve listed a few more ideas that aren’t pictured.

Gifts for the Guys

1. Flannel Shirt  ||  2. Apple TV  ||  3. Beer Flight Set

4. Fossil Watch  ||  5. Fit Bit  ||  6. Fossil Sunglasses

7. Converse  ||  8. Leather Toiletry Case  ||  9. The North Face Quarter Zip Fleece

Other Ideas:

Clothing/Accessories: Baseball hat, belt, slippers, wallet

Tools: Drill, Shop Vaccum, tool chest

Kitchen/Cooking Equipment: BBQ tools, Keurig

Electronics: iPhone, video game, CD, DVD

Exercise Equipment: Weights, running shoes, activewear

Tickets to a concert, sporting event, etc.

Other: Magazine subscription, gift cards, book, daily devotional

• • • • •

Linking up again with Momfessionals,  A Little Bit of Everything & Grace and Love for Friday favorites.  Be sure to check them out!

Please share your guy gift ideas in the comments section; I’d love to hear them!  Have a fabulous weekend!

Signature - Alisa

Nov 14 2014

Gift Ideas For: The Hostess

Happy Friday!

I don’t know about you, but I am sooo looking forward to the weekend!  Hoping to cross some things off my to do list and we finally have an open weekend to do just that!

I thought I’d share some of my favorite gift ideas the weeks leading up to Christmas.  I’m starting out with hostess gifts, so you can get some ideas for your family or friends hosting upcoming Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year festivities!  You don’t need to spend a ton of money to buy really thoughtful and unique gifts.  All the gift ideas I am sharing with you cost between $10 and $25.  Many of these items currently have free shipping, so you can order online and you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home!

Hostess Gift Ideas

Tips to picking out hostess gifts: Buy something you would like to receive. Give something useful.  Look for a unique gift (everyone gets a lot of candy and bottles of wine during the holiday season) make your gift stand out!  Make it personal.  I don’t necessarily mean monogrammed, but consider: do they like to cook, entertain, craft?  What colors are in their home?  Giving one of these hostess gifts will surely get you invited back next year!  These items definitely don’t have to be just for hostess gifts.  They would be perfect for co-workers, neighbors, teachers, etc.

Santa: If you are reading this I wouldn’t mind if some of these pretty things ended up under the tree for me (P.S. I have the salt and pepper shakers.  P.P.S that cute Katygirl Designs Whimsical Calendar would look adorable on my desk :) )

 Click on the links below to find these products online!

While you are there, take a peak around…so many nice things!  It was hard to narrow down what I wanted to share with you!

1.  Gilded Thistle Nut Bowl • Anthropology • $12

2. Antique Silver Salt & Pepper Shakers • Pottery Barn • $25 (currently on sale for $20)

3. Heritage Catchall • West Elm • $19

4. Botanical Assorted Card Set • Rifle Paper Co • $16.00

5. Old Havana Mug • Anthropology • $12.00

6. 2015 Katygirl Designs Whimsical Calendar with Wood Stand • Katygirl Designs Etsy Shop • $23

7. Vintage Wood Serving Set • Pottery Barn • $19 (currently on sale for $15)

8. Quilted Mercury Hurricane • West Elm • $16 (small)

9. Winter Blossom Hand Cream • Anthropology • $10

Hope you got some ideas for hostess gifts for this holiday season.  What are some of your favorite hostess gifts you have received in the past?  What types of things do you like to give?  Share more ideas in the comments section below!

I’m linking up with Momfessionals, A Little Bit of Everything & Grace and Love for Friday Favorites!  Andrea over at Momfessionals shared some fun Elf on the Shelf ideas yesterday…be sure to check it out if you have kiddos, grand kids, nieces, nephews.

Signature - Alisa

Dec 20 2013

Simple Christmas Tablescape

Can you believe Christmas is less than a week away?  We are counting down the days!  As Christmas gets closer it’s time to think about the menu and table decor.  This can be a daunting task, but we have a simple Christmas tablescape idea to share with you today that is affordable and doesn’t require much effort.




We wanted to keep the tablescape simple.  We both like traditional colors with a touch of elegance and a hint of rustic charm.  Most of the things we used can be found in your home or your own backyard!  The only items we purchased were the dinner napkins which we did as a pocket fold and can be used for any occasion.




We used our mom’s Christmas dishes that she has had forever.  Love the look of the plaid pattern with the white dishes on top.  The glass stemware, candle holders and silverware add that touch of elegance.




The rustic elements like the wood table, the crate, and the pine cones is our favorite part of the decor.  The pine cones were from the great outdoors at no cost!  The greenery adds a soft and delicate touch.  You can see how to clean the pine cones here.  The table runner was a great find at HomeGoods…one of our favorite places!  It was only $12.99 and can be used year round.  Mason jars and glass vases were filled with votive candles and cranberry vase filler from Pottery Barn.




When we had the table set we thought there was just a little something missing.  Alisa came up with the idea of doing the greenery place card wreaths (we love wreaths as you can tell from reading our blog!).   The place cards were made from scrapbook paper that was made to look like a chalkboard and we wrote the names with a chalkboard marker.  (Side note:  The chalkboard marker has changed my life!  It is so much cleaner and easier to use than regular chalk!)  You could also use chalkboard spray paint on cardstock paper for a similar look like we did for our gift tags here and on our advent calendar.  It was the perfect touch to pull it all together.






Make sure to follow us: Marissa on pinterest and Instagram. Alisa on pinterest and Instagram.  We would love to follow you too!  Have a great weekend! 



Dec 19 2013

Last Minute Christmas Wrapping Ideas

Hello Everyone!  Christmas is right around the corner!  It came so fast this year!  We thought that today we would share some really easy wrapping ideas in case you have a date with your wrapping paper and scissors this weekend.  I (Marissa) never used to like to wrap.  It was always something I left to the end and was totally overwhelmed by.  This year I decided to have fun with it and start early!!  Alisa has always seen it as a creative outlet and enjoyed it.  Today you will see two different styles of wrapping.  We hope that you find some inspiration and infuse some of your own style into your wrapping this year.

I (Marissa) usually don’t buy Christmas wrapping paper because I like to have paper that I can use all year long.  I also like to keep the prints on the paper simple and basic and then add lots of embellishments (ribbon, doillies, cupcake liners, ruffled crepe paper, etc.).  I like to use things that I already have in my craft supplies and I also don’t spend a lot of time on the wrapping.  With a one year old this year there just isn’t time to spend on wrapping!

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Ruffled crepe paper is my new favorite thing!  It’s so easy to make (just shove the crepe paper through the sewing machine) and fun to do!  I found the cute green ribbon at JoAnn’s.
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The chevron tape is fancy duct tape I found at Target in the dollar bins awhile back.

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I love kraft paper!  The possibilities are endless!  I just hot glued some buttons on in the shape of a Christmas tree on the bag below.  I think it adds a lot.

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For this gift, I started to think outside the box :)  I sewed two pieces of scrapbook paper together, used a doilly, some ruffled crepe paper, and a little washi tape.  Super easy!

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In the two pictures below I used my chalkboard marker to add “snow” and the words “Let it Snow” on the bag.  I just thought the brown paper needed a little something!

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Who says you can only use red and green at Christmas time?!  I don’t have a little girl so I don’t get to use pink very often, so… my sweet little niece gets some pink tissue paper!

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Alisa always finds the cutest Christmas/winter wrapping paper!  This year she went with a simple and natural look with Kraft paper, burlap and twine.  Can you tell brown paper packages tied up with string is one of her favorite things?!  She went to Hobby Lobby this year to find wrapping supplies like jute twine, mini clothespins and the bows (which can be reused each year).   She purchased her wrapping paper from TJ Maxx and HomeGoods.  They have a great selection with really cute prints for a great price.  When we see a fun wrapping paper print we grab it!  She is so good at the finishing touches like her adorable chalkboard tags that she cut out with her Cricut.  She likes to spend more time on the fine art of wrapping…I think she got that from our dad! :)

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The Target dollar section had a great selection of Kraft gift bags.  Only $1.00 for a medium size gift bag or $1.00 for 2 small bags…you can’t beat that!

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I hope you’ve been inspired to get that wrapping done and have fun while doing it!  Check back tomorrow for a Christmas tablescape idea.  Happy Wrapping!





Dec 18 2013

Festive Holiday Appetizer & Mocktail

Today I have a fun, festive holiday appetizer and mocktail to share with you. Both are super easy and great for your upcoming holiday parties! I’m linking up over at The Lovely Cupboard and Schue Love. Go check out other great recipes and cocktails, or if you have a blog link up and share your ideas!

Chicken Salad Holiday Appetizer

This appetizer is perfect for Christmas. Serving the chicken salad on the apple makes a light, refreshing appetizer. They look like little holiday wreaths! The cranberries give a nice chewy bite and the almonds provide a nice crunch. The green onion adds flavor without being overpowering.




  • (1) 12.5 oz canned chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup dried & sweet cranberries
  • 1/8 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup raw sliced almonds
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples
  • Assorted Crackers




Add canned chicken to mixing bowl. Use fork to shred chicken.  Mix in remaining ingredients: mayo, cranberries, green onions and almonds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Core the apple, then slice the apple horizontally (as shown below). Spoon onto apples or crackers. Enjoy!




Tried & True Tips!

  • Make the chicken salad ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.
  • If you don’t have an apple corer (like me), you can use a knife or small round cookie cutter.
  • Cut the apples right before serving to prevent them from turning brown.
  • If you choose to serve over crackers, I recommend adding 1/4 cup chopped apple to the chicken salad. It adds great texture and flavor.
  • If you are like me, I was a little hesitant about canned chicken. My husband uses it all the time, so I finally tried it and I actually really like it. It’s a real time saver. We store our canned chicken in the fridge, so it is cold when we use it.


Cranberry Spritezer

This is the easiest mocktail you will ever make. The best part is that it’s for all ages and oh so festive for the holidays! Marissa and I have been making this simple beverage for years now and is great for any occasion.


  • Cranberry juice
  • Sprite
  • Lime
  • Ice
  • Sugar (optional)


Add ice to your glass. Poor equal parts cranberry juice and sprite. Add a squeeze of lime. Stir. That’s it!

Now, to make your glass festive: Squeeze lime juice into a shallow bowl. Poor sugar in shallow bowl (large enough to fit the rim of your glass). Dip the rim of the glass in the lime juice, then dip into the bowl of sugar. Add a slice of lime to the edge of your glass. I think the sugar is perfect for Christmas time. It reminds me of snow!  You could also add cranberries to the bottom of your glass, or if you make a large batch for a party you could float cranberries in your drink dispenser.



Holiday Cheer In The Blogosphere

Hope you decide to try one of these recipes for your next event, or even for dinner one night! Have a wonderful day!

Signature - Alisa