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Peppermint Swirl Hot Cocoa

by Home Heart Strings

Peppermint Swirl Hot Cocoa

Try this oh so yummy hot cocoa recipe made with peppermint!


1/3 cup of chocolate chips
4 cups milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 peppermint stick


Place the chocolate chips in a sauce pan. Pour the milk over the chocolate. Place the pan on medium low heat and cook stirring constantly until the chips just begin to melt. Add the cocoa powder and sugar. Stir until incorporated into the melting chocolate. Dump in the peppermint extract. Turn the heat to medium high and stirring continuously cook the mixture until it begins to boil and the mixture is smooth. Pour into warm mugs and garnish with a peppermint stick.



Finding Creative Gifts for Kids at Christmas


Even with more than two months to go before Christmas, people are starting to get excited about the holidays once again.  When Christmas is talked about getting gifts for kids is an automatic addition to the train of thoughts.  It’s not just about looking for great presents but also finding the best one for the receiver.  Sometimes selecting the right gift can take some time and effort amidst all the nice toy displays that attract your attention.  With the many innovative toys out there you may find it a difficult task to choose the best one there is. 

It is a matter of deciding which will be the one that the kid you are giving the gift to will most enjoy.  Make the holidays more special by giving Christmas gifts to kids that are not too common but something that they can really enjoy and at the same time boost their talents and skills.  Children even at the tender ages can decide for themselves which toys they are more inclined to like.  One can observe them and realize that the toys they favor are the ones that they are most fascinated with.  Through this observation, as a giver you know which gifts to choose from by the time you decide to buy them.

If you are planning to gift a boy, you are more inclined to purchasing toy cars, trains, remote control air swimmers, sports balls, and other easily displayed presents for boys.  But there are also cool gifts for kids that can enhance their creativity like the Lego building blocks, musical instrument that they like such as guitar, organ or drums.  You can also help them in the development of their motor skills with bicycles or tricycles and other life size play pens. 

For the little girls there are also creative presents you can come up with.  Girls even at a young age love colors and accessories so an accessory making kit as a Christmas gift will be greatly appreciated.  Though the usual character dolls are always welcome, they can be common gifts received by girls.  Other gifts can be baby dolls or playhouse items that will increase also their creative juices as they pretend during play time.

There are also creative gifts that can be both enjoyed by boys and girls.  For kids that have artistic talents, art books or art supplies are a great way to improve such talents.  Also, dessert making kits may be unusual gifts for kids but will definitely spark the cooking talents in the girls and even in the boys.  Other creative gifts with an educational appeal can also be scrapbook kits, activity books like coloring or drawing books, puzzles, interactive books and other toys that enhance the creative juices of the kids.

For a gift giver, it’s usually the thought that counts but when giving to a kid, it goes beyond that.  What you give can also affect even a little of his or her growth as a child.  So make the most of your Christmas shopping especially when buying gifts for kids and go out of your way to be as creative as you can be.




Tips on Getting Christmas Gifts for Kids


With the holidays fast approaching, people are looking forward to family gatherings and starting to make their list on Christmas gifts for kids.  No matter how the economy situation is, giving gifts during Christmas especially to the kids is a tradition that is hard to break.  It is not so much as being materialistic but about sharing with each other the blessing of family and being together even just once in a year.  But choosing the right gift for a kid may be more of a dilemma as there are many toys to choose from.  To lessen the confusion, here are tips to keep in mind while making your holiday shopping.

Get to know the child you are giving the gift to.  If you are gifting a niece, nephew or a friend’s child, know the likes of the kid.  Even at their young age, a child may start to manifest what he or she likes especially during playtime.  Spending time with the kid will give you a clue as to what she or he loves doing.  The child may be musically inclined, a sports lover, art enthusiast and many more and you can base your gift with the kid’s dominant talent or skill.

Select a toy that will be enjoyed for a long time.  As you now know the child’s main interest, find a toy that can be played with for a few years.  If the child you are giving to is aged 3 give a piano that is for 4 and up.  Sports balls that are made as Christmas gifts for kids can be the junior sizes so as to practice the skills of the kid as early as possible.  Allow the child to grow with the toy and not just have fun with it for a few months unless of course if the toy entails small parts that are not good for small children.

Be creative in choosing a gift but you can stick with the classics.  There are many manufacturers of toys today that the variety of toys is sometimes just too much already.  But in giving a Christmas present, you can be creative as much as you can but you can also stick to the classic.  Like if you want to enhance the child’s development, you can choose building blocks but go for the classic Lego, clay toys and the like.  It’s creative but educational for the kid.

Add a book or other parts if you feel your toy gift is not enough.  After you have finally chosen the Christmas gifts for kid and you still feel that it’s not adequate enough, add a book or two.  You can choose a book with a story, for coloring or drawing.  Learning books may also be one of your selections if you want.

With these tips you are on your way to be a favorite gift giver of the child as you made effort in getting the appropriate Christmas present.  What’s more it does not hurt buying early even if the price may be a bit higher than when it is on sale.  You can still find cheap Christmas gifts for kids before the Christmas rush.  Chances are you have more choices and you avoid the stress that comes with shopping when everyone else is also doing theirs.




Fabulous Homemade Christmas Presents for Girls


Even with the economy down and the holidays fast approaching, Christmas presents for girls are still expected.  For parents that want to provide as much to their daughter as possible and want them to experience a great celebration during Christmas, it’s not about the price that matters.  What matters most in the holidays is the thought of sharing even when everybody thinks there’s nothing much to share and being able to be with the family.  Most often during the whole year, parents tend to try to make ends meet and work hard to put three square meals a day.  So at the end of the year it is fitting to just enjoy the Christmas celebration with each other even with gifts that are homemade but created from the labor of love.

For the creative mom, you can try out your hand sewing up clothes for your girl or girls.  You can try doing a match with one of your dresses so all the girls in the family have the same outfit at least in one of the holidays.  Or if you do have that extra creative juice, you can also make clothes for the dolls of the little girls that matches also the girls’ clothes.  Doing so makes the girls feel that you also are involved in their play time.

If you are crafty, you can build a doll house for your little girl.  Or if you do not have enough materials, you can make sets or components of the house that you can afford to make someday.  Like the dining sets, kitchen furnishings, living room furniture, bedroom fixtures and more.  Girls love to have these little furnishings to complement them in the make believe pays with their dolls.  Christmas presents for girls need not only be found on the store but can also be produced with your hands and your artistic talents.

You can also opt to bake fancy cookies for your little girls wrapped or stored in jars that are attractive to look at.  You can use cookie cutter to give the cookie different shapes, add colored candies to make them look more pleasing to kids’ eyes.  Add up some ribbons, labels, lace or other artsy stuff to make the cookie jar more personalized to the girls’ fancy and liking.  Glue on some pictures or post stickers of the favorite cartoon characters of the girls. 

If you are not the one who can sew things up, build dollhouses or bake cookies you can simply ask for friends or relatives help.  You might even give them the same ideas on homemade but cool presents for girls this Christmas.  With more people involved in making these gifts you can make the load lighter and have fund creating things or baking cookies.  It can even be a start of a business idea for the future.  But whatever you choose to make and gift your little girls remember that it’s not the price that makes a present standout rather on how much effort and love you put into it.