Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

The Best Halloween TV Episodes to Stream Now

Thursday, September 21st, 2023

Discover the best Halloween TV episodes and where to stream them now. From heists to haunted houses, these Halloween shows deliver hilarious fun for viewers.

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

When I was little, I started having nightmares. My mom eventually realized they were caused by something she’d allowed me to watch on television. The terrifying show? Scooby Doo.

I’m no longer scared by a silly cartoon, but I could only watch one season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer before I got too scared. 

I don’t see horror movies in the theater, I don’t read Stephen King novels, and when our local amusement park starts playing its “fright night” commercials every year, I lose my mind because HOW DARE THEY?

Suffice it to say, I’m not really here for the scary parts of Halloween. But the candy bars and costumes? 

Oh yeah, that’s my jam.

I love dressing up my kids and seeing other kids’ clever and cute costumes. Sometimes I even dress up with them.

And, obviously, I’m in it for the candy. And the pumpkins. And don’t forget It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! (where to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown full movie)

But luckily for scaredy cat couch potatoes like me, that’s not the only Halloween fun to be found on TV.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As the licensing deal with Netflix expired on your favorite sitcoms, we have updated this list on where to stream these shows in 2023 with a Halloween Cheat Sheet with season and episode names.

Browse today’s updated list of Halloween episodes and where to stream them.

The Best Halloween TV Episodes to Stream Now

Skip the scary movie, pop some popcorn, and join me on the couch for these sitcom Halloween episodes.

Join your favorite characters for costume mishaps, ghostly fun, and non-stop laughs. It's a scream-worthy season you won't want to miss!

EDITOR'S EDITIONS

The MomAdvice editors curated these additional Halloween sitcoms that you might be searching for.

 Tell Me: What Halloween sitcom episode do you watch every year? Are we missing anything on this list?

The Best Halloween TV Episodes to Stream Now
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How a Kindle Page Turner Remote Improved My Reading Life

Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

This remote control Kindle Page Turner is perfect for reading with hand pain. Learn how to use this gadget with your Kindle Paperwhite or the Kindle app.

How a Kindle Page Turner Remote Improved My Reading Life

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve dedicated a post to a single product, but the Kindle Page Turner is the kind of gadget that deserves its own post. 

How a Kindle Page Turner Improved My Reading Life

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Hand Pain

This is your reminder that Instagram is an optical illusion- this is my Glamour shot with a chronic illness. This is not for sympathy, but it was important to offer a real user perspective for today’s post.

Longtime readers know I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which affects my joints and causes chronic pain. An ongoing problem that has increasingly become harder to navigate is the joint pain in my fingers. 

I can no longer hold a book comfortably, so I’ve been troubleshooting my reading life with various gadgets to make reading easier.  

reading tools for hand pain

Many readers have asked that I share all of the tried-and-true items that have helped my reading life (scroll down for a full list).

As someone who would refer to herself as a “professional reader,” I have to read for longer periods of time than an average reader.

In addition to today’s post, I am hosting a Book Gang podcast on Literary Wellness with Chronic Pain with Alexandra Orfanide, Creator of The Hypermobility Helpline Podcast & Osteopath on November 10th to discover new ways to manage reading with chronic pain. I will update this list with her suggestions after we record.

For now, the Kindle Page Turner is new to my arsenal of tools but has singlehandedly made even my worst joint days manageable with reading.

This tool allows me to change the placement of my fingers on this remote based on which joint is experiencing the least amount of pain.

I wanted to explain how this gadget works for you today! 

Kindle Page Turner Remote

What is a Kindle Page Turner?

This remote control allows you to turn pages without touching the screen, making it a convenient option for those who require a hands-free approach to reading. 

The demonstration for this Booktok reading sensation is that it is usually paired with a reader cozied under a blanket, clicking the remote while lying in bed.

What I Love About the Kindle Remote:

This ergonomic remote stays charged with a USB charging cord, which lasts for a week on a single charge. 

The remote itself does not require charging, but the sensor that is clipped to your gadget is charged with the cord.

What impresses me the most about this tool is that the remote is unbelievably light, so light, in fact, that I’ve been known to walk around my house all evening with the remote still attached to my wrist.

As someone with wrist issues, this element alone made this gadget a winner. 

Kindle Remote

The biggest win for hand pain sufferers or people with carpal tunnel is using this in either hand and selecting which finger needs to do the page turning for that day. 

I will switch from the thumb to my trigger finger or other digits when I’m having a difficult day.

Page-turning is quick and pushing the large button doesn’t take too much finger strength.

Kindle Page Turner

What I DON’T Love About This Kindle Remote:

This device is imperfect in its design construction, and I want to share my minor grievances with it.

If you have hand pain, getting the wristlet threaded for the first time will require assistance.

The holder must be threaded through with a pin and requires a steady hand to achieve.

As someone who lacks fine motor skills, assembling it took me a long time. It surprises me that this element does not come pre-assembled for users.

The page-turner remote only moves forward, not backward, so you must swipe if you need to manually reverse direction.

The biggest hurdle is that the device placement takes a little getting used to. It will hide a word of text, typically wherever you place it. 

I use context clues to decipher.

Sometimes, I fill in my own words, especially if the book is terrible.

Kindle Page Turner

Quick Tips for this Kindle Page Turner Remote:

Keep in mind, if you have a case with a large lip, you may need to pop it off to use this ebook remote.

I use a slim origami Kindle case, so I haven’t encountered that issue with my current setup. 

It would be best to position this lower than where you would tap to access your Kindle menu. If you set this too high, it will go back to your Library, and you must confront how many books you have bought and still need to read.

Once you find the optimal placement, you are off to the races.

Kindle Remote Page Turner

How to Use a Kindle Remote Page Turner

Let’s walk through the process of pairing your Kindle Page Turner Remote for the first time.

Be sure to scroll down for more fun reading gadgets!

Step 1: Check Compatibility Before Purchasing a Kindle Page Turner

Before purchasing a Page Turner Remote, ensure it is compatible with your reading device.

While I use this, specifically for my Kindle Paperwhite, the remote control can also be used on an iPad, Android tablet, or Barnes and Noble Nook. 

If you use the Scribd app, Libby app, or Kindle app for reading with your wireless device, this device should be compatible once you have opened up your book for reading. 

Step 2: Pair the Remote with Your Kindle

Enable Bluetooth: On your Kindle device, go to “Settings” > “Bluetooth & Wireless.” Make sure Bluetooth is turned on.

Pairing the Kindle Page Turner

Put the Remote in Pairing Mode: Follow the instructions provided with your Kindle Page Turner Remote to put it in pairing mode. Typically, this involves holding down a button until a light indicator blinks.

Discover Devices: On your Kindle, tap “Pair a New Device.” Your Kindle will start searching for nearby Bluetooth devices.

Select the Remote: When your Kindle discovers the remote, select it from the list of available devices to pair them.

Confirm Pairing: If prompted, confirm the pairing on both your Kindle and the remote.

Here are some frequently asked questions about Kindle page-turning remotes: 

Does the Kindle Have an Auto Page Turner? 

Kindle devices primarily rely on manual page turning, either by tapping/swiping the touchscreen or using physical buttons if equipped with them.

That is why a remote can be a helpful device for people with hand pain. 

Book Gang Podcast

Do You Have Any Page-Turners for My Page-Turning Remote?

I host the Book Gang podcast that celebrates debuts, under-the-radar books, and backlist selections!  We host an author or literary hero to help co-host our shows. 

Each episode features a page-turner book list. That’s a beautiful place to start! 

The Best Prime Reading Guide 10 Free Kindle Books

Do You Have Resources for Free Kindle Books?

I am the queen of free Kindle books and how to get them. Be sure to check The Best Prime Reading Guide with Ten Free Books you can borrow if you have Prime. 

Don’t forget to take advantage of the Kindle First Reads program that allows Prime members to access and purchase new books a month before they are officially released to the public! 

You can check this landing page for monthly Kindle First Reads recommendations.

If you don’t have Prime, the library or my The Best Daily Kindle Deals list is a wonderful spot for readers on a budget. 

Below I am sharing my favorite reading tools for hand pain. Sending love and comfort to any reader who faces these kinds of challenges!

Reading Tools for Hand Pain

The Best Reading Tools for Chronic Pain

You can read more comfortably beyond the Kindle Page Turner! These are the items that help me the most with reading and chronic pain. As a professional reader with hand pain, I rely upon these items daily.

Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

TELL ME: What reading tools help you with chronic pain? If you have tried any of the devices mentioned, I’d love to hear your experience with them.

The Best Gifts for Kids Who Have Everything

Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

Are you searching for the best gifts for kids who have everything? This unique gift guide offers ideas for gifts for older kids, toddlers, and preschoolers.

The Best Gifts for the Kids Who Have Everything

Welcome to our updated 2023 gift guide for the kids who seem to have everything.  Cue the confetti! 

You’re in the right place for great gifts that I don’t think you’ll find anywhere else. 

Our comprehensive gift guide has compiled a curated selection of unique and fun gift ideas for kids of all ages that are perfect for birthday gifts, special occasions, or just because. 

Whether you have teens, tweens, toddlers, or preschoolers, we’ve covered you with many exciting gift options.

So dive in and discover some of our favorite gifts for your kiddos that we also believe are fun for the whole family. 

The Best Gifts for the Kids Who Have Everything

Activate Your Rakuten App First

Just as a reminder, if you are on a budget, I DO recommend that you sign up with Rakuten to do your shopping. This service will give you cash back on all your qualifying purchases.

If you want to read more about this shopping app, head here for an in-depth review of what Rakuten offers.

If you want $40 and plan to get shopping, this should automatically deposit $40 in your account for purchases(sorry- new customers only!).

Here are my suggestions for this year!

Gifts For Kids Who Have Everything

GIFTS FOR KIDS WHO HAVE EVERYTHING UNDER $25

Browse these unique gift ideas for kids under $25.

GIFTS FOR KIDS WHO HAVE EVERYTHING UNDER $50

Browse these kid gifts under $50!

GIFTS FOR KIDS UNDER $100

Browse these kid gifts under $100.

GIFT IDEAS FOR TEENS & TWEENS UNDER $25

Browse these unique gifts for teens and tweens under $25

GIFT IDEAS FOR TEENS & TWEENS UNDER $50

50

Shop My Gift Guides

Don't miss these other great gift guides!

Unique Gift Ideas for Kids from MomAdvice.com
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Retirement Gifts for Men They Will Love and Use

Monday, September 11th, 2023

This gift guide features the best retirement gifts for men that they will love and use. These gifts for retired men include ideas for adventure, travel, and fun.

Retirement Gifts for Men

This oddly specific retirement gift list has been one of the most requested by our readers. 

I wanted to have a spot to point to friends and family, and hope you’ll enjoy these thoughtfully curated gifts. 

While many lists I’ve found are filled with clutter and gag gifts, these recommendations lean into style and are gifts that they will love and use over the years. 

So, join me in honoring this milestone and finding the perfect way to say, “Congratulations on your well-deserved retirement!

Retirement Gifts for Men

Whether they're looking forward to more time on the golf course, cozy evenings with a good book, or grand adventures in far-off lands, these thoughtful retirement gifts are designed to make their retirement unforgettable.

OUTDOOR GIFT IDEAS FOR MEN

Explore the ultimate outdoor gift ideas list for backyard adventures at home or out on the golf course.

TRAVEL GIFT IDEAS FOR HIM

Explore travel gift ideas for him to make those future travel days more enjoyable.

COZY GIFT IDEAS FOR HIM

Find the perfect cozy gift ideas for him that will bring warmth and comfort for those lovely days at home.

RETIREMENT GIFTS FOR COWORKERS

Show your appreciation for retiring coworkers with thoughtful retirement gifts that celebrate their years of hard work and wish them well in their new journey.

Whether it's a personalized keepsake or a gift that aligns with their post-retirement plans, discover a range of ideas to bid them a fond farewell.

Shop My Gift Guides

Don't miss these other great gift guides!

Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice (So Easy)

Sunday, August 20th, 2023

Learn how to make classic cranberry sauce with orange juice and brandy. This make ahead recipe includes freezer instructions and leftover cranberry sauce ideas.

Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice

This tried-and-true recipe is the most requested Thanksgiving recipe.

The tartness of cranberries pairs well with the natural sweetness of oranges for a winning combination for your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal.

Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice (easy how to guide)

Is Cranberry Jelly the Same as Cranberry Sauce?

Cranberry sauce and cranberry jelly differ in texture, ingredients, and usage.

Cranberry sauce features a chunky consistency with whole or crushed cranberries, often combined with other ingredients like sugar and spices.

On the other hand, cranberry jelly has a smooth, gelatinous texture achieved by using strained cranberry juice or puree, often mixed with sugar and pectin.

Both canned cranberry sauce and cranberry jelly are available at your local grocery store, but the flavors of homemade cranberry sauce are worth the effort, especially when you can add your own flavor combos

Cranberries


Cranberry Sauce Tips and Tricks

When a recipe instructs you to cook cranberries until they “pop,” you should continue cooking them until they burst open. Fresh cranberries have tough outer skin; as they heat up, the moisture inside them turns into steam, causing them to expand and burst. 

This bursting is often accompanied by a distinct “popping” sound.

Cooking cranberries until they pop creates a smooth and well-textured sauce, as the burst cranberries release their juices, flavors, and natural pectin, which helps thicken the sauce. 

The process of popping and releasing their juices transforms the firm cranberries into the soft, saucy consistency that we associate with cranberry sauce.

What is a Microplane?

What is a microplane?

A microplane is a kitchen tool with a razor-sharp, fine-grated blade designed for effortless zesting and grating. 

We will use this tool for the orange zest in this recipe. The zest adds a fragrant aroma, while the juice provides a tangy sweetness that complements the cranberries.

A microplane is commonly used to extract the colorful and flavorful outer peel (zest) of citrus fruits like oranges and lemons.

You an also use this tool to finely grate ingredients like cheese, ginger, or nutmeg.

To zest an orange, take your microplane or fine grater and gently scrape the outermost layer of the orange peel.

Be cautious not to include the bitter white pith underneath, as the vibrant outer layer contains the aromatic oils and flavor you want.

Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice

How to Make Cranberry Sauce

Scroll down to see the complete ingredient list and step-by-step instructions.

Wash Your Cranberries: Give the fresh cranberries a good rinse under cold water. This cleans them up and makes them ready for cooking.

Zest & Juice Your Oranges: Extract both the zest and juice from your oranges.

Combine Orange Zest With Water: Cook for fifteen minutes, reducing the liquid. 

Simmer and Stir:  To the cooked liquid add cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, orangie juice, and lemon juice. Let the cranberries simmer in the pot for about 10-15 minutes. You’ll see the cranberries start to soften and hear them pop.

Add Flavor: Remove the sauce from the heat and stir back in the zest and brandy into the cooked cranberries.

Cool Down and Store:  When the sauce is completely cool, you can serve it in a bowl. You can keep it in the fridge if you’re not using it immediately.

This is a brief overview of my recipe. For comprehensive instructions, refer to the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions for this recipe:

Is Cranberry Sauce Served Warm or Cold?

Cranberry sauce is typically served cold.

After it’s cooked and has thickened, allow it to cool down to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator.

This chilled cranberry sauce is then served as a condiment alongside various dishes, especially during holiday meals like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Is it Necessary to Add Brandy?

Adding brandy is optional, but it does enhance the depth of flavor. It adds subtle warmth and complexity to the sauce. If you prefer not to use alcohol, the sauce will still be delicious without it.

Can I Make This Sauce Ahead of Time?

Cranberry sauce is the perfect make-ahead recipe. 

This cranberry sauce recipe is better if you can prepare it beforehand. It allows the flavors of this sauce to meld even more. 

After cooking, cool the sauce completely, then refrigerate it in an airtight container.

It will keep well for about a week.

Can You Freeze Cranberry Sauce?

Homemade cranberry sauce freezes well.

Allow it to cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container.

You can freeze it for up to three months.

Thaw the sauce in the refrigerator or by placing the container in a bowl of cold water.

Can Dogs Eat Cranberry Sauce?

Fresh cranberries can be a healthy dog treat in small, stem-free, and plain portions. Cranberries are safe, unlike grapes and raisins, which are toxic to dogs.  

As for cranberry sauce, it’s not toxic but should be given sparingly due to its sugar content, especially for dogs with diabetes or sugar sensitivity. 

Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s specific diet needs and what they recommend. 

Cranberry Maple Syrup Sauce- What to Do With Leftover Cranberry Sauce

What to Do With Leftover Cranberry Sauce?

Cranberry sauce is the perfect topping on leftover turkey sandwiches.

My favorite leftover cranberry sauce recipe is this 2-ingredient cranberry maple syrup sauce. This is perfect for topping pumpkin spice pancakes or ice cream. 

Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice (easy how to guide)

Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This fresh cranberry sauce is the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. Cranberries, orange, and brandy make the perfect flavor combination for this homemade sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup orange zest (approximately the zest from four oranges)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (approximately from four oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 cups cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brandy

Instructions

    1. In a small pan over medium heat, combine orange zest and water.

    2. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

    3. After simmering, strain the mixture, reserving the zest and about 1/3 cup of the liquid.

    4. Return the reserved liquid to the saucepan.

    5. To the cooked liquid, add sugar, ground cinnamon, freshly squeezed orange juice, and lemon juice.

    6. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 3 minutes, stirring often.

    7. Add cranberries to the saucepan.

    8. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil for around 30 minutes until the cranberries pop, and the sauce slightly thickens. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools completely.

    9. Remove from heat, and stir in the brandy.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 229Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 2gSugar: 53gProtein: 0g

The calorie and nutrition information provided with our recipes is intended to be an estimate based on commonly used ingredients and serving sizes. However, individual nutritional needs may vary, and the actual values can depend on factors such as specific brands of ingredients, preparation methods, and portion sizes. Please use these figures as estimates.

Looking for more great dishes to make ahead? Check out these other ideas from MomAdvice.com.

Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes

Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Gluten-Free Stuffing Recipe
Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe

Can You Freeze Cranberry Sauce?
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Unique Jigsaw Puzzles for Adults You’ll Fall In Love With

Thursday, August 10th, 2023
Unique Jigsaw Puzzles for Adults You'll Fall in Love With

These jigsaw puzzles for adults offer unique designs in 500, 1,000, or 2,000 piece counts. This list has easy puzzle designs to more challenging jigsaws shapes.

As soon as the weather turns crisp, we designate a table in our home as the puzzle table for the season. I love to have a puzzle that we can work on in those early morning hours with coffee or at the end of the day with a cup of tea.

Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite puzzles we’ve done at our house and some that made my wish list this this year. We have had the best time updating this guide for you.

Make sure to bookmark this list for gift-giving this year. Puzzles make incredibly unique hostess gifts, housewarming presents, and holiday gifts.

try this tutorial for a diy jigsaw puzzle mat

DIY Jigsaw Puzzle Mat

Before we dive into the puzzles, I do want to mention a few ways that we have saved A LOT of money over the years on our puzzle collection.

Three Easy Ways to Save on Jigsaw Puzzles

Find Out if Your Local Library Lends Puzzles- I can’t tell you all of the ways we have saved money over the years with our local library.

Contact your local library to see if they offer any jigsaw puzzle exchanges or if you can check out puzzles with your library card.

Life's a Beach Puzzle

Start a Puzzle Swap With Friends- One of the best ways we have saved is offering a puzzle swap with our friends.

When we have coffee together, we just bring our puzzles we have finished and trade them for a fresh puzzle.

Check Deals Sites For Deep Discounts On Puzzles- If you want to buy puzzles at a brick and mortar spot, our used bookstores offer huge savings on used puzzles as well as new.

No matter where you shop make sure that you are signed up with Rakuten and that you activate your savings before any shopping!

If you are new to the Rakuten app, this discount code should give you $30 on your first puzzle purchase! I also wrote a tutorial on how to use the app on items you regularly buy that will give you cashback rewards.

Unique Jigsaw Puzzles for Adults You'll Fall In Love With

Unique Jigsaw Puzzles for Adults You’ll Fall In Love With

Spend a cozy night with these jigsaw puzzles that are great gifts for adults AND kids.

Trade in a board game night for these fun-themed puzzles that embrace bookish themes and more in their puzzle designs.

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

Craving a quick win? These 500 piece puzzles are the perfect fit.

JIGSAW PUZZLES FOR BOOK LOVERS

Celebrate your love for books with this jigsaw puzzle collection that honors your love for reading.

JIGSAW PUZZLE GIFTS

Looking for a unique gift idea for a jigsaw puzzle lover? I recommend these jigsaw puzzle ideas and fun packaging ideas.

CHALLENGING JIGSAW PUZZLES

Are you craving more of a challenge? Try one of these difficult puzzles we have gathered for the puzzle enthusiast in your house.

Looking for more fall activities to try? Check out these fun additions to your puzzle routine!

watch these fall shows & movies while doing your new puzzle

The Best Fall Shows & Movies to Stream Right Now

download an audiobook from scribd while puzzling

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

What has been your favorite puzzle to do with your family?

The Best Books About Friendship to Read Now

Friday, January 20th, 2023
The Galentine's Day Books To Not Miss (13 Friendship Stories You'll Love) from MomAdvice.com

Celebrate Galentine’s Day with these 13 books about friendship in fiction and nonfiction for book club.

Looking for a friendship story for your next book club selection? What could be a more perfect excuse than a fictional holiday that will give you an excuse to brunch AND discuss a great book about friendship.

What is Galentine’s Day?

I think of Galentine’s Day as an official holiday, but its origin story might surprise you. This catchy holiday wasn’t created by Hallmark.

Instead, Galentine’s Day was created by the fictional Leslie Knope in an episode of Parks and Recreation.

Aptly titled the same name as the holiday (Season 2, Episode 16), Leslie gathers a group of her closest gal pals for brunch full of waffles and love. 

In this memorable scene, Amy Poehler delivers these lines, “Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast style,” she explains in the episode. “Ladies celebrating ladies.”

When is Galentine’s Day?

On February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day, you can devote a day to celebrating your friendship with your best gal pals. We encourage our readers to embrace a book club selection together and have gathered 9 friendship stories you’ll love to celebrate. 

That’s not all though, if you are looking for great movie or tv recommendations, we have you covered with today’s podcast with Mary Carver.  Mary  is a regular contributor on MomAdvice and the host of The Couch With Mary Carver. Her podcast celebrates TV, movies, music, and books all year-long.

Head here to read these show notes and get a list of fun ideas to celebrate this holiday with your favorite gal pals.

Listen to this episode in the embedded player or subscribe to the Book Gang wherever you get your podcasts.

Let’s celebrate this fictional holiday with the best books about friendship in fiction and nonfiction!

The Best Books About Friendship to Read Now

These nine books celebrate female friendship stories that are PERFECT for your next book club gathering.

Other Backlist Favorites that Celebrate Female Friendships

If you have been with your gal pals as long as I have, I did want to offer some great backlist friendship stories that you might want to host a “reunion” book club together. These are three modern day classics that you might have read in your earlier years of friendship that could be revived for your next gathering.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

This friendship classic novel tells the story of four best friends who share a pair of magical jeans that fit each of them perfectly. Despite being separated for the summer, the friends maintain a strong bond through letters and the jeans that bind them together.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Red Tent is very loosely based upon the Biblical story of Dinah and a familiar classic passed on in many book clubs. The red tent is the gathering place where the women would commune during their cycles, to give birth, and where they went when they were ill. This little tent is a sorority of sorts where the women sit to share their stories and sing songs.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This dystopian novel contains a beautiful blossoming friendship between our main protagonist, Katniss, and her friend Gale. The two garner each other support as they work to survive the game and the inevitable rebellion that comes after.

The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

This backlist series follows the friendship of four Louisiana women, known as the Ya-Yas, over the course of several decades. The story explores the ups and downs of their friendship and how they support and rely on each other throughout their lives.

What friendship stories would you add to this list?

Looking for more great books? Check out these lists!

Join the 2023 MomAdvice Book Club

How to Use Storygraph For a Better Reading Life

Learn how to use The StoryGraph App to Track Your Reading

Learn How to Use the Libby App (WITH LIBBY) In This Tutorial

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Discover my Favorite Audiobook Resource: Scribd

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Advent Calendars for Teens That They Will Love

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022
Advent Calendars for Teens They Will Love

These advent calendars for teens and tweens are just what you need to make your holiday special. Shop this guide for fun ways to countdown to Christmas fun!

One of my favorite gifts to give my teen is their advent calendar as a Christmas gift each year. This year, we wanted to offer this year’s best calendar ideas for your kiddos in this age category, as well as those college-age kiddos that deserve a fun way to celebrate the season.

We have you covered with a few of our favorite ways to countdown Christmas in 2022. 

To keep it economical, be sure to read our suggestions for ways to reuse keepsake boxes or diy advent calendars for the season with our smart ideas for saving.

DON’T FORGET TO ACTIVATE YOUR RAKUTEN WHEN SHOPPING. HERE IS $40 back on your first purchase.

If you aren’t familiar with the program, this is my beginner’s tutorial on how to use Rakuten (and some sneaky ways I get cashback on stuff we buy all the time).

Let’s celebrate the 12 days of Christmas with these fun ideas for the season.

Interactive Teen Advent Calendars

Exit Advent Calendar Game

Exit Advent Calendar Game (The Mystery of the Ice Cave)

Trying to squeeze in some family time over the advent season? We think this advent idea is the perfect option.

Here’s the setup for this one.

Your pre-Christmas ski trip hasn’t gone as planned: Just as you are taking a break and enjoying the crystal-clear mountain air, you hear a noise and see a terrifying avalanche crashing down the mountain towards you.

This advent calendar is both an EXIT game and an adventure story: in order to free yourself from this predicament, you must open a door of the calendar each day.

Behind each door, you will find a new and exciting riddle, the solution that will bring you closer and closer to escaping the cave! Will you solve the mystery of the ice cave and find the exit?

This one has rave reviews, with people sharing how fun and interactive this was for the holidays.

I also zeroed in on one comment that shared it was a great one for “their middle-school boy.”

Don’t love the setup for the location of this game? Check out these this other option (The Hunt for the Golden Book) that the company offers.

Family Movie Advent Calendar

Christmas Movie Marathon Advent

Love Christmas movies?

This personalized box would be a fun way to celebrate.

Each box contains 24 Christmas films to watch along with a bit of interesting trivia on each movie. Reviewers praise the quality on this one and this is a perfect option for a budget-friendly option.

Fishing Tackle Advent Calendar

Fishing Tackle Advent Calendar

If you have a fishing enthusiast, this company makes creative tackle boxes to countdown the season.

Inside you will find a beautiful, compact, water resistant case under door #1. The 23 compartments to follow reveal all sorts of fantastic high quality fishing gear to fill that box up. There’s a gift everyday to help count down until Christmas.

They also make fun advent boxes for fly fishing.

Christmas Countdown Candle

Christmas Countdown Candle (Pair With a Favorite Treat)

This Christmas-scented candle offers an interactive way to countdown to Christmas. Give this with bags of their favorite candies to countdown the season. Scent options include Christmas Memories, Christmas Tree, Elf Sweat, Hot Cocoa, Mrs. Claus Cookies, Reindeer Poo, Snow Angels, and Wintery Candy Apple.

This would be fun to pair with bath bombs or fun chocolate treats for each day that they can grab out of a big jar!

NASA Socks Christmas Advent Countdown

NASA Sock Countdown

Your teen and tween has everything…but do they have SPACE SOCKS?

Our team loved these NASA-inspired advent sock collections that include cute designs like Never Forget Pluto & Occupy Mars. We also love the price point on this set at just $16.

Advent Embroidery Project

Advent Embroidery Project

Reviewers ADORE this fun embroidery project that celebrates the season with a daily interactive stitch. Honestly, this is the one that I plan my crafty teen this year.

This is designed to be a Christmas Advent project for the month of December. Each day the shop outlines a stitching lesson starting on December 1st all the way through December 24th.

Watercolor Advent Countdown

Watercolor Advent Countdown (With Classes)

Looking for an affordable advent option? This one-page digital download is a perfect option. Print out this download on watercolor paper and pair it with a watercolor paint set and follow the YouTube class to learn how to watercolor each day as a countdown to Christmas.

The content creator has created a lesson for each day and a holiday playlist to go along with these lessons. This is perfect for a beginner painter who is looking for a quiet way to celebrate the season.

Adventure Challenge Countdown

The Adventure Challenge Advent

This advent challenge is a scratch-off keepsake brimming with unique adventures that help you explore outside your comfort zone, dive deeper into your relationships, and make meaningful memories.

One reviewer left this meaningful feedback on this one- “I love my family but sometimes we really struggle coming up with things to do, especially at Christmas when we’re together for days in a row. This holiday advent calendar totally alleviates that stress. The activities are fun and creative. 10/10 would recommend.”

If you are looking for a new way to connect with your teen or tween over the holidays, this looks like a winner and costs just $25 for the whole family.

Hanukkah Scratch-Off Advent Calendar

Hanukkah Scratch-Off Advent Calendar

If you have a music lover on your hands, this is such a fun one to do together. Hidden inside this festive menorah design is your new Hanukkah soundtrack.

You’ll scratch off a flame each day to reveal a QR code. Scan the code, and your phone will download a classic song played by an emerging artist.

Click here for a Christmas version of the same scratch-off calendar filled with Christmas carols!

Star Wars LEGO Advent Calendar

Star Wars LEGO Advent Calendar

Do we ever outgrow LEGOS? I hope not! Our team loves this one (and own it) because these can be reused year after year.

The kit includes C-3PO and R2-D2 in festive outfits, Darth Vader in a summer outfit, plus Luke Skywalker, a Clone Trooper Commander, Snowtrooper, Battle Droid and a Gonk Droid and 10 vehicles.

Friends Advent Calendar

Friends: The Official Advent Calendar

Could this *BE* any cuter for the teen that’s discovered how great Friends is?

The One With All the Surprises (Volume 1) ended up being such a big bestseller that decided to issue a second version.

The first volume is packed with 25 days of surprises and over 40 keepsakes, ornaments, and booklets. There’s something for everyone in this set full of fun, nostalgia, and even a Holiday Armadillo!

The sequel version contains twenty-five days of surprises and brand-new unique keepsakes and trinkets ranging from fun paper ornaments to classic Friends-inspired recipe cards and more.

If you have two teens in your house, this might be a fun pair-up for the holidays!

Food Advent Calendar Ideas

I can always get behind food gifts because it isn’t something you have store year after year.

Make this evening magical by pairing it with our favorite holiday tv sitcom recommendations. These bite-sized treats and bite-sized show are a perfect pairing for teens or tweens.

Food Advent Calendars from Williams Sonoma

Williams and Sonoma Food Advent Calendars

No one does it better than Williams and Sonoma. Here are a few of our favorite options for this year!

Christmas Popcorn Advent– Over the course of 24 days, follow the poem on the back and collect all the elements to create a popcorn party you can enjoy on Christmas Eve. Behind each door, you’ll discover top-quality popping corn and seasonings from family-owned Wabash Valley Farms.

Harry Potter Advent Calendar– Starting December 1, discover everything from Lemon Sherbets and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans to gummy candies shaped like owls, cars and lightning bolts. The confection-filled calendar makes a great gift for Harry Potter fans of all ages.

Peppermint Bark Advent Calendar– Open one of the 24 doors every day to reveal a snowman, toy soldier, Christmas tree or Santa. Each crunchy treat is made of rich semisweet chocolate and creamy white chocolate with crushed peppermint candy. 

Holly Dolly Advent Calendar– Have a Dolly Parton fan on your hands? This adorable advent calendar is made for them! Every day from the first of December until the night before Christmas, you’ll discover a different treat hidden behind one of the windows. The colorful, individually wrapped candies are some of Dolly’s favorites, including chocolates, caramels, gummies and mints.

Drink Advent Calendar Ideas

Tea Advent Calendar

Tea Advent Calendar

I have a teen who loves to unwind with a cup of tea and this advent calendar option couldn’t be more perfect for her.

The Brew Company (a small business selling on Etsy) offers this gorgeously packaged bestseller option with these flavors inside: Nordic Berries and Chai, Good Morning Quince, Green Refreshment, Black Tea Chai, Lovely Liquorish, Tasty Berry, Raspberry and Fruit Basket, Japanese Sencha, Fruity Figs and Pineapple, Sweet Chamomile, Blueberry-Mint, Cool Mint, Earl Grey, Cranberries and Grenadine, Red Berry Dream, Ginger Lemon, Sweet Sea Buckthorn, Pink Grapefruit, Detox Tea, Fruity Passion, Revitalizing Treat, Rooibos Blood Orange, Mulled Wine, and Spicy Turmeric.

If these tea flavors don’t work for you, check out this landing page for loads of varieties of tea brews to celebrate the season. Not only will your teen love it, you also get the chance to support a small business.

Beauty Advent Calendar Ideas

The best way to reuse these calendars year after year is to hang on to those keepsake boxes.

Consider making this a diy advent calendar by refilling it with travel size items from your favorite budget-friendly beauty shop spot!

Bath Bomb Advent Calendar

The Bomb Advent Calendar

Did someone say TWENTY-FOUR BATHS to count down the season? This affordable advent option has 24 days of scented bath soaps & bath bombs to countdown to Christmas.

Reviewers praised the fast shipping with this company and the great value for the experience on these. It would be fun to pair with a bath pillow or bath tray for a month of self-care. 

Barber Pro Advent Calendar

Barber Pro 12 Days of Grooming

This gathering of skincare essentials includes eye and face masks for extra pampering through this busy season.

This set includes 16 sheet masks designed to hydrate, soften, soothe and brighten all skin types.

Benefit Cosmetics Sincerely Yours 12 Day Calendar

Benefit Cosmetics: Sincerely Yours 12 Day Calendar

If your child loves a good makeup fix, this advent calendar offers 12 of Benefit Cosmetics bestsellers in a travel-size. It features fun-sized versions of their brow top-sellers, mascaras, pore primers & face powders.

DIY Teen Advent Calendar Ideas

Christmas Vacation Advent Bags

Christmas Vacation Advent Bags

You serious, Clark?

This movie never gets old, does it?

These advent bags have 24 unique images inspired from the classic holiday movie Christmas Vacation. 

Keep it budget-friendly by heading to the local wholesale club to fill it with treats to pair with your favorite Christmas movies. You could also add fun beauty items for a self-care advent spin.

Advent Pocket Calendar

Personalize an Advent Pocket Calendar

A pocket calendar like this one can allow you to personalize it with your own treat ideas. Consider filling this with fun (and useful) items like lottery cards, gas station gift cards, coffee shop gift cards, bookstore gift cards, iTunes gift cards, beauty masks, mini nail polishes, favorite treats, and MALL MONEY.

Store this calendar and use it year after year.

Don’t love this design? Head here to find one that fits your kiddo’s style perfectly.

DIY Christmas Activity Advent Calendar

Printable Christmas Advent Calendar

Looking for a free option that will give you new ways to connect over the holiday season?

Make Christmas unforgettable with this cute DIY Advent Calendar. Assemble it quickly with this free printable template and easy tutorial.

Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar

Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar

This Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar is a favorite family tradition!

Practice a small act of kindness with your family every day to bring some true meaning to your Christmas season.

Need a starter activity? Make these blessing bags for the homeless.

Christmas Trivia Advent Calendar (FREE PRINTABLE)

Do you buy a fresh wreath each holiday season? You can turn it into a fun Christmas Trivia Advent Calendar, perfect for a tween in your life.

We provide all the free printables and instructions for the world’s cutest diy advent wreath.

This free printable advent calendar includes fun Christmas themed trivia questions for the holiday season.

Christmas Advent Cookie Cookbook

Have a teen that loves to bake? This cookie cookbook is a fun way to diy the advent fun for the season. Select a few of the recipes to do together in your kitchen. Throw on your favorite holiday records or playlist.

Don’t forget the perfect apron to go with this fun culinary twist on the season.

Be sure to scroll down for our favorite teen and tween gift guides and fun teen stocking stuffer ideas. We have updated all of our gift guides this year to make shopping this season a breeze!

Pet Advent Calendars (For Teens to Open)

Advent Calendar for Your Cat

My daughter would love opening this up for our pet as much as she would enjoy receiving a calendar for herself.

These kitten playset contains a cat collar with bell, scat teaser wand, interactive feather toy, fluffy mouse, crinkle balls, and cat springs.

Perhaps with so much entertainment, the tree will lose its appeal! Haha!

Advent Calendar for Your Dog

Have a favorite furbaby that needs to be spoiled? This contains freshly baked dog treats that are hand-decorated and made with locally sourced human grade ingredients.

Each box comes with a variety of cookies that are big and small and are either frosting drizzled, enrobed, contain plain yogurt cups, etc. to satisfy all doggie sizes and taste buds.

This is the highest rated by reviewers and the highlight for many pets over the holiday season.

Priced accordingly, but I’ll close out with this easy diy option if you are on a budget!

Looking for more holiday inspiration? Check out these posts!

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Everyone Will Love

100 unique and useful stocking stuffers (another great list to reference if you are making a diy advent calendar this year!)

Unique Gift Ideas for Tweens & Teens

unique gifts for teens and tweens (this is a popular gift guide)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, FRIENDS!

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Advent Calendars for Teens They Will Love

20 Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Family This Year

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Don’t let the crazy of 2020 mess up your holidays. Create new Christmas and holiday traditions with these easy and inexpensive ideas!

 

Holiday Family Traditions from MomAdvice.com

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

“Can you imagine a COVID Christmas?”

“Are we really not getting together for Thanksgiving?”

“The holidays just won’t be the same.”

I’ve heard all those things, more than once, over the past several weeks.

I’m sure you have too.

It’s hard.

Many of our holiday traditions won’t be practical or even possible this year, and even when we hold those beloved customs loosely and know we’re making hard choices for good reasons, we still feel sad.

So, this year, when everything is different and uncertain and just plain weird, it’s the perfect time to create new family traditions with your family!

And take note: Some of these traditions will translate to any year, so you truly can start now and continue year after year.

But others are specific for a season when you’re separated from loved ones and family members or unable to get out and about as much as normal.

While I’m hopeful we won’t have another pandemic holiday season, other things can keep us at home.

So maybe keep some of these ideas in your back pocket for the next time family is out of town, money is short, the weather doesn’t cooperate, or someone is sick during the holidays.

Even though things aren’t the same as usual doesn’t mean you can’t experience something special.

 

20 New Holiday Traditions for Your Family

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Give each other homemade gifts.

You don’t have to be super crafty or artistic for this one.

A “homemade Christmas gift” could be anything from a jar of cocoa mix to a personalized playlist to a decorated frame to hold family photos.

Remember to give everyone involved plenty of notice (and you could even start a group Pinterest board or slack channel for sharing ideas).

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Get—and play—a new board game or card game each year.

My family loves playing Yahtzee and UNO, but I think we’re about due to add a new game to the mix.

We’ll be adding this tradition in 2020.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Let the kids have a Christmas Eve slumber party under (or near) the Christmas tree.

Or the grownups.

You do you.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Celebrate with a “reverse Advent calendar,” filling up a box with a new item to donate each day.

Simply search “reverse Advent” on Google, and you’ll find plenty of suggested calendars and lists to follow.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Go old-school with a red and green paper countdown chain.

Sometimes the classics are classics for a reason!

This might seem like a little kid activity, but I suspect even older kids or adults appreciate the anticipation built by breaking one ring each day before Christmas.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Get outside! Bundle up and take a walk together after a big meal.

Depending on what’s safe and best for your family and community, this might be a way you can see local friends and family without cramming into one home for the meal.

Meet at the park after eating in your own homes.

Wear layers and bring your own thermos of hot cider or hot chocolate!

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Buy a new ornament each year. 

This would be a great way to support small businesses.

Shop for your annual Christmas ornaments on Etsy or in local boutiques.

Pick something personal or something that reflects the past year, or simply select something lovely to hang on your tree for years to come.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Take time to journal answers to yearly reflection questions or make an annual time capsule.

I know several families who do this each New Year’s Eve, asking their kids and each other about the most significant parts of the year and what they’re hoping for in the next year.

If you created a time capsule instead, you could start a tradition of opening last year’s or perhaps only open every five years for a bigger surprise and walk down memory lane!

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Buy—and read—a new holiday book each year.

Or, collect 25 holiday books from the library and your own collection, wrap them, open and read one each day in December.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Have a gingerbread house contest via Zoom or FaceTime with your friends or family.

Don’t forget the prizes!

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Buy a new Christmas mug each year.

Display your collection in a special spot.

 

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Host a virtual movie night with friends and family. 

With the free Teleparty extension in your Chrome browser (formerly the Netflix Party extension), the host shares a custom link with each participant.

Then, you all watch the same Christmas movie at the same time, discussing the movie (or whatever you want!) in a chat box while watching.

Teleparty works with Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and HBO. (Amazon Prime has its own free app that does the same thing.)

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Practice Jolabokaflod.

This Icelandic holiday involves exchanging book gifts, chocolate, and an evening spent reading. Doesn’t that sound lovely? (Read more about it here.)

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Put together a puzzle together.

If separated, send same puzzle to each person/family and have a contest to see who can complete it first. The winner must provide a photo as proof!

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Watch a holiday movie or special each year.

Some families watch Elf or It’s a Wonderful Life , or Polar Express together each year. Many of us probably watch the Peanuts Christmas special.

My family is a little quirky and since my brother and I were little, we have made time to watch The California Raisins’ Claymation Christmas Special every single year.

Whatever your tastes, it’s fun to have something you watch together each year.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Declutter and donate.

Before adding lots of stuff (aka, gifts) to your house, make room and make a difference while you’re at it.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Drive around and look at Christmas lights.

It’s a classic for a reason!

Put on PJs if you want, take along bags of Christmas cookies, crank up your favorite holiday tunes, and cruise through those neighborhoods that are famously festive! (Or, drive around a new town or neighborhood and try to spot the best-decorated homes.)

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Buy—and listen to—a new holiday album each year.

Speaking of tunes…!

It’s always fun to hear our favorite musicians sing or play holiday music, but this could also be a way to support indie or up-and-coming artists as well. Who doesn’t love Christmas music?

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Cook (or buy)—and eat, of course!—a special food. 

This could be a family favorite (I always make my late mother-in-law’s apple cake for my husband and his family at the holidays, and my mom makes her mother’s pound cake for family gatherings.).

But it could also be a food that reminds you of your family’s heritage or simply something you love eating together. (Popular foods showing up in my informal poll were fondue, tamales, and Chinese food.)

 

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

Give back.

No matter what kind of year you’ve had or what the holidays will look like, you can find a way to give back—and that will enrich your holiday like possibly nothing else can.

Sponsor a family in need with gifts or a meal, purchase gifts for foster children or children whose parents are imprisoned, take breakfast to a fire station on Christmas morning, mail cards to a nursing home, or purchase and hand out holiday care packages to the homeless in your community.

 

Holiday Family Traditions from MomAdvice.com

Will you be creating any new traditions this holiday season? If so, share them with us in the comments or over in the Facebook group!

 

Sign up for the MomAdvice Newsletter

 

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

You will love these other great Holiday ideas!

 

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Homeless Care Package

 

 

The Real Santa Story from MomAdvice.com

The Real Santa Story

 

Giving and Gratitude for kids / MomAdvice.com

Teaching Kids About Giving and Gratitude

 

 

DIY Advent Calendar from MomAdvice.com

DIY Advent Calendar

 

 

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Everyone Will Love

Unique and Useful Stocking Stuffers for All Ages

 

 

how to make a burlap wreath

DIY Christmas Burlap Wreath

 

Slow Cooker Turkey Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Slow Cooker Roasted Turkey

 

 

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

Gluten Free Make Ahead Green Bean Casserole

 

 

Sitcoms for Holiday Spirit from MomAdvice.com

11 Sitcoms to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

 

How to Make an Ombre Cake

Thursday, November 12th, 2020
 

How to Make an Ombre Cake from MomAdvice.com

No need to make a fancy layer cake with this easy ombre icing technique for your sheet pan cakes. This cake tutorial couldn’t be easier with a simple white cake recipe topped with a simple buttercream frosting. Check out today’s tutorial for your next birthday cake!

This post is sponsored by Clarkson Potter. Thank you for supporting our sponsors!

How to Make an Ombre Cake from MomAdvice.com

Looking for the perfect baking escape? You are in luck! Martha Stewart is back with a brand new cookbook that helps novice bakers master beautiful cakes with a few of her favorite tips and tricks.

Martha Stewart’s Cake Perfection is a step-by-step cookbook that teaches you how to wow your friends and family with inspiring cake ideas and couldn’t come at a better time, with the upcoming celebration seasons.

Since my kids were small, I have made cakes for all their special occasions. Bakery cakes are expensive so learning to make our own cakes has saved us hundreds of dollars over the years.

Now that I have teenagers, it is a treat to be able to do these kinds of projects with them and today’s ombre sheet cake was so fun to create together.

Let’s go through the easy steps to make this cake that would be perfect for any occasion from a baby shower to a birthday bash!

How to Make an Ombre Cake

How to Make an Ombre Cake from MomAdvice.com

To begin today’s recipe, you will need to bake this easy vanilla sheet pan cake recipe.

Once the cake is cooked, transfer it to a wire rack and allow it to cool for 30 minutes. Once your half hour is up, simply turn the cake out, from the cake pan, and allow it to cool completely on your wire rack.

How to Make an Ombre Cake from MomAdvice.com

Once the cake is cool, you will cover it in white buttercream frosting.

This first layer is often referred to as the “crumb coat,” because it helps trap the crumbs so they aren’t visible in your final product. I find an offset spatula is the easiest way to spread icing on the top and sides of the cake.

How to Make an Ombre Cake from MomAdvice.com

Now, divide your remaining frosting into three or four bowls (depending on how many colors you would like for the top of your cake). We will be placing these in piping bags for making our beautiful ombre stripes.

You have creative liberty on what colors you want to use, but we used Martha’s suggestion to mimic the gorgeous hues of a sunset, in our personal color scheme.

Who couldn’t use a pretty sunset right now?

How to Make an Ombre Cake from MomAdvice.com

Lucky for us, our cookbook came with this fun decorating set from iGourmet so we had everything we needed right on hand for our cakes. The best part about this decorating set  is that Martha Stewart and her team of editors picked out everything you need to make her fabulous cakes at home so no need to visit a fancy shop to get all the pretty essentials. This kit has everything you need from gold and silver sparkles to natural food colorings.

How to Make an Ombre Cake from MomAdvice.com

How to Make an Ombre Cake from MomAdvice.com

How to Make an Ombre Cake from MomAdvice.com

Now we just add a color horizontally across the top of the cake in your desired order. Lightly drag the offset spatula or bench scraper end to end to create a blended effect to your cake. Be sure to just wipe off the bench scraper completely between each stroke of color to keep your lines beautifully clean.

How to Make an Ombre Cake from MomAdvice.com

Looking for a more abstract design? Don’t be afraid to get creative and randomly scatter dollops of colored frosting around your cake and blend as directed. My daughter had a great time being a cake decorator and making her own design with toothpicks and all these vibrant colors.

How easy is that?

Vanilla Buttercream
 
Author: Martha Stewart’s Cake Perfection
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 cups
This easy buttercream frosting is just what you need for all of your cake recipes!
Ingredients
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted (4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • Pinch of kosher salt
Instructions
  1. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add confectioners’ sugar ½ cup at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, milk, and salt and beat until buttercream is smooth.
 

How to Make an Ombre Cake from MomAdvice.com

Looking for more cake ideas? Grab this cookbook for 125 recipes for all occasions- from those little everyday moments to gorgeous wedding cakes. What a fun way to make the most of these days at home together.

Ombre Sheet Cake
 
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Martha Stewart’s Cake Perfection
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12-16 servings
No need to make a fancy layer cake with this easy ombre icing technique for your sheet pan cakes. This cake tutorial couldn’t be easier with a simple white cake recipe topped with a simple buttercream frosting. Check out today’s tutorial for your next birthday cake!
Ingredients
  • 1 stick (½ cup) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 ¼ cup unbeached all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • Vanilla Buttercream (recipe below)
  • Natural food dyes in Berry and Sunflower (or your favorite shades)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Dust the pan with flour. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar, until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with each addition, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with buttermilk, and beginning and ending with your flour mixture.
  3. Transfer batter to prepared baking pan, smoothing top with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until cake is golden and puffed and a cake tester comes out clean, 22-25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Spread 2 ½ cups buttercream over top of cake with an offset spatula. Divide remaining buttercream among four small bowls (about ⅓ cup each). Use food dyes to create desired shades. Let stand 10 minutes to allow dyes to fully saturate.
  5. Transfer frostings into pastry bags (no tip required) and pipe a line of each color horizontally across top of cake in the desired order. Lightly drag a large offset spatula or bench scraper end to end across cake to create a blended effect. Add more frosting as desired . Be sure to wipe off the spatula or bench scraper completely between strokes.
 

This post is sponsored by Clarkson Potter. Thank you for supporting our sponsors!

How to Make an Ombre Cake from MomAdvice.com