Simple Holiday Desserts Your Kids Can Make

Posted Friday, December 14th, 2018

desserts your kids can make

Kids always have room for dessert, right? Too full for broccoli but never too full for dessert! Don’t put yourself out making fancy and complicated sweets for your kids; make them do it! If they want the sweet stuff, they will be more than willing to help in the kitchen. At least will be when dessert is on the line! These are tried and true treats that kids love to eat and, with some practice, love to make.

As always, we recommend full adult supervision anytime kids are in the kitchen – cooking or otherwise!

Sugar Cookies for Santa

Baking is fun, but decorating is even more fun! Have your little one pick out fun and seasonal cookie cutter shapes and decide on the frosting colors.

For cookies:

  • ¾ Cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For frosting:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2/3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup

Preheat oven to 375. In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and baking powder. In a different larger bowl mix the butter and sugar together until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla and then gradually stir in the bowl of dry ingredients. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 8-10 min or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet to cool before removing and icing.

While the cookies bake combine the powdered sugar, corn syrup, and milk in a bowl and whisk until smooth. If it is a little too runny add more sugar, if it is a little too thick add more milk.  If you are planning on doing different colors, separate the icing into different smaller bowls and whisk in the food coloring. A little food coloring goes a long way so only add 1-2 drops if you want lighter colors. Once your cookies are fully cool you can get to decorating! Don’t hold back either: get out the sprinkles and colored sugar and really go crazy on these cookies for Santa!

Extra Fluffy Rice Krispie Treats

Fluffy marshmallows and crispy rice make a perfect combination. Rice Krispies are a classic treat that will put a smile on anyone’s face. This recipe uses the microwave instead of the stovetop, so it is a perfect starter recipe for smaller children who don’t have a lot of experience in the kitchen.

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package mini marshmallows
  • 4 cups Rice Krispies cereal

First things first get out a 13×9 pan and coat with cooking spray. Set this aside. Get out a medium microwave-safe bowl and pass to your kid so they can dump in the butter and most of the marshmallows. Set the remaining marshmallows aside. Cook on HIGH for 2 minutes, then stir. Cook for 1 more minute and then stir until smooth. Add in rice crispy cereal and stir until well coated with the marshmallow and butter mixture. Now add in the marshmallows you set aside earlier and stir them in. This is what makes these treats extra fluffy! Use a spatula coated in cooking spray to press mixture into prepared pan. Try to spread it evenly so your treats will all be the same thickness. Let them cool and then cut into squares. Ready to eat!

Oreo Balls

Kid love this recipe because you get to smash a lot of Oreos, turn them into balls, and dip things in chocolate. No baking involved!

  • 40 Oreo Cookies
  • 1 8 oz Package of Cream Cheese
  • 2 cups of Semi Sweet Chocolate chips

First place your 40 Oreos in a big ziplock bag and pass that on to your kids to crush. They can use their hands, but the back of a small saucepan or a kitchen spoon may be easier for little hands. While they are making Oreo crumbs, pull out the cream cheese and let it soften up a little. Once the Oreos are thoroughly crumbled mix the crumbs with the softened cream cheese in a large bowl. Your child will probably want to stir, so just make sure the ingredients are fully blended or they will not stick together as easily. Once blended start shaping the mixture into 1 inch balls. Place them on a wax lined baking sheet. Once all your balls are made freeze them for 10 minutes.

While your Oreo balls are freezing melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler. No double boiler you say?? Just fill a small saucepan halfway with water and place a metal bowl filled with the chocolate chips on top. The heat from the boiling water will melt the chocolate chips. Don’t walk away and keep stirring because they melt fast! When the chocolate has melted, set it aside and get the Oreo balls from the freezer.

One by one dip the Oreo balls into chocolate and place back onto the baking sheet. Keep some towels on hand cause this is going to get fun and messy. Once you have coated them all in chocolate keep them in the fridge for about 1 hour or until firm. Then they are ready to gobble up and enjoy!

Dirt and Worms

I don’t know of anyone, no matter their age, who doesn’t enjoy eating dirt and worms. This dessert is almost as much fun to make as it is to eat.

  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 package of gummy worms
  • 1 package instant chocolate pudding
  • 12 chocolate cream filled cookies

Get out a 9×13 baking dish, set aside. Put the cookies into a ziplock bag and crush into crumbs using a rolling pin. Set aside. In a separate bowl whisk the pudding mix and milk together following the pudding instructions. Sprinkle about the 1/3 of the crushed cookies into the bottom of the pan and a handful of gummy worms. Pour the rest of the chocolate pudding over these crumbs and then spoon the rest of the crumbs on top of the pudding so it looks like dirt. Poke the rest of the gummy worms

Five Ways to Reduce Stress Before the Holiday

Posted Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Enjoy some heavenly peace this holiday season.

Poor, maligned Ebenezer Scrooge voiced what most of us feel on occasion – that the holidays are a lot of humbug. Underneath the joyful trappings, many of us dread the responsibilities and family pressures associated with pivotal holidays, when we seem to be expected to manufacture family feeling and seasonal magic like we’re the ones flying around the world on a big red sleigh. If the pressures of the season are getting you down, reduce stress by following these five simple wellness techniques.

1. Focus on being present in the moment.

When we are looking forward to the holiday, the combination of stress and anticipation quickly cause us to lose sight of the present. Take time each day to center yourself. Some people find meditation helpful, but if that doesn’t appeal to you try sitting quietly with a book or a cup of coffee instead. As you prepare for the holiday, focus on what you are experiencing now, like the simple act of wrapping presents. When you fully experience the moment you are in, you can also momentarily forget your to-do list.

2. Don’t try to do everything perfectly.

Holidays are a bad time for perfectionists. They may set their normally high standards even higher, in part because of idealized memories of past holidays, but also because they try to meet the expectations of children and other loved ones. It’s hard to think about disappointing ourselves or the people with whom we’re close. Still, you will do better if you repeat this mantra: there is no such thing as the perfect Christmas. As nearly every Christmas movie will tell you, Christmas is perfect because of its imperfections. Enjoy what happens and let go of the ideal. It’s better for everyone.

3. Spend time taking care of your body.

Santa by night, employee by day, and hostess every weekend, we are all getting a little less sleep. On top of that, sugary sweets and alcoholic drinks surround us at every turn. Make a few healthy choices, like having more crudités than cookies and increasing your water intake to compensate for the extra cocktails. If you can, go for a run or book a massage, and reconnect with your healthy body. It’s tempting to put off good choices for the New Year. Don’t. A few changes now will make a big difference in your stress levels.

4. Avoid holiday arguments with family.

Emotions run high around the holidays. You may not be able to avoid every tense conversation, but it’s possible to handle difficult people with courtesy. When Aunt Jean asks when you’re planning to start a family, smile and tell her you are more comfortable keeping such personal information private. Don’t fume silently over unfairly-distributed responsibilities. Kindly but clearly tell your brother that it would be a big help if he took over washing the dishes so you can finish mashing the potatoes. And when crazy Uncle Ed starts talking politics, leave the room as fast as you can.

5. Don’t try to do everything yourself.

Some things you need to do, some things you want to do, and some things you just end up doing because nobody else offered. Be an advocate for yourself this year. Take a look at everything that you’ve committed to do over the holidays, and think about whether you could ask somebody else to help with one of the tasks on your list. Oftentimes people are glad to help, particularly if you are hosting or organizing the family holiday this year. And if you aren’t able to take on that task and no one else is willing to help out, it’s probably not all that important.

Remember there are often professionals who are available to help too. Modernistic’s team of highly rated carpet, hardwood, and tile cleaners can make your house sparkle while you spend a few moments sitting by the Christmas tree. You deserve to enjoy the season while someone else works for a while. Use our easy online scheduling tool to book your appointment today.

Serving Grand Ledge, Michigan for 40 years.

Give the Gift of a Clean Home This Christmas

Posted Friday, November 25th, 2016

How to give the best gift this holiday season

Holidays are a joyful time, but also a time of great stress for many of us. As relatives age and families scatter to different states, many people feel anxious and overwhelmed by the expectations and responsibilities. Especially when you’re far away, or equally overburdened with Christmas commitments, it can be hard to help. That’s why one of the best gifts you can give this year is a a real-life Christmas elf – a home cleaning professional who can come in and ready your home for the holidays.

When should you think about giving the gift of a clean home?

Sometimes it’s hard to think of a gift for those you love most. People often seem to have everything they need, and simply picking something from a wish list lacks a personal touch. We want our gift to say that we’ve thought about the person in a meaningful way, that we’ve considered their likes and dislikes, and want to make their life better in some small way. Concrete help can mean more than another trinket from the store. Aging parents and new moms are often especially grateful for a little extra assistance. Or, if you have a close friend who’s been ill recently, he or she will likely appreciate some help around the home more than another bouquet of get-well flowers. You may find yourself unable to offer help yourself. But you can offer to bring in a professional to lend a hand.

What kind of help should you look for?

Sometimes you can find a friend or neighbor who does housecleaning on the side for a reasonable fee. However, if you’re willing to pay a bit more, most professional cleaning services offer a one-time home cleaning. If you buy a package of cleanings you’ll often receive a slight discount per unit, but that is more complicated to schedule for a family member. Be sure to shop around, and compare quotes and online reviews, so that you don’t lose money on a less than reputable service.

You can also look for specific cleaning services. You may find that your grandma is happy to do her own dishes, but can’t handle the more strenuous task of scrubbing the grout. Or it could be that your in-laws want to give the upholstery a deep cleaning, but lack the time and experience to do the job. A professional cleaning service can fill that need, and take one more item of their to-do list.

Talk with the recipient before scheduling any cleaning.

When your house is being cleaned, it will cause a certain amount of disruption in your space. Be sure to discuss the best day with your friend or family member ahead of time. You will also need to talk to your cleaning service to see what their requirements are for the home before they arrive. Many services only need you to be home at the beginning and end of their appointment. This means your friend or relative can plan that time to do some other activity, like their holiday shopping. If they have a pet, they might need to arrange to have the dog or cat out of the home, or properly isolated. The recipient will appreciate your considerate gesture more if you consult with them about accommodating their schedule ahead of time.

How to give the gift of a clean home to your friend or family member.

Many people feel pressure to make their homes look as clean and welcoming as possible before the holiday. Especially if we have pets or children, cleaning the carpet is a basic chore we just can’t skip. Arranging a full-house carpet cleaning can be a generous way to chip in towards the expense of hosting out-of-town guests. Try broaching the subject by saying something like, “I’d love to help you with the trouble and expense of hosting us all, but I feel like there’s so little I can do. Would you allow me to contribute in this way?” Once they realize you sincerely want to help, they will be touched by your thoughtfulness.

When you’ve spoken with your family, contact Modernistic for professional carpet cleaning services. Our flexible scheduling and reputation for prompt and reliable service makes us the perfect choice. When you work with us, your family won’t be disappointed with their gift this holiday season. Contact us today!

Serving Macomb, MI for 40 years.

Reducing Holiday Burnout this Thanksgiving

Posted Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Enjoy your family and fight stress this Thanksgiving

Sometimes it’s hard to say how the holidays go so wrong. We gather together to share a meal, watch some football, and relax from our busy lives. However, somehow Thanksgiving can leave us feeling like the turkey is getting the better end of the bargain. Here at Modernistic we have a few tried and true tips for reducing holiday burnout, which work for even the most frazzled hosts and hostesses.

Make Sure to Get Enough Rest.

Many of us are already trying hard to keep pace with our busy lives. Whether you’re in the nine-to-five grind, or stay-at-home mom extraordinaire, there never seem to be enough hours in the day. The holidays bring a whole new set of tasks and commitments on top of our ordinary schedule. This November, be sure to stop and rest. Sit and read a favorite book, schedule a massage, or spend some time with a friend. Make sure you have the emotional reserves to deal with the inevitable aggravations that come with the holiday—long lines, overbearing in-laws, and hyper children. Also get as much sleep as you can. Santa’s elves may be able to work all night, but you will only be at your best with some solid shut-eye.

Remember to say ‘no’ sometimes.

It can be hard to turn down invitations or requests for help or for the latest toy. However, you need to sometimes put your own needs first. Have healthy boundaries about your time and money. Know when you need to say ‘no,’ and don’t allow holiday guilt to overwhelm you. None of us can do everything, and when we try we will simply end up exhausted and resentful. Think about what is important to you and save your energy and money for that. Hopefully you will savor each meaningful commitment, instead of flying between engagements with barely a moment to down a holiday cocktail.

Recognize when your expectations are unrealistic.

We all anticipate different things during the holidays. Especially as our families grow we have to manage different sets of expectations and family traditions. It’s easy to be disappointed, heartbroken even, when things don’t go quite as we hoped. Despite the cannon of holiday movies that promise happy endings amid softly falling snow, real life rarely lives up to our expectations. Think about what you want from the holiday season. Evaluate your expectations and decide whether you need to adjust those ideals to better reflect your life now.

Ask others for help.

In many families some people consistently seem to do more than their share. Maybe they are better equipped to manage the tasks that come with making it a happy holiday. Or maybe they have just always assumed a more responsible role. Still, taking on more than your share of the chores will quickly wear you down and you’ll begin to begrudge others who don’t share the load. Be proactive in asking for help. Maybe your younger brother can’t cook, but could he bring some wine, or be on dish duty? Politely making clear that you need and expect others to help will go a long way towards reducing holiday burnout.

Prepare some of the food ahead of time.

Aside from the turkey, many Thanksgiving foods can be prepared in advance. Do as much washing and chopping of vegetables as you can in the days leading up to the holiday, and store them in individual Ziploc bags in the crisper. Most casseroles can be made weeks ahead of time and frozen, so that all you have to do on the big day is move foil wrapped trays into the oven. And if you are one of the gourmets that makes your own cranberry sauce, it will keep in the refrigerator up to two weeks. Instead of a frenzied six-hour shift in the kitchen, you could make preparing an outstanding meal look as simple as mashing some potatoes and basting a turkey.

Let the professionals do the work for you.

Many of us feel like our budgets are stretched to the max during the holidays. Hiring help might seem like an extravagant indulgence. However, the time and peace of mind you can regain is often worth the expense. Many of us feel pressure to deep clean before our guests arrive, but it can be physically grueling as well as time-consuming. Consider whether you can hire a cleaning service for a day sometime before Thanksgiving. Then you can spend your time cooking or visiting with your guests instead.

To really make the whole house sparkle think about scheduling your regular carpet cleaning right before Thanksgiving, so that your living spaces look their best. Not only will this be aesthetically pleasing, it will be a gift to your guests will allergies as well, who benefit from less dust and dander in their living space. Contact the professionals at Modernistic, then stop and smell the poinsettias this holiday season.

Modernistic, serving Midland Michigan for 40 years