Chocolate Kiss Peanut Butter Cookies

Who doesn't love a recipe that combines chocolate and peanut butter? These chocolate kiss peanut butter cookies are easy to make, look cute and taste delicious. They are perfect as a special holiday treat or just as a special after school snack. Check out the simple recipe and instructions below.

The base of these cookies is a peanut butter cookie recipe I have been making for many years. In the past, I have used it to make teddy bear cookies in the summer and reindeer cookies at Christmas. It's a simple recipe that always turns out well. Here's how you make them:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar (and some extra for rolling the cookies in)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
Hershey Kisses (approx. 24)

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2) In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter, peanut butter, white sugar, and brown sugar.
3) Add baking soda and baking powder, and beat until combined.
4) Add egg and vanilla, and beat again.
5) Stir in flour.
6) Roll spoonfuls of dough into balls, roll in white sugar, place on a cookie sheet, and bake in a preheated oven (at 375 degrees) for 8-12 minutes.
7) While the cookies are still warm, insert kisses into the tops of the cookies
8) Transfer to a wire rack to cool.




These cookies are the perfect balance of peanut butter and chocolate. Trust me, you are going to love them!


They pair well with milk, coffee, tea and hot chocolate... and they are fantastic after a cold winter day playing in the snow. They are a "snow day" favourite in our house.


Do you love cookies that combine chocolate and peanut butter? If you do, you should totally try this recipe for chocolate kiss peanut butter cookies. Let me know what you think.

♥ 
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Tips for Managing Airborne Allergens

*sponsored post*

For those of you who follow my blog regularly, you know that I have been testing out the Philips Series 2000i Connected Air Purifier in my son's room. He struggles with airborne allergens, and I have been trying to help him breathe more comfortably at home. My biggest challenge has been that I am fighting something I can't see, but my new air purifier has helped me by making the invisible visible. 


Since I haven't heard my son coughing in the night for a while, I think that what I've been doing has been helping him. Here are the steps I have taken to help my son with his airborne allergies:

1) I keep his window closed, and I close the door to his room. When his window or his door is opened, I can see the numbers on his Philips Series 2000i Connected Air Purifier rise... which means there are more allergens entering his room. It's been a good lesson for me, and it was something I didn't think of before I had the air purifier.



2) I keep his room clean. If I dust, vacuum, and change his sheets frequently, I've found it improves the air quality in his room a lot. Plus, when I shake out the bedding in his room, I can see an immediate rise in dust particles in the air.



3) I try and keep his room as free from clutter as I can. It's hard to make a kid's room clutter-free, but I try to reduce it where I can. With less clutter, there are fewer items to collect dust and it is easier to clean his room.



4) I monitor the outdoor air quality. The Philips Series 2000i Connected Air Purifier comes with an app that alerts me to poor air quality conditions outside. In real-time, AeroSense shows you the air quality data from anywhere with the connected app. The Air Purifier constantly feeds indoor air quality data to the app, which is then combined with outdoor pollution and pollen data to give me a complete picture of indoor and outdoor air quality. Of course, I don't forbid my son to go outside when the air quality is bad, but it provides me information that I can use to help my son prepare for air conditions outside. For example, I might suggest he have a shower as soon as he comes in from playing outside if pollen counts are high.



5) I use my Philips Series 2000i Connected Air Purifier to keep the air in his room clean. I can't control the allergens that he encounters outside, but I can make sure that the air in his room is clean so that he can get the best sleep possible. My air purifier automatically monitors and purifies the air. Thanks to a 3 layer filtering system (pre filter, active carbon, and heap filter), it removes 99.7% of allergens from the air. Philips AeraSense technology continuously monitors the air and automatically adjusts the fan speed when it detects a change in particles. It's easy to use, easy to clean and easy to change the filters too!



Does someone in your home struggle with airborne allergens? How do you manage their day to day? I hope you find my tips helpful. If you have any questions that I can answer for you, please let me know... or if you want to find out more about the Philips Series 2000i Connect Air Purifier, you can do so here.


Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

*Disclosure: I have partnered with Philips Canada and have received compensation for this post. However, this post reflects my own opinions and experience with this product and does not necessarily reflect claims from Philips Canada.

Magic Elf Glove... tutorial and free printable tags

Have you ever had to move your Elf on the Shelf? Or has there been a time that your child wanted to hold your Elf on the Shelf? This Magic Elf Glove is the perfect solution to your Elf on the Shelf problem, so keep reading to find out how to make your own. I've included a free printable tag for you too! (Or if you aren't feeling crafty... you can order one here.)


This magic glove is made from an inexpensive stretchy red glove  and a banner of white felt. To make one: cut a banner from white felt, stitch it to the top of a glove and package it with the fun tags I designed. You can add a little glitter to the inside of the bag too... for a little added magic.


To download the tags I designed: click on the photo below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4x6 photo.


Seriously... isn't this a cute Elf on the Shelf accessory?


Elf on the Shelf is one of our family's favourite traditions. Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? Do you have a child that would like this Magic Elf Glove? I hope you enjoy creating this simple little piece of Christmas magic.

♥ 
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)
 


PS - You can find more easy and fun Elf on the Shelf Ideas here.


Top 10 Advent Countdown Ideas for Kids... and adults will like them too.

When it comes to Christmas, the days leading up to the big day are my favourite. I adore listening to Christmas carols, baking cookies, watching Christmas movies and counting down to the big day. Advent countdowns come in many forms (from homemade to store bought), and today, I am sharing 10 of my favourite ways to countdown to the Christmas!


**Note: This post contains a few affiliate links. I have 100% chosen these items because I love them, but I want to let you know that if you make a purchase using one of my affiliate links, I may get a small commission on your purchase... at NO additional cost to you. Thank you!**

1) For the Star Wars fan - My boys are huge Star Wars fans, and the LEGO inside this advent calendar is out of this galaxy. (See what I did there?) You can find out more here.



2) For the book and movie lover - This is a favourite way to countdown to the holidays in our house. I wrap our Christmas books and movies and number them 1-24. Then, during the lead up to Christmas, my boys take turns unwrapping the packages. Also... sometimes our Elf on the Shelf does it for us. 😀



3) For the LEGO fan - I absolutely love LEGO, and what is cuter than the LEGO Santa included in this LEGO City advent calendar. This LEGO friends advent calendar is adorable too!

4) For the chocolate and peanut butter fan - This advent calendar is my favourite. How great would it be to start every day in December with a small and delicious sweet treat?


5) For the child who likes surprises - Every time you open a window of this advent house, you get a surprise, including: 9 Kinder Mini Eggs, 9 Kinder Choco-Bons, 3 Kinder Chocolate, 2 Kinder Hollow Santa and 1 Kinder Surprise

6) For the creative child - This crayola Christmas countdown is perfect for a young child who likes to draw and colour. This is a fun one!
7) For the family that likes to keep things simple - Print this FREE calendar and use a marker, stickers or glued-on pom pom to countdown to the big day. Or... just use a chalkboard.




8) For the "old school" family - I made these paper chain countdowns when I was a child, and I made them with my boys when they were small. The time spent together crafting is just as much fun as the countdown. Find the instructions here.


9) For the family that prefers experiences - I love the idea of choosing activities over things. Fill each balloon with a fun activities you can do together (e.g. play a board game, watch a Christmas movie, make a tree ornament, etc...), and pop one balloon every day in December. Fun, right?


10) For the hockey fan - We had this fun calendar last year, and my boys love it. We especially loved the Santa on skates!


How do you countdown to Christmas? I absolutely love all these advent countdown ideas. We usually choose a couple of options because it's so much fun... and it's too hard to choose just one! 😀

♥ 
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Using Personalized Home Decor to Decorate for the Holidays

When I was growing up, I remember searching souvenir racks for something with my name on it, and I seldom found anything... so when I was giving the opportunity to cozy up my home with personalized home decor for the holidays, I jumped at the chance. You may remember the video of my boys unboxing our goodies from Personalization Mall*. Well, today I am sharing photos of how I used the items we received to transform the front of our home and our TV room into cozy-cabin themed spaces.

*Note: I received free items from Personalization Mall in exchange for my blog post showing how I used the items in my home. However, as always, the opinions on this blog are 100% my own.

First, I updated the front of my house. I love the idea of creating an entrance that is warm and inviting for the holidays, don't you? I hung a wonderful rustic "Cozy by the Fire" sign and laid out a charming personalized mat that includes the names of my three boys.


Then, I moved to the inside of my house... continuing with the "cozy cabin" theme. The TV room is my favourite place in the house. It's the space where my family cuddles up and relaxes together. It's so inviting with all of my new holiday decor, don't you think?


How adorable are these pillows? And the blanket is soft, warm, and perfectly on trend for the holidays. I also adore the personalized "candy cane factory" and "Santa stop here" signs.


And if you are going to be cuddling up with the people you love, you are going to need treats. PersonalizationMall.com has gorgeous monogrammed wine glasses and personalized wine label stickers that are super fun!


And the kids will love drinking hot chocolate from personalized mugs served on this charming acrylic tray.


Don't these sweet smiles say it all? To me, this is what Christmas is all about.


My boys also have their own personalized Santa sacks (from PersonalizationMall.com). I wonder what Santa will fill them with this year.


I am absolutely in love with all of my goodies from PersonalizationMall.com. I think the "Cozy by the Fire" sign is my favourite, but they are all festive, fun, and high quality. If you have never checked out PersonalizationMall.com, I highly recommend it for your holiday shopping needs. Personalization is free on all their products, they have fast shipping (1-2 day turnaround) and their exclusive designs are fantastic.

Happy shopping!

♥ 
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)
 

Gift Guide for LEGO Fans

My boys love LEGO... especially my middle son. We've had LEGO parties, planned trips to LEGOland, and purchased many LEGO products. So, when it comes to Christmas, there is always something "LEGO" related on my shopping list. Today, I am sharing 10 fun gift ideas for LEGO fans.


*Note: This post contains some affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of my links, I will get a small commission (at NO extra cost to you). Thanks!

1) LEGO Advent Calendar - There is a LEGO advent calendar style for everyone, but in my house Star Wars LEGO rules! Getting a piece of LEGO every day for 24 days is a fantastic way to countdown to the big day.


2) LEGO Mug - I know it isn't good manners to play with your food, but with this super-fun LEGO mug, it's perfectly OK. I already ordered one of these mugs, and I can't wait for my son to try it out on Christmas morning.



3) LEGO Idea Book - I love the idea of making NEW projects from OLD pieces of LEGO. This fantastic book has over 500 ideas. That should keep the kids busy for a while.


4) LEGO Clean Up Mat - If you have ever stepped on a piece of LEGO, you know the importance of being able to clean up the pieces quickly and easily. This clean up mat is super-clever and the perfect quick clean up solution.



5) Clear Shoe Racks for LEGO Storage - There are tons of ways to store LEGO, but using a clear shoe rack is one of my favourites. The shoe racks take advantage of unused space on the back of a door, and the clear pockets make it easy for kids to organize their LEGO.


6) LEGO tape - This LEGO compatible tape is unique and clever. It's great for craft projects, and kids will love coming up with imaginative uses for it.
7) Classic LEGO Building Bricks - I'm a sucker for the classic LEGO bricks I grew up with. Rather than a "kit" with a specific thing to build, there are brightly coloured bricks which can be used to build endless imaginative creations.


8) LEGO Reactions Book - The STEM fan on your list will love this book. With existing pieces and the ones included with this book, you can design and build moving machines. How cool is that????

9) LEGO Stocking Stuffers - LEGO Crayons (which you can make by melting and cooling old crayons in a LEGO mold) and LEGO minifigures make great LEGO-themed stocking stuffers.




10) LEGO Kits - There are countless kits you can buy, but in my house the Star Wars kits are always the most popular. I am also loving the new Harry Potter kits this year.

Do you have a LEGO fan on your shopping list this Christmas? I hope this LEGO gift guide has given you some ideas and inspiration. Is there something you love that is missing from my list? Let me know what you think in the comments. 

♥ 
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)