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Hallmark Channel Original Premiere of “Christmas at Castle Hart” on Saturday, Nov. 27th at 8pm/7c! #MerryThanksgivingWeekend

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Hallmark Channel for #MerryThanksgivingWeekend and #ChristmasAtCastleHart.

Merry Thanksgiving Week, you guys!  We are definitely in a merry mood here – I joke that our house is decorated like a holiday mullet, lol: Thanksgiving in the front, Christmas in the back. ;) I’m a chronic illness girl, which makes my whole “getting stuff done” planning pretty unpredictable. I like to start the Christmas prep early – so the back patio, yard, driveway, and shop are all decked in evergreen garland and bows and light-up Santas and snowflakes. But, I kept the front yard respectable of the November festivities with my giant blow-up turkeys and orange and yellow lights, lol. Silly, but super fun.

You know who else is celebrating Merry Thanksgiving Week with a bang? Hallmark Channel! You simply can NOT have a Christmas season without Hallmark movies, am I right? And this season they have 41 ALL NEW original movies premiering on Hallmark Channel and on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries! Are you excited? I’m excited. 

The one I’m MOST excited about is premiering this Saturday, November 27th at 8PM/7c – “Christmas at Castle Hart.” Check out the trailer – and see if you recognize the star…. {can I do one of those, “only 90s kids will know, kinda things?}

“Christmas at Castle Hart” stars Stuart Townsend and – Lacey Chabert!! If you were a 90s teen, you might remember her as Claudia, from Party of 5. I looooved that show. It’s fun to see her all grown up, and in such a great role, in a really amazing movie. Here’s a bit more about it:

BROOKE BENNETT {Lacey Chabert} goes to Ireland for Christmas to search for her Irish roots. While there, she meets charming AIDEN HART {Stuart Townsend}, Earl of Glaslough. Mistaken for an elite event planner, she’s hired to host his castle’s epic Christmas party. The entire movie is filmed in Ireland – which I looooove, since Ireland has been on my own bucket list since I was a kid. So not only is the storyline itself beautiful – so is the setting and scenery.

And grab your hot cocoa and fuzzy slippers, you guys – because this is part of Hallmark Channel’s #MerryThanksgivingWeekend and it’s a go big or go home kind of event… except, wait, no. You’re already home. This is… go big, from home? Yeah, that works. ;) Go big – on the movie night, on the festiveness, and on all the feels that you know only Hallmark can bring! “Christmas at Castle Hart” is part of Hallmark Channel’s Double Programming – it airs right after “An Unexpected Christmas,” which premiers on November 26th at 6pm/5c.

Here’s a list of all the movies premiering during Merry Thanksgiving Weekend:

11/25- The Nine Kittens of Christmas
11/26- Christmas CEO
11/26- An Unexpected Christmas
11/27- Making Spirits Bright
11/27- Christmas at Castle Hart
11/28- Christmas in Tahoe
11/28- The Christmas Contest

And there’s more: There are 41 ALL NEW original movies premiering on Hallmark Channel and on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries this season! 

With all of those amazing movies to watch, you’ll definitely want to get the Hallmark Movie Checklist App – so you don’t miss any of your favorites. And, be sure to follow the hashtags to chat with other Hallmark fans – during the premiere of #ChristmasAtCastleHart on Saturday, November 27 at 8/7c, we’ll be live tweeting from my Twitter account @sunandsipcups, with @HallmarkChannel, using the movie hashtag as the #MerryThanksgivingWeekend hashtag that you can use to find more fun movies all weekend long. Make sure to join the fun!

And, if you’re here reading this, then I know you’re my type of people, and I know you’ll love a few more things:

There you have it – so many ways to kick off this holiday season. Holly and jolly. Mark your calendar for the premier – or better yet, grab that Hallmark app! Check out the HMNow (Hallmark Movies Now service) to watch Hallmark movies anytime, on demand. And be sure to join me in live tweeting the fun during the premier! If you want to tweet me in advance, using the hashtag, to let me know you’ll be watching – I will follow you back. :)

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Easy Snack Plate Dinner Ideas with Barilla Pesto!

I received this product for free from Moms Meet to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

“The fastest way to break the cycle of perfectionism and become a fearless mother is to give up the idea of doing it perfectly—indeed to embrace uncertainty and imperfection.” – Arianna Huffington.

We put so much pressure on ourselves as moms, don’t we? And it’s no wonder, since society puts so much pressure on us, right? To work hard – either at a career outside of the home, as a work from home boss babe, or as a perfect stay at home mom. Plus of course: go to the gym and dress stylin’ and do your nails and learn to contour your cheekbones all while picking up groceries and kids and hey o – it’s also a freaking PANDEMIC OUT THERE. Sigh.

Snack Tray Dinner Idea

Anyway. All of that to say – we are always in need of easy peasy dinner ideas around here. I rely heavily on things like prepping ahead, freezer meals, and my Crockpot and Instapot. But something else I rely on at least a couple of nights a week are snack boards. Kind of like… a fancier version of the lunch snack trays you buy at the supermarket, but a less fancy version of a complicated charcuterie board. Depending on the size of your family, your needs, your mood – you can put out one big tray and let everyone make their own plate, or make mini plates for each person. It’s healthy, it’s easy, it’s fun, it’s fast, and it can be YUM, too. Especially with my new obsession – Barilla Creamy Genovese Pasta Sauce. Seriously. OMG. So good.

Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto Easy Recipe Ideas

I’m really questioning myself… as a life-long pasta-a-holic, carb-loving girl, how on earth have I never actually tried pesto? I’ve heard of it. I’ve seen it. But honestly, I guess I just didn’t really know what it was, or how to use it. You GUYS?! It is GENIUS. Lemme tell ya a little bit of basic info first:

  • Pesto is the past tense of the Genoese verb “pestare,” which means “to crush.” Which makes sense – Pesto originated in Genoa, Italy, and was traditionally made by crushing ingredients with a mortar and pestle ;) The usual combo of ingredients includes basil, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts – but a lot of pesto swaps out the pine nuts. {I’m a nerd, and a writer, and I love cool facts like this!}
  • When you crush these up and mix together, you get a beautiful, creamy, green sauce. Imagine the pretty combos for holiday dishes, mixed and matched with crisp red veggies?
  • It’s most commonly used on pasta noodles, and often on sandwiches. But it is SO versatile! You can use this as a sauce for so many things, a dip, seafood, burgers, drizzle it onto pizza, use it to marinate meats, on and on.
  • CLICK HERE –> Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto Recipe Ideas if you’re just too tired to get creative and need even more inspiration. There’s nothing wrong with that, momma. I’ll share more ideas later too, keep reading. You aren’t alone here. I got you. :)

And now, with Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto Sauce, you get to skip all of the work of a mortar and pestle, but still have the freshest pesto available, imported from Italy, but available right in your own cupboard, any time you want. You can pick these up at most grocery stores, or even add them to your next Amazon order.

Pesto Snack Plate Dinner Plate Idea

We used this Creamy Genovese Pesto over the past week for our dinner plates. I mentioned over on Instagram the other day – I started a round of high-dose prednisone for my spine/disc issues, and it’s a rough one. {If you’ve ever taken prednisone, you know. It is THE strongest love/hate relationship story of all time, lol.} Plus, Daylight Savings time and now it gets dark in the middle of the dark day. The holidays are approaching rapidly, with all the weirdness and unpredictability that those bring this year. So: I’m a tired momma, my friends. A quick and easy meal that I can put together without using the stove? That’s a winner. 

Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto Dip

We’ve used this creamy pesto as a dip, with cheese and crackers. When added to pinwheel roll-ups it legit takes things up a notch! You can get creative and use this in SO many of your regular recipes, and it gives them a fresh twist, feels like something new. And if all you can manage is boiling a pot of noodles – just stir in a jar of Barilla Pesto sauce, for a quick alternative to spaghetti night that the kids will still totally love. Trust me. 

Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto

This works for lunches – add to sandwiches, as a dip for veggies or crackers, etc. It’s amazing in all of your favorite dinner dishes, or use the Barilla US site to find some new faves to put into rotation. It can add some flair to holiday meals this season. It’s a great addition to gift baskets – one compact jar is enough for a whole 16-oz box of pasta! Make party trays for your next get together, using the same idea we use for our dinner trays, just on a larger, fancier scale. The options are endless!

There are just so many ways to use this – I honestly feel kinda silly for not ever trying pesto before? You can see the dozens of other creative ways that other busy moms from #MomsMeet used this #BarillaPesto #CreamyGenovese over on Instagram by following the hashtags, or checking out the accounts – @BarillaUS and @MomsMeet. If you use #BarillaUS in your home too, be sure to share a pic and tag them too!

Be sure to come join the conversation over on my Instagram page!! Let me know in the comments here, or over there – do you use pesto? What are your favorite ways to use it? Have you tried Barilla Pesto? If not – definitely look for it the next time you’re grocery shopping in the pasta aisle, you won’t be sorry. And – are you a snack plate/dinner plate type of mom too? Chat with me, my friends. :)

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Living with Liver Disease – Webinar Sign-Up!

Most of you know by now that I’m a chronic illness girl. Especially if you follow me over on Instagram, where I talk about my adventures in medical shenanigans often. Not everyone knows the details of my illness though. One that I haven’t talked as much about is liver disease. But that is going to change, starting right now.

Liver disease is a growing issue in this country. And far too often, it’s a silent issue – your liver can take a lot of abuse, and can hang in there doing it’s job under massive stress. By the time you find out that you have liver damage, or issues like fatty liver, or NASH – it’s often pretty far along, and harder to get under control. Which is why the conversations and education about liver disease are SO super important! And, it’s why I’m excited to share the knowledge I’ve gained since I was diagnosed in 2016, answer questions, and partner with some amazingly smart people, as part of a panel all about living with liver disease.

Join us for an engaging fireside chat on April 28th, featuring an expert panel of persons with #liver disease about their lived experience & perspectives on living with #NAFLD #NASH during the #COVID19 pandemic & beyond. Register now to secure your spot – this is limited to only the first 100 people to sign up.

bit.ly/2OLrAV6.

At the sign up link you can learn more about the panelists and hosts, and there is a place for you to add your info too: Do you have a question that you would like to be answered during the event? Type it into the registration form today, so we can make sure to have that info for you on the day of the event! Would you like to be called on to ask your question live during the event? If so, indicate that too, or you can have one of the moderators ask the question for you if you feel more comfortable.

After doing Zoom school for the past year with my daughter, I know how much anxiety there is at times, jumping in and asking questions live. So, no worries if you aren’t into that. :) Just add your questions in advance and we’ll be sure they get answered. You can also feel free to reach out to me personally — Instagram is usually the quickest way for me to see a message. You can follow and message me here: Instagram.com/sunandsipcups. Or send me a tweet at Twitter.com/sunandsipcups, or email me directly at sunshineandsippycups@gmail.com. Seriously. If you have any questions about liver disease and/or the webinar, reach out, and I’ll do my best to help. 

If you’d like to read more about my journey with liver disease, you can read my story on the Fatty Liver Foundation site here: Meagan’s Place, that details my sudden liver failure in 2016, how I got my diagnosis, learning to live with such a life-changing disease that has no cure, and my path back to happiness. 

And sign up for the webinar today – Fatty Liver Foundation Webinar – and mark your calendars for April 28th! Then use the tweet button below to share this with anyone else you think might be interested too.

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I Am The Author of This Story

 

This year has taught me that life is more unpredictable than you can imagine.

That the world hands out heartbreak easily – like tossing candy in a parade.

That time is short and never guaranteed – your own, and the time you get with those you love.

So I have grown quite impatient with the bullshittery, and worrying what others think (which I’ve always let bother me too much.) My plan know is to seek happiness wherever I can, hold it tightly when I find it, and give less care to those who want to judge, bring down, add negativity to the world. 

I’m the author of this story. I get to decide how it is written. 

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Gratitude – Day 7

Day 7: #30daysofgratitude – “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou 🖤

Life can be hard. But life is a choice – you can sit and throw a fit about how unfair things are, and there are times that no one would blame you, because they can see you’ve been dealt a bad hand. But life doesn’t care if you pout, it’ll keep rolling on without you. So, it’s best to learn how to roll with it, hard times and all.

And life is what you make it, and what you look for. So, I choose to embrace the weird and the silly. To make my own fun, and to try not to take things too serious. (Because seriousness creeps in on it’s own much too easy.)
Which is why decorating for Christmas makes me happy. Jamming out to Christmas music in my silly Christmas sweaters. Putting up my 3ft light-up Christmas llama that’s meant for outdoor decor but lives atop my bookshelf. Baking cookies and making crafts.
I’m grateful today for an ability to do more than survive the hard times, but to thrive in spite of them. The ability to throw glitter in the face of adversity because around here, we’re festive as a MOTHER. 🎄🎄🎄

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Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Movie Premiere of “The Christmas Ring” on Saturday, November 7th at 10pm/9c! #MiraclesofChristmas

I’ve partnered with Hallmark Movies & Mysteries to share an amazing new holiday movie with you – “The Christmas Ring,” a heartwarming story about love, a mystery, search for stories, and of course – Christmas – that premieres Saturday, November 7th, on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel at 10pm/9cst. And, guys, you KNOW that we can all use some heartwarming right now, right? Between the stresses that come along with pandemic life, refreshing election news non-stop on your phone – give yourself a merry little break, and tune in to let your stress melt away as you watch a satisfying, uplifting, touching story on your screen of choice. 

Movie Info for The Christmas Ring on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries:

Stars: Nazneen Contractor and David Alpay.

A reporter searches for the love story behind an antique engagement ring. With the help of the ring’s owner’s grandson, they learn the legacy his grandparent’s left behind. (Nazneen’s hair color is winter hair goals, for reals. Gorgeous. If she looks familiar – she should. Click her bio link above to see more but – she’s been in a ton of amazing shows, like appearing as Rima Harewood in the record-breaking Paramount feature film, Star Trek Into Darkness. And David Alpay? I am a sucker in a man in a jaunty scarf and some stubble like that. And – you might remember him from the CW series “The Vampire Diaries.”)

This movie isn’t your only opportunity to get your holly jolly on, you can have yourself a merry little movie marathon by checking out all 17 holiday movies, all season long, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Miracles of Christmas! This year, the holidays look a bit different than usual, don’t they? But, different doesn’t have to be a bad thing – this year’s changes are all about creating new traditions, and spending more family time together. What better way than snuggling up in warm blankets, cozy socks, coffee or cocoa in your mug, and an uplifting Christmas movie on the screen?

[Read more…]

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9 Ideas for Celebrating a Pandemic Thanksgiving

9 Ideas for Celebrating Thanksgiving In 2020 🦃

This year’s Thanksgiving is going to look a lot different than any previous year – no matter where you stand on safety, which state you’re in, what type of risk factors your family has, the level of shut down in your area, etc. For us, we’re doing Thanksgiving with just my household, cooking a turkey, watching movies, eating too much since there will be no guests and no reason to share, lol. For more great tips, check out this info from Sara Skirboll at RetailMeNot, a leader in holiday shopping tips.

Throw a Thanksgiving Picnic or Backyard Bash

Okay, so if you live in one of the Northern U.S. states, this might be a harder sell, but if the weather is good to us this Thanksgiving, why not celebrate outside? The CDC has said that being outdoors reduces the risk of exposure to COVID-19, and plus, fall foliage makes a wonderful backdrop to your Thanksgiving celebration.

Move what might have been an evening Thanksgiving dinner to brunch or lunch, and you’ll get more hours of natural light (and more time to celebrate, of course).

If you have yard or deck space, host a small gathering outside with tables, chairs, blankets, warm drinks (use that slow cooker or Instant Pot!) and maybe even an outdoor heater or fire pit. If you’re having a larger gathering, instead of one big table, break up seating into smaller parties based on households to make mealtime safer. A local park or special outdoor spot also makes a great setting!

Eddie Bauer Cabin Plaid Throw Pillow and Blanket Set at Bed Bath & Beyond

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Crock-Pot 4 qt. Cook & Carry Slow Cooker at Bed Bath & Beyond

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Single Servings

Many of our Thanksgiving meals revolve around buffet-style servings that everyone digs into. But more hands on serving ware means more germs. (PSA: Remember to frequently wash your hands!) Instead, pick a designated person or “head chef” to serve up turkey and sides onto individual plates instead of everyone passing around that green bean casserole.


Have a Taste of Home

Can’t make it home for Thanksgiving? Order a piece of home instead. Many iconic restaurants from across the country ship nationwide, offering you a slice of nostalgia or a taste of your favorite meal even if you can’t travel this year. Some of our favorites? Junior’s Cheesecake in New York, Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana and Blue Owl Bakery in Missouri. Dig in!


Set Up Outdoor Entertainment

If watching the game is part of your Thanksgiving tradition, set up a projector outside to screen football or a favorite family movie.

For those looking for other activities, setting up a competition or tournament outside with games like bocce ballcroquetbadminton or corn hole (personalize your family name!) can be a fun way to safely get together while social distancing.

GoSports 90mm Backyard Bocce Set at Amazon

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Personalized Bean Toss at L.L. Bean

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Decorate Your House in Festive Flair

If the gathering just isn’t happening this year, you can still get festive by decorating your house to the max with gourdous fall accents. From fall foliage garlandsdried flowers and colorful maize to knit and plaid home decor, there are a plethora of ways to bring Thanksgiving to life inside your home.


Order Thanksgiving To Go

Many local restaurants and chains have started offering family-size meals to-go, and Thanksgiving is no exception! You’ll be supporting your local restaurants and community while saving time and the stress of preparing a traditional turkey meal at home. Check back soon for a list of restaurants serving Thanksgiving meals!


Get Creative With Family-Friendly Crafts and Activities

It’s tough being stuck inside, especially with young kids and everyone being under the same roof more often than usual. But there are plenty of ways for the whole family to stay entertained and happy over the holidays. While the adults are preparing the meal, keep the kiddos entertained with crafts, like a paper bag turkeyDIY handprint turkey hat or Thanksgiving wreath. Or create your own Thanksgiving-themed advent calendar with leaves or construction paper where each family member expresses what they’re grateful for leading up to the big day.


Your Friendly Neighborhood Delivery

For families or individuals celebrating Thanksgiving with only those in their households or alone, a great way to show thanks this year is by preparing your favorite recipes for family and neighbors—especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19—and delivering them in a contact-free way. So even if you can’t spend Thanksgiving with the grandparents, they’ll still be able to indulge in your famous pumpkin pie.

 

Big thanks again to Sara Skirboll from RetailMeNot for these great tips!

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