Monday, 19 December 2016

Awesome Virtual Christmas Party!

Hi Friends! Last night members of my "Serene Stampers" group and I had our Virtual Christmas Party. It was a BLAST!  These amazing demonstrators (and dear friends) live all across Canada, so it can sometimes be challenging connecting with everyone. Our facebook group has been the answer and that is also where we had our 'party'!  The party ran from 7pm-9pm (to accomodate all the different time zones) but I'll tell you, it zoomed by! Fastest two hours ever LOL

Weeks ago, I sent everyone an invite and once they RSVP'd for our event I mailed each of them a little party packet. The packets had supplies to make a cute Christmas planner, as well as an envelope of homemade hot chocolate to enjoy during the party (or whenever they wanted).  To get the party going everyone was to grab something yummy to eat and drink, put on their pj's and crank on the Christmas tunes! Soon we were posting selfies, many of us with our Santa hats on, along with pictures of our drinks and treats:

Shortly before our Christmas party started I shared a video with my group to show them what the supplies in their packets were for & how to put their project together - they LOVED it (whew! I was hoping they would!). I had the video unlisted but today I decided it might be fun to share it with you too:

Some of the gals worked on their Christmas Planner during the party, posting pictures as they went along. It was so much fun to see how everyone creates their own planner; here are a couple of photos...

We also shared our Christmas traditions, favourite Christmas carols and movies - turns out I'm not the only one who puts an orange in the toe of stockings! We also had a recipe swap and holey, did we ever get a ton of yummy recipes that I personally can't wait to try. I found a recipe card template on pinterest and this is what I shared with everyone last night. Then they can write out their recipes and tuck them into their Christmas planners! Here are some the recipes from my group:

Homemade Bailey’s
1 2/3 cups Irish whiskey
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
2 tbsp. chocolate syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant coffee granules
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth and coffee granules have dissolved. Keep stored in an airtight glass bottle in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Shake well before serving! Enjoy!!!

Mine has to be Peanut Butter marshmallow squares. 1 cup pb, 1/2 cup butter, 1 pkg butterschotch chipits, melt in microwave for 1.5 mins and then let cool a bit and then add coloured marshmallows. Set in 9x12 pan. some like to eat this frozen, not me.

Lemon Bread
1 cup sugar 6 Tbsp melted butter
2 eggs ½ cup milk
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder
Zest of 1 lemon ½ tsp salt

In a medium bowl add sugar, eggs, melted butter and milk. Whisk until all combined then stir in lemon zest.
In a small bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet, stirring in a bit at a time so not to get lumps.
Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour until golden OR until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes or so. Turn out upright on a plate and then cover with glaze.
(When on the plate, spoon/pour the glaze on the top as well as over the sides so it will soak into the bottom)

Glaze: Juice of 1 lemon & 1/3 cup sugar (stir together until most of the sugar has dissolved)


Nanaimo Bars has always been a favourite in our family. It is a 'bit" sweet, so Mom found a recipe called Go Go Square that is less sweet but has all the good yumminess of nanaimo bars. Here it is for you ..... Go Go Square
Line 9x12 pan with graham wafers
Blend 1 cup br. Sugar
½ cup butter / margarine
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
½ cup cocoa
Place in pan and let come to a boil
Remove from heat and cool
Add 1 cup graham crumbs
1 cup coconut
1 cup rice crispies
1 tbsp vanilla
Spread over base
Put into fridge until set
Ice with ¼ cup butter
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp custard powder
2 cups icing sugar
Blend butter, 1 cup sugar and toher ingredients.
Add remaining sugar, spread on first 2 layers
Cover with 1 square semi-sweet chocolate
Melted with 1 tbsp butter
Refridgerate until set.

I've been making this cake the past 20+ years and always a family fav
Bacardi Rum Cake
Cooking time: 1 hr Preheat oven: 325º F
Cake Glaze
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional) ½ cup butter
18 ½ oz pkg yellow cake mix 1 cup sugar
3 ½ oz pkg vanilla pudding mix ¼ cup water
4 eggs ½ cup Bacardi Gold Rum
½ cup Bacardi Gold Rum
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup cold water
1. Preheat oven to 325º F. Grease & flour 12-cup bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts
over the bottom of the pan (optional).
2. In a large mixing bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, 4 eggs, Bacardi
Gold Rum, vegetable oil and cold water. Mix on low on all combined. Beat
on high for 2 mins. Pour over nuts.
3. Bake for 1 hour or until cake tester comes out clean (I check at 50 mins).
4. Cool 15 mins and then invert on a serving plate.
1. Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil for 5 mins, stirring
constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum.
2. Prick cake top with a fork. Spoon and brush glaze evenly all over the cake.
3. Decorate the border with whipped cream before serving (optional).

The cream cheese makes this cake absolutely yummylicious!!
 Cherry Pound Cake
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
1 ½ cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup maraschino cherries, drained and halved
¼ cup flour
Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour 8 inch tube pan.
Mix together the 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla and almond extract. Beat in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Dredge cherries in ¼ cup flour then fold into batter. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 65-70 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

 And that's only a sampling of the recipes we all shared during our party! Yum!  I don't think the ladies in my group would mind if I share some more of their comments with you. Here just a few of their responses to some of my posts during our party last night:

What is your favourite Christmas carol?
  • Bing Crosby and David Bowie s little drummer boy!
  • Oh Holy Night!!
  • Mary's Boy Child - BoneyM
  • oh come all ye faithful
  • I like Pentatonix version of Mary Did You Know
  • The Gift by Aselin Debison
  • Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
  • The Christmas shoes
  • Maria's Song by Garth Brooks. Makes me cry EVERY time I hear it!
  • one of my fav Christmas songs is Elvis Presley "If every day was like Christmas"
  • Christmas Day by Dido
  • I also love Your Christmas Guest by Reba
What is your favourite Christmas movie?
  • It's a Wonderful Life and Polar Express
  • Polar Express
  • Christmas with the Kranks 
  • The Santa Clause
  • Arthur Christmas
  • Scrooged
  • Elf
  • White Christmas
  • The Grinch     
  • It's a Wonderful Life, ELF, White Christmas, Santa Clause, Polar Express.
  • ALL of the claymation ones....Rudolph, The Year without a Santa Claus..
  • Jack Frost with Michael Keaton
We also chatted about the new Occasions and Sale-a-bration catalogues that start on Jan 3. We shared our favourite products, what we preordered (another demo perk is that we can preview and preorder products a month earlier than everyone else).  Here's another question I asked everyone:

What product from the SU catalogue is one that you can not live without?
  • BIG SHOT!!!!
  • Big shot
  • Su whisper white is still my all time favorite paper. Nothing beats it
  • Su dimentionals are the best! Love them
  • Love the stampin scrub and the Big Shot!
  • Big Shot and Stamp-a-ma-jig
  • my trimmer
  • Big Shot
  • Big Shot!
  • The Stampin' Trimmer and Scorer.

Each post had LOTS of comments and chit chat bantering back and forth - it really was just like we were all in the same room together. I loved it - I really miss seeing everyone in real life so this was next to the best thing.

Of course, I had to have a Prize Patrol at the end of the party too! One lucky lady won a brand new stamp set from the Occasions catalogue (available Jan 3rd).

If you've ever considered purchasing the starter kit from Stampin' Up! I'd LOVE for you to be a part of my "Serene Stampers" group too!  

Not only will you save on your Stampin' Up! orders (why pay full price on your products when you don't have to?) but the company is simply amazing, as are all the extra perks and benefits. Just pop me an email anytime if you have any questions at . Joining Stampin' Up! (just for the discount) back in 2002 was the BEST DECISION I ever made!

Here are some of the comments my group posted last night, when I asked them what they liked best about being a demonstrator and part of the Stampin' Up! family:
  • Meeting so many great people!
  • Having a great leader and having sisters
  • meeting new people, and my SU family
  • Previews, discount and feeding my own addiction...I love to craft and share it with people!!
  • The friends I have made that I never would have met otherwise!
  • I am a newbie, but so far it is meeting all of you
  • Too many things to mention!! Always love getting those visits from Mr. Brown with all the new goodies! Love the people I have met who I would not have met otherwise. I've made some great friends because of SU!!
  • the relationships with customers and downlines!!!!
  • and sidelines and adopted lines lol
  • I have to say meeting all the new people who also love crafting!!
  • Definitly the people I have met, as well as the fun I have with my paper crafting addiction.
  • All the great friends I've met
  • how it has taken me out of my shell, and all the friends I have made.
  • also loving the opportunity to go to Thailand!!!!
  • All the great friends I have met and going out of my comfort zone
  • All the other demos I've met and our local group that gets together monthly   

So many great perks, right? We all agree the discount, the company, etc. But hands down it is the FRIENDSHIPS that we all marvel at. I can't even begin to imagine my life without all the friends I've made through SU. I also appreciate YOU, my customers and my awesome Serene Stampers team!  I hope you enjoyed a little peek into our "Virtual Christmas Party". Here's what some of the ladies had to say when it was over:

"Thanks Tina and everyone! It's been fun laughing, reminiscing, drinking and crafting with you today (couldn't just sit here and not craft lol). Merry Christmas and may all of your wishes come true. So nice to belong to a group!" ~ Glenda

"Thanks for everything Tina!! Merry Christmas" ~ Marcia

"Thanks Tina it was great fun!" ~ Barb

"Thanks Tina for a fun evening. Praying everybody has a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. And please be safe through the holidays." ~ Michele

And on that note, my friends, have a very Merry Christmas! I'm going to be taking the next week off to spend time with family and get ready for Christmas. I'll be back posting next week. Until then... HAPPY STAMPING!

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  1. Tina I really enjoyed reading your post and watching your video. I'm a Canadian demo who's not available to hold monthly meetings with my small team of demos, so have been thinking of doing a virtual party with them, so this was so timely and helpful. Super appreciated! Have a wonderful New Years!

  2. Tina, Your blog posts just make me smile, even on those challenging days. THANK YOU! I love all the recipe ideas this post, (btw I get requests every year for the Rum Cake which I've tweaked over 20+ years), and smiled often as I read every line here. Your style and ideas are not only inspiring, they are just my style - it's a double win. Thank you again for being such a positive part of my life, my past year (2016), and for bringing so many smiles during some difficult times. I hope you had a WONDERFUL Christmas. Best wishes for a blessed 2017!

  3. Barbara - thank you for your wonderful comment. You made ME SMILE and truly warmed my heart. I am so happy that you enjoy my blog posts (and the recipes) and that I can somehow, in some small way, make a difference in other peoples lives. Isn't it amazing how the internet and Stampin' Up! can 'bring' people together? Thank YOU for taking the time out of your day to visit my blog. I wish you all the best for 2017 and HAPPY STAMPING!