Homemade Fun Candy Sled Table Place Savers

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Looking for a adorable inexpensive homemade last minute gift? Or a fun table place saver piece? These adorable candy cane sleds are insanely easy to make and perfect for putting customized name labels on for your holiday party!

candy cane sled 2

Supplies

  • Full size Kit Kat candy bar
  • 10 snack size candies per candy sled
  • 2 Candy Canes per sled
  • Ribbon
  • Bow
  • Hot Glue
  • Printable Name Place Labels

candy cane sled 3

Instructions:

For this homemade activity it doesn’t much easier than this. Simply glue your Kit Kat bar to the Candy Canes. Now take your snack sized candy bars and starting with 4 then 3, 2 and 1. Glue them to the Kit Kat starting with four on the bottom and creating a pyramid as you build up. Take your ribbon and tie it around the sled like a present. Top with a bow. If you are making these as table place savers then print this Printable Name Place Labels on card stock paper, cut and place on or next to each sled.

Table Lables

Vanilla Bean Pannacotta Recipe

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pannacotta vanilla pin

Whether you are making a dessert for your own family or hosting a fancy dinner party this Vanilla Bean Pannacotta is sure to be a big hit! With a hint of lemon and the delicious aroma of fresh vanilla bean your senses are sure to be rocked. The Pannacotta tastes absolutely fabulous all on it’s own, but if you want to give it a little extra flavor you can top with with a raspberry coolie (as pictured), a lemon marmalade, or even just a dusting of cinnamon!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 whole vanilla bean

pannacotta ppm

Directions 

  1. In a sauce pan combine whipping cream, 1/2 cup milk, sugar, and lemon zest. Remove the innards of 1 vanilla bean and add both innards and pod directly to the saucepan. Stirring continuously bring mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Remove mixture from heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl add 1/2 cup milk and gelatin. Let rest for about 15 minutes, until gelatin is fully dissolved.
  3. Return milky mixture to the stove top and bring it back to a simmer. Add gelatin mixture, stir until fully dissolved. Using a cheese clothe or fine mesh strainer, strain out lemon zest and vanilla bean pod from mixture. Ladle mixture into 6-8 lightly oiled ramekins (mine were a little more than 3/4 cups each in size).
  4. Place in the refrigerator and let cool overnight (at least 8 hours).
  5.  Serve with a sauce of your choice  (ex: Raspberry Coolie, Lemon Marmalade, Basil Coolie…)

DIY Christmas Ornament Wreath

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DIY Christmas Wreath PPM

Tis the season to get crafty! For some reason the holidays always seem to bring a little extra craftiness out. Making this fabulous DIY ornament wreath was not only super fun but insanely easy to do! With just about $12 in supplies (mostly found at Ikea and the Dollar Tree) you can make this beautiful wreath personalized to with whatever colors and style ornaments you fancy best.

Supplies:

wreath process

Using a 12″ metal wreath frame and bendable floral wire (or the Christmas decoration hooks that came with your ornaments) attach the ornaments one at a time to the bottom-inside portion of the wire wreath. Simply bend the wire through the ornament and wrap it around the wreath frame tightly. Once it is secure, using wire cutter – cut off the excess wire.

Continue to do this step until all of the ornaments are touching and creating a center circle of ornaments (as pictured above). To secure the ornaments a little extra use hot glue in between each ornament where they are touching (pictured above).

 Once the inside portion of the wreath has been filled with ornaments began to wrap metallic tinsel garland around the wire frame. Use hot glue to secure the tinsel at the ends (pictured below).

diy christmas wreath pin

Now that the wreath frame is now fully covered in tinsel and the inner ornaments circle has been made (with all of the same size and shaped ornaments), you can begin gluing the next round of same sized and shaped ornaments directly to the tinsel covered wreath. Glue one ornament at a time to the tinsel as well as to its neighboring ornament, working your way all the way around the wreath.

Once the wreath has been mostly covered, use your remaining ornaments in various sizes to fill in gaps and create a more random design. Place them on top, in between, on the bottom, where ever you see fit around the wreath.

The final step of making the ribbon bow is much simpler then you would think. Simply take a piece of wire ribbon about 18 inches in length and fold a loop. Then repeat these loops 5 more times, squeezing them together at the base of each loop. Secure the loop bow at the base with hot glue or a piece of wire twisted around the base. Now with the two 12 inch pieces of wire ribbon wrap them around a round dowel of some type (the handle of a broom, mop or 1-2 inch dowel). Gently remove the ribbon from the dowel, allowing the ribbon to hold it’s winded shape. Glue these two pieces of ribbon to the previously assembled bow. Viola! It’s so simple and only takes about 5 minutes to make! If you are not interested in making your own bow, you can purchase pre-made bows for a pretty reasonable price at the craft store.

Attach the wired ribbon bow to the ornament wreath and the designer look will be complete! This wreath only took about 30 minute to make, it was so easy and really a lot of fun. On top of that I found it to be more affordable to make myself than to buy a previously made ornament wreath. Plus when you make your own wreath you can select whatever colors, textures, and sized ornaments you would like!

DIY Burlap Pull Garland (AKA Garland for Dummies)

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 DIY Garland PPM

You are going to laugh when you see how simple these fun, chic burlap garlands are to make! Seriously this beautiful burlap garland is the perfect DIY Garland for Dummies! All you will need is burlap ribbon and hot glue.

Simply create a 2 inch fold at the end of the burlap ribbon and hot glue it closed. Measure about 4 inches from the end of the ribbon and clip a single piece of string, centered in the middle of the ribbon. Now pull that string to create a gather in the burlap. As you pull the string slide the burlap along the string (be careful not to go too fast or rough as you do NOT want to let the string break).

burlap pull

Continue pulling the string and sliding the burlap ribbon down until you get close to the end of the spool of ribbon. At this point stop pulling take the last 2 inches of the ribbon and fold over the end piece and hot glue it closed. At this point you should be able to see or feel which piece of string is being pulled. Measure about 4 inches from the end of the ribbon (just like you did at the beginning) and carefully cut the single thread that you have been pulling to gather the garland.

At this point you can begin sliding the garland back towards the beginning piece of the ribbon to make it more centered on the thread. That’s it! You are done! SUPER EASY – I PROMISE!

 

Supplies

  • 5 1/2 inch Burlap Ribbon 15-30 feet (depending on your space and length you need)
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue

 

 

Snag It or Bag It? Xbox One Assassin Creed Bundle for $329 at Walmart

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snag it

 

Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Unity Bundle Has someone in your family put a new Xbox One on the top of their wish list? If so, you can rest easy knowing that this purchase can hang out at the bottom of your shopping list until you’re ready.

Don’t set your alarm early to be first in line on Black Friday for Wal-Mart’s Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Unity Bundle for $329. You’re better off waiting to pick up this gift online through Microsoft’s website or in-store at almost any time in December. After all, what’s $20 compared to avoiding the crowds and spending more time with friends and family?

However, if you find yourself at Target on Thursday evening, this Xbox Black Friday deal may be worth the tussle. The deal includes a $50 Target gift card, which can be used to stuff a few more stockings. As always, weigh your options and see what works best for your time vs. money budget. Bottom Line? Bag it! For now.

Snag It or Bag It? Should you Score this Deal or Let It Go?

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snag it

 

Is it time to update your smartphone or computer? If you’re nodding your head ‘yes’, then you’re in luck; this is the time of year to pick an Apple to put under the tree.

Black Friday is one of the few days of the year that Apple lowers its prices on popular products. Get in line early if you’re planning on beating the crowds –retailers like

Best Buy is lowering their prices on the iPad Air 2 by $100 for Black Friday. If you’d rather shop from the comfort of the couch, Apple will be posting its own online deals on the 28th and you can expect free two-day shipping.

With the recent release of the iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus), iPad Air 2 and the newest iMac, earlier models are getting cheaper by the week. Consider a refurbished computer and you can save yourself a decent amount of money. Right now, a refurbished MacBook is over $100 less than a new model and factory certification means that you’ll get a brand new shell and battery, along with a one-year factory warranty. If you’re hoping to save on a new phone, check out this eBay storefront. While it’s unclear if these phones are officially tied to Apple, it’s a good sign that these unlocked models also include the extra contents (cords, ear buds, etc.) and a one-year Apple-certified warranty plan.

 

Bottom Line? Snag it!

DIY Paper Pinwheel Background and Decor

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pinwheel ppm

 These paper pinwheels are the perfect decor for creating a beautiful background for your next birthday party, baby shower or holiday decor or even a photo shoot backdrop! The best part is that there are several ways to make this project your own, simply adjust the size of the pinwheels (larger/smaller), make center buttons different sizes, or don’t use a center circle piece at all. You can also make the the pinwheel using several different colors of paper to make a more unique design.

No matter what you choose to do – have fun and make this project your own! I had so  much fun making these Christmas inspired pinwheel with my kids and just love how they turned out!

Supplies Needed: 

  • Scrapbook Paper, old books, maps and other paper products (I used DCWV scrapbook paper it’s my favorite!)
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue
  • Round Objects (for making center circles, ie. dixie cup, glass, mason jar ring…)
  • String, ribbon, twine or tape (for hanging the pinwheels)

Project Details:

  1. Take your scrapbook paper and  begin to fold 1 inch wide accordion folds. You will basically be creating two paper fans (like you did as a kid).
  2. Take each of the fans and fold them evenly in half.
  3. Trim ends of the paper into a rounded shape with scissors (optional).
  4. With the hot glue, connect the two ends of the first fan together. Repeat this step with the second fan and then glue the two fans together.
  5. On a different colored paper trace and cut a circle or use a large hole punch.  Glue the circle to the center of the pinwheel on both sides.
  6. If you plan on hanging the pinwheel from a string, ribbon or twine make sure to glue it directly to the back of the pinwheel where you attached the circle. (This step is not required. You can attach the pinwheel directly to the wall like I did with duct tape.)

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DIY Fall Mason Jar Luminary

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mason jar luminary

These festive Fall Mason Jar Luminaries are so much fun to make, super easy and totally affordable. Use them as fantastic table centerpieces, to add to your fall decor or as indoor/outdoor lanterns.

All you need for this project can be purchased for less than $6 total! Simply pick up some Mod Podge, silk leaves, mason jars (pint or quart sized), tea lights and some twine/raffia/ribbon to finish the look! I was able to find all of these items at the Dollar Tree. You can also find all of these supplies at pretty much any local craft store.

Directions:

1. With a paint brush paint on a section of Mod Podge onto the Mason jar. Place one leaf at a time to the Mod Podge. Once you have gotten the leaf to stick to the jar in the position you most like, secure the leaf with another THICKER coating of Mod Podge.

2. Allow 2-4 hours for the Mod Podge to dry completely. Finish the look by tying raffia, twin or ribbon around the neck of the jar.

3. Place a flameless tea light, tea candle or larger candle in the jar and watch as the candle lights up! The jars are adorable unlit but honestly they really take on a whole new look once they are lit and the light can shine through the leaves and gaps on the jar.

 

Cream of Broccoli & Cauliflower Soup Recipe

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cream of broccoli and cauliflower soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 3 cans chicken broth
  • 4 cups of broccoli
  • 2 cups cauliflower
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of whole milk
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder (I use seasoning salt)

Directions:

  1. Cut broccoli and cauliflower into bite size pieces. Boil broccoli and cauliflower directly in the chicken stock until al dente, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt  2 tablespoons of butter and add onion.  Saute onions until soft and translucent. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and the flour 1 tablespoon at a time, to make a rue. Once the mixture has created a rue (a paste like consistency) add milk/cream slowly to mixture slowly, whisking while mixture together.
  3. Split the broccoli/cauliflower mix in half. Take half of the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour mixture into the cream-rue mixture, add the remainder of the whole florets to the soup.
  4. Turn the stove top to down to low and allow the soup to simmer for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Stir soup every 5 minutes or so while it simmers to make sure the cream does not burn to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Taste and add more salt, pepper, garlic powder, seasoning salt as desired.

cream of broccoli soup

6 Smart Tips for Smart Holiday Shopping

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Looking to save money on your holiday gift giving?  Make sure you check out this list of SIX great tips!  My personal favorite is #5 - and it is the one I tell my children about each and every year!

 

It is November which means it is now time to jump in and do your holiday shopping.  If you shop all year long, then you are probably about finished — and good for you!  However, many don’t start shopping until around Thanksgiving (or later).  When you start to see all of the deals showing up on your television, Facebook and other places (like this site), it can become overwhelming and you can quickly over-buy and lose control.  Here are SIX great tips you can follow to help keep your spending under control!

 

1.  Create a Budget and List

Before you jump in and start buying willy-nilly, you should have BOTH a budget and shopping list ready.  You can use the standard budget form here (just print the blank one and write down the names of the people you will buy for and the amount you plan on spending).    Once you have that in place, then determine what it is you will buy or make.  If your budget is tight, you may want to try homemade gifts (check out one of my Pinterest boards for some ideas).

Make sure you stick to your budget so that when the mail comes in January, you’ll be happy to see fewer bills show up in the mail box!

2.  Saving money on a deal is really saving

If you find a deal on something that you didn’t intend on purchasing and buy it because of the price, that does not make it a deal.  Instead, when you spend money – no matter how much – you are spending.  Even if you get it for $10 because you are saving $15, that is another $10 taken out of your holiday budget.  Make sure that when you see a deal, that it is something you really need to buy and not something you buy just because of the price.

3.  Don’t get sucked in by the phrase Black Friday

Just because it is Black Friday, it doesn’t mean that those are the best deals you can find.  Some of the best days to shop include:

  • November 26th — Toys and Electronics
  • December 1st – Apparel

If you take a minute to actually look through the Black Friday Ads, you will probably see that many of them are the same things you see in past years or are items which are rather underwhelming.  Don’t fall for the hype of Black Friday and think that means you are guaranteed to get some of the best prices of the shopping season.

If you do plan on getting out to shop, you can read my Best Black Friday Shopping tips.  If you want to stay home instead, we’ll be here to help — complete with a database filled with coupon codes and offers!!!  

 

4.  Shop online

While do sometimes shop in the stores, I will admit to doing most of my shopping online.  I am just so busy that getting out is not as easy as it has been in the past.  Between that and the weekend madness, I’d just rather spend time at home with my kids.

When I have the patience to wait for a deal, I can often find deals that I can’t find in the store.  Or, if they are bit more, they are really “the same” as I don’t have to spend fuel or my time to drive to the store to grab it!

I will admit that my favorite place to shop is Amazon.   I also pay the $99 annual fee for Amazon Prime which always more than pays for itself in my shipping savings alone!!!  With the daily lightning deals and how they do a great job of price matching other retailers, I find that I do a great job in getting the things we need, without hurting our holiday budget!

5.  Numbers don’t matter

I don’t know about you, but I would rather spend the same amount and give my kids each 2 or 3 items which will last than 10 items which will fall apart.  In addition, I don’t care what my kids give me either.  One of my favorite gifts was a silly snowman coffee mug that cost $1 at one of our Dollar Stores.  I love it most of all because my daughter was so proud that she not only picked it out herself, but spend her own money to buy it for me.  She reminds me of this when I dig out that mug for my hot cocoa each winter.

I know I’ve receive many gift over the years, but this small mug is the thing I remember.  Your family will do the same thing – if you give something from the heart – or just do what you can to make the holiday memorable, that is what matters most of all.  You probably won’t remember what gift you were given in 2 years, but you will remember that special moment where your child smiled or your last photo with grandma.


6.  Stop shopping when the list is done

This may seem like it is common sense, but it may be harder than you realize.  When you are done with your holiday shopping and have purchase or made something for everyone on your list, just stay out of the stores.  It is so simple to see something and pick up “just one more item.”  Doing this can quickly add up into 5 – 10 more items and quickly blow that budget you set in step #1 above.  Like I tell my kids ……. “put down the toy and walk away.”

What other tips do you have to add to our list?