Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last Minute Handmade Gifts

Here is a round up of easy, creative handmade gifts with links to instructions and fabulous photos.  There is still time for handmade, it might be easier than running around in search of the perfect gift!

A custom dry erase board using a store bought frame and scrap book paper found here.

Candy Cane Vodka, it looks very festive and very easy, but you need 2 days to let it soak.  Find it here.

Pretzel Turtles- 3 ingredients, 883 5 star reviews (that means its good) and they are unbelievably yummy and so easy.

For kids- personalized gripper socks, easy enough if you have a steady hand.  You only need socks and puff paint.  I did this with names, initials, dots, squiggles.  She got more fancy here, but it's an easy project.

Rice Sock (microwave heat pack)-  These are great for kids or anyone and there are all sorts of fun socks out there!  This video shows you how to make one in under 1 minute, so make several!!!

Instant Russian Tea is always a hit.  There are hundreds of recipes so make it easy and save yourself a ton of time by trusting this 5 star recipe at

And here is my Gift category on this blog, some are very quick!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cute snowman wrapper for an easy, cheap gift

I was once again inspired by something I saw on pinterest, imagine that!  I needed 10 gifts that were cheap and easy and this is what we did.  This is one pack of microwave popcorn wrapped in one sheet of copy paper with one pair of knit gloves as the hat.  The kids are giving these as gifts so I let them draw the snowmen and I think they turned out cute!  One sheet of felt was cut to make the ties for the hats.  I scored the gloves in a 2 pack at the Dollar Tree and had the kids put one glove inside the other and slipped it over the top.  I don't know exactly how much I spent but I am thinking it was less than $1 per gift.  

The possibilities are endless here.  You can wrap up hot cocoa,  chocolate bars and so much more.  The idea came from here and she has a printable for the snowman that looks nice.  But I am never one to have ink in my printer and I wanted to kids to have fun with it too.  We made 10 gifts in less than 30 minutes.  You should try it!  Let me know if you do!

Unique, Easy Handprint Gift for Grandparents

To make this easy, cute keepsake gift you need an 8 x 10 frame and some scrapbook papers.  I traced the hand prints of my 3 kids on to pretty papers I thought would match the decor of their grandparent's house. I stacked and adhered them and it was complete in less than 15 minutes, start to finish.  I spent less than $3 on scrapbook paper and I bought cheap frames so each gift cost me under $5.00 to make.  I was impressed, haha!  The only thing that bothered me was I didn't even think to do one for myself!!!!  Oh well, it is easy enough to repeat one day soon!

Here is what inspired me

Friday, November 11, 2011

Crockpot Cheese Tortellini

One of  my facebook friends, Jennifer, posted this recipe and declared it was a hit it with her family.  I jumped on it, added the ingredients to my grocery list and made it the next day.  I love it when good recipes come from friends.  Since then I have cooked many times and tweaked it a bit. So here you go, it is so easy with only 5 ingredients!

Crockpot Cheese Tortellini
1 box chicken broth
2 cans Italian diced tomatoes ( I have also regular diced tomatoes and added a teaspoon of Italian seasoning)
1 bag of fresh spinach (it will take up the whole crock pot but cook down)
1 lb. of Italian sausage  (I use less than a pound)
1 bag of frozen cheese tortellini (I have also used non frozen tortellini)

Put everything in the crockpot on low for 4-6 hours. I did 5 and it was good, you do not want your pasta to turn to mush so don't overcook.  Melt some shredded mozzarella on each serving and serve with a crusty baguette to sock up the juices, yum!

I think it would be easy to make this vegetarian, just use vegetable broth and don't add the sausage.  I also think you could make this on the stove top and it still be easy.  

This tastes great!  I've fed it to guests and they ask for the recipe, that is a good sign!  The kids eat it, one loves it, two would rather not- sometimes they don't have a choice.  Leftovers are good too! 


Pumpkin Crisp or Pumpkin Dump cake

This is good and easy recipe or I would not sharing it with you.  It makes a big 9 x 13 sized dessert which makes it great to take to a covered dish affair.  Enjoy it!

3 eggs
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 29 oz. can pumpkin or 2 15 oz cans
1.5 cups sugar
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger

THEN pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish

Sprinkle the contents of a box of yellow cake mix over this

Sprinkle a cup of chopped nuts over this

Melt a stick of butter and pour over that and then bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes

Mix 8 oz softened cream cheese, 8 oz cool whip and 1.5 cups of confectioners sugar

Ice when cool and eat it all up, hahal!  Refrigerate leftovers.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Fun!

I know Halloween is here! Maybe you planned to be more festive and time just got away from you or maybe you are still trying to find ideas for your party; check out all the fun and easy Halloween ideas I have collected on Pinterest.  Have a great Fall weekend!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I moved across the country in March and have been vacant from this blog for awhile.  We are renting for one more month and then moving into the house we are buying so I'll be back and I'll have soooo many home improvement and decorating ideas to share with you.

Don't forget you can always send me your great tips to share with others!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Getting Your House Ready to Sell

If your are ready to put your house on the market, you  need to be serious about making your house looks its best.  Work with what you have and what you can do inexpensively. This article will focus on how to make the interior of your house look better for potential buyers, but do not neglect the outside of your house.

First and most importantly you need to do what I call pre- packing so gather boxes and supplies and in most cases you might need to rent a storage unit to put all the extra stuff.  You are going to make your house look bigger, lighter and cleaner.  You are going to make your house more neutral by taking out many of your personal items.  We want buyers to picture themselves in your home and that beautiful large photo of your children on the wall makes that process hard for them.

Pack up your collections.  All of them, just do it! What you love is just visual clutter to someone else and by packing it all up, you have less to dust and clean.

Pack up book and music.  Potential buyers don't need to know your personal taste in literature or music.  And it can also look like clutter.

Pack up most of the personal photos. I know its hard, but it is not forever.

Clear the corners!  When you walk in a room, make sure you can see at least three of the corners, preferably four. 

Edit your furniture to the basics and send small unnecessary pieces to storage.  You should be able to easily move around the rooms.

Overhaul your closet.  The goal here it to see the floor and ample room with uncrowded rods.  Pack up  a third to half of what is in every closet so they look big and roomy.  People love houses with storage and crowded closets do not look big.

If you have kids pack up at least half the toys.  This one is very important.  Big toys, little toys- what your house needs to show well is less toys. The great thing about this is when you unpack them your kids will have hours of entertainment with these forgotten toys.

Make your counters bare.  You can leave the coffee pot and that is it.  If you don't have room in your cabinets for the things on the counters, get to packing things you don't use often.  While you are in the kitchen organize your cabinets so they look neat and spacious when they are opened.

Make it lighter.  Open all the windows and turn all the lights.  Look for dark places.  If closets do not have lights you can buy those pop on lights.  Do you need to add  lamps to a dark room?

When you house is decluttered and prepacked, get busy cleaning.  Deep, serious cleaning and hiring a professional for this task is a great idea.  Windows, light fixtures and bathrooms need to be sparkly clean.  Walls and floors should be scrubbed and maintained.  Kitchen sinks and counters need to be so clean it looks like no one uses them.

Even if your house needs updating, you want  buyers to see the potential of your house.  Good luck!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

EASY gift to make- Button Wine Charms

I was sitting in the waiting room at the doctor flipping through a magazine.  I saw this idea and thought it was so cute and easy so I took a picture of the short article and photo with my cell phone so I would not forget this idea.  I searched and found several variations online, but Rita at MAY DAYS: Button Wine Charms has the exact idea with great pictures, like this one.
You only need buttons and earring hoops (sold at any craft store) .  Think of the color variations and how great this can look, but it will only take you a few minutes and cost very little.  Click this links above to see more pictures and a little more detail.

I plan to try this, just don't know for who yet.  Share with me if you try it too.  This idea is a keeper!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2 Ingredient Recipe: Roast with Golden Mushoom Gravy

Another easy, easy recipe.  I use the slow cooker, but you could also cook in the oven.  This is soooo good!  The kids loved it!

You need:
A Beef Roast of your choice
2-3 cans  Golden Mushroom Soup

Season the roast with salt and pepper and brown.  Then put it in the slow cooker and add the soup on top.  If you have a large roast use 3 cans and a small roast will be fine with two.  Cook all day on low.  Serve the meat and gravy over rice, yummy!

I bought a sirloin roast and cut it in half and used half with 2 cans soup, I froze the other half for next time.  Next time I will try a cheaper roast, I don't think you can go wrong when you use the slow cooker and a roast.  When you brown the meat, which is not a  must, you could also use garlic powder to season in addition to the salt and pepper.

2 Ingredient Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Muffins

This is very easy... easier than a muffin mix!  The kids and I liked them, a few of us loved them.
timtana spice muffins

You need
1 spice cake mix
1 15 oz. can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

Preheat the oven to 350 and mix the ingredients.  Pour into cupcake liners or grease your cupcake pans well and bake for 18-22 minutes.  I think this made 18 muffins, maybe a few less.

You can vary this hundreds of ways, but don't lose sight of the simplicity of 2 ingredients.  I will  make them again and without measuring I might add a few sprinkles of cinnamon, a handful or raisins, or a few chopped nuts.  Heck I might even add them all if I had it within reach.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Coming soon! 2 and 3 ingredient recipes

I am in the process of collecting and trying some 2 and 3 ingredient recipes and I will share my results and recipes with you soon!!

Please share your favorite 2 and 3 ingredient recipes with me and others by sending them to me in an email in a comment below.