Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My Number One Must Have Beauty Product

Image found here.



Ok, do I have your attention?

This is a post about petroleum jelly!

Ok, ok, nuts, but I can't tell you how much I love this product.  I know coconut oil is all the rage, and I do like coconut oil.  But, good old vaseline has come in much handier than everyone's new favorite.  And for me, it's been the answer to some of my beauty problems.

For years I have suffered from very dry skin in the winter and for years I tried to remedy the solution by drinking more water, humidifying my air and using coconut oil on my skin.  Those things all helped but I still got flaky skin around my nose and my cheeks were still dry.

In my typical fashion, I scoured the internet for ideas and eventually landed on vaseline.  Vaseline?  Yes.  I was afraid this thick oily product would clog my pores and leave me with unspoken numbers of blemishes.  But it hasn't!  Vaseline is non-comedogenic.

Instead of using coconut oil on my face, I now use petroleum jelly.  My routine is to spread on some oil free vitamin c cream, let that absorb, and follow that by a thin layer of petroleum jelly.  At night I use a little more.

In addition to a great face moisturizer, I use it as a total body moisturizer.  First I use an unscented lotion, let it absorb, then follow that up by some vaseline.  Works like a charm!  My usually dry skin has been replaced by soft and non-cracking skin.  I should note that I have very sensitive skin and some products, even those for sensitive skin bother me.  Not so with petroleum jelly.

For those of you purists out there, I have tried non-petroleum jelly that I made from beeswax and olive oil.  While I liked it, it is no match for good old vaseline.  Am I afraid of the petrochemicals?  Not really.  From the research I've done vaseline is really quite safe.

So it's up to you.  Coconut oil is great, but for my winter-dry skin, I use vaseline.  It hasn't failed me since I started using it early this year.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Bright and Fun Granny Square Bag




I was in the middle of making another blanket and I decided I needed to put it down for some more instant gratification.  Besides, I had someone in mind who I thought would really enjoy this bag!  The idea came from Pinterest, of course!  You can find the idea here.  I couldn't find a pattern so I used the picture for inspiration.

I worked up four identical granny squares using Red Heart Spring Green, White, Pretty n' Pink and Pink.  I also worked one granny square of the same size in just green to use as the base.   I had most of these colors left over from a blanket I had been working on.  I love using what I already have.  Check out this Little Girl's Handbag in the same colors.  Another project using leftover yarn!






My idea was to put a stuffed animal in the bag as a gift.  I thought it would be a fun place to store other animals as well, almost like a storage bin.

As mentioned above, I simply made 5 identically-sized granny squares.  To make it more stiff, I used two strands of worsted weight yarn as one.  Then I single-crocheted the squares together, a solid green one as the base.  After connecting the squares, I outlined them with one more layer of pink yarn. to make the pattern pop.  I found that the bag was a little floppier than I would like, so I added a square of cardboard at the bottom and sewed the top corners together a bit.  This helped a lot.  This is not a stiff bin, however.  It definitely does have structure, but if you wanted a more solid form, you could line it with a box.





Bright and Fun Granny Square Bag

Materials:

Less than one skein of each color- Red Heart Pretty n' Pink, Spring Green, White and Pink

Directions:

1.  With one strand of Pretty n' Pink and one strand of Pink, chain four.  Put your hook in the furthest chain from the hook and join with a slip stitch to make a circle.

2.  Chain 2.  Double crochet two into the space.  Chain one.  Double crochet 3, chain one.  Repeat this two more times.  Once you have four groups of three double crochet chain one, slip stitch to connect.  Slip stitch to the corner.  

3.  Chain 2.  Double crochet two, chain one, then double crochet three.  Chain one and make two shells in each corner followed by chain one.  Slip stitch to join and slip stitch to corner.

4.  Continue pattern, with two shells in each corner separated by chain one, and one shell in each chain one non-corner space, separated by chain one.  To make the color pattern I have, do three rounds of pink, two rounds of green and one round of white, always using two strands instead of one.  Make four squares this way and make your fifth square all green.  *you can really do any color pattern, just make sure each square is identical in size*

5.   Using single crochet, join each square with white yarn to make a open-topped cube shape, making sure to keep the green square as the base.  Once all squares are joined in the correct shape, outline in one more round of single crochet using Pretty n' Pink.  

6.  To make handles, join green yarn about one inch in from one square, and single crochet four into the top of the bag. continue until handle reaches desired length and join, using single crochet, about one inch from the other side of the same square.  Repeat on opposite side.

7.  If needed, pinch corners together and sew with white yarn to give more structure.  

8.  Cut out a square piece of cardboard and place in bottom.


You might also like:

Watermelon Candy Granny Stripe Afghan
Cute Handbag for Little Girls





Tuesday, December 6, 2016

10 Homemade Gift Ideas

Image found here.

I like to give homemade gifts.  It's fun to think about the person you are giving to and come up with ideas on how to make it personal, just for them.   I have had some homemade gift fails in the past.  I won't mention any here, as some of you might have gotten them!  It's not that I didn't try, it's just that when I actually gave the gift, I thought to myself, hmmm, maybe I should have thought that one through a little bit more.  I know you know what I mean!  Try these gifts for some no-fail solutions.


1.  Candy
A tin of homemade candies.   I suggest fudge, peanut butter balls and chocolate covered pretzels or mint patties.  Be sure not to package mint patties with other candies that you do not wish to taste like mint.  The same goes for peanut butter.

2.  Cookies
A plate of homemade cookies.  Focus on one or two varieties that you make well instead of piling on multiple different kinds.  This is kind of a pet peeve of mine as flavors tend to mingle and none of the cookies taste distinct.  Try to pair cookies that go together in flavor as well as look.  Here's (LINK) a recipe for some allergy-friendly and totally delicious gingerbread cookies.  Put these on a plate with some nice gingersnaps and you're in for a win.

3.  Jams and Jellies
Make some jelly.  Get bottle of juice, bag of sugar, pectin and some jars.  You'll have some homemade jelly in no time.  If you want to make jam, grab a bag of frozen fruit.  Check out pickyourown.org for instructions.  Once cool, arrange a few jars nicely in a basket and you've got a great gift.  For a smaller gift, pop a bow on the top of a jar.

4.  Beauty in a Basket
Make a variety of scrubs, soaps or lotions.  Attach instructions and ingredients for the receiver so they know what each product is for and so they can make any of the beauty products themselves once they run out.  Put them all in a nice basket and add a facecloth or two.  Here's a link to my Pinterest page that might help you out.

5.  Blanket
A blanket is a thoughtful gift and the person can think of you every time they use it.  I've made many blankets in my few years crocheting and I think many people enjoy receiving them as gifts.  Here's a link to a crochet blanket roundup (ADD LINK) to give you some ideas.  And here's a link to my crochet blanket Pinterest page.

6.  Hat, Scarf and Glove set
This is great for kids.  They can never have to many of these winter necessities around.  Find out what color the child you are giving to likes and make a set in a short amount of time.  Each individual piece works up quickly, but if you've got multiple people to give to, you might want to start this project earlier in the year.  Here's a beanie and here's a granny square hat.  I didn't do it, but you can make matching gloves and scarf to go with these hats.

7.  Homemade Cleaning Supplies
Many people have been turning back to simple homemade cleaning supplies.  Check out my Pinterest page for some ideas.  Add to that my homemade laundry soap in a pretty jar and you have something someone would love to receive.

8.  Homemade Seasoning Mixes
One of my favorite homemade seasoning mixes is taco seasoning.  I use it all the time and I'd never go back to packets.  It's so inexpensive, but not only that.  It's delicious and you can mix it according to your family's taste preferences and nutritional needs.  Other mix ideas can be found at Budget 101.  This is a great site and I get a lot of excellent ideas here.

9.  Cloth Napkins
Get some fabric to match your friend or family member's kitchen and sew up some simple cloth napkins.  Get some napkin rings and you have a nice, personal gift.

10.  Kitchen Basket
You can fill a basket with homemade and store-bought kitchen supplies.  Purchase a towel or two and put them through this towel ring.  Make some simple washcloths and add some dish soap and potholders and you've got a great gift!  To spice it up a little, add in a scrubby sponge and dish wand. You really can take this wherever your hear desires.


So there you have it!  I hope you found some great ideas for this Christmas.  If you like what you see,  subscribe to my page on the right of this post.  And as always, feel free to share this with your friends!


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tasty Gingerbread Cookies


Image found here.



This recipe for gingerbread cookies is GREAT for people with allergies to milk or eggs, two ingredients found in most cookie recipes.  My mom came across it when my brother was young.  He had severe food allergies to the point of needing an epi pen.  The recipe does contain gluten, but if you are allergic to it you could always try making it with a gluten free flour mix.



Tasty Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup shortening (refined coconut oil is a great substitute)
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup molasses
5 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375.  Beat Shortening.  Add sugar, cinnamon, ginger and baking soda.  Cream mixture.  Beat in molasses and water until combined.  Beat in as much flour as you can and stir the rest by hand.  (A kitchen-aid or other high power mixer can probably handle all the flour, but a smaller or hand-held mixer might not be able to.)  Wrap and chill several hours or overnight.  Roll 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface.  Cut with desired cutters .  Place on greased cookie sheet* and bake 8-10 minutes.

*I almost always use my stones to bake cookies on.  They come out so good every time. So if you have seasoned stone use that instead.  No greasing needed!



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Hot Chocolate


If you enjoy my posts, you can get them regularly in your inbox!  Just look to the right and you'll see an option to subscribe to posts or follow by email.  Both are great ways to keep up to date on Home-Cooked and Handmade.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Blanket Roundup




Looking for a personal gift idea?  Most of my blankets are very quick to make so you should be able to whip one up before Christmas.  Here's a roundup of many of the blankets I've crocheted and featured here on my blog.  Check it out, you might be inspired!

--------------------

Do you have scraps of yarn laying around?  Check out these scrap blankets!  They are the perfect solution if you have time and yarn but not a lot of money.

Double Crochet Scrap Blanket




















Multicolor Crochet Scrap Blanket
This yarn came mostly from a bag of yarn a friend gave me.  It was so fun to go through and see what potential could come from a jumbled trash bag full of yarn.  I was happy with how it turned out!





















Striped Double Crochet Blanket
This one is another double crochet blanket in stripes.  I love stripes!



Here are some blankets that work up super quick.  They combine two strands of yarn to make something nice, thick, quick and comfortable.

Coffee and Blue Jeans
This one is probably my favorite.  I gave it to one of my nephews as a gift.  You might recognize it from the homepage of my blog!




















Boyish Stripes

I really like this one too.  I made it for another of my nephews and gave it to him for Christmas last year.  It's so warm and comfy!




















Pink and Gray Double Crochet
This is a more recent one.  It's the same idea as the others just different colors and a different pattern of stripes.





















Neapolitan
This one reminds me of the ice cream that you always seem to find at birthday parties: strawberry chocolate and vanilla.


























These next ones are granny square and granny stripe blankets.  They are crocheted as just one giant granny square that continues to increase in size each round.  When you get to the size you like, just stop!


Giant Granny Square Blanket




















Watermelon Candy
This next one is also a favorite of mine.  I gave it to my niece for Christmas last year.  I just love how all the colors came together.  It is a granny stripe as opposed to a granny square.  I also added a ruffle edge to make it just a little more special!





















If you want to see more of my crochet items, just check out the Crochet/Knit page found on this blog!



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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thanksgiving Menu Ideas

Here's a list of great ideas for you Thanksgiving menu.  These are classic recipes that will not lead you astray.  Happy cooking!

How to choose a turkey:



Go here and find out the best size turkey for the amount of people you are serving.  Of course you can always go bigger for more leftovers!


Check this page out on how to roast your turkey.


You will find this page helpful with all your other turkey questions.

It sounds funny to me that there is a turkey hotline, but call this number with your turkey questions or emergencies.
1-800-288-8372





Now that you have all your turkey questions answered here are some recipes that will help complete your Thanksgiving table.

Best Moist Bread Stuffing

Cranberry Sauce

Best Ever Rolls

New England Pumpkin Pie

Cute Turkey Cupcakes

For our Thanksgiving we also like to include butternut or acorn squash, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, olives and stuffing.

After over-eating our delicious meal, we break out Bingo!  The kids (and adults!) love this tradition.  The winner picks a wrapped gift and sometimes it's a dud and sometimes it's great.  When I was a teenager we played this game at home, I won a game and chose one of the prizes my aunt brought.  I opened it up and to my horror it was a pregnancy test!  Boy was my face red!  After that it was lots of laughs and great fun.  Dollar Tree carries some interesting stuff, I'd say.


You Might also like:
Thanksgiving on a Budget
Pumpkin Roundup
Apple Recipe Roundup



Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cranberry Sauce

Image found here.



This is a super simple, crazy easy recipe.  Sometimes when people tell me they don't like to make things from scratch, I get it, but with this one there are no excuses.  I got this recipe from my mom's cookbook but it is on the back of most bags of fresh cranberries.  It's definitely a classic and definitely a keeper!

Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

1 12-ounce bag cranberries, rinsed
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add cranberry and return to a boil.  Reduce heat and boil gently for 10  minutes, stirring occasionally.  Mash cranberries with potato masher .  Remove from heat and cool.



You might also like:
The Best Moist Bread Stuffing
New England Pumpkin Pie


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cute Turkey Cupcakes





Try these cute turkey cupcakes at your Thanksgiving Feast this year!  I used the recipe on the back of the Hershey can for both the frosting and the cake.  We sampled the cake and frosting recipe for my husband's birthday earlier in the month, and it's tough to find a better one.  It was so good, I wanted to make this recipe for my son's birthday this summer, but he's more of a vanilla fan.

These cupcakes are from last Thanksgiving, and while we had far too many sweets to even put a dent in this tray of goodies, they were great fun to make and the kids had a blast putting them together with me.  Far from perfect, they frosting is drippy in places, but I try not to focus on that when the kids are having a good time!

In addition to the ingredients needed in the linked recipe, you will also need mini marshmallows and candy corn.  You can find these pretty cheap after Halloween.

Enjoy!  And Happy Thanksgiving!


You might also like:

Best Moist Bread Stuffing
Easy Fall Wreath



If you enjoy my posts, you can get them regularly in your inbox!  Just look to the right and you'll see an option to subscribe to posts or follow by email.  Both are great ways to keep up to date on Home-Cooked and Handmade.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thanksgiving on a Budget

Image found here.


It's down to the wire and you have ten people coming to your house in just four days.  Now you've gotten three texts asking you what they should bring.  You stop cold and don't have a good answer.  You haven't even come up with a menu yet.  With promises to get back to them ASAP, you get out your laptop and begin to pore over endless recipes on Pinterest.  You end up with a great  board with lovely-looking Thanksgiving dishes, but then you remember your budget.  You only have $50 to spare for this event and from what you can tell, that is NOT going to cover it.

Don't worry!  I've got you covered.   Here are some great ideas for a Thanksgiving that won't break the bank.

First things first.  Get out pen and paper and start your list.  You'll need appetizers, drinks, a turkey, side  dishes, stuffing, bread, dessert, coffee and tea.  That's not too bad.  You've got this.

Now, get online or pull out your latest grocery ads to see what you can grab for a good price without sacrificing homemade quality.

You notice turkeys are on sale at the local grocery store.  The generic brands are only 49 cents a pound.  This is going to be your biggest purchase and you are super excited to grab this deal.  You even make a mental note to come back next week to see if there are any left to stock your freezer.  This week there is a one-bird limit, so a second turkey for storage isn't even an option even if budget did allow.  With a guest list of 10 and lots of other items on the menu, you opt for a 20 pound bird, thinking this will cover you just fine.  At 49 cents a pound you are only set back around $10.

Next you think about appetizers.  Cheese and crackers are a good options, but even though you are on a budget, you want to make this a dinner to remember.  You decide to ask Johnny to bring a cheese and cracker plate (you quickly text him while you are thinking of it) and you will make spinach bread.  At $1 a loaf, italian bread is a steal.  You pick up cream cheese for $1.50, creamed spinach for another $1.50 and you lastly grab a block of Monterey Jack on sale for $2.  $6 for an appetizer.  Not bad.  

Now drinks.  Apple cider sounds great, but at $5 a pop, you decide you can't afford it.  You instead run for the frozen aisle, grabbing 2 cans of frozen apple juice concentrate to throw in your crock pot with a couple of cinnamon sticks you have left over in your cupboard.  For a cool drink you grab some Cranberry Dry that is on sale fro $1 per bottle.  Festive and not too expensive.  $4

Next you grab some good coffee.  It's $5 a bag, but cheap coffee is just gross.  Half and half is on sale for $1.  You already have tea in the cabinet.  Hot drinks covered, $6.

Stuffing.  You notice boxed stuffing is on sale for $1 a box.  This a great deal and you stand in the aisle hemming and hawing over it.  In the end you decide that to be a truly great homemade Thanksgiving you'll have to forego the boxed stuff.  You head to the bread aisle and grab 2 loaves of cheap white bread for $2.  Then in a the produce aisle you grab a bunch of celery and an onion, both on sale for $1 a pack.  You're golden.  Butter is another $3, but you'd never go for the fake stuff.  Stuffing, $8.

You remember Lila also asked to bring something.  She was open to anything.  You think to yourself and decide you will suggest an apple pie and text her right away.  So that leaves at least one dessert for you to make.   Pumpkin pie, the Thanksgiving classic.  You'll just need some canned pumpkin, milk, flour, sugar, eggs and crisco.  You have flour in the cabinet and you opt for the smallest versions of the other products.  $14

Now you think about side dishes.  Green beans and potatoes.  Both on sale, these set you back $4.  Not a bad deal.  Your plan, classic mashed potatoes and lightly sautéed green beans.   You feel accomplished and head over to the checkout line.

Then you stop and realize Angela also wanted to share a dish.  You grab your phone and send a text asking her to bring a vegetable.  You let her know you plan on green beans and mashed potatoes and suggest she bring sweet potatoes or a winter squash knowing both will fit the menu perfectly.

Now cranberry sauce is a must for Thanksgiving.  You already have the sugar in your cart and you scoot back over to the produce aisle to grab a bag of whole cranberries.  Homemade cranberry sauce is so easy to make and so much better than canned.  You throw them in the cart and try to remember what's next.   

The rolls.  With the other ingredients you bought for the pie you should have the ingredients list covered.  You stop for a minute, check your list and realize you have everything.  Awesome!

Budget Thanksgiving

Grocery List

Turkey - $10
Italian loaf - $1
creamed spinach - $1.50
cream cheese - $1.50
Monterey Jack cheese - $2
2 cans frozen apple juice - $3
2 bottles Cranberry Dry soda - $2
coffee -$5
half and half - $1
bread for stuffing - $2
onions - $1
celery - $1
butter - $3
sugar - $2
crisco - $3
canned pumpkin - $1.50
milk - $2
eggs $2
cranberries - $1.50
2 packages frozen green beans - $2
5 lbs. white potatoes - $2

Want to save even more?

Shop your pantry!

Tip!  If your cupboards are not bare, take inventory of your shelves!  Many people have crisco, flour, sugar, canned pumpkin and milk on hand.  If you have onion powder, you can sub that where onions are used.  If you have bread ends in your freezer, those make a great stuffing.  Dry or evaporated milk can be used in place of fresh.

Tip!  Think about your next year's Thanksgiving feast months in advance and collect items as they go on sale.  Butter goes on sale for $2-$2.50 around holiday time and can be refrigerated for long periods of time, or frozen even longer.  Combine that with coupons that come out this time of year and you've got yourself a deal!  

Tip!  If you've been frugal and have an extra $10, grab an extra turkey.  They can last over a year in the freezer.  Trust me, I've done it.  They are great around easter time when you're planning your next feast!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Neapolitan Double Crochet Blanket




I think my favorite crochet blanket to make is a striped, chunky double crochet blanket.  It's quick, easy and I love the result.  Here's the latest one I worked on.  As a reminder, to achieve the chunky look, I use a larger hook and crochet with two strands of yarn together.




It's such a simple design but I love the simplicity of it.  Double crochet is such an easy stitch, but you can do so much with it.  As I've said in the past, I learned to crochet using YouTube tutorials and I am so very grateful for the people who put out videos to learn new skills.  Who needs to pay for classes when everything is free on the internet!?!

Well, I suppose you do need to be discerning for some things, but I say if you can learn a skill that's a win in my book!





For the stripes on this blanket, I crocheted 8 rows of each color.  This made for a nice wide stripe.  I do like most any size stripe, but for this I was thinking of the box of ice cream and I thought the wider stripes gave it that feel.






To make one of these for yourself, simply chain until you reach the desired width of your blanket.  then, skipping the first chain, double crochet into each chain, repeating until you change colors.  Then continue, repeating the pattern until you get to the desired length.  

I purchased my yarn at Walmart for less than $6 per skein for the jumbo skeins.  You will need a total of two skeins for each color, or one jumbo skein and one regular sized skein.  Results may vary based on the tightness of your stitch.

Materials:
Red Heart Super Saver Cafe Late
Red Heart Super Saver White
Red Heart Super Saver Perfect Pink

Hook size: L

Click here for instructions on how to crochet a blanket just like this!



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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Finding Joy in What You Do - Sunday Reflection

Image found here.



Recently, I watched a YouTube video from someone and it hit me just right.  Also, I've been reading Everything Belongs, by Richard Rohr.  I highly recommend it.  It's very challenging to my ego, and it's put me in a good head space to be receptive to some teaching moments that I might have missed previously.  My spiritual journey has been a bit crazy in the last few years, but it's not been bad, I think.

So anyway, I watched this video by a woman I came across on YouTube while searching for frugal grocery shopping ideas.  Incidentally, she feeds her family for $100 a month and I'm not sure how she does it!  It's really neat to see.  But I digress.  She did a video in her Worthy Wednesday series on how the little things you do are what makes your life.  There is joy to be found in those things.  And that's enough.  Your life is enough.  You're enough.  She says, "Your life is what it should be because it's your life".  It's so funny because I had just been talking to myself that morning (no I'm not nuts!) and moving through some of these same ideas.  Then it's like she solidified what I was saying.  I'm not sure if it was providence or coincidence but it doesn't matter....because it happened.  And it touched me.

We are all at different places in our faith walk.  Each of us has ideas that will conflict with the ideas of others.  Heck I have ideas that conflict with my other ideas.  But, I am at the point where I have learned to let go of the struggle and lean in to the love of God all the while embracing the mystery that comes with it all.  I have so few answers but I have much peace.  I have almost no certainty, but my faith tells me that's ok.



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If you enjoy my posts, you can get them regularly in your inbox!  Just look to the right and you'll see an option to subscribe to posts or follow by email.  Both are great ways to keep up to date on Home-Cooked and Handmade. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Halloween Trick-or-Treat Ideas

Image found here.



Budget Ideas:

Contrary to what you might think, Dollar Tree might not be the best option when it comes to candy for trick-or-treaters.  You just have to check unit prices.  The packages they sell are small and unit price is usually not better than other retail stores and sometimes it can be worse.  But always check just to be sure.
  • Lollipops - Even a bag of name brand Tootsies or Blow Pops will pack a better deal than chocolate bars.  And the kids who visit your house will still be pleased!  
  • Tootsie Rolls - These have all the yummy chocolatey taste without the big price tag.
  • Smarties - Not my favorite, but most kids like them.
  • Now and Laters - I've seen these at Walmart
  • Candy Coupons - Watch the paper for some good candy coupons.  I have had good luck saving money at CVS when I wanted the more expensive candies like M&Ms or Snickers bars.  


Image found here.


Healthier Options:

While none of these ideas is going to win you the health nut award, they might be a better option if you are looking to either keep the sugar low or the artificial colors to a minimum.
  • Pretzels - Each year you can either find small bags of Utz or Snyder's pretzels in the seasonal section at Walmart or BJ's Wholesale.  Dollar Tree also sells small packs of pretzels that could be distributed.
  • Organic lollipops - I often see these at places like Marshall's.  They can also be ordered online at Vitacost.  
  • Organic or all natural fruit snacks -  You can check out the seasonal section for some good deals, or just buy fruit snacks in the regular section 
  • Granola bars - you can buy the generic ones for a good price at Walmart or your local grocery store.

Non-candy Ideas:

If you are looking to keep the sugar and artificial stuff out of the house altogether, here are some options for you.  The glow sticks probably have the highest fun factor when it comes to non-candy options, but there are other things you can opt for as well.
  • Glow sticks - You can find them for around $10 for 100 on Amazon from various sellers.
  • Stickers - Dollar Tree usually carries multi packs of stickers in boxes, so the treat appears a little more substantial
  • Spider rings- You can get 50 for a dollar at Dollar Tree
  • Tattoos - These can often be found at Dollar Tree and Oriental Trading for a good price.
  • Pencils -  12 for $1 usually at Dollar Tree and Walmart
  • Erasers - Find these at Dollar Tree, Walmart or Oriental Trading
  • Mini bubbles - Dollar Tree sells packs of 8 for $1 in the wedding section.  Depending on the year you may even run into some Halloween themed bubbles.  Also, through oriental trading this year, you can get  48  jack-o-lantern bubbles for $6.50.
  • Toothbrushes - Absolutely joking on this one!  You better watch out for eggs if you opt for this!




Hope you have a fun Halloween and here's to some great Trick-or-Treating!



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Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
The Pumpkin Patch

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Pumpkin Patch




This is our FAVORITE pumpkin patch.  We've come here every year since the kids were very young. The place is huge and, big bonus, compared to all the other places around, the pumpkins are cheap!  






They do a flat rate of one price for large and one price for small.  There is no weighing and guessing as you approach the scale....oooh, how much is it going to be this time????  If you get a pumpkin bigger than a pie pumpkin, it's considered big.  There are so many to choose from sometimes it's difficult to know where to begin.  You can bring a wagon or just drive down to a spot you like and pick one out.  If it's been a very wet year, the weeds can be overwhelming, but most times it's just fine.  They also sell fall decor like Indian corn and gourds.  The kids always like to pick out a gourd and at prices less than a dollar, we indulge them!






After we pick pumpkins, we head over to the counter to buy some goat food in ice cream cones.  Sometimes the goats get feisty, but if you feed them with an open hand or right from the cone it's all good.  






After some good old fashioned fun feeding the goats we round things out with some homemade ice cream.  My favorite to buy at this time of year is the pumpkin ice cream.  It is delicious!  When we are done with our ice cream the kids usually play on the climbing equipment for a little bit before we head home with our pumpkins.






And you can't deny the pumpkin patch makes the perfect photo opportunity!





Here's the patch we like to visit: Westview Farms Creamery.  But if you're not in Massachusetts, I'm sure there is a great place near you!


You might also enjoy:

Pumpkin Pie
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Bread

Saturday, October 1, 2016

More Crochet Washcloths




You can never have enough washcloths.  Here are some I recently worked up with cotton yarn in a variety of colors.   The cotton yarn can be purchased at Walmart or your local craft store for under $3.  I can usually get two washcloths from one skein.






I thought it would look nice to do cloths in coordinating colors and vary the border design.  These would make a great gift when paired with nice dish soap, towel and crochet towel holder.  Here's a link for a crochet towel holder I made, and a pattern for one you can make yourself.






Above are some I worked up with white and green.  I put a ruffled edge on the white one to give it a little flair.  The bottom one is white with a multicolor cotton yarn as a border.  I had a very small amount of this multicolor yarn laying around from a bag of yarn a friend of mine gave me.  This border was a perfect solution to use it up!





If you want to make one yourself, check out the pattern here: The Humble Washcloth
You can add a different color or fancy border.  Or you can keep it simple as in the original pattern, with a single crochet border in the same color as the body of the washcloth.



You might also like:

The Humble Washcloth
Simple Crochet Beanie
Cute Handbag for Little Girls

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Apple Recipe Roundup




I love fall in New England because as much fun as summer is, the cool, crisp air of autumn calls to me.  When this beautiful and colorful season comes, I welcome it with open arms.

One of the best ways to welcome autumn is with a trip to the apple orchard.  If you have just gone and gathered up a bunch of apples or you just stocked up from a great deal at the grocery store, check out this recipe roundup.  There are some great ideas here for putting those apples to good use!


Lazy Applesauce
This one is a favorite and if you leave it in the crock pot a little too long, just keep cooking until you have apple butter!  It's no-fail!





















Apple Cranberry Crisp
Try this delicious blend of sweet and tart.  Perfect for any fall table.





















Apple Crisp
This is a recipe that's been in the family for years.





















Swedish Apple Pie
This is delicious.  It is similar to a crisp, but is topped with a thick cake-like batter.  It's so much easier than rolling a crust and the flavor never disappoints!




















Dried Apples
This is a great way to preserve your apples if you don't want to bake with them.  I don't know about you, but sometimes if I keep my apples from the orchard in the refrigerator too long they get grainy and unappealing.  Drying apples is one option to keep them nice and tasty.  We love them in our family.





















Apple Bread
This is another family recipe.  Give this classic a try and I'm sure you'll like it.




















What is your favorite apple recipe?  Let me know in the comment section below.  It doesn't have to be one listed here.  I'd love to try a new recipe if you have something good!

And remember, apples are a good source of vitamin C, fiber and the antioxidant, Quercetin.  So when you're making up one of these delectable goodies or a favorite of your own, don't feel guilty in the slightest!



You might also like:
Breakfast Recipe Roundup