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.

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!


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.

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


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, the 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

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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.

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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