9 DIY treat stands

I love seeing all the DIY treat stands on Pinterest and I have been meaning to make some. All you need is glue, a base, a tray, and if you want, some ribbon or paint. An assortment of trays full of goodies would be great for holiday parties. Here is a list of some different tutorials:

23 days

DIY Treat Stands

Tutorial links after the jump

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Christmas crafts with clothespins

December is here and my house has already begun to celebrate Christmas. I have my mantel decorated and a small tree up and my husband has hung lights, I just have a Christmas tree left to get. This is our first year in a house and I want a real one, like all the years of my childhood! Luckily my husband is willing to indulge me!

The holidays to me are full of crafts and new recipes, family and friends, and special church services. So let the countdown begin!

The other day I found a couple packs of clothespins in the garage and wanted to do something Christmas-ey with them. There are a TON of crafts to do with clothespins. There are a million animals, people, and little critters do make with clothespins, but I was looking for holiday decorations that maybe double as organization as well. I found a few things that seem promising:

Links and tutorials after the jump

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7 Different ways to create your own photo canvas

DIY canvas photos are quite popular right now. There are lots of tutorials online ranging from really easy, to a bit more difficult. I’ve compiled a list of the most common tutorials so that you can give it a try! Whether you are trying to save money, make memorable gifts, do something heartfelt, or fill your empty walls, this is a great project!

Canvas packs at Michaels are $19.99 for TEN 8×10’s! They also go on sale for 40-50% off. Thats $1-2 for each canvas. Printing at Costco is also very inexpensive. Below is a price list, but 8×10’s are only $1.49.

Below are several different tutorials on how to make your own canvas pictures. I’m sure you can find one that suits your needs!

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Fun (and cheap) Halloween decorations

Over here in the corner of California where I live, it is finally getting cool! We have been enjoying mild days and cooler mornings and nights. With this weather the trees are finally starting to turn colors and I can soon bring out my sweater collection. And of course, then follows the holidays; Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas!

I have been stock piling holiday ideas on Pinterest and I have some decoration ideas I can’t wait to try for Halloween. These ideas seem relatively easy and affordable and can have a big impact:

1.Boarded up windows from Darious Obell 2. Bagged body from Instructables 3. Spider sack from Martha Stewart 4. Creepy window silhouettes from Smoking Lily

You can also try Eyes in the bushes from Frugal Family Fun:

Yesterday I was at my local 99 Cent Store and Dollar Tree and found nearly all the supplies:

  • Trash bags for the body
  • Foam board and adhesive (going to try foam squares) for the boarded up windows
  • Black poster board for the silhouettes
  • Spiders and spider web (instead of batting) for the spider sacs
  • Glow sticks for toilet roll eyes in the bushes

What Halloween decorations are you crafting?

100+ Stocking Stuffer, Easter Basket, and Gift Bag Ideas for Men

Welcome! Hopefully after reading this post and all the comments you will have a better idea as to what to get that guy in your life, whether it be your son, brother, husband, or dad! And honestly, this list can be great for any hard-to-shop for person! Many of these ideas are gender-neutral and will work just as well for the mother, sister, cousin, or wife in your life ;

This is a revamp of my previous post, 50+ Stocking Stuffers for Men. So many people left such great comments and ideas that I thought I would condense them all here so they are easier to read through. There are still some great traditions in the comments if you want to have more ideas.

These small gift ideas are perfect for stocking stuffers, but also for Easter baskets and gift bags too. Most of the ideas on here range from $1-$10.

Looking for Ideas for the Kids? Click HERE!

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A Family Recipe to Feed a Crowd

I’m going to let you in on a secret recipe today; a recipe from my husband’s Portuguese family. Having a hard time figuring out what dish to make or bring to your next event? Look no further; bring Portuguese Beans!

A big pot of these flavorful beans are easy to make and a big favorite around here. We make them for family gatherings, BBQ’s, and parties. If by chance you have any leftovers, they taste even better the next day for lunch or with some runny eggs for breakfast.

I like this recipe because it is very flavorful and has only a few ingredients. These beans go great with any meal, whether it be hamburgers and hotdogs, steak, chicken or eggs! I like to use beer in the recipe, but if you want to have a gluten-free pot, it is easy to substitute the beer for chicken broth and it will be just as tasty!

I’ve fed about 20 people with this recipe, when it is a side-dish. Technically it’s about 26 servings of beans or so. I cook it in my regular large sauce pot. It’s a pretty cheap dish as well. A huge can of beans costs about $5, bacon $2-5, tomato sauce $2-3, and everything else less than $1. So you can feed over 20 people for about $10.

Portuguese Beans for a Group:
Ingredients:
1 12oz pack of bacon or 8-10 slices of the thick cut kind, cut into small pieces
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 15oz cans of tomato sauce
1 bottle of beer
OR
2 cups chicken broth
1 huge can of pinto beans, rinsed (the #10 can size with 26 or so servings)

Directions:
In a large pot, crisp the diced bacon
Remove bacon from pot with slotted spoon and set aside
In bacon grease, cook onion and garlic until translucent
Add the tomato sauce, beer or broth, and the bacon into the pot
Simmer for 10 minutes
Add rinsed pinto beans and simmer for about 15-30 minutes
Add more liquid if necessary (keep about an inch or two of liquid above beans)

Enjoy!

Portuguese Beans

A bad picture of the beans; I always forget to take a picture because I’m too busy eating them and they are gone by the time I remember!

Nursery sneak-peak: Refinished furniture

The nursery is just about all completed. I need to put some pictures in frames, but I didn’t want to do the big reveal until I got some sweet baby pictures in them. But I will share with you some of the projects!

We decided to try and find a long dresser to use as a changing table and when looking on Craigslist was a bust, I made plans to hit some yard sales. Marc had never, ever, even once, been to a yard sale! We use to go quite often when we were children, but I hadn’t gone in some time. Luckily for my husband, the first yard sale we hit was a success! We brought home a dresser AND a nightstand for $30!

I sanded, primed, and used a sample size jar of paint to do the night stand. I am stashing all my breast-feeding supplies and burp cloths there since it is near the glider. Remember when I repainted the glider and said how great those sample sizes of paint were? Well, the size and cost is awesome, but the paint quality is not. I realized this after I painted the dresser. I bought a quart of satin paint for the dresser and the difference was HUGE. I didn’t even sand most of the dresser, just primed it, and it only needed one full coat of paint and some touch ups. All the other pieces of furniture I did with the sample paints had about 3 coats and still needed touch ups.

I really wish I would have taken a real “before” picture of the dresser. The old drawers only give you a snapshot. I LOVE how the dresser turned out! The blue was so lovely to work with and so pretty! I bought some regular knobs at Wal-mart and I just love how the dresser turned out.

We saved  lots of money by going this route as well:

  • Nighstand: $10
  • Dresser: $20
  • Primer: $9 (and used for other projects)
  • Sample of orange paint: $3
  • Quart of blue paint: $16
  • 12 knobs: $14

For less than $100 we have two pieces of furniture! You can’t even buy a dresser for that much, and sometimes you can’t even find a night stand for less than $100!

We are in our new house + Master bedroom redo on a budget

We have officially slept a week in our new house! Surprisingly, we are pretty much all unpacked (the craft boxes will await until another day) and just about all situated. I have curtains to finish and a few more things to hang on the wall, but that’s it.

I’m so thankful to have such awesome family – they painted, cleaned, moved, and helped unpack, so that we could have everything ready for when the baby decides to get here.

Marc indulged me with the ever-so-popular wall stripes and yellow, gray, and black bedroom motif. I love our new master bedroom!

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Non-Candy Easter Basket Ideas for Children

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Every year we would get Easter Baskets from the Easter Bunny (just like stockings from Santa). My mom would fill our baskets with special treats and toys along with hiding Easter Eggs. It was almost like waking up on Christmas morning!

This year I only have my toddler-age Godchild to make a basket for, but I have been thinking about lots of other ideas! The following is a list of Easter Basket Filler Ideas that don’t involve candy – some to make and some to buy. Just follow the links for the craft tutorials or instructions!

What to use for baskets:

  • The cheap wicker Easter baskets they sell at the store
  • Other stores have more fun “baskets” like fabric animals and colorful pails
  • Colorful organizational totes at the dollar store (we get these the most – fun and functional for after Easter!)
  • Decorative bowls
  • Toy containers: baby doll bath tubs, strollers or cradles, Lego containers, etc. (holds the goodies and doubles as a toy)
  • Real baskets from a home or craft store
  • Instead of using Easter grass, use fabric, a new piece of clothing, a baby blanket, etc.

Easter Basket Ideas (other than candy):

  • Sidewalk Chalk (make your own without any toxic ingredients if you have the time)
  • Playdough
  • Gak  (another homemade ooze recipe)
  • Bubbles
  • Crayons (melt old or new crayons down and more into molds for personalized crayons)
  • Color books (or print coloring pages from online)
  • Babydoll or stuffed animal sleeping bags (See how HERE – Sleeping bags are good for boys or girls, just alter the color combinations!)
  • Spongeballs (great water toy or baby toy. Cheap and easy!)
  • Chipmunk or other animals from a glove
  • Teddy bears or a socktopuss  from colorful socks
  • Letters, shapes, or number sponges for bath time
  • Felt Food for play kitchens (Lots of stuff out there!)
  • Dinosaur tails for imagination play
  • Superhero capes (I can personally attest that super hero capes are for boys AND girls!)
  • Eggs full or small toys (think plastic dinosaurs, army men, Legos, etc)
  • Eggs full of colorful goldfish or cheerios (love this idea for my Godchild)
  • Stickers or stamps (My basket always had a ton of Lisa Frank stickers! Here’s a link on how to make your own stickers)
  • Pencils and stationary (there is so many free printables out there, you could probably print your own out as well)
  • Art supplies (one of my favorites as a kid)
  • Kites (we always got one of these in our basket!)
  • Balls or other sports equipment
  • Make your own airplane kits (you can buy these for a dollar or two at craft stores usually)
  • Sippy cups or drink cups (I bought a bunny cup with a straw for my Godchild)
  • Puzzles and other games
  • Flash cards or playing cards
  • Hair or jewelry accessories
  • Dress-up items
  • New clothes or shoes
  • Movies or music (Veggie Tales Jonah DVD is $5 at Target, along with some other kids movies)
  • Books and comics
  • Sand toys
  • Bath toys
  • Kids gardening supplies
  • Bug catching supplies
  • Craft kits

Theme Baskets:

  • Art supplies – paints, crayons, color books, notebooks, etc.
  • Sports/outdoor equipment – Frisbee, balls, 2 person paddle games, etc.
  • Baking or food – Aprons, play food, plates and other containers
  • Bathtime – foam and sponge shapes, containers, other bath toys
  • Beach or toy box– Sand pails, shovels, measuring cups, sifters, funnels, etc, This book would be cool too.
  • Gardening/bug catching/exploring – bug containers, nets, child-size shovels, boots, pots, explorer hats and vests
  • Superhero: Capes, KIDS comics and movies, action figures
  • Dress up – Jewelry, shoes, clothing, etc.
  • Game Time: Games and puzzles, snacks for family game night

What are you putting in your Easter Baskets?

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Grocery Savings Challenge Week 4: Review (with meal cost details)

In this week’s review, I thought I would try and break down the meal costs to be more accurate. I did not include the cost of oil or seasonings, since the cost is usually quite small per meal and hard to determine. If I grill in butter, I include the butter cost (and we use butter than comes from grass fed cows, so it’s about $7-8 a box).

Here was this week’s plan and cost:

The Meal Plan

The Final Cost

Meal ingredients: $42.61
Other items: $15.53
Total: $58.14

What we actually ate and price details:

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