DIY succulent planters and gifts

I know succulent projects are everywhere, but I just can’t get enough! I probably have 10 pots of succulents in the backyard and I started a succulent garden in the front yard, but I still bought several different varieties when I went to the home improvement store this weekend. My husband doesn’t agree that you can never have too many succulents.

Forget flowers and chocolate, I would much rather have succulents! In fact, that’s what my husband brought me for Mother’s Day; the large hen he bought is now finally producing chicks! I’ve surpassed my exclamation mark limit, but I really love succulents, especially sempervivums (the “hens and chicks” that produce babies). They are easy to grow, and the babies they reproduce are easy to replant. This makes succulents great to cultivate at home then make gifts and creative planters. Need a hostess gift? New neighbor? A friend’s birthday? Grab some succulents and throw them together in a cute way and you have a unique gift that will literally, keep on giving. The hard part is figuring out exactly what to do with your plants.

So here are just a few ideas!

DIY succulent planters and gifts

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Crustless pesto mini-quiches with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes

I’ve never been a huge egg fan, but they are pretty much the perfect food, so I am learning to like them, especially since we eat them pretty much every day. For our household of 3 adults, we usually go through about 4 dozen eggs a week! In my quest to cook some things out of our normal routine, I thought that making mini pesto quiches would be a good idea. And you all know I love pesto. Making these quiches was also a good way to use the leftover goat cheese/pesto/spinach mixture from the stuffed chicken breasts I posted yesterday.

I looked up a million different quiche recipes, all different, yet all very similar, so I just winged it. One recipe said to add Parmesan cheese at the bottom of the cups, as it acts like a little crust, but I was all out. I meant to add a little heavy cream, but I totally forgot about it and they turned out fine. So fine I actually ate two out of the oven the night I made them instead of waiting until the morning. My favorite were the ones with the sun-dried tomatoes. These were great to make ahead. I wish I would have made a few different kinds for Lenten Fridays. The next morning I popped a few in the toaster oven and they were just as good as they were fresh! I really loved the ones with the sun-dried tomatoes, so I think I will make another batch and put in the freezer for weekends we don’t feel like making breakfast… or if we don’t feel like cooking dinner, either.

mini quiches

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My treat stands

The other day I posted 9 different treat stands and I finally finished some of my own! These were REALLY easy to make. Honest!
Treat stands

Supplies:

  • Light sconces from a ceiling fan or a glass or vase for the base
  • Plates or chargers (got mine at the dollar store)
  • E6000 glue or another all-purpose industrial strength glue

Directions:

  • Glue base to plate
  • DONE!

11 Days until Christmas!

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!

Burp Cloths DIY Instructions and Variations

Last night I got the sewing bug and decided to make some more burp cloths for our little guy that should be here in just a few weeks. There are lots of different ways to make burp cloths, but it mostly boils down to two different variations:

Enhanced cloth diaper (to be used as burp cloth), where fabric is sewn onto the middle of the diaper, like HERE and HERE.

and for lack of a better description, a more “from scratch” or layered burp cloth. These burp cloths are usually shaped to fit around your shoulder, or in a rectangle, and utilizes different fabrics on one side and more absorbent fabric on the other side (or double sided flannel).

I made some of the second variety.

I love using Homemade by Jill’s basic template to get started. I like the curve because it allows the cloth to be up against your neck and over your should comfortably. I too, like to use flannel as my go-to pretty burp cloth fabric; I like how soft it is.

Decorative fabric to use for burp cloths:

  • Flannel (my favorite)
  • Fleece
  • Quilting or non-stretch cotton

Absorbent layer/side:

  • Another layer of flannel
  • Cloth diapers (prefolds or the 1-ply, thin layer kind, using 2 layers)
  • Terry cloth/recycled towel

Different variations:

  • Flannel on both sides
  • Flannel on both sides with a thin layer of cloth diaper or batting in the center
  • Flannel on one side, cloth diaper on the other
  • Flannel on one side, terry/towel on the other
  • Fleece on one side, terry/towel, or cloth diaper on the other side
  • Cotton fabric on one side, terry/towel, or cloth diaper on the other side

Directions:

Prewash all fabric and print out template

Cut out a layer of decorative fabric using template

Cut out the absorbent layer or side, or cheat like I do, and lay the decorative fabric wrong side up against it, and sew around the edges, leaving a spot open to turn right-side out.

Trim the edges and turn right-side out.

Tuck open edge inside and stitch around the whole burp cloth

And you are done!

Fleece and flannel burp rags

My current favorite snack: Quick and easy broiled grapefruit

I’ve eaten more grapefruits in the last few months than I have in my entire life. I’m not sure if it because I am pregnant, or because I found a great way to eat them (maybe a little bit of both). Bonus? It only takes a few minutes to prepare!

There are different variations of this recipe, but the following is the one that’s my favorite:

Easy Broiled Grapefruit

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1/2-1 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tsp honey (or brown sugar)
  • Pinch of ground ginger (I haven’t tried using fresh)

Directions:

  • Turn oven on broil
  • In a small dish, microwave butter until melted. Stir in honey and ginger
  • Cut grapefruit in half, and section
  • Place grapefruit halves on baking sheet (I put tinfoil on the baking sheet), open side up
  • Spread butter and honey mixture onto the fruit
  • Broil 4-6 minutes
  • Enjoy!

*I usually only broil it for 4 minutes and while you have to be careful taking it out, it is usually just the right temperature to eat right away

*Work with the ingredient amounts to come up with what works for you!

*Some people also like to add cinnamon and cardamon to the mix

*If using brown sugar, it gets a little crispy under the broiler (= delicious)

 

 

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?

creativegiftsforchildren

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Washable Fleece Dusting Mitt

Today I was in productive clean mode (yes, the Christmas tree and the decorations came down!). While I hate cleaning them, I noticed our blinds were a little too dusty to leave alone and they can be such a pain to clean too! I then remembered something I had seen online; fleece dusters. I was thinking of this:

From Dollar Store Crafts

However, in the midst of my cleaning storm, I did not consult the interwebs and developed my own dusting friend with the inspiration of the above photo; a washable fleece dusting mitt!

Two scraps of fleece, sewn on 3 sides, then cut in strips - super easy!

If the picture isn’t explanation enough, here are the instructions:

  1. Take two pieces of fleece, bigger than your hand
  2. Sew on 3 sides (leaving the bottom open) enough room to fit your hand inside
  3. Cut the sides (do not cut into the seams) into strips, rounding the corners if you would like
  4. Get to dusting!

This mitt worked fabulous for picking up dust off those pesky blinds! You can wear it on any side – the smooth or the strip side. Plus, with the fleece on your hand instead of another tool, you have much more control around those small corners and edges. Then when you are done, throw it in the wash! I won’t post the after pictures because the amount of dust I picked up was a bit scary!

*UPDATE:

I found an even better use than using your mitt for cleaning blinds: Cleaning a ceiling fan!

I coaxed my husband the other day to finally dust the darn thing and since my mitt was dirty, I whipped up another one in about 2 minutes. He sprayed one side with cleaner, and kept the other side dry (double duty) and it worked great! The dust clumps didn’t fall off and fly everywhere which is what happened the last time we cleaned our fan.

Best 2 minute, minimal sewing, super cheap, craft cleaning product I have made so far!