Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mason Jar Snow Globes

These little things are all over Pinterest and blog land so I decided to try it myself! I just love how the sun shines through the jars...looks like a winter wonderland! 

What you'll need:
Epsom salt (or fake snow from Hobby Lobby)
Clear glitter
Mason jar (I used pint size)
Minitature trees (Doll section at Hobby Lobby)
Minuture red birds (doll section at Hobby Lobby)
Hot glue gun 
Baker's twine or ribbon (optional)

** I've seen people use water in these globes, but that wouldn't work with my birds and I've heard the green from the trees will eventually make the water turn color anyway. 

1. First hot glue or super glue the birds to the tree.
2. Hot glue the tree to the bottom of the lid.
3. Put some epsom salt and glitter in the jar.
4. Put your lid on and turn over so all the "snow" falls to the top of jar.
5. Tie some ribbon or twine around the jar, if desired.

Ah, I just love how they turned out! Will make great gifts this Christmas!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Rice Krispie Pumpkins & Kid Halloween Craft

I found this idea last year on Pinterest and made them with the toddlers I worked with. This year I made them gluten free for my sister so we can snack on them all weekend while she is home!

Gluten free Rice Krispies (or regular)
1 10oz pkg marshmallows
3 Tbs butter
Tootsie Rolls
Red & Yellow food coloring (to make orange)

1. Place butter and marshmallows in microwavable bowl. Heat for about 45 seconds and then stir. Continue doing this until all the marshmallows have melted.

2. Put 10 drops of red and yellow food coloring in the marshmallow/butter mixture and stir. Continue to add food coloring until you like the color of orange.

3. Put rice krispies in large bowl. Pour marshmallow mixture on top and stir until all is coated well.

4. Let sit a couple of minutes. Then rub butter on your hands to keep from sticking. Roll your rice kripies into balls and set on wax paper.

5. Place a tootsie roll in the middle of your ball to represent a stem. You may have to reshape your ball a couple of times until they are done setting.

BONUS: I did this little project with a class when I was in school doing one of my practicums. Simply have the kids paint some dog treats white and glue them to a sheet of black construction paper. Then attach a skeleton head (or have them draw one) to the top of the paper. Simple and fun, plus your dog will appreciate the leftovers! :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tips for Thrift Store Shopping

Who doesn't love a good deal?! The reason I love thrift store shopping is because you can always find a wide variety of items and at great prices! Whether it be toys, housewares, clothes, books, electronics, furniture, whatever, there's so much to look at and so many bargains out there waiting for you!

1. Go often. Thrift stores are constantly getting in new items on a daily basis! If you want to find the good stuff, you have to go frequently. I usually go once every week or two.

2. Take your time. In order to really find a good deal it may take some time, especially if you are shopping for clothes. One thing I have learned is that I need more time when in Goodwill because their clothes are not organized by size, just by style. So, it takes more time going through to find something that will fit you. Some of the other stores I frequently visit do have their clothes by size and it makes it much easier to find something!

3.  Sales. Look at Goodwill's white board next to the door when you walk in to check out what's on sale that day! Salvation Army frequently has sales as well and sometimes it's 50% off everything in the store. If your area thrift store has a facebook page, make sure to follow it to see when they are having a sale!

4. Know your store and be objective . If you frequently shop your area thrift stores, then you know where everything is. If there is a certain item you might be looking for to finish a project or outfit, you can go right in and look for it. Remember, there's probably only going to be one maybe  two of any item in the store. Be objective for what you're looking for so you can spot it, grab it and beat someone else to it! ;)

5. Look for the potential. Just because something may not look that appealing at first glance, think about what it COULD look like. Spray paint does wonders on many things. Also if you sew, you can find a pattern you like on a certain clothing item and alter it to make something that fits you or turn it into a purse, scarf, etc.

6. Lots of kid stuff. Oh my goodness do I find some great kid items at thrift stores. Although I don't have any kids myself, I have found some great gifts for others. Many times you can find children's books that still look brand new! At Goodwill, since they get in clearance items from Target, you can find NEW clothing, shoes and toys with tags still on and in original packages. Be sure if you do buy something used, it can be washed! 

7. Don't get discouraged. There have been plenty of times that I walked out of a thrift store with nothing or just one small item. That's OK! As I said, they get new items in on a daily basis so go back and next time you may find a whole cart full of great finds!

BONUS: Goodwill always gets NEW items from Target that were on clearance and didn't sell. They usually get their new shipment of Target items on Wednesdays, so I like to go on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning to get the best deals.

Thrift stores in Southern Illinois I frequently visit:
1. Goodwill (Marion)
2. RENEW Second Hand Store (Marion) 
3. Shepherd's Closet (Marion)
4. Salvation Army (Marion)
5. The Junk Box (Energy/Herrin)
6.Community Thrift Store & Food Pantry (Carterville)
7. Create a Smile Thrift Store (Carterville)
8. Goodwill (Carbondale)
9. Thrift Shop (Carbondale)
10. SPIN Thrift Store (Murphysboro)

If there are other tips you have or stores you like to shop at, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE WITH US! :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Rustic Inspired Kitchen

It's hard for me to keep things the same around this house for long. Usually I "shop" other rooms in the house and just rearrange what I already have, but sometimes I like add a few new things as well!

Since we bought the house we've had some bright aqua curtains, but I was ready for something more neutral and decided to go with white ones I found at Wal-Mart.

These wood crates make the perfect shelves and for a $1.00 each at a yard sale, I grabbed up several!

I made a beverage bar with different types of coffee and tea for my hubby and my basket of hot chocolate and jar of marshmallows are on top.

Next to our microwave sits a stool with this vintage kitchen scale and jar of popcorn kernels. (Homemade Kettle Corn Recipe)

I found this vintage wooden ice cream maker while at the Covered Bridge Festival. The color in this photo isn't great, but it's a beautiful blue green color. 

I have another crate that I put on the counter to make more space. Mason jars hold my pasta, beans and lintels. The old apple wine jug now holds my cooking oil.

This old tool box was an antique store find. It holds some of my baking items such as sugar, baking powder and chocolate chips. I like having my measuring cups and spoons hanging right above it, very convenient.

Finally, my DIY fall centerpiece. Simply wrapped some burlap and lace around a mason jar. Found the flowers at Hobby Lobby.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Homemade Kettle Corn

After returning home from our trip to the Covered Bridge Festival earlier this week, I was craving some kettle corn! I had gotten a free sample at one of the vendor booths and it was delicious, but as you know buying food at a carnival or festival can been a bit pricey.

So, when we got home I looked online for a homemade recipe. It was super easy and I already had all of the ingredients at home! Much cheaper than the $6.00 a bag at the festival. 

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Salt to taste

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.
2. Toss in three kernels and place lid on pot.
3. Once those three pop, quickly stir in sugar and remaning kernels.
4. Place lid back on and listen for kerenels to start popping.
5. Then, remove pot from stove and shake to keep kernels from burning.
6. Place pot back on stove for a few seconds and then remove and shake again.
7. Continue this step until all kernels have finished popping.
8. Salt to taste and enjoy!

I loved making it in this glass pot because we could see the corn kernels popping around. Would be so fun to do with your littles!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Covered Bridge Festival

Our first trip to the Indiana covered bridge festival was so much fun! There is great food, tons of yard sales an flea markets, covered bridges and beautiful countryside!

The picture you see above was when we were in Bridgeton and of their covered bridge and old mill. This was probably my favorite town we visited because of all the old buildings and character this little town had.

Along the routes to the different towns are several covered bridges you can stop and look at or even drive through some of them. Below was one with a beautiful view!

We also stumbled upon this old one room school house on one of the routes. 

 Here is a picture of some of the items I got! I was a little worried there wouldn't be much for my husband, but the guys both found some items to purchase too!

Although I do love a bargain, my favorite part was getting to spend so much quality time with my husband and in laws. Beyond blessed to have married into such a loving family!

 Can't wait to go back again!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Homemade Pumpkin Bread

Mmmm...the whole time this pumpkin bread was baking in the oven I couldn't wait to try it. It smelled SO delicious and ended up tasting just as good!

Homemade Pumpkin Bread (Makes two loaves)
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup oil (or 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce)
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1tsp. allspice
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 cups pumpkin puree (I used a can)
- 2/3 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two bread pans.
2. Mix eggs, sugar and oil together. Mix in dry ingredients. Mix in pumpkin and water.
3. Pour batter evenly into prepared bread pans.
4. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick and pull it out clean. 
5. Let cool and enjoy!

TIP: Simply freeze by wrapping loaf in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Everyone loves a quesadilla! Well, when I saw the idea on Pinterest for a pizzadilla (pizza quesadilla) I knew it was a must try!

The great thing about these are that you can make them to suit everyone's taste. Just prepare a few different ingredients and let each person pick out what they want. At our house we've been on a canadian bacon, tomato and banana pepper kick so that's what I went with. You could use olives, green peppers, pepperoni, onions, anything your heart desires. 

For the pizza sauce I just mixed in some pizza seasoning with some tomato sauce I had in the pantry. You could easily use Italian seasoning or some premade pizza sauce from the store.

First, spread the sauce on one side of the tortilla. Then add your toppings and finally your cheese. Fold in half and place on skillet, cooking each side until slightly brown. Cook over medium heat.

Serve with a salad or other side of your choice.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Operation Christmas Child - Start Filling Now!

It's that time again to start planning what to pack in your Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes this year! National collection week is November 18 - 25, 2013. If you are trying to decide if you should fill a box this year, please watch this video. I love the excitement on this boy's face and he hasn't even opened the box yet!


TIPS for your OCC shoe box:
1. Use a high quality plastic shoe box so it's more durable and will last longer than a cardboard shoe box.
2. Keep your eye out all year long (especially when items are on clearance) at Dollar Tree, dollar section at Target, Goodwill, thrift stores and even yard sales (if it's new and still in original package)
4. Double bag items such as crayons, soap and candy in case it were to melt.
5. By making your donation online, you will get an email telling you what country your shoe box was sent to!
6.  PRAY before you send out your shoebox! Pray for the contents in it and the child who will receive it. Even though you don't know who will end up with it, God does!

We usually shop for the 10-14 year old age group. I heard that this is the age group with the lowest number of boxes given (If there aren't enough 10-14 year old boxes then they have to open one meant for a younger child....not too fun for them, I'm sure!) Here is what is in our shoe boxes this year plus a few other ideas:

* 10-14 Year Old BOY:

- Toothbrush / Toothpaste
- Mild Bar Soap (in plastic baggie) / Washcloth
- School supplies (pencils/pencil sharpener, notebook, crayons, etc)
- Socks / Underwear
- Baseball Cap
- Sunglasses
- Bubble gum / Hard candy (DOUBLE BAG THE GUM & CANDY!)
- Comb
- Flashlight / Extra batteries
- Hammer & Nails (In orginal package AND in zipper bag)
- Screwdriver & Screws (In orginal package AND in zipper bag)
- Tape Measure / Level 
- Legos
- Soccer ball / Air pump
- Plastic football or baseball
- Yo - yo
- Puzzle
- Card Games (Crazy Eights, Go Fish, etc) 
- Kite

* 10-14 Year Old GIRL:

- Toothbrush / Toothpaste
- Chapstick
- Mild bar soap (in plastic baggie) / Washcloth
- Hairbrush / Hair Clips / Hair Ties 
- Bracelets / Stick on Earrings / Necklaces
- Socks / Underwear
- Sunglasses
- School supplies (pencil/pencil sharpener, notebook, crayons, etc)
- Jump rope
- Sewing kit / yard of fabric / zipper 
Bubble gum / Hard candy (DOUBLE BAG THE GUM & CANDY!)
- Small pots / kitchen utensils 
- Puzzle 
- Card Games (Crazy Eights, Go Fish, etc)
- Kite

- Liquids (shampoo, lotion, bubbles, etc)
- Chocolate / food (They suggest only pack hard candy or gum)
- War related items (guns, knives, swords, or action figures holding weapons)

Every country is different on what their customs will allow through. If you do pack something that isn't allowed, the distribution center will take it out, but donate it to another ministry. So no worries, it will be used!

If you have any other ideas, please feel free to share! I'd love to hear!