Monday, September 28, 2009

dollar store leaves

If you are looking for a easy and inexpensive way to bring fall into your home (who isn't), here it is. I found this pack of leaves at Dollar Tree dollar store. (Sorry I forgot to take a picture of the package. I was so excited I just ripped into them.) I had enough to use them in these three ways. I added them to some pumpkins (also from the dollar store) and some grapevine balls in a basket.

Add them to a mantle of top of a entertainment center.

Use them as table confetti.

You could also use these of a wreath. For $1.00 this was a great investment!
(I also found a glitter version of these at Walmart later for about the same price.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

cinnamon carmel corn with white chocolate

It is FALL!! Popcorn is a favorite snack/treat at our house. Here is a recipe for Cinnamon Carmel Corn with White Chocolate and Reese's Pieces. I have made this several times just in the last few weeks. It is easy and it will fill your home with a very yummy fall smell. This is our variation of a recipe I found at Our Best Bites. We love that you can use honey or Karo Syrup. If you have a food allergy(which tends to run in our family) or trying to cut back on high fructose corn syrup , honey works great.

12 C popped popcorn (about 1/2 C kernels)
1 C brown sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
1/4 C honey (you could also use Karo Syrup)
1 stick real butter (1/2 C)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
3 squares almond bark
1 Cup of Reese's Pieces

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

Place popcorn a side in 1 or 2 large bowls. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon until it is mixed well in a microwave safe bowl. Chop the butter into chunks and place on top of the sugar mixture. Pour honey (or Karo Syrup) on top.

Microwave for about 30 sec. and then stir. As I found out on the first batch(burned black and stinky), everyone's microwave will be different.

Keep stirring and then cooking it for about 30sec - 1min at a time until it looks nice and bubbly like this. Then add the vanilla and baking soda. This will make it a little foamy.

Pour it over your popcorn and stir to coat . I placed mine onto two lined cookie sheets. It will be gooey now but it will harden as you cook it. Place it in the 250 degree oven and cook for about 30 min (switching the bottom pan to the top and stirring after 15 min). Test it to see if it is crunchy enough. While it is cooling melt your white chocolate or almond bark (I just microwaved mine).

The best part.....add the Reese's Pieces and then drizzle the white chocolate over the pan. Let is set up (hardest part... waiting) and then enjoy.

Yummy looking, yummy smelling, and yummy tasting!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

fun fall projects


I love fall. It is the time of year I finally feel like baking after a hot summer and I love to make our home cozy for the coming cold. I found this fun wreath and I loved it so here is what our turned out like. I had a grape vine wreath and some orange berries already in my fall decor box so I just wired these together. I found a fall floral bush and just sniped it into individual pieces and stuck it into the wreath. I didn't glue anything because I then can take it apart and use it for other seasons. I found my "S" at Michaels for $1.99 and I painted it white and then sanded the edges and rubbed some stain over it. I didn't have any wide ribbon on hand to hang it with so I used a strip of fabric. I learned how to hang it over at the Nesting Place.
I usually have some kind of wreath on our door and thought this was a fun and different look. It was very easy and I loved out it turned out.


These cute wood pumpkins are made from a landscape timber. It was cut into 4, 5, and 6 inch lengths. These timbers are usually tinted a cherry color but I sanded these to make them smoother and then painted them orange. Going over them one more time with the sandpaper gives them an antiqued look. A hole drilled in the top allows space for a small piece of a branch to make the stem. Then they are finished off with a fun green ribbon or piece of fabric for the leaves. This simple project makes a great centerpiece or mantle decor for this fun fall season.


These cute fall blocks do double duty. They spell out fall on one side and boo on the other. They are made from a 2x4 cut into 5 inch lengths. They are actually 3X5 when finished. A coat of black paint, some scrapbook paper, and vinyl letters finish off the project. Easy and simple but so fun.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

creamy cucumber dill sauce

Here is a recipe that we have had about once a week lately. One because we have had plenty of cucumbers in our garden and two because it is fast and easy when it is hot outside and I don't feel like cooking dinner. This is a creamy cucumber dill sauce that we have inside a tortilla or pita pocket bread with sliced tomatoes. If some of your family members are wondering where the meat is (most husbands) then this is also very good with shredded chicken (I really like it this way too).
This is one of my favorite summer meals.

Creamy Cucumber Dill Sauce
3-4 Large Cucumbers
1 Cup of Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Vinegar (I use whatever I had on hand)
Onion (The original recipe called for one small onion but that is too much for me. I add just a little bit diced if I have one in the fridge or a little sprinkle of dehydrated onion.)
1 Tablespoon of Dill
Salt and Pepper to taste

Peal and slice cucumbers and mix all ingredients together. I have noticed that this is one of those recipes that tastes better when the flavors all have time to blend together so if possible let is sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. Hope you like it!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

great granola

The search for the perfect granola recipe was a long one. I wanted one that is healthy, but doesn't have a long list of ingredients, one that is simple and easy to make, and maybe even one that my kids would choose to eat over cold cereal. Eventually, I came up this one on my own. It has everything I want and still gets a thumbs up from the kids.

Honey Almond Granola

Preheat oven to 300.

1 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup butter
Mix these ingredients in a saucepan and warm until butter is melted.

In a large bowl mix:
6 cups quick oats
5 cups of a mixture of other ingredients of your choice *(quick oats, regular oats, rolled grain mix, crisp rice cereal, sunflower seed, flax seed, coconut, etc.)
1/4- 1/2 cup chopped or sliced almonds
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix well.

Pour the liquid mixture over the grain mixture.
Divide granola in half and spread onto two large baking sheets.
Bake each pan for 30 minutes.

Enjoy as it is, or after baking add 1-2 cups dried fruit.

* I usually use 1 cup crisp rice cereal and 4 cups rolled six grain mix. The six grain mix is made up of red wheat, white wheat, rye, oats, barley, and sunflower seeds. The rice cereal adds a crispy texture while the six grain mix adds nutritional value.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

pickles to petals

Yes these use to be full of PICKLES. Our family loves pickles and on a pretty regular basis we buy this huge jar of pickles from Sam's Club, which are pretty inexpensive. These jars are nice big 1 gallon glass jars that I can't just throw away. A few of them sat in my pantry for a while until I thought of this idea. I needed a container for ribbon scraps and flowers petals.

I washed them good and then tore off the label. I found of piece of scrap paper and made labels and then glued them on with Mod Podge. I didn't keep the lid but if you wanted to I found a cute way to cover it with paper here. Here is what they ended up looking like.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

a new pocket for polly


The New Pocket

Have you noticed the many fun projects and toys are made with this clear plastic vinyl? Seeing so many, I also started to notice how many small items are packaged in it: socks, underpants, and many others. I bought these little mesh bags at the dollar store and I was about to throw the package away when I had this idea.

I covered the cardboard insert with scrapbook paper and then added a little handle with a hole punch and some ribbon. I thought that this would work great for all those little Polly Pockets, Playmobils, Legos, and any other treasure your little ones want to tote around.

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