Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Homemade Ornaments: Fun, Inexpensive and Meaningful

I love love love ornaments.  I especially love it when they tell a story and have meaning and 30 years later it brings back a memory!  Sometimes we buy them when there is one we find that is perfect.  But a lot of times we make them which saves money and makes it easy to customize and personalize.

Here are a few of our families creations.  I hope you enjoy and are inspired to make your Christmas special.

Salt dough:  You can make them in any shape, bake and paint.  Then I clear coat with clear spray paint.  Here's a few pics

Cardboard Letters:  I used cookie cutters traced out the letters on cereal boxes then made teeny stacks of cardboard to make them like large cardboard letters.  Wrapped them in brown paper.  When it was completely dry I glittered.  This CSU is for the college our daughter was at and of course in the college colors.

Tin Can:  I try to make the ornaments pertain to the person, what they are into or what's going on in their life.  This tin can is from pellets.  This was for one of the boys that just loves hunting and shooting.  I am ALWAYS finding the empty cans around the house.  So I nabbed one, punched a hole in the top and added a ribbon.  Easiest by far!

Hand Painted Tin Can Lids:  I repurpose a lot of things.  We saw some on pinterest one time and went for it.  Just save a couple lids and you have a few really cheap ornaments. I made extras to give to any company that stopped by the house that year.   We open a lot of the really large cans so the one with our whole family is painted on one of them. (We won't fit on a small lid, lol).   Punch the hole before you paint.  I use the 50 cent paints from Walmart and clear coat when done.

Blown Out Eggs:  Then someone showed us how to blow out eggs.  So we painted on them.  Each of the younger kids blew out their own and painted it.  Messy but fun. 


Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Easy & Delicious Simple Granola

I LOVE GRANOLA!  Don't you?  There are a few on the market that I don't think are any healthier than the rest of the boxed cereal.  And if it is healthy it's super expensive.  In my house we can go through 20 cups of granola in a day or two. 

When I saw this recipe I was thrilled.   This is a very basic and simple mix.   Which is why I love it.  We usually toss in some blueberries.  You can add any of your favorite ingredients.  I usually double or quadruple the recipe so I have more than a days worth.

Simple Granola

7 Cups Oats (Old Fashion is best but you can use quick)
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Oil (Canola, Olive, etc.)
1/2 C Honey or Maple Syrup
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 375.

In a pan mix sugar, oil, honey or syrup to low boil.  Sometimes I use the microwave.  Add cinnamon and vanilla.

Put oats in a large bowl and pour syrup mix over and stir.

Place mixture on a lightly greased tray.

Bake 10 minutes


Bake 5


Let cool


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Gorgeous & Free Headboard

There are a lot of DIY projects out there.  I have a list a mile long of all the ones I want to do.  This headboard has been on my list for over a year.  I intended to have my whole master bedroom made over by my anniversary, 3 months ago.  Didn't happen!

But!!! One day my husband said, "Hey, do you want to build our headboard today?"

"Umm, YES!"

And here she is!

Here are a few of the details.

First it was completely free!  FREE!  I use a lot of pallet wood in my crafts.  So I already had a pile of them in the back yard.  Last year I pulled apart some larger pallet boards to use for this project.  I picked boards that were over 5" wide.  I cleaned them with bleach water and after they were dried I brought them in to acclimate and stay dry till I was ready to build.  They have been in a stack in my room for like a year.

I measured the distance I would need for a headboard and layed the boards out and adjusted it a little to fit the boards without having to cut any boards the long way.  I divided that in half.  Drew out 1/2 of the  template.  Folded the paper in half and traced the template so both sides would be the same.

I layed all the boards out realized the boards I saved to be the back braces were not long enough.  So I used some scrap real wood flooring on the back.  I wood glued them down, predrilled the holes and used wood screws.

I layed the template on it and traced the outline.  Then cut with a scroll saw.

Next I sanded and stained and it was done.  The stain I had left from a previous project.  It seriously took a few hours and it was done.  I'm so excited. 

Inside I needed to predrill holes and bolt to the frame, but I didn't get pics of that step.  Sorry.

I'm just in love with it.  And I built it with my hubby, aaahhh so romantic!

I am still working on the whole makeover, linens, dressers, etc.  Someday I'll show you the whole room.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

French Toast Casserole

I love traditional recipes.  French Toast, Apple Pie.  I mean the classics.  Why change them?  Most of the time I make them the old fashioned way.  But once in a while . . . you just have to change.  Meet French Toast Casserole.  It's easier (especially when you are cooking for a crowd) and tastes exactly like the French Toast you already make. 

I used my own French Toast Recipe the same as I would use for the traditional way.  Just so you know, I rarely measure.  I just pour and mix.  So the below recipe is really just a guestimate!

Mix the in a bowl:

1 Dozen Eggs
1/2 Cup of Milk
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Sugar
Splash of Vanilla

Chop your Bread.  I love using Texas Toast.  It is just nice and chunky.  I used one whole loaf.

Grease a baking dish.  Any baking dish that's big enough will work.  Put all the bread in the dish.

Pour egg mix onto bread.  Gently stir.

Bake 350 for about 30 minutes.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ham & Split Pea Soup for a Crowd

Do you need to cook a meal big enough for an Army (or a platoon of small Marines)?  I feel like I do that every day.  If you're looking for recipes on the large size I can be your go to gal.  I have at least 9 at the table every night.  Which is why I have a 12ft church pew on one side (My Dining Room).  I should be conisidered a pro at making large meals on a small budget.

Ham & Split Pea Soup should be a staple.  It's affordable and can be done in a crockpot so easily.  I don't make it often because I have to live up to my Mother-In-Laws.  According to my husband, her's was the best!  Which is really sweet and I hope my boys are telling their wives the same things about my food.  The poor girls.

I love the idea of a crockpot.  However for a family of 9 a little ol crockpot just won't do.  I use my Roaster Oven as a crockpot.  I googled the temps of a crockpot and applied them.  According to most sites low is around 200 degrees and high is 300.

Ham & Split Pea Soup

Split Peas - 3 lbs (I used both green and yellow because I didn't have enough green on hand)

Ham Bone & drippings if you saved them

Onion - 1 Chopped

Celery - 2 Cups Chopped

Carrots - 4 Cups Chopped

Garlic - 3 cloves minced

Thyme - 1 tsp

Chicken Stock - 8 Cups (Make your own large batch Recipe)

Rinse Your Peas

I used green and yellow.  Couldn't even tell there was yellow in it.  Just rinse them and put them in your pot.  Peas do not need to be presoaked.

Rinse & Chop Your Veggies

Clean your veggies.  Chop them to desired size.  Toss them all in the pot.  Today I pulled a packaged of already chopped celery and onions that I had frozen.  Then I just put them in frozen.

Ham Bone

I love left over meat.  If I'm not going to use it all right away I just freeze.  You can freeze all the drippings too.  Just put the bone and any drippings and chunks of meat in the pot.


I made my own broth.  I pulled a package of frozen bones out of the freezer and made it while I was preparing the rest.  I posted a recipe here.  Then just pour the broth in the pot with the rest of the ingredients

Everything In

Add your seasonings.  Just put it on highfor 4 -5 hours and low 4 - 5 hours.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

DIY Apple Cider Vinegar

So this morning when I happened upon a pin with a beautiful picture of homemade apple cider vinegar, I knew I had to try it.

I love a good healthy apple cider vinegar.  I drink it daily, use it to make cheese, salad dressings (I need to give you a couple of recipes), and who knows what else.  I use vinegar in the laundry as well, just not the good stuff.

Sometimes I feel completely crazy with the amount of things I make from scratch in a day.  This is one of those things that I just have to DIY for a few reasons.  One being, it's cost effective.  You can literally use scraps from cutting up apples for the kids snacks.  Another, I have been blessed with land that has 15 apple trees, making it completely free.  Saving $5 here and there makes a difference.

I followed a pin to a blog at Fresh Eggs Daily.  They laid the directions out really well.

1) Cut up apples and put the skins, core, peel into a mason jar

2) Fill the jar with water

3) Put a napkin or a cloth over the jar

4) Let sit 2 weeks

5) Strain the pieces out, put vinegar back in the jar

6) Let sit for another 4 weeks

7) Done!

A couple of notes:

Some recipes call for sugar or honey.  They say it's optional, so I left it out.  The good Bragg's brand doesn't list it on the ingredients.

You can add some already made vinegar to speed it up.  I couldn't find an amount, so I started my first batch without it.  I am hoping subsequent batches I'll have enough left to start a new one.

I started mine today.  So it will be another 6 weeks before I can give any more detail, so check back with me.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,  James 1:17