Pumpkin Mesh Wreath

First, YAY!! This is my first “official” post on my new site! And WOW…what a pain in the rumpkus (is that a word?) the Blogger to WordPress move has been. THANK GOODNESS for Dynamics of Design. Without them, this site would still be sitting here blank I’m afraid. I will spare you all of the details, but it has definitely been one thing after another. Oh, and did I mention that I happened to have surgery AND my computer crashed during all of this as well? Ha! Fun times. Not! Moving on…

Pumpkin Wreath

This Pumpkin Mesh Wreath is festive, (I think it’s cute), cheap, and super easy to make. I don’t do a lot of Fall decorating, but I usually have a Fall wreath, a couple of garden flags, mums, and pumpkins. Our weather has been so wacky, that my mums are already mostly dead (or lack of water could have caused that. Go figure.)

Since I’m a visual person, I’m going to show each step in pictures. I will explain the best I can, but it’s really easy.

Wreath Supplies

Step One: Supplies

  • One wire wreath (I bought mine at Walmart, I think it was $5)
  • Pipe cleaners (ideally in orange, but I already had these from another wreath. $1 from Dollar Tree)
  • long roll of mesh ribbon (This was from Walmart or Sam’s Club, also around $5)
  • ribbon for the top of pumpkin (I used green burlap – $1 from Dollar Tree. See Step 3)

How to begin

Step Two: Making Body of Wreath

  • Place six pipe cleaners at the top and six at the bottom of  the wreath form. If you look at it as a clock, place the first one at 10:00, the last one at 2:00, and put the other four randomly in between for the top. (You can adjust to exactly where you need them as you go along.) The bottom ones can go between 4 and 8:00.
  • Start at the top “10:00” pipe cleaner, attaching the end of your wire mesh. Pull the mesh down and attach at 8:00 as pictured above (is this clock reference getting old, or is it just me?!).

Body of wreath

  • Repeat the up and down pattern with the mesh until the wire wreath form is covered. If you want it fuller/thicker, just add more pipe cleaners to hold in place. Once the wire is covered, you can adjust/fluff wreath to get the look you want.

Final step

Step 3: ‘Stem’ of Pumpkin

  • I used the above pictured burlap ribbon. However, I think a wired ribbon would look better, and give the “stem” some shape and hold. The burlap kind of just lays there.
  • There is no technique for the stem…I just attached it to the top in and up and down pattern, using the ends of the pipe cleaners that were already in place holding the mesh.

And that’s it! I spent $12 and technically I already had the wreath form and pipe cleaners. You can remove the mesh and add something different for Christmas, or you can save the pumpkin to use next year. It’s nothing fancy, and I may tweak it here or there, but overall, I think it’s cute.

I never thought I would like the mesh wreaths, but somehow they grew on me. How about you? What kind of decorations do you have for Fall? Any Blogger to WordPress nightmares you’d like to share?!

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VMG206

 

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Naptime Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My Time (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesClose to HomeVintage ChicThe Diary of a Real Housewife 

Congrats! It’s a….watermelon? {Watermelon Baby Carriage} #babyshower ideas

Last summer, I helped throw my sister a baby shower. It was so much fun, and I did a post sharing the punch recipe and the party favors. My plan was to share a bunch of other things…and per usual, life got in the way. Well, better late than never right?!

One of my favorite things was this watermelon baby carriage. I was so proud of myself for actually pulling it off! Granted, there are much more intricate ones online, but I love my creepy grapefruit baby and it’s simple watermelon carriage. It looks cute on the food table, and it can be used for a boy or girl, and with pretty much any theme!
This was our food table, with a side table to the far right (not pictured) with meatballs, and we had some candy that matched our color scheme (pink/green/white) sitting around throughout.
Since we had the shower in the summer, watermelon was in season, as well as most of the other fruits used, which was a money saver. You can use any combination of fruits you like or have available.

Watermelon Baby Carriage

  • 1 watermelon (any size, and make it easy on yourself and get a seedless one!)
  • 1 grapefruit, size will depend on the size of the watermelon. It’s going to become the baby’s head, so think about how much space you want it to take up. Note: You can also use an orange, if you need something smaller than a grapefruit
  • 1 pink or blue pacifier
  • grapes/blueberries or other small fruit to make “eyes” and “nose”
  • toothpicks
  • assorted fruit to fill “carriage”, again the amounts will depend on the size of the watermelon.
To prepare-
  1. Place watermelon on a flat surface (on top of newspaper or towels to catch the juice). If needed, cut a small slice of rind off the bottom to help it sit flat.
  2. Use a marker (or visualize) a line down the middle of the watermelon horizontally. Vertically, you will draw a line that is not quite centered…at about 1/3 or a little more of the watermelon.  Using a sharp knife, cut from the top vertical line, down to the center horizontal line. This is easier than it sounds…just take a look at a pic and cut accordingly. (I didn’t measure anything, and I just freehanded my lines. No perfectionism here! If your lines aren’t perfectly straight, it’s okay. If needed, you can go back and neaten/trim them up.)
  3. After you have cut out the top quarter of the watermelon, scoop out all the fruit. I used a melon baller, so my pieces looked nice and were ready to add back into the watermelon.
  4. Add some of the watermelon and assorted fruit to the bottom and back of the watermelon. Add whole grapefruit in center. Place fruit around grapefruit until “carriage” is full.
  5. Use 2 pieces of fruit to make eyes – I used a grape, cut in half. Place toothpick into grapefruit, where you want the eyes to go…leave enough of the toothpick sticking out to secure the eyes in place. Do the same for the nose…I used a blueberry for this. Make a small slit in the grapefruit for the mouth. Insert pacifier.
Congrats! You have a watermelon baby. This is just a basic one, if you have creativity and artistic ability, you can get as fancy as you want. I’ve seen some with scalloped edges, a handle for the carriage, wheels, etc.
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Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Candy Bouquet {Dollar Tree DIY}

Since I’ve been MIA from the blog, I wanted to give you all a special gift. Like a bouquet of flowers maybe? Flowers are nice….but a candy bouquet is even better!
This is something I very quickly and easily put together from supplies found at my local Dollar Tree store. It would make a great “little something extra” for that special teacher (end-of-the-year is near!), graduations, birthdays or let the kids put one together for Father’s Day (June 21st!)
This one has a ‘base’ made of my oldest daughter’s favorite candy…Swedish Fish, but any “movie theater” box of candies will work. Then I added various candy, suckers, fun straws, and a balloon in the center. On the balloon, I put her name, using stick-on letters and her jersey # since this was for a sports thing (8th grade recognition night for Volleyball). The Skittles and gum packets were taped to lollipop sticks.
To make…you need 4 boxes of candy, the same size. Then you need one foam block, usually found with floral supplies, like this one…
Photo from Dollar Tree
It doesn’t really matter what size, as long as the boxes of candy fit around it. You can also trim the blocks down if too tall.
  • Place the boxes of candy around the foam block, using duct tape, packaging tape, or glue to keep the boxes stable and adhered to block. Next, add your candy. If using suckers/lollipops, stick them evenly into and around the foam block, like you would flowers! Then, fill in spaces with other candy (attached to lollipop/cake pop sticks) or use straws or anything else you would like. Get creative! Now you have your own bouquet to share…
At least she was supposed to share…

DIY Candy Flavored Vodka

I know, I know. This would have been nice to have posted before Christmas. But…uhm…yeah. Didn’t happen. See previous post for all the pre-Christmas drama. However, even though this was an awesome (if I do say so myself) Christmas gift, it would be an equally awesome Valentine’s gift, birthday gift, etc. For the over 21 crowd of course.

This is SO easy to make, and it doesn’t have to be candy cane…it can be any hard/sugar candy you like. For example, lemon drops are sitting on my counter right now, just waiting.
For Valentine’s Day you might want to use Red Hots for a Cinnamon Vodka, Cherry Sours for a Cherry Vodka, Starlight Mints for Peppermint Vodka…and of course, I’m sure there are still candy canes sitting in a clearance section somewhere!
All you have to do is add about a cup of candy to each pint of vodka. I put mine in mason jars. Because I love mason jars. Give it 2-3 days to dissolve, shaking occasionally, and viola! You’ve made your own flavored vodka.
I just love the color! I can’t wait to try other flavors. I will let you know how they turn out. Also, not only do they make pretty gifts, they taste really good too. I had just a tiny taste, before giving these away, but it tasted so much like a candy cane. The lushes friends I gave them to also gave them a thumbs up. They mixed it with a little Sprite, but you could also use this flavor to make Peppermint White Russians, or add to this Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix! You can always pin them for next year! #betterlatethannever
I found this gem of an idea over at Scary Mommy and I found the label at Doodles, Dabbles and Dreams. Thank you ladies, and thank you Pinterest!

Quick & Easy Pancake Syrup

Sometimes you just know you have something in your refrigerator or pantry, just to go grab it and realize…nope, you’re out. This happened to me the other night when we had breakfast for dinner. We had fixed Belgian waffles, pancakes, Monte Cristo Waffle sandwiches…and there was no syrup. Then I remembered that I had wanted to buy real maple syrup on my last trip to the grocery store, and apparently it had been made with gold because it was outrageously expensive. I passed on it, but couldn’t bring myself to buy the imitation syrup either. With all the caramel coloring and other weird ingredients, I just left the aisle in disgust.

Well, it turns out, pancake syrup is pretty darn easy to make. Like 4 ingredients easy (and one of those is water). It also only takes about 5 minutes. I know a lot of people are very anti corn syrup right now, but I’m still on the fence. It obviously has it’s negatives, but I have 2 words for you…Pecan. Pie. Y’all have to remember I’m from the South, and pecan pie is a tradition. As is Karo syrup. So, I wasn’t too worried about making pancake syrup with it…especially since I’ve been eating that other artificial stuff for years.

Easy Maple Syrup

1/2 cup Karo® Light Corn Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon maple extract

  • Combine corn syrup, sugar and water in a medium sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Remove from heat and stir in maple extract.
  • Let cool to desired temp. (It will thicken as it cools)
  • Serve over pancakes/waffles, etc.
*I keep mine stored in the fridge
Recipe Source:  Karo Syrup website

 

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe Box, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from Above,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better BakerThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic, Lady Behind the Curtain (Saturday) Six Sisters’ StuffMade from Pinterest

Easy Homemade Toaster Strudels and a prayer request

If you follow me or other food bloggers on Facebook, you may have heard about the terrible accident another blogger’s daughter was in yesterday. The little girl was apparently walking to school and was hit by a car. She is in ICU in a medically induced coma due to her injuries. I don’t know details, and really, it’s none of my business since I don’t know the family personally, but as a parent my heart goes out to them. When you follow someone’s blog for a period of time, you start to feel like you know them! So, please take a minute and say a prayer for this little girl and her family. Thanks!

These homemade toaster strudels were very easy, very quick, and VERY awesome!

Homemade Toaster Strudels
I have them posted today over at Eat at Home (where I am a contributing writer for those of you who may not know.) I’d love for you to pop over and check them out!

Creamy Hot Cocoa Mix

Yesterday’s post was about easy, no bake gifts in jars. One of the things we put in jars this year for teachers’ gifts was this homemade hot cocoa mix.

It was very simple to mix together, and it was really good! Obviously we had to sample some before giving it away 🙂

We made hot chocolate to drink while watching The Polar Express. One of our favorite Christmas movies!

Creamy Cocoa Mix

  • 4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup non-dairy coffee creamer
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 box instant chocolate pudding (approx 4 oz size)

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Stir to combine. For a finer consistency, process in a food processor or blender. (I ran mine through the food processor). Store in an airtight container. Add 1/4 cup mix (or to desired taste) to an 8 ounces of warm milk, water or coffee.

Recipe from The Motherload
To give as gifts, I put the hot cocoa mix in bags and placed in jars, along with marshmallows, peppermint sticks and Hershey’s Hugs and Kisses.
Then we added the jars to baskets with some other goodies and added this cheese-y little poem…
Because you are my teacher and I love you so much,
Here is some hot chocolate and such….
Just mix with warm milk or coffee too,
my mommy said about 1/4 cup should do.
Then to your cup add some yummy marshmallows,
and don’t forget the Hugs and Kisses from one of your favorite fellows!
Merry Christmas! Love, Mr. Three
 
Obviously these were for my son’s Kindergarten teachers! I hope they enjoy their baskets b/c they are awesome and my son loves them both.
I plan on making more mix soon to have at home, except I want to use Hershey’s Dark Cocoa and Hershey’s Dark pudding! yummmm! This Hot Chocolate on a Stick is also fun to make and eat…oh yeah, and to give away!

DIY Twix Bars {w/Biscoff} – recipe update; Peanut free option

I’ve started this post several times.  This morning I woke up with renewed energy and determination to block out the horrible events of last Friday, and make this a great week for myself and my children. Then I took my three kids to school.  I cried after I dropped each one of them off.  The realization that I cannot protect them all of the time hit me.  The despair of what has happened in that small Connecticut town hit me with renewed force.  I cried all the way home.  I can’t block it out.  I can refuse to watch the news.  I can avoid the newspapers, etc.  But the tragedy of that day’s events is embedded into my heart and mind.  However, I also realized I can curl up in despair this week before Christmas and mourn for those poor children and teachers and families, or I can honor their memory in the best way I can and continue to make this a wonderful holiday for my children.  My children, that I feel so blessed to have and that I love with all my heart.  So, I came home (which I know I am so fortunate to be able to do), turned on the Christmas music and the Christmas lights, said a prayer for the victims and guidance for myself, and started this post again.  (I also broke out the Christmas M&M’s but let’s keep that just between me and you.)

I made these Homemade Twix Bars a couple of years ago.  They were delicious.  On Friday, in an effort to avoid the news and reality, my youngest two kids and I made them again.  But this time, I made a little change.  And this time….they taste almost exactly like a Twix candy bar!  (which happens to be one of my favorites!) They are soooo good.

DIY “Twix” Bars 

Club Crackers (or store brand)
1 c. Graham Crackers, crushed
3/4 c. Brown Sugar
1/3 c. White Sugar
1/3 c. skim milk
1/2 c. light butter
 
For frosting –
1/3 cup peanut butter (or PB replacement – I used WowButter)
1/3 cup Biscoff spread

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Place a single layer of Club crackers in the bottom of a 13×9 baking pan, set aside.
  • In a saucepan, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugars, milk and butter and bring to a boil.  Continuously stir and boil for 4-5 minutes. The mixture will thicken and have a caramel consistency, and pull away from the sides of the pan. 
  • Pour caramel mixture over the crackers and spread evenly to coat.  Careful, it’s HOT.
  • Immediately top with another layer of Club crackers, pressing down slightly.
  • Chill for about 30 minutes. (I don’t think we waited that long!)
  • While bars are chillin’ – combine peanut butter/wowbutter, Biscoff and chocolate chips in a microwaveable bowl.  Microwave for one minute. Stir well to combine.  Microwave in 15 second increments if needed until mixture is smooth.
  • Pour chocolate mixture over cooled bars and spread evenly.  Allow to cool, then cut into “Twix” bars or squares.  ENJOY!
Verdict?  SO GOOD!! We all loved them and my kids agreed that they tasted very much like a Twix candy bar.  They are definitely a keeper!  They would make a great addition to your cookie tray, to give as gifts, or just enjoy with your family.  It’s also a great recipe to make with the kids b/c they can layer the bottom layer of crackers (just make sure they understand that the crackers need to be touching each other. We had a few gaps 🙂 which made the caramel stick to the bottom of the pan.)  An adult needs to handle the caramel mixture b/c it does get super hot.  I also did the second layer of crackers to prevent any burns.  The kids can also measure things out for you, stir the chocolate mixture, and help spread the frosting.  Most of all, the kids can help eat them!
 
I hope everyone has a great week, holds their loved ones a little tighter, and prays to make this world a safer, better place for us all.
 

Pinterest Inspired Craft Projects

Yep, Mo’Betta’s been craftin’.  Pinterest not only inspires me to cook (and eat!), but to also get my craft on.  With a new Hobby Lobby in town…well, it’s a pinner’s paradise.  And if you are wondering what the fudge is Hobby Lobby….it’s like Michaels, a large craft store.  {That sells Christmas ornaments year round!!!  I looove Christmas ornaments.}

 I have seen several “rope” projects, like this one, and decided to make one for my sister for her b-day….
I decided my 1st project should be something small, so I did a single glass vase.  It is so simple! Just take rope, (I started at the bottom – don’t know if it matters) and wrap it around whatever you are covering, in this case, a vase.  Use hot glue to hold your rope to the vase.  I glued it where I started and then every couple wraps I would add some glue.  Then glue at the top where your rope ends.  Hopefully keeping it nice and secure.  My sister hasn’t mentioned that it has fallen apart yet, so maybe all is well.
My next project was inspired by the many wreaths I’ve seen on Pinterest, like this one.   This is a work in progress.  I have also discovered Mod Podge.  Watch out people!
I bought a large pre-cut letter from Hobby Lobby, scrapbook paper, & Mod Podge (which I will be checking out making my own after I use the bottle I have now!)
I covered my letter with the scrapbook paper (adhering and sealing with the Mod Podge).
I plan on attaching it to a rope wreath something like this one…
So what has Pinterest inspired y’all to do?
I wish I could get inspired to do all these exercises I keep pinning!

Homemade Brownie Larabars

Do you eat Larabars?
They are made only with fruit and nuts.  And my favorites, of course, contain chocolate.  When I saw this post over at Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  I found a large container of dates at Sam’s Club the other day, and decided it was time.

Homemade Brownie Larabars

from CCK
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 and 1/3 cups pitted dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 T cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Dark cocoa)
  • 1/8 tsp salt (optional)
  • chocolate chips (optional) (of course I used chocolate chips! Ghirardelli 60% chips)
Blend all the ingredients, using a food processor, Magic Bullet, etc. Form into bars. (bars are sticky, so I placed in between waxed paper and shaped them into ‘bars’)
Verdict?  They taste just like Larabars!  Wholesome ingredients that are great for an energy boost or quick snack on-the-go.  You can change up the nuts and add different fruits to make your own varieties of bars.