Christmas is just around the corner and I will use every moment crafting with the kiddos. Decorating the tree can be cheap and fun with everyday household items and a quick trip to dollar tree.
For this project you just need some glue, puzzle pieces, green paint and sparkly pipe cleaners (or something to make a bow).
My son is four years old and absolutely loved glueing the puzzle pieces in a ring. He was able to do it himself, with a little guidance. We let the puzzle ring dry over night and painted the wreath the next afternoon. Top it off with a sparkly bow and it is ready for the Christmas tree!
We used some cheap paint that is meant for kids. We found the best coverage painting on the cardboard side. You can spray paint the back of it (where the puzzle image is) if you want, but we kept it for character.
I absolutely love crafts like this, especially for Christmas because these are the types of ornaments that create memories for years. I will write the year on it in sharpie as well. Such a quick craft that was perfect for my preschooler.
Traditions are important to me. Since my Grandma passed away I feel like there has been a shift. She never got to meet my kids and never got to see me as a mother. Traditions shifted. Now my mom is the Grandma, and I am the mom.
New traditions are now blended with our old traditions.
I found this list from Country Living Magazine and I am set on incorporating these activities into our December Holiday Season.
Check out my latest project. Michaels has an awesome 50% off coupon that makes choosing yarn even harder. My next hat is going to be made with Patons 100% wool. Stay tuned!
It is so much fun to metal stamp the aluminum ring! Talk about a cheap and fun project.
Custom/ Personalized Ring
I use the impressart collection to personalize the ring. Really easy! It just takes a few minutes to stamp the letters into the metal and it adds such a great finishing touch. I stamped this first ring (on the baby blue hat) on my coffee table and it created a ripple in the lettering. I now stamp on a piece of granite as my base and the ring sits much more flat (in the black and white photo of my guy).
For my boys, I stamp our last name so things don’t get lost in the preschool lost and found.
How to take the B/W pic…
If you would like more info about taking these black and white pics click here.
The free pattern:
The pattern I used was inspired from this one I got free over at Ravelry. It knitted up quick.
1 cup butter, softened (I used 1/2 cup butter 1/2 shortening)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir into the butter mixture until well blended. Mix in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or just until set. Cool slightly on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Introduction to recipe rotation- with three weeks of recipes.
My Mom is an excellent cook. She is the type of cook that can make anything without looking at a recipe and make it fabulous. Everyone comments on her cooking. She came to the United States from Singapore in the 80’s and met my dad. Her cooking is an amazing fusion of Asian and American. Everything has flavor- blah foods are not her style.
I am not a cook. I tell this to people all the time, but I never take time to explain. My standards for good food are always judged against my Mom’s food. When we go out, its always, “the food is good but…” While, we do have our favorite restaurants and our favorite dishes, are usually quick to judge them. I am a good critic, influenced by years of watching the original “Iron Chef” on food network when I was in elementary school.
I feel like my story is common- everyone has a good cook in their family and some people learned to become good cooks themselves.
“I learned from my Grandma.”
“I learned from my Aunt.”
“I learned from my Dad.”
Well, I didn’t. I simply accepted my Mom’s talents and never took the time to follow, question and learn from her. I am an adequate cook. I know how to chop onions, boil eggs, and follow recipes. In fact, I follow recipes quite well. Recipes are in-tune with my personality- a set of plans that I follow. I am not a rule breaker or culinary trail blazer. I don’t stray from plans or recipes and I don’t add more of this or take away that. This is what makes me, in my mind, an adequate cook. Great cooks are pioneering these recipes and tweaking recipes. I am following them. In the end, the excellent cooks allow us adequate cooks to produce the same delicious meals to serve.
If you are anything like me, you really do not want to read five chapters about inspiration and rules to follow. Who has time for that anyway? So I am going to keep this extremely simple. 6 days of cooking per week. 3 weeks.
I actually do an 8 week rotation to keep things interesting. You can add on to this plan or you can do your own. Either way, this has saved our family money (no more buying excess amounts of things or eating out) and has saved me time (shop once per week and done).
I shop at Kroger because I love adding all the items to my online lists on the Kroger app. Each week I load the list to my cart and select grocery pick up. The next day, I drive up and they load all the groceries into my car. I have included 3 weeks of grocery lists here, but I have a 8 week rotation with 8 lists. Once I complete those 8 weeks, I start over.
Grocery List Week 1:
1 lb Asparagus
3 bunches green onions
1- 4 oz can diced green chilis
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast meat
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed
1/2 cup sour cream
6 (12 inch) flour tortillas
2 ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn kernels
1 red onion, chopped
2 ⅕ pounds ground beef
5 white onion
4 russet potatoes
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
12 ounces penne pasta
1/2 pound portobello mushrooms, diced
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (15 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons minced pickled ginger
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
= 49 total items
Grocery List Week 2
Bakery Fresh French Bread 2 16 Oz
Kroger® Italian Style Bread Crumbs 1 15 oz
Kroger Sweetened Flaked Coconut 1 14 oz
Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup 2 10.75 oz
Kroger Quartered Artichoke Hearts in Brine 1 14 oz
Kroger Whole Peeled Tomatoes 2 28 Oz
Kroger Tomato Paste 1 6 Oz p$$t… Long Grain White Rice 1 5 Lb
Kroger Grated Parmesan Romano Cheese 1 8 Oz
Kroger Shredded Mozzarella Cheese 1 16 Oz
Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese Bar 1 8 oz
Pillsbury Grands! Southern Homestyle Buttermilk Biscuits 2 10.2 oz Kroger
I just wanted ONE WEEK of perfect weather where I wouldn’t need the air conditioner or the heater. However, Dallas has other plans and decided to skip Fall and go right into Winter. Rainy cold days call for the oven to be on with something sweet cooking up.
I made a loaf of Amish White Bread the other day. We loved eating it with meatball sandwiches, and butter with jelly. The last of it was begging to be made into bread pudding.
Big, crusty, loaf of white bread.
With a bread machine, this bread is super simple… just toss the ingredients in and let it do its thing.
If you have left overs, try out this bread pudding:
1/2 cup raisins (optional- I substituted for semisweet chocolate chips)
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Break bread into small pieces into an 8 inch square baking pan. Drizzle melted butter or margarine over bread. If desired, sprinkle with raisins.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.
I love my Le Creuset dutch oven. I melted the butter in the pan, mixed these brownies up in the same pan, and then popped it into the oven. When they were done (25 min) I let the frosting melt on top. They stick on the bottom, but I scraped them up with a spoon and put them in a bowl while piping hot. Welcome to chocolate heaven. Words cannot express the love I have for these brownies.
According to allrecipes.com, 19k people have made these, and 8k people have reviewed these brownies.
19,000 people! That is a ton of perfectly chocolatey, rich brownies.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.
In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.
To Make Frosting: Combine 3 tablespoons softened butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. Stir until smooth. Frost brownies while they are still warm.
This is what the brownies look like right out of the oven before and after I put the frosting on- absolutely stunning right!?