Tuesday, September 30, 2014

DIY Candy Corn Wreath

October starts this week, which means for many, the month of candy!  I love candy, so I am pretty excited about it.   One way to use that Halloween candy is to turn it into a fun decoration like this DIY Candy Corn Wreath by Carrie Elle.  It is not that hard to make, unless you eat all the candy instead of crafting with it.  (which I know I would do!)  Thank you so much Carrie for linking up your super cute wreath to Dare to Share!
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Easy Pumpkin Cookies and Bake It Fun Mat Review

                       How to make 2 ingredient pumpkin cookies

Disclosure:  I was sent a Bake It Fun Mat to review.  All opinions in this review are 100% mine. 

I love baking this time of year with all of the flavors of fall like pumpkin and apple.  I heard about this easy pumpkin cookie recipe a few years ago while at a church event.  I was amazed at how super simple it was, and knew I needed to try it at home. 

When I say this recipe is easy, I really mean it... all you need is a box of yellow cake mix, and a  small can of pumpkin.  You could also use a spice cake instead of the yellow cake, I am just not a huge spice cake fan. 

Add the can of pumpkin to the cake mix, and blend thoroughly. 


Now that the batter was ready, it was time to bring out my Bake It Fun non-stick silicone baking mat. I had not tried one before, so I was excited to see what it would do.  

After washing the mat before use as the instructions stated, I laid the mat on a large baking tray. The mat was just slightly bigger than the tray I had planned to use, so I switched to one without high sides. Right away I noticed that were several fun features on this mat.  There were 12 circles evenly spaced for proper cookie placement.  I tend to put my cookies a bit too close, and have had them melt together many times in the past. 

Another feature I noticed was the rulers on all four sides of the mat.  If you did not want to use  the pre-measured circles, you can still place your batter 2 inches apart just by following the rulers. 

I decided to try the pre-measured circles.  I scooped out some of the pumpkin batter and placed it  onto the mat.  I tend to make my cookies a bit on the big side. .  I really need to get a cookie scoop for my even measuring.  I baked them in a preheated 350 degree oven, for 12-15 minutes. Since my cookies were a big larger and thicker, they needed the few extra minutes. When it was time to remove the finish cookies, I was very happy to see that they came right off the mat with no sticking at all. 

Once I took them out of the oven, I coated them with some cinnamon sugar. These cookies also taste good rolled in powdered sugar as well.  

Some more facts you may want to know about the Bake It Fun Non Stick Silicone Baking Mat: 

It is oven, microwave, and freezer safe (-40F to 450F) 
Cooking time may be slightly shorter 
100% BPA free 
fiberglass coated with best food grade silicone
 certified FDA and LFGB approved 
easy to wash and store
there are online recipes at BakeItFun.com

I really like the Bake It Fun mat, and plan on using it again and again, especially now with the holiday baking season coming up before we know it.    

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Dare to Share #130

Yea, we made it through another busy week..  That means it is time to Dare to Share. 

This week my friend asked if I could help her make pumpkin centerpieces and other decorations for her nurses retreat.  They turned our really well, and we inexpensive enough to keep her on budget. 

I decided to make my own dollar store pumpkin makeover. I really love how it turned out.  

This week I had a very unusual thing happen while buying my groceries.  You can ready about it on my 2nd blog Surviving the Crazy Life in the post 42 Pounds of Bananas

You may have noticed a new page underneath my header called The Party Wish List.  I have been finding some really cool things on Amazon lately.  With the holidays coming up in a few months, I am putting together a wish  list for people who love to bake, craft and entertain.  I will also be adding items to my shop this weekend. 

Now on this week's Features of the Day

Luv A Bargain  shared how to make a fall leaf bowl. This craft can be used all the way until Thanksgiving. 

This Halloween Wreath Hack by Home. Made. Interest. would be so awesome to welcome your Halloween visitors. 

Another great way to welcome your Halloween visitors is by Spookifying Your Selfies like Some of This and That. Frame spooky pictures would be great to have at your Halloween party. 

My co-host Kim from Kandy Kreations has something for all those Frozen lovers out there.  She has a free Elsa Candy Bar Slider Printable. They will be a hit at your Frozen party. 

Now it is time for this week's party.  You are welcome to link up anything that you would like to share, and it will be seen here and on Kandy Kreations . If you are chosen as a Dare to Share Feature of the Day your post will be featured on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and G+

Now link up and HAVE FUN! 



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How to Spookify Your Selfies - Feature of the Day

Jamie from Some of This and That shared how she was able to transform her pictures into much spookier versions using PicMonkey.  Prints of your transformed spooky pics would be great to used for a Halloween party.   Think of all the possibilities!  Thank you so much Jamie for linking up this great idea to Dare to Share
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

DIY Halloween Wreath -Feature of the Day

DIY Halloween Skeleton Wreath

I just love this wreath Melinda of Home. Made. Interest. made when she found a much more expensive version in a catalog. It is gorgeous, dramatic, and a fraction of the cost of the original. Stop over to her blog to see how she put together.  One part of the wreath will really surprise you. Thank you Melinda for linking up to Dare to Share!
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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dollar Store Pumpkin Centerpiece Makeover

One thing that I love about fall is the local dollar store gets in a shipment of carvable craft pumpkins. I have used them to make my Pumpkin Gang, and this year I have used them to make centerpieces for a friend's nurse retreat.  I love how the pumpkins for the retreat turned out so much, that I made a version of my own to keep at home.  

Instead of leaving the pumpkin it's bright orange color, I decided to paint on a couple of layers of bronze paint. I really like how it looks. The bronze color gives it a nice shine, and definitely glams it up. These pumpkins are carvable. I cut the stem out of the pumpkin so there was a place to put the flowers. 

I cut and trimmed some of my favorite dollar store flowers.  I chose yellow sunflowers and a rust colored mum.  Once I felt I had enough in my arrangement.  I used a small amount of floral tape (also found at the dollar store) to hold them together.   They fit in the hole I had cut nicely. 

I made a bow with dollar store ribbon, and added it to the arrangement with a small piece of wire. In my fall crafting stash, I also found this sweet crow scarecrow.  I believe I got him on sale last year for about $1 at Michaels.  I really like how this pumpkin turned out. I might remove the crow at Halloween, and keep the pumpkin out all the way until Thanksgiving. 

Here is a peek at those centerpieces that I mentioned earlier in my post. They will look pretty on the retreat tables, and are a great way to stay on budget. 

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Fall Leaf Bowl - Feature of the Day

I love this idea of making a DIY Fall Leaf Bowl from dollar store items by Luv a Bargain. They are easy to make, and a pretty way to dress your table.  I am working with a friend to decorate for a retreat, and this idea will make some awesome candy bowls.  Thank you so much Sherri for linking up this terrific craft to Dare to Share!
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Monday, September 22, 2014

The Party Wish List

This weekend I was looking around on Amazon and came across some really cool items, that would I would love to own.   Some items I found  would be a lot of fun to have for a party, others would make a great gift for either yourself or someone you love.  Since we have only three months until Christmas (where did the time go?!), I thought I would put all of these great finds together in an aStore called The Wish List.  As we get closer to the holidays check the page for time to time for fun find, gift ideas, or great deals.  I do need to disclose that items on this page and in the astore are affiliate links.


I was very excited about this find.  How much fun would it be to have a life size Elsa and Anna cardboard cutout for your Frozen fanatic. They could be used as a great back drop or photo booth at a Frozen party, and for your child to pretend they are part of the Frozen movie.  
I recently saw this in my feed on Facebook.  I love  ice cream, and to have my own Cuisinart soft serve ice cream maker is definitely on my wish list.  If you have a lot of parties this could be an investment to have on hand for future parties.  It would also make a great gift for ice cream lovers everywhere. 

I have an older version of the Cricut that I love, so I am including this Cricut Explore Electronic Cutting Machine to the wish list.  There are so many things that you can make with the Cricut. Cut out shapes to use at your themed party or in your scrapbooks. You can even cut vinyl and make your own gifts. 

I have a few Wilton tips that I sometimes use on projects. I bet I would use them a lot more if I had a Wilton 2104-0240 Master Decorating Tip Set.  They would all be in a nice kit, and not always getting lost in my decorating supplies. 

I actually have this Babycakes Cake Pop Maker. It really does make making cake pops super quick and easy.  I plan on bringing it back out this week to work on some Halloween cake pops 

I will be adding several more finds like these in the aStore in the tab under my header.. Stay tuned..  

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dare to Share #129

Here it is Friday once again
and that can only mean one thing.. 
It is time to Dare to Share! 

I don't know about you, but I am very glad that it is Friday.  This was a rough week.  On Sunday afternoon my son started not to feel good, and went to bed in the afternoon.  When I woke him up on Monday, he was too sick to go to school. Tuesday he felt better, and it looked like everything would be back to normal.  On Wednesday, I started to get that dreaded feeling.  My nose started to run, I couldn't breathe, and I felt like I just wanted to take a nap.  I knew I was coming down with what my son had.  On Thursday, both of my daughters said they did not feel well as well.  While we are all starting to feel better now, we really need to the weekend to rest and get back to 100%. 

Because I was not feeling well, I did not finish two of my projects I had planned. Hopefully they will be completed this weekend.    I did have the chance to share my first attempt at Homemade Tomato Sauce.  While it is not as thick as the usual jar sauce we use, the family all give a thumbs up.  

It is apple season here, and I am planning all of the recipes I want to try once I go apple picking this month.   I would like to try this Apple Sugar Cookie Crumble Cobbler by the The Crafty Lumberjacks

A craft that I would also really like to try are these DIY Fall Cork Coasters by A Time for Seasons. They can be customized to any holiday, and would make a great gift. 

This week over at Kandy Kreations, my co-host Kim shared how to make your own Football Peanut Butter Cup Tailgate Food  Yum! 

Now it is time for this week's party.  You are welcome to share anything that you would like to share.  If you are chosen as a Dare to Share Feature of the Day your post will be promoted on the blog, FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and G+. (since I was sick this week, I will still be promoting this week's features over the next few days)  

Now link up and HAVE FUN! 



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Thursday, September 18, 2014

DIY Fall Cork Coasters - Feature of the Day

Looking for a fun fall craft or gift idea?  Steph from A Time for Seasons shared how she made  fall shaped cork coasters.  What is great about this craft is you can customize them for any season, and older kids can make them too. They could make a good teacher or hostess gifts.  Thank you so much Steph for linking up your great idea to Dare to Share!
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Apple Sugar Cookie Crumb Cobbler - Feature of the Day

Do you go apple picking in the fall?  We hope to go sometime in the next week. It is a lot of fun, and we get to make our favorite apple recipes.   A great  recipe to try with those apples will be this Apple Sugar Cookie Crumb Cobbler by  The Crafty Lumberjacks.  It is rather easy to make, but has all those fall favorites we enjoy.  Be sure to stop over to their page to get the recipe.  Thank you guys for linking up to Dare to Share!
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Homemade Tomato Sauce

How to make tomato sauce with garden tomatoes

I took this picture a few weeks ago after I had checked my garden.   In the weeks since, I picked at least 10 more tomatoes.   I wanted to use my tomatoes before they went bad, so I decided to try and make my own homemade tomato sauce for the first time.    

Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to items used in this recipe. 

Since I had not tried to make my own sauce before, I looked around for a good recipe.  I found a few that I thought would be okay, but for one reason or another, I could not do the full recipe. I was missing ingredients, and I did not have a food grinder.   I decided to just wing it, and come up with my own recipe.

I cut all of the tomatoes I had on the counter, which was about 10.  I had a few different kinds, and I threw them all in the pot.  I had regular red, heirloom, and several yellow/orange.   Once the tomatoes were in the pot, I added a cup of water and set the heat to medium for a few minutes.  I kept a close eye on them.  Once they began boiling, I turned the heat down. 

After about 20 minutes or so, the tomatoes were softening, and the skin and seeds were starting to separate.  Several recipes had said to put the tomatoes in a grinder at this point. I did not have one, but wished I did.  Instead I took out my potato masher, and began to mash the tomatoes. After a few minutes, the pulp became juice, and the skins began to sit on top of the masher so they were easy to remove.  I put everything I removed from the pot in a bowl, and sat it aside.

Kara wanted to help me with this step.  I first strained all of the liquid in the pot to remove any remaining skins and seeds.  We then strained what was in the bowl that  I had sat aside. We wanted to make sure to get  all of the liquid, and mash the pulp a little bit more.

What we had left was a big bowl of tomato liquid.  At this step it would be easy to make tomato soup.  Just add some chicken broth or cream, and heat a little longer.  We had considered making soup, but I did not have broth or cream on hand.   

While the liquid was in the bowl, I cleaned out the pot before doing the next step.  I finely chopped 3 garlic cloves. You could use more or less depending on your preference. I did not have onion, so I added in some dry onion, some Italian seasoning, and salt a pepper. Once the garlic looked done, I added the tomato liquid back to the post to simmer. 

I simmered the sauce for about 2 hours. I would probably have done it longer, but I started late in the afternoon and it was getting late.  

The sauce was thinner than the jar sauce that we were used to. It could be made thicker had I added some tomato puree from a grinder, or had more time to simmer. It did not matter though, the kids LOVED it, and that is what counts.  I only had enough left to fill 1 1/2 pint jars. I will definitely make this sauce again. 

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