Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Countdown to Christmas - Homemade Advent Calendar

 When my kids were younger, we decided to make an advent calendar.   We brainstormed a bit, and looked at our craft supplies.  We had been collecting cardboard tubes for crafting and thought they would be perfect for holding treats.

We painted the tubes in white, red and green, and numbered them with coordinating number stickers.  We stapled the bottom to make a little pouch.  If you do not have 24 tubes, you can use 12 and make them double sided.  After you add the numbers they are easy to embellish more.  We added stickers on each of ours. 

** this post has affiliate links 

We had an inner office door that had glass panes. We hung them on that door and then placed candy treats in each of the pouches.    Other options could be to add some ribbon and hang on the Christmas tree or garland.    An idea I had for this year it to make some that are Elf themed and have our Christmas elves Buddy and Joy bring one day. 

I am currently making Advent and Elf activity cards for my shop, which will be added this week.  The cards would fit inside the tubes with a different Christmas themed activity you could do that day.  I will be posting the link here as soon as it is up.  

If you would prefer to buy an Advent Calendar than to make one, I found some really cute ones online.  

If you love Marvel, this Marvel Pop! has a different characters in  each day of the month.  At the end of the month you would have a entire mini Marvel army to play with. 

 If you are a Disney fan, they have a  Funko Disney Character Advent Calendar

So many kids (and adults)  love fidget toys, they even have a Daily Fidget Toy Calendar, where each day you would get a new fidget toy.    They all look like fun except for the mini skateboards.  LOL I frequently had to temporarily take them away in class when my 6th graders got disruptive during the lesson.   If you make an homemade version of an advent calendar and want to add your own fidget toys, definitely check out the toy aisle at the Dollar Tree, they have lot of fidget toys. 

I wish they had this 5th generation Echo Dot for Kids when my kids were younger.  There are so many things you can do with this.  It will play songs, games and even help with their homework.  You will give a 1 year subscription to Amazon Kids Plus, and it has parental controls.  The kids can decide if they prefer this owl with owl voice, or turn it into a dragon with a dragon voice.  Definitely go check it out online, there is a lot cool features and a 2 year worry free guarantee. 

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Countdown to Christmas - Reeses Cup Reindeer

I made these Reeses Cup Reindeer a few years back with my kids.  I had forgotten about them, until I was going through some old blog posts. My kids loved them!  They are easy to make, and a big hit especially with people who love Reeses Cups.  

What you will need 
Reeses cups - regular size 
Reeses cups - mini size 
Red M & Ms 
small pretzels 
candy eyes 
a few pieces of chocolate to melt 

Melt a few pieces of chocolate in a small cup to use as chocolate glue. I used four chocolate kisses and melted them in the microwave.  I started with 20 seconds, stirred, and then added a few more seconds. 

Using the chocolate glue, I attached a mini Reeses cup for the snout, a red M & M for the nose, and two candy eyes.  I left the wrapper on  during this step to minimize the melting while handling the chocolate

Remove the top of the wrapper, and use a toothpick to make two holes for the pretzel antlers.  

To make the antlers, I broke the pretzels in to candy cane shapes.   I then dipped the end of the pretzels into the chocolate glue and put in the premade hole. 

The Reeses Cups got a little bit soft while working with it, so I placed them in the fridge to chill for a few minutes.  We took them back out, and they quickly disappeared! 

** this post contains affiliate links 

If you are looking for some Christmas gift ideas for your favorite baker, I found some really nice things you might be interested in over on Amazon. 

These Gluten Free Sprinkles are gorgeous and you get a lot of them.  They come in several variations including this one with mini gingerbread. 

This 4 pack of Buffalo Plaid Christmas Baking Aprons are so cute!  One thing nice about a four pack, you can break it up into multiple gifts, making each one a very affordable gift. 

If you know someone who likes to make candy, this 8 pc Silicone Christmas Candy Mold Set is currently under $10.  

Lastly,  this Nordic Ware Holiday Mini Loaves Pan can be used to make several gifts or treats at one time.  I love all the details in each of the loaves.  Bonus, it is currently on sale! 

Now for one more last minute  holiday tip.  If you go to McDonalds, I just heard of a new amazing sweepstakes they are starting very soon  They are giving out multiple McGold Cards which gives the owner free food at McDonalds for 50 years.  Yes, that says 50 years.  The SZN for Sharing Sweepstakes will be December 5th-20th on their mobile app.  You will find daily deals, special merch, and a chance to win a special McGold card.  


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Monday, November 28, 2022

Countdown to Christmas- Snow Owl Ornaments

A few years ago an ornament I made back in 2013 went viral.  It was so interesting seeing my post everywhere for about a week.  Yahoo even picked it up, and made my photo a cover to one of it's posts.  On my own Facebook page, I saw several people share the post, even without knowing it was from my website. 

These snow owl ornaments are now special to me and the stars of my Woodland themed Christmas tree, which you can see in this post Woodland Christmas DIYs

All you need to make these ornaments are cardboard tubes, paint, glitter paper, cardstock and hot glue.  

The first thing I did when making the ornaments was to paint the cardboard tubes white.  


Once the tubes were dry, I folded the tops and bottoms in to form points on both the top and the bottom of the owl.  

This is what it looks like when you are folding the tube.  Fold one side over first, and then the other.  

The best way to make the eyes and feathers of the owls is with a  hole punch. I think I got mine at one of the local craft stores, I did find these set of three sizes over on Amazon.  The  two biggest circles you need for the owl is for the whites of it's eyes.  

Using a smaller hole punch (I think this was 3/8"), I cut out two black circles for the eyes, and several circles for the body.  I layered 15-16 circles made from glitter cardstock and glued them the body.  I also cut out the wings out of the glitter cardstock, and glued them to the sides of the owls.

I used half of a gold pipe cleaner to hang my owl.  I folded it into a loop and then added some hot glue to the back of the owl. 

The last step to finish up the owl ornaments is to add a small triangle beak, and the small white dot on the owl's eyes. 

Don't they look pretty on the Christmas tree, and they cost very little to make since all you need is cardstock. 

Now for my money saving tips of the day.. 

Have you checked out any of the Cyber Monday deals yet today?   I have been watching for some new craft items to add to my Christmas wish list that I could really use in my craft room.  

Have you seen these handy heat guns used by DIYers on crafting reels on Instagram and Tik Tok.  Well they are perfect for you want your paint to dry quickly or when you want to shrink wrap a gift.  I would love to have one for when I am painting projects. 

If you like to create gnomes like I do, you might be interested in this 36 pc gnome kit , with nosed and faux fur beards of different colors. I like that the beards the little gnome noses are ready to use. 

Probably the most useful item on my Christmas list is this Chandler Full Size 60W glue gun with stand. Several of the crafters that I watch on YouTube have this glue gun, and it is a best seller on Amazon. Not only would it do what I needed it to do, but it looks really pretty too.  

What crafting items are on your wish list?  

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Friday, November 25, 2022

The Dare to Share Saturday Party


It's Friday night, and you know what that means.. 
It is time to Dare to Share! 

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! 

I hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend.  

We have had a very nice weekend so far. We had our first of two Thanksgiving meals on Thursday. Tonight we went to a tree lighting festival in a nearby town.  Saturday is the BIG game (Ohio State versus Michigan), and I get to see one of my childhood best friends. Then on Sunday, we will have our second Thanksgiving. I can technically add Monday to the weekend too, because I will be making my favorite holiday meal Leftover Thanksgiving Pizza.

This week I was very busy.  I shared several posts 

such as my Easy Turkey Votive and Air Fryer Potato Skins.  The potato skins are a great appetizer for those football games and holiday get togethers.  

Another recipe I shared this week was my Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes. Making mashed potatoes in the slow cooker is so easy, and my kids love them this way. 

On Wednesday I shared our last minute grocery shopping trip, and some really good deals in my post Are You Ready?

Earlier today I shared my DIY Christmas Fireplace Mantel.  When we moved from a house to an apartment several years ago, we no longer had a fireplace. While it was not the same as what we were used to, it was a good inexpensive alternative.  

Over on my Etsy Shop  I have been very busy getting ready for the Christmas season.  I have added Christmas trivia, Christmas Riddle Me This for kids, Letters from Santa, a Christmas Planner, Gift Tags, and Treat Bag Toppers with a bonus recipe for magic reindeer corn.  I have several most listings in the works that will be listed in the next week. 

Now that you have seen everything I have been up to. I would love to see what you are up to. 

It's time to get this party started, so link up and HAVE FUN! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
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Countdown to Christmas - DIY Christmas Fireplace Mantle

 When we had to move from our house with a fireplace to an apartment in 2015, we had to adjust to a change to our traditions. One of those traditions was hanging our stocking on the mantle for Christmas Eve.  We wanted to continue our traditions as much as possible so I decided to DIY a mantle. 

Since we had just moved a few months before, we still have some moving boxes on hand. I used for small size moving boxes (16 x 12 x 12) from Lowes to make the sides of the fireplace.  I taped them shut so that the sides were even. 

** this post contains affiliate links 

I wanted to make my fireplace red, and since it was December in Michigan and I did not have enough room to paint indoors, I had to improvise again. I bought two rolls of plain red paper from the Dollar Tree.   I wrapped them individually with the paper and stacked them back together. 

There are a couple of ways to make the bricks.  One way is to use a square sponge in white paint. I was making our mantle kind of last minute, and knew waiting for paint would take longer than I had. I decided to use a roll of masking tape to make the lines.  I tried to line the tape up as straight as possible, but as you can see in the picture didn't measure between each line.  Uneven bricks give your fireplace more character, yea, let's go with that.  LOL! 

I took smaller lines of tape, and lined up bricks on all visible sides.  

Next I needed to figure out what to use as a mantel. I decided on a Dollar Tree foam board, though you could use a piece of wood if desired.  The foam board  was lightweight enough to sit on the cardboard boxes. I did have to trim them a little bit for the best fit.  One piece is a bit thin, so you can double up and use two of them.  

I used small command hooks to hang the stockings.  I put them on the top of the foam boards with the hooks close to the edge. For a more cozy feel, I covered the mantle with my favorite woodland Christmas blanket.  Buddy and Joy thought it was a nice spot to have a little Christmas snuggle. 

While it was not the big wooden fireplace that I was used to, it was an inexpensive alternative that only took a few dollars and a few hours to make. 

Have you been doing any Black Friday shopping today? 

If you shop online or in store, make sure you use Rakuten to save a lot of money.  You can currently get up to 12 % cash back on your  purchases that you are already making anyway, so some extra cash is a nice bonus.   To get back money for your in store purchases.  Open the app on your phone, find the store and pay with your linked card (like Ibotta). If shopping online, find the store you are buying from on Rakuten app or site, before making your purchase. You will receive your cash back shortly at after. 

 If you do not have Rakuten yet, you can sign up here.

Today is definitely a good time to check out Amazon  you are in the market for a new computer.  They have many great deals today.



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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Countdown to Thanksgiving - Are you ready?

I am a little late with my post today because we were out doing some last minute shopping with the masses.  We are having two Thanksgivings this year.  One at D's moms house tomorrow with ham and lots of fixings, and one on Sunday at our house with turkey and several of our favorite recipes. 

Today we went shopping at  Meijer, Aldi, and Walmart.   

Meijer had some amazing deals like 99 cent bags of potatoes.  I plan on using them to make both Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving and Air Fryer Potato Skins possibly for the big football game on Saturday. (you may have heard about the Ohio State vs Michigan game :)) 

**this post has affiliate links 

I do have a few Black Friday deals that I found out about today that I feel can't be missed.    

If you craft, teach, or create things to sell,  Creative Fabrica is having a 90% off of many of their fonts and graphics. It is my favorite to go site to find all kinds of things I need for my Etsy Shop Listings.   If you are considering making your own printables to sell, I highly recommend the course by Gold City Ventures.  They have a Free Ebook that explains selling seasonal products, and a Free Workbook on how to manifest a passive income selling printables.  

Over on Amazon there are a few early Black Friday deals that also look very interesting.. 

I am not sure how long this deal will last, but this Roku Streaming Stick 4k is currently 50% off.   I love having all of our streaming channels at one place, now that we no longer have cable. 

The 7 qt Crock Pot I share in yesterday's post is also currently $20 off and currently only $29.99.  If you have Amazon Prime you could have free delivery.  If you don't they do have it, but are considering it, they have a 30 day Free Trial   you might be interested in.  

I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving!   I most likely won't be posting on Thursday, but will be back for the Dare to Share Party on Friday. 


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Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Countdown to Thanksgiving - Easy Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Today I am going to share my favorite way to make homemade mashed potatoes.  They are easy to make, and a perfect addition to your holiday meal. 

Sorry the photos are so dark, I took these pictures years ago when I started making mashed potatoes this way.  I think I may need to take some new photos this Thanksgiving. :)) 

**this post contains affiliate links 

 When I made this batch, I used 6-7 small potatoes to make 4-6 servings.  I peeled the potatoes, cut them into smallish pieces, and then put them in my slow cooker.  Instead of cooking them in water, I cooked them in broth.  I set the slow cooker on high, and cooked them for 4 hours.  

At the end of the cooking time, the potatoes were super soft, tender and easy to mash. While mashing them I added in a little milk, butter, garlic and salt and pepper.

The kids LOVED them made this way, and requested I make them this way all the time.  It is so easy, and its the only way I make them now.  

If you in the market for a slow cooker, I found this one on Amazon that has dividers for cooking two things at once.  That would be really nice for when you cooking smaller portions.  It is highly rated, and a reasonable price.  

Here is another highly rated best seller from Amazon.  It is 7 qts, Crock Pot brand, and currently $20 off.  It looks like a great deal.  You can see the deal here.

Today's shopping tip is another amazing deal, that would also make a great Christmas gift.   For a limited time you can get a FREE 11x14  Canvas People  canvas print of your favorite photo. I have several Canvas People  canvases like this one of my kids at Christmas when they were younger.  Definitely go check out them out. 

Only one more day of our Thanksgiving countdown. See you tomorrow! 

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