Monday, November 28, 2011

25 Weeks 'Til Christmas: Week 4 Flower Barretts

This week's Christmas Craft idea was posted on someone's FaceBook page, and I cant believe how simple it looks to make these!  With 2 nieces of my own, I think this would make a great gift!

Every Monday through the week of Christmas will be a new homemade gift idea/project. Be sure to check them out! Happy Crafting!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

So Thankful!

There is a chill in the air, and this is the time of year that I tend to reflect on the blessings in my life.  With it being Thanksgiving today, I wanted to list a few things I am thankful for.  They include:

  • Renewed faith
  • Incredible husband
  • Awesome family
  • Amusing animals
  • Cozy home
  • Stable employment
We dont deserve all that God has given us, but are so thankful to have our faith and each other.

I pray that you are having a great day with friends and family reflecting on some of the things you are thankful for.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Saving Money: Dry Cleaning

I work in a business casual office setting, so I own several cardigan sweaters and even a pair of pants that require dry clean only.  Instead of shying away from these items at the thrift store (where I purchase the majority of my clothing,) I have no problems snatching them up because I know I can wash them without having to go to the cleaners every time I wear them!
The simple trick:  Wash in cold water and line dry!

I drape my washed sweaters over a quilt rack that we have in front of the fireplace, and this works nicely.  My sweaters are generally dry within 24 hours.

I have not had a single issue with my sweaters or pants shrinking or the fibers changing texture by doing this.  The only inconvenience is that my sweaters sometimes get those little fuzz balls on them after a few washes, but we have this nifty little device that was less than $5 to get rid of them.

It has been my observation that many of the sweaters I’ve purchased from the thrift store are dry clean only.  I wonder if people were tired of paying the dry cleaning bill every month to get their clothes clean. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

25 Weeks 'Til christmas: Week 5: Snowman Soup

I found an awesome website that has alot of homemade gift ideas!  I will probably be posting several of their homemade gift ideas over the last few weeks of this series.

This week's homemade gift idea is Snowman Soup!

Source & Credits

Hop on over to Homemade Crafts Made Easy to get the adorable printable for this along with how to make this Snowman Soup!  I am thinking about making this for my nieces and nephews this Christmas.

Every Monday through the week of Christmas will be a new homemade gift idea/project. Be sure to check them out! Happy Crafting!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Before Todd and I met, he would host Thanksgiving every year for his family. This year, for the first time since we’ve been together (5+ years,) we are having Thanksgiving at our house for his parents and my mom!

I enjoy having people over, but I tend to go overboard with the food. We have decided to keep things simple this year for Thanksgiving. This is what our menu will consist of:

  • Turkey
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Stuffing
  • Green bean casserole
  • Corn
  • Cranberry sauce (I don’t like – but his parents do)
  • Deviled eggs (my mom is bringing)
  • Relish tray (my mom is bringing)
  • Biscuits
  • Apple Pie using apple filling I made
  • Pumpkin Pie (the in-laws are bringing)
There may be a couple of hors d’oeuvres, but not much more than that. Pretty simple! I am looking forward to spending time with family!!

What are your plans for Thanksgiving this year?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homemade Fire Starters

(This post is a little late in the season to write about but I figure better late than never, right?) 

Fire starters are a great way to start a fire quickly and easily without any fanning or having to create a teepee out of wood!  They aren’t only great for wood burning fireplaces, but they are great to be used when having a bonfire outside or going camping!  Homemade fire starters don’t take up much space, are simple to make, extremely effective when starting a fire and cost nothing to make!


  • Sawdust
  • Candle wax
We use sawdust and candle wax.  We get sawdust by chopping the wood needed for the winter months and collecting it while it’s dry.  The candle wax has been obtained for free from and remnants of candles we have burned around the house over the year. 


  • Melt wax in a large pot enough to be able to stir easily (do not boil)
    • You can also use boiling water and a glass jar like a double boiler if you don’t want to dirty the pot with these ingredients
  • Stir in sawdust so that the sawdust is lightly coated with wax
  • Scoop out into clumps and let dry
We keep our fire starters in a couple of baskets next to the wood burning stove.  We use one to start up the fire and try to maintain the fire to a comfortable temperature.

Photo Credit

 A friend of mine  makes her own fire starters as well, but not with sawdust.  This is how she makes hers:


  • Paper egg cartons (not styrofoam)
    • You can also use little paper cups, paper cupcake liners, the cardboard core of a paper towel or toilet paper roll (cut into smaller pieces)
  • Dryer lint
  • Candle wax or broken crayons


  • Place a small pot of water on the stove to boil
  • Put candle wax remnants and/or crayons in a glass jar and place in the pot of hot water to melt down
  • Open the egg carton and cut off the top
  • Take small pieces of dryer lint and put them in each of the egg compartments of the egg carton
  • When wax in the jar is melted down, pick up with an oven mit and pour a little wax over each lint-filled egg compartment
  • Let dry / harden
  • Cut out the 12 egg compartments
  • Store for future use
  • Place one in a fire with wood in it and watch the wood catch fire!
We don’t buy eggs from the store because we have chickens to lay eggs for us. If you are in the same boat, you can ask family, friends and neighbors to keep their egg cartons so that you can make these starters, or pot an inquiry on or Craigslist. 

Good luck and have fun!

This post is linked to Homestead Revival's Barn Hop!

Monday, November 14, 2011

25 Weeks 'Til Christmas: Week 6 Potpourri Jar

I received a gift like this in high school from a friend of mine and loved it!  It smelled so good, and it illuminated the room beautifully.  I found the directions on how to make it from this site.

Lighted Potpourri Jar

Photo Credit

Mason Jar
Dry potpourri
Strand of 20 or 35 white christmas lights
Lace doily


  • In a clean mason jar, fill with potpourri and place lights systematically throughout
  • Place doily on top of the jar and tie tightly with a ribbon

Every Monday through the week of Christmas will be a new homemade gift idea/project. Be sure to check them out! Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Washing Clothes by Hand

While on vacation last week, I didnt take enough undergarments to last the full week - on purpose!  I didnt have much room to take alot of clothing in my carry-on bag.

I was really dragging my feet when it came time to wash my undergarments in the hotel room sink, but this is what I learned:

  1. It doesnt take much time at all!  (just a few minutes)
  2. They air dry overnight - no dryer needed
  3. You use alot less soap
I was surprised at all of this.  It really didnt take much time at all, and I am contemplating starting to wash more of my clothes by hand in the sink. 

What are your thoughts on washing clothes by hand?  Have you ever done it?

Monday, November 7, 2011

25 Weeks 'Til Christmas: Week 7 Teacup Candle

This week's 25 Weeks 'Til Christmas craft is a teacup candle that you can make at home.  I love antique teacups, and people are always giving them away for free on Freecycle or for very little money at garage sales.

This is a video from DIY Network to show you how to make them.

Photo Credits
Every Monday through the week of Christmas will be a new homemade gift idea/project. Be sure to check them out! Happy Crafting!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Saving Money: Use Your Library!

Our local library is an invaluable resource to us! I love books, but decided a couple of years ago that I would not buy another book unless it is something I would read more than once.  That being said, I don’t own many books.  

The library is not only good for books, but music, DVD’s and even audio series at our local library!  It is a great source for us to keep up to date with movies and music without having to spend a dime.  Every Tuesday, new release DVD’s are listed on this website.  I open this website and open up our library online catalog and request the brand new DVD’s.  Many times, we get new release DVD’s within the first two weeks of them being available! Another great thing about our library is that is connected with about a dozen other libraries in the area, so if they don’t have a book/CD/DVD that we would like, they get it from another library.  I go in and pick them up when I am notified.  We have something to pick up at least once a week from the library.

Lastly, they have a lot of great educational programs for kids and adults alike.  From learning how to crochet to helping the unemployed with putting themselves out there and getting hired!  Even though we live in a small town, this library offers a lot to our community! 

Do you use your local library?
What is your favorite thing about your library?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Green Zone: Natural Moss Eliminator

My good friend from work got me interested in gardening several years back.  We are always bragging about our gardens to one another and I will say, many years, I am jealous of the harvest she is able to get from her garden (maybe I should follow through next year!) 

At any rate, my friend came into work telling me about how she got rid of moss that was in her garden.  You will never guess it.  Baking soda!  Apparently, if you sprinkle baking soda on moss, it will get rid of it!

I started to look into the method of getting rid of moss and I learned that moss really doesn’t hurt anything.  Yes, it’s an eyesore at times, but for the most part doesn’t hurt anything.  We have moss that grows on stepping stones we have to our front yard, and when the stones get moist, I have been known to do one of those slip, slide and catch myself dance moves for all (two) neighbors to see.  I don’t care about looking like a fool in front of the neighbors but I have pulled muscles by doing this ice-skating move on the stones!

I am looking forward to sprinkling some baking soda on the stepping stones tonight as well as around the garden where we have moss growing.