Tips and Tricks Tuesday- Calming Playdough

We have been super spoiled the last few years in the rain department or I should say lack there of. I know we need it so badly, but our kiddos simply don't know what to do being cooped up inside for so many days in a row. I was running out of tricks and decided to make a batch of fresh play dough. Here is a link to my favorite go to play dough recipe. While I was making it I added a few drops of essential oils. I made one batch with peppermint and the other I added a few drops of lavender. Talk about refreshing! And because I have a 6 year old girl who is all about sparkles we added some glitter.  While sculpting it I felt refreshed and relaxed. I also noticed my stuffed up little one playing with the peppermint play dough seemed to be opening up a little. The kids and I had a great time and ended up making some fun treats for their friends. I can't wait to share with you tomorrow what we made.

Reindeer Noses Bag Topper

We are in the thick of craft fair season. We wanted to share a free printable of a fun stocking stuffer or gift for the kids to give their friends.
This is such a simple one to make and great to have on hand for all the kiddos who might pop by during the holiday season.

To make this you will need:
clear bags  ( I used the small candy bags from Michaels. They don't need to be large._
8 chocolate round candies (I used whoppers)
1 red nose (gum-balls or jaw breakers work well)
bag topper which you can download by clicking here

All you need to do is print and cut out the toppers.
Add your 8 chocolate candies and 1 red for rudolph.
Fold the topper over the bag and staple.

Easy enough and so cute!

Tips and Tricks Tuesday: Save your Scraps for Stock

In the fall and winter there really isn't anything better than a nice bowl of piping hot soup made from scratch. My tip for today is to start saving your scraps in gallon bags in your freezer. When you are ready to spend the day with a pot of stock or bone broth simmering on the stove instead of heading to the grocery store just open your freezer. Whenever we have a roasted chicken for dinner, I wrap up the carcass in aluminum foil and store it in a freezer bag in our deep freezer. I also have  freezer bags that I store my vegetable scraps. When I am chopping things for dishes instead of throwing out the little bits or ends I toss them in the bag.  I throw in my ends of the onion, carrot tops, celery, wilted herbs, and in the summer I throw in my corn cobs.  I save  the ends of my onion with the peel and all. The peel helps give your broth a nice, rich, dark brown color. I have to know... Am I the only one that stockpiles scraps for stock? If you do, we would love to hear what you save for your stock.

Tips and Tricks Tuesday: Foolproof Pie Crust

My husband came home to find me baking in the kitchen with an open bottle of chilled, cheap vodka. He was a little worried until he tried a bite of my apple pie. The result was  a flaky, tender, delicious pie crust.
 So, what is the science behind this super flaky pie crust? Half of the pie dough's moisture comes from vodka. From what I have read the alcohol in the vodka doesn't promote gluten formation, so it helps the crust stay flakier. I have tried the vodka in two different pie crusts recipes. One of the recipes was part of an amazing apple pie recipe from Erica Marie's Catering and the other was from Cook's Illustrated. Both recipes were a success!
Here is a link to a Foolproof Pie Dough recipe. At the bottom of the page it has the Cook's Illustrated pie recipe which uses the food processor to make the dough. The food processor in my opinion is the way to go. Don't forget to read our Tips and Tricks Tuesday about rolling pin covers. You will love them for rolling out your pie dough.
 We would love to hear if you try using vodka in your pie dough this Thanksgiving and what you thought!
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Tips and Tricks Tuesday: Saving Your Paint Brushes

Over the years, I have become a master of starting projects in the middle of the night. Often my projects involve paint. I have developed some habits and shortcuts to help me get the job done faster or lets be honest to help me avoid massive clean up in the middle of the night. One of my favorite tips is to avoid having to wash all my paint brushes or tossing the black foam brushes. I simply throw  my brushes in a Ziplock sandwich bag and throw it in the refrigerator. If you have ever been to my house and opened my fridge, chances are you have spotted a brush or two.
What are the benefits?
    - A little bit more sleep time
    - I can pick up on my project quickly the next day
    - Saving water - Not cleaning brushes nightly sounds like it is great for our drought
    - Saving money - I love those black foam brushes. They are great when they have the 20 for  $1 sale. Of course I run out of them when they are not on sale. It kills me when I have to pay a dollar for ONE! I like to make that one brush stretch. I have found it stays nice and wet for a little over a week in the fridge.

There you have it. It's not new or amazing, but sometimes simple is best. What are some of your tips? We would love to hear them.

Dollar Store Pumpkin Transformation

If you were like me you were probably so ready to take down your Halloween decorations and break out the Fall decor. The only problem is that my gray, beige, and duck egg living room really don't mix well with pumpkin orange. I was on a mission to try and incorporate some pumpkins in the room. I spied these bright orange pumpkins at the dollar store and thought to myself I could do something with them! I broke out my Old White Anne Sloan Chalk Paint and after two coats they were already looking better. My other pumpkin I ended up covering with strips of paper from an old book and coated it with some Mod Podge to seal it. I decided to break off the stems and wrapped some jute twine around the painted pumpkin. A little moss and a stick from my backyard and TADA... pumpkins that fit in perfectly with my living room.

Tips and Tricks Tuesday - Rolling Pin Cover

Here is super quick tip and trick that involves my new favorite baking item the Rolling Pin Cover.  I just learned about rolling pin covers  last week and they have saved my pie crusts and work amazing for my favorite sugar cookie recipe. I don't know how I have never heard of these until last week?!?! My pie crusts always tear and stick to my rolling pin and I hate adding more and more flour. The rolling pin cover worked like a charm to roll out the dough with out it sticking to the pin.  I tested it out this weekend on my pie crust and today I tried it on my sugar cookies with much success! Erica Marie Catering for introducing me to rolling pin covers.  They have forever changed my rolling out cookies and pie crusts.
I found a two pack of covers on Amazon and they were Prime which meant I had them on my porch in two days. Thanks Amazon! I have to give a shout out to the amazing Erica Serface @