Monday, November 9, 2015

Thanksgiving Hostess Gift Ideas

After all the hard work and love that goes into preparing Thanksgiving dinner, I like to bring something with a personal touch to show my hostess I appreciate them! 

Here are 3 simple ideas:
Turns out this pin links to a place where you can buy this tag. I made a tag you can just print and attach to your favorite bottle of wine (or no-alcohol cider). You can click on the THIS LINK to download the tag!
I love having a dish with my name on it. It is a great way to get my dish back when I use it for parties or to take dinner to a neighbor!
To personalize the dish, you would just use some vinyl and Armour Etch. Cut the name with a Cricut or Silhouette so you have a stencil. 
Put the Armour Etch over the stencil for just 60 seconds and then rinse off with water!

You could bring this full of the dish you prepared for dinner and just leave it with the hostess or bring it with the ingredients for this fun Dump Cake they can make later. 
For this recipe you would literally dump the ingredients into your pan in this order:
1. Cover pan with non stick spray
2. Add a can of PUMPKIN
5. Dump your MELTED BUTTER on top.

Place in a pre-heated 325F oven for 25-30 minutes. 
The original pin says to not worry about butter not getting onto all of the cake mix. In my opinion, you should worry just a little :) It is weird to have little cake crumbs that haven’t gone soft in my opinion…
After all those dishes, a good scrub will make your hostesses hands feel amazing! 
The recipe is easy, you would just combine:
2 Cups of Brown Sugar
1 Cup of Granulated Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Cup + 1 Tablespoon of Sunflower, Safflower or Vegetable Oil

I would make a little extra for yourself.. your hands will thank you for it!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Halloween Minute to Win It Games

This week’s pin is Halloween Minute to Win it Games which I think would be perfect for a classroom party!

Spider Ring Toss
You will have 2 players per team
Give Player 1 an empty cup, and Player 2 a handful of spider rings. 
Player 2 will throw spider rings and Player 1 will try to catch them in the cup. 
The team with the most spiders in their cup after 60 seconds will win that round!
Face the Monster Cookie
The original pin had homemade cookies you could make. No way am I that skilled so I just bought the Halloween Chips Ahoy cookies!
The Player will place the cookie on his forehead. 
The cookie must stay in contact with the face until it reaches the mouth.
The first player to get 3 cookies in their mouth within 60 seconds wins!
Candy Corn Pick UP
Within 60 seconds, you will bite the ends off of candy corns and stick them to the plate. 
The player with the most standing candy corns at the end of 60 seconds, wins.
Marshmallow Fang Toss
I couldn’t resist the pumpkin peeps! For this game, Player 1 would wear vampire fangs. 
Player 2 would toss marshmallows that Player 1 would catch with their mouth. 
(And this is where I will admit my love for peeps was not a wise choice… smaller marshmallows are much easier). 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Homemade Vanilla Extract Neighbor Gift

This is an awesome inexpensive neighbor gift. The only issue is you would have to jump on making it right now! 

I got the original pin from here.

To make Vanilla Extract, you just need 2 things… liquor (Vodka or Rum) and vanilla beans. 


  1. Cut the ends off of your vanilla beans (I used Bourbon Madagascar beans) and then cut them down the middle. 
  2. Put your beans in an air tight container (Mason Jars work great, or you could even put it right back in the bottle of liquor). 
  3. Pour your liquor on top of the beans. You will want to make sure you COVER the beans completely. If you have to cut them that is fine! I have read 3-5 beans per 8 oz. of liquor and have also seen 7 beans per 8 oz. I used 7 because I just wanted to make certain it works!
  4. Store your jar in a DARK place. 
  5. Shake your jar once a day for 2 weeks and then once a week for a few months after that.
  6. After a few months, you should be close to done with your vanilla (or done). Using a coffee filter, you can strain your vanilla so there are not any little floaties in it. 
  7. Pour your vanilla into your bottles. The original pin has a really cute label you can print off! It fit perfectly on the 4 oz. bottles I bought from Amazon. I used spray adhesive for my bottles just because it sticks so much better!
Some useful tips:
  1. You can do the same thing with Cinnamon extract. My Sister in law gave us really cute bottles for Thanksgiving. She used Vodka and it only took 6 weeks. It smells DIVINE!
  2. Some say that your vanilla should be ready within a month. My neighbor makes this and suggests 6 months. If your vanilla smells more like a shot of vodka than vanilla extract by Christmas, you can strain what you have, put it in the cute little jars, put a vanilla bean in the jar and attach a tag telling them the vanilla will be ready in a month or so! 
  3. Vanilla is like wine, it gets better with age. The longer you let it steep, the better it will be! 
  4. I have read many posts from people who have put their concoction in their cold storage room. They don’t seem to be ready as quick. I wonder if that is because it is cold. I would just put it in a cupboard up high you don’t often use so the temperature isn’t cold!
  5. My neighbor told me that you can also simmer your beans for 5-10 minutes in half of the liquor for 5-10 minutes. This helps release the vanilla flavor and should make your vanilla ready quicker! It does reduce the volume so you will want to account for that and buy a bit more than you need. 
  6. I have asked both my sister in law and my neighbor the secret to choosing the liquor. I was told the more expensive Vodka doesn’t make it any better than the less expensive. Time is the real indicator of quality. The original pin suggested Titos Vodka so I just bought that. 
  7. Rum will give your vanilla a bit of a sweeter flavor. You can get Vanilla Rum to kick start the flavor! 
This is a great inexpensive neighbor gift idea. Here is the breakdown of the cost:
$12 Vodka  
$12 4 oz. Amber Glass Bottles  for 12 (I bought these on Amazon)
$25.75 4 oz. Gourmet Madagascar Vanilla Beans (I bought these on Amazon) You can also make these go further if you don’t use as many. I did the full 7 per 8 oz. of liquor. Some recipes say it can be 3-5. If you do 7 you will need 8 oz. of vanilla. if you do 3-5 a 4 oz. bag should be fine!
Kraft paper from my house
Spray adhesive from my house
Mason Jars from my house
Total Cost: $4.14 per bottle