Candy-Grams

Are you struggling to find that perfect gift for someone special? Or the perfect gift for that special occasion?

Do you just dislike spending all that money on a greeting card that is just going to be discarded or thrown in s drawer and forgotten?

Instead of  a boring printed card quip, give a ‘card’ that won’t be forgotten. A card, that is more than a card, that with some simple creativity can be tuned to any holiday or special occasion.

Make a candy-gram instead! 

My husband has a raging sweet tooth, so anything involving sugar instantly means that much more to him.

My sister was graduating high school and I wanted to give her a ‘card’ with a special touch, because I didn’t just want to give her money.

These were the resulting ‘cards’ they received with my messages for them.

Candy-grams are an awesome way to put your own thoughts into words, some spelled out in sugar, with a personal touch and a little flair.

Whatever the occasion and the message, they will certainly leave a lasting impression and memory!

Father’s Day Candy-Gram

candy gram- black poster with words and candy bars on it

“Dad, we were going to give you a ‘whopp’ ing ‘100 Grand’ for Father’s Day, but the money slipped right through our ‘butterfinger’s. We didn’t have an ‘extra’ ‘whatchamacallit’ to sell and it wasn’t ‘payday’. We didn’t think a pet ‘kitkat’, a trip to New ‘York’, or an ‘orbit’ around the ‘milkyway’ would be appropriate. We do want to wish you ‘mounds’ of ‘joy’ both ‘now and later’ as you eat this card. We hope it doesn’t make you ‘rolo’ver and get sick. If it does we promise not to ‘snicker’. Love, your favorite ‘airheads’ (include children’s names).”

Graduation Candy-Gram

Graduation Candy-gram: candy gram- blue poster with words and candy bars on it

“We (or I) thought it would be ‘sweet’ to make you a card. I still remember when we were little; we were like the ‘3 musketeers’. I still can’t believe just yesterday you were in your ‘cap’ and gown and ‘skor’ed a diploma. You’ve come a long ‘way’. You should be filled with ‘mounds’ of ‘joy’ that you’re no ‘dumdum’ and are filled with ‘extra’ good stuff that’ll take you far in life– ‘now and later’. You’re an ‘awesome’ individual and as a sister worth more than ‘100 grand’. I am so proud of you I could just ‘kiss’ you!!!!”

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

This delicious dessert berry recipe is perfect for almost any occasion. Cheesecake stuffed strawberries are your favorite dessert in petite, finger food form. Get a little bit of dessert on the dessert table without much extra effort. It’s just the thing to serve when you don’t want to hire a planner- but want the same catered quality.

cheesecake stuffed strawberries on a white place with graham cracker crumbs on marble background with striped dish towel

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D.I.Y. Homemade Deodorant

There are basic toiletries that I think most everyone can agree are necessities, antiperspirants among them.

Over the years, I’ve read several medical articles substantiating the claims that the aluminum in deodorants can be linked to an increased risk in women of developing breast cancer, although nothing has ever been completely confirmed.

My husband and I try to buy and use as many organic products for our family as possible on our budget and organic deodorant, or even all natural, is just too expensive for us.

When I came across a recipe to try making homemade deodorant myself, using ingredients I keep stocked in our kitchen, I couldn’t wait to try it.

We, and my teenage sons, have used this for a week and it’s worked as well as anything I’ve purchased from a store.

The first batch had no scent, although the coconut oil did give it it’s own faint coconut-ty smell.

To the second batch of our homemade deodorant we added a few scant drops of lavender essential oil which made the deodorant smell wonderful, without being overpowering.

For something so easy, good for you, and cheap, is there any reason to keep paying for over-priced chemical laced sticks from the store?

This D.I.Y homemade deodorant is not only husband approved, but teenage boy proof!

Not a single whiff of funk from any of my guys, all for pennies on my part.

white homemade deodorant paste in a plastic tub on a white counter

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DIY Deodorant

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp aluminum-free baking soda
  • 3-4 drops organic essential oil for fragrance optional

Instructions

  • In a small bowl mix cornstarch and baking soda until evenly combined.
  • Stir in coconut oil until evenly combined.
  • Put mixture in a container, or empty deodorant stick, for storage and use.
  • Deodorant can stay out, but it will be more of a paste to apply. If you want a hard bar to rub on, store in the refrigerator.

 

Prayer Pail: Our Way of Branching Out Prayer with a Toddler

Every night before bed we say our prayers.

We’ve watched our prayers with our sons evolve from a simple, ‘Now I lay me down to sleep…’ to specific prayers for people they know, things that worry them, and words of thanks and gratitude for the things in their lives.

As I’ve had more children, I’ve realized the earlier I can get them acclimated to the idea as normal and second nature, the easier it becomes to connect to God and to really have a conversation with Him about the things that matter to you, and not always having the thing that matters to them most be themselves.

When my youngest was 1, he’s almost 4 now, I decided to create a prayer pail. Each night before bed I let him pick out a stick, or two or three, if he feels so inclined and we say a prayer for whoever or whatever is listed on the stick.

He has come to look forward to the surprise of who or what he will be praying for and excited about including others in our nightly prayers.

Originally, we just did sticks for our immediate family. Now, we have sticks for everyone: extended family, the ‘lost’, and even our church.

We also have a ‘thankful’ stick, so he can tell God what he is thankful for too.

For us, this has been the perfect tool to teach our son a loose form for prayer in a way that even a toddler can understand.

Prayer Sticks- wooden crafts sticks with names written on them in colorful ink and ribbons laid out on a brown table

To make the prayer sticks I just wrote on Popsicle sticks with different color sharpies.

I punched holes in them using my crop-a-dile and then threaded different ribbon into the holes and tied to give them a bit of pizzazz.

Our ‘pail’ is a metal Batman pail from Target’s $ bins.

Cheeseburger & Tater Tot Casserole

I don’t know why, but I’ve been on a ‘cheeseburger’ kick lately. Soup, macaroni, meatloaf, and now a casserole. You name it- I’ve been making it.

I just crave that meaty, cheesy combo, and for whatever reason recently I’ve been going to new, experimental lengths to get my fix.

This cheeseburger & tater tot casserole is what evolved from a lunch for the boys on a day they were home from school that was incredibly cold, when I had pulled hamburger meat out for, you guessed it, hamburgers for lunch and then realized I had no buns or sandwich bread.

In theory I could’ve introduced them all to the square hamburger bun from the pack of Wonder bread. The kind my Mom always served us kids growing up. 

Looking back, maybe I should’ve welcomed back my old friend- but it didn’t occur to me at the time! Thankfully, because this casserole is definitely a new family favorite.

It was the perfect comfort food to warm us all up and put a smile on everyone’s face. There were no leftovers.

If you’ve tried this CHEESEBURGER & TATER TOT CASSEROLE, or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTERESTFACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes and whatever else we’ve got going on!

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Cheeseburger & Tater Tot Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 can refrigerated crescent rolls or 1 batch of homemade crescent rolls
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese divided
  • 1 2 lb pkg tater tots frozen
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 3-4 tbsp mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Brown ground beef until cooked through. Drain.
  • Return to skillet, add in onions and saute 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in ketchup, mustard, and 1 cup of cheese. Stirring until heated through. Remove from heat. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Grease a 9×13 baking dish, or coat with non stick spray.
  • Lay crescent rolls out flat to cover the bottom of the dish like a crust. Press seams together so there aren’t any gaps.
  • Spread hamburger mixture evenly over the crescent rolls.
  • Top evenly with tater tots.
  • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until tater tots are done.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over the top of the casserole.
  • Return to oven cooking 5 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
  • Let the casserole cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Crockpot Pumpkin Bread

Thought bread was hard to bake or make? This crockpot pumpkin bread recipe is officially going to change your mind. An easy pumpkin infused quick bread, this slow cooker pumpkin bread is dense, but moist and features little notes of chocolate courtesy of a smattering of chocolate chips thrown into the batter. Make it in the bowl of your crockpot, or bake it in the oven- either way it will pair perfectly with your cup of coffee or milk for brunch and dessert.

a loaf of crockpot pumpkin bread sliced open and shown on a cutting boar with fresh milk in the background

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Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Cakes are great, but they’re often only associated with dessert. This buttermilk blueberry breakfast cake is here to change cakes place on the menu, one slice at a time. With a little zing from lemon zest combined with the natural sweetness of blueberries- this moist, fluffy cake is shaking things up at the breakfast table. One bite and you’ll agree- let’s have cake for breakfast!

blueberry cake for breakfast on a yellow checkered napkin with fresh lemon, blueberries, and a metal spatula

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Fuss-Free Finger Painting

Have you ever had one of those moments where you have a litany of tasks that need your immediate attention, but you also have a toddler clinging to your leg and you know that if you turn your back they will immediately morph into a little ball of destruction? My 3 year old would happily entertain himself, but that always results in a gigantic mess that I then have to clean up. It’s moments like those when dinner is waiting to be cooked and homework needs checking that I have to get creative to keep the 3 year old entertained without my constant supervision. Being 3, he is full of artistic ‘flair’. Give him some paints, a coloring book and crayons, you name it, and he’s happy and pumping out masterpieces. However, I know I can’t trust him alone since his creativity has a tendency to run wild. For example, he sees newly painted white walls as fresh canvas eagerly awaiting his decoration. While he could very well be a budding artiste, a future Picasso perhaps, he and I have varying tastes on what composes harmonious home decor.

It was one of these times, with my son begging to ‘paint’ and dinner bubbling away on the stove, that I grabbed a large ziplock bag and some of his tubes of finger paint, and a genius idea was born: fuss-free finger painting! He got to ‘paint’ and none of Mommy’s things got painted on. He loved it, especially since he could magically erase his doodle and begin again. Since then, we do this all the time and have used it to practice making shapes, letters, numbers, you name it. It’s saved my sanity many a time and allowed me to be productive while keeping my son safely, and cleanly, entertained. For a busy mom, fuss-free finger painting is the way to go!

Fuss-Free Finger Painting

4 Sons 'R' Us: Fuss-Free Finger Painting

  • 1 gallon ziplock bag
  • 1 piece of blank white paper
  • 2-3 different colors of finger paints
  • masking tape

Directions

  1.  Squirt several dollops of different colored finger paints into your ziplock bag.
  2. Seal bag securely.
  3. Lay your sealed bag over top of a blank sheet of white paper onto a flat surface such as a kitchen table or desk.
  4. Tape the top and bottom of the ziplock bag to your designated work surface to secure in place.
  5. Sit your child down and let them ‘paint’.
  6. When they’re done simply detach and throw your paint-filled bag away, or save it to use again later.

No mess, and no stress!