Cute and Simple Easter Crafts

Cute and Simple Easter Crafts
Cute and Simple Easter Crafts

I decided to make a little something for my nieces and nephews for Easter. Anyone that knows me well knows that I am all about all things mason jar, so I thought I could come up with something with mason jars and use them as sort of an Easter “basket” to put some candy in. Here’s what I came up with.

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I SOOOO love them!! And they’re so easy to make. I just took pint jars, made sure they were clean, using rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs, and then spray painted them in pastel colors. I had the googly eyes and just hot glued them on. The beaks are just foam sheets that I cut into little triangles and hot glued on. And then I just used coordinating fabric scraps, cut them to fit the lid, and then used Mod Podge to attach them, but didn’t Mod Podge over the top of them, so it still looks like fabric and isn’t glossy. And then I found some Easter printables to make the little tags, punched a hole in them, and then tied it around the top with twine.

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That’s it. SO fun, right?

AND THEN, I made these adorable little chicks.

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There’s a free pattern to make them and it’s really pretty simple. You’re basically just crocheting a rectangle and then slip stitching it up two sides, stuffing it with fiber fill or beans or whatever you like and then slip stitching across the bottom. Here’s the pattern for it. Oh, and you have to do the little details part. I used brads for the eyes instead of the black knot thingy in the instructions. Whatever you want to do works. It’s all cute, just the same.

And then I just filled the jars with goodies and put some other stuff in the boxes with them. I also made a headband for each of the girls because they’re little and probably won’t eat a lot of the candy. The headband part I bought from Wally World and then I made each crochet flower and added a little button/jewel/bead to each one I made.

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They should get the packages today, so I hope they all love the goodies.

Have a great weekend and Happy Easter to all!!

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Crochet Mood Blanket Square Swap

Crochet Mood Blanket Square Swap
Crochet Mood Blanket Square Swap

There’s this group that I’m part of on Facebook. I’ve mentioned it before. It started because of the crochet mood blanket 2014 project and group. It’s a bunch of folks who crochet squares of any size, shape, color; whatever you feel like doing, and then send one to someone on the list. Typically that person will send one back to you, but they don’t have to, as long as they send to SOMEONE. This started some time in late January, I think, and it’s a flurry of activity. It’s awesome, to be honest. I’m not even going to tell you how many squares I’ve made and sent for this already. I love it. I love sending, and receiving is fun too, but I really do just love giving them to people. People are amazingly talented, and creative, and crafty, and it’s just fun. I’m going to try, by the end of the year, to make a separate blanket from the squares I’ve received, maybe having to add some more of my own.

Here are some of the ones I’ve sent.

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Here are some of the ones I’ve received…..from all over the world. It’s amazing!!!

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Help out Jules Shephard

Help out Jules Shephard

If you’re big into the gluten free world, you will likely know of this wonderful lady.

jules-gluten-free1

She’s gone through a heck of a lot in the recent months. You can read more about what’s happened here or see and read more about it here. She has a new site and is trying to rebuild her brand under a different title. It’s been a lot of stress and frustration for her. Here’s her new temporary home and you can help her by donating or even just adding your email address to her new email list and making sure to unsubscribe from the old. She is finally able to even get her recipes back, which she had no access to for some time. It’s been an ugly process for her. Please help support her however you can and if you go to her website, you can find out more info on exactly how you can help. Our gluten free community should stick together as best as we can. :)

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Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Buffalo Chicken Nachos
Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Recently we had a little get together and I was trying to figure out something different, easy, and quick to make. I came up with this. I think it turned out great and everyone loved it. I might try to figure out how to serve it to look prettier, like maybe even in a casserole dish, but otherwise, it was great…..and no one cared it wasn’t “pretty” because it was SO good.

Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Ingredients
Some sort of taco chips or even homemade tortillas cut up into “chips” – I used Tostitos small dip-sized ones
1 can – 10 oz chopped/chunk chicken
4 oz (1/2 block) cream cheese
hot sauce
ranch sauce/dressing
shredded cheese of choice

Directions
Soften the cream cheese in the microwave on a low power for just a bit so that it’s easily ‘mixable.’ Mix in the can of chicken until blended. Add in as much hot sauce as you like. For us, it was probably about a 1/4 cup. The more you, the runnier it will be, so just note that. Then add a bit of ranch sauce. I used only about 1-2 Tbsp, as I do not much like ranch flavor. Again, this is to your taste and consistency you like. That’s it. Simple, simple.

Then, I just spread a layer of chips out on my pan. Try to make this even and just one chip layer. Add the chicken mixture in small clumps/globs over the top of the chips and then sprinkle with a layer of your shredded cheese. Then, I added another layer of chips on tops, more of the chicken mixture, and then cheese again. You don’t have to do it this way, but this was the easiest for making a bunch for a group. The top cheese doesn’t get as crusty then, but everything is coated with ooey, gooey-ness. It’s SO delicious!

Put in oven preheated to 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is browned. Just make sure nothing looks burnt and you’re good. To us, the crispier the cheese, the better. That’s up to you too! Enjoy!!

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Cross Contamination Issues

Cross Contamination Issues

I recently received an email with a link to this information on cross contamination. Whomever put this together should be applauded. It’s really great info. Here’s the link.

ION: the people that put together that info have some great products. Check out all their good stuff here.

betterbatterproducts

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Mixed Emotions

Mixed Emotions

So my mom got the keys to her new house this week. For the past 30+ years my family has lived in the same home. It’s a family-owned home, so they never actually owned their own home before. It’s an OOOOOOOLLLDD house. I’m talking probably 1800′s old. It’s kind of falling down. Okay, maybe not really falling down, but it’s not in great shape and is in seriously need of help. With that said, she has wanted to move for a long time. My dad wasn’t keen on the idea for many reasons, one being he was sick for the last several years of his life. And for those of you that have followed my blog for awhile know that my dad passed away in October of 2012. It’s been a rough year and a half for all of us, but especially my mom. Lucky for her one of my brothers moved back home shortly before my dad passed away and has been living with her since. It’s been good for her, I think.

Anyway, she finally decided it was time to move on. She did have a Skype call with all five of us kids to say what she was thinking and for us to let her know what we thought. I think part of it was to make sure we were okay with her leaving that house. And honestly, I am and I’m not. While I think she NEEDS to move out and move on, it’s tough. It’s pretty much the only home I’ve ever known. I was very small when we moved there. It was about a month after my brothers were born, I think, so it’s really all they’ve ever known. I feel like I’m kind of grieving a loss, to be quite honest. I’m not sure how to handle it. I wanted to be there to help get things going in the new place and help her pack and what not, but I was not able to do so. I think, for me, it would have made me feel better to be able to sort of say goodbye to the family home. Now, I will likely never go there again. It’s an odd feeling.

I’m happy for her, but at the same time, I’m very sad. It’s the last place I ever saw my dad and got to spend time with him. When I would go home, typically the first thing I’d see when I’d walk through the door is my dad sitting at his computer. I still had that memory each time I would go home again. And although I still have that memory, I just won’t ever get to experience the full effect again. There’s so many memories there, and while I realize there are all those memories still in my head, it’s tough to fathom things being different. Better for my mom, but still different. Every time I go home I still have to drive right past it and it will just be weird not to stop there.

I’m proud of my mom for taking this big step at this stage of her life. It’s a lot to worry about and take on, but she’s so happy. It’s a good way for her to try to start the next phase of her life. I can’t imagine what turmoil she must have been going through and must still be going through.

Anyway, I’m sorry this isn’t my typical crafty goodness or recipe to share. It’s just been a weird and kind of difficult week, as the reality has finally set in seeing photos of her new home with my mom and dad’s stuff in it.

And so life goes on…..

Happy Sunday, all! Hope you’ve had a great week.

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Gluten Free Prairie Bakery Under Water

Gluten Free Prairie Bakery Under Water

Save the Gluten Free Bakery

I heard this story this past week about this family that started up a gluten free bakery in a small town in Montana and was hit by a flood. It destroyed everything. They were just about to have a grand opening. You can follow the progress and what’s happening with the above link. I don’t have ties to these folks, so don’t feel I’m pushing you to donate. I just felt like I should share within the gluten free community to help each other out, if/when in need.

GFprairiebakery

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Gluten Free Grain Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Gluten Free Grain Free Peanut Butter Cookies
Gluten Free Grain Free Peanut Butter Cookies

I wasn’t feeling so hot yesterday (bad headache and severe fibromyalgia pains) and was really craving peanut butter cookies. Who doesn’t, right? Okay, maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to peanut butter, I can’t help myself. I crave it A LOT….probably more than anything else. Anyway this is a simple, great recipe that’s SO delicious!!

The best thing about these (besides the taste, of course) is that it’s simple stuff that you probably already have in your house. No running to the grocery store just to make cookies. Yea!! :)

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients
2 cups natural peanut butter
1 1/3 cup organic cane sugar or coconut sugar (which will give it a slightly different taste)
1 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
about 3 Tbsp coconut flour

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. I used my stand mixer, which works great, but if you don’t have that, I would use a hand mixer. It’s pretty thick, crumbly and mixing with a spoon probably won’t mix this together well. Mix together peanut butter, sugar, and baking soda until blended. Add in eggs vanilla and coconut flour. You can mix flour a little bit at a time until it’s the “right” consistency. I just used a small scoop and added a bit at a time. My guess is that it was about 3 Tbsp worth. It was perfect to roll into ball. By small scoop, roll dough into ball, flatten a bit in your hand and place it on cookie sheet. Using fork, make criss-cross pattern on the top of each cookie. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until they start to turn golden brown. Remove cookies from pan and place on cooling rack until completely cooled.

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—-NOTES—-

*You can roll dough balls in extra sugar, but I don’t think that’s necessary.

* You can also add a pinch or so of salt, but my peanut butter was salted, so I didn’t feel it was necessary either.

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Peel N’ Stick Stencils

Peel N’ Stick Stencils
Peel N’ Stick Stencils

So I was super excited when I heard the Queen of Mod Podge came out with a line of peel n’ stick stencils. There are 6 of them, and I ordered one of each, plus metallic paints, a stencil brush, and some lettering stencils. Over the weekend I got to test them out and was pleasantly surprised and also disappointed as well.

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The first one I wanted to try was the Chevron one. As soon as I tried to peel it off the plastic, it tore….not all the way through, but it tore. Not a happy camper. So, I left it alone and chose a different one.

It was pretty easy to deal with and decided to test it out on a glass jar. It was easy to manipulate and I think it turned out pretty cute.

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Today, I again tried to “play” with the chevron one…

It was a total disaster. Because of how that one is cut, it’s not easy to work with at all, because there’s more open space than stencil basically. Yep, it tore again and again. This time all the way through. I was able to try to use it, but when I tried to peel it off, it peeled off the paint as well. It’s a mess. Not cool! I should have taken a photo of what happened when I peeled it off. It was awful, to say the least…

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So, I will see what I can do when I try a different one out. For now, I’m on the fence about these.

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People just don’t get it

People just don’t get it

So Dr. Oz was on Late Night with Seth Meyers last week. I’m not a fan of Dr. Oz and his BS to begin with, but this just made it worse. Here’s the link to the interview and you can watch for yourself. He starts talking about gluten free at about 1:15. Honestly, why would he tell people that gluten free is a scam? I just don’t get it!!! He’s actually making it worse for those of us that really do have gluten issues, because even though he says something briefly about the legitimacy of folks who really do have gluten issues, people are only going to hear what he first said. You can hear people in the crowd clapping when he says it’s a scam. Really?! Ignorance at it’s best and he’s feeding into that.
Who is HE to determine whether people really have gluten issues or not? Where is the “scam” in being gluten free or companies making gluten free product? While I’m not a huge advocate for quick and easy gluten free goodies, people still need to have those options in a pinch. I certainly have used/eaten my fair share of gluten free foods at times. And yes, I do agree that people can be eating whole foods and what not, but it’s not that simple. WE don’t have someone preparing our meals and snacks for us. WE don’t have people to help make us eat what we should be eating every day.
All people are going to get out of that interview, likely to include Seth, is that eating gluten free is a farce. There is not saying at this point in time, how many people are actually affected by gluten, so saying it’s a scam makes no sense to me. Who’s scamming these people by telling them they have gluten issues? And I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again, if being gluten free makes someone feel better, what’s the issue then?
Furthermore, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t cook for himself or ever bake anything, because it’s not that simple as to just switch out wheat flour for millet or quinoa or something. He’s an idiot! I seriously hope he’s gotten some backlash for this, as he needs a wake-up call where gluten free is concerned!

GFgoodies

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