Posts Tagged ‘Frugal’

Fabulous Fall Drinks Round-Up

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

I am SO excited for one of my favorite times of the year, fall! While I enjoy every season and the special things we like to do in each, there’s something about the falling leaves and the cooling temperatures – and the fun holidays we get to celebrate – that makes the autumn months some of my absolute favorites.

Fabulous Fall Drinks  MomAdvice.com

And I’m here to admit that one of the reasons I look forward to the fall is all the fabulous flavored hot drinks I can enjoy again during the cold weather! You know I’m a coffee girl, and adding flavor to coffee is probably one of the greatest inventions ever in my book! I’ve rounded up some of my favorite hot drinks I’ve created as well as a few others I’ve found that I can’t wait to try.

The only thing I have to decide: which one first?

Mom Advice Classics:

Homemade_Pumpkin_Spice_Latte

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

homemade_salted_caramel_mocha

Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha

DIY_Starbucks_Peppermint_Mocha

Homemade Peppermint Mocha

Homemade_Vanilla_Chai

Homemade Vanilla Chai Mix or Cocoa Mix

(these make great gifts for anyone who needs a warm weather pick-me-up!)

DIY_Gingerbread_Latte

Homemade Gingerbread Latte

Homemade_Mint_Truffle_Creamer

DIY Flavored Coffee Creamers

Here are more fabulous drinks I found for you to try – including a couple for adults-only!

peanut-butter-caramel-mocha

Peanut Butter Cup Caramel Latte @ Lunch Box Bunch

crockpot-coconut-hot-chocolate

Crockpot Coconut Hot Chocolate @ How Sweet It Is

SprinkleBakes Whiteout Cocoa

Whiteout Cocoa @ Sprinkle Bakes

Irish Coffee

Irish Coffe @ iVillage

tiramisu tippers

Tiramisu Tippers @ Better Homes & Gardens

And here’s a fun bonus – one of my favorite ways to keep warm on-the-go drinks from being uncomfortable to hold: easy handmade knitted coffee cozies!

Knitted_Coffee_Cozies

You can find even more great drink ideas on our Drinks Pinterest board and if you’d like a few more cooler-weather ideas, be sure to check out our Pinterest boards: Soups & Stews, Slow Cooker Dishes, and my favorite, Knitting!

Well, are you ready for the cooler fall weather now? I know I am!

 

Pin It

Our Best Disney Tips

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Disney Tips

Our family is currently having the time of our lives at Disney World for the Social Media Moms Conference and I was reminded of our family’s first experience visiting the Magic Kingdom and what we learned during that trip.

Are the tips I shared then still helpful? You bet! In fact, coming into this trip armed with the “insider” tips we learned during our first visit has made this one a lot smoother, even though it’s a bit different because I’m also attending a conference.

MA_Disney_collage

So I thought I’d take a moment to share again how we planned for Disney and what we learned (for further information on each tip, be sure to read the original post), and give you the opportunity to add any of your tips or tricks you’ve learned in visiting Disney World in the comments!

1. Advance Preparation Tips

  • Financially: start saving and looking for deals as soon as you start thinking about your trip.
  • Safety: print out current photos to carry of each child, bring a sharpie to write cell phone numbers with, and assign buddies.
  • Meals: plan for snacks and drinks before heading to the park.
  • Souvenirs: buy them at a local Disney store or the party store and pack them with you!
  • Navigation: load all needed GPS info beforehand.

2. Ride Tips

  • Make a family plan: list the rides everyone wants to go on by importance.
  • Visit rides with longest wait times first.
  • Use FASTPASS to get through longer lines faster.
  • Add the Wait Time App to your mobile phone to check ride wait times.

3. Photograph Tips

  • Capture your children’s view – not only of them seeing things, but how they see it (get down to their level).
  • Capture the moment – as many of the hilarious ride moments as you can!
  • Take pictures on the go, too – in the car and at the hotel – using both phone and regular cameras.
  • Remember a family photo: scope out someone who can take a picture of your family in front of something you like.
  • Capture the nighttime magic – do a bit of research in advance to know your camera settings so you can get some good memory shots of the fantastic light displays.

Now it’s your turn – what can you share with us about the best way to experience Disney?

 

Pin It

Hello Kitty Birthday Party Fun

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

We had an exciting week this week as we celebrated my daughter’s sixth birthday with a fun Hello Kitty birthday party. I wanted to keep the party simple and sweet with her closest girlfriends for her special day.  I didn’t spend a lot on this Hello Kitty party at all, but it made me smile to hear the girl’s remarking that it was, “the best part ever.”

Just in case you are thinking about spending a lot of money, for five and six year-old girls the best party ever need only include pink things to eat, glittered nail polish, tiaras, and a Barbie movie.

Here are a few of the fun projects we did for her birthday party:

1. Tissue Paper Pom Poms in Pinks & Purples to go over her party table. I did buy a package of Hello Kitty napkins and paper plates this year to match her theme and then used all of our past party supplies to bring our pink-themed party together.

2. Hot Cocoa Filling Station- I found inexpensive holiday mugs at Michael’s Craft Store. I added a batch of our homemade cocoa mix, whipped cream, homemade pink peppermint marshmallows, and lots of sprinkles for the cocoa. Each girl got to personalize her mug with her favorite additions.

3. Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes- Emily’s favorite show is, “Cupcake Wars,” so I knew that I needed to make a spectacular cupcake for my big girl. I made these cupcakes adorned with pink buttercream frosting and a shake of pink sprinkles. Each cupcake was topped with a Hello Kitty ring (that had lip gloss tucked inside). The rings were just $.50 each, but the girls really loved them.

4.  Getting Glamorous- I bought four different colors of nail polish (including clear glitter) and a package of nail stickers to do the girl’s nails. Each girl got fancy nails and a Hello Kitty tiara to wear home with them ($2.99 each plus a 20% off coupon).

5. Movies & Popcorn- We ended our birthday fun watching, “Barbie Princess Charm School,” and munching on popcorn. The girls loved this movie and thanks to a tip from my best friend, I managed to DVR the movie on Nick Jr., saving me the cost of the rental.

My sweet Emily is the type of girl that captures the heart of anyone who meets her. Her sense of style is stellar and she has just this incredible independence that sometimes makes my jaw drop to the ground. I was never as fiercely independent as her.

Most days  I shake my head and think, “How is SHE mine?” I was never that cool.

Happy birthday to our beautiful girl- we love you so much!

Tips for Your Next Disney Magic Kingdom Trip & Ideas for Capturing the Magic

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Our family spent our Thanksgiving holiday in Florida this year.  It was our first real family trip and our first time heading to the Magic Kingdom. I am a Disney newbie although I had the incredible opportunity to see many Florida sites with the Orlando Visitor’s Bureau with my son last year as a trip for just the two of us.

I will admit it, I was nervous about it all. I wanted to surprise them, I wanted the day to be magical, I wanted the weather to cooperate, I wanted the crowds to be minimal, I wanted us all to have the best time of our life.

Is that too much to ask?

Lucky for us, all of these things really did happen and we had a magical day at the Magic Kingdom.

Accommodations were provided by the grandparents as well as a cooler filled with drinks and snacks for us to take on the road and a few to nestle in a bag that I carried with me.  The truth is, we went into it knowing it was going to be an expensive day. We also went into it prepared financially for this day and I worked some extra freelance jobs to cover the expense.

Here is what we learned from our experience at Disney:


Preparation is Key

Financial Preparation- Whenever our family is tackling a big financial project, we set aside money into a separate savings account to prepare for whatever that financial goal might be. Consider talking with your bank about opening accounts for your Disney trip. Have an automatic transfer made for $25 or more each month put into this account all year long and then you will have the money saved when it is time to make your family trip.

Savings can be had when booking your travel through places like AAA and additional savings can be found while visiting in Orlando by printing a free Orlando Magicard to take with you when visiting restaurants and attractions while you are in Orlando.

Safety Preparation- I don’t need to tell you that Disney is a big place and safety is very important when visiting theme parks.  Each child was assigned a buddy to be their partner throughout the days and they were to hold their buddy’s hand while we were there.  We took additional safety precautions by printing out recent pictures of our children to keep in our wallet and bags just in case something should happen and they were separated from us. With a handy Sharpie, I wrote my cell phone number on their arms so if they were separated from us, someone could call us and reunite us quickly.

Meal Preparation- You can bring snacks and drinks into the park with no problems. We packed fruit snacks, granola bars, and bottles of water for our day in a bag with no objections. Rely on these snacks and bottles of water to help cut some of the costs. I recommend visiting this MouseSavers page to find the best cheap eats while you are at the parks.  We did get table service for the evening, but you want to call ahead since reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance of your vacation. Since we called the reservation number that morning when we arrived, we ended up at the Plaza. The table service was about twelve dollars more than the fast food service in the park and quite a bit better with a lot more food included with our meal. If you want to explore the menus before you go, you can view all the menus for the parks here.

Souvenir Preparation-  Souvenirs are a big expense and children can be plagued with horrible cases of what our family lovingly calls, “a case of the gimmies.” At the same time, I remember the amazing souvenir ears I got and how much I wanted those items when I went to Disney.  I hit the Disney store for t-shirts and small toys which were a third of the price as they were in the shops and a girlfriend recommended picking up ears at a local party store (only $5.99 each). The kids were thrilled with their ears and shirts which they wore throughout the park and they did not even ask for anything while we walked through thanks to this little bit of preparation.

Navigation Preparation- When you pick up your tickets, you can pick up a handy map of the park. Thanks to my iPhone I was able to get some reinforcement on the map with Disney’s Magic Kingdom Tour Guide GPS+ from CXI Gaming (cost was $1.99) and helped us navigate the parks easily and find what we needed quickly. We also had everything in our GPS before we left for getting to the park and how to get back to where we were lodging.

Getting the Most Out of Your Ride Time

Make a Plan of Attack- Along with your Navigation Preparation, discuss as a family what rides are most important to you and order them in a list of importance. The rides with the longest wait times we rode first so that we could make sure that we got those out of the way before the crowds and wait times got really long.  If you aren’t’ sure what rides would be best for the age group of your kids, I do recommend buying the Disney’s Magic Kingdom Tour Guide GPS+ from CXI Gaming (cost was $1.99) because this actually gave you a plan for your day based upon your age group. They have tour plans for adults & teens, parents of preschool children, parents with children ages 4-8, and senior Disney lovers.  It gave us a great starting point for deciding how to make the most of our day.

Use FASTPASS to Make the Most of Your Day-FASTPASS isn’t anything you need to sign up for, it is simply a way to place a reservation on rides with long wait times. On your map that you receive when you come in, it will have a FASTPASS icon next to the rides that you can FASTPASS. In the Magic Kingdom, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Jungle Cruise, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, & Peter Pan’s Flight are the rides you can FASTPASS. Head to those rides and a machine will be available to insert your ticket and a receipt will print out when you can come back to the ride with a one hour window that you can cash in on. Head to other rides with shorter wait times and then come back at the designated time to go through a faster line.

Add a free Wait Time App to Your Mobile Phone- No need to invest in a pricey Wait Time App, just the free Disney World Wait Times app will work perfectly since all wait time information is user generated. Check the wait times on the rides and use that to help decide which rides you want to go on.

Capturing the Magic

It is the most magical day of our kid’s lives and the last thing I wanted was terrible pictures that didn’t showcase just how amazing our day was.  My parents have this great picture of me when I was a little girl wearing my mouse ears, posing with the characters, sunburned and freckled cheeks, grinning with the biggest toothless grin at five that is still one of my favorite pictures from my childhood.

Capture Their View-  When Emily saw the castle for the first time…well, I could start bawling just thinking about it. I wanted to see that moment over and over so I captured her first gaze at the castle and then got to her eye level and took a picture at her level at exactly what she was seeing.  Having pictures both of them seeing this magical beauty and the magical beauty itself are captures that your family will never forget.

Capture the Movement- How can you capture the hilarious and dizzy feeling of some of those rides without movement in the picture.  Capturing motion in photography is so much fun especially when riding on the teacups. I focused on the bag in this picture as we spun around and and around.  I recommend this article if you are looking for more tips on how to capture motion blur in your pictures.

Take Fun Pictures on the Go-  My camera equipment can get awfully heavy so we took turns with the big camera and I relied on my mobile phone when I wanted to capture details quickly and easily. I love Camera+ and Instagram for sharing fun pictures on the go. It is such a fun way to take a quick photo, add an effect, and send it to family and friends to keep them updated on how your day is going.

Get a Family Photo- I will admit that I looked for someone who had a camera like ours to take our family picture. If you have a point-and-shoot,  finding someone to snap a picture should be really easy.

When I handed off my camera I switched it to Aperture Mode (Av on my Canon) and changed the Aperture to f/7.1. I was really worried we would be out of focus and Disney is a very busy place. I then used Picnik to crop as many of the background people out of our picture.

They have people all over the parks taking pictures and you can have them snap your picture for their portrait and then ask them to take one with your camera too. They know the best spots with good lighting and backgrounds for your family photos. Best of all, they know how to work cameras.

Capture the Nighttime Magic- Nighttime magic was tricky to photograph and may require a little research on your part. When I took pictures of the castle I was so disappointed. The colors were off and lights were blurry. It was not the magical pictures I had hoped for.

Over dinner, I went on this Disney Photography Blog and found this information how to capture the nighttime parade. I took test shots after our dinner until I was happy with the lighting and able to capture some of the nighttime beauty at Disney.

What are your best tips for doing Disney on a budget? Do you have any tips for making the most of your time at the parks? Please share!

**********************************************

Below is our big reveal to our children when we told them they were heading to Disney. It was the thrill of a lifetime to get to surprise them with the news that they would be seeing the Magic Kingdom for the very first time. It still brings tears to my eyes that we got to have such an incredibly magical day with them!

Pin It

Homemade Gingerbread Latte

Monday, December 5th, 2011

I absolutely love anything that has gingerbread flavors in it and I had a reader request that I share a recipe for their favorite Starbuck’s treat, the delicious Gingerbread Latte. Always up for a challenge, I went on a search for a recipe for this yummy Gingerbread Latte treat to create at home.

This drink tastes like gingerbread itself and is filled with ginger, molasses, and cinnamon within the gingerbread syrup you create for your latte. I found that if I mixed the latte together with the syrup and let it sit for a minute or two and then stirred it again, that the flavors came together more fully than if I drank it right away as the spices seemed to blend in better.

This gingerbread coffee syrup does not look like the usual simple syrup gingerbread coffee syrup that I had originally thought I would create. To me, the most important flavor is the molasses in the gingerbread though and without it, I don’t think it would taste like a true gingerbread treat. If you are looking for a simple syrup version though, I found this Gingerbread Coffee Syrup that would fit the bill beautifully.

So this holiday season whether you are sipping a Peppermint Mocha, a Salted Caramel Mocha, a Pumpkin Spice Latte, or this little version of a Gingerbread Latte, I hope you enjoy saving a little extra cash and can enjoy these homemade treats to unwind with during this busy time of year.

Recipe:

Homemade Gingerbread Latte

Ingredients:

1 cup milk, steamed
1 cup very strong coffee (4 tablespoons coffee grounds to 1 cup of hot water, I prepared this in my French Press, but you can brew a strong drip pot if you prefer)
1 tablespoon white sugar (can omit if you prefer a drink that is less sweet)
1 tablespoon gingerbread syrup (you can use the recipe provided below)
Whipped cream (optional)
Ground Cloves (sprinkled for topping, optional) or Festive Sprinkles (sprinkled for topping, these just aren’t optional)

Directions:

Prepare your hot water in a kettle. Add four tablespoons of your favorite coffee grounds to your French Press. Pour 1 cup of hot water over them and allow the coffee to steep for four minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a pot, heat up one cup of milk until it is steaming. Froth the milk with a wire whisk or an immersion blender until it is nice and foamy.

In your coffee cup, add your coffee syrup and white sugar. Pour your coffee over the gingerbread syrup & sugar and then stir well with a spoon until the gingerbread syrup dissolves and the spices are incorporated well. Pour the milk foam over the top of the coffee/mocha mixture and stir again to incorporate. Allow it to merry together for a minute or two and then mix once more. Top with whipped cream and festive sprinkles or a dusting of ground cloves.

Drink.

Be Merry.

Note- This is just a base recipe that can be played with to your own tastes and preferences. It is meant to be personalized depending on how you like your latte!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serving Size: 1

This Gingerbread Syrup is thicker than a traditional simple syrup so this can be stored in a jar rather than a pour spout container. The molasses combined with the brown sugar, ginger, and cinnamon make it a rich and decadent treat to add to your latte.

This Gingerbread Syrup would make a fantastic gift to give to a friend or loved one. Place this syrup in a jar and tie with festive ribbon. In a basket add your syrup, coffee, and a shaker of festive sprinkles, along with this recipe. So easy and a great way to start anyone’s day.

Recipe:

Homemade Gingerbread Coffee Syrup

Ingredients:

1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

In a jar, mix together your molasses, brown sugar, baking soda, ground ginger, and ground cinnamon until well incorporated. You can store this mixture in a jar in the refrigerator for two to three weeks.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serving Size: 8-10 drinks

Recipe Source: Latte courtesy of MomAdvice, Gingerbread Syrup from AllRecipes.com

Pin It

36 Handmade Gift Ideas

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

The holidays are here and for me that means lots of holiday crafting, baking, knitting, and creating.  Today I wanted to share with you 36 handmade gift ideas that you can create for gifts this year. It can be a challenge to come up with great handmade gifts year after year so I hope that these 36 handmade gift ideas will give you some inspiration this holiday season as you tackle your own holiday crafts.

Of course, all month long will be dedicated to baking, crafting, and knitting as we prepare for the holidays. After this month, we will get back to tackling the organizing and caring for our homes after the holiday aftermath.

For now, I am looking forward to reveling in a lot of one on one time with my glue gun and baking in the kitchen with you.

Let’s get crafting!

36 Handmade Gift Ideas

1. Knitted Anthropologie-Inspired Scarflet
2. Coffee Filter Wreaths
3. Close to My Heart Barrette
4. Honey Nut Granola
5. Treasure Chests (For a Boy or Girl)
6. Yarn Wreath For All Seasons
7. Cinnamon Delight Bread
8. Cabled Knitted Headband
9. Personalized CD
10 Light Banana Oat Bread
11. Waffle Stitch Fingerless Gloves
12. Peppermint Syrup (for Homemade Peppermint Mochas)
13. Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Brownies
14. Gap-Tastic Cowl
15. Hot Cocoa Mix
16. Knitted Dishcloths (Part One)
17. Knitted Ruffled Scarf
18. Knitted Dishcloths (Part Two)
19. Oreo Biscotti
20. Movie Lover’s Gift Basket
21. Hand Painted Mugs (DIY Painted Pottery Day)
22. Spiced Pumpkin Bread
23. Vanilla Scented Granola
24. Gorgeous Gathered Scarfs
25. Merci Scarf
26. Photo Journals With a Unique Spin
27. Vanilla Chai Mix
28. Shades of Gray Knitted Headband
29. Yarn Ball Wreaths
30. Cozy Knitted Fingerless Gloves
31. Oatmeal Cookes & Milk Bath Soak
32. Stretchy Ribbon Bookmarks
33. Rolled Rosette Rings
34. Snickerdoodle Biscotti
35. Candy Cane Bath Salts
36. Knitted Prayer Shawls

Pin It

Mustache Mugs & Free Mustache Printables

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

I am so excited to begin sharing some new gift ideas for all the people in your life. Of course, if there is one trend that is hot right now it is mustaches. We wanted to jump on the mustache-loving trend and share with you some free mustache templates that can be used to adorn any mug and a free mustache printable for your favorite teachers.

Mustaches can adorn anything from a fun glass beer mug for a great guy gift, to a cute little shaving set for your favorite dad, to a fun mug for your best friend.

To begin, there are many ideas for paint that you can use with your mug. You can buy a fine tipped painter’s marker at the craft store and outline and paint your mustache with this and/or you can buy a porcelain paint set (that requires not heat setting), or a porcelain paint that needs to be baked.

With the type of paints that don’t require heat, you are looking for one that has a conditioner, the black paint, and then the gloss. These do not need to be heat set, but do require ten days to set up.

I used a combination of the two. I applied the conditioner, used the paint marker and filled a bit with the black paint, and then applied the glaze to set the paint. I have had great success with the non-heat setting variety, but you can choose whichever type works best for your budget, is already in your craft supplies, or whichever is on sale.

You will also need a beautiful mug for your project. I found these large white mugs for a little over $2 at Walmart. Feel free to visit the dollar store or thrift shop for an inexpensive mug of your choice!

Begin by applying the conditioner to your mugs and let them dry. This should only take about ten or fifteen minutes.

Cut, secure with a little tape underneath, trace with your painter’s pen, and fill in your mustache of choice. We have three different options available so you can choose your favorite for your mug.

Let it dry overnight and then apply the glaze over your piece.

Of course, what fun is a mustache mug without a great printable go along with it? This mustache printable is the perfect sign to adorn any teachers desk.

“Raise Your Hand If You Must Ask (Mustache) a Question,” is a great motto for class. I placed this fun printable in an inexpensive frame that I spray painted red. The mug is filled with a small denominator Starbucks gift card to round out this budget-friendly gift for your favorite teacher.

Get Printing:

Raise Your Hand if You Moustache a Question Free Printable

Printable Dimensions: 8 1/2 x 11″ (can be trimmed for an 8×10 frame)

Print on Heavy-Duty White Cardstock

 

Three Free Mustache Templates

Printable Dimensions: These mustaches are 3″ long

Print On Standard Computer Paper for Tracing

 

Happy mustache mug making!

What holiday craft projects have you been working on?  Feel free to share any links to what you are working on! Access all of our craft fun on MomAdvice by visiting our Craft Section. Happy crafting, friends!

Pin It

Anthropologie DIY Ruffled Lamp

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

We have come to the final project in my daughter’s big girl room makeover. I am so proud of all of the little detai this room.  Many of the items in my daughter’s room had great bones, but seemed a little young for her.  The lamp in her room looked like it belonged in a nursery so I was excited to update this for her.  Instead of getting rid of a perfectly good lamp though, I wanted to figure out a way that I could do a stylish budget-friendly update to it. I happened upon this Ruffled Burlap Lamp tutorial on mama says sew and knew that this would be the perfect way to update her lamp and add a little big girl style to her nightstand.


As you can tell from the picture above, I was planning to just spray paint the original base and save myself a few dollars. Unfortunately, it rained that night and I had a spray paint fail with the paint never hardening and creating a big giant mess. I ended up buying a new lamp base for $12 at Walmart and then spray painted that to match her room. It goes to show that I can screw up even some of the simplest craft projects around here.

I bought one can of spray paint and two yards of burlap which worked out to be eight dollars in supplies (if you don’t count my big spray paint screw-up).

You will first want to cover the entire base of your lamp with a layer of burlap. Any of the metal around my lamp shade base, I just snipped a tiny slit to work the burlap around it. I used my hot glue to cover around it and secured the glue along the edge of the interior of the base.

If you have never worked with burlap before, this material is a MESS to work with. I had burlap pieces and strings everywhere. You definitely want to cut this on newspaper that you can toss out when you are done.

I got out this clothes-presser-thingie (can’t remember what this contraption is called) and pressed strips of burlap that were 1 1/2 times the length of my shade. These were 2″ strips that were then folded in half.

Just attach the pieces in a roughly manner all around the lamp. I went around it once and then filled in any empty spots with a ruffle in the middle where any holes were.

Keep going around and around until the shade is full. It is so pretty and I absolutely love how this turned out. I want to make one for our bedroom now since it is such a fun way to dress up a lamp.

 

This is definitely one of my favorite projects in my daughter’s big girl room and I would highly recommend making a lamp for a room in your house too. Thanks to mama says sew for the inspiration. Please visit her blog for the full details on measurements and a tutorial on how to make a ruffled lamp for a corner in your room.

What craft projects have you been working on?  Feel free to share any links to what you are working on! Access all of our craft fun on MomAdvice by visiting our Craft Section. Happy crafting, friends!

Easy Coffee Filter Flowers

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Maybe you were one of those lucky kids chopping up coffee filter flowers in elementary school. I never had a tutorial on this in my art class though, but I have been dying to make coffee filter flowers and wanted to share with you just how easy and inexpensive it is to make these for a fun table centerpiece for the holidays or just a few posies on your nightstand in those cold winter months.  If you made the Coffee Filter Wreath from last week, you should have enough left to make a few of these pretty posies!

To begin our flowers, we will need to dye our coffee filters. The trick with getting these to look like real flowers is to divide the filters into three different bowls with three different shades of dye.

Pour a 1/2 cup of hot water into each dish, two tablespoons of vinegar, and ten drops of food coloring your first bowl. In the next bowl add the hot water and vinegar, but add only eight drops of food coloring. In the last bowl, we will be doing the same thing again, but only six drops of food coloring. Submerge fifteen coffee filters into each bowl and wait ten to fifteen minutes.

I used the Betty Crocker pink neon food coloring for this project (leftover from our marbled egg dying from this past year) so these only required about five minutes in the bowls.  Just keep half an eye on them until you reach the desired color that you are going for.

Once the coffee filters are done, you need to spread them out on an old towel and let them dry.  Ignore comments from your husband like, “Yum, yum! Coffee filters for dinner?” or, “Oh, wow! ANOTHER craft project?”

You are on the fast track to being another Martha Stewart even though the house looks like a bomb exploded and it WILL be coffee filters for dinner tonight. You can’t be good at everything.

If you want to speed up the process a bit, you can blow dry these coffee filters. Again, ignore your husband when he busts in on you hunched over with coffee filters blowing around the bathroom as you blow dry them. Just keep thinking,

“Martha would totally do this…or,ahem, she has PEOPLE who would totally do this. Totally.”

Grab some floral tape and floral wire from your craft supplies (or over in the floral section of the craft supply store. Cut the wire to the length that you desire and twist and wrap the floral wire with the floral tape until the wire is covered. You can also cover a wooden skewer with floral wire if you want a flower that stands straight up. I prefer the wire because you can bend it a bit and make the flowers a little more droopy so they look a little more natural.

Here is a handy chart for what we are going for with these. You need two of the darkest coffee filters cut like this for the center of the flower, two coffee filters in the medium dye for the middle of your flower, and just one coffee filter cut like this for the outer part of the flower.

To make the center, fold your coffee filter in half, in half again, in half again, and then in half again (four folds). Take your scissors and cut it as pictured above. Repeat with another filter in the same shade.

To make the middle of your flower, fold your coffee filter in half, in half again, in half again (three folds). Take your scissors and cut it as pictured above (but better than me since I am not the brightest with my cutting). Repeat with another filter in the same shade.

To make the outside of your flower, fold your coffee filter in half and then in half again (two folds). Take your scissors and cut a scalloped edge to your flower. You just need one of these.

Stack your flowers (still folded) and then trim the tiniest little end off of the bottom of them. This will create a small hole so that we can insert the wire into the center of it.

Slip the first filter over your wire twist it at the base, and then wrap a little floral tape around it to hold it all in place. Repeat with the next dark filter, than the each medium filter, and finish with the exterior of your flower. Finish the flower with a little more floral tape to secure everything in place.

Behold your posy! Isn’t she pretty? Make as many as you like for a fun addition to any room. I saved a stack of coffee filters and plan to make this pretty flowers to adorn my daughter’s birthday presents this year.

These posies have found a home on my daughter’s nightstand in her new big girl room. I found a short glass vase for $3.99 at Meijer Supermarket that was just the perfect size to hold three of these coffee filter flowers.  I think these would make such a fun birthday centerpiece addition though with hanging tissue paper pom poms in the same shades for a birthday party.

Right next to those flowers is this handmade lampshade that I made. I will show you how I did that last week. It is another fun, easy, and inexpensive craft that would be a cute addition to any room.

What craft projects have you been working on? Did you ever make coffee filter flowers when you were a kid?  Feel free to share any links to what you are working on! Access all of our craft fun on MomAdvice by visiting our Craft Section. Happy crafting, friends!

Pin It

Homemade Peppermint Mocha

Monday, November 7th, 2011

DIY_Starbucks_Peppermint_Mocha

With the holidays just around the corner, the one treat I love to indulge in while doing my holiday shopping is a delicious Peppermint Mocha. I was ordering these year round until they came out with the Salted Caramel Mocha, which seemed to satisfy my out-of-season mocha cravings. Of course, wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to make these at home and save your money for your Christmas presents this year?

I hit the kitchen to try and whip up a batch of these at home. Once I had my basic mocha recipe down from my DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte & my DIY Salted Caramel Mocha, it was just a matter of figuring out how to create the peppermint flavor at home out of ingredients I had in my pantry.

You don’t have to create the peppermint syrup yourself, although it is really easy to do and made from pantry ingredients.  Simply call ahead to your favorite Starbucks joint and ask if they have a spare bottle of Peppermint Syrup that you can buy or if they can order it for you, if they happen to be running low. A bottle runs less than $10 or approximately the cost of two of those coffee drinks that you would buy. Split a bottle with a friend if you don’t picture yourself drinking one all winter long or save it for this summer to make my favorite DIY Peppermint Mocha Frappes that I make with frozen coffee in the summer months.

These are every bit as good as Starbucks, but costs a lot less than your coffee shop ones. I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as you have enjoyed the other coffee creations from our kitchen!

DIY_Peppermint_Mocha_3

Recipe:

Homemade Peppermint Mocha

Ingredients:

1 cup milk, steamed
1 cup very strong coffee (4 tablespoons coffee grounds to 1 cup of hot water, I prepared this in my French Press, but you can brew a strong drip pot if you prefer)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of sugar
2-3 tablespoons peppermint syrup (you can use my recipe below or ask behind the counter at Starbucks for a prepared bottle that you can use all winter long)
Whipped cream (optional)
Chocolate Syrup (optional)
Crushed Peppermints (optional)

Directions:

Prepare your hot water in a kettle. Add four tablespoons of your favorite coffee grounds to your French Press. Pour 1 cup of hot water over them and allow the coffee to steep for four minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a pot, heat up one cup of milk until it is steaming. Froth the milk with a wire whisk or an immersion blender until it is nice and foamy.

In your coffee cup, mix together the prepared coffee, cocoa powder, sugar, and peppermint coffee syrup until the sugar and cocoa powder are dissolved and there are no lumps. Pour the milk foam over the top of the coffee/mocha mixture and stir to incorporate. Top with whipped cream, a generous drizzle of chocolate syrup, and crushed peppermints.

Note- This is just a base recipe that can be played with to your own tastes and preferences.  It is meant to be personalized depending on how you like your latte!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serving Size: 1

******************************************

DIY_Starbucks_Peppermint_Mocha_2

Simple syrups are just as simple as their name to create. It is just a matter of dissolving sugar into water, reducing it a bit,  and then adding your flavoring of choice for your favorite beverages. Once you get this technique down, you can create a variety of coffee drinks and cocktails for the holiday season.

This Peppermint Syrup would make a fantastic gift to give to a friend or loved one. Place this syrup in a jar and tie with festive ribbon. In a basket add your syrup, a good quality coffee, cocoa powder,  a festive mug, and candy canes to stir, along with this recipe. So easy and a great way to start anyone’s day.

Recipe:

Homemade Peppermint Syrup

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons peppermint extract

Directions:

In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir constantly until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the peppermint extract. Cool to room temperature and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to three months.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serving Size: 5-7 (depending on how much you add to your coffee)

Pin It