Wednesday, October 24, 2012

6 DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

I thought it might be fun to do another post with (DIY) Christmas gift ideas.

  1. Soup, Can Do!
    I found a recipe for 8 Can Taco Soup from the blog High Heels & Grills, which actually prompted this post:  It's made with... yes... you guessed it... 8 cans of ingredients. When I stumbled across the recipe, I thought it would make a great gift basket type gift for a college student or someone in a similar position. Arrange those 8 cans in a microwavable bowl (or even a crock pot/mini crock pot if you'd like!), add some pretty wrapping and ribbon.... presto, cute gift idea and a new recipe for the cookbook.
  2. Knot a Big Deal...
    Here's a cool crochet or knotted scarf idea I saw at  that I'm really wanting to try now. I'm tempted to try doing it with thin strips of those old t-shirts I have saved back for just such a project...
  3. It's a Wrap!
    I've made heated neckwraps for several people over the years. They can be so nice when you just want to relax, if your neck/shoulders are sore, or if you have a headache. To make mine, I've used inexpensive fleece blankets for my fabric, but you could also use an old tshirt , a hand towel, or other fabric on-hand for material. A quick search pulled up this how-to article for someone else's method.
  4. Scrub-a-dub-dub
    Another have-made-and-like project that doesn't have to be expensive is a hand/body scrub that leaves your skin feeling silky smooth.
    You need:
    Epsom Salt
    Baby Oil
    Essential Oils (I've also used mint extract, but lavender essential oil is probably my favorite for this!)
    Just mix together until you get the consistency you want (should be pretty thick) and pour/scoop into a pretty glass jar. NOTE: I just recently saw decorative glass jars with a seal at dollar tree, and have also recycled baby food jars and other small, cute jars for this project. In fact, you could probably find epsom salt, baby oil, and mint extract all at your local dollar tree! Just remember to be careful if you use the scrub in the tub because baby oil WILL make your tub slick. :) Be safe, scrub happy!
  5. Door Dinner is a-jar
    There are lots and lots of meal-in-a-jar recipes out there. You can find some from Chef Tess or just do a quick search on google or pinterest. You can also make your own by layering dry ingredients of your favorite recipes (or my favorite brownie recipe that I have already shared a couple of times here before).
  6. Hot Chocolate...Truffles.
    Need I say more? I came across this recipe for hot chocolate truffle balls to drop in milk and make hot chocolate. They sound incredible... gotta try them!!

What ideas do you all have?? Please share!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Christmas is around the corner...

I've been looking forward to the Christmas season this year and looking for inspiration. I just wanted to put a quick post out there to help share some ideas.

First, I want to share an article I wrote for  
The post is about "Avoiding the 'Last-Minuter' Approach."

It seems like everywhere I look these days, there are heavy debates, discouraging stories, and depressing news. Does anyone else feel exhausted just thinking about it all?? I wanted to make sure I kept this post lighthearted. So, I have a question for you all…
Are you an early-starter, after-Thanksgivinger, or last minuter?
I’m an early-starter. My Christmas shopping began months ago, just a little at a time. I’d like to share my 4 top reasons for my early-starter approach to Christmas shopping.
1. It’s easier on the budget. One of the most common sources of arguments in a marriage is money. While it’s possible that some of you readers may not need to worry about how much you spend on Christmas presents, most of us do. It’s easier to budget a little each month than it is to wait until the last minute and try to pull together the extra money (but if you don’t do your shopping early, you can still begin saving a little each month for Christmas!). Besides, last minute purchases often cost much more than planned ones!
2. It allows me to spend more time thinking of gifts that will (hopefully) really fit the recipients, rather than just buying something “good enough” to meet the gift-giving requirement of the season. WHY do you really buy gifts for Christmas, anyway? If you wait until the last minute and just try to get it in, it can be easy to forget the purpose! We are celebrating the gift of Love to earth in the form of a sweet baby named Jesus who grew up to save the world!
3. It’s less stressful than putting it off. The holiday stress of planning and errands can easily put a lot of stress on a marriage and family relationships. Starting early and spreading it out can reduce stress potential.
4. I just enjoy it! I love Christmas, and I enjoy looking for or making gifts for other people. Starting early lets me have time to do that, and can be a welcome distraction when I’m needing one. It’s refreshing to think about others when I’m stressed!
To go a step further, I’d like to discuss some Christmas gifting/shopping ideas!
1. When shopping online, always check out for coupon codes. I once saved about $100 on an order of therapy toys for work!
2. Check out … they have a new sale each day (but I guess the website address kinda tells you that, right?)
3. Mix up the dry ingredients for the BEST brownie recipe I’ve ever tried and gift it to your neighbors with the recipe!
4. Search for fun, new DIY Christmas ideas.
5. Start a tradition to buy or make an ornament for family members each year.
6. If you’re crafty, check out for lots of creative ideas!
7. Make an audio book cd with free stories from
8. Make ice candles! It’s fun and they’re pretty.
9. The Canvas People usually have a free 8×10 photo canvas (pay s/h only) or discount on larger sizes (I’ve purchased 2 from them and have been very pleased).
10. Try starting a hand-made only tradition or $10 limit on gift exchanges with family/friends. My family and I decided on hand-made gifts only some years and really enjoyed it. It encourages creativity and can help with the budget (see #s 4, 6, 7, 8…).

What ideas do you all have for reducing holiday stress on your marriage and family this year??

Keri Kitchen is a devoted wife and mother, blogger, licensed mental health counselor, and founder of The Carys Rainn Foundation. To read more about what God is doing in her life, visit her blog at"

The second link I'd like to share is to another blog I just stumbled upon to discover some good stocking stuffer ideas:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Super Mace: The Board Game

He and his dad have told the stories of Super Mace and Rook the Wonder Dog for years now. So, for his birthday, I decided to make him a board game of their adventures.

First, I designed a game board and box cover in photoshop, using pics of his face, his brother, and his dog to create the characters. The super hero body came from HeroMachine.

Then, I had it printed as a large poster from Vista Print (and cut it apart).

I had this game sitting in the closet for a long time. Still in the shrink-wrap. So, I decided to repurpose it.

After marking the line, I cut the poster in half and then glued it to the board. 

I have to admit... it truly only takes a little bit of glue... my first attempt had bubbles and then I accidentally tore it... so I ended up having to order it again. Big oops, right?

but I think the second attempt worked pretty well!

The Dr. Evil Kitty Face Attack Cards and Immunity Cards

(my "real" camera's battery died, so the cell phone had to work on a couple)

I was able to use part of the original poster to cover the logo on the back of the game board,
then I sprayed the back with a clear spray to cover some of the messy glue spots I
had left behind in my original struggles haha

Happy Birthday, to my adorable nephew! Can't wait to see how he likes it!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Paxton's 1st Birthday

The Party Favors

CDs with stories from 

(Green awareness ribbons represent Neural Tube Defects)

Paxton's personal cake

Rain clouds over the gift table...

Ducky matching game

Ducky Rain Barrel Cake


the birthday boy!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Therapy Resources

I've not posted for a while! But, I wanted to share some good resource links for my therapist-y friends out there.

 “Free Downloadable Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Worksheets, Formulations, and Self-Help Resources”

Positive discipline handouts

Therapy handouts blog

This link has audio files for relaxation techniques that are great... who doesn't need to relax sometimes??

Happy relaxing!