Friday, November 17, 2017

Dollar Store Finds for Christmas

Christmas is coming soon so, I'm sharing some of my favorite items that I buy from the dollar store every year. I love enjoying the holidays and try to have my Christmas gifts bought and wrapped before Thanksgiving. I'm a total bargain shopper and love finding cheap items that make the holidays easier. Here's my list of  items I buy from the dollar store.

*Wrapping Supplies: Tape, Ribbons, Boxes and Gift Bags are so affordable at the dollar store. The plain white gift boxes are two boxes for a dollar! And gift bags are usually the same price too! I love using the cute Christmas gift bags for cousin gifts from my kids. They have some really cute prints! I also found the prettiest gold ribbon there. It was a huge roll for a dollar and added that special finishing touch to my gifts.

*Batteries: I buy my batteries at Costco, but every so often I buy a Christmas gift that needs just one battery or one battery that's not very common. I'll buy a single package battery for $1 at the dollar store and wrap it with the toy that it goes to. It's cheap and makes the gift less stressful when the battery is included.

*Lights: I love that the dollar store has Christmas lights for a buck! My kids decorate mini trees in their rooms, so when they need the lights replaced, I buy them at the dollar store for cheap. I also found some cute, tiny battery operated lights one year for $2 dollars. They are one of my favorite Christmas decorations.

*Holiday Food Items: The Dollar Store is a great place for those last minute items that you might need for your holiday meals. This year one of the things I'm in charge of is the Green Bean Casserole. Their canned goods were on sale and I bought every thing I needed for the casserole for under $5. I also found some inexpensive toppings for a hot chocolate bar. You can also find some really cute Christmas food containers and platters for a dollar.  

*Stocking Stuffers: The Dollar Store has great deals on stocking stuffers like candy, small toys, gloves and hats. I love grabbing a few of these to donate during the holidays to those in need, as well as to have some on hand if I need an extra neighbor gift. I always buy our neighbor gift items from there and print a cute tag to go with them.

Happy Holidays!
The Keeper of the Crayons

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Simple Halloween Treats

One of our favorite family traditions to do every October is to go "Spooking". We leave a treat for friends and family, knock on their door and run as fast as we can back to our car. It's so much fun and my kids laugh so hard the entire time. We love making the treats together and I love simple, but cute ones! These treats are not only adorable, they are so, so easy to make. I used things I already had on hand, like the almond bark, almonds, sprinkles and icing. Instead of making Rice Krispy treats, I decided to save time and use the pre packaged Rice Krispy Treats we had from Costco. My kids actually like the taste of them better, and it saved me so much time not making the Rice Krispy Treats from scratch. For the printable that I use every year, you can find it HERE and for my other spooking treat ideas, you can find them HERE. My kids loved helping make these treats. They all turned out so cute. The Frankenstein ones were my favorite!

Witch Fingers:
Rod Pretzel Sticks
White Chocolate Almond Bark
Sliced Almonds
Green Food Coloring
Melt the almond bark and add the green food coloring. Stir and dip each pretzel stick in. Place an almond on the top of each stick for the nail. Once set up a little bit, take a fork and score the marks for the finger knuckles. Let cool until chocolate is set.

Silly Monsters:
Pre Packaged Rice Krispy Treats
White chocolate Almond Bark
Blue food coloring
White Icing
Black Icing
Melt the almond bark. Add blue food coloring. Dip the Rice Krispy in the chocolate for the head. Let set for 2 minutes, then dip into a bowl of sprinkles. Using writing icing, make eyes out of the white and black and add a smile. Let it cool.

Pre packaged Rice Krispy Treats
Almond Bark
Black and White Icing
Melt the Almond Bark. Dip each Rice Krispy in the chocolate. Add eyes and a mouth with the icing.

Pre Packaged Rice Krispy Treats
Almond Bark
White and Black Icing
Brown Sprinkles
Green Food Coloring
Melt the Almond Bark and add the green food coloring. Dip the Rice Krispy in half way. Let it set up for a 1-2 minutes. Dip the top in a bowl of brown sprinkles. Add a sprinkle on each side for the bolts. Make eyes with the icing and draw a mouth. Add some sprinkles on the mouth for stitches. Let it cool and set up completely.

Happy Halloween!

The Keeper of the Crayons

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Thanksgiving Centerpiece and Candle Holder

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I love decorating for the holidays and wanted to create a beautiful, inexpensive, fall centerpiece for my dining room table. I found this cute tray and leaves on sale before fall started, so I was excited to make something using them. We have a stack of firewood for our fireplace, so I stole a couple of pieces of wood from there to make a candle to go with my d├ęcor finds. I added some pumpkins, and I love how it turned out! The candle is so easy to make that I wanted to share it with you.

 Start with a piece of wood. I'm not even sure what kind this is, like I said above, I just found a cute looking one from our firewood pile in the size that I wanted. I cut about an inch off each end of the log that I found, just so it would be level.
 Using a 1 1/2 drill bit, I drilled the top deep enough to fit a tea candle flush inside. And that's it! So simple right? It only took about 5 minutes to make this candle holder.
 I think it would be cute to make several different sizes to put by a fireplace mantle for Christmas too.

To check out some of my Halloween Crafts, including my Halloween Name Skeletons, you can visit that post HERE,
and for another pumpkin idea, you can find that HERE.
The Keeper of the Crayons

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pumpkin Playdough

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! Every year I put together a couple crafts for my kids to do in celebration of Halloween. This year, I decided to go with something they could play with all month long and not just use for decorations. They had so much fun making these pumpkin playdough cups! They are so simple to make and I'm sharing my favorite go-to, homemade playdough recipe!

For the cups:
We used small plastic punch cups to put our playdough in. My kids used a black Sharpie marker to draw their jack-o-lantern faces on.
For the playdough:
Boil 2 cups water, 4 TBSP oil, and 2 tsp. Cream of Tartar in a pot on the stovetop. Stir in 2 cups flour and then add 1 cup of salt. Knead in desired food coloring.
(To add a festive pumpkin smell, add one to two drops of pumpkin essential oil).  
This is the softest playdough and smells a lot better than the store bought stuff. I love how it turns out every time that I make it!

This is the finished product. My kids loved making these! They had fun changing the playdough from one cup to another so they could switch up the faces. The whole craft cost me less than $5. I hope your kids enjoy this as much as mine did!

The Keeper of the Crayons

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Blender Muffins

There's just something about fall that makes me want to bake! It must be the cooler weather. I love recipes that are simple and easy to throw together.
These Blender Muffins are so easy to make and taste delicious! They are perfect for a healthy snack on the go and my kids love them too. The clean up is a breeze since you mix everything in the blender and the ingredients are things you already have on hand!

The Keeper of the Crayons

Fox 13's The Place Fall Craft Segment

Thank you to Fox 13's The Place for asking me to be on the show again. I had such a great time sharing my craft idea for making fake pumpkins look more real. I always have such a fun time while on the show. Everyone is so nice and I've made so many wonderful friends! 
If you missed my segment you can watch it HERE. And for step by step instructions on making these pumpkins, you can find my blog post right HERE.

I love decorating for the Fall Season and this simple and inexpensive craft trick makes it so easy to make fake pumpkins look like the real deal!

The Keeper of the Crayons

Grow Through What You Go Through

"When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person that walked in. That's what this storm is all about. Grow through what you go through."

A sweet friend sent me this quote last weekend and I loved it. I had a very hard week and was really struggling emotionally. When I read this quote it made me stop and think about how I've grown so much since our infertility treatments, after my miscarriages and especially since losing my sweet baby Lucy. My husband took our kids out dove hunting and picked some beautiful sunflowers for our baby girl. It made my heart so happy and I took them up to her grave. I sat there admiring how beautiful it all looked. Fall will always hold a special place in my heart. This is the time of year when my husband proposed, it's the time of year that I've been pregnant with all of my babies, it's the time of year that my grandma passed away and it's the time of year when I had my first miscarriage, two years ago. While fall holds some hard memories, it holds more happy ones than sad ones. I feel like every fall I look back on the year before and realize how much I've grown. Grief has a crazy way of  making you into a completely different person. Whether that is grief from losing a child or from infertility, it changes who you are in so many ways. I'm definitely not the same person I was the day that my husband proposed to me, but I am kind of glad that I'm not. I feel like that care free girl back then took the little things for granted. I never stopped to admire a sunflower or to think about all the ways my testimony has grown. Lucy has helped me to realize life is so short and every little thing needs to be cherished. My testimony now is stronger than ever. I not only appreciate Our Savior's atonement more, but I have found so much comfort in knowing that He is the only one who truly knows the pain and sadness I feel. He is the only one who knows how much I love and miss my daughter Lucy. He is the only one who truly knows how much I cherish my other children and my husband. He is the only one that sees the broken pieces of my heart and the darkness that surrounds me on my bad days. And He is the only one that can bring the light back into view when the emotional pain is just too much. I know that He is always there and having faith helps us grow in ways that we can't see until we look back. This storm is changing me for the better. Even though my heart and spirit might be missing a few petals, it will still be for the better. While the crushing, time stopping, emotional pain of my baby passing away is beyond compare to anything else, so is the growth. Heavenly Father and Our Savior know what storm we need to achieve the growth that will make us become who we need to be.

The Keeper of the Crayons 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Pumpkin Makeover and Fox 13s The Place Segment

Fall is my favorite time of year! I love everything about it and get so excited to decorate for it! One of the things I love most are pumpkins! My kids love when we head to the pumpkin patch each year and pick out the best looking ones! Pumpkins add a special touch to any front porch, the only problem is, most real pumpkins don't last very long and have a hard time holding up for all the months of Fall. I love having pumpkins on the porch for the months of September, October and November.  
Fake pumpkins are the way to go if you want them to make it the entire three months of the season. I'm going to show you some easy ways to spruce up your fake pumpkins and help them look like they came straight from the pumpkin patch!

You are going to start with Fake, Plastic Pumpkins. I bought mine at Hobby Lobby. They have everything for Fall Crafts, and they always have coupon codes! I got my pumpkins for 40% off. The other items you will need are a glue gun, Modge Podge, black paint, brown paint, crafting rope, foam paint brushes and Cinnamon. I just used what I had on hand. The only things I purchased were the pumpkins.

To start, make a paint wash of one part water, one part brown paint (photo 1). Add a few drop of black paint. Brush onto your pumpkin in sections (photo 2) and wipe off with a paper towel. Keep doing this until your pumpkin looks a little dirty like they do when you first pick them from the pumpkin patch and the shine from the plastic is gone. Let dry for a few minutes. Now to doll up the stem so that it doesn't look plastic. Cut tiny pieces of craft rope and hot glue around the stem (photo 3), going all the way around the stem. You can glue the middle of the rope so that it will stick together and you can bend it to any shape you would like. The amount of rope you use will depend on the size of the pumpkin. Leave the ends frayed and unglued. It gives it a more natural look. Once you're done gluing the rope, cut it down to the size you would like, (photo 4).

 After your stem is all glued around, and it's the height you would like, you are going to brush it with Modge Podge. Cover the craft rope in a thin coat of the Modge Podge, then sprinkle with Cinnamon. That's right, Cinnamon! You can use brown chalk powder if you have that, but it's kind of expensive to order. Everyone has Cinnamon on hand and it's really inexpensive so I just used that. It worked great! Sprinkle the Cinnamon on the Modge Podge just like you would glitter. Shake off any excess Cinnamon and coat with another thin coat of Modge Podge. Let dry overnight or until hardened. Your stem will look like wood like the photo above.
That's it! Your pumpkins are now ready for the porch! I had mine sitting by my front door this past week when a friend stopped by. She asked which pumpkin patch we went to that had pumpkins already. She was shocked when I told her they were fake ones. These pumpkins took me about 30 minutes to make, not including the drying time. It's super easy and fun to make! Happy Fall!

To watch my segment on Fox 13's The Place, follow the link below.

The Keeper of the Crayons