So Much Planning

So all of last week’s 100 Days to Christmas tasks were about planning; budgeting, gift lists, and the like. Which is great, except I’ve had all that planned for months! Granted, it’s pretty simple, keeping to a budget, when all of your gifts are homemade, and your list of people to buy for is less then 15.  My budget is a pretty roomy $150 total, with (ideally) $30 for supplies for each set of gifts. Right now I’m super under budget, but I also have only bought supplies for one gift, the rings. All together, for the ring blanks, caviar beads, and embellishments I think I spent just over $15.  Probably Definitely could have gotten cheaper stuff if i’d gone to an actual store, but i like the variety I get shopping online.

I’m also supposed to get out all of my Fall/Halloween decorations and put them up, but i have none of those. And it’s much too early n the season to get a pumpkin. The heat would rot it before next week!

Today we’re supposed to make something with apples. Know what Amber doesn’t have? Fricking apples. I am appleless. I was kind of expecting something more along the lines of organizing things and cleaning, rather then all this planning, when it’s so early in the season you don’t have all the information you need to plan these things. Especially if you have any fall birthdays. Making a gift list is swell, at the right time. Not when half your family was born in fall and they end up receiving your brilliantly planned gift from someone else  for their birthday and you’re back to square one.

 

Budget

 

 

And So It Begins!

English: Pumpkin patch by Oaks Track SM6. Ther...

English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Рус...

Christmas is in exactly 100 days! Doesn’t feel like it down here in AZ, with a high of 99 today though! Which means the 100daystochristmas blog is up and active! You should really check t out if you want to try for a big and grand Christmas. You get one really simple task a day that would normally be causing you crazy anxiety in a couple months, and you just wonder how it never occurred to you! Like, instead of ripping apart your desk to find the envelope of the birthday card your friend from out of town sent you for their address and it’s a week before Christmas, start gathering addresses months ahead! Today we’re supposed to set up our binder, but ‘m going paperless this year. So I’ve got a bookmark folder called Christmas, and if necessary, I’ll make a Word Document too. I’m really excited for this year just because I’ve got such a headstart already, with all the blogs, and the fact that I’ve already started making my gifts.

What I’m really excited about is trying out all these recipes I’ve got saved. I’ve got about a hundred desserts alone, and not counting the ones  usually make! I’m also excited for all the travelling, since before we’d all pile into three cars and trundle along to Winterhaven, or Apple Annie’s, and it’d be hot and quiet and uncomfortable. But now that we’ve got this huge van, everyone can go together! Usually we end up shoving a ton of apples and pumpkins into every nook and cranny of our cars, which inevitably produces squished people and fruits. It’ll also make Black Friday much easier. Shoving a trampoline into the already stuffed trunk of a Trooper is Not Fun.

Shopping With Fall In Mind

Hamburger Helper

Hamburger Helper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today was our middle-of-the-month shopping trip. Already the store is decorated with pumpkins and gourds, and Genevieve got me to put squash on the menu two weeks from now, despite the 90 degree weather and lack of autumniness! Gev snacked on a doughnut covered in orange frosting and leave shaped sprinkles as we sped past aisles of Christmas themed foods, while thinking desperately ‘can’t catch me, Christmas thoughts!’. It’s kind of insane how fast they churn out Christmas stuff after Labor Day. Let us enjoy Fall, don’t just skip an entire season! Usually the middle-of-the-month trip a pretty sparse trip, but I found a couple things I’m really excited about! First was some cheap bacon for the Bacon Pea Risotto I’m making for dinner Friday. Oh, balls, I forgot white wine. Urg… I’ll google around for some alternatives, but risotto may have to wait until next Friday… Anyways. I also got three packages of bone in chicken thighs (4 per package) for less then $2 each! Usually chicken thighs this big can be anywhere upwards of $6, so I snatched up the last of them! And I also grabbed the mandatory pound of ground beef, for Hamburger Helper (hey, just because I’m a food blog doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the ease of a boxed dinner!), or spaghetti or whatever, and a nice fat pork loin. Oven Roasted Pork Loin is the first dish I make every Fall. Something about meat cooking slowly all day smelling like nutmeg and comfiness just screams Fall to me. Frozen veggies were also pretty cheap today, which was good, since fresh veggies aren’t quite in season here. Everything else I got was just the usual suspects- cereal, milk (regular and coconut), bread, bottled water, etc. A pretty boring trip with some hidden treasures. The big hitter shopping trips are at the beginning of each month, when I can stock up on spices, specific things like stock, and flour and oil and what I call ‘carriers’- rice, pasta, and potatoes. Still not sure what to do about my white wine situation… Anyone have any ideas for me?

Braided Bracelets

This post is really so I can get the hang of formatting my tutorial posts. Today we’re just whipping up some super simple t-shirt bracelets. I have a pile of about seven or eight shirts that don’t fit me/or are stained, and they’ll be perfect for this! Also, this tutorial is geared more towards bracelets for smaller wristed people, or people who don’t mind a snug bracelet. You can certainly adapt this tutorial for larger bracelet, though, just use more fabric/ribbon!

Directions (Using Shirt Strips):

Supplies:

  • Shirts (contrasting colors and patterns are fun! Also, avoid thin sweater type fabrics,  or things that tend to shed. I tried to use a little sweater and it just fell apart and looks kind of like sad pink burlap!)
  • Scissors (I stole my sister’s)
  • Needle and tread (I used a neutral color, but colored thread could be cute if you’re not like me, and can actually do a neat stitch job!)
  • Safety pin (or clipboard, if you have one)
  1. Cut your shirts into strips if equal lengths. If you cut your shirts horizontally you shouldn’t need any more or any less fabric. Don’t worry if the edges aren’t straight, it just adds character!
  2. Stack three strips of fabric on top of each other and attach to clipboard or safety-pin. f you’re using a safety-pin, just close it around a shoelace or something similar. I stuck mine into the upside down cardboard box that is acting as my craft table until we get a bigger place!
  3. Braid away!
  4. Once you have just enough fabric leftover to create a small loop (not too small; you should be able to see through it) cease braiding.
  5. Now you need your thread and needle. Just stitch the smallest end around where the braiding ends, get it out of the way. You can also snip it out, but wrapping in give a cleaner look.
  6. Now stitch the remaining ends closed, creating a full loop.
  7. Nearly done! Now take the other end of your bracelet and fold over the unbraided ends to where the braiding begins and stitch it together, creating a ball-shaped doohicky. This is how you will close you bracelet, so make sure your ball doohicky fits snugly in your loop.
  8. All done! Put on the bracelet and show it off!

Directions (Using Ribbon)

Supplies:

  1. Tie a knot in your ribbon directly in the middle.
  2. Take one end of the ribbon, and tie it around the middle knot.
  3. Do the same with the other end.
  4. Take one loop and braid it with the individual sides of the other loop. (I held the knot in my mouth. It actually got me a neater braid and a good loop for the closure!)
  5. Once you run out of finger space for braiding, tie the end half way. (so not the normal double twist knot, just one twist)
  6. The other end of the ribbon braid should have a medium-sized loop.
  7. You’re done! Put the bracelet on your wrist and slip the knot through the loop.

These are really fun to do, and you can make  pretty good-sized collection in very little time with very little effort! I know the girls in my family, especially my 12-year-old cousin Chloe and my 13-year-old sister Genevieve will love these! I’m going with a jewelry theme for the ladies this Christmas, I think!

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One Week To Go!!

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Wow! Can you believe that it’s only 107 sleeps until Christmas already??? It feels like just yesterday was January and now there are three months left in the year.  This week I’m focusing on setting up my countdown blog.  I try to do one every year, but I hardly ever stick to it since I get so busy  with preparing for Christmas. Which is why this year instead of the usual 30 day countdown I’ve opted for 100 days.  I’ve got tons of crafts and recipes and tutorials saved and ready to try out this season and I can’t wait to share them with you! I know most countdown blogs stick to decorations, recipes, and gifts, but mine is a bit different, in that in addition to gifts, recipes, and decorations I will have the stuff you maybe don’t really think about until it’s the day before a party or get together, like clothes and make up, or a hostess gift. Not things you usually see in a countdown blog, but there is nothing worse than having a party sprung on you with no warning and you end up wearing something you don’t like, or fit in, or isn’t ‘fancy’ enough for a holiday party! My goal is to make sure you and I are as prepared as one can get, for any situation. So be prepared for Black Friday game plans, healthy (ish) eating, and even some safety tips. I  want you to have the best holiday season you can, and that means there will be some maybe not so festive posts, but they are for good reason!