Ornament DIYs

It’s that time of the year again to start decorating your tree for the holidays. Many people already have boxes filled with ornaments for their tree, but who’s ever complained about having too many ornaments! In this list we’ll be going over some ornament DIYs that will be sure to make your tree even merrier!

Photo By: Melissa Fenlon
  1. Indigo Marbled Ornaments 

These indigo marbled ornaments are fun to make and will add a classy look to your tree. The main things you’ll need for this DIY are some plain ornaments and a nail polish of your choice. So if you have a color theme for your tree, you’re able to make these ornaments fit that theme!

Alice & Lois Full Tutorial 

  1. Snowy Pine Cones

This DIY takes the normal pinecone ornament to the next level with some fake snow, berries, and a red bow. The best part about this ornament is that it’s super easy to make! 

A Pumpkin & A Princess Full Tutorial 

  1. Hanging Planter Ornament 

If you’re looking for a more natural ornament, then this hanging planter ornament is perfect for you! With just a small pot, faux plants, and yarn, you’re able to decorate your tree with mini plants. We recommend getting some faux succulents for this project, but you can choose any type of plant you think would be perfect for your tree!

A Beautiful Mess Full Tutorial 

Photo By: Jeff Mindell
  1. Rudolph Ornament

These Rudolph ornaments are so simple yet so cute! You only need five things for this DIY: a hot glue gun, some scissors, an ornament of your choice, foam, and a pom pom. You’ll want to get a few ornaments for this DIY because once you make one, you’ll want to make more!

Studio DIY Full Tutorial

  1. Scrabble Ornament 

If you have an old scrabble game that you don’t use much anymore, then you might want to consider making those scrabble pieces into a christmas ornament! All you have to do is choose a saying of your choice, find the scrabble letters for it, and glue those pieces onto a stable piece of material. 

Crafts by Amanda Full Tutorial 

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

We all know that the essential part of a Thanksgiving meal is the main dish, but the side dishes are what make the meal complete. Everyone has their go-to side dish that they make every Thanksgiving, but this year you can add another dish that might become a fan favorite! The side dishes we’re mentioning here today are not only delicious, but are also easy to make! 

  1. Garlic Smashed Potatoes 

There’s always going to be mashed potatoes at a Thanksgiving dinner, but these garlic smashed potatoes will make you forget that you already have a potato side dish. They have the crispy aspect that you can’t get from mashed potatoes or german potatoes, and you don’t even need a fork to eat them! 

  1. Loaded Cauliflower Bake

This loaded cauliflower bake is the crossover of food categories that no one expected. It has the flavors of a loaded baked potato, the lightness of cauliflower, and the texture of a casserole. What more could you ask for! 

  1. Cast-Iron Skillet Creamed Corn

Now this creamed corn requires one special tool, a cast-iron skillet. This will help to bring out so many flavors in your creamed corn. If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet to use for this Thanksgiving, make sure to get one for next year’s Thanksgiving!

  1. Maple Bacon Carrots

Take your carrots to the next level with just two ingredients: bacon and maple. The maple brings out the sweet aspects while the bacon brings out the savory aspects of the carrots. After you try this, you might never make your carrots any other way. 

  1. Honey Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts 

Some people don’t like brussels sprouts, but after you bring these honey balsamic brussels sprouts this Thanksgiving, you’re going to change everyone’s opinion. The balsamic and honey help to bring out the flavors that everyone misses when eating brussels sprouts, and similar to the garlic smashed potatoes, you don’t even need a fork to each them!

Indoor Activities for Snowy Days

It’s only a matter of time before our sunny days start turning into snowy days. On snowy days, you need to get creative with ways to keep yourself entertained. If you find yourself struggling to keep yourself occupied, then this is the list for you! 

  1. DIY’s

DIY’s are an easy way to liven up your house on a day where you can’t go outside. This means adding a little creativity since you won’t want to leave your house to get supplies. The good thing is that most DIY’s require items that you already have laying around your house! Check out our blog post on Thanksgiving DIY’s if you want some ideas! 

  1. Write

Days where you have to stay inside are perfect for self-reflection. Taking the time to write in a journal or type out your thoughts is the perfect way to feel productive on days where you can’t do much else. You can also use this writing time to start planning some changes you want to see in your life. If you want to start working out, make a workout plan for yourself and find times in your schedule where you could dedicate yourself to your goals. 

  1. Movie night

A list of indoor activities would be incomplete without suggesting a movie night. Though you might not be able to invite your friends over, Netflix has a solution to this problem with Netflix Party! Using Netflix Party, you and your friends are able to watch a movie or TV show while chatting from the comfort of your own homes.  

  1. Indoor Picnic 

Having an indoor picnic requires all the same items as an outdoor picnic, just without the travel aspect! Make yourself some sandwiches, salads, or even a charcuterie board and enjoy your meal on a blanket placed on the floor. To make this more aesthetically pleasing and comfortable, add some candles and pillows to your set-up! 

  1. Cook!

On a snowy day indoors, you have the time to break out some recipes that you’ve been waiting for the right time to try. If you don’t have the ingredients needed to make the recipe you wanted to, then get creative with what you do have! There are a variety of apps that show you recipes based on what ingredients you already have in your pantry. Check out the article linked below for some of these apps! 

Top Apps for Finding Recipes for Ingredients you Already Have 

Simple Ways to Show You’re Thankful

Showing that you’re thankful is one of the easiest ways to make those around you feel appreciated, especially around Thanksgiving. You also give yourself a chance to be grateful for the simple things in life. Overall, showing gratitude is the perfect way to get in the Thanksgiving spirit. If you’re looking for ways to show thankfulness other than just saying “thank you”, then this is the list for you. 

  1. Do a free favor for them

Sometimes it’s the little things that matter the most. Doing someone a favor without expecting anything in return is a great way to show respect and gratitude. It doesn’t have to be anything big, it could mean running an errand, picking up some food, or doing the laundry for them. Actions speak louder than words, and doing a free favor for them will show them your appreciation. 

  1. Publicly appreciate them 

Most people love public appreciation, especially on social media. If you have someone you’re thankful for, making a post that shows your appreciation will be sure to brighten their day. It could be a post for something small they did or just an overall appreciation post. Either way, it shows that you care about them enough to share that appreciation with everyone. 

  1. Make a list

This is something that other people will not see, but it will most likely translate into greater appreciation for those around you. To start off the day on a positive note, some people write a list of things to be grateful for every morning. You don’t have to go to this extreme, but writing a list every once in a while will be sure to boost your spirits and encourage you to show your gratitude.  

  1. Send a thank you note 

Sending a thank you note is the perfect way to show gratitude for specific things. You can show thankfulness for one thing they did, or write out a list of things you’re thankful for that they do. Either way, they will appreciate the thought you put into it. They will also be able to go back and read your kind words to remember that they are appreciated. 

  1. Compliment them

This is a simple yet effective way to show appreciation for those around you. It doesn’t have to be a compliment on something they did that you’re thankful for, the point of complimenting them is to make them feel recognized and appreciated. 

Thanksgiving DIYs

November has just begun, which means it’s time to start replacing your Halloween DIYs with some Thanksgiving DIYs! If you’re looking for some fun and creative Thanksgiving decorations to try out this year, then we have five DIYs just for you. 

  1. Succulent Cornucopia 

This succulent cornucopia will be sure to blow away your friends and family this Thanksgiving. The main things you will need are a wicker basket, some artificial succulents, Styrofoam balls, moss, a hot glue gun, and some scissors. Linked below is The Country Chic Cottage’s full tutorial on how to make your own succulent cornucopia. 

Succulent Cornucopia 

  1. Thankful Tree

For this DIY, you might want to take a trip to your backyard to collect some small branches. You can take this DIY into any direction you want to, on the website linked below, they made tiny chalkboard ornaments so they were able to write what they were thankful for. Though you can decorate your thankful tree with little thankful messages in any way you want.

Thankful Tree

  1. Autumnal Welcome Sign

This is a nice alternative to the classic hanging wreath. You’re able to make your welcome sign with just an old pan and some chalkboard paint. Once it’s painted, you can write whatever welcome message you want to. You can also add leaves or branches around your welcome sign to make it perfect for the autumnal season. 

Autumnal Welcome Sign

  1. Pumpkin Vase

This pumpkin vase will make the perfect centerpiece for this Thanksgiving, and it’s easy to make! The basics for this pumpkin vase include a faux pumpkin and some faux flowers, but you can check out the website linked below for the full instructions. Their website also includes other arrangements for this pumpkin vase that will be sure to channel your inner artist! 

Pumpkin Vase

  1. Thankful Jar 

An easy and sweet DIY that you can add onto throughout the year is a thankful jar. All you have to do is get a jar and fill it with pieces of paper that say what you’re thankful for this year. You can keep this thankful jar out for just the  month of November, or you can keep it out for the whole year. Either way, once Thanksgiving comes around, you can remind yourself of all the things to be thankful for.

Lake Geneva Halloween Activities

Lake Geneva, along with nearby cities, have a lot of great attractions to offer this Halloween. So if you’re looking for some fun and safe ways to enjoy Halloween without staying inside all day, check out some of these Halloween activities. 

  1. Ghost Walks

If you want to find out more about Lake Geneva’s history with a spooky twist, then check out the Lake Geneva ghost walk. This ghost walk is sure to have stories that you’ve never heard before, all while walking around downtown Lake Geneva. 

Lake Geneva Ghost Walk

  1. Haunted Hayride

This hayride is first come first serve, so no reservations are required! The event starts at 6pm, but they start selling tickets at 5:45. They also have a new haunted barn attraction this year, so go check out what Dan Patch Stables has to offer!

Lake Geneva Haunted Hayride

  1. Corn Maze

If you’re looking for a fun corn maze this Halloween, then Schuett farms is the place to go! They’re open during the daytime, but this year they’re having some weekends where you can go at night. They also have weekly winners for their corn maze, and if you win, you’ll get a bucket of goodies from Schuett farms.

Schuett Farms Corn Maze

  1. Zipline and Pumpkin Drop

With this fun attraction in Lake Geneva, you can “soar through the air down the Dual Racing Zip Line and aim with a pumpkin to try to hit the center of a bullseye painted on the ground”. You have to have two people to book a time and spots are running out fast, so make sure to set a date soon before this fun offer is done! 

Lake Geneva Ziplines and Adventures 

  1. Pearce’s Farm Stand

This farm has fresh produce from mid July to October, and even offers fresh donuts and kettle corn every weekend! Aside from fresh produce, they have free wagon rides that you can take to their pumpkin patch along with a corn maze. This is definitely a place that you should check out while they’re still open!

Pearce’s Farm Stand

Halloween Treats

Halloween is only two weeks away, so it’s almost time to start making some fun halloween themed treats! If you’re looking to try something new this season, then this list is for you. These treats will make perfect snacks and appetizers to hold you over until Halloween!

  1. Halloween Snack Mix

Want to make your snack mix “ghoulishly good” this year? Then this recipe should be first on your list for halloween snacks! The main ingredient to make your snack mix spooky are some candy eyes. So if you already have a snack mix recipe, all you have to do is add this ingredient. If you don’t have a recipe already, then check out the recipe linked below!

Ghoulishly Good Halloween Snack Mix

  1. Taco Graveyard Dip

Give your taco dip some Halloween spirit this year. All you need for this recipe is your normal taco dip and some creativity! With some cream cheese and a piping bag, you can pipe some short Halloween phrases onto your homemade tortilla chips and place these chips into your taco dip. The Food Network has some more detailed instructions on how to do this in the link below!

Taco Graveyard Dip  

  1. Jack O’Lantern Onion Dip

If taco dip isn’t down your alley, then this onion dip might be more your style! This is also a little more simple than the previous recipe in terms of giving it a Halloween spin. To make the Jack O’Lanterns face, all you need to do is add two blue tortilla chips as eyes, a tiny blue tortilla chip as a nose, and make a smile using olives. The full recipe for the onion dip is in the link below. 

Jack O’Lantern Onion Dip 

  1. Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

A sweet and spicy twist on a classic. If you have pumpkin seeds left over from pumpkin carving, then use those seeds to create a fun snack! The seasonings for these sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds include: sugar, salt, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. For more information on this recipe, the full recipe is linked below. 

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds 

  1. Strawberry Ghosts

Once you hear about this recipe, you’ll want to make it immediately. Everyone loves chocolate strawberries and halloween, and these strawberry ghosts mix those two worlds together. Take the same steps you would take while making chocolate strawberries, but with white chocolate. Then, make these strawberry ghosts come to life using a piping bag and some dark chocolate to make the little ghost’s face. The link below has the full recipe and some pictures of the final product!

Strawberry Ghosts

Ways to Save Money for the Holidays

Though the holidays are still two months away, one problem that always sneaks up on us is getting the perfect present within our budget. If you don’t want to break the bank this holiday season, then now is the time to start saving money! In this blog post, we’ll be going over five ways that you can start saving money for the holidays. 

  1. Set a budget

Before you start saving, you’re going to need a budget to aim for. The holidays shouldn’t be a time full of stress, so when setting a budget, be aware of the amount of money you can spend without breaking the bank. Once you’re aware of your budgetary limits, then plan how much you want to spend on presents, decorations, food, and any other holiday purchases you plan on making. After you know this, add a little room onto your budget for any unexpected purchases. Now that you know your budget, you’ll know how much you need to save. Though budgeting is never fun, your future self will be thanking you!

  1. Download money saving apps

There are many apps that you can download on your phone, computer, or tablet that help cut costs and save money. Apps like Simple round up your purchases to help you reach your savings goal. Round-up apps can be really beneficial when you aren’t able to cut back on purchases. While apps like Honey help you find online deals. If you have a wish list, Honey will tell you when an item on your list has dropped in price. It also provides you with promo codes that you can apply to your online purchases. In the link below, you’ll find a list of innovative apps that help you save money. 

15 of the Best Money Saving Apps for 2020

  1. Shop smarter

One of the easiest ways to save money is through buying the right products at the right time. When grocery shopping, it’s easy to get off track and buy things that you don’t need. To prevent making unnecessary purchases, always make a list before leaving the house and stick to it. If you have a brand that you always buy, think about buying the generic version instead. Over time, this will save you a lot of money. Also keep an eye out for sales and coupons, but remember to not make unnecessary purchases, even if there is a coupon for it! 

10 Ways to Become a Smart Grocery Shopper

  1. Make food at home

It can be easy to fall into the routine of buying food from a restaurant when we don’t want to make food at home. Though overtime, this can become costly. When you eat out, you often end up spending more than you would have if you just ate at home. This is especially relevant if you’re constantly throwing away food you bought from the grocery store. Finding a cost effective way to eat out while also making food at home is a great way to save money. You don’t have to deprive yourself of eating out, just minimize it! If you eat take out two times a week, limit that down to once a week. With the food you have at home, don’t be afraid to change your meals up a bit! This will make eating at home a little more fun!

  1. Save a portion of your paycheck

This is probably the most self explanatory point on this list, but it’s important to consider how much you want to save from each paycheck! Through cutting back on unnecessary spending, you might be able to save more of your paycheck since you won’t be spending as much on a weekly basis. You might be saving for other purposes, but putting some money aside with the intention of using it for the holidays will help calm any nerves about overspending on presents. While you’re putting aside money for the holidays, also consider putting some aside for yourself. You’ll deserve a little treat for yourself once the holidays are over!

DIY Halloween Decorations

Now that it’s October, it’s time to decorate your house with all of your Halloween essentials. If you want to spice up your house with new decorations this year, try making your decorations instead of buying them! This list has easy and fun DIY Halloween decoration ideas that you can make in the comfort of your own home!

  1. “Spirit Jugs”
Photo by: Alice G. Patterson

For this DIY, you might want to start saving your empty milk jugs! All you need are some empty milk jugs, a sharpie, a craft knife, and some lights to make a spirit jug. By using these household objects, you’re able to make a Jack O’Lantern without having to buy a pumpkin! Check out the website linked below to see the final product and the steps in between! 

Spirit Jugs

  1. Bat Branch Centerpiece 

This DIY will have you scouring your backyard for tree branches. All you need to make this DIY are some thin branches, bat cut-outs, a hot glue gun, hot glue sticks, and a cylinder vase. Once it’s done, you have the perfect centerpiece! Check out the website linked below for the full tutorial!

Bat Branch Centerpiece 

  1. Halloween PomPom Coasters 

This is a DIY that you’ll be able to use every year! These pompom coasters are super easy to make and only require a few materials. You’ll need a variety of colored pompoms, a cork coaster, a hot glue gun, a sharpie, and some scissors. Check out the link below to see the final product and a full tutorial! 

Pumpkin PomPom Coasters

  1. Googly Eye Wreath 

If you’re bored of the same old wreaths sold in stores, then this is the perfect DIY for you! The main thing you’re going to need is A LOT of ping pong balls and googly eyes. This DIY might take you a little longer to make than the other DIY’s on this list, but it will be a decoration you use for years to come! Check out the website linked below for a full tutorial.

Googly Eye Wreath

  1. Melted Crayon Pumpkin 

Remember that trend a few years ago when all you needed was a crayon, hairdryer and canvas to make a masterpiece? If you do, this DIY is similar! The only difference is that instead of a canvas, you use a pumpkin. So if you want to stay colorful during Halloween, then this is the perfect DIY for you! 

Melted Crayon Pumpkin

  1. Painted Pumpkins

If you don’t have crayons laying around for the last DIY, then try painting your pumpkins instead! This is an easy DIY that you can add your own personal touches to. Remember that you don’t have to be an artist to do this DIY, so have fun with it! 

Easy Painted Pumpkin Ideas

Tips and Tricks for Carving Pumpkins

If you haven’t gotten around to carving pumpkins yet, then you should be happy you waited because now you get to hear some advice for carving the perfect pumpkin. Once you learn our tips and tricks, head over to your nearest pumpkin patch and start making a pumpkin masterpiece! 

  1. Selecting the Perfect Pumpkin

If you’re stuck between choosing the right pumpkin, make sure to take the following recommendations into consideration. You’re also going to want a pumpkin that is the perfect size for your design, has a smoother surface, and sits flat. Watch out for pumpkins that are soft or have blemishes, these pumpkins are more likely to go bad. If you want a fresh pumpkin, look for ones with a green stem!

  1. Find a Template 

Finding the perfect design is probably one of the most important steps in carving your pumpkin. You can go free hand, or you can print off a template! All you need to do is tape the template onto your pumpkin and poke holes (using push pins) in the pumpkin where the design outline is. After you’re done, take off the template and begin carving where you’ve poked these holes! 

40 Pumpkin Carving Templates

 

  1. Removing the top or bottom

Most people go the traditional route of cutting the top off of the pumpkin to clean out the insides and put the candle inside. Though, you can just as easily cut the bottom off! This makes placing the candle in the pumpkin a lot easier since you don’t have to reach your arm inside the pumpkin. If you prefer cutting the top off, we suggest cutting at a 45 degree angle so that the top doesn’t fall through! 

  1. Get Creative! 

If your pumpkin has a great stem, consider making it a part of your design. You can flip the pumpkin on it’s side and make a face using the stem as a nose! This makes for a fun, easy, and creative design. Another great idea is buying a smaller pumpkin that fits in your jack o’lanterns mouth. This requires a bit more skill, but it’s definitely worth the extra effort! 

  1. Use an Ice Cream Scoop

If you don’t have many tools around the house for carving pumpkins, one easy tool for getting the insides out of your pumpkin is an ice cream scoop. This works better than big flimsy spoons and faster than small spoons. Also, it’s just more fun to use!