Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium

Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium Header

Looking for the perfect indoor gardening project? Today I’m sharing how to make your own succulent terrarium. This budget-friendly diy project has a picture tutorial to show you how to layer your soil and create that perfect humid environment for your plants.

As regular readers know, I have a black thumb.

I have never been successful at growing anything and my lawn can prove it.

Succulents are my kind of plants because they are so low maintenance and they don’t require a lot of water.

Today I want to show you how to make a succulent terrarium and how I made it as budget-friendly as possible.

Sweet!

First, here are a few answers to a couple of frequently asked questions about making your own indoor terrarium, especially during quarantine!

Where Can I Get Fresh Succulents Delivered Online?

Before we begin this project, you may be wondering how to obtain the supplies you need for your projects.

Many of the garden and home improvement stores are offering curbside pick-up right now.

Many companies also these in bulk and a bulk order would be perfect for making a few special Mother’s Day gifts for someone in your life.

This is one of those plant purchases that require little upkeep and are enjoyed all year-long.

Here are a few other options for getting fresh succulents online.

How Can I Save Money on Making My DIY Terrarium?

  • Fairy gardens are very popular right now. Ask your local nursery if they have smaller bags of pea gravel or moss available for purchase. I was able to get small bags of these items for a lot less.
  • Look to see if there are any succulent arrangements that are already prepared and the pricing and compare it to individual succulents. At my nursery, succulents individually were $4 each, but for $20, I was able to get double the succulents AND it helped to know which ones worked and looked nice together.
  • Thrift shops or Facebook Marketplace are two great places to look for containers. You also can shop your own house and see what serving pieces you have, that just might be gathering dust in your own home.

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium from MomAdvice.com

We are going to be making our succulent terrariums with a product called Ecoscraps.

I’m so excited to share about it because the company’s mission is so awesome and really aligns with our family values.

EcoScraps recycles food scraps and turns them into organic and sustainable lawn and garden products.

They recycle by collecting wasted food from from stores and restaurants andconvert it all into natural garden products.

Simple switches will do so much for our world.You can find out more on the EcoScraps website and find their products on Target shelves.

Now that you know the company’s mission, let’s make a succulent terrarium with their eco friendly potting soil!

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium

Supplies Needed for a Succulent Terrarium

Supplies Needed

Glass Trifle Container

Pebbles

Charcoal or Perlite

Sphagnum Moss

EcoScraps Potting Soil (link is to Walmart, but you can also obtain this product on Target shelves too!)

Succulents (See Above for Sources)I like to choose an odd number for arranging. Mine had 7 of various sizes)

Garden Trowel

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium from MomAdvice.com

Creatinga terrarium is a lot like creating a layered cake or trifle so that is why I thought this container was so fitting!

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium Header

Layering Soil in a Terrarium

Pebble Layer in a Succulent Terrarium

Directions

1. Begin by adding your pebbles to the bottom of your container. This is to create a false drainage layer so water can settle and not flood the plants. You will want to add one inch to two inches of stone, depending on the size of your container.

Charcoal or Perlite Layer

2. Next, we will layer our activated charcoal or perlite. The charcoal can come in granules or shards (the type I am using is shards). We will spread a layer of this over the rock to help reduce bacteria, fungus, and odors in our terrarium.

Moss Layer in Terrarium

Moss Layer in Terrarium

3. Next add a layer of moss to create a barrier between the potting soil and charcoal.

4. Prepare your plants for planting by removing them from their pots and loosening up the root ball and exposing the roots. If the roots are particularly long, you can trim them down a bit.

Potting Soil for Terrarium

Potting Soil Layer in Terrarium

Layers in Soil for Terrarium

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium

5. Add a layer of dirt to your terrarium. Gently place your plants inside and then top them off with a bit more dirt, using your hands to gather the dirt firmly into place around each of the plants. Be mindful where you are planting them, mixing up your plants of varying heights and foliage, to fill your jar.

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium

Siri Reminder To Water Plants

5. Finish by watering your terrarium lightly, being mindful not to overwater it because succulents do not like to be soggy. Caring for your terrarium is easy, especially if you are a terrible gardener like me. I’m so terrible, I put Siri in charge. Feel the soil weekly to see if it is dry and add water if it is.

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium from MomAdvice.com

Here is another view of what our terrarium should look like from the side. Make sure to place it in a spot that gets a little sun on their beautiful leaves, but not scorching hot spot in your home.

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium

These are beautiful to keep or to give to someone special in your life.

Thank you, EcoScraps, for letting me share about your amazing mission to reduce food waste in a really wonderful way.

I hope you guys can try their products!

This post was sponsored by EcoScraps.Thank you for supporting the sponsors that help support our site!

This post contains affiliate links.

Don’t miss these other great spring project posts on MomAdvice.com:

How to Make Slushies With Kool-Aid learn how to make slushies with inexpensive kool-aid packets

Herb Wall & DIY Garden Markers make these adorable diy garden markers out of popsicle sticks

fabric floral wreath turn scrap fabric into a spring wreath for your front door

DIY Grilling Seasoning Mix mix up some burger seasonings with these adorable free printables for grilling season

DIY Slow Cooker Citronella Candles with Printable Tag make diy citronella candles in your slow cooker to keep the bugs away

plan an outdoor movie night with the kids with these fun tips

Happy Gardening Friends!

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium Header

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DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat (Video)

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

DIY Roll-Up Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

 

This no-sew felt puzzle mat is the perfect foundation to build your puzzles on, allowing you to relocate your puzzle when you need to. Check out this fun DIY in honor of National Puzzle Day! 

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

What shows your love for someone more than something handmade by you?

Today I am sharing a tutorial for an easy no-sew DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat that I created for my family.

This mat makes it easy to relocate your puzzle projects when you need to use your table and it’s made with just a few inexpensive materials!

Are you addicted to jigsaw puzzles like us?

My kids are at a fun age right now where we are really enjoying playing board games and assembling puzzles together.

Right now we are tackling 1,000 piece puzzles which feels so ADULT. We haven’t had the courage to go beyond that size yet, but I’m sure we will get there.

Even after our kids have headed to bed, the hubby and I spend time together listening to podcasts or good music, while piecing together puzzles. I find it be quite therapeutic after sitting in front of a screen all day. It helps me decompress in the evening while giving my brain a break from my to-do lists.

To maximize our jigsaw puzzle collection, a couple friends and I trade puzzles after we finish them which has been great because we always have something to work on, while keeping it rather frugal in the process.

Trading puzzles has been a great way to keep our collection fresh and continue to keep our kids interested in putting these together with us.

My only gripe with puzzles is where to relocate them when we need to eat at the table.

We also happen to have a, “helper,” in our house who likes to flip puzzle pieces when her mother is ignoring her (we love you, Lulu the Cat!). I thought a mat might be a great way to discourage our helper and could be a quick way to clear the table for the dinner hour!

Let’s create this easy no-sew roll-up jigsaw puzzle mat!

DIY Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat Tutorial

 

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed (all of these supplies can be found at Walmart!)

1 yard of Waverly Inspirations Fabric  (check out the fresh new Valentine’s Day prints,  I picked a classic pink gingham!)

1 yard of felt fabric (any coordinating color)

1 package of Waverly Inspirations Ribbon (any coordinating color)

Cardboard tube (you can use a durable mailing tube, gift wrap roll, or even use plastic PVC pipe)

Razor blade (if cutting to size)

Hemming Tape or fabric glue

Scissors

Waverly Chalk Paint in a coordinating color  and paint brush (optional, but you can paint the cardboard roll to coordinate- I decided to leave mine in its natural state!)

PUZZLES!! (check out my suggestions below for a few of our faves!)


 

How to Make a DIY Jigsaw Puzzle Mat

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

1. Much like our reversible seat cushion project, we are going to begin by lining up the two fabrics with the right-side of the fabric facing INSIDE towards each other. That means the wrong sides will be facing out!

Trim your fabric and felt to the same size.

Remember, this mat can be ANY size that you want.

If you want it be the size of your kitchen table, for example, measure that first and use this as your guide for creating your mat. I created a generous mat for our large puzzles!

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

2. Once your fabric has been trimmed, use your fabric tape and line all the sides , making sure to leave an opening so that you can turn the mat out once you have sealed all the seams.

Using a very hot iron, carefully and slowly, begin ironing to seal the seam (you can see another example of what sealing this seam looks like over here!).

Typically doing this requires pinning, but I did find that the felt held the tape in place and made it an easy project to do without pinning.

Do this along all the sides (make sure you left that opening to turn it out!!) until the two pieces are fused together.

Carefully, turn the right sides out and then finish by sealing that last opening with fabric tape or a little fabric glue.

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

3. Trim your cardboard tube to the length of your finished mat.

If you want to paint this, you can! I finished each end with a little tied ribbon that can be used to tie the entire mat up when we are storing it.

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

As you can see, you can roll up those puzzles (take your time and roll carefully!) when not in use.

Please keep in mind, it is not recommended for  long-term storage since it can damage your puzzle pieces, but it is recommended for a quick relocation so you can use your table when you need it.

I am so excited to break this in and I’m guessing it is going to be a smart item to take when we rent our summer cottages too!

Looking for a few great jigsaw puzzles? Here are a few of my favorites!

I had one of those puzzle

great classic books puzzle

story time puzzle

nancy drew puzzle

harry potter puzzle

nevertheless she persisted puzzle

harry potter puzzle

 

video games collection puzzle

old bookstore puzzle

color me puzzle

 

 

 

PS- Seriously, start a puzzle exchange with your friends. You won’t regret it!

Looking for ways to store those jigsaw puzzles? This strategy works so well at our house!

Happy crafting!!

diy-jigsaw-puzzle-mat-9

Do you want more craft inspiration from Waverly? Try these!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray

15-Minute Scrappy Fabric Trees

Kid Craft: Easy Technique for Painting Gift Wrap

DIY Phone Charging Station

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

DIY Roll-up Puzzle Mat

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2019 MomAdvice Favorite Things List

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

MomAdvice Favorite Things List

 

Looking for a gift for yourself? This holiday gift guide lists all of my tried-and-true gifts that I have received and why I think you will love them too. Check out the MomAdvice Favorite Things list for a great gift for any lady in your life!

I have enjoyed putting together our holiday gift guides SO MUCH this year. To close out the shopping guides, I wanted to share with you what topped *my* favorite things this year.

A few of these were acquired more recently, but most of these items are things that I use use daily in our home.

I love a good gift guide with a personal testimonial, don’t you?

Of course, I have a few items on my wish list (that I don’t own)  too so I’ll share that with you at the end! 

2019 MomAdvice Favorite Things List

ABEO Halifax Slippers ABEO Halifax Slippers

I was such a big fan of my UGG slippers and wore them so much that I completely wore them out. 

I participate in a lot of Facebook groups for my chronic pain and went through an entire list of recommendations for the best slippers for people with joint pain.

So many people raved about the ABEO Halifax Slippers so I thought I’d give them a try for my next house slippers.

I have to say, I’ll never go back to the UGG slippers again.

The biggest difference is the orthotic support that has been built into these. These slippers actually feel like they are holding and supporting each part of my foot. 

I, honestly, didn’t know what I had been missing until I put these on my feet.

Although this is a pricier item on the list, these are worth every dang dollar.

Mainstays Sherpa Throw Mainstays Sherpa Throws

If I could, I would be wrapped in sherpa for the entire winter.  My favorite thing, in fact, is a sherpa sleep robe that I snagged from Walmart last year. 

Sadly, they didn’t bring the exact jacket back, but they did bring along this nice substitute.

If you weren’t able to snag that sleep robe, I found a sherpa blanket that comes in a close second place to my favorite garment.

There is rarely a year that I’m not giving (or getting) a blanket and these sherpa blankets are my pick for cozy winter comfort.

They are surprisingly lightweight, feel like a warm hygge hug, and will cost you just, $8.88.

Scribd

I am sure you had to guess that there would be a couple of great bookish gifts that made the list.

Honestly, Scribd is one of my absolute favorite things and is a monthly membership that I would have a REALLY hard time giving up.

Scribd is best described as Netflix for book-lovers. Instead of charging per book, Scribd offers an unlimited membership at one flat rate. 

There is an unbelievable selection of audiobooks and books that you can check out.

Not only do I love it for all my reads, but they also have other great features like subscriptions to magazines and you can even get sheet music on their platform.

All of that is a mere, $8.99 a month! 

Keep in mind, this service does not work with the Kindle, but will work with your tablet or phone! 

Conair Infiniti Blow Dryer Brush Conair Infiniti Pro Spin Air Brush

I have never been very good at the whole holding a blow dryer and a brush at the same time thing.  I bow down to hairdressers who have mastered this coordination.

Years ago I discovered this Conair Infiniti Pro Spin Air Brush and it has been a game changer.

This brush spins in both directions, with a simple button push! It comes with two different size brush options that you can use,  depending on your hair length.

People usually ask me if I’ve been to one of those fancy blow dry bars when I use this because you get that perfect shiny bounce.

Unfortunately for others, I have to jump into my infomercial for this gadget when I get asked about my hair. 

Exerpeutic Folding Stationary Bike

Exerpeutic Foldable Stationary Bike

I am laughing that this made the list after all the controversy with the Peloton commercial

Honestly, some of us really DO want exercise equipment for Christmas.

While I would love a fancy spin bike, we don’t have the space or the funds to designate to one of those. 

Instead, I opted for this inexpensive foldable bike and pair it with the Cyclecast app for my workouts. 

This folds so easily and takes up very little space in our home.

Pairing it with an Apple gift card (check out this discount spot) would definitely make a great gift.

Full Body Bath Pillow Full Body Bath Pillow

I have to say that one of my favorite gifts I’ve received is this incredible full body bath pillow

This is, honestly, a plush cushion and it has durable suction cups that help hold it in place. 

I believe this gift pairs awfully well with a bath tray, a good book, and a bottle of wine. 

The biggest question I get asked is how to keep it clean.

This has a little hook at the top that you can hang it, after your bath and it dries quickly. The fabric is mildew resistant though so you don’t have to worry about the mold issue, especially if you properly let it air dry.

It also can be put right in your washer on a gentle cycle, to make sure the germs are really gone.

They even provide a laundry bag for you to roll it into, to prevent the suctions from getting stuck in your washer.

Five stars- highly recommend.

Political Pottery

My Political Pottery

I am leaving Mr. Rogers here instead of my pick for President….just to keep you clicking.

In all seriousness, I discovered a local potter (Rothshank Artworks)  that makes incredible political pottery and had to have a mug of our Mayor Pete.

Yay, South Bend!

I am completely aware that these are expensive, but they are one of those one-of-a-kind gifts that you will treasure forever. The workmanship is just unbelievable.

Sipping coffee in this beautiful piece makes me so dang happy and has been one of my favorite finds this year. 

PRICELESS.

Shaker Stitch Sweaters

Shaker Stitch Sweaters

This year I discovered just how much I love shaker stitch sweaters. 

My obsession started with this sweater (that has almost sold out), but there is a new shaker stitch sweater in town that I’m excited to wear this winter.

This chevron sweater comes in so many fun colors, is made with a breathable cotton yarn, and has that adorable puffer sleeve that is so trendy right now. 

I found that this runs true to size, but if you are between sizes, I would go up one. 

The best part? It is under $13 and feels VERY high end. 

Keysocks

Keysocks

Anytime I wear my Keysocks, I get questions about them. I am obsessed with these no-show socks because they don’t fall off.

I prefer the kind that go to your knees, because it adds a double layer of warmth, but they also now make these in short lengths too.

If you love a good pair of ballet flats or booties, you will definitely want to add these to your wish list.

Contour Flip Pillow

The Contour Flip Pillow

I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon the flip pillow, but I’m SO glad that I did. 

Honestly, if you read a lot in bed, this is one gift that I think you will absolutely love.

The way this pillow is made, it allows you to position it in ten different ways, offering incredible neck and back support.

It comes without a cover so be sure to buy one if you want to keep it clean.

Not a reader?

No problem!

It also makes a great couch potato pillow too for those Netflix binges.

 

Cozy Fleece Leggings

I am obsessed with fleece leggings in the winter and love  to wear big oversized sweaters with them in the winter. 

If you can believe it, my favorite fleece leggings are $10 for TWO pairs. 

These are lightly fleece lined, come in tons of colors, and are high waisted.

Keep in mind, they do not have compression in them, but they do hold their shape. 

My one caveat with these is that they run REALLY small. 

Size up two sizes for a comfortable fit for winter.

Can you tell I live in Indiana by my choices? #socold

Origami Folding Kitchen Island Origami Entertaining Cart

The Origami company offers products that are a small space lover’s best friend. 

Everything is high quality and FOLDABLE. 

I REALLY needed a kitchen island, but I REALLY didn’t want to pay for a kitchen remodel.

My Origami Entertaining Cart has become my new best friend when I entertain and one of my favorite gifts.

This island folds completely flat and can be stowed in a corner until I need an extra counter space.

Although this might not be beneficial to you, it has been a BIG help with food photography.

I am able to put my surfaces on top and style dishes really easily, thanks to these little wheels.

Honestly, anything from this company would be a win in your home. 

Corala Weighted Blanket Review Corala Weighted Blanket

I got a Corala Weighted Blanket and now I refuse to sleep without it. This blanket has transformed my sleep (and my husband’s).

The reason I am highlighting this one is because it comes with TWO duvet covers- a warm fleece one (for winter) and a linen one (for summer). 

While there are a lot of blankets that are cheaper, I’ve yet to find one so cleverly designed and beautifully made. 

This queen size blanket settles my body down at night and is wide enough to share with my husband.

It is weird how calm it makes you feel when you are under it.  Restless sleepers really would benefit from this purchase. 

I, personally, love that the covers can be removed and washed on this version. 

The box itself was just as beautiful  and we use it for storing all of my clutches/purses in my closet now.

What Made My Wish List? 

The Matte Makeup Organizer

Mealthy CrispLid

Stack ‘N Cook Stackable Inserts

LED Book Light

PowerLix Milk Frother

Cozy Puffer Sleeve Sweater

Sagely Smart Pill Organizer

Yarn Boss Yarn Bag

Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker

Looking for more great gift ideas? Check out this year’s gift guides!

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Everyone Will Love 100 unique stocking stuffers for everyone on your list

Unique Gift Ideas for Kids of All Ages unique gift ideas for kids of all ages

Unique Gift Ideas for the Man Who Has Everything from MomAdvice.com unique gifts for the man who has everything

Unique Gift Ideas for Tweens & Teens unique gift ideas for tweens and teens

I hope that this inspires your gift-giving this year! Let me know if you got anything and what you thought!

Honest truth: I am always thankful to be a part of ANYONE’S holiday!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This post contains affiliate links from RewardStyle. Thank you for supporting our website through your purchases.

MomAdvice Favorite Things List

 

How to Make a Homeless Care Package (Free Printable Supplies List)

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

Blessing bags for the homeless are such a beautiful act of kindness for those in need. Today’s post will show you how to make homeless kits for those in need. These hygiene kits are handy to keep in your car, for those that live on the street, or can be given as gift bags for your local homeless shelter. Be sure to print out our free printable supplies list for your homeless care kit.

One thing that you may not know about our family is that we are really passionate about caring for the homeless.

Creating a homeless care package (also known as a Blessing Bag) can be one fantastic way that your entire family can be involved in caring for those in need.

Today we want to provide a checklist of supplies for the homeless bags, a local resources sheet you can print out (if you are in our area), and some tips for involving the whole family in this project.

After all, homeless gift bags are a great idea to help teach your children kindness.

These homeless packs have been replicated by so many people and are the perfect activity for volunteer organizations you may be part of.

By involving others, you can alleviate some of the expenses by asking everyone to bring the materials to craft these bags.

Distribute the list and allow each attendee to bring travel size items, food, socks or bags to help the homeless in your area.

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

I also appreciate that these homeless care packages can be prepared for your local shelters or kept tucked away in the trunk of your car for those you may see on the street looking for your help.

I love feeling armed in these situations and these kits are a simple way to show how much you care.

Over the past couple of years, I have also had the opportunity to work at our local food bank and food pantry. What many people don’t realize is that many of these items cannot be purchased using food stamps.

Items that are not food (like toothpaste, paper products, deodorant, shampoo, toothbrushes, etc…) are not eligible and that is why these items are often in high demand at church community pantries.

It is why these are the items that I choose to donate to our shelter each year.

How to Make a Homeless Care Package from MomAdvice.com

I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t tell you that my husband inspires me every day with his giving heart. Last winter, he was coming home late from work because he would see people in need and run to stores to get them supplies and gift cards.

That is his heart.

That is why I love him.

If there is one thing I firmly believe in, it is that giving should be a family affair.

We have to lead our children by our example.

I want my children to remember that what made our family special is that we always gave with our whole hearts.

My kids assisted in every aspect of this project.

My son came with me and did the number crunching on a good old-fashioned calculator, my daughter helped sort and organize all of the items we bought, and both kids helped fill the bags with all of the necessary items.

Here Are My 3 Essential Elements to a Great Homeless Care Package

Feed Their Needs

One of the greatest gifts you can give to someone who is homeless is personal hygiene items and food to nourish their bodies.

Begin by picking up items that will satisfy this area in their life first.

Simple items like shampoo, a razor, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, a bar of soap, and tissues are all great items to keep on hand.

Food like granola bars, crackers with peanut butter, beef jerky, trail mixes, dried fruits, and a bottle of water are also great items to tuck into your bags.

If you have the funds, small denominator gift cards (we did $5 Walmart gift cards) can also be great to give so that they can pick up a meal or item(s) they might need.

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

Provide Warmth

We live in Indiana and the winters here are brutal for homeless people.

I can’t imagine how cold it would be to stand on the streets without the proper items

I need for warmth.

Add items like thermal boot socks, gloves, scarves, and hats to your gift bags.

Items like these may seem out of your financial reach, but I found all of these at the dollar store and the sets of gloves were a mere $.50 each.

Feed Their Souls

I am sure it goes without saying, but feeding someone’s soul is just as important as feeding their needs.

You can feed their souls in a variety of ways depending on your families beliefs and resources.

We created a local resources list (available for local residents to download) that they can tap into for further resources in our town.

A note that lets them know that they are on your prayer list, a note of encouragement by your children, or a scripture that you find comforting can also be excellent additions.

If these are not enough ideas, I encourage you to spend a bit of time browsing through the comments on this post.

Many people regularly volunteer at their shelters and food banks and have some great ideas to help.

Please also know, that we are real people (sometimes that doesn’t seem that way on the website, am I right?) and we did OUR personal best to put these together so we appreciate your KIND words on this post and definitely encourage you to share your own must-have items in a care package while being respectful of others in these comment threads.

How Do I Order My Homeless Care Package Supplies in Bulk?

Did you know that you can purchase items from Dollar Tree IN BULK.

Looking to save even more? Consider using this incredible rebates app to get cash back on ALL your holiday purchases.

We were able to place a bulk order with Dollar Tree and pick up the items we needed for these kits from our local store.

Don’t have room in your car?

No worries!

They can ship all the items directly to you.

How cool is that?

What Our Readers Suggest Adding to Your Hygiene Kits for the Homeless

I love seeing what contributions YOU recommend for these packs! Here are some of my favorites you shared!

“My husband and I travel a lot when he’s working on contract.

I save all the little complimentary shampoos, conditions, soaps, etc and when I have quite a few saved, I sew up pretty drawstring bags, divide the items I’ve save between the bags and then donate them to our local women’s shelter.

I’ve also started adding toothpastes and toothbrushes that I purchase to the bags.

Many times women arrive with nothing but the clothes on their back and this way they can be given their own personal care kit. I make each bag different so that they don’t feel like they are getting something that is assembly line, but something that was made just for them.”

“Many homeless also have dogs.

Perhaps you could add some things like treats, small pouches or pop-top cans of food, grooming supplies and toys.

And with the winter months coming, both owner and pet need to stay warm and dry…some large trash bags to put on the ground to keep from getting wet and even colder.

And I have seen fleece throws just recently at Walmart for like $2!”

“I currently make and deliver hot chocolate to a few homeless people I see on my way home from work (I work in downtown Chicago) and I pass out cold cans of pop in the summer.

I also make plates of food from leftovers after work luncheons and pass them out after work. (I don’t consider this stealing because I know that by 4:30 anything left in the kitchen will be thrown away.) I

know it isn’t not much, It won’t make a huge difference in the world, but it might make a world of difference to the person I’m helping.

Thanks for the list. I’m glad to see there are others out there who are concerned for the homeless and actually do something about it.

I hope the care package(s) I pass out, make the receiver(s) feel loved, thought of and cared for.”

“This is a wonderful idea! I got so excited when I saw this-I immediately began to think of other items that might be added, such a bar of soap or bottle of body wash, plastic glass and mug, plastic cutlery and plate, tissues, pen and notebook, small clock, personal wipes, instant oatmeal packets, instant soup packets, hot chocolate packets, instant noodle packets, towel, facecloth, thermal blanket, and in the summer, a sun hat, sunscreen, inexpensive umbrella and a fly swatter!

Many of these things can be found on sale, at Walmart, and the dollar store. They don’t have to be bought all at once and do lend themselves as a project for a family, like yourselves, or amongst a group of friends, a Sunday School class, a school class or a Brownie troop.”

“You might also check with your school district if they have children.

All our local schools have a homeless liaison who works to get food, clothing and housing for homeless families.”

“I regularly carry around coupon books from various restaurants, but this goes even further.”

“As truck drivers, my husband and I see many people standing on the exit ramps of the interstate highways.

We give ziplock bags with toiletries, (in a separate bag) and foods like you mentioned, plus single serve packages of oatmeal, grits, hot cocoa, ect. I add pack of sugar, jelly, peanut butter, plasticware, napkins, whatever we get from the take out and fast food restaurants.

I also pick up dollar store gloves, hats, socks, ect. We have added stamped postcards, Christmas cards and candy canes in season.

Notepads and pens are welcomed as are throws we get at thrift stores.

We were giving the gift books from the fast food places, but now they’ve gone to gift cards.

Chapstick is a good idea, as are deodorants, comb, sanitary items for the women, (yes, we see homeless women and children too).

We give small toys, stickers and tattoos for the kids. We stay in motels a lot and always ask housekeeping for extras.”

“I love this post. I am in the middle of coordinating a SOCKS party here in Nashville.

We are getting the big, thermal socks, and filling them with different items for the homeless.

We’ve been fortunate to have my dentist donate the toothpaste and floss, and McDonald’s donated 1,000 Cards for a free dollar menu item.

We also have tons of shampoo, conditioner, and soaps from hotels.

We’ll stuff it with snacks, hand warmers, and other items (many on your list).

We are getting together for our SOCK party and letting the kids stuff the socks and make the tags, which will say “I care”.

The kids are excited and I love what it’s teaching them. Thanks for inspiring others to give back!”

Aren’t my readers incredible? Just think of the possibilities with this one!

God has been so good to us, but 10 years ago we were in a very different place than where we are now.

My husband was unemployed for almost an entire year, our financial situation was a house of cards, and my heart was in a bad place.

Although I don’t like to admit it, I wondered what my purpose on this earth even was.

I never have forgotten that dark place and it is why we still try to be so careful with the resources we have been given and why I have such a tender place in my heart for those who are struggling.

If you would like to read more about it, I encourage you to read my book where I share how we recovered from this difficult financial period in our life.

Being careful though doesn’t mean that you can’t be a giver.

There are fantastic ways to give, both big and small, around the holidays.

Be sure to check our list of ten painless ways to give back to charities to help you get started.

I call these smaller ways to give the, “scraps of life giving.” I have talked a lot about that with my partnership with Pure Charity as well!

We want to help you give back to your community! Here are some resources to do just that!

Grab our Free Homeless Supply Checklist for your your care packages.

Don’t just click on the picture, head to this link to grab a full-size PDF version!

Grab our Local Resources List for your care packages (if you don’t live in Michiana, you can use this as a template for your own sheet)! Don’t just click on the picture, head to this link to grab a full-size PDF version!

Looking for more great ways to give back? Here are a few other great ideas!

diy no sew hand warmers

cabled ear warmer pattern diy cabled ear warmers

diy chunky knit blanket pattern

How do you give back in your community? How do you teach your kids to be givers?

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this post contains affiliate links.

How to Make a Homeless Care Package from MomAdvice.com

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

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Best Advent Calendars for Kids (FREE Printable!!)

Sunday, November 24th, 2019

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

Looking for advent calendar for kids. This free printable advent calendar includes fun Christmas themed trivia questions for the holiday season. Counting down to Christmas couldn’t be more fun (or more affordable!) Download our countdown to Christmas on the blog today!

I never did an advent calendar growing up so I, honestly, had to look up what the heck these were when other moms talked about them.

In honor of today’s trivia theme, do you know how the advent calendar originated?

As with many of our Christmas traditions, this one originated out of Germany. In the early 20th century, Gerhard Lang’s mother made him a calendar with 24 small candies attached to cardboard, one for each day before Christmas.

Lang grew up and opened Reichhold & Lang printing company where he printed the first Advent cardboard calendar with 24 little pictures. Then, just a few years later, the company printed the first calendar with the little doors that everyone loves to open. 

Just imagine what kind of craft celebrity Gerhard’s mom would have been on Pinterest.

That’s pretty much, an original viral project.

I am so excited to share this fun FREE printable advent calendar with you that our amazing contributor, M.J. designed for us!

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

From our graphic designer, MJ at pars caeli

Advent calendars are just the cutest, right?

That is–until you have to fill/create/arrange them!

This year we’re going simple with our countdown to Christmas, and we want to make it easier for you, too, with a printable calendar.

This Advent Calendar needs just to be cut, folded, and glued.

Fist bump.

You can even have the kids create it.

The days leading up to Christmas are both magical and hectic!

We have Christmas performances and charitable shopping, Santa’s gifting and work parties galore.

I didn’t want our Advent countdown to be another process on the list so we put together something light and fun.

How to Make a Christmas Trivia Advent Calendar for Big Kids

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

How about Christmas trivia?!

We watch Jeopardy around our house (with three kids, twelve and under), and a countdown with trivia seemed like a natural way to learn more and to laugh together as we get nearer to the 25th.

We put together twenty-five trivial (some are pretty ridiculous) questions about Christmas traditions, songs, and movies for the whole family.

In fact, this calendar would be great to put next to the coffee pot at work or as a runner across the dinner table.

My kids have been talking about these questions more than I imagined (“what’s your favorite Christmas song?” and “remember that time we saw…”).

Our holiday experiences can be easy entryways to new conversations and insights.

Let’s make an advent calendar together!


Supplies Needed

Craft paper 

Scissors

Tape

Glue stick

A straight edge or ruler

Our printable calendar 

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

Directions for Your Free Printable Advent Calendar

STEP ONE:

Print out the numbers and trivia questions.

Set the trivia questions aside for now.

To cut your numbers, slice the page first vertically and then horizontally, creating four pieces.

You’ll then cut those four piece vertically, to make equal-sized pieces of paper.

STEP TWO:

Each number paper has light gray dotted lines to show where they should be folded.

With a ruler or straight edge, fold crisply along that line as indicated in two places.

Once you’ve made the folds, bend them the opposite direction to create a folded piece with the number on the front and a flap on the top.

STEP THREE:

Take the trivia questions back out.

Cut those along the dotted edges. Glue the questions into the inside of the numbered papers.

These are not numbered so they can go in any day.

We put ours in randomly.

There’s a question for every day from December 1 through the 25.

STEP FOUR:

Refold the bottom and then the top flap of the numbered rectangle over top of the trivia question (we don’t want anyone peeking until the right day!).

You’ll want to seal the flap shut.

You can do this with glue or tape.

We opted to cut up some adhesive labels into tiny strips so that we could peel back the flaps without destroying the calendar.

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

That’s it!

Attach the questions to a ribbon and hang on the side of your fridge.

Or tape them to a pantry door in the shape of a tree!

Or (super simple) keep calendar days in a bowl on your dinner table, and pull one out every day.

You might find yourselves amazed by how many presents you’d get if you received all of them from the 12 Days of Christmas or laughing about what the word mistletoe really means!!

(Oh, I’ve said too much. You have to wait to open that day!)

Happy Christmas countdown from our family to yours!!

Wishing you a simply joyful holiday.

Xoxo,

MJ

SCROLL ALL THE WAY DOWN TO ACCESS THE PRINTABLES!

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

 

Looking for more DIY Advent Calendar Ideas? Here are a few others that I’m loving!

Adorable Toilet Paper Roll Advent Calendar– This fun advent calendar is made from something everyone has on hand – toilet paper tubes! Fill it up with small toys, your favorite candy or cute socks! A fun way to upcycle and create fun memories at the same time!

Use What You Have Advent Calendar– Turn your muffin tins into creative advent calendars with this fun holiday bucket list idea.

Christmas Book Advent Calendar – Each book is wrapped with a number for the kids to open each night before bed. No need to purchase new books every year, only if the age out. Making reusable number gift tags to put on the books each year keeps this a great green alternative.

Christmas Tree Ornament Advent– This mini tree makes counting down super fun! Simply hang an ornament every day!

DIY Paper Advent Calendar– Create an easy DIY paper advent calendar with free printable templates for the boxes! This handmade advent calendar is a fun Christmas papercraft and lovely holiday gift idea for kids and teens.

No Time to DIY an Advent Calendar? Here are some of the Best Advent Calendars for Kids!

If you don’t have time to make an advent calendar, here are some MomAdvice Advent Calendar favorites!

Toy advent calendars can be so fun because they feature 24 fun things to look forward to as you welcome in the holiday.

So many advent calendars are featuring sets that include adorable fun trinkets, magnetic ornaments, or mini figures. Find a set with features and surprises that your kids will never expect.

Advent calendars are such a fun bonus surprise gift under the Christmas tree, aren’t they?

Little People Advent Calendar

Crayola Christmas Countdown

Paw Patrol Advent Calendar

LEGO Friends Advent Calendar

LEGO City Advent Calendar

Grab Your Free Advent Calendar Printables!

Click Here for Advent Numbers Printable

Click Here for Trivia Sheet Printable

Love this post? Here are some of my favorite Christmas posts on the site!

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Everyone Will Love 100 unique stocking stuffers for everyone on your list

Unique Gift Ideas for Kids of All Ages unique gift ideas for kids of ALL ages

Easy Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls christmas tree cinnamon rolls for christmas morning

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100 Unique Stocking Stuffers for Everyone On Your List

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide from MomAdvice.com

Are you looking for the perfect small gift to tuck in your family member’s stocking? Today I’m sharing my Christmas stocking stuffers that everyone will love.

My family never did stockings, when I was growing up, and I was always so enchanted by the tradition at my boyfriend’s (now husband) house.

Each stocking was uniquely made and cut from felt with adorable details on each one. I loved watching them open their stocking and the fun things that their parents came up with to give to them.

In their house, they had scratch-off lottery tickets, car wash gift certificates, toll road gift cards, and their favorite candy.

As with ALL my holiday gift guides (shop my unique gift ideas for men and unique gift ideas for kids of all ages list) I want to give you a list of useful gifts to share with a loved one on Christmas morning.

Being the frugal gal that I am, I just can’t justify spending money on stocking stuffers that end up being useless junk in our home. 

Believe me, if I wouldn’t buy it, I won’t be sharing it with you.

This is how I am, in fact, making my own gift request list.

Just as a reminder, MomAdvice participates in various affiliate marketing programs and we are paid commissions through the links to retailer sites. Items purchased through our links are always greatly appreciated.

If you are on a budget, I DO recommend that you sign up with Rakuten to do your shopping. This app gives you cash back on all your qualifying purchases.

If you want to read more about this shopping app, head here for an in-depth review of what Rakuten offers.

If you just want $25 and plan to get shopping, this should automatically deposit $25 in your account for your purchases(sorry- new customers only!).

I hope you can find some beautiful and personal gifts to give to your friends and family this year! More importantly, they will be useful, unique, AND affordable.

#winning

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers For Everyone On Your List

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide from MomAdvice.com

  1. The Book Lover’s Journal
  2. Chocolate Video Game Controller
  3. Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrushes
  4. Potter Make-Up Brush Set
  5. Lightning Cable
  6. Pooch Selfie Stick
  7. Fred Borrow My Pen Assistant Pen
  8. Tweeky
  9. Gear Tie
  10. Pro-Case Screen Cleaning Pad

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide from MomAdvice.com

  1. Key Locator
  2. Pocket Blanket
  3. Airpods Case
  4. Pokebomb
  5. Weighted Drink Holder
  6. Kitsch Spiral Hair Ties
  7. Natural Life Worry Doll
  8. Satin Pillowcase
  9. 3-in-1 Smartphone Grip
  10. Cocofloss

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide from MomAdvice.com

  1. Bike U Lock
  2. Rainbow Stainless Steel Straw Set
  3. Erase Your Face Cleansing Cloth
  4. Velvet Hair Scrunchie Set
  5. Chop Sabers (or these chopstick trainers for kids with a Cup of Noodles or Ramen)
  6. Book Light
  7. Wristband Headphones
  8. Mug Warmer
  9. Warming Ice Cream Scoop (with toppings)
  10. Money Soap

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide from MomAdvice.com

  1. Personalized Reusable Starbucks Cup
  2. Go Away Kitchen Towel
  3. Matchbooks With Funny Book Titles
  4. iPhone Cord Organizer
  5. Kozikicks
  6. Blue Light Blocking Glasses (and here’s a kid’s blue light blocking version)
  7. Aloe-Infused Socks
  8. Backpack Beer Hugger
  9. Library Card Socks
  10. Singing Machine Microphone

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide from MomAdvice.com

  1. Christmas Thank You Cards
  2. Rocketbook
  3. Cozy Cup Tea Tea Infuser
  4. Mini Doodle Kit
  5. La Seltzer Ornament
  6. You’re My Lobster Pint Glasses
  7. Treat Yo’Self Socks
  8. Chapstick or Lip Balm
  9. Pocket Utensil Set
  10. Magnetic Wristband

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide from MomAdvice.com

 

  1. Cable Bite
  2. Dollar Shave Club Kit
  3. Good In Store Calendar
  4. Ear Warmers (here is a guy version)
  5. Rechargeable Hand Warmers
  6. Sneaker Cleaning Kit
  7. Cozy Socks
  8. Bluetooth Sleep Headphones
  9. Furlifter
  10. I Hate Everyone Too Oven Mitt

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide from MomAdvice.com

  1. Glasses Repair Kit
  2. GLEEM Electric Toothbrush
  3. Wine Aerator Pourer
  4. Smart Wifi Plug
  5. Beard Shaping Tool
  6. Collapsible Straw
  7. Selfie Light Ring
  8. USB Hand Warmer Mouse Pad
  9. Felt Corner Bookmark
  10. Smith’s Rosebud Salve

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide from MomAdvice.com

  1. Grammar Pencils
  2. Bicycle Repair Kit
  3. Wine Glass Cleaner (I love this thing so much)
  4. Reusable Dryer Balls
  5. Corkcicle
  6. Power Puff Bluetooth Hat (or Beanie)
  7. Mad Libs
  8. Rub-a-Way Bar
  9. My Life Story So Far Book
  10. Go Fetch Magnetic Bottle Opener

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide from MomAdvice.com

  1. City Tote Bags
  2. Sweep & Swipe Laptop Cleaner
  3. Book of the Month Gift Certificate
  4. National Park Explorer’s Thermal Bottle
  5. Magazine Subscriptions (I always find the best prices here)
  6. Hair Chalk Set
  7. The New York Times Mini Crosswords Book
  8. Instant Pot Decal
  9. Clipa2
  10. Contoured Sleep Mask

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide from MomAdvice.com

  1. Hair Scalp Massager
  2. Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer
  3. Survival Kit
  4. Beer Mittens
  5. Love Letters Game (our fave!)
  6. Mindfulness Cards
  7. LifeStraw
  8. Nuun Electrolytes
  9. Book Binding Kit
  10. Super Mario Bros. Power Up Card Game

Love this gift guide? Here are a few other posts we think you should check out!

Unique Gifts for the Man Who Has Everything from MomAdvice.com unique gifts for the man who has everything

Unique Gift Ideas for Kids from MomAdvice.com unique gifts for kids of any age

choose your own adventure christmas choose your own adventure christmas gift

How to Save on Hamilton Tickets how to save on hamilton tickets for the holidays

I hope that this inspires your gift-giving this year! Let me know if you got anything and what you thought!

Honest truth: I am always thankful to be a part of ANYONE’S holiday!

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This post contains affiliate links from RewardStyle. Thank you for supporting our website through your purchases.

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Everyone Will Love

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

Bring the holidays to your mantle with these simple DIY Christmas trees! This holiday craft is so easy and inexpensive that you can make a few and display them together or give them as gorgeous hostess gifts. Make the DIY holiday yarn trees in Christmas colors or your favorites to add a festive touch to your Christmas decor!

 

What could be more fun than decorating for the holiday season?

For this month’s holiday decor project, I wanted to share with you a fun DIY project for creating festive yarn trees that you can create to decorate a ledge, table, or mantle in your home. 

You will only need a few affordable supplies from your craft shop to create this craft.

Don’t think of these as only a decoration for Christmas.

These are beautiful to display all holiday season long, especially in a nice warm neutral yarn!

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

Supplies List

2-    3-7/8 x 8-7/8  inch  Styrofoam floral cones

2- 3-7/8 x 11-7/8 inch  Styrofoam floral cones

4 glass candlestick holders (optional)

2 skeins of inexpensive yarn (in your favorite yarn color)

Small & Large Clover Pom-Pom Makers (unless making pom-poms by hand)

Hot glue gun

Glue Sticks

Straight Pins

Scissors

3.75 mm straight yarn needles

2-4.00 mm double-pointed needles

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

 

Instructions for Making Your Yarn Trees

1. For each of the smaller trees, you will need approximately 73-75 small pom poms. I am in love with my pom-pom maker for making these and have provided a picture tutorial above, if you would like to use these too.  Make sure to give your pom-poms a nice trim, to even up any uneven spots.

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

 

2. Once you have made all of your pom-poms, it is time to assemble them to your tree-form. Grab your hot glue gun and apply a dab of glue in the center of the pom-pom (where you have tied the string to gather everything.  Apply the pom-poms to the tree, starting at the bottom of the cone and working your way around the tree. Try not to line these up all evenly, but stagger them in each row to make it look more like a real tree!

 

3. Continue adding pom-poms until you get to the top of the tree, making sure all of the tree-form is completely covered.

 

4. Make a large pom-pom in a contrasting color and secure it with hot glue, in the center again, and add it to the top of the tree as your star.

 

5. Finish by giving your tree a trim, especially at the top, to trim all of the yarn down to make it look more like a tree.

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

 

6. For an easy yarn-wrapped tree, begin by adding a dab of hot glue to the top of your taller tree-forms. Begin by applying your yarn in a swirled motion at the top. Add one more dab of glue at the top and start wrapping your tree-form all the way around it until you are about a half-inch from the bottom.

 

7. Add one more dab of glue and then finish adding the yarn until you reach the bottom of the form. Clip the yarn and secure the end with a little hot glue.

 

8. Decorate this tree-form any way that you would like. If you are not a knitter, there are many varieties of ways you can decorate these yarn trees. You can top with a pom-pom in an alternating color, create a multi-colored pom-pom for topping, braid yarn to create a garland, or create some garland out of a contrasting color.

 

9. If you are a knitter, knit a 3-stitch i-cord using two 4.0 mm double-pointed needles  for a total of 32.5 inches. Using straight pins, secure the i-cord to the top of the tree and then wrap around and around, securing occasionally with pins, until the tree is completely wrapped in garland.

 

10. Top your tree with a simple knitted bow, if knitting an adornment. Using your 3.75 mm straight needles, cast on ten stitches. Knit the first row, then purl the next row. Repeat this pattern until it measures 6.5 inches in length. Cast the stitches off and then seam them in the center. Using more yarn, simply wrap the center of the bow and then knot the yarn behind. Secure the bow at the top with hot glue.

 

11. Attach all of the trees to inexpensive dollar-store candlestick holders. If you desire, you can spray paint these in your favorite color or just leave them plain, as I have shown.

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

 

I hope you love these little yarn trees as much as I do! It is definitely an inexpensive and fun way to dress up a corner of your home for the holidays!

 

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As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love!

 

DIY yarn holiday trees MomAdvice.com

 

Don’t miss these other great Holiday ideas from MomAdvice:

 

How to Make a Yarn Pom Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com

How to Make Pom Pom Wreath 

 

 

The Easiest Burlap Wreath You Will Ever Make from MomAdvice.com

Easy Burlap Wreath

 

 

how to make a pom-pom and ornament garland MomAdvice

Ornament & Pom Pom Garland

 

 

Christmas at Mom Advice-Traditions Decor and Food

Christmas at MomAdvice

 

 

 

20 Easy DIY Stocking Stuffers - MomAdvice.com

DIY Stocking Stuffers

 

 

 

54 Handmade Gifts from MomAdvice

Homemade Gift Ideas

 

 

DIY Holiday yarn trees MomAdvice.com

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5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

Need a quick and easy dessert for your holiday dinner? Just pick up a store-bought pie and dress it up with these great and simple ideas! These small hacks will make your pie look and taste homemade!

 

The holiday preparation continues this week on the blog.

Today I want to showcase 5 easy ways to decorate store-bought pies for the holidays.

Supermarket pies can still look beautiful and will taste even better with my ideas for some fun toppings and additions.

Although we have a fantastic pumpkin pie recipe on here and even a step-by-step picture tutorial for making the perfect pie crust, I know that many of us just don’t have the desire to tackle pie baking.

This post is especially for you and I hope you can create a swoon-worthy dessert table that will leave people guessing if you made those pies or not.

 

Spiced Whipped Cream

 

Add a Delicious Homemade Topping

Although your pie may not be homemade, your toppings can really stand out with just a few simple ingredients that will add a lot of flavor to your pie.

One of my favorite toppings is a Spiced Whipped Cream that gets its hint of spices from ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and a little sugar. It is the perfect accompaniment to your store-bought pumpkin or pecan pies for the holidays.

 

Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping

 

Another idea for layering on the flavors is to add texture through a fun crunchy pie topping.

One of our favorites that I created for our pies last year was an easy Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping made from amaretto cookies and fresh cranberries.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Add Unique Details

One of the greatest tools that I got for my holiday baking this past year was a set of piecrust cutters that I found on Williams Sonoma.

Not only are these great tools to keep handy for masking any flaws on your homemade crusts, but they can double as a great detail to adorn store-bought pies.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Purchase pie crust from the refrigerated section of the store and then roll out on a lightly floured surface.

Dip your cutters in a little flour and then push down and press these cutters to create your shape.

Bake these adorable details in a 400 degree oven for 6-8 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Allow these to cool and then decorate the tops of your pies with these.

These little details are also so pretty to sprinkle on your dessert table and add that extra festive touch.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Make a Mini Pie Spread

When I spotted these adorable mini pies in the bakery section of our local Walmart, I knew this would be another fun spin on pies to try for the holidays.

These mini pies are less than $1 each and come in a variety of flavors year-round.

For smaller families, these store-bought pies offer the perfect serving size and give everyone exactly what they love the most.

Adorn these with the smaller size pastry cutouts and add a bowl of spiced whipped cream in the center so that everyone can create their own pie experience.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Give the Gift of Pie

One of my favorite things to give as a hostess gift is a sweet treat for their hospitality.

Nothing is sweeter than a little individual treat just for me after entertaining, at least that is my opinion, and one of my favorite gifts to give happens to be my little peppermint cheesecakes in a jar.

If you are short on time though, consider purchasing these mini pies as hostess gifts for the holidays.

Dress it simply in some festive ribbon and tie a bow around it to create a sweet little gift to give for the holidays.

At less than $1 each, these are a sweet way to say thank you without spending a lot.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Create a Beautiful Display

I love that when I posted a picture of this pie display on Instagram & Facebook that people were asking if this was even real.

I think it really goes to show that with a few easy details and staging, you can take store-bought pies to another level.

With this display I used mismatched cake stands in varying heights to create a display.

Don’t be afraid to drape a cloth napkin over a stand to make it cohesive or even create a stand out of a teacup and plate and cover it with the cloth napkin, if you are short on serving pieces.

If you have multiple dishes out, consider adding these cute chalkboard label frames to help people navigate the dessert table.

Sprinkle pastry cutouts along the tablecloth to decorate the display and pull in leaves, bare branches, or create a unique centerpiece like I did this year to add some color to the table.

I hope these ideas are inspiring and that you will find a new way to love store-bought pies this year with these creative details!

 Oh, and enjoy all that free time you have now that you aren’t baking this year.

Winning!

 

Don’t miss this series on how to make your Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time and freeze the meal!:

 

make-ahead mashed potatoes from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

 

 

 

Ultimate Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe

 

 

 

Make-Ahead Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange Cranberry Sauce

 

 

 

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole

 

 

Bacon, Apple, and Cornbread Stuffing from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Gluten Free Bacon & Apple Cornbread Stuffing

 

 

 

Buttery Dinner Rolls in the Bread Machine from MomAdvice.com

Buttery Bread Machine Dinner Rolls

 

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Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix

Monday, November 18th, 2019

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Not a baker? You can still make this sugar & spice candied nut mix for gift-giving. Tossed in sugar and spices, this holiday nut recipe is a great gift to give or to share at your holiday dessert table.

Not everyone is a baker and that is why I wanted to share with you an easy sugar & spice candied nut mix that you can pull together for your holiday giving that is as impressive as any holiday cookie.

Making your own flavored nut mixes might not be something you have considered for the holidays, but once you try this delicious nut mix, you will have a hard time giving these sugared and spiced nut mixes away.

Tossing Sugar & Spice Candied Nuts With Egg Whites

For many years, I was embarrassed about my lack of baking skills. Despite taking courses on baking and cake decorating, I never could master the art making baked treats.

What changed though was my perception of my cooking skills after watching those early episodes of Rachael Ray.

Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Poured On Cookie Sheet Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Sugared on Baking Sheet

While Rachael Ray could make an incredible breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, brinner, etc.., she ALWAYS defaulted to store-bought dessert hacks and prepared doughs for making her desserts.

It helped ME to realize that just because you don’t bake doesn’t mean you aren’t an incredible cook.

Baking requires exact ingredients, weighing, and doing thoughtful baking practices (like sifting flour).

Cooking though is measured with my heart. I can test flavors, and taste-test as I go, adding and taking away as I cook.

I think the biggest challenge, for me, has been translating those recipes for you.

I mean, how do you say, add the salt until it tastes right on your tongue?

Hahaha!

Let’s move on to this delicious recipe that you ABSOLUTELY can taste test until you get the perfect balance of sweet, salty, or even spicy.

Here are a few questions that get asked often on this recipe.

Sugar & Spice Candied Nuts After Baking Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Adding Kosher Salt

Where is The Best Place to Buy Nuts for Gifts?

Let’s be honest, nuts aren’t the cheapest gift to give so I recommend shopping around for the best prices.

If you have a membership to Costco or Sam’s Club, you can buy these ingredients in bulk to save on your cost per pound.

I also found this Reddit thread on where to buy the cheapest nuts and thought it had some incredible suggestions that I wouldn’t have thought of.

What Are the Best Nuts for a Holiday Nut Mix?

You can choose any combination of mixed nuts that you might love or just keep things simple and roast only your absolute favorite. In this recipe, I’m just using three of my favorites- pecans, almonds, and walnuts.

You can definitely use your own favorite combination for your sugar and spice nuts.

My favorite variety of nuts include pecans, almonds, and walnuts.

These nuts are then tossed with an egg white, water, sugar and some of my favorite holiday spices- cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and allspice.

Once you pull them hot out of the oven, I sprinkle liberally with kosher salt to add that sweet and salty combination

I love so much in everything from my salted caramel mochas to my dark chocolate & sea salt brownies. The salt really adds to the flavors and helps make these even more addictive.

Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix After Baking Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix After Salting

How Do I Package Nuts for Gift-Giving?

This time of year, the craft stores are loaded with food packaging for your gifts. I love to check the seasonal aisles in Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and Jo-Ann Fabrics.

The important thing is that they are airtight, especially if you are giving a large amount as a gift. While these paper boxes make a cute display, an inexpensive tin or even recycling nut tins will keep your treat fresher longer.

To make the most of your recycled container, consider wrapping it with festive gift wrap or scrapbooking paper to make it more unique.

Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Packaged Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Close-Up Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Packaging Idea

Don’t have a lot of money in the budget? No worries at all!

Did you know that you can order items IN BULK from the Dollar Store?

This shop usually has a TON of great packaging solutions for just one dollar.

Target’s Dollar Spot might also be a great option, if you have on a budget.

Can I also remind you how IMPORTANT it is to have this app on your phone when visiting your craft stores? It costs nothing and it gives you cash back on all your purchases. Here’s $10 to get you started ASAP.

Not only does this make a good amount for sharing, you can easily double the recipe.

Package these nut mixes up in a pretty box tied with ribbon.

I actually found these little Wilton boxes at our local grocery store, but I am sure they have something similar at your favorite craft store.

I lined the interior of them with a little tissue paper and finished them with satin ribbon.

 

Sugar & Spice Nut Mix
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
An easy nut mixture to create from spices in your pantry and perfect for your holiday snacking or giving.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup sugar (you can use white or brown sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Coarse salt for sprinkling
  • 2 cups pecans, halves
  • 2 cups whole almonds
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • Optional: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to make these into sweet & spicy nuts.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the beaten egg white, sugar, and all of your spices (except the salt).
  3. Add the nuts and toss until evenly coated. Make sure to stir to coat each individual piece well.
  4. Spread nuts in a single layer, evenly, onto a greased or lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  6. Spread out on parchment paper and sprinkle, while still hot, liberally with coarse salt.
  7. Package for your gift-giving needs.

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Looking for more great holiday treats? Here are a few of our favorite recipes!

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com no-bake peppermint cheesecakes in jars

the hidden secrets to the perfect cut-out sugar cookies

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com gluten-free cake mix sugar cookie recipe

Gingerbread Biscotti Recipe Step-By-Step gingerbread biscotti recipe

What are some of your favorite treats to share around the holidays?

Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix from MomAdvice.com Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix from MomAdvice.com

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Gingerbread Biscotti Step-By-Step Tutorial

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Gingerbread Biscotti Recipe Step By Step Header

Did you know how easy it is to make biscotti? This great recipe shows you how to make this gingerbread biscotti treat that is perfect for dunking in a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Get the step-by-step tutorial and printable recipe on the blog today!

One of my favorite gifts to give is homemade biscotti.

This gingerbread biscotti is the perfect gift to give for the holidays or to share in this year’s cookie exchange.

Biscotti seems like a really difficult treat to make, but it is just as easy as making a regular batch of cookies.

The biggest difference is that you bake these treats twice to get a cookie with crunch.

Gingerbread Biscotti with a Cup of Coffee

What Are Biscotti?

Biscotti are an Italian twice-baked cookie.

You begin by baking these tasty treats in a loaf, then slicing with a serrated knife, and finish them with a second round of baking.

This yields a dry, crunchy oblong cookie that is perfect for dunking!

Are Biscotti Gluten-Free?

Many of our readers need to eat gluten-free so this is one of our most commonly asked questions. Biscotti are made with flour (this recipe is made with all-purpose and wheat flour) so biscotti are NOT gluten-free.

How Can I Make Biscotti Gluten- Free?

Substitutions for all-purpose flour in this recipe can be made by using oat flour instead. Here is a recipe for gluten-free gingerbread biscotti that may cater to your dietary needs more.

where to find molasses for gingerbread biscotti

Where Do I Find Molasses In My Grocery Store?

I can admit, the first time I started making gingerbread-flavored items, I had NO CLUE where to find molasses in my grocery store.

Is molasses in the cereal aisle with the pancake mixes or is it in the baking supplies aisle?

If you are lost too, I would suggest you check both aisles. While I have found it in my baking supplies aisle, some stores do carry it in their breakfast aisle.

Don’t think of it as only being stocked near the sugar either. This can be found randomly down by spices or even near the puddings.

Don’t want to hit your grocery store? Check here and order online instead.

How to Make Gingerbread Biscotti


This Gingerbread Biscotti is filled with all of the gingerbread flavors you love.

To achieve this flavor, we mix molasses, brown sugar, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon into our batter.

patting the gingerbread biscotti dough Splitting Gingerbread Biscotti Dough for a Second Bake split gingerbread dough patted down Gingerbread Biscotti Dough After First Bake Cutting Biscotti for a Second Bake The most important thing with this biscotti, I have found, it to keep an eye on it because it will go from done to burnt rather quickly!

Start checking these after twenty minutes (on your first bake time) and don’t leave them neglected after that point or you may have some burnt biscotti on your hands!

After baking these, for the first time, you will slice them with a sharp knife (serrated is a great option).

You should note that you start with a higher temperature, on the first baking, and then you reduce the oven temperature for the second round of baking.

Gingerbread Biscotti Baked a Second Time

Once they are sliced, you will spread them out on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. 

Bake them again.

Gingerbread Biscotti Glaze Drizzling Glaze on Gingerbread Biscotti

After finishing the second round of baking, allow these to cool completely on a wire rack before drizzling with glaze.

Packaged Gingerbread Biscotti Close Up of Homemade Gingerbread Biscotti With Glaze

These can be packaged in festive treat bags with a little ribbon and would make a cute accompaniment to a favorite homemade drink mix, coffee, or the makings of a coffee gift basket with my homemade peppermint syrup or gingerbread syrup for easy homemade lattes.

However you package it, solo or in a basket, I guarantee that this recipe will be a hit for your holiday giving and baking!

Gingerbread Biscotti
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 dozen
 
A sweet and simple gingerbread biscotti recipe that is perfect for your holiday gift-giving!
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1½ tablespoons ground ginger
  • ¾ tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • For Glaze: ½ cup confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons milk or light cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oil, sugar, eggs, and molasses. In another bowl, combine flours, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg; mix into egg mixture to form a stiff dough (depending on your humidity, the dough may be sticky).
  3. Divide dough in half, and shape each half into a roll the length of the cookie.
  4. Place rolls on lined cookie sheet, and pat down to flatten the dough to ½ inch wide thickness.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. KEEP A VERY CLOSE EYE ON IT as it will go from done to burnt quickly.
  6. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool.
  7. When cool enough to touch, move over to a cutting board and cut into ½ inch thick diagonal slices.
  8. Place sliced biscotti on cookie sheet, and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until toasted and crispy. If the biscotti already looks a little "too" crispy, you can decrease your oven temperature to 275 degrees and bake for 7-10 minutes instead.
  9. Let cool.
  10. In a small bowl mix together the confectioners sugar, vanilla extract and milk until it is incorporated. Using a small spoon, drizzle back and forth your glaze over the biscotti. Allow the icing to harden before packaging.

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Looking for more great holiday hostess gift? Here are 3 other projects to check out!

Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com make some chocolate coffee spoons to pair with the biscotti

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

no bake peppermint cheesecakes in a jar

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles slow cooker pumpkin spice candles (SO fun and easy!)

What fun treats are you baking this holiday season? Any great big batch recipes you might like to share?

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