Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Well, Mr. Potter, In My Book He Died A Much Richer Man Than You'll Ever Be.'

Sixty-six years ago on Christmas eve, George Bailey was at the end of his rope and was about to jump off a bridge in Bedford Falls, New York. So began the beginning of the end of It’s A Wonderful Life, a movie that I never tire of seeing this time of year.

Even when I was at my most cynical, It’s A Wonderful Life was never corny. On one very lonely Christmas Eve, it helped me through a long night, while with every passing year its message -- considered too simplistic by the movie's few critics -- continues to humble and inspire me.

That message reverberates even more strongly in these troubled times: Each of us, no matter how insignificant we may seem, has the power to make a difference. And that the true measure of our humanity has nothing to do with fame or money, but with how we live our life.

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen It’s A Wonderful Life, check your TV listings or download it from Netflix. If you’ve never seen it, you owe it to yourself to do so.

Oh, and have yourself a happy holiday. See you next year.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cookies in a Jar

These cookie mixes in mason jars make fun and are sure to be a big hit with everyone you give one to!

Follow the steps below to make your own cookies in a jar. Start out by gathering the basic supplies you will need. Then pick a recipe and gather together those ingredients. Finally, you can fill and decorate the jar. Don't forget to print out a recipe gift card to include with the cookies in a jar.

These cookie in a jar mixes, complete with recipe gift tag, were loved by everyone on our gift giving list and I hope everyone you give them too feels the same way! Be creative when you make your jars, and make sure you add your own personalized, finishing touches!

Gathering Supplies

Start off by gathering these basic supplies. You will use the same basic supplies no matter what recipe you choose.

· Quart Size Canning Jars with Lids

· Scrap Fabric

· Ribbon

· Glue

· Paper

· Recipe and Required Ingredients (below)

Filling the Jar

Follow these simple instructions when you are ready to start filling your jars with the cookie ingredients.

1. Thoroughly wash and dry the jars and lids.

2. Pick a recipe from below and gather your ingredients.

3. Use the instructions and tips from the recipe you choose and fill the jar!

Choose a Recipe and Printable Tag

Browse through the recipes below and choose your favorite to try or you can simply try them all!

Decorating the Jar

Use your imagination and these suggestions to decorate your jars.

1. Fabric: Cut a circle out of the fabric that is 6- to 8- inches across. (I traced around the top of a bowl!) Place the round section of the jar's lid on the jar and center the fabric on that. Screw the other section of the lid in place to hold the fabric. Fluff out the fabric where it comes out from under the lid.

2. Recipe: Print out your choice of the printable recipe card/gift tag that goes with the recipe you chose. Trim closely around the recipe and graphic. Put a small piece of scotch tape on the upper right-hand section of the 'Printable Gift Tag' recipe (right behind the top edge of the graphic). This is to give it a little extra strength. Use a hole puncher and make a small hole in the taped corner.

3. Ribbon: Cut an approximate 3-foot piece of ribbon. I actually used 2 pieces of ribbon with colors that matched the fabric. Thread the ribbon through the hole in the 'Printable Gift Tag' recipe. Wrap the ribbon around the metal of the jar lid and tie it into a bow. Secure in place with a small dab of glue behind the bow and in the back.

Special Butterscotch Chip Cookies in a Jar



  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup high protein crisp rice and wheat cereal
  • 3/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


1. Layer the ingredients in the order given in a one quart wide mouth canning jar. Firmly pack each ingredient in place. It will be a tight fit, but all ingredients will fit in the jar. Use pinking shears to cut an 8 or 9 inch circle from gingham, calico, or a seasonal fabric. Place the fabric over the wide mouth lid and rim and secure with a rubber band. Tie on a raffia or ribbon bow to cover the rubber band. Attach a card to the ribbon or raffia with the following mixing and baking directions:

2. Empty jar of cookie mix into a large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup of butter or margarine, 1 egg, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Use hands to mix the wet and dry ingredients together. When completely blended, roll into large walnut sized balls. Place on unprepared cookie sheets and use the palm of your hand to flatten each cookie ball. Bake at 350 in a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.

Cranberry Hootycreeks



  • 5/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


1. Layer the ingredients in a 1 quart or 1 liter jar, in the order listed.

2. Attach a tag with the following instructions: Cranberry Hootycreeks 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. 2. In a medium bowl, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until fluffy. Add the entire jar of ingredients, and mix together by hand until well blended. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. 3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges start to brown. Cool on baking sheets, or remove to cool on wire racks.

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies In A Jar



  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar


1. Combine the flour, baking soda, white sugar, and the chocolate chips. Place 1/2 of the mixture in a clean quart sized glass jar, and pack firmly. Place the brown sugar on top, again packing firmly. Place the remaining flour mixture on top. Cover with a lid.

2. Attach an index card with the following directions: Empty contents of jar into a large bowl. In separate bowl combine 3/4 cup of butter, 1 1/2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until creamy. Add to dry mixture. Drop by tablespoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

Holiday Cookies in a Jar



  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chocolate-covered candy (such as holiday M&M's or Hershey's Holiday Candy Coated Bits)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup cocoa crisped-rice cereal (or regular flavor)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips



1. In a 1-quart widemouthed jar, add the ingredients in the order listed. Pack them down firmly after each addition (use the blunt end of a table knife or a wooden spoon to level and tamp down each layer). Screw on the cover (see Wrapping It Up for a note on securing a ribbon beneath the threads) and prepare a gift tag with the following instructions: "To make your holiday cookies, cream together 1/2 cup of butter or margarine, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 egg in a large bowl. Add the contents of the jar and stir until well blended. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 4 dozen."

Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookies in a Jar


Makes about 36

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup raisins
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix together flour, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Layer ingredients in order given in a 1 quart "wide mouth" canning jar. It will be a tight fit, make sure you firmly pack down each layer in place before adding the flour mixture.
Instructions to attach to jar:
Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookies
1. Empty jar of cookie mix into large mixing
bowl. Use your hands to thoroughly blend
2. Add: 3/4 cup butter or margarine softened at room temp. Stir in one egg, slightly beaten. Add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
3. Mix until completely blended. You may need to finish mixing with your hands.
4. Shape into balls the size of walnuts. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet 2 inches apart. DO NOT USE WAXED PAPER.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 11 to 13 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to baking racks to finish cooling.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Brownie Mix in a Jar



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
  • 1 cup REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips or HERSHEY'S Premier White Chips
  • 1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Mini Chips Semi-Sweet Chocolate


  1. 1 Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
  2. 2 Layer the ingredients in a clean 1-quart glass canister or jar in the following order (from bottom to top): sugar, cocoa, flour mixture, peanut butter chips and small chocolate chips. Tap jar gently on the counter to settle each layer before adding the next one.
  3. 3 Cover jar and attach baking directions (see below). Makes 1 gift jar.
    Baking Directions: Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. Combine 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted and cooled butter and 2 slightly beaten eggs in a large bowl. Gently stir in jar contents. Spread in prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Cool in pan. Cut into bars. Makes 16 bars.

40 Home Made Christmas Gift Ideas ~ For Men

Laptop, iPad, and Kindle Cases

clip_image001{Just change the color of the fabric for a dude}

1. Padded iPad Case Tutorial – For the person that has everything (aka an iPad or iPad2) this cute case is the perfect gift to complement their new toy. A great tutorial with lots of pictures.

2. Laptop/Kindle/iPad Sleeve Tutorial – This pattern can be made for any size laptop, Kindle, or I-Pad by adjusting the measurements accordingly. Lindsay also gives suggestions for making a more “manly” if you are giving it to a guy.

3. Treadmill iPod Holder – Speaking as a person who has knocked my ipod off the treadmill, I think this is genius! A perfect gift for the man in your life who is trying to exercise more.

4. Travel Organizer Tutorial – This travel organizer will help them keep their documents organized and easy to find. The people behind them in the security line will appreciate it.

Gifts of Comfort


5. How To Make a Remote Caddy - Here is to wishing the new homeowners never lose their TV remote. This detailed sewing tutorial will show you how to make a remote caddy to help that dream become a reality.


6. Laptop Lap Desk Tutorial - This laptop lap desk is ideal for the avid laptop user. It will prevent you from getting those pesky burns on you legs when your computer heats up, plus there is a handy chalkboard for jotting down notes. (You can also place a notepad there if you prefer.)

7. A MP3 Player Pocket Pillowcase – it is exactly what it sounds like. There is a pocket with strap to hold an MP3 player while napping or relaxing. Keeps that MP3 player right where you want it.

8. Ice Hockey Quilt - Such a fun and original quilt idea for the ultimate hockey fan!


9. Aromatic Heat Pack Belt - A stay-put heat pack pillow with case and belt is the perfect get well gift for someone you know who is feeling a little under the weather. If the heat pack doesn’t make them feel better, knowing you care will.

10. Homemade Heating Packs With Lavender – This simple sewing project makes a useful get well gift, and you can customize it with your choice of aromatherapy for a little extra indulgence. My preference is lavender, but you can also add mint, eucalyptus, or cloves.

11. A Hot/Cold Neck Wrap is the perfect gift for any dad, grandpa, or husband out there. Wouldn’t your dad/husband love to have a cold wrap around their neck after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day or a warm wrap for those aching muscles?!

Grill & BBQ


12. BBQ Worthy Hanging Towels – Make your honey some manly towels that he can use for the BBQ and keep your kitchen one’s clean. {snicker}

13. Grillin’ Towel Tutorial – Use this tutorial to make a grill towel Dad will love…perfect Father’s Day gift! There are five styles in all. All come with the man-stamp-of-approval.

How To Make Cuff Links


14. Monogramed Cufflinks – Turn a pair of thrift store cuff links into a personalized, monogram set for Dad this fathers day.

15. Custom Cuff Links - Use Dad’s favorite picture of his little ones to make these personalized cuff links. I am sure Grandpa would love a pair of his own too.

Tie Craft Ideas


16. Tie Napkins - A funny handmade gift for dad or a cute bib napkin for everyone to use at your Father’s Day dinner. This simple applique can be tackled by even a beginning sewer.

17. Dad’s Tie Gadget Case Tutorial - Turn one of Dad’s old ties into a handy and fashionable gadget case. This free downloadable tutorial will show you how to transform a tie into a cover for some of Dad’s favorite gadgets.

For The Office


18. ‘My Hero’ Scrabble Frame - Edit photos of your kids to black and whitefor the background and then search for sayings out scrabble tiles.


19. Framed Family Handprints – Get the whole family in on the crafting action this Father’s Day. Have each family member trace their hand on coordinating patterned paper and frame it for a keepsake Dad will love on Father’s Day and all year long.

20. Creative Dad’s Day Decor Frame - You’ll use an old shirt of Hub Dub’s, a Dollar Store picture frame, and iron-on leftovers, a white buttoned up shirt, and an old tie.

21. Photo Coasters Tutorial - These photos coasters are any easy, fun and affordable gift. Great for grandparents who are always looking for a new way to show off photos of the grandkids.

22. Digital Photo Frame Makeover – Love the idea of a digital photo frame but want to make it match your man’s personality, follow the tutorial but put your own twist on it.


23. How to Make a Tissue Photo Globe – Jen made this globe for her husband’s 40th birthday, covering it with photos of the past 40 years. This would be a great anniversary, mother’s day or father’s day gift.

24. Star Desktop Calendar With Photos - A fun and useful gift that the man in your life can use all year long.

25. Soda Can Coaster Tutorial - You’ve seen the soda can flowers, right? Now you can take your pop cans to the next level with these fun coasters. A great way to add a splash of color to any family room, patio or office.


26. Wine Cork Monograms – Turn old wine corks into a beautiful monogram that can be hung on the wall for show or to be used as a message board.

Free Printables


27. Dad Subway Art: 2 Designs – 17 Color Choices – most of us have a father figure, whether it’s our Dad, Grandpa, or someone else we are close to that we can look to as an example for direction and guidance in our lives–like a compass.

28. This subway art style printable for Dad can be framed as a gift, printed out to use on a card, or incorporated into your centerpiece for Father’s Day dinner.

Just For Fun


29. Golf Club Head Cover – These golf club head covers would make a perfect Father’s Day gift, or birthday/Christmas gift for the avid golfer. I love the vintage look these have.


30. Lens Camera Pal – Photography is a booming business right now. If you have a friend who is just starting out, consider making them one of the Camera Lens Pals, especially if they are into photographing children. It will prove to be a thoughtful and useful gift.

31. Photo Blocks PuzzleSo, I’m not going to lie to you….even though this is a pretty easy craft, it will eat up some time just because you are doing six sides.

32. Father’s Day Photo Coffee Sleeve Tutorial – Help the Dad in your life wear his heart on his sleeve- coffee sleeve, that is! Now when Dad’s at work he can warm his hand and his heart every time he takes a sip!

33. Giant Jenga - Use scrap pieces of wood to create a giant Jenga game to play with Dad on Father’s Day.

Meaningful Gifts


34. 10 Things I Heart About You {printbales} – This is an easy and inexpensive to make and is full of sentimentality. Kim also links to her free printable arrows you can use for your book cover.


35. DIY Catalog of Love - Inspired by library catalog cards, she decided to replace the book numbers with important dates in their relationship, book titles with “chapters” of their life together, and publisher locations with places that are important to them. the best part? each year they plan to add memories to their library card box.

36. Thoughtful Gift To Men: Peace of Mind - Make a list of all the things you nag you man about and do them. Thereby giving him: Peace Of Mind. To convey it all, I created a stack of cards in a paper box. The images that follow take you through the entire gift.


37. Explosion Photo Box – It is just packed full of pictures but looks stylish just as a box. So here are the instructions to make this awesome box.

38. Pocket Watch Photo Album Tutorial – Turn a pocket watch into an accordion style photo album. What a great gift for grandparents, especially with Father’s Day right around the corner.

39. 10 Things I Love About You Tin - A tin, some mod podge and print some mini photos and you have a fantastic gift and card all rolled into one.

40. Here are 30 frugal gift ideas to show you appreciate someone. What do you get someone if you want to show you appreciate them, but if you don’t have a lot of money to spend?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Gifts on a shoestring budget


3 make it at home Spa gift ideas!

Peppermint Cocoa Body Scrub

I love this easy-to-make body scrub because it smells amazing, rejuvenates dry winter skin and makes a perfect holiday gift.


  • 4 Tbs. honey
  • 6 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 heaping teaspoons cocoa
  • 1/2 c. sugar in the raw
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 6-10 Tbs. water
  • 6-10 drops peppermint essential oil


Mix the honey, olive oil and cocoa in a small bowl until thoroughly blended. In a larger bowl, blend the raw and granulated sugar together. Add the cocoa mixture to the sugar and mix well. Add water to get desired consistency. Add peppermint oil to desired scent.

In a warm shower, apply a small amount of mixture to the body. Scrub gently in circular motions. Rinse. Lightly pat the skin dry and follow with your favorite skin moisturizer to enhance the benefits.

The recipe yields approximately 1 1/3 cups of scrub. Package the scrub in small tin, glass, or plastic containers with lids. You can place a clear label with instructions for use on the outside of the container. Use ribbon, an old-fashioned peppermint stick, or a sprig of fresh holly for embellishment.



Grapefruit Exfoliating Paste

Increase circulation and polish the skin with this fresh-and-fruity body scrub .


  • 1 1/2 ounces almond oil
  • 25 drops grapefruit essential oil
  • 14 drops tangerine essential oil
  • 10 drops lime essential oil
  • 6 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3 ounces coarse sea salt


  1. Combine almond oil and essential oils in a glass jar and shake well.
  2. Pour the mixture into a bowl and slowly add sea salts. Stir the mixture until a thick paste forms, let sit for one hour, then pour it into a clean glass jar.
  3. Once a week, vigorously massage the scrub over the entire body, then rinse.



Firming Coffee Body Scrub

The scrub is gentle enough for everyday use and leaves skin silky smooth.

Renowned as an anti-cellulite agent, coffee detoxifies and tightens the skin; the ground beans can also exfoliate, reduce fine lines, and fend off acne. I use sugar and coconut in the following coffee-based body scrub for extra scouring power, along with macadamia or olive oil for deep hydration and a rejuvenating essential oil to help wake up the senses.

The scrub is gentle enough for everyday use and leaves skin silky smooth.


  • 1½ cups cane sugar
  • ¼ cup ground coffee beans
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut
  • ¾ cup macadamia nut oil or olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 3-5 drops essential oil of choice


  1. Mix sugar, ground coffee beans, coconut, and oil in a bowl until fully combined. Add honey followed by the essential oil.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a plastic container with a lid. (The scrub will keep for 1 to 2 weeks sealed at room temperature.)
  3. Rub a generous scoop of the scrub over your arms, legs, stomach, chest, and bottom, scrubbing medium to hard depending on your sensitivity. (Skin should be moist when applying the scrub.)
  4. Rinse off in the shower under warm to hot water, ensuring the sugar crystals disintegrate completely. Pat dry to allow the oils to soak into your soft, glowing skin.

Note: Those with very sensitive skin may wish to use pure cane sugar because it is less abrasive than raw.