DIY Christmas Presents Under $10

    


  Are you looking for a good present for a co-worker or friend but hesitate to spend a lot of money? Let’s be honest with ourselves. When we shop for Christmas presents, the goal is to make Christmas extra special for our MIP (Most Important People). MIP’s are the ones closest to us (i.e., kids, grandkids, spouses, etc…). 

You also want to make a good showing for others, but when you have five kids at home, buying for others can be difficult. A DIY Christmas gift is simple items combined to make one great present. Below I will show you two great presents for co-workers that cost less than $10 to create, and your co-workers will not be regifting. My local Dollar Tree store is my go-to for items to make unique Christmas gifts.


  1. MOVIE LOVERS GIFT

Who doesn’t like getting into comfy clothes, sitting in your favorite chair, and relaxing with a good movie? Movie nights at my house isn’t complete without the perfect snacks. Giving the gift for movie lovers is something that you know they will enjoy as they sit at home relaxing after a hard day at work.



    In this gift, there are a total of eight items, including the container. The entire package, with the bow, was $9.00.


    

    You will have to excuse my bow tying. Somethings, no amount of practice can help.




      It looks pretty great under the Christmas tree too. The receiver of this gift will never know how little it cost to put this together. As a matter of fact, I just gave this gift to a coworker and everyone gave rave reviews. 


        2.    COFFEE LOVERS GIFT


    I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like coffee (Except for me. I hate the stuff). So I created a Coffee Lovers Gift set that is also under $10. I went to my local Dollar Tree and found packages of coffee. I chose one of each kind, found a couple of thermal mugs, and I had my gift for just $5.



    Put it together in a cute little box (also from Dollar Tree) and you have another gift ready to go.



    This one was hard to keep from my husband. He loves his coffee Bold & Strong. This one is for a coworker but I guess I will just have to make another one for him.



    I hope everyone likes my inexpensive gift ideas for Christmas Gifts. I enjoyed creating this for you. I would appreciate any comments and a follow of my page. Later one I will be doing giveaway contests for any who participate.

Old Fashioned Custard Pie

     Jump to Recipe

    My great grandmother was a wizard in the kitchen. I remember when I was little, I would jump off the school bus, and instead of walking to the house, I would run for great grannies because she would always have something good cooking on the stove. I can still remember the aromatic smells that would assail my senses as soon as I stepped through her door. I can feel the nostalgia wash over me as I sit here reminiscing. Great Granny Opal was a pint-sizes lady, barely four foot ten, but the love and pride she had for her family made her seem so much taller.

    One of my favorite desserts she would make was her Old Fashioned Egg Custard Pie. I would only get it two times a year; Thanksgiving and Christmas, and every year I could hardly wait. The recipe was finally passed down to me about twenty years ago when I graduated high school, and it has been my duty to carry the tradition of making the Egg Custard Pie for our holiday meals.

Now, Egg Custard Pie isn’t the prettiest pie out there, but I promise you it will more than make up for it in flavor. The first thing you need is a deep-dish pie crust. Deep dish is a must because the filling will expand when cooking, and custard pie runoff in your oven is a disaster (speaking from experience, not fun to clean).

STEP ONE:  Break three eggs into your bowl and whisk gently. 

    STEP TWO: Add sugar and mix until combined. My kids always hate this part because they say it looks gross. I have to agree with them, but the end results are worth it.

    STEP THREE: Add milk, flour, salt, and nutmeg. Beat the mixture well. The amount of nutmeg you use depends on taste. I tend to use more than a pinch, but I love the flavor.

    STEP FOUR: Pour in unbaked pie shell. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake 45 minutes or until pie is just a little jiggly. Let rest in the refrigerator until pie is firm.

    The hardest part for me when I make this pie is the waiting period. If you cut the pie too soon, then it all falls apart. Waiting two hours is the best for the perfect pie slice. In the picture below, I cheated and used a store-bought pie crust, as you can tell from the imperfect rim of the pie. Usually, I make my crust, but on this day, I was making five different pies and didn’t have the time to make the shells. In the end, I wish I had because I am not a fan of an imperfect looking pie.

Hosting Thanksgiving Day for the First Time

     Family, friendships, and thankfulness are simply the perfect reasons to gather together. Every year I look forward to Thanksgiving. Honestly, besides Christmas, I believe that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Who doesn’t like good food and coming together with family you only get to see occasionally?

    Every year the family grows a little more, whether it’s a new marriage or a new baby waiting to be welcomed into the fold. There are always small changes for the family to embrace. Sometimes changes are very different than what it used to be. When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was at my grandparents’ house every year. When my grandfather passed away, our Thanksgiving tradition suddenly stopped. 

Harvey H. Coles — January 26th, 1937 to May 26th, 2010

    For years after that, Thanksgiving was a quiet affair with just my grandmother, mom, and daughter. We were stuck in a sad little rut and couldn’t find our way back out. Then I met my husband. Soon we started growing our family. His family welcomed my little family into the fold with open arms. Thanksgiving day suddenly started feeling like it did back in the days of my grandfather. There was a special magic to it that I can only describe as familial love and togetherness. His family welcomed mine into the fold and we were once again whole, yet it was different.

    Now that our home is large enough to host the family, it is time for me to take up the reins. So this will be my first year to cook for everyone, make sure my house is spotless and have it decorated for the holiday. My goals are big and I’m hoping to pull them off with little to no trouble. Fingers crossed!

    Table decoration is a must! No plastic table covers on Thanksgiving at my house. I am in love with buffalo plaid print and searched online until I found buffalo plaid placemats. For Thanksgiving, I bought the black and white check print and for Christmas, I splurged and got red and black. Now I have the base for my table.

    Paper plates are not allowed on my Thanksgiving table but being a mother of 5, I couldn’t afford to go out and buy expensive plates to help elevate our table, so I did the next best thing. I went to the local dollar store and found inexpensive white plates that look great with my placemats.

    Everyone made it for Thanksgiving and was very impressed with my table. Little did they know that the whole cost of the set up was under $40. My first Thanksgiving on a budget and it was a complete success! I can’t wait for many more family dinners at my dining room table. Happy Thanksgiving!

Preschool Homeschooling 101: Letter Aa

     Homeschooling is new to me and I have found some bumps in the road to getting my five year old to sit down at the computer and work. Sam is a more physical, outdoorsy kind of kid. So when I found myself struggling to maintain patience with his lack of I decided it was time to think outside the box. 

    We’ve been told time and again that kids so have a limited time in front of a screen whether it is a tv, computer or video game and now all of a sudden we are supposed to encourage them to sit in front of a computer for hours on end and expect them to learn something. Sam has been having trouble with virtual learning because he doesn’t seem to be a visual learner. He’s more of a hands on type. Realizing that I began thinking of positive ways to learn his alphabet without sitting at the computer all day long. Don’t get me wrong he still does his required lessons, but now it doesn’t take him as long because he is learning away from the computer.

    One week one we decided to have a party to celebrate the letter A. The party was to be done on Friday after a full week of learning about A. The first day I introduced him to the letter and gave him coloring pages with items starting with A. Below is a coloring page my 18 year old daughter drew for Sam for his A week. To save it, right click on the image and select save as to save it to your computer.

    
    After printing the picture out for Sam and having him color it I told him that this animal was an Alpaca and Alpaca starts with the letter A. Then I gave him some facts about Alpacas that I had researched before giving him the page. This way he not only learned the letter A, he also learned of an animal beginning with that letter and a little something about that animal. 

    On Tuesday we decided to talk more about animals beginning with the letter A, listing them and ding some research to learn more about these animals. Here are the ten animals that we came up with:

    1. Aardvark
    2. Albatross
    3. Alligator
    4. Anaconda
    5. Ant
    6. Anteater
    7. Armadillo
    8. Ape
    9. Antelope
    10. Angelfish

    Encourage your kids to thinks of A animals and see what different ones they can come up with besides what we have down. Getting those thinking juices flowing grows the mind and learning in a fun and creative way will make them want to continue to learn.

    On Wednesday we decided to come up with a list of snack that begin with the letter A. These snacks will be our party food for the end of the week. Below is a list of 15 snacks that begin with the letter A:

  1. Apple
  2. Apricot
  3. Avocado
  4. Applesauce
  5. Almonds
  6. Artichokes
  7. Asparagus
  8. Animal Crackers
  9. Apple Pie
  10. Apple Cobbler
  11. Apple Dumplings
  12. Ants on a Log
  13. A&W Root Beer
  14. Apple juice
  15. Arugula

    These are just a few snack ideas beginning with A. Its fun to come up with your own list. It’s ok if the kids don’t know what something is because it will be a learning experience for them, but we’ll get more into that on Friday.

    By Thursday your kids should have a pretty good understanding of the letter A. Now its time to dig into some paperwork. Yeah, I know it’s not as fun, but it’s something that has to be done. Right click the image below to save to your desktop and print.

    Now comes Funday Friday. It’s party time yay! So you’ve gathered up all your A letter foods so now it’s time to eat. This is a perfect way to get kids to try something new to eat, and who knows, they might find something that they like.

    I hope this post helps you and your kids take some of the tediousness out of learning letter A. Look for my next post. Preschool Homeschooling 101: Letter Bb to come in the following days.


Taking Stress Out of Thanksgiving Prep

     If you are anything like me, preparing a large Thanksgiving dinner for your entire family can be a very daunting task. Making sure you have something gluten free for your daughter  and something vegan for your aunt can be overwhelming, and we won’t even mention the eyes of your mother-in-law using her bionic eyesight to find fault in any little thing. Ugh…I shudder just thinking about it.

    

    This year I have decided that I would not stress over my holiday dinner. We will see how that goes closer to time, lol, but right now I feel pretty well in control. The most important thing on Thanksgiving Day is coming together as family and friends to give thanks for all the blessings throughout the year. That is always first and foremost in my mind, but coming a close second would be the Thanksgiving Day spread.

    So it’s Thanksgiving is a mere week away and everything you want to cook is running through your mind, and if you are like me you worry that you are going to make green bean casserole and come dinner day you end up with four green bean casseroles and no mashed potatoes. Oh the travesty. Now as you may know, I love my lists. So I have created a Thanksgiving Day Menu checklist to make sure all the major food groups are covered. 

    This list will help you organize what will be served at your dinner with no overabundance of green bean casserole. All you have to do is call everyone that is coming and see what they are bringing and add it to your list. This way you can see what still might be needed to make your dinner complete. Below I have posted a picture of my checklist for you to use.

    To use this form simply right click on the image and select save as to save on your computer. If you like this form please share this post on Social Media. 
    Now that we have the menu taken care of the next important step to do to prepare for Thanksgiving is getting the house ready. My house is home to teenagers, toddlers and babies. So when I talk about getting the house ready I mean to do a thorough deep clean the weekend before and then last minute touch up to areas where the kids have destroyed what I have already cleaned either the night before, after they have gone to bed or early Thanksgiving morning while they’re still asleep.

    Below is my checklist that I use to make sure my house looks at its best before my guests arrive. I have added extra lines so that you can add any of the chores needed to suit your household. 

    I hope these two lists will help make your Thanksgiving a little bit more stress free. Don’t forget to comment below. I love hearing from people and have a Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.





Welcome to Green Briar Ranch!

    Living on a ranch in rural Oklahoma I live far outside the hustle and bustle of big city life. That being said, that doesn’t mean that all I do is sit on my front porch sipping iced tea. For one thing, I can’t stand tea and another reason is that we are just too busy. We have a very large family, including two teenage girls and five and three year old boys and just last year we added twins, another boy and girl. So, as I said, we are very busy.
Samuel and Braxton, they love playing in the woods around our house.
Alex and Amelia, they may be only a year but they love outside just like the rest of the family.


    This year we decided to start a ranch so we have been busy building fences and buying cows. The idea of having cows comes naturally to me because I grew up around cows but the thought of actually having to manage our new ranch was very daunting. Its very different going out with your grandfather and watching him do his thing than having to be responsible for the lives of these animals yourself.
    

     

These ladies are the beginning of our Green Briar Ranch. They may look like a motley bunch but they’re ours. Our kids love them and our five year old has named them all, much to his father’s dismay lol.  

    Now that you know a little about us, let me explain what kinds of things you will find here at our site. This year, with Covid-19 looming over everyone’s head, I decided to homeschool Sam for his Pre-K year and let me tell you that my hat’s off to all those mother’s that homeschool. Being a full time working mother it’s difficult to set aside that time Sam needs to work on his school work every day. I have an amazing boss though, and she lets me bring Sam to my office every afternoon to do his daily classes.

    Sam would much rather be working out side raking leaves or picking up leaves so it’s very hard to get him to focus on the computer screen for any length of time. That made me start to think outside the box to get him to learn. So I will be posting different ideas to help your little one in their learning journey. I will have printable items as well as DIY projects with your kids. All the coloring pages will be drawn by my 18 year old daughter who loves art.
    I also plan on posting recipes and other things to help people stay organized during holidays or any day in general. You will quickly learn I love checklists. When we go on vacation I not only make one checklist but several. There’s a checklist for each kids to make sure they have everything they need, plus one for my husband and myself but also for snacks, diapers, wipes, sippy cups and any other item we might need for our trip. 
    Writing is a way of destressing for me and I hope I can help someone along the way. I hope you enjoy my posts and welcome any feedback you may have but please remember to be cordial and use G rated language. See you Soon!
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