MiMi-a great name for grandma

A Grandma's spin on crafts, games, recipes & lifestyle

The ABCs of Gratitude

Here we are…three weeks into 2022.  Did you make any resolutions?  Are you still going strong with them?  Have you ever considered instead on just being grateful?  Maybe you are saying right now, “I am grateful.”   Well then, I challenge you…how deep does that gratitude go?  Let’s dive into the ABCs of Gratitude!

Like everyone else, I feel I am full of gratitude.  Recently though, I have discovered that I tend to ignore the “small” stuff…you know, take it for granted!  As I sit here typing, I look at my hands (which are not pretty and stylish like so many of my friends and family members), and I realize how blessed I am to have the ability to use my hands in the way I want.  I love to write….and my hands allow me to do that.

Heck, I have a computer!  I am definitely blessed to have a computer.  Have I ever sat and pondered why that is such a blessing?  Of course, it allows me to write….but I have started digging deeper than the obvious.  It allows me to keep in touch with my family and friends, pay my bills, watch videos and movies, research ANY topic my heart desires, create fun graphics for blogging and party planning, research my family geneology, create spreadsheets, and on and on!

What’s Your Point?

My point is, I am learning to focus deeper on the everyday things in my life AND I FEEL GREAT!  Seriously, it has given me such a sense of happiness that I haven’t felt in a long time.  Is this a New Year’s resolution…No!  I just have been reading so many different ideas on finding joy in everyday life, and I believe I have hit the jackpot!

I’m sitting here in awe….seriously everyone….in AWE of just how much this little “project” is making me more grateful and appreciative in my everyday life.  Of course, now I want to share it with you in hopes that you, too, will enjoy it as much as I am.

How Do I “DO” the ABCs of Gratitude?~

The biggest recommendation I have for you is to cut out a little bit of “me” time before you start this project.  Time that you can just sit and focus….for a few minutes, for a half hour or just work on it various times over a period of several days.  That’s the beauty of it….there are no steadfast rules.

Drumroll please……..

Yes, it’s that easy!

If you are like me, you want it to be on some pretty paper, but that’s not necessary.  I am going to provide you with several free downloads if you would like to use those.  However, you can also just write it out on a plain old sheet of paper or in a journal/notebook.

The next part is where it gets a little tricky.  You can’t fill in the blanks with the items/people that you are always thankful for.  You know what I’m talking about…the spouse, the children, the grandchildren and the furry children.  That’s why you need a little quiet time so you can sit and think.

The good part is that nothing….and I mean NOTHING is a stupid answer.  Trust me on this!  You will understand that more once we get to the next step!

Free Downloads ~

I have created some fun printouts for you to use….just click on the green link after each image!

     Greenery Pattern Gratitude Sheet

        Unicorn Pattern Gratitude Sheet

 

          Brown Floral Pattern Gratitude Sheet

 

          Superhero Pattern Gratitude Sheet

Journals & Fun Notebooks ~

You can also use a beautiful journal.  Gorgeous books filled with decorative pages make me happy.  Do you feel that way too?  Stampington & Company has amazing products.

Magical Thinking Journal by Papaya Art     This Magical Thinking Journal is perfect for the project!

Paper House Productions is another favorite online site I love:

        This Batman Mini Notebook could be a fun booklet for kids to use!

           Here is another super cute journal for writing out thoughts!

The Next Step to ABCs of Gratitude ~

Once you print out the form or get your journal, you are ready to get to work.  Think of a word for every letter of the alphabet.  Remember, I told you earlier that there is NO wrong answer.  When I did this, I first thought some of the words seemed somewhat juvenile.  What is interesting is where each word will eventually lead you!  Here is what I came up with:

My very first word was apples.  Shouldn’t it be more substantial like air or authenticity?  Well, those are good answers too, but I went with what my mind first went to.  You may find that as you think of each letter of the alphabet, it is a bit harder to come up with a word you think is “good.”

I chose to write out a word for every letter of the alphabet in one sitting.  You can follow this method or choose to go back and add to it throughout a set amount of time if you wish.  After completing the list, I sat and focused on it.

Being thankful for apples is obvious for the very reason of food and nutrition.  This is where I challenge you to go further.  Why else am I thankful for apples?

  • Wildlife –  Many animals in wildlife love apples, apple peels, etc.  I am so grateful for animals in our world.
  • Compost – Apples are good for compost…they provide a good source of nitrogen.  I love gardening!
  • Songs – There are so many fun songs to sing with your kids about apples….music makes me happy.
  • Dessert – Some very delicious desserts are made with apples…and I love desserts!

Hopefully you are getting the idea here.  Take time to focus on each word and the MANY different reasons you are thankful for it.  You have now gone beyond the obvious and focused on so many things that you may have taken for granted.  Seriously, have you ever even considered being thankful for compost???  I sure haven’t…but I am now!

I have chosen to focus on each word over several days.  It has been very fun to see where each word leads me to!  Give it a try…you may be surprised where it leads you!

Grateful to be sharing this with you…

Mimi

 

DIY Pom Pom Gnomes & More!

While I have always thought gnomes to be cute, I have to say I have not been a gnome collector….until now!  Oh my goodness!  Whether it is because they are simply adorable or that making them has become quite theraputic, I am totally enjoying these DIY Pom Pom Gnomes and More!

A quick search on Pinterest will show you MANY ways of making yarn pom poms.   I have made pom poms over the years for various crafts, and I can honestly say I have tried MANY methods!  However, the one method I refuse to try is using a purchased pom pom maker.  I try to be as thrifty as I can so that is just not an option for me…and mine have still turned out fluffy and full!

Supplies Needed ~

  • yarn
  • scissors (sharp and with pointy tip)
  • serving fork, wooden fork, credit card, or cardboard cut about 1 1/4″ wide X 1 1/4″ wide
  • hot glue gun
  • embellishments for nose:  wooden ball, small stones, pearl balls, etc.
  • toilet paper roll(s)
  • tape (for incidentals)

First of all, you need to focus on your yarn.  Any yarn will work, and I mean ANY yarn.  So what is the difference between the $4.99 yarn and the $7.99 yarn?  There are many differences, but for these DIY pom pom gnomes, it is basically the thickness.  The thicker the yarn, the less it will take to create a full ball.

How to Make Yarn Pom Poms ~

My favorite method for making pom poms is with a large serving fork.  The fork I use is about 1 1/4″ wide.  Some other methods are using a credit card or cutting a piece of cardboard to the exact size you want.  There are truly so many items you can use for this project, this has just been the method I have found I really like.

  • Cut one piece of yarn about 6-7 inches.  Place the yarn as shown in the picture above.
  • Wrap your desired color of yarn around the fork until you get the desired size and thickness.  While you are wrapping, you will leave the one piece of yarn hanging down for later use.

  • I have included a picture to give you an idea of how the pom poms will turn out according to the number of times you wrap.  The smaller ball was wrapped around the serving fork 100 times and the bigger ball was wrapped around the serving fork 200 times.

  • Once you have finished wrapping, bring the loose piece of yarn up and over the top and tie loosely.  (The reason I say loosely is to make pulling it off the fork easier when it is time!)  Hold the tied yarn piece and begin pulling the wrapped yarn off of the fork.

  • When you have pulled it completely off of the fork, tie the yarn on top tightly, double knotting it.

  • Cut through all of the loops, being careful not to cut into center where the tied piece of yarn is tied off.  It is important to have sharp scissors with a pointy tip.

  • Lightly fluff your pom pom with your hand and then trim the edges until you have desired the size you want.

Whoo hoo…you have officially made a yarn pom pom!  Great job!

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  The blue pom poms I made above were not for making gnomes.  Remember, I told you there are so many fun things you can do with these?  Well, these particular pom poms became “snowflakes” in my Gizmo Snail Mail project I wrote about at the beginning of this month?  Do you remember that post?  Check out this fun post on Gizmo Advent Snail Mail ….right here!

I hid a Christmas book in the bottom of a box, added a spring mechanism on that, placed a piece of cardboard on that and then filled the box to the top with the “snowflakes.”  When the kids opened their countdown box, voila, it was an instant snow storm, compliments of Gizmo!

Back to DIY Yarn Pom Pom Gnomes & More ~

Now it is time to make those cute little hats!  You will need a small book or credit card that measures about 3″.  I use a small leather book that is 3 1/2″ X 5 1/2″.   It is a fun idea to get a little crazy with your yarn selection for the hats.  Decide if you will use a solid color, a mixed yarn or use 2 or 3 different colored yarns.

My daughter, Karleigh, created some pom pom gnomes over the weekend.  Notice she has some solid colors, some yarns that are a mixed coloring and then created her own color striped hats by using 2 different color yarns.  Notice that cute little Purdue one!  Such a cute idea to pair up with some holiday candy or a bottle of wine and gift to friends and family!  (She found it to be very theraputic to make these…bonus!)

Gnome Hat Instructions ~

  • Cut toilet paper roll into 1/2″ rings.  This will make the band of the hat.  Once you get familiar with the process, you can play around with the sizing of the hat and cut them to the dimensions you prefer.

  • Wrap the yarn about 30 times around the small book or credit card.  Snip the end.  Cut the yarn across the binding of the book.  Once you have cut through all of the yarn strands, you will have 30 strands that are about 7″ long.  Depending upon the bulk of your yarn, you may choose to cut more if needed.
  • Place one strand at a time through the toilet paper ring, forming a loop.

  • Bring the two loose ends up and through the loop.

  • Pull to tighten, being careful not to pull so tight that you tear the toilet paper roll.  *The toilet paper roll is somewhat flimsy.  If you happen to tear it while working, just wrap a piece of tape around the cut to mend.

  • Continue this until you have completely covered the toilet paper ring.
  • Tie one long piece of yarn around the top, leaving some loose at the top for the fluffy top of the hat.
  • Trim the top of hat to desired length.

  • Insert one to two cotton balls in hat to keep form.

  • Hot glue inside of hat and place on pom pom you made earlier.  Adorn with a nose of your choice.

These yarn pom pom gnomes are seriously as much fun to make as they are to gift and/or receive.  They are perfect additions to gifts for friends, teachers, co-workers, and family members.  They would also make a perfect gift topper!

Enjoy your crafting ~

Mimi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

French Onion Smothered Chicken

Nothing says “cozy meal” more than a warm baked dish of chicken covered in caramelized onions and ooey gooey cheese….lots of ooey gooey cheese.  This French Onion Smothered Chicken recipe pairs well with a dollop of buttery mashed potatoes.  Yum!  Read on for this amazing family recipe that even the kids can’t get enough of!

Caramelized onions are such a wonderful addition to so many meals.  In fact, I have posted other recipes on my blog in the past.  Recipes such as Grilled Caramelized Onion, Apple and Canadian Bacon Flatbread, (which can be prepared on grill or stove top) and Caramelized Onions and Provolone Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts, are both delicious recipes!

Steps for French Onion Smothered Chicken ~

Preheat oven to 350°.

Brown chicken breasts in olive oil.  If your chicken breasts are large, cut through them lengthwise to make thinner cutlets.  Season liberally with salt, pepper and McCormick’s Montreal Chicken Seasoning.

We prefer crispy edges, so I brown chicken longer to achieve this bit of crunchiness.  The amount of time needed to brown your chicken will, therefore, depend upon the amount of crispiness your guests prefer.

While the chicken is browning, melt butter in a separate skillet.  Slice 4 medium onions.  Place sliced onions in butter and cook until browned and soft, stirring occasionally.  This will take 10-15 minutes.

As the onions are cooking and once the chicken is cooked through, place browned chicken in bottom of a prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle one packet of Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Recipe Soup & Dip Mix all over browned chicken.

Once onions are cooked through, add beef broth and balsamic vinegar.  Cook this mixture on medium until it is slightly thickened.  This gives you that wonderful caramelized onion taste.

Pour the caramelized onion mixture over the chicken.  I added some extra beef broth to ensure there would be ample “onion gravy” to pour over the mashed potatoes as well.

Completely cover with shredded mozarella cheese and bake for about 30 minutes or until cheese has a nice browned texture.  You can mix shredded parmesan cheese in to for a slightly different flavor.

Serve warm over a dollop of buttery mashed potatoes.  I love to make homemade mashed potatoes, but if you are in a pinch for time, you can’t go wrong with Bob Evans Refrigerated Mashed Potatoes.  Have you tried these yet?  Wow!  They are delcious and so very much like homemade!

Other Side Dish Options ~

As stated earlier, the french onion smothered chicken pairs very well with mashed potatoes.  However, there are many other sides that would complement this yummy dish as well.

Garlic Butter Rice by Hinz Cooking is a delicious option.  This is a simple side dish that is loaded with flavor.  Another easy, yet flavorful side dish option is garlic parmesan roasted broccoli  by Easy Family Recipes.  These are just a couple of delicious side ideas, however, the beauty of this meal is that so many sides would pair nicely with it!

Whatever you decide to serve alongside this recipe, your family is sure to love this savory dish!

 

Happy cooking~

Mimi

Christmas Cookie Party

Can you smell that?  The cozy scent of warm cookies filling the whole house?  One of my favorite holiday activities is making and decorating Christmas cookies.  When my kids were younger, they would each invite a friend over for a day filled with creating Christmas cookie masterpieces as well as playing fun Christmas games.  Fast forward to 2021, these kids are now adults and yet we still get together every year for a Christmas Cookie Party!

Roll Out Cookie Recipe ~

Click Here to Print Recipe of Roll Out Cookies

In the early days I had a fun-filled day planned for all of the kiddos.  Memories of all of the kids rushing in after school all excited about the day’s events are still crystal clear in my mind!  The cookies would already be baked and placed all around the table.  Bowls of brightly colored icing  scattered all around within reach of their little hands.  Next come the paint brushes…you know the ones?  The inexpensive pack of multi-colored kid’s paintbrushes.  These served as the main decorating tool.

The Paintbrush Rule ~

If you ask any of those little bakers today, you will know the golden rule of cookie decorating.  The purple paintbrush goes in the purple icing bowl, the green paintbrush goes in the green icing bowl, the yellow paintbrush goes in the yellow icing bowl….you get the picture!  This keeps our colors fresh.    I guarantee you that when these said kids (now adults) read this they are laughing, as I am a stickler for this rule!

The small multi-colored paint brushes just like these work perfectly!

   

While I have included an easy link for you, I honestly try to gather the paintbrushes whenever I see them at the local Dollar Store or department store.  It is sometimes hard to find all of the colors you need, but collecting them over time usually proves to be successful…as long as you remember where you have stored them! 😉

Small ramekins like these are used for the many icing colors that they insist we have…ok, I insist too! 😉

 

The four primary colors are definitely not enough for this festive day!  You will need a lot of small bowls to make all of the icing colors requested.  It is much more fun if you let them create just the perfect shade of each color.  Once again those memories come rushing in, “Do you think this red is bright enough?”  “Should we do dark purple or light purple…or both?”  “Did someone make black…we need lots of black!”  “Ooooh, what about gray?”

 

The icing recipe itself is simple.  We have tried different recipes but have finally all decided this simple recipe is our favorite.  Printable version of the simple, but oh so good, icing recipe can be reached right here!

Cookie Cutters ~

We all have our favorite cookie cutter.  I continue to add new ones to the mix, but nothing melts my heart more than when I hear, “Wait a minute, did you make any snowglobe cookies?”  “Does anyone have a Christmas tree cookie they can share?” “What was this one??  A penguin, oh yea!”

Yes, sometimes the cookie shape is hard to tell what it is until you bring it to life with some color!  Other times they get broken and still get turned into a major work of art…thanks to Ali!  No, we do not have a Starbucks cookie cutter, but somehow she made the perfect latte cookie!

If I had to choose, I would say the snowglobe is one of everyone’s favorites…

It has been so much fun to watch their artistic ability change over the years.  However, no matter how beautiful they are, the taste is always the same…..delicious!  We are always careful to make an abundance so that everyone has plenty to take home and share….and to sample along the way.

When this tradition first began, the kids would start the afternoon out icing the cookies.  We would then move on to Christmas scavenger hunts and Christmas Bingo.  These activities ended with lots of festive prizes, of course.  I would send the kids home hyped up on sugar but exhausted from a fun-filled day!

The tradition has now moved to evenings as we have to schedule our Christmas Cookie Party around work schedules (that damn adulting thing always interferes!  😜).   We have a Cookie Crew text group that gets busy at the end of November working on the current year’s date.  The phone goes ping, ping, ping and voila…we have a date!  Now they all roll into the house with bottles of wine and fun Christmas gifts to share before we get to decorating!  Oh, did I mention the food?  Yes, we now have lots of savory appetizers as well.  Now instead of me sending them off exhausted and with full bellies the exact opposite happens….oh how the times have changed!

New Decorating Tools ~

We have recently upped our decorating game.  As Ali put it best, “Oh Shel, this is a game changer!”  The addition of squeeze bottles brought a whole new way of decorating to our Christmas Cookie Party fun!  Wow, these are so much fun and allow for more precise decorating.

Addi demonstrates for us…

As the years go by, we add new little ones to the crew and continue making wonderful memories.  Had I known years ago how special this tradition was going to be, I would have urged others to do the same!

One thing I know for sure is that these girls will continue this tradition and that makes me a very happy Mimi!

Photo Gallery of More Recent Years ~

(Some year I will go back to my old files to add pictures from the younger years!)

   

   

 

Now everyone get out there and get to baking…..enjoy your Christmas season!  And to you, my precious Christmas Cookie Party crew…I love you…thank you for all of the wonderful memories…and cheers to many more!

Much love~

Mimi

 

P.S.  Check out a similar post I wrote about this last year (with less details), however there are some of the fun cookie cutter links included in this one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advent Snail Mail With Gizmo ❄

Ahhh…December!  The days are filled with kids anxiously counting down every…single…day until Christmas Eve.  Many families make the countdown fun with various advent calendars filled with candies and trinkets.  My kids loved these…as do my grandchildren!!!  Now that I am a Mimi (grandma), I have decided to create my own type of December fun while not interfering with my daughter’s advent calendar that she does with her children.  This is how advent snail mail with Gizmo came to life!

Meet Gizmo~

This fun little guy is Gizmo the fuzzy snowflake.  He will show up in the kids’ mailbox throughout the month of December spreading Christmas cheer.  This little guy will be a bit different as he will not show up daily.  The kids will never know which days he will appear, which will add a bit of suspenseful fun!

Gizmo’s Festive Responsibilities ~

The advent snail mail with Gizmo will begin on December 1 of each year.  Gizmo will introduce himself to the kids with a letter and a gift.

Use this free link to print out as many copies as needed:  Christmas Advent Snail Mail With Gizmo

Fun Gift/Craft Ideas to Include In Advent Snail Mail With Gizmo ~

This being the inaugural year with Gizmo, I have decided to focus mostly on books.  There will be other small items at different times, but this is a great time to carve out some quality time reading to the kids.  Also, books are the gifts that keep on giving!  Of course, my first thought was Christmas books, which I will indeed include on some days.  However, I read a fun article about picture books adapted from famous movies and tv shows…how fun!!!  Justine, from Life In Stepping Stones, includes some great book ideas here…check them out with this link!

Books Adapted from Movies & Shows – (some with Christmas theme and some that are not) ~

These are the books that I decided to start with:

Home Alone

Elf

Back to the Future

Life Is Better With Friends

E.T. The Extraterrestrial

Coloring Activities ~

DIY Bookmarks to Color

Disney Christmas Coloring Book

 

Other Fun Ideas ~

Family Christmas Puzzle – With 3 Different Size Pieces for All Ages to Enjoy

Talking Elf Plush

Christmas Bingo

 

Christmas Tree Craft Kit

How this Works ~

After sending the initial letter to the children, you will randomly send small items of your choosing and add the 2nd Gizmo mail printout (link below)  with each succedding mailing.  I actually hand deliver the items to my grandchildren as they live close enough to me.  However, I always leave them in the mailbox for them to find when they get home from their school or other activity.  (you may be asking, I thought you said this was the inagural Gizmo…it is!  I have adapted this from my earlier post, Flat Skelly Skeleton – Halloween Snail Mail Fun.)  They have so much fun checking the mailbox each day!

Gizmo Mail Printout To Be Included With Each Gift

You decide how often you want Gizmo to visit.  It can be once a week, every other day, or any number of random days you would like to make deliveries.  Print out the above link for each time you make a delivery…and be sure to write in the number of days left until Christmas.

The thought process on the gifts that I am choosing is togetherness!  I am choosing to not include individual candies/gifts/activities for each individual child, but instead sending items for them to do together.  Christmas creates a lot of anxiety in children and I believe trying to do fun things as a group helps promote getting along!  (Does this alway work?  Of course not, but we have to keep trying, right?)

Gizmo Snail Mail Recap ~

Since this is a new type of festive fun to have with kids, I am ending this post with a recap of just the essentials.

    1. Print out one copy of the Introduction from Gizmo Deliver this printout along with your first gift on December 1
    2. Choose how often you want to make Gizmo deliveries throught the month of December
    3. Print out as many of the Gizmo Countdown pages as you choose to make deliveries!  You can print these all at once or come back to this handy link each time you are preparing to make an Advent Snail Mail With Gizmo delivery!
    4. Be sure to write in the number of days left until Christmas on each Gizmo Countdown page.
    5. Mail or hand deliver your festive gifts!
    6. Ask the family members to send you pictures of the kids enjoying their advent gifts so you can be a part of the fun!

Now…get out there and enjoy the holidays!

Much love~

Mimi (& Gizmo)

Christmas Gift Ideas!!🎄

Hello friends~

12-12-21 Update ~ I have added new deals in RED!  Be sure to check back regularly!!!

Christmas is around the corner and I would love to help you out with your shopping needs as best I can.  I have been given promo codes for various items that last for specific amounts of time.  Some specials run longer than others and all are available until the date stated OR until they run out of the product.

This is not my typical type of post, however, I do like to pass along savings to you…my friends and loved ones!  I love sharing good deals!  Yes, I do receive a small commission but this in no way affects your price…it is a win win!  I seriously just LOVE to pass along good things!  Are you looking for something specific?  Let me know and I will keep my out for you!

I will update this page every 1 to 3 days…depending upon when new codes are given to me.  SO CHECK BACK REGULARLY.  I will make sections with labels for each one stating the date that each sale is good for.   Once a date has passed, I will remove all items under that date for ease of reading.

Please note, items will show at the regular price until you go to check out.  The sale price will show before you place your order.  I believe the discount will decrease if you purchase more than one item at a time, so please pay close attention to the prices.

 

Promo Codes Good Through 12-15-21 (or while supplies last!) ~

Computer Folding Desk

Regular Price $82.00

Sale Price With Link Above $41.00

5 Foot Long Tunnel

Regular Price $15.44

Sale Price With Link Above $12.35

Promo Codes Good Through 12-18-21 (or while supplies last!) ~

Learning Tablet for Children-Laugh & Learn 123ABC Electronic Activity Pad with Lights, Music, Content for infants too!

Regular Price $79.99

Sale Price With Link Above $16.00

Promo Codes Good Through 12-21-21 (or while supplies last!) ~

Up to 20% Off

Simple Joys by Carter’s

Up to 20% off Simple Joys by Carter's and Moon and Back by Hanna Andersson Baby Toddler and Kid's Apparel

Hearty Personal Breakfast Skillet

If you are anything like me, you are always searching for new and exciting recipes.  Sometimes, those recipes can be similar to ones you have already made, but you need only to change up the method in which you serve them!  Through the years I have heard people say, “Why do you worry about so many small details?”  My response is always…”Presentation is Key!”

This very topic is what helped me to discover personal-sized cast iron skillets.  I love cooking with the small skillets both for presentation and to have the ability to cater to each individual’s personal preferences in foods.  These Hearty Personal Breakfast Skillets are a big hit on Sunday mornings in our family.

Which Skillets to Use ~

There are so many wonderful skillets out there, however, we tend to lean toward the Lodge brand.  The benefits of this brand are as follows:

  • Retain heat well
  • Preseasoned
  • Can be used on stovetop, in oven, on grill or over an open fire
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Long-standing history of quality products
  • Can be used for everything from frying to sauteing, to broiling and everything in between
  • Have a large variety of sizes and different series
  • Easy to find locally and on-line

Size to Use for Hearty Personal Breakfast Skillet ~

We use the Lodge Pre-Seasoned 6-1/2 Inch Skillet for the breakfast skillet as well as many other individualized recipes.  It is a good idea to have 6 to 8 if you are planning on serving several people.  I use them many times for just Brad and I as well, so if you are empty nesters, it is fun to get 2 and have fun creating!  *Pay close attention to the size because many brands have an even smaller size that is not big enough for this savory dish!

What is even better about these is that you can create savory or sweet recipes in them.  Who doesn’t like digging into a steaming hot personal pan brownie or cookie topped with ice cream?  Yum!  These have quickly become known as pizookies!

Recipe ~

Ingredients for 6 Personal Skillets:
  • 14 Red potatoes, cubed small
  • 10 Sausage patties, crumbled
  • 6 Ham slices, cut into small squares
  • 1 Small Onion, diced
  • 2 Bell peppers, color(s) of choice, cubed
  • 2 Anaheim peppers, diced
  • 12 – 14 Eggs
  • 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

*Please note, you can customize these ingredients to your liking.  Other topping ideas:

  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Mozzarella, Swiss, Gruyere, Fontina, Gouda or your favorite cheese of choice
  • Tomatoes
  • Bacon
  • Avocado
  • Black Olives
  • Jalapenos
  • Hash Browns
Directions for 6 Hearty Personal Breakfast Skillets ~
  1. Brown sausage.  I used patties because that is what I had on hand.  (You can, of course, use any type as you will be crumbling it after cooked.)
  2. While sausage is cooking, continue chopping the rest of the veggies and ham.
  3. Cook chopped potatoes, onions, and peppers until browned in a separate small skillet.                   
  4. Layer sausage and ham in prepared 6 1/2″ skillets.                                                                                         
  5. Follow with cooked potatoes and veggies.                                                                                               
  6. Season liberally with Montreal Steak Seasoning and then salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Beat eggs with milk until completely combined.
  8. Pour egg mixture over meat and veggies in each skillet.                                                               
  9. Top with desired amount of cheese.  (We love cheese so I completely cover the skillet.) 
  10. I placed each skillet on foil lined baking sheets to protect oven from spillage.
  11. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until browned.

*You can exclude necessary ingredients to create a Keto version.

Want To Top It With Gravy? ~

Let’s take it a step further and add gravy.  You can go the traditional route and make gravy from scratch or you can make it from a mix.  I use Pioneer Country Sausage Gravy Packets when not making gravy from scratch.  Season it up with salt and pepper and it becomes the perfect final topping for this delicious recipe!

Make Ahead ~

Holiday season is upon us.  Chop up all of your ingredients ahead of time for prep and put together early Christmas morning.  Put your coffee on and assemble these before the Christmas present frenzy begins.  While you are all opening presents, this delicious breakfast can be cooking and filling the room with scents of a cozy Christmas morning!

If you are in a pinch for time, put it all in one large skillet to scoop out individual servings when ready!

Serving Choices ~

As you can imagine, the skillets are extremely hot when taking out of oven. I love to serve these yummy dishes with quilted handle covers for functionality and to keep the presentation fun!  Basic Black Set of 3 Skillet Handle Covers are a good place to start for your collection!

Of course, these fun bandana ones are adorable for many occasions as well!  Are these not the cutest???

Bandana Hot Handle Holders by Lodge

Crafty Hands Primitive has a large assortment of colors to choose from to match any season/holiday/theme you wish.  Be sure to look at the beautiful patterns by CraftyHandsPrimitive on Etsy by clicking here!

Primitive Skillet Handle Pot Holder choose fabric image 2

Care of Iron Skillets ~

I had never cooked with an iron skillet until I got married.  Brad quickly taught me the beauty of using them, but even then I shied away from them because I was unsure how to care for them.   I soon realized that they truly are very easy to clean.  This is all you need to clean your cast iron skillet:

Stainless Steel Scrubber Set

What’s even better is that this fun idea has come to you just in time for Christmas.  Whether adding them to your Christmas wish list or surprising someone special, a set of single-serving sized iron skillets will be sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face!  Soon I will bringing you a cookbook featuring a variety of iron skillet recipes just like this delicious hearty breakfast skillet!

Happy Cooking ~

Mimi

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween Snail Mail for Kids

Even in this age of technology everyone loves receiving snail mail….well, as long as it isn’t bills!  Seriously though, when you open that mail box and find a pretty colored envelope addressed to you, doesn’t it just bring an instant smile to your face?  I’ve been working harder at getting back to this long lost sentiment, and right now I have been focusing on Halloween Snail Mail for Kids.

In one of my posts last week, Flat Skelly Skeleton, I introduced a fun Halloween project for kids that can be mailed out.  This post builds upon that and gives you some ideas for follow-up “Skelly Snail Mail” you can send after you mail out Flat Skelly.  However, even if you have not mailed Flat Skelly, you can still use these fun ideas to surprise the kiddos.

Hand-Made Envelope With Craft Inserted ~

I used a standard sized (8.5″ X 11″) piece of colored card stock to create this envelope.  The package can be decorated any way you wish if you are hand delivering.  My grandchildren live close so that is the method I chose.  You can still make this if you will be sending it in the mail, just do most of your hand decorating on the opposite side so you have ample space to address it.

Directions ~
  • Place card stock in horizontal position
  • Fold bottom up 3/4 of the way
  • Crease the folds nicely by running a pen along the edges
  • Fold sides in about 1/4″ on both right and left sides
  • Crease folds
  • Fold top portion down
  • Tape left and right sides down to secure (making sure to leave top open to put mail in)
  • Decorate

The skeleton theme is being used on all of our mail this week since we have dubbed it “Skelly Mail.”  You obviously can use any Halloween images you wish, but following a theme does make it fun!  For the first package, I inserted a fun stained glass craft.  As always, choose whatever fun item you want to put in the package, but I am including a link below so you can see what I included:

Halloween Makit & Bakit Craft

These were a fun little activity that the kids really enjoyed and are so very cute to let them hang in their bedroom window, kitchen window or wherever you would like to display their artwork!  (Halloween is almost here now, but still check out this fun link to look at their other holiday choices for Thanksgiving and Christmas….get them ordered before they run out!)

Skeleton Hand with Treat ~

Here we printed out a skeleton hand image on a standard (8.5″ X 11″) sheet of white card stock.  We then carefully cut around the hand to cut out most of the white space.

Use this free link to print out your own copy of the Skelly Skeleton Hand ~  Skeleton Hand Full Size Image to Print and Cut.

I cut the space between the index finger and thumb apart so that I could insert the Halloween treat.  This makes it look as if the hand is actually holding the treat.

These fun ring suckers were found at our local grocery store.  However, if you cannot find them and act quickly enough, you can still get them delivered on time by using this link ~ Skeleton “Sugar Skulls” Lollipop Rings.  I plan to use the extra for our trick or treaters!

Pumpkin Tags ~

To add extra flair, attach a fun tag in a way that it is dangling from the skeleton’s hand.  You can create your own or I have made some for you to print out for free.  Bonus…these are cute but basic enough that you can use them for quite a few different things!  Print them out on cardstock…you will get 4 per page!

Use this link… Free Pumpkin Tags.  Once you have printed them, use a marker to write the recipient’s name.  I then wrote “5 Days ’til Halloween.”  This will add extra excitement for them to know they can officially start counting down the days until it is time to go trick or treating!

What’s Next You Ask? ~

As you can probably assume, I plan on adding a new fun delivery each day.  Be sure to tune in each day to see what I have added to this post!  I will be sure to give detailed directions for each creation!  I’m not really sure who is having more fun this week…me creating the daily mailings or the kids receiving them!  This Halloween Snail Mail for Kids is a lot of fun!

I hope your week before Halloween is filled with lots of spooky fun! 🎃

Love ~

Mimi

 

DIY Yard Witches

Have you thought about being THE HOUSE that everyone loves to talk about once Halloween decorations start going up?  Do you get tired of seeing the same spooky decor at every other house?  You will love these very easy yet unique DIY Yard Witches and all of your neighbors will too!

There are some different ways you can create these spooky little gals, but using a tomato cage has to be the easiest.  Don’t have any tomato cages?  Don’t worry…read on and I will give you some other easy suggestionsas well!

Items Needed for DIY Yard Witches ~

  • Tomato Cages (we used 4)
  • Styrofoam Heads (4)
  • Black Plastic Tablecloths
  • Large Black Trashbags (optional)
  • Black Tulle Material (4 yards per witch)
  • Witch Hats (4)
  • Black String or Yarn (or other item to tie with)
  • Yard Staples or Stakes
Below are some links if you have a hard time finding some of the items in your local store:

Yard Staples/Stakes can be found here!

Styrofoam Heads can be found here!

Plastic Witch Hats can be found here!

Black Plastic Tablecloths can be found here!

Some of these items are not pictured in the photo above!

Instructions ~

  1. Turn tomato cage upside down with prongs at the top.
  2. Rip large black trash bag down the seam and then place on top of prongs (so that it hangs to the right and left side of the cage to be used as the arms).  Pull the prongs of cage together and place styrofoam head over the prongs and trash bag (to secure the arms).                                                                                                                                                                                   
  3. Cover head and tomato cage with black plastic tablecloth.  We placed the long ends to the front and back of the witch so the tomato cage is not visible from the front.                                                                                                     
  4. Place tulle over the tablecloth so that it is even all around.                                                                       
  5. Tie off at the neck of the syrofoam head.                                                                                                               
  6. Place hat firmly on top of head.                                                                                                                                             
  7. Make other witches and then place side by side, a distance a part, in desired area of yard.  Pull the trash bags out a bit to tie “hands” of each witch together.
  8. Push yard staples at base of tomato cages to secure in the ground.

Alternate Ways to Make DIY Yard Witches ~

If you do not have any tomato cages and cannot purchase any at this point in the stores, don’t worry!  Thick yard stakes or poles can also be used.  Of course, the directions are a bit different, but the end result is the same.  We make yard ghosts every year and we use yard stakes to create these.

If you don’t have tomato cages try this ~

If the ground is dry, you will need to use a mallet or hammer to pound the stake firmly into the ground.  It is important that they are at least 2 to 3 inches in the ground for stability.  You can then follow the steps above to create the witch.

If you don’t have styrofoam heads try this ~

I actually use this method for my ghosts so that I can make fatter heads.  Take a plastic grocery sack and fill it with other grocery sacks, crumbled newspapers, packing plastic or bubble wrap.  Continue stuffing until you get the desired size for the head.  Carefully place the filled bag upside down over the yard stake, pinching it closed until you can get it tied off.

After securing the plastic bag head to the stake, follow the steps above to complete your witches.

Yard Ghosts ~

As mentioned earlier, we make ghosts at our house and they are truly looked forward to every year.  Different families come down and take pictures in front of them…they make a great photo opportunity!  If you choose to make ghosts instead or along with the witches, you will need white flat bed sheets.  These can be hard to find, so you will need to plan ahead.

At the end of the month, I take these down, wash the sheets and pack away all of the materials for the next year.  You may need to darken the faces again with a black sharpie each year, but it will help them last much longer.  Believe me, it is well worth the step to clean and pack away.

Brad made a campfire last year to add to our ghost scene.  It has been a very fun addition!

Happy October and Happy Halloween 👻to you all!  I hope your month is “spooktacular!”

Love-

Mimi

Flat Skelly Skeleton

Halloween shenanigans are in full swing…decorating the house, planning trick or treat costumes, fun at pumpkin patches, carving jack-o-lanterns, spooky crafts, fun snacks and more!  As a grandparent, I love to be as much a part of all this as possible, but realize it is not feasible to do so.  Flat Skelly Skeleton is here to help out with just that!

The Flat Stanley Project is an awesome project that our children were able to take part in back when they were in elementary school.  Have you been lucky enough to be a part of it as well?   The teacher provided a template of “Flat Stanley” for the kids to color.  The kids then mail him to various friends, family members or anyone of interest.  The recipient takes Stanley along with them for a day, taking pictures and writing about his visit.  Once done, they mail him back along with the pictures and journal notes.  It is a great literacy program that also teaches geography in a very fun way.

Flat Skelly Skeleton ~

Flat Skelly is similar to Flat Stanley.  This is a fun way for grandparents (or any friend or family member) to be a part of Halloween activities…even if they are not physically present.  I have made it super easy for you to print out the fun Flat Skelly Skeleton poem along with the Jointed Skeleton template. Then all you have to do is mail them to your favorite little ghoul(s).  They will be so excited to share all of their Halloween fun with you!

Flat Skelly Skeleton Poem ~

Click here for free download of Flat Skelly Poem

Jointed Skeleton Directions~

Click here for FREE printout of Flat Skelly Skeleton

 

I found this free skeleton printout by Preschoolactivities.us.  You can use the link next to the picture above to print out or go to their website with the skeleton coloring page Preschoolactivities.us skeleton coloring page.  There are also other free options on Pinterest if you wish to use a different image.  Print these on copy paper or card stock.

You have options regarding how you wish to mail these to the little ones.  You can leave the skeleton template in tact so that they can cut out the pieces or you can pre-cut and put the pieces, along with the brads, in an envelope.  The option you choose will depend mostly upon the age of the child you are sending to and whether they are skilled with scissors yet.

Whoever ends up cutting and putting the skeleton together will need these instructions ~

  1. Cut out each skeleton part
  2. Let your child color and decorate, if desired
  3. Insert small brads at each joint to make Skelly movable (see below for more information on brads)
  4. Tape a popsicle stick or cookie stick to back of the skeleton

*************************************************************
*Types of small brads to try ~

Brads are two pronged paper fastners that usually have some type of decorative top.  There are different sizes, so pay attention to the details.  The mini-sized ones may be the best option for Flat Skelly since he is a bit smaller printout.  Below are some fun varieties:

Mini-sized, multi-color brads

Assorted colors of brads ~

Halloween brads ~

*****************************************************************

Once you introduce your children to the world of “brads” in crafting, the possibilities are endless.  They are such a versatile and inexpensive item to add to your craft baskets.  I even use them for scrapbooking!

There have been numerous spin offs of the original Flat Stanly that are so much fun to explore.  This project is a little different in that the child is receiving Flat Skelly instead of sending him to others.  They then have the responsibility to make sure pictures get taken and if of writing age, journaling about their fun experiences throughout the month of October.

You can take it a step further and get them a little “Flat Skelly Skeleton” journal to use for their journaling.  Here are some fun ideas:

Fun Vintage Style Skeleton Notebook

Dancing Skeleton Journal with blank pages

Wide Ruled Skeleton Journal

Sending Flat Skelly As A Package ~

If you live far away or like to send snail mail to the recepient of this awesome Halloween activity, here is what you will need to remember:

  • Skelly Skeleton Poem
  • Jointed Skelly Skeleton (or cut out pieces and put in envelop if sending to smaller children)
  • 8 brads
  • Popsicle or cake pop stick

Send it in a festive envelope.  I used a large manila envelope so there would be no fold creases.  Use stickers or color fun Halloween images on the outside.  What child would not be excited to receive this special delivery?

It’s no secret how much my family loves Halloween.  Even if you don’t love spooky things, you can enjoy Halloween with your kids.  To me, it is not just about the 31st….it’s a whole month of family fun!.  Whether it is as simple as coloring with your kids, crafting or making festive foods, you will create memories to last a lifetime.

Other Halloween Festivities to Check Out ~

Last year I shared some Halloween ideas:

Fun food ideas for Halloween!  Lots of fun ideas…including the infamous Feet Loaf!!!

Halloween Gingerbread Houses!  Buy a kit or make your own….it’s great fun either way!

You’ve Been Booed!!! 👻  This is an annual MUST in every neighborhood!

The month of October just really flies by way too quickly!  Don’t let these festive opportunities get away from you!  You may just find that you have more fun than your kids do!  Be sure to follow me if you aren’t already by entering your email…I promise you I won’t overfill your inbox….only good things coming and at good intervals!

Happy Haunting to all of you!

Mimi

 

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