A Food Edition of Links I Love

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So many of the articles I read and love are food links. Sometimes I think online has become one of my favorite form of cookbook shopping because I’m always finding new recipes I want to make. Of course, I add to my list faster than I can make the recipes but here are some of the recipes that I still want to make.

Jen at Beauty & Bedlam shared her recipe for Simple Homemade Marshmallows. I’ve seen so many recipes for marshmallows but have never made them. These really do look simple, too!

Edie at Life in Grace shared her recipe for Best Ever Homemade Brownies. It does require Hershey’s chocolate syrup but the pictures make my mouth water. I’m going to make these chocolate brownies with frosting at some point!

I buy farm fresh eggs so seem to always have some in my fridge. However, if I ever run out, I’m remembering Andrea’s Simple Egg Substitutions for Baking. I didn’t know that oil, water and baking powder could substitute for egg! Did you? I’m going to have to try this.

I generally stock up on Cream of Chicken soup at Thanksgiving time when it’s on huge discounts, but I’m still intrigued by this. Pennies and Pancakes shared her recipe for a dry Cream of Chicken soup mix. This would be handy for baking emergencies, and by her calculations, only costs $0.23 a can.

Laura at Peace…but Not Quiet shared an idea to make Snickers Hot Chocolate. Hot chocolate is the perfect way to start any cold winter morning (in my humble opinion) and adding peanut butter plus chocolate chips is a brilliant idea. This should be easy to try!

Jessica at Good Cheap Eats shared her recipe for Cheese and Garlic Croutons. I always loved it when my Mom made homemade croutons. It takes a bit of time but really is a frugal (and healthier) option for your salad. Speaking of salads, maybe you want to try making your own Basic Vinaigrette by following Jessica’s instructions. Oh! And maybe make a batch of Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits for dinner, too.

Tara at Unsophisticook shared her recipe for making Caramel Sauce in your Slow Cooker. I am very intrigued by this because the caramel looks so creamy – and is made with such little effort. What’s not to love about this idea?

Ruth at Living Well, Spending Less shared her recipe for Salted Caramel Pretzel Crust Brownies. I like the idea of salt and sweet combined. Plus you can use the caramel you just made in your slow cooker!

Did I share enough recipes for you to add to your list? Which one of these do you want to make first? I think the hot chocolate is top on my list.

Links I Love from the Past

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I took advantage of my snow / cold weather days to go through the links I’ve been saving in my Feedly account. Feedly isn’t Google Reader but it’s been a fair replacement. Anyway, I realized I had quite a few links to share with you! It’s quite the variety of links so here goes.

Tim Elmore had a great post about the Dropout with a Doctorate. If you enjoy Bill Cosby as much as I do, you’ll appreciate him even more after reading this. Tim also had an entertaining post of the Most Hilarious Answers Students Put on Tests. Sadly, as a teacher, I can say this is not unusual!

Lynette at Cleverly Simple shared How Living in a Rural Area Helped Me Save Money. Sometimes, it’s easy to assume that people in the city save the most with various store but it is not always true. Plus, these ideas can be utilized regardless of where you live!

Amy Lynn Andrews shared How We Got Out of Debt, paying off more than $25,000 in 2 years – on a salary of $40,000. I find true stories like this an encouragement because ordinary people are paying off debt every day!

Ashley at the Domestic Fashionista shared her idea to make Backyard Pre-Chocolated S’mores. So simple but it saves so much time! Why have I never thought of this? I’m giving this a try next time we make s’mores.

Tara at Unsophisticook shared her recipe for Chocolate Chip Scones. It’s a simple recipe – and once I have cream in the fridge – I’m going to give this a try.

Jessica at Life as Mom shared her ideas to Save Money on Legos. Legos are quite popular with my husband and will be with our children, so I’m constantly watching for good deals on Legos. I’m always watching garage sales for hidden bargains! I once bought a paper box full of Legos for $5! That’s my best deal thus far.

Edie at Life in Grace shared What People Really Need From You. It’s a great reminder that more than the perfectly cleaned guest room, people need you. We crave relationships!

Well, that cleaned out my Feedly a bit…and I hope you found something that interested you! More links coming next week because I enjoy sharing what everyone else is sharing!

Top Post Links and Stumbles

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Everyone seems to be sharing their top posts of the year! Since I already shared my top posts here, I thought I’d share the highlights of a couple of my favorite blogs.

Crystal at Money Saving Mom shared her Top 10 Posts of 2013. She didn’t write all this year, but these articles were the ones visited most. I’ve reread her entire Having a Baby Without Breaking the Bank. It’s been very helpful!

Ruth at Living Well, Spending Less shared her Christmas Wish. She went through her most popular posts month by month. There are some great ones to read here!

Unsophisticook shared her Top 10 Recipes of 2013. Her make-ahead potatoes are very similar to mine, and I still want to try making her caramel sauce in my slow cooker.

Jessica at Good Cheap Eats is hosting her annual Pantry Challenge. It’s time to eat what you have in my pantry and try to pare down your grocery budget. For the first time, I’m joining in! I spent some time going through my pantry and finding all the things I want to use up. You can join in, too!

It’s just a couple things, but that’s what I read and wanted to share this week!

Simple Christmas Links and Ideas

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Ah, December! There is nothing quite like it. The smells and sounds and tastes…all of which result in Christmas memories. We often have visions of elaborate Christmas decorations, but more often than not, I am drawn to the simple things. Here are some of the simple Christmas ideas I’ve noticed lately.

The Shabby Creek Cottage shared some free printable chalkboard inspired Christmas song prints. The great thing about printables is that all you have to do is print and display for lovely themed decorations! How much more simple can you get?

Hayseed Homemakin’ created a beautiful garland of white Christmas lights and tulle. All she did was tie strips of tulle onto a strand of white lights. Again, simple, classy and beautiful!

View Along the Way painted a simple and stunning O Come Let Us Adore Him picture. I love the dramatic look with the black and blue paint with the silver on top. Truly stunning.

Katherine Marie wrapped 24 Christmas picture books that she already owned. Each day, her children got to chose one to unwrap and read. I also love how she took a picture of her children with the stack of wrapped books! I will be doing this in the future.

52 Mantels took a shadow box, filled it with plain ball ornaments and hung the box on the wall. With or without the words, this Christmas shadow box idea is very cute! It’s also a good reason to watch for bags of ornaments on sale at the after Christmas sales.

Finally, for a simple snack, I made chocolate dipped marshmallows last year – and was surprised with what a hit they were! I bought a bag of large marshmallows and dipped them in my leftover buckeye chocolate. Red or green sprinkles would add an even more festive touch.

See? This is proof that simple ideas are often the best. What simple ideas do you do to make your Christmas special?

Christmas Links for Preschoolers

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Christmas is a wonderful time of year…and it’s especially wonderful when you’re in preschool! This is just one of the reasons I love teaching preschool. They are so excited about the little moments. It is always my goal to help them savor the season as we celebrate Jesus’ birthday. Here are some of the new ideas I stumbled upon online (yay Pinterest!) and am using in my preschool class. These would be great ideas for any young children or grandchildren that you may have in your life.

Over the Big Moon created a song – complete with flash card prompts – for the Nativity. It’s a piggyback song, set to the tune of the “If you’re happy and you know it…”. This is handy for Sunday School, too.

We made a turkey sun catcher at Thanksgiving – that the children AND grandparents loved. When I saw the similar idea to make a Christmas tree sun catcher at Learn Create Love, I knew we’d be making these one day. It’s easy to do and they look great in the windows!

I am planning my own classroom parties this year. In the past, I’ve had them decorate Christmas cookies and the children love it. This year, I’m putting a twist on it and having the children decorate ice cream cones with M&Ms. Frosting and chocolate? They’ll be happy children!

I have several preschoolers who love to color so I printed off quite a few of the Jesus coloring sheets from Free-N-Fun Christmas. The J is for Jesus in an upside candy cane is my favorite – and perfect to accompany the legend of the candy cane!

Mrs. Creech’s Busy Bees had a simple idea for a Christmas center. She simply made Christmas trees and had the children roll dice to decorate their tree with ornaments (pom-poms). Adding the tweezers is a nice fine motor touch.

The children loved making these pattern strip Christmas trees from Mrs. Lee’s Kindergarten. Since I had the strips pre-cut, it’s a project even my youngest 3s could do. It’s a different twist on creating a Christmas tree, too!

These are just some of the activities I will be using as we celebrate Christmas in preschool this year. If you want to see more of the ideas I like, you can follow my Christmas in Preschool board on Pinterest. If you want to see what else I’ve been pinning, you can find me on Pinterest here.

Homemade Christmas Ornament Links

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I always like looking at Christmas ornaments. I love looking at all the ornaments as we hang them on our tree. It’s good to remember all the people and places of which they remind us. Plus, there are so many unique ones as well as so many simple ones that I could make! I try to gather inspiration all year because I make ornaments for my piano students.

Speaking of, Domesticali shared a music note origami wreath. I think this might be the ornament I make this year. It’s simple but a different music ornament from anything I’ve made yet.

One year, we made a whole bunch of juice lid ornaments at church. It looks complicated but with a bit of patience, anyone can make beautiful ornaments. The Better Mom shared her juice lid ornament tutorial here.

Ask Anna created a Christmas tree out of wine corks. I think you could easily adapt this to an ornament concept and paint some of the ends if you wanted to do so. It’s a good reason to save wine corks, too!

A Sorta Fairytale created a beautiful Baby’s 1st Christmas Ornament. I am doing this next year for our baby! I think using embossing powder is a nice touch, too.

Speaking of ornaments and our baby, I want to start an ornament collection for our baby. Adding one ornament a year (handmade or bought) means there will be quite a collection someday! To help record the reasons and memories, I need to start an ornament picture journal. I Love It All shared printable journal cards that can be slipped into a simple photo album by the pictures. I love this idea to record the memories! I will be doing this, too.

Do you have an ornament collection? Or do you have one for your children? I’d be curious to hear how you do it!

End of November Links

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On this last day of November, I have a variety of holiday links – Thanksgiving and Christmas type – to share with you. I know many of us are in the process of exchanging our Thanksgiving decorations for Christmas ones. Enjoy this transition weekend!

If you are still craving a pumpkin treat, put Jessica’s recipe at the top of your list. She shared a Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake recipe that looks delicious – and as simple as any other cheesecake.

As part of Mandi’s 101 Days of Christmas series, she shared a recipe for Egg Nog Hot Chocolate. I love the idea of combining two classic holiday drinks. I want to try this recipe!

Wise Bread shared a list of 10 Unique Holiday Gift Ideas for Booklovers. I, personally, am a book lover who simply loves books – and gift cards to book stores like Half Price Books. I did enjoy looking at this list, though!

Cleverly Simple gave 3 Ways to Use Amazon Lightening Deals to Save Money. Now is the time when Amazon deals abound! I’ll be keeping my eye on those deals, and keeping these tips in mind.

I Heart Nap Time shared the simple recipe for Christmas Toffee. There is something so delicious about the combination of saltines and toffee. I like the idea of adding green and red M&Ms on top of them, too.

There’s lots to ponder here! Now, I’m off to enjoy a couple more hours with my siblings before they leave. Maybe tomorrow I will begin exchanging decorations and start on my first batch of buckeyes for the season. What are your plans for this weekend?

More Thanksgiving Links and Stumbles

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It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week! We’re enjoying time with my parents this weekend. It’s rare to have my parents visit near a holiday. Pastors with organist wives can rarely do so! We’re making the most of their weekend visit, as we drive together to Michigan tomorrow for my Uncle’s ordination.

I’m looking forward to teaching only 2 days next week – and both of them preschool party days! Then, it’s home to finish getting ready for my brother, sister and brother-in-law to arrive on Wednesday. I’ve spotted a couple of new pumpkin recipes I want to try. Perhaps while they are here?

Coupon Cutting Mom shared her recipe for pumpkin butter cake. It looks simple – and absolutely delicious! Iowa Girl Eats shared her recipe for Starbucks clone pumpkin scones. I haven’t ever tried pumpkin scones at Starbucks, but these look to be worth a try.

For Thanksgiving, we’re heading to my in-laws in town. My wonderful mother-in-law is cooking the turkey. I’m bringing my homemade crescent rolls and refrigerator mashed potatoes. The crescent rolls are already in the freezer and I’ll make the mashed potatoes the day before. As I make them, I’ll put them in my slow cooker and reheat them on Thanksgiving morning. It’s a handy trick because it keeps the oven open and doesn’t compromise the taste in the slightest! I’m also bringing cheesy creamed corn. I’ll have to share that recipe soon because it’s also delicious.

I’ve made this crock pot potato soup from the Apronista before and I think it might be a good option for the day after Thanksgiving. It is easy to assemble and I can let my slow cooker do the work for me. I’ll make that or a big pot of chili.

It seems these links are all about food, but planning my menus ahead of time means I can enjoy the precious time with my visiting family. Do you have your menus all planned for the upcoming Thanksgiving week?

Thanksgiving Links and Stumbles

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Next week is our last full week of school before Thanksgiving. The following week, each of my preschool classes only have class for one day – our party day. My parents arrive for the weekend which is a rare treat, especially near the holidays. Then, my siblings arrive the following week, as well as Andy’s out-of-town brother. There is a lot to plan for so here is some of what I have planned.

I’m reading the first three books of my list of 5 Thanksgiving favorites in preschool. The final two on the list are for older children so I’ll share them with the other teachers in case they need a book yet.

My 3s are going to try assembling these 3 piece puzzles in the Tot Pack from Lawteedah. My 4s are going to color and trace with these turkey feather books from 2 Teaching Mommies. I added some clues by underlining the color words in the correct color marker for hints.

My preschool parties are going to be the same for my 3s and 4s. Since they fall on our Grandparents Days, I’m going to keep things simple – for the Grandparents and this teacher. I can do the same thing two days in a row! We’re going to eat pumpkin pie in a cup  as PreK Pages suggested. We’re going to make turkey suncatchers as explained by Learn Create Love. And for a special treat, I’ll let the children take home the M&Ms that fill their turkey feathers. Toddler Approved as a great M&M layout that my kids last year loved.

While my parents are here, I’m planning on trying this new pumpkin sour cream coffee cake from Heather Christo. Moist, pumpkin-y and with a crumb topping? I’m excited to give this a try. Now, when my brother is here, I’ll make this danish puff from the Betty Crocker cookbook. It’s one of Joel’s favorites and it’s a light breakfast before our Thanksgiving lunch.

That’s a bit of what I have planned so far for our Thanksgiving. You can see other ideas as I pin them to my Thanksgiving board on Pinterest. It’s so helpful to me as I plan ahead! What are you planning for Thanksgiving?

Links I Love This Week

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It was a good week this past week. I taught for two days, then headed to Indy on Wednesday for an Early Childhood Cabinet Meeting for the Indiana District. I am blessed to work with some talented ladies on this committee. It was nice to have a change of pace for the day, too. It was back to school on Thursday and Friday, and I found the week moved more quickly with that break in the middle.

At home, I am trying to get in good home routines of cleaning things (especially in the  kitchen) on a daily / nightly basis. For that reason, I especially appreciated reading 6 Steps to Clean Your Kitchen in Record Time. While I was reading at Home…Your Way, I stumbled across this article that I read awhile ago. It made me think anew about the Time Cost of Our Stuff. I have some paring down that I want to do!

Speaking of time, I liked Jessica’s idea to Make a Reusable Grocery List. I can see how this would really save time. Now, I just need to create a master list to help me save more time as I plan in the kitchen.

I heard Tim Elmore speak at LEA and am so thankful that I did. Everything I heard him say about children today was spot on. Here’s an example. Read his article to see why Common Sense is Now Uncommon as We Raise Kids. There is so much good to read on his blog!

Andrea wrote very eloquently Why I Don’t Do My Weekly Shopping at Aldi. I loved this article because I could have written it myself! I’m so far away from our Aldi that I rarely shop there. I know countless people who love and save money at Aldi, and I’m so glad! For now, I’m not one of those. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this.

Tara shared her recipe for Easy Chicken and Dumplings. I’ve never tried making chicken and dumplings but the cooler weather – and this recipe – make me want to try.

Finally, as I reached the half-way point of my pregnancy this week, I’ve been reading lots of articles like 6 Simple Ways to Save on Baby. I’m trying to keep things as simple as possible and have already been stockpiling diapers. I’ll share more about what we’re doing to prepare for the baby in the weeks and months ahead. Any advice for us?

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