Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Carnival #96 - Pinch Hitting

Greetings! Long story short, I'm jumping in to host the carnival at the last minute before I run out for the store and various other errands.  Apologies for the quickie hosting job.


ChristineMM presents Triple Chocolate Biscotti Recipe, Ideal for Chocoholics posted at The Thinking Mother, saying, "ChristineMM (The Thinking Mother) shares photos and a link to a recipe for Triple Chocolate Biscotti that she made and that her family loved."

Kristen presents Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker: Family Recipes #6 'Rin's Crab Dip posted at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, saying, "Get ready for New Years with this easy party pleaser!"

Sam presents NEW !! Enjoy Mushrooms. Mushroom Types, Recipes, Magic, Health, Wild posted at Surfer Sam and Friends, saying, "New !! Enjoy Mushrooms Mushroom Types, Recipes, Magic, Health, Wild

Stephanie presents Seafood Stew posted at Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood, saying, "A holiday favorite in this house. This year it will be the New Year's Eve meal." 

Mary@SimplyForties presents Shrimp and Quail Pie posted at SimplyForties.


hookedoncrochet presents skullholder oh my! posted at Elle's Crochet Corner, saying, "making my own kitchen potholder"

Summer presents Recycle Your Used Wrapping Paper Into Special Thank You Cards posted at Eco Child's Play.

HowToMe presents How To Make an "Angelic" Kitchen Towel Set posted at HowToMe.


Abi presents lighter side - Recipe 4 a Happy New Year posted at lighter side, saying, "a different type of Recipe for the New Year"

Raymond presents Work From Home With Paid Online Surveys posted at Money Blue Book.

CindyS presents Make Your Own Dishwasher Soap & More posted at Oh My Aching Debts, saying, "Save money by making your own cleaning products. This recipe is for homemade dishwasher soap as well as other cleaning products."

Ruth presents Camp For Free or Nearly Free! posted at Camping Tips, saying, "Looking to find a campground that is free or $10 or less? There are more places than you'd think where you camp for free or nearly free."

vh presents Volunteer! posted at Funny about Money, saying, "Hi, Dusty-- This isn't exactly a make-it contribution, but I'd like to suggest it anyway, because the Make It from Scratch carnival has a large readership of bloggers who might want to know about this easy way to help make a difference in the world. This is a tool that all of us who make things, do things, and want to help others can use."

Thank you for joining me for this impromptu version of Make it from Scratch! Next week the carnival will be at  The Daily Dish Recipes. Please join us there! 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Year's Centerpiece

Here is a quick and easy centerpiece you and the kids can make to ring in the new year. The supplies are so versatile that you probably have them already on hand! These would make a nice little gift for grandparents, aunts and uncles as well.

Materials Needed:
Card stock or craft foam
18 or 20 gauge wire OR pipe cleaners
Styrofoam, or clay
Paper crinkle, Easter grass or shredded paper
Small container
Markers or dimensional paints
Decorative wire or floral picks (optional)

Step 1: Trace your kids hands onto card stock or craft foam and cut them out.

Step 2: Using a marker or paints, write your New Year's messages on both sides of the cut-outs. Be sure to include the child's name on the hand print as well.

Step 3: Cut one piece of wire (or use one pipe cleaner) about 12 inches long for each hand print.

Step 4: Cut enough foam (or use clay) to fill the container you are using. Stick one end of the wire or pipe cleaner into the foam or clay. Place some paper crinkle around the base of the wires on top of the foam.

Step 5: Twist a spiral into the top end of the wire or pipe cleaner. Use the spiral to hold the cut out hand prints.

Step 6: adjust wires as necessary and embellish with decorative wire or floral picks if desired.

Other ideas: When you are finished with this centerpiece, you could replace the hand prints with photos. You could also put magnets on the back of the hand prints and use them on your fridge.

Heather is a wife, mom,
school cafeteria worker,
councilwoman and babysitter from Ohio.
She also blogs at
Its All for the Best
and The Fat Bottomed Girl.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a blessed holiday full of peace, joy and love.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Carnival #95

The 95th edition of the Make it from Scratch carnival can be found at Adventures in the 100 Acres Wood. Lot of ideas there for last minute holiday baking, wrapping, homemade gifts, and more. Enjoy the carnival this week!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Spirit Award

Thank you to Omah's Helping Hands for awarding Make it from Scratch the 2008 Christmas Spirit Award.

Part of receiving this award is to list your five favorite things about Christmas.

1) I love reading the Christmas story together as a family Christmas morning.
2) One of my favorite traditions is attending a candle light Christmas Eve service. 
3) The look on the children's faces as they open up their presents, but
4) Even better than that, is watching them as others open the presents that were made or picked by the kids. I think they get more excited about the gifts they give than the ones they receive.
5) Time spent with extended family. 

Another part of receiving this award is passing it along to others. I am only taking a moment this morning to pass this award on to one other blog. It isn't that I think this is the only blog out there worthy of the award, but this is a blog I've been meaning to highlight for some time. This seems like the perfect opportunity to do so. 

This blog recently was started by a mom I know through our homeschool co-op group. It is entirely devoted to Christmas, the true story and the origin behind our traditions. Her latest post 1st Corinthians 13, Christmas Style is particularly poignant for those of who get caught up in the busyness of this season. 

A Merry Christmas to you!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Christmas Craft Break

I am taking a Christmas break from posting a craft here. I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Christmas.

Be sure to visit next Saturday when I'll be back with a cool New Year's Craft!

Thanks for reading!


Heather is a wife, mom,
school cafeteria worker,
councilwoman and babysitter from Ohio.
She also blogs at
Its All for the Best
The Fat Bottomed Girl.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Edible Gifts: Putting it all together

I've been sharing ideas for edible presents. Edible presents are wonderful for those on your list who are hard to shop for, or seem to have everything. Most people enjoy homemade treats. They are delicious and consumable, so they don't just sit around gathering dust.

We are coming down to the wire for Christmas gifts this year. One week to go. Now that you've invested your time to create these homemade gifts, it is time to put it all together to create a pretty gift. You don't have to be artsy or crafty; believe me I am not, that is Heather's speciality, a few very simple touches can complete the look of your tasty gifts.

Many of the gifts we have talked about will come in a jar, like the pickled jalapenos pictured.  Use canning jars, or check out the selection of different shaped jars at the thrift store, dollar store, or at the craft store. 

There are so many ways to finish a jar. A mason type jar with a lid and ring can be decorated by simply cutting a circle of cloth with pinking shears. Place a the material over the lid and secure with the ring. Some other interesting ideas have been shared recently in the Make it from Scratch carnivals. See how Leigh decorated her lids with glitter, or the way  Happy Campers used scrap book paper to top their lids

You also will probably want to include a tag of some sort. The pickled peppers are self explanatory, so a simple square of card stock stamped with a holiday greeting will suffice. It is tied on with ribbon through a hole punched in the corner. 

If this were a gift mix, like hot chocolate mix, I would label what the mix was and be sure to include instructions. With items that are perhaps a bit unfamiliar to the recipient, like hot pepper jam, I include a list of suggested uses for the item. The tags can be handwritten or printed out and glued to card stock

Labels could also be printed out a stuck right to the jars. This does look really nice, but I never do it this way. The reason I don't is completely a practical one. I like to reuse jars, and getting the stickers off is a pain. See? I am practical to the core. 

Other gifts like cookies or candy can be placed in a tin, plastic container, on a tray, in a plastic bag, or in a basket. The chocolate covered pretzels pictured are in small plastic bags purchased from the craft store. Simply place the items in the bag and tie off with ribbon. These were gifts that my husband gave to his clients. 

If you want to make a larger gift with a variety of treats, place several of these bags into a basket filled with shredded colored paper, and put a big bow on the basket. Cellophane can also be purchased at crafts stores. This can be used to wrap a cookie or bread tray. Again just add ribbon, a bow and a card to complete. 

Your imagination is the limit when putting together your edible gifts. Here I've shown you a few simple and easy things that anyone (including myself!) can do. I'd love to hear your ideas and tips too!

Ideas for edible gifts:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Carnival #94

This week you will find the carnival at 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven. There are some fantastic submissions this week, and our hostess has drawn us in with pictures of these fabulous creations. It is hard to pick only a few to highlight. Be sure to check the complete carnival out!

Crystallized ginger and syrup
I love the taste of ginger. One simple procedure produces two great ginger products. This is something I will be trying!

Beaded Eggs
Wow these are beautiful!

Chocolate Chip Peppermint Biscotti
Biscotti is on my baking list to be gifted with some cocoa and coffee mixes, but I am having a hard time deciding what kind of biscotti to make. This has been added to the realm of possibilities.

Enjoy the carnival! Next week I will be hosting at my family blog, Adventures in the 100 Acre Woods. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Magic Reindeer Food

One of my favorite holiday traditions is one we've been doing ever since Matthew was in Kindergarten. That year, he brought home a bag of oats and glitter from his class Christmas party labeled "Magic Reindeer Food." Each year since, we've made a big batch of it using our own recipe and we pass it out to our friends.

I also hold an annual party for the kids I babysit and their parents. We mix up our batch of Magic Reindeer Food for everyone to take home and Santa visits us while we all snack on chips, dip and desserts.

I know that Stephanie usually passes on the recipes here, but since this is pretty much inedible to everyone but reindeer and elves, I am calling it a quick and easy holiday craft.


old fashioned oats

red and green sprinkles or colored sugar


anything else you can think of

Mix all ingredients together in whatever quantity you need.

Sprinkle it over your driveway on Christmas eve to attract reindeer pulling sleighs.You can make up a large batch and put about 1/4 cup in Ziploc bags for classroom parties, too. Attach a tag with the following poem on it:

Sprinkle on your lawn at night,

The moon will make it sparkle bright.

As Santa's reindeer fly and roam,

This will guide them to your home.

A HUGE WARNING:Do not leave ANY of the magic reindeer food in your pantry or refrigerator. I did not know this tip the first time we made it and the reindeer came in the house, spilled things from the fridge and pantry and knocked chairs over. Santa left a nice note to apologize, but every year, the reindeer seem to remember that we had it inside one year and they have made a habit of coming in and leaving a mess behind every year since.
Heather is a wife, mom,
school cafeteria worker,
councilwoman and babysitter from Ohio.
She also blogs at Its All for the Best

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Cookie Favorites

The holidays just don't quite seem complete with out Christmas cookies. During the rest of the year I normally opt for sweets that do not take quite as much time, like bar cookies, brownies or cakes. At Christmas though, I thoroughly enjoy a day (or more) of cookie baking.

Cookies can make great gifts too. A few cookies in a small bag can be a perfect small gift for teachers, co-workers, or others. Included in a larger tray or basket they make a great gift for families or for the hard to shop for loved ones on your list. The tray pictured above is headed to the office with my husband. A few more like it will be made over the next few days or so for various gatherings and dinners we are attending. On that tray you can see mini loaves of Amish Friendship Bread along with some of my favorite cookies. The cookie recipes are below.

Grandma Bryan's Tea Cakes

An easy and delicious sugar cookies recipe.

See Grandma Bryan's Tea Cakes on Key Ingredient.

Mint Chocolate Cookies

A soft minty chocolate cookie.

See Mint Chocolate Cookies on Key Ingredient.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

A Christmas time favorite.

See Peanut Butter Blossoms on Key Ingredient.

Double-Ginger Molasses Crisps

A soft and spicy ginger cookie.

See Double-Ginger Molasses Crisps on Key Ingredient.

After spending a day baking cookies, I want to make sure those cookies stay soft and fresh. Placing a slice of bread or apple in the container helps. I lay wax paper over the top of the container before placing the lid on, and if the cookies will be stacked in a container I always put a piece of wax paper between the layers. All of these will freeze well too, except for the Peanut Butter  Blossoms. The chocolate looks a little funny after it has been frozen.

Do you enjoy baking cookies at Christmas? What are some of your favorites?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Carnival #93

Mary at Simply Forties is our hostess for today's carnival. Thanks to her for hosting, and thanks to all of you who participated too. Here are some entries that looked particularly interesting to me this morning. 

My oldest son has been asking me to buy eggnog since it first hit the dairy shelves before Thanksgiving. I've been dragging my feet because of the price. The thought of making it at home with all the raw eggs makes my stomach turn a little. This may be the perfect alternative. 

I'm not sure what it is, but I just love chickpeas. I love them in a salad. I love them made into a hummus. I love them sweet and sour. I'm not sure I've ever met a chickpea I didn't like. This recipe looks like another good one. 

Cheesy! YUM!

Thanks for checking out the carnival this week. 

Monday, December 8, 2008

Help Wanted

I want to extend a thank you to everyone who participates in the carnival, and especially to those of you who host it. Of course, we all greatly appreciate those of you who simply enjoy reading the carnival. Thanks to all of you. But we could use some more help in the hosting department. 

Hosting the carnival takes a little time, but is easy. You get to preview all the fantastic entries. You also get a nice spike in the traffic to your blog while introducing new readers to your space. Check the hosting schedule at the Blog Carnival page for available dates. Click the link for more information on hosting. Please email me to get on the schedule. 

And while I'm asking for help. . .

A huge thank you to Heather who has shared so many wonderful and easy craft ideas with all of us! We would love to have more bloggers participate here. Guest posts are welcome. Simply email an idea or article for consideration. 

If you would like to host a carnival or contribute a guest post, please email me at makeitfromscratch at yahoo.com

Thanks so much to all of you! 

photo credit: e50e

Saturday, December 6, 2008

5 Simple Christmas Crafts for Kids

My kids love to make and give gifts for Christmas. We always try to do something fairly simple since they usually want to make them for family, friends, classmates and teachers. We have been known to make 100 or more of the craft of the year. While you don't have to make that many, you may want to once you see how cute and easy these examples are to make!

My first bit of advice is to choose ONE PROJECT. This will make shopping or searching for supplies much easier. It will also be easier for the kids to complete several once they get the hang of it. You can make a few each night or take a weekend and knock them all out at once (the crafts, not the kids. LOL!).

Dough Ornaments
You can use any kind of dough that dries hard for this craft. Our dough is made out of a mixture of tacky glue and cornstarch. To make: Measure out about 1/4 cup of cornstarch on a disposable plastic plate (it will make a mess at first that is easier to throw away than clean up). Make a well in the center of the cornstarch with your fingers and add about 2 Tablespoons of tacky glue. Knead together until a dough forms.
You will need to work with the dough quickly keeping any extra dough covered with plastic as it dries fast! Only make as much dough as you can work with at one time because it does not store well.
Now you can shape your dough or roll it out and cut it cutting small holes for hangers with a straw if desired. Let air dry face-up on wax paper for 24 to 36 hours (depending on thickness). Paint pieces with craft paint and coat with a clear sealer. Attach ribbons and embellishments with tacky glue.

Paint Brush Santa Ornament
Using a small throw-away brush (sometimes called a chip brush), glue a small ball of dough (see above) on just above the bristles for the nose; paint the handle red, the metal ferrule a flesh tone and the bristles white (I used snow medium to give some texture). Allow to dry completely. Glue on some cotton or poly-fill to make the ball on his hat (at the top of the handle), the base of the hat, and his mustache. Add two googly eyes and a spot of red for his lips. Allow to dry and add a string or ribbon through the hole in the handle for a hanger.

Ribbon-Stitched Foam Stocking
Cut out two pieces of red craft foam in the shape of a stocking. Place the two pieces on top of each other and punch holes with a hole puncher around the sides and bottom. Lace the pieces together with white ribbon. Place a candy cane in the top for an extra treat! These could also be made in the shape of Santa's bag, a boot, a tree or any other holiday shape.

Chenille Stem Candy Canes
These are the easiest of the crafts featured today and can be made by even the youngest crafters! Using one white and one red chenille stem (sometimes called pipe cleaners) for each candy cane, fold each chenille stem in half. Put the two bent pieces together and hold them at one end with one hand while you twist them together with the other hand. Bend the top 1.5 inches over to make the cane shape. No need to add a hanger as the cane hangs right over a tree branch.

Foam Christmas Tree
Cut a triangle out of green craft foam in any size you wish. Using a hole puncher, punch out several different colored dots (this is a great way to use those scraps of foam we keep for no reason). Glue dots to the tree with tacky glue. Cut out a small star for the tree top from yellow or from glitter foam and glue to the top of your tree. Punch a hole in the tree to add a ribbon hanger or attach a magnet to the back as we have done!

There you have 5 simple Christmas crafts for the kids to make. I'm sure you'll get hooked on the fun of making these crafts as well. Don't forget to have the kids add their names and the year whenever possible to make a lasting keepsake!

Heather is a wife, mom,
school cafeteria worker,
councilwoman and babysitter from Ohio.
She also blogs at
Its All for the Best
The Fat Bottomed Girl.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chocolate Covered Gifts

I trust that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that if you were hosting the meal that all went smoothly. If it didn't, that is alright. Chalk it up to a memorable holiday and learning experience. This is is the third year we have hosted Thanksgiving. I think this is the first time I can truly say that it all went right (even the gravy!) and I wasn't completely stressed by the time the food hit the table. 

With Thanksgiving past, we are full swing into the Christmas season. It is time to pick back up on the series begun well before Thanksgiving, edible Christmas presents. In case you missed the previous posts, they were This Season's Bounty, Next Season's Gifts, Quick Breads, and For Coffee Lovers. This week I am sharing one of my favorite holiday projects, making chocolate candy. 

Making chocolate covered candy can be extremely simple or a little more involved depending on what you are making. If you are new to this, start simple with items like pretzels, nuts, or coffee beans. First, start with good chocolate. Chocolate chips do not work as well as chocolate specifically for candy making. Coating chocolate is sometimes available in large blocks, but more commonly sold in wafers. You can find it in bulk food stores, craft stores, and party stores. This is one of the few times that I recommend a specific brand. Merckens is the best.
Coating chocolate comes in a wide variety of colors and flavors. I mainly stick with dark, milk chocolate and white chocolate. The other varieties are good to add color, but tend to taste waxy. 

It is best to use a double boiler to melt the chocolate. If you use a microwave to melt chocolate be careful. Chocolate burns very easily. Microwave in 30-45 second increments, and stir between each heating. Avoid getting any water in the chocolate. 

Once the chocolate is melted it is time for the fun part, dipping. Do all your dipping first. Dip items like pretzels, animal crackers, marshmallows, peanut butter balls (18 oz peanut butter mixed with 1 pound powdered sugar,) or other favorites. Forks, tongs, and chopsticks make great dipping tools, but you can buy tools specially made for the job. Dip the item into the chocolate, tap off any excess chocolate, and lay the item on wax paper to dry. 

Once the item is dry drizzle melted colored chocolate over it to add decoration. Another favorite here it to dip pretzel rod about 3/4 in chocolate, tap off the excess, allow to cool slightly and the roll in sprinkles before the chocolate is set. 

After you have dipped all you can, there will still be quite a bit of chocolate left. Make clusters with the remaining chocolate. Into your bowl or double boiler put nuts, rice crisps, raisins, or a mixture of items. Stir until everything is coated and drop by the spoonful onto wax paper. 

Chocolate covered candies make a great small gift by themselves. Simply place in a pretty bag and tie a bow on. They are a great addition to goody trays or gift baskets of homemade goods. The possibilities are endless, and delicious. 

For more chocolate covered ideas: Easy Chocolate Christmas Candy

Photo credit: Hilary 74

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Carnival #92

This week's edition of Make it from Scratch is hosted at I've Got a Little Space to Fill. Mama Bear did a wonderful job, and the pictures she has included are making me want to go do some cooking, even at this early hour of the morning. Thanks Mama Bear!

It is a big carnival this week, full of foods, crafts and gift ideas. I only have a few minutes this morning, so be sure to go check the entire carnival, but here are some posts that caught my eye.

A great variety of ideas and recipes to use for homemade gifts this year. The biscotti recipes are on my to do list!

I make my own powdered laundry soap, but I always love to see the different recipes others use. This is a liquid version of the detergent.

I love feeding the birds and watching them outside my kitchen window. This is a great idea for making your own, pretty bird feed with out spending a fortune. Plus, for those of you who live in warm places,  the recipe will hold up in warmer weather.

Thanks for joining us for this week's carnival. We would love to include your post next week! Simply submit it using the blogcarnival form. If you would like to host an edition, please email me at makeitfromscratch at ymail.com

Enjoy the Carnival!

Header designed by Crystal. Thanks!