Bring the Scents of Fall into Your Home

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Autumn is my favorite season of the year with all of its festivities, decorations, and beautiful colors. Let’s not forget about all of the wonderful scents this time of the year brings. There is nothing better than smelling the scents of pumpkin spice, apple pie, and cinnamon in every home, store, or place in town. Bringing the amazing aromas into your own home is a quick and simple task that can be completed by trying these do-it-yourself fragrance recipes. The collection also includes a yummy treat that appeases more than one of your five senses!

Crockpot Cinnamon Spice Air Freshener: 

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups hot water
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp. whole cloves

Directions: 

  1. Combine all of the ingredients into a crockpot and stir. Cover with the lid.
  2. Cook on high for 1 hour, then remove lid. Let simmer on high for several hours.

 

Stovetop Potpourri:

Ingredients: 

  • 4-6 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 orange rind
  • 2 tbsp. whole cloves
  • 3-5 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Fill a medium-sized pot three-fourths of the way full with water and add in all of the ingredients.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and let boil on high for 3-4 minutes. Then, lower the heat and simmer. Keep on an eye on the water level and refill when needed.
  3. This mixture lasts for several days. Place in a glass jar or bowl in the refrigerator. When ready to use again, re-fill a pot with water, pour in the ingredients, and simmer.

 This stovetop potpourri recipe can also be made in a crockpot. 

 

Crockpot or Slow Cooker Baked Apples:

Ingredients: 

  • 5 medium-sized gala apples
  • 1 ¼ cups granola
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter
  • 5 tsp. maple syrup
  • Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for topping (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Cut the top off the apples with a knife. Using a melon baller or measuring spoon (teaspoon size), remove the core and seeds from each apple. Once complete, each apple should have a hole in the top for the remaining ingredients.
  2. Pack ¼ cup of the granola into each apple and place it in the crockpot or slow cooker.
  3. Pour the melted butter evenly over the apples. Then, add a teaspoon of maple syrup over each apple.
  4. Cover and cook on high for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Apples should be tender, but not falling apart when done.
  5. Remove and serve with ice cream or whipped cream if you choose to do so.

 

Cinnamon Scented Pinecones:

Materials: 

  • Pinecones
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Clear craft glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Sealable gallon-sized bag or container

Directions: 

  1. Using the paintbrush, coat the pinecones with a thin layer of glue. If doing all the pinecones at once, work quickly to prevent the glue from drying. It is suggested to complete the pinecones individually.
  2. Sprinkle the entire pinecone evenly with ground cinnamon. Make sure to get all between the crevices.
  3. Place all the pinecones into the sealable bag or container and shake off all the excess cinnamon.
  4. Once the glue has dried, decorate your home with the cinnamon pinecones.

This DIY is great for kids! 

 

Your home will never smell better than it does with these fall fragrances filling the air. Plus, all recipes can easily be used as gifts for housewarming parties, birthdays, and more!

xoxo,

Megan

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DIY Mason Jar Gift Ideas

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It is always nice to give a loved one in your life a meaningful, handmade gift. But, where do you start? First, take a Mason jar (different sizes or types of jars can also work) and think about what kind of present you want to give. Is it a birthday present? Is it an anniversary present? However, the jar doesn’t have to be used as a gift. It can be a jar full of ideas for your family, spouse, or children. Below are a few ways to use a Mason jar as a gift, or in other ways.

Date Night: In need of some date-night ideas? Fill your jar with strips of paper with ideas for you and your loved one to do. Some paper strips can be for game nights, movie nights, or having a meal together. The purpose of a date-night jar is that all of the ideas are inexpensive, yet meaningful. Create enough ideas to last a year. Another take on the date-night jar is to write reasons why you love your special someone. Give it to them on Valentine’s Day, their birthday, or your anniversary.

Boredom Busters: Keep your kids entertained during the summer and school breaks. Take Popsicle sticks or strips of paper and write fun, creative ideas for your children to do. Whenever they are bored, have them pull out an idea and have a ball. Also, include activities for your whole family to do together. Maybe a family game night, places to visit throughout your town or elsewhere.

Mixes: This type of jar is great for Christmas presents, especially if you need to make something in bulk. Prepare the dry ingredients of your favorite recipe for cookies, brownies, hot chocolate, etc. Attach the recipe’s instructions and be sure to mention liquid ingredients that need to be added.

Movie Lovers: We all have someone in our lives that is a die-hard movie lover. They are always the first ones to see the latest blockbuster hit. The next time you are looking to give them a present, think about a movie lover’s jar. This jar can contain popcorn, candy, and gift cards to the movie theater. You can also package it with a few bottles of soda or a DVD.

Spa Night: A spa in a jar is the perfect gift for a friend, mom, sister or aunt. Give it to them for their birthday, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or “just because.” All you need to do is include a face mask, hand-and-foot scrub, lip scrub, massage oil, bath salts, hand cream, foot lotion, and an eye mask. Also, add in a pair of socks and pieces of candy.

Survival Kit: Jars are quick and convenient ways to hold and carry needed supplies. Survival kits can be used for college, a new parent, the first day on the job, and more. Think about the items a person needs the most when starting a new occasion or life event. They can also be used for the holidays. For example, a bridesmaid survival kit could include a mini-sewing kit, safety pins, breath mints, lip balm, lint roller, polish remover, stain remover, nail polish, pain reliever, tissues, and bobby pins.

Housewarming Gift: When a new family moves into the neighborhood, they will soon be greeted with welcome baskets, pies, cakes, and other gifts. But, do you know what will be a unique gift? Give them a housewarming jar full of items such as mini-champagne bottles, kitchen utensils, soap, colorful napkins, clothespins, Magic Erasers, and other cleaning supplies. You can also include local restaurants or helpful phone numbers on a strip of paper. Another example is creating a sangria jar with the ingredients to make the popular drink.

Color-Coded: Think of a person’s favorite color, then make a jar of items of that color. For example, if your friend loves purple, think of only purple things to include. This idea can be used for any type of present, whether it’s going off to college, a housewarming present, a birthday gift, and more.

With any type of jar you choose, throw in as many items as you would like. Just remember to get creative and have fun!

xoxo,

Megan

5 Secrets to Mastering the Art of Organization

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Lately, I have been Marie Kondo-ing it up and getting my house organized before going back to school. Cleaning isn’t my favorite thing to do, yet being organized is a must. I’m a mix of messy and Monica from Friends…you could probably call me a type-A messy person.

While completing my cleaning haul, I discovered a few new tricks for better organization and I must say, I am THRILLED at how good these tips worked. These pieces of advice are effortless and most importantly, ones you can easily maintain. After all, isn’t everyone looking for simpler approaches to life’s “tough” tasks?

  1. Roll items, instead of folding them. In my dresser, I normally folded my leggings, tank-tops, etc. and laid them flat in the drawer. This technique took up a bunch of space. Instead, this time around, I rolled each item and stacked them vertically, side by side. The tinier rolls of clothing took up ten times less room and looked neater.
  2. Look for wasted space. I have been known to clutter rooms and store everything in a place where it can be seen. My mindset changed after realizing I was sick of seeing things all over the floor. Instead, I placed the pieces under my bed. Areas of wasted space are lifesavers. Get creative with your storage, by thinking about the places that are often overlooked in your house, such as under the bed, over the door, the top shelf of the closet.
  3. Visibility, accessibility, and flexibility. Recently, I read that the rules of organization are visibility, accessibility, and flexibility. As I moved from room to room, I kept those three words in mind. If an item isn’t used on a daily basis or is needed only twice a year, that item is stored in a less accessible and visible area. Don’t forget to label storage containers when needed, especially for the items that are not used as much. Another thing I discovered was to be flexible with organizing. I spent about two days in my bedroom and can’t tell you how many times I rearranged my closet and shelves until they were just right.
  4. Storage can be creative. Use decorative baskets, galvanized buckets, and hat boxes as storage containers. Cardboard and plastic boxes are a thing of the past when visible in your home. My office is full of fabric drawers and glass jars, holding items. Just be careful to not overdo the storage containers. You don’t want your home to look cluttered.
  5. Speaking of clutter, less is best. My love for tchotchkes and knit-knats is strong. I can fill up a tabletop with pictures, candles, and memorabilia from the 90s. Yet, I had no space to work, eat, etc. Decluttering is key to any room. As I went through the different spaces, I created boxes and separate these types of items into things I want to set out, things I want to keep in storage, and things I want to give away. The knit-knats that were sentimental and had the most value to me were used as decoration, while the others were moved into one of the two other boxes. As hard as it was to remove all the tchotchkes, I am loving the newfound space on my desk.

Honestly, it takes a great deal to get me organized and stay organized. However, with my anxiety, I need to have a place for everything and have some type of order to live by. Usually once or twice a year, I complete this big organizational purge and I am always glad that I did.

Happy Organizing!

xoxo,

Megan

 

 

 

 

Rules for…Well, Me

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Last week on Facebook, I noticed mothers giving their daughters a set of rules. This list included 36 pieces of advice for the daughters to use in life. As I skimmed through the tips, I thought about the importance of these encouragements and how everyone needs to hear them. Below are a few words of advice that now serve as rules for…well, me.

1. Make your bed every day; even if it’s right before you get in it.
2. Don’t wear holey underwear in case you’re in an accident and they cut your clothes off.
3. It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. It’s also okay to smash things; but, wash your face, clean your mess, and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.
4. Seek out the people and places that resonate with your soul.
5. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
6. 5-second rule. It’s just dirt. There are worse things in a fast-food cheeseburger.
7. Be less sugar, more spice, and only as nice as you’re able to without compromising yourself.
8. Hold your heroes to a high standard. Be your own hero.
9. If you can’t smile with your eyes, don’t smile. Insincerity is nothing to aspire to.
10. Never lie to yourself.
11. Your body, your rules.
12. If you have an opinion, you better know why.
13. Practice your passions.
14. Ask for what you want. The worse thing they can say is no.
15. Wish on stars and dandelions, then get to work to make them happen.
16. Don’t skimp on good sheets.
17. Fall hard and forever in love with nothing but yourself.
18. Say Please, Thank You, and Pardon Me, whenever the situation warrants it.
19. Reserve I’m sorry for when you truly are.
20. Naps are for grown-ups, too.
21. Question everything except your own intuition.
22. You have enough. You are enough.
23. You are amazing! Don’t let anyone ever make you feel you are not. If someone does….walk away. You deserve better.
24. No matter where you are, you can always go home.
25. Be happy, say your prayers and remember your roots.
26. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

xoxo,

Megan

The Power of Laughter

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“What do you call an alligator in a vest? An investigator.” Did that pun make you laugh? If so, congratulations – you just strengthened your immune system, lowered your stress level, and got in a little bit of exercise. A simple laugh can cause the above health benefits, as well as many others,  to happen within your body. We have all heard the quote “laughter is the best medicine,” but do you know why?

Laughter has been known to be a positive healing force. It has physical, mental, and social advantages. When looking at your physical health, research shows a good laugh helps boost your T-cells. These cells are specialized immune system cells which, when activated, help your body fight off sickness. In addition, laughing releases endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers. When they are released, chronic pain can be relieved. Another benefit is lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels. Lowering a person’s blood pressure helps reduce their risk of stroke and heart attacks. Stress and anxiety levels can also be decreased, which triggers the T-cells to increase your body’s immune resistance. Lastly, humor can help a person add exercise into her day. When you are laughing, your stomach muscles expand and contract, providing effects similar to doing ab workouts. Along with your abs, laughing gets your heart pumping and can burn as many calories as walking at a slow to moderate pace. Can’t complete a physical activity due to injury, illness, or another health problem? Start laughing to get your body moving.

Humor has many mental health benefits. When a person’s stress and anxiety levels are decreased, a sense of well-being and joy can occur. Laughing is known to help create a positive and optimistic outlook. It helps a person shift her attitude and perspective during a disappointing and difficult time. Psychological research states humor allows people to see things more realistically and stop them from feeling overwhelmed. Another benefit is when you are laughing, you can’t feel any other emotions. You can’t be angry or sad when you have a smile on your face. Instead, your energy is increased, giving you a sense of hope and strength to face life’s challenges. A simple smile or small chuckle can go a long way, no matter how you are feeling.

Lastly, relationships are strengthened, and your social health can improve through laughter. There is a reason why people say laughter is contagious because when one person starts laughing, it is easy to join in. It helps people connect and share a moment of humor and happiness. Humor can be used as a way to communicate and produce positive feelings among people. When a positive bond is created, people will be more spontaneous, express their emotions more, and there are fewer disappointments and disagreements.

All people learn how to laugh as babies. However, as you grow up, it can be harder to find things that humor you. Life’s challenges could make it hard or you might not feel like laughing because of one thing or another. Sometimes you have to make an effort to laugh during the tough times. Easier said than done, right? Try bringing humor into your day by completing small tasks, such as renting a funny movie, reading a funny book, or watching a funny television show. Every Sunday, your newspaper has a section dedicated to making you laugh, so why not check it out? Also, take a walk down memory lane and remember the hilarious moments of when things didn’t go right. Keep up to date on good jokes and stories, or play with a pet or children. Finding laughter in your everyday life can be trying, but take the time to do fun activities with your family and friends. Be silly and goof around. Once you start laughing, you’ll recognize the many benefits. After all, Charlie Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

xoxo,

Megan

It’s Shark Week! Celebrate with a Shark Attack Wreath.

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“Dun dun…dun dun…dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnn.”

If the theme song from Jaws popped into your head as you read the lyrics above, then you are correct. How can we not keep this song on constant replay this week? After all, it is Shark Week.

In honor of Discovery Channel’s annual animal marathon and one of my favorite TV weeks, I’m celebrating with a few shark-related posts. For starters, a Shark Attack Wreath that is fun and simple for all ages to create. Enjoy!

Materials:

  • 3 pairs of flip flops (Dollar Store and Old Navy have cheap pairs.)
  • Rope or hemp cord
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue and a glue gun

Directions: 

  1. Place the flip flops in a circle and arrange how you would like it to look.
  2. For each flip flop, cut bit marks out of the top. Keep your finish wreath image in mind as you are cutting.
  3. Hot glue the sandals together, one at a time. Press down to adhere the glue.
  4. To create a hanger, hot glue the rope or hemp cord to the back of the wreath.

You can also get creative and add decorations on your wreath, such as shark stickers, images, life preservers, and other ocean garnishes. Paint pens work great, as well!

Have fun; just stay aware of sharks!

xoxo,

Megan

 

 

 

Tips and Tricks for a Fabulous Summertime Party

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While the kids are out of school, and the days of summer are long, there is no better time to have a summer party with family and friends. Turn your backyard or house into a fun getaway, and party into the wee hours of the morning with these party ideas.

There are several themes for summer parties. Different ideas include beach/under the sea, patriotic, luau, ice cream social, backyard movie night, picnic, camping, fiesta, low country boil and, of course, the classic pool party. When it comes to choosing your theme, think about what type of party you want to have and where your guests will have the most fun. Some questions to consider — would you enjoy a fiesta or a low country boil? If camping isn’t your thing, don’t have a camping themed event. Remember, you are going to be spending time planning and hosting this party, so pick a theme you are excited about and enjoy. Another thing to keep in mind is the type of guests you are inviting. Are they all adults, or are both adults and kids invited?

After choosing the theme of the party, start thinking about the invitation, decorations, food, games/crafts, and party favors. A good place to go for ideas is to look online, including your trustworthy friend, Pinterest. Some of my favorite party ideas are listed below and can be used for multiple summer party themes.

Decorations:

Decorations always set the mood of the party. Go all out, and turn your party area into the beach, under the sea, a backyard BBQ, etc. For some general summer ideas, use sand buckets for snacks and toy shovels for scooping. If your event is outside, keep the sun and bugs under control by filling a bucket with sunscreen and bug spray for guests to use. Get creative and decorate the bucket, and add a cute sign. Another party must is a photo booth. Add props related to your theme and a backdrop. Guests will love taking home a memento from the day. For nighttime parties, place glow sticks in a clear bowl, filled with ice and bottled/canned drinks. This decoration makes a festive and colorful addition to your party tables.

Food:

Along with salty, sweet and fruity snacks, be original with your food options. For drinks, serve the traditional summer beverages — lemonade, sweet tea, soft drinks and water, but add in Sunny D. This bright orange thirst quencher will be loved by kids of all ages and bring in a little bit more of the summer oasis. Want something different than the common party drink? Try this Pina Colada Sangria recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Moscato
  • 20 oz can of pineapple juice (crushed pineapple may be added, as well)
  • 1 ½ cups coconut rum

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher. Refrigerate overnight, and serve chilled.

As always, summer parties call for s’ mores. Turn this classic backyard treat into a party favorite with an s’mores bar. Set up the table with marshmallows, Hershey’s chocolate bars, and graham crackers. Add in more flavors, and include bananas, strawberries, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Ritz crackers, Hershey’s cookies, and cream candy bars and York peppermint patties.

Games and Crafts:

One of my favorite ideas for a party activity is creating a movie theater right in your own backyard. This activity works for all different types of parties because you can show a movie that matches your theme. First, you need a screen. Some options include showing the movie on the side of a house, tool shed or other flat surface or hanging a flat bed sheet between two objects. Next, you need a projector, laptop and sound system. Computer speakers, stereo amplifiers and a boom box are great options to get the sound louder.

If you are looking for guests to get in touch with their creative sides, add a craft or DIY project to the party. One option is decorating flip-flops which can be purchased at the Dollar Store. Also, buy different colors of paint, Sharpies, stickers, buttons and more. Your visitors will enjoy getting to put their own spin on something they can take home.

Don’t forget about party favors. Make goodie bags with items related to your theme. Include snack-items, games or something unique and special to remember the event.

xoxo,

Megan