Thanksgiving Party Set | FREE Printable Download

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I know, I know, it’s coming way too fast! Only a little over a month (37 days to be exact) to prepare for this day. Wow, where did summer go? And fall? The leaves here are fading so quickly! I just want it to stay for awhile! Well enough of my boo-hoo story. I have something better to tell you about!

Here is an absolutely gorgeous Thanksgiving set to make your home festive for the holiday. And guess what? It is FREE! All you need to do is download and print onto nice, sturdy paper. If you don’t have a printer, well, send it off to a store that will print it for you! 

This party collection is offered for free by Pizzazerie. There are so many fun pieces to this set, and I love that it features Psalm 107:1 on the large printable to frame.

The set includes:

Thanksgiving Food Tents
Thanksgiving Give Thanks Print
I’m Thankful Cards
Thanksgiving Invitation
Leaf Flags
Leftover Tags
Give Thanks Banner
Thanksgiving Menus
Thanksgiving Party Circle Logos
Thanksgiving Recipe Cards
Plaid Paper
Striped Paper

thanksgiving printable party set by pizzazzerie

What’s not to love? The colors are so beautiful and festive. I love the recipe cards! There’s always someone who wants the recipe to that ______ – you fill in the blank!

Free Thanksgiving GIVE THANKS Banner on Pizzazzerie.com

A pretty banner to hang anywhere in the house. There is just everything you need in this party set!

I am Thankful For Card Printables by Pizzazzerie

We always share what we are thankful for in my family around the Thanksgiving table. These cards are a wonderful way for your family and friends to share what they are thankful for. It leaves plenty of room for lots of blessings!

Thanksgiving leftover tags from pizzazzerie

Left-over tags? Don’t you just love that idea?! And the banners attached to vintage straws gets me. Such a great idea. You can find Thanksgiving Celebration Straws for a great deal on Amazon! In fact, I am going to have to order some myself. They are way too pretty to pass up. If you won’t be using a lot of them, you can always use what’s left for your drinks to match the decor.

Are you having a hard time believing this set is FREE? I am! Thanks to Pizzazzerie, our Thanksgiving tables will look gorgeous this year.

Download the file now, and don’t forget to print it out ahead of time so you can get to work on cutting the pieces out. Here is the direct link to the download: http://pizzazzerie.com/free-topic/free-thanksgiving-party-collection/

I’m counting down the days now…

Enjoy this Autumn day while it lasts!

The Happy Homemaker

Apple Spice Room Scent

I don’t know about you, but I am all about spice when the leaves start to change and the cold sets in. There is something so comforting about the smell of cinnamon and other fellow spices as they mingle through the air. Want that apple pie scent, but don’t want to have to bake a pie to get it? Here’s a very easy way to get the smell of fall throughout your whole house. You may even have all the ingredients on hand!

I can smell the strong aroma of cinnamon and cloves as I sit to write this… mixed with apples and a touch of vanilla… oohhh, happiness! Want to know the best part? This is a chemical-free way to make your home smell divine! No pouring synthetic fragrances and chemicals into each room of your house. This is just all natural, right from your pantry ingredients that you can pronounce and know are safe!

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All you need is:

1 small apple

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp. whole cloves

1 tsp. pure vanilla

1/3 to 1/2 cup water

Slice up your apple, keeping the skin and core. This is where you could use an apple with bruises or dents, something beyond eating. It would be perfect for this, but a good apple is great too. Add the rest of your ingredients, and turn your burner on to low. The goal is to get this heated and steaming, but not boiling. You can let this go for as long as you wish, but you want to watch the water level. If your water gets really low, your ingredients could burn, and that would not smell so good.

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Sit back and enjoy the comforting smell of apple spice! This would be perfect for prepping your house for guests, or while you throw a fall or winter party. I will share more blends here as time goes on.

Until then, enjoy!

The Happy Homemaker

Weekly Menu Planning

Planning the weekly menu for some people can tend to be daunting. Where do you start, and how do you do it? I am a weekly shopper. That is, I make my menu up and shop only once a week. No extra trips to the grocery store every couple days. That can add up! Here are my tips for keeping up with menu planning, and saving yourself time and money in the process.DSC_1063 1. Always start at the beginning of the week. If you have time, create a menu on Sunday and get your shopping done then. That makes the rest of your week look a whole lot easier, and you will have food in the fridge and pantry, ready to go. If Sunday isn’t going to work for you, get it all done on Monday. My husband and I used to go out on Sunday afternoons, but lately I have been getting it done on Mondays.

2. Create a menu plan. Ask your family members for ideas, or browse Pinterest (my usual choice). Make your menu up until Friday, or if you make full meals the entire weekend, go into Sunday. I personally only make a menu until Friday. When the weekend comes, sometimes we eat out or grab a couple items from the grocery store. Or sometimes we munch. Weekends are usually my time to have fun, so we don’t generally have full sit-down meals.

3. With your weekly schedule, a lot of times you have different things going on different days. Maybe you work full-time, or you are a stay-at-home mom and are busy certain evenings, or your child is involved in school activities such as sports. Try to remember what you have going on and base your menu on that too. I am busy every Tuesday and Wednesday night. I usually try to have a crockpot meal on Tuesdays (I love coming home to a complete meal!), and Wednesday nights I make dinner early (something simple like pasta) and bring it with me to church so my husband can eat.

4. Make your grocery list based upon your menu and where you will shop. Add your other everyday foods, such as breakfast items, snacks, drinks, etc. I like to get all of my shopping done at one store. I take my 11 month old with me, and I am not usually up to hauling her all over town to hit a bunch of markets. You know what stores carry what. Make your menu according to what place you will be shopping at. For instance, I like to shop at Trader Joes now and then, but they do not always carry specific items other stores carry. So, I make my menu plan based on what Trader Joes may carry. I know their prices on certain items as well, and that helps me make decisions. If you like to shop at numerous stores and that’s your thing, then go for it! I hope to be like you someday!

5.  Be prepared to change up your menu while shopping. Sometimes I get to the store and find they do not have what I am looking for. Say it’s a big part of one of your meals… what will you do if they don’t have it? There’s always the option of checking another store. Or, you could have a back-up meal just in case and change the menu. I have had that happen to me many times. Sometimes it’s as easy as finding a substitute, while other times you just have to make a complete change. This is why I make my menu and grocery list on the same page. It helps me to remember what the menu plan is, and give me ideas on how to switch it up if I need to.

These are some very simple tips, and may not be new for you. When I was first married, I was so excited to make menu plans and shop each week. I still am! The feeling of getting all your food for the week is just really awesome. I know many people who wonder what they will eat for dinner each night. That doesn’t have to be you! By taking some time to sit and write a menu, it could transform your whole week. I know it does mine! I have learned a lot over the past few years, and am sure I will have more to share later down the road.

Here is a menu of what I will be making this week:

Monday: Baked chicken leg quarters, couscous, veggie blend ~ http://www.food.com/recipe/crispy-baked-chicken-leg-quarters-very-easy-one-dish-449452

Tuesday: Crockpot chili (my own recipe), cornbread

Wednesday: Dad’s Friday night pasta dish ~  http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/dads-friday-night-pasta-dish/

Thursday: Roasted sausage, potato, onions and peppers (the link to her site is no longer, but you can check out my Yummy Things board on Pinterest and get an idea of what it is)

Friday: Pizza

I hope this gives you a little inspiration and helps lighten your load a bit. I’m sure there is a lot more advice from much more experienced people out there. If you have more tips, I would love to hear them.

Here’s to making our lives better, one day at a time!

The Happy Homemaker

Fall Decorating {DIY Ideas for Your Home}

I think the majority of the US is crazy about fall. Pumpkin this, pumpkin that, plaid scarves, fashion boots, apple picking, fairs, festivals, etc. You know what I mean! We are all Fall Crazy! I am included in this group. I can’t get enough of Fall before the winter hits. By now, everyone is picking up mum plants and pumpkins to decorate their homes for the season. Yet again, I am one of these people! As soon as pumpkin spice coffee hit coffee chains, I WAS THERE. You can probably relate with me, people.

How about decorating for Fall? Are you one of those people who has it down to a T and is one of those lovely homes I drive by and say, “Wow, I just love that house!”. Or are sort of like me, in need of a rejuvenation in the Fall decor category? Some items can be so expensive. I have a very limited supply of Fall decorations. It has taken me 3 1/2 years of marriage to accumulate these! But there are so many tutorials out there on how to make your own decorations, or how to use what you already might have.

I have collected a few ideas that caught my eye. These are off some excellent websites, so make sure to hop on by and take a look at what else they have to offer. Now lets make our homes look just as wonderful as Fall really feels! Just click on the photos and it will take you right to their site.

1. Over at BHG (Better Homes and Gardens) they have a wonderful collection of DIY ideas for fall, mostly using real flowers to make centerpieces. Some of them look so easy to create!

Fall Flowers in Gourd Vases

Fall Flowers in Gourd Vases

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2. I just discovered On Sutton Place while perusing Pinterest. Her site is lovely and has some real beautiful things. While this wreath seems a little more costly to make, you can always look out for special deals on the supplies. She mentions using Valspar Premium Enamel Finish spray to help keep it in tact. A great tip for DIY projects!

DIY Fall Wheat Wreath | A Tutorial from On Sutton Place

DIY Fall Wheat Wreath | A Tutorial from On Sutton Place

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3. I just love this front entrance! So simple, yet so gorgeous! Easily decorate your front steps with moms, pumpkins and candles!Fall Front Porch Decorating Ideas

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4. Isn’t that banner/garland awesome?! And guess what? It requires very little investment and time! Check out 6th Street Design School for a quick tutorial. I am so doing this one! :)

boxwood clippings_diy falling leaves garland

DIY Falling Leaves Garland | 6th Street Design School

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5. The photo below just takes my breath away. So simple and right from nature. There is no tutorial for making this wreath, but the flower or plant or whatever is called Bittersweet. You may even have some in your back yard! I love it.

Bittersweet

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6. I can’t get over how cute these pumpkins are! What an awesome idea. And it really doesn’t seem too difficult. She offers a great tutorial on A Night Owl Blog. I want to make some right now!

Painted Wood Slice Pumpkins | anightowlblog.com

Painted Wood Slice Pumpkins | anightowlblog.com

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7. Although I cannot find a tutorial for this (I got it off Pinterest and it takes me to her homepage), I know it came from a blog called Common Ground. This is made with items collected from a walk in the woods. How cool is that?! It looks like acorns, leaves, wild pears (I have two of those trees in my front yard) and other miscellaneous finds. Talk about cheap! But so lovely…

all gathered from a walk in the woods

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8. Here are some free printables off On Sutton Place, where she shares some of her own as well as links to others! Print a couple out, frame them and place them anywhere in your home. So easy!

20+ Free Printables ~ find all the links right here!

20+ Free Printables ~ find all the links right here!

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9. There are many tutorials out there on painting pumpkins. I loved the simplicity of the pumpkins below. Paint ’em white and add a plaid print fabric on top. Perfect! The Stone Gable blog has lots of great ideas just like this one.

Painting Pumpkins White | Stone Gable Blog

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10. Learn how to make a beautiful, inviting tablescape from All Things Heart and Home! She also shares a video on her site to make it even easier to see how it’s done. This is gorgeous.

fall table setting

Fall Table Setting | All Things Heart and Home

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There is just a small list of DIY ideas for your home. If you’d like to see more from these DIYers, click on the links below and that will take you to their site. Like, follow and get lots of good tips and ideas!

Enjoy!

The Happy Homemaker

Links:

http://www.onsuttonplace.com/

http://anightowlblog.com/

http://acountryfarmhouse.blogspot.com/

http://6thstreetdesignschool.blogspot.com/

http://www.shelterness.com/

http://www.bhg.com/

http://www.stonegableblog.com/

http://www.allthingsheartandhome.com/

<<Check out my Seasonal Decor & Recipes board on Pinterest for more ideas!>>

French Press Coffee | Chambord Bodum French Press – Review

1923-16So I finally did it. I bought a French press coffee maker. I never really realized how much people actually use a French press until I did a little research. The carafe to my drip coffee maker needs to be replaced, so I have not been able to use it for quite some time. Huge bummer. Rather than try to find a replacement, I decided to look into a French press. Number one – it is so cute and small, easy to take with you. Number two –  I had read that it was the absolute best way to make coffee. Number three – it’s quick, simple, and easy to clean.

I caved in and bought one after checking them out online. I obviously did not want to spend a whole lot on one, yet I didn’t want some cheapy French press either. I decided on a Bodum 8 cup press, and I purchased it at Target. It looked like better quality than some of the cheaper ones. I took it home and immediately tried it out. First off, let me say that this French press feels like quality. It has a glass carafe and a stainless steel holder. I didn’t have coarse ground coffee beans hanging around, so my first go at it didn’t quite work out well. But after a few tries, my coffee came out great. It is definitely trial and error to getting the right cup that suits your taste. I like mine strong, but not so strong that it tastes bitter. I don’t recommend using 1 TBSP. of ground coffee per 4 oz. cup. That is too strong for me! But I have figured out what works for me, and let me tell you, it is amazing. After a while of drinking drip coffee, you start to get the coffee maker taste, if you know what I mean. This method leaves you with a pure, smooth coffee and it’s delicious.

If you love coffee, then you should try this. While it doesn’t make as much in quantity as a drip coffee maker can, it is perfect for those who only need to make a few cups at a time. That was another big reason I liked the French press. I always felt I needed to make 1/2 a pot in my drip maker for it to taste okay. I then ended up throwing half of that away and felt so wasteful. The French press is perfect for making anywhere from 1-3 cups at a time. Just be careful not to let your coffee sit in the carafe for too long with the beans… it gets really, really strong and bitter after a while.

Coincidentally, Ali from Gimme Some Oven pinned a tutorial she wrote recently on her website about French Press coffee. Along with her beautiful photos of the process, she explains some good tips on how to get the best cup of coffee. Check out her tutorial here.

I am still learning, and I’m sure it will take more time and tricks to getting a better cup of coffee. But here is my take on the whole French press thing, and I hafta say… I LOVE IT!

The Happy Homemaker

Shelf Lining

I am working on “reblogging” some of my posts from my last personal blog. Some of the things on there are perfect for putting on The Happy Homemaker, so here is a new DIY for you to try! This was taken from November of 2012. This project is fairly simple, yet leaves a huge impact on your shelves. You go from blah to beautiful all in a matter of an hour, give or take. Have fun!!

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As I was cleaning the other day before Thanksgiving, I spied some shelf liner in my cabinet that I bought quite a while ago to use. I had been ignoring the fact that I really needed to line my pantry with the pretty chevron pattern for quite some time… so finally I decided to be brave and just do it. ;)

I found the shelf liner at T.J Maxx for $5.99. Can’t beat that!

This is the pantry before. SO sorry for the blurred picture. 

I didn’t realize it until now, but you get the general idea of how blah it was.

The supplies needed: cleaner (for the shelves), measuring tape, scissors and shelf liner.

I measured the length of the shelf and then used the helpful grid on the back of the liner to cut a straight line. Adhering it to the shelf is easy once you get it all straight and lined up! The liner is sooo forgiving. I must have peeled it up at least 6 times the first round. Since it wasn’t wide enough, I just cut extra pieces and tried to match up the pattern the best I could.

I like the end result. It took time, but is so worth it. And now I will know the tricks for next time! :)

IDEA: Note my cooking magazines lining the back of the shelf. This is a good way to utilize them after you are finished going through them. Try to pull out the right issue for each season. It’s pretty and reusable each year!

Check out your T.J Maxx or Marshalls for more pretty shelf liners. There are some gorgeous patterns!

The Happy Homemaker

Saving Money at Target

target-bullseyeTarget has to be one of my favorite places to shop for everyday essential items. One of the reasons I shop there more than others is because of the deals I get just about every time I am there. I’m not talking about just their clearance items (I do love finding those!), but the various ways I am able to save money every time. Many people clip coupons and do well with that. I have not gotten big into that part of the shopping world, but I do have ways I save money every time I swipe my card at Target. 

Have you heard of the Cartwheel app? I downloaded that onto my smartphone a while ago now. It is basically discounts for items at their store. Anywhere from 5% – 30% off of items sometimes. You have a “cart” on the app to put coupons into and when you check out they scan the bar code from your phone. All of the discounts come off at once, so no standing there waiting for coupons to be scanned. Every time I am in Target, I look on the Cartwheel app as I go to see if there is a deal on a different brand. There are a lot of discounts on there for the up&up brand, which I have been impressed with. I can hardly tell the difference in a lot of the up&up products, versus top name brand items. I love saving 5% or more on my disposable diapers and wipes too! They give you the option of scanning bar codes on items right from your phone to look for savings if you don’t have the time to search. That is pretty fun. 

But did you know that you can use Cartwheel online too? Just check out the deals they are offering ahead of time online, put them in your Cartwheel “cart” and print off the bar code! I didn’t even know about that until now. It even shows a total of how much you have saved using Cartwheel. Using Cartwheel alone, I have saved almost $19 so far. Doesn’t seem like much, but that does not include other coupons or my REDcard savings this year. 

If that isn’t cool enough already, you can receive text alerts on your phone for extra coupons each month that you can use in addition to your Cartwheel. You can also go to Target.com and print off a bunch of coupons there. Target only accepts one store coupon (either from your text alerts or printed from Target.com) and one manufacturer coupon per item. Cartwheel is just a bonus on top of those and can even be used on clearance items. 

I put off getting a REDcard for a while, until I found out you can get a Target Debit card. Works just like any debit card and you save an extra 5% each time you use it. That 5% comes off your grand total. My husband and I do not own a credit card, so this was a really helpful option for us.

I love getting deals, and it is fun seeing $ come off my total after they have scanned all my discounts and coupons… and the REDcard. If you haven’t heard of these saving deals from Target before, then you should check them out! It can be a lot of fun to shop and find you can save money on simple things like flour and sugar to diapers and wipes.

Check out Target’s coupon policy here.

If you have other ways you save at Target, please let me know in the comments section!

The Happy Homemaker

*I am in no way affiliated with Target. All opinions and reviews are all from a happy and satisfied customer.*