Pumpkin Rice Krispies Treates

Disclaimer: NO they are NOT pumpkin flavored. If you wanted to I’m sure you could find a way to make them pumpkin flavored but personally I think that’s overkill. There is already too much pumpkin in the world.

Last weekend my local target had a sale on Rice Krispies and marshmalls. It’s been awhile since I brought a treat into work and I thought this would be the perfect little treat. Who doesn’t love a rice krispie treat? I personally don’t like marshmallows but still rice krispies are yummy.

If you’ve made regular rice krispies before then you’ll know how to make them but in case you need a reminder (like I did) here’s how you make them:

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You will need:

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • red & yellow food coloring or orange gel coloring
  • 5-1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 6 cups crispy rice cereal
  • mini tootsie rolls

Instructions are simple:

  1. In a large saucepan, melt and slightly brown butter on medium heat. Add vanilla extract and marshmallows. Stir until marshmallows are completely melted. Add food coloring until desired orange color is reached. Add cereal and stir until completely combined. Turn off heat and let sit for a few minutes, until cool enough to handle.
  2. When mixture has cooled enough, spray your hands with cooking spray and mold cereal mix into circles. (I made nine medium sized pumpkins). Unwrap a tootsie roll and press into each pumpkin top. Add candy for the eyes and noses (we used a little frosting to adhere). Eat and enjoy!

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Some tips I learned:

  1. Don’t try to mold these until they are almost completely cool. If they are still too warm they will stick to your hands regardless of how much oil you put on them.
  2. Remove from othe stove once you add in the rice krispies. I mixed them all in the pot. Even though the heat was off it still crystalized the bottom. I lost a bit of the mix to this. It does NOT taste good (trust me).
  3. Make the pumpkins small. You’ll get more out of a batch.
  4. Candy faces are optional. Personally I like them better without. You still get the impression it’s a pumpkin and you save money.
  5. Double the batch. This didn’t make as many as I expected.
  6. Mini marshmallows melt faster, but large marshmallows work just as well. It will just take a little longer for them to melt.
  7. Make sure you put enough butter on the bottom so it doesn’t burn or stick.

I brought these in to work in my new (free) chip and dip bowl. It held them perfectly.
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Grade: Cost: Time:
A $3 Active: 5 minutes
Cool: 10-20 minutes
Molding: 3 minutes
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
Double the recipie. Don’t leave on the stove to cool. Mix in a separate bowl instead.
Overall Impression:
Super cute. My boyfriend isn’t one into holiday decorations but he even agreed that this was a pretty clever idea. Thanks Pinterest!

Slow Cooker Sundays – Chicken Stroganoff

Grab those crockpots! It’s time for a new edition of Slow Cooker Sundays!

Today I bring you: Chicken Stroganoff. When I pinned this it came with the tagline “HEALTHY”. BAHAHAHAHA! Who are they trying to kid?… Take a look at the ingredients and judge for yourself how “healthy” this is.

  • 1 can Campbell’s 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
  • 16 oz fat free sour cream
  • 1 envelope of Lipton onion soup mix
  • 1 lb of frozen boneless skinless chicken breast

Alright, now that we have that out of the way it’s time to look at this as a great comfort food on a cold day to be eaten sparingly. Maybe once a month. Like all slow cooker recipies, this one is really easy to make. It’s also great for tight budgets.

  1. Put chicken breast in crockpot.
  2. Mix all other ingredients in a bowl and pour over chicken.
  3. Cook on low for 7 hours.
  4. Shred the chicken and stir back into sauce.
  5. Serve over egg noodles.

This recipe is delicious! Perfect on a cold day, but it CAN use some changes. I let it cook all day and while the sauce was good it needed something else. I felt like the sour cream was in your face. It was just too tart for my liking. My dad puts Worcestershire sauce in the beef stroganoff he makes at home. I added about a tablespoon to this recipe and thought it really improved it. It cut in half that tart taste of the sour cream.
Slow Cooker Sundays - Chicken Stroganoff. Tested on Pintertesting.com

Another thing I would change is adding more chicken. We only had 4 chicken breasts left. It just wasn’t enough. The sour cream and soup make for a lot of liquid. I prefer to have almost equal amounts chicken to mixture. This was more like 1/4 chicken and 3/4 mixture. Maybe 6 chicken breasts would be a better amount.

Grade: Cost: Time:
B+ approx $5 for sour cream and Lipton soup mix 7 hours on low
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
Add some worchestershire sauce. The sour cream is just a little TOO tart. Perhaps a little ketchup too? Trust me on that. We add both to a beef recipe we make and it’s perfect! I’d also add more chicken and maybe throw in some mushrooms with this.
Overall Impression:
Good but just a little off. That may be personal preference. A few changes and it’s perfect. It’s just want you need on a cold day when you’re looking for something different as comfort food.

 

Lace Top With Colored Skirt

Lets face it. We all have THAT clothing board on Pinterest. The one of all the clothes we WISH we had in our closets, but can’t afford, can’t find or just would never look as great as the models do.

I’ve been trying to up my wardrobe since I got my new job. It pays more so that’s more money that I can put towards revamping. I’ve been working hard to make sure things actually match or are more versatile. It’s getting better slowly but surely.

One of my favorite pins on my clothing board is this colored skirt with lace top. I’ve always loved it and it seems like a pretty easy and attainable look. Plus it also seems pretty classy.

Over the summer I bought my first colored skirt. It was a bright teal. It matched a bunch of different shirts I had and even carried over into a few of my scarves. It’s now October. Time to switch it out for something more fall like. I hit up my local JC Penny to see if they had any other colors. This isn’t an endoresement for JC Penny, i just found that they’re the only store with a pencil skirt that actually fits me right. Plus I love this colored skirt look and want to let you know where you can find them.

On this new trip I found a magenta skirt and a deep fall teal skirt. It didn’t hurt that they had a doorbuster deal going on and coupons are back! I swiped both of them up.

Next step is the shirt. What I loved most of the original pin was the offset of the lace against the color. Turns out I’ve had this cream colored lace shirt sitting in the back of my wardrobe for a few years. I wore it on an interview once with a jacket but it’s since become just a little too short to wear with pants. That sucks because I’ve always thought it was a cute little shirt. Do you see where this post is now going? If you guessed “you combined the two” then DING DING WE HAVE A WINNER!

I paired it with a necklace that sorta went.

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Grade: Cost: Time:
A+ $20 for colored skirt N/A
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
Mix and match different colors. I have a white sorta sheer polka dot shirt (wore it with a cami) I paired with my bright blue skirt this summer and got a LOT of compliments on it. Likewise I got a lot of compliments on this one.
Overall Impression:
Thanks pinterest! I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on matching this one together. I’m still too paranoid to wear colored pants but a colored skirt is JUST enough. I love wearing this outfit just as much as I love the pin that inspired it.

DIY Bloody Halloween Candle

I found this great pin for using up some of those old red pillar candles we all have laying around the house. It’s a DIY Bloody halloween candle:

DIY Bloody Halloween Candle created on Pintertesting.com

Doesn’t it look cool? I thought it would look great for a Halloween party.

The process is simple: Take a red candle and drip the wax over the white candle. It will create the illusion of blood.

What I liked most: There really is no wrong way to do this. You can add as much red as you want. I was also thinking of using other pillar candles and making my own multi-colored ones for decorations throughout the year. It’s easy to make, gives you an excuse to use up the old candles and looks like fun.

Here’s my finished candle:
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Grade: Cost: Time:
A+ Free 10 Minutes
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
I’d love to do this with other colored candles for other seasons. I think it could look really cool.
Overall Impression:
We mixed a pinkish/red and a more maroon red candle. I like the variation of color and I got to make this with my mom. We both had a lot of fun. Best of all we used up those silly old Christmas candles that were otherwise useless.

 

Start Couponing For Beginners

Apartments are EXPENSIVE! Having to front a deposit plus first month’s rent all at once? Yikes! Since that’s quite a large chunk of change I want to save as much money on everything else I need to buy. I’ve never really seen the show Extreme Couponers because I think the deals they get at pretty unachievable for the everyday person. Since saving money is becoming even more important than ever I’m working on extreme couponing for beginners. Below is a picture of the woman who’s post I’m referencing.

If you’d like to know all the original person’s successes I’d suggest you follow that pin go go directly to her website: Katie’s Crochet Cookies. She does most of her shopping at Kroger’s, and thus a lot of her tips focus on that. There’s not really a convenient Kroger to me so I need to use other options.

Some of the best tips are:

1. Price compare. Look at different ads. Many stores seem to offer similar deals the same weeks. I guess they all get similar shipments. What may seem like a great deal at one place is really not that great compared to another one.

2. Google coupons. Look for coupon matches for your stores. Did you know that target has mobile coupons? They also have an app called Cartwheel. My first successful shopping trip combined coupons from target online, cartwheel and the online heaven: Coupons.com. You can’t use the same cartwheel and target online coupons, but you CAN load some on the app and print out the rest. Cartwheel only allows you 10 coupon slots to begin with (which sucks imho)

3. Collect your coupons in an organized way. I personally use a cheap 6 inch file folder from the dollar section. It works just fine. Break your coupons into different categories. Mine are:

  • Cold
  • pantry(cans, cereal, jars, pastas, etc)
  • cleaning
  • health/beauty
  • produce/breads

4. WAIT!!! Use coupons when items are on SALE. If you don’t need the item the other day, keep checking back. Coupons are usually good for awhile. If you combine them with sales you’ll get your maximum discount. This is also the #1 tip for how people get things for free.

5. Don’t buy an item just because you have a coupon. If and item is on sale, you use a coupon, you don’t need it and you still have a price to pay then it’s not worth it. Don’t fall into the coupon trap.

6. STOCK UP. If it’s a good price and you have good coupons, stock up. If you wait until you always need something you’ll end up paying a LOT more than if you stocked up. Plus you’ll already have the items.

My success: I haven’t been able to score anything free yet. My best deal was at a target trip last weekend. I had a $3 off tampons coupon, plus a $1 off target coupon when I bought 2. On top of this Target was running a special. Buy 2, get a $5 giftcard. Something that would have cost me $14 ended up costing me $6. That’s a better deal than buy one get one free. I was very proud of myself. All in all I spend $200, but with coupons was able to knock by bill down to $143. That’s more than 25% savings. I was feeling incredibly proud of myself!

Some places you might want to shop at:

  • a dollar store (dollar general, the dollar store, etc) – Some of the products aren’t the freshest and you can get ripped off here, but it’s cheap. If you’re on a tight budget they might be a good option.
  • Walmart – I know they get a lot of flack for various reasons, but they do have some unbeatable prices. I went here today for some canned vegetables. Since I’m just throwing them in the crock pot I’m not too picky on them, PLUS if you combine with coupons it’s even cheaper.
  • Meijer – I have yet to go here, but my cousin swears by it. If you don’t like Walmart then try Meijer. They also have low prices. My cousin also said to avoid the target trap. Have you ever looked at the price UNDER the “SALE PRICE” stickers at target? More than half the time there is no sale. It’s all to get you to buy more.
  • CLEARANCE!! I can’t stress that enough! Some of the best deals are on clearance. It’s not always stuff that is expiring. Many times it’s thing that just didn’t sell or that they don’t have room for anymore. I’m ALWAYS looking in clearance. You really never know what you will find. This also applies to any store. Walgreens alsso has some good deals in their clearance.

Kind advice from a lady I met in target:

  • Don’t buy the cheapest item. You’ll end up buying more in the long run. (I was looking for shower liners). If you buy something with a good or decent quality you wont need to replace it as often as others. It will pay for itself as time goes on.
  • Look for double coupon days. She may have referenced Kroger, but many stores offer double coupon days. Find those out!
  • If you need cheap furniture (in my case moving to my first apartment), look at goodwill, salvation army, garage sales, etc. Go to richer areas. They will have better selection. An old coworker of mine would go all the time. She’d find coach purshes, brand new exercise equipment, and even a diamond ring!
  • Cook meals in bulk and freeze them. Then you wont have to cook as often during the week and you can buy what’s on sale and use it up right away. I’ll be trying many of these tips soon. Stay tuned!
  • Get creative. “Don’t worry about buying end tables. Get a few egg crates, get a tablecloth and put that over it.” Sound amazing? You could also hit up goodwill or garage sales, buy some ratty looking tables and repaint them like I did.

Some helpful coupon sites:

Grade: Cost: Time:
B+ Free Ongoing
Level of Difficulty:
Easy/Medium
What I Would Change:
The site I used really referenced Kroger. There isn’t one convenient for me so that was a dud, but I have been using her advice for other places.
Overall Impression:
I took away quite a few great tips from this. I wish there was a Kroger nearby so I could use more of the coupon deals. I’ve started to watch extreme couponing and have signed up for many stores membership clubs. I’m hoping that with time I can score even better deals.

First Apartment Checklist

Are you sick of first apartment? Well I promise this one will be the last one for awhile. I have lots of fun projects coming up to share with you. Today I’m sharing with you the First Apartment Checklist. It’s a very comprehensive list. It has literally everything you could need. Take a look:

I used this as a guide. First thing I did was go through a figure out what I already had and what other relatives had. That knocked a lot of things off my list. I probably had already 1/3 of the items. another 1/3 of them aren’t really essential. I’d say this is more of an IDEAL first apartment checklist. Salt & pepper set? Get the cheap black and white one at the grocery store. Bed sheets? 2-3 are nice, but you only really need one. Hamper and laundry basket? You only need one. 20 piece dinner set? Pick up some odds and ends. I got a bunch of dishes at a garage sale. Nearly a full set for $10. They were lightly used, but they would do. You can also invest in plastic dishes. Same goes with 20 pieces of flatware. My aunt had a bunch of mismatched silverware. I honestly don’t care if they match. I’m just glad I have something to eat with.

Really, I look at this as more of a list of thing to work to. It’s not everything you need to begin with. You can pick up a lot of things at garage sales, goodwill etc. Don’t pay full price for frames. People are ALWAYS looking to get rid of them.

These are essential items I think you REALLY need:

Bedroom – bed, 1 set of sheets, 1 pillow, comforter

Bathroom – Towels (I’d recommend at least 2-3), shower curtain & liner (or get the combo), shower curtain hooks/rings, wastebasket, handsoap (get a cheap one for $1 at most stores), toilet brush/cleaner.

Kitchen – Can opener, 2 pots, 2 frypans, 1 baking sheet, pizza cutter, microwave, blender/food processor, measuring cups/spoons, spatula, ladle, beer or wine bottle opener, 1 casserole dish, dish soap

Home Decor – Not essential, but hit up goodwill and garage sales for these.

Cleaning – vaccuum OR swiffer OR broom (all depends on your floors), garbage can, iron/ironing board, laundry basket/bag, cleaning products (duster, toilet cleaner, bathroom cleaner)

Closet & Storage – hangers, surge protectors, extension cords, flashlight

Travel – duffle bag and/or suitcase

Dining – at least 4 plates and bowls (can be plastic and mismatched), at least 4 forks/knives/spoons (the more you have the less often you have to clean), cups

Creative tips/replacement items
Chip clips – roll the bag and use a cheap roll of tape.

kitchen timer/clock – most phones have this feature.

toothbrush holder – use a cup.

Pot holders – Use the dish towel when dry.

plates/silverware – You can buy the jumbo plastic silverware and paper plates boxes at costco for cheap. But that will be more expensive in the end.

Salt/Pepper set – Buy the cheap on at any grocery store. Really who cares what these look like so long as they work.

Endtables/tv stand – use crates or pallets to make what you need.

Picture frames – Goodwill and garage sales ALWAYS have these.

Grade: Cost: Time:
Accuracy: A+
Practicality: B
Free N/A
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
This is really a GUIDE. An ideal guide. Most of these items you don’t need. In my first week/two of living at my apartment I’ve learned that being innovative on how you use things. Ex: instead of buying end tables, use an egg crate and cover it with a table cloth. Pinterest is full of ideas.
Overall Impression:
It is a nice reference of things to look for in the sales pile, but most of these items are not essential for a first apartment. I’ve learned that creativity is really key.

Repainting Old Furniture

Walking around Goodwill I found these really cool end tables (they’re from 1967. Throwback!). I loved them! I thought “These would look great in a color! And look at all that extra storage space. BONUS!”. It also didn’t hurt that each was only $5.

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I’ve pinned a lot of great tutorials for painting old furniture but turns out these end tables are made of a, well to be honest I forget the official term from it, but it’s more of a plastic wood than a real wood. Therefor most of the things I pinned were essentially useless. I did get to take some tips from it. If you’re about to repaint some furniture I suggest checking them out. How to Paint Furniture: A Beginner’s Guide. Paint Furniture Like a Pro

My inspiration: Emerald Green Decor  Paint Projects Link Party

I love love love the look of painted furniture. It’s both trendy and brings in a pop of color that’s easily changeable. Since these tables are relatively a small project and have a lot of grooves I opted to use spray paint instead of normal paint. The cans came with primer in the paint. At around $3 a can you couldn’t beat it.

Now to begin.

First, I removed the hardware. That includes the hinges and the handles. Once those were safely removed my dad sanded the top. It was his sander so he got to do the honors. We only sanded the top because it was the only part that was real wood.

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After we sanded the top, we brushed off the excess dust and began to spray paint. We started with the door because that was going to be the hardest. The color came out better than i could have imagined! It took two coats of paint on each table. I only needed 2 cans of spray paint instead of the 4 I initially bought. Another win!

Next we get to restoring the handles. We thought that soaking them in ammonia like we do the stove grates may restore them. It got off a lot of dirt but ended up completely taking the finish off one of the handles. I read online that the best way to restore them is in ketchup. I soaked the three remaining handles in ketchup for 1 hour and it really brought back the shine. Unfortunately the damage was already done on the last one. We had leftover black spray paint so we just used that for the handles. It actually ties in the black from our tv and futon.

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Grade: Cost: Time:
A+ $15 total Active: 30 minutes total
Dry time: I gave it almost a day.
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
Read the other pins. If you’re doing bigger furniture with real wood make sure it’s primed! You don’t want the paint peeling.
Overall Impression:
The spray paint I chose works well on plastic. We asked the guy at the home depot and he said it would adhere just fine. So far there has been no peeling and I couldn’t be happier with it!
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