Dec 2, 2014

Top 10 Best White Elephant Gifts Round-up!

Dec
2
2014
Tuesday

Top 10 White Elephant Gifts

White Elephant Gift Exchange: In its most basic form, the game is as follows: Each participant supplies one wrapped gift. The gifts are placed in a central location, and participants determine in what order they will take turns selecting them. The first person opens a wrapped gift and the turn ends. On subsequent turns, each person gets the choice of “stealing” any unwrapped item or choosing a wrapped one from the gift pile. When a player’s gift is stolen, they must select a replacement gift from the pile of wrapped presents. The game is over when the last person has taken their turn. Source: Wikipedia

White Elephant Gift Exchange parties are always my favorite! There are several different variations like only giving items that you are re-gifting, giving used items, giving items that you found at a garage sale, or only buying items under a certain price point.

If you’re heading to a White Elephant party this year, here are my top 10 favorite White Elephant gifts that you can buy on Amazon. If you’re interested in getting the hottest holiday deals sent directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for the Surviving The Stores Top Deals Newsletter. (only one email per day and ZERO spam!)

Bacon Soap

1. Bacon Soap – who wouldn’t want to smell like bacon??

Banana Slicer

2. Banana Slicer – because everyone could use an extra 10 seconds in their day. (this one is worth looking at just to read the reviews!)

Dehydrated Cereal Marshmallows

3. Dehydrated Cereal Marshmallows – They were the only part of Lucky Charms that I ate anyway. They even sell them in 40 lb boxes!!

Nicholas Cage Pillowcase

4. Nicholas Cage Pillowcase – What could be better than sleeping on a picture of Nicholas Cage’s face?

Uranium Ore

5. Uranium Ore – and it’s on sale too! ;)

Toilet Bowl Mug

6. Toilet Mug – even the person who has everything probably doesn’t have this.

Talking TP Roll

7. Talking Toilet Paper Spindle – or if you don’t want to record your own message, you can have this one sing Christmas songs instead.

Justin Bieber Singing Toothbrush

8. Justin Bieber Singing Toothbrush – doesn’t everyone want to hear Justin Bieber sing while they brush their teeth?

Cat Hair Crafts

9. Crafting With Cat Hair – why throw away the cat hair on your furniture when you can make things with it instead?

Bacon Toothpaste

10. Bacon Flavored Toothpaste – forget mint and cinnamon, your breath can smell like BACON!!

 

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Nov 27, 2014

Sweet Potato & Bacon Casserole Recipe!

Nov
27
2014
Thursday

Best Sweet Potato and Bacon Casserole


A few years back we were at our friend Meg’s house for dinner and she made this absolutely amazing sweet potato and bacon casserole dish!  I immediately asked her for the recipe, and have made it several times over the past few years.  Y’all, it’s INCREDIBLE!

And today, Meg is sharing her recipe with all of you too!  If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out her website Lesson Plan Ladies where she shares Pre-K and Kindergarten lesson plans for homeschoolers (with more grade levels coming soon!)

Sweet Potato & Bacon Casserole Recipe!
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 6 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 package (12 oz) of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • Bacon grease from the cooked bacon
  • ¼ cup of Maple Syrup
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  2. Place the peeled & cubed sweet potatoes in a 9x13 baking dish
  3. Add the cooked and cumbled bacon on top of the cubed sweet potatoes
  4. Pour the bacon grease on top of the sweet potato/bacon mixture
  5. Drizzle the maple syrup on top of everything
  6. Add the salt and pepper and stir well
  7. COVER the baking dish with foil (*important*)
  8. Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally

 

Be sure to follow us on Pinterst for more great recipe ideas!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Nov 26, 2014

Essential Oil Gifts For The Essential Oils Fanatic!

Nov
26
2014
Wednesday

Gift ideas for the essential oils FANATIC!!




If you’re not personally an essential oils fanatic, then you likely know one!

Essential oils are a big deal right now, and I can almost guarantee that at least someone on your gift list this year has jumped on board the EO bandwagon.

I told Ryan that he could tell anyone that wanted to get me a gift this year that all I wanted was more essential oil diffusers.  Yep, that’s it.  I can’t think of anything else that I’d rather have!

Before I list out the different essential oil gift ideas, here are a couple of tips for gift-giving to an essential oils fanatic:

Tip 1: Many essential oil users are pretty attached to the company that they buy from.  On those {pretty rare} occasions that I get a professional massage (it’s usually what I request for Mother’s Day!), I bring in my own essential oils because I only want oils that I trust penetrating my cells.  So, as a general rule, when you’re giving to an essential oils fanantic, stay away from gifts that are made with essential oils (like lotions, lip balms, sugar scrubs, etc.) unless they are made with the brand that the recipient uses.

Tip 2: If the number of gift options below seems overwhelming, you really can’t go wrong giving someone a diffuser.  I can’t think of a single essential oils fanatic I know (and I know a lot of them!) who would say, “You know, I think I’m good on diffusers.  I don’t need another one.”  We always always need another diffuser!

So are you ready?  Here’s the list!

Best Essential Oils Gifts Diffuser

1. Essential Oil Diffuser

Have I mentioned that an essential oils fanatic always wants another diffuser? ;)

This one (the one pictured) is my favorite, but there are several to choose from here!  Just make sure that it says “ultrasonic” on it and that you read through the reviews before buying.

Best Essential Oils Gifts Sew Now Wat Case

2. SewNowWat EO cases

I visited my friend Shellie this past summer and she had one of these that she highly recommended.

I bought one as soon as I got home and now it goes with me everywhere!

These cases are gorgeous, extremely well-made, AND will fit either 5 ml or 15 ml bottles!

Best Essential Oil Gifts Keychain Case

3. Mini Keychain Case

What about those times that you just take your keys and wallet with you and leave your purse at home?  You don’t want to be without your oils then, right?

I love my keychain case, and always keep my 8 most-used essential oils in there (those 8 would be: Lavender, Peppermint, Lemon, Purification, Thieves, Di-Gize, Stress Away, and Peace & Calming)

The case comes with 8 empty essential oil vials so the recipient can fill them with whatever oils they want to have with them at all times.

Essential Oils Gifts Diffuser Necklace

4. Diffuser necklace

These are so many options out there for diffuser necklaces, but here are my three favorites:

1. Diffusing Mamas has several very well-made diffuser necklaces in both silver and silver/gold combo. I have one of these necklaces and it gorgeous and very good quality.

2.  Sacred Arrow jewelry makes absolutely gorgeous diffuser necklaces.  PLUS, a portion of all of their earnings goes towards sending bottles of Sacred Frankincense to cancer patients!

3. Oil Wear  I got one of the Oil Wear necklaces this past summer and LOVE IT!  They are much less expensive than the stainless steel ones from Sacred Arrow, but I’ve been really impressed with the quality (and I love all of the colors!)

Essential Oils Gifts 31 Bag

5. Baubles & Bracelets Thirty-One Bag

This bag from Thirty-One Gifts was designed to hold jewelry, but it actually works perfectly as an at-home essential oils case!

Keep in mind that there won’t be any padding with this case, so it might not be good for major traveling, but it works very well as an every day case.

Thirty-One distributors aren’t allowed to post links to their Thirty-One page publicly online, so the best thing to do if you want one of these is to ask on Facebook if any of your friends are Thirty-One distributors.  I can almost guarantee you’ll get a few private messages from friends who are more than willing to help you get one!  :)

Essential Oil Gifts USB Diffuser

6. USB/Fan Diffuser

I’m not sure which of these USB diffusers to recommend since I don’t have one yet.  But hopefully I will be able to come back and update this post at the beginning of next year! ;)

All of the USB diffusers can connect to your USB port in your computer or in your car (if you have a newer car with USB ports) so that you can have your favorite essential oil smells with you whereever you go!

There was even a picture on Facebook of Natalie Grant using a portable fan diffuser on an airplane!  Can I diffuse Peace & Calming so that everyone on the plane goes to sleep?

Essential Oils Gift Diffuser Bracelet

7. Leather diffuser bracelet

Again, I highly recommend Sacred Arrow Jewelry! They have GORGEOUS essential oil jewelry products and use a portion of their profits to give Sacred Frankincense to cancer patients.

Essential Oils Gifts Glass Bottle

8. Glass spray bottles

Did you know that you shouldn’t put essential oils, especially citrus essential oils, in plastic?  If your friend or family member is an essential oils fanatic, then they will definitely be needing some glass spray bottles so that they can make their own air freshener, homemade cleaners, and mosquito spray.

Essential Oils Gifts Car Diffuser

9. Car Diffuser

If you live in the dark ages like me, and your car doesn’t have a USB port yet, you can get a diffuser that plugs directly into the cigarette lighter.  {Is it still called a cigarette lighter??}

Essential OIls Gifts Water Bottle

10. Glass water bottle

Essential oils and plastic don’t mix, so please don’t ever put essential oils into a plastic water bottle or a styrofoam cup.  There are different opinions on ingesting essential oils, and this isn’t the place to get into that. But for those who feel comfortable adding a drop or two of an essential oil brand that they trust to a water bottle, a glass water bottle with a silicone sleeve is a must-have!

I got a 2-pack earlier this year at Costco, but you can also get glass water bottles online here.

Essential Oil Gifts Rollerball

11. Roll-on bottles or rollerball fitments

You can look through all of the different options for rollerballs here.  Just be sure to get one that’s darker in color and NOT clear.

Most essential oil fanatics love making their own blends (for example, a blend of Vetiver, Cedarwood, and Lavender is a wonderful blend to help with “focus”) so having rollerballs, or roller ball fitments that they can add to their existing bottles of essential oils are wonderful to have on hand!

Essential Oil Gifts Stainless Steel Straw

12. Stainless steel straws

Have I mentioned to keep essential oils away from plastic?  That includes plastic drinking straws!!

Sipping on an ice-cold glass of lemon EO water through a straw during the hot Texas summer is one of my favorite things, but just make sure that the straw is made of stainless steel or glass!

Essential Oil Gifts Rack Organizer

13. Essential Oil Organizers

There are so many different options here!

I use a clear nail polish counter display, but if you’re giving this as a gift, you’ll probably want to give something a little cuter.

Here are two options that I think would be great:

1.  Chalkboard Essential Oils rack – this is much smaller than the one above, but so cute!  I love that it has the chalkboard on the back to write on.

2.  Hanging Bronze Nail Polish organizer – this is the one that I want!  Check out what my friend Alyssa did with TWO of these…

Alyssa EO Display Case

Essential Oil Gifts Books

14. Essential Oil Books

There are so many different essential oil books on the market right now, so here are a few that I absolutely love and would highly recommend.

The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils

The Essential Oils Desk Reference Book

Gentle Babies

Essential Oil Gifts Shea Butter

15. Carrier Oils & Lotion Ingredients

The essential oils fanatic is likely going to be making a lot of their own body products and beauty products, so here are a few items that you could get them to help with that!

Shea Butter
Organic Vegetable Glycerin
Vitamin E Oil
Beeswax (adds firmness to body products like lip balm, lotions, soaps, etc)
Organic Jojoba Oil (works great as a carrier oil)
Organic Coconut Oil (it works wonderfully, especially during the colder months, to make whipped body butter!)

There are so many options for the essential oil fanatics in your life!

And for those of you who aren’t fanatics yet, and don’t know anyone who is, then check out the essential oils special that I’m running just in November!  Who knows, you might turn into an essential oils fanatic too before this time next year!  ;)

Want more ideas for essential oils?

Follow my Natural Remedies Pinterest board below!

Essential Oils On Pinterest

Oh, and one more thing before you go!  Whenever I post a new article (many of them are on essential oils) I send out an email to everyone who is on my email list!  If you would like to get these emails and stay up to date with all of the latest ways to save, then please sign up for our email list!  I promise, there’s absolutely no spam EVER.  :)

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Nov 23, 2014

Top 20 Most Amazing Pumpkin Recipes + How To Make Pumpkin Puree!

Nov
23
2014
Sunday

How to make pumpkin puree!!  It tastes so much better than canned!

It is so incredibly easy to make your own pumpkin puree instead of buying it in cans at the store.

Just buy a pie pumpkin (one of the smaller ones) and cook it using your preferred method.  I prefer cooking my pumpkins whole in the oven.

Once your pumpkin is cooked through, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds (put them to the side to make roasted pumpkin seeds later!), scoop out the remaining pumpkin pulp, and then use a food processor or Vitamix to puree the pulp.

I’m a fairly lazy cook, so I just use my pumpkin puree as is and use less of other liquids in the recipe.  But if you would prefer the consistency to be more like canned pumpkin, then just place a cheesecloth over a mesh strainer, and pour the pumpkin puree in the cheesecloth.  Allow the puree to sit for about an hour, and then use it like you would use puree from the can.

A 3 lb. pie pumpkin should give you around 2 cups of puree, which is just a tad more than the 15 ounces in a can.

So now what do you do with this pumpkin puree?

I turned to my favorite recipe search engine, PINTEREST, to find lots of amazing recipes using pumpkin puree!

I tried to have a mix of dessert and non-dessert recipes, but it *might* be a little dessert heavy. :)

Oh my!  I'm so hungry now!  These really are amazing!

Just click on the pin below to go to the blog or website for all of the directions!

1. Baked Pumpkin Donuts



2. Pumpkin Pie Tortilla Rolls



3. Pumpkin Upside Down Cake



4. Pumpkin Hummus Dip



5. Pumpkin Custard



6. Curried Vegetable Stew



7. Pumpkin Mac & Cheese



8. Slow Cooker Pumpkin Butter



9. Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Frosting



10. Pumpkin Cobbler



11. Pumpkin Waffles



12. Pumpkin Spices Latte Cake



13. Pumpkin Churro Cake



14. GLUTEN-FREE Pumpkin Donut Holes



15. Homemade Pumpkin Gnocchi



16. Grain-Free Pumpkin Spice Bread



17. Pumpkin Pie Larabars



18. Pumpkin Fudge Balls



19. Pumpkin Spice Glazed Loaf



20. Paleo Pumpkin Tortillas



 

Ok, who else is hungry now?!

Want more recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest below!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Nov 22, 2014

Essential Oil FREEbies Promotion!!

Nov
22
2014
Saturday

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Oct 27, 2014

How To Dye Hair With Kool-Aid!

Oct
27
2014
Monday

How To Make Kool Aid Hair Dye



My 12 year old has been begging to dye the ends of her hair for a while now, so I figured that dyeing it with Kool-Aid would be a great compromise!

I was surprised at how well it turned out (so impressed that I might even try doing mine!) and my daughter loves it.

I posted the after picture to Instagram and to my personal Facebook page, and I had a few friends say to be careful when dyeing BLONDE hair with Kool-Aid because it can take forever to wash out.

Let us know how it turns out if you try it!

These are the instructions for dyeing the tips of the hair, but I’m sure you could do your whole head, or longer highlights if desired.

How To Dye Hair With Kool-Aid

Step 1: Put three packets of UNSWEETENED Kool-Aid in a bowl. DO NOT get sweetened kool-aid or your hair will end up sticky.

Step 2: Add a blob of conditioner. I didn’t actually measure it, but I don’t think it really matters exactly how much. You can see how much I used in the image below.

How To Dye Your Hair With Kool-Aid!

Step 3: Mix the unsweetened Kool-Aid and conditioner until it makes a paste.

Step 4: Add 1 teaspoon of water and blend more.

How To Dye Your Hair With Kool-Aid!

Step 5: Brush hair out really well and put on an old t-shirt.

Step 6: Separate out a small section of hair and place it on a piece of foil.

How To Dye Your Hair With Kool-Aid!

Step 7: Using a paint brush, brush the Kool-Aid mixture over the piece of hair.

How To Dye Your Hair With Kool-Aid!

Step 8: Fold up the foil piece so that the dyed section of hair is completely covered. I also folded over the sides to help the foil stay more securely (not shown).

How To Dye Your Hair With Kool-Aid!

Step 9: Continue around the head with the same technique used in steps 6-8.

Step 10: Wrap the hair, including the foil sections, in saran wrap so that no dye will get on your pillow while you sleep (sorry everyone, my daughter wouldn’t let me take a picture of this step in the process!)

Step 11: Sleep with the Kool-Aid mixture in your hair. Shampoo WELL as soon as you wake up the next morning and style like usual!

How To Dye Your Hair With Kool-Aid!

Ta-da! :)

Ok, who’s going to try it? I can’t wait to hear how it turns out for you!

FEBRUARY UPDATE: I dyed the tips of her hair at the end of October and the dye definitely faded a lot within a month or two. In the light you can still see a *tiny* bit of red on the tips, but it’s not anything that’s noticeable. I would definitely only do this with a color that I was comfortable having in my hair for several months (like a red), and NOT a color like green or blue. :)

I also would NOT use this as a dye for the whole head of hair unless you want your hairdresser to be really really frustrated. This is a fun thing for kids to do to dye their tips, but you probably will want to leave YOUR hair to the professionals!

Follow me on Pinterest for more fun ideas!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."