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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Make your own Branch Centerpiece

Decorating your home with branches is a great way to add interest to your décor. You can shop for branches online at or you can make your own by using branches from your trees.

Using your own branches is a frugal and fun way to create unique decorations. I have created branch decorations for under $10.00, of course, it does take the time to complete but if you enjoy doing crafts then you will love making branch centerpieces.

The best time to gather branches is late summer or after the trees or shrubs have been pruned. If you have no branches then look for them at a park.  Look for a branch that is 18 to 24 inches in length, it should have a straight center branch then side branches.

Clean the branch with warm soapy dawn antibacterial dish soap to remove excess dirt. Let the branch air dry. When the branches are dry you would then treat them with a pesticide to kill any insects. Allow the branches to dry.

Spray paint the branches the color of your choice. I like the colors gold, silver or white, but you can choose the color that you like. Use a spray paint like the brand name Krylon or Rust-Oleum. Shop for these paints at It is best to spray the branches lightly otherwise it can be messy. You can always reapply the paint with second spraying.

When branches are dry, secure them so they are standing upright. Buy from the craft store a Styrofoam block and a hot glue gun. Push the branches into the center of the Styrofoam block and use a glue gun to keep the branches in place. Gluing around the top of Styrofoam and the base of the branch is good.

When branches are secure you would then put the Styrofoam block into the display box or vase. If using a vase to display your branches then choose one that is not clear, a pattern or color vase, pot or urn is best.

Decorating Ideas

Decorate your branches with glitter by spraying the tip of the branches with glue then dust the branches in the glitter.

You can also decorate your branches with Halloween lights or garland. For autumn drape a swag of autumn leaves or small lightweight autumn season ornaments.

Here is another way to decorate, learn how to use the leaves from your trees.  

Monday, April 24, 2017

FUN Autumn Activities for Teenagers

Autumn is the last season before the bitterly cold weather so our family always spends quality time outdoors doing activities with our teenagers. Most people think that teens do not enjoy traditional activities but if you start them out doing the same things every year they do look forward to the activities, especially if they can bring along their friend.

Here are a few autumn activities that my family enjoys
    On a sunny afternoon, we make plans to go to a pumpkin patch. Pick out pumpkins for decoration and for carving into a Jack O’ Lantern. Our teenage kids always like picking the biggest pumpkin that they can find. Half the fun is getting it back to the car.

    I will watch for the advertisement for the fall bazaars my hometown then check out the activities, looking for the traditional autumn activities like pumpkin carving, drinking apple cider, going for a hayride or enjoying roasting marshmallows on an open fire for s’more chocolate treats. Teenagers love participating in the carving contests, they will eat smores and listen to the live music. City festivals are always fun for families with teenagers.

    Know that teenagers have different interests so my husband will plan an ATV outing. He will choose a trail where the trees are in full autumn color. Sometimes he brings along a picnic lunch, other times just snacks and drinks for the kids. Everyone loves this outing especially if the day is warm and sunny.

    What activities do you do with your family during the autumn season?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Caramel Chocolate Pie Recipe

Chocolate pie is one of my favorite desserts, especially during the fall and winter months. my family craves comfort foods and this caramel chocolate pie is satisfying.

When you serve this pie to your family and friends they will scrape the side of the plate with their fork and when they finish they will feel comforted. It is very chocolaty and the nuts make it taste delicious.

Here is the chocolate pie recipe

You will need the following ingredients

  • Store bought ready-made chocolate cookie crumb crust
  • 30 vanilla caramels
  • ½ cup caramel ice cream
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups chopped unsalted peanuts or pecans
  • ¾ cup semisweet chocolate morsels ( I like Ghirardelli)
  • ¼ whipping cream

Optional: vanilla ice cream for topping

  1. Turn on the stove to low heat and melt caramels with the caramel ice cream in a saucepan. Keep stirring, then add ¼ cup whipping cream, stir to blend all ingredients.
  2. Remove saucepan from the heat
  3. Add nuts to pie filling and stir
  4. Add pie filling to the 9-inch pie plate
  5. Spread the filling over the crust
  6. Let the pie set until it is cool, then cover with saran wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  7. Make the topping for this pie by melting the semisweet chocolate morsels in a saucepan over low heat. When chocolate is melted stir in the remaining whipped cream.
  8. Top the caramel chocolate pie with the melted chocolate. Drizzle the chocolate over the pie. Recover the pie and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
  9. Cut and serve with vanilla Ice cream
Here is a video that will show you how to melt chocolate in a double boiler.