Crap I've Made

    Cinnamon & Spice Potpourri

    This homemade Cinnamon & Spice Potpourri brings out all the bestest smelly smells of fall and winter celebrations. It’s simple to put together, requires very few ingredients & makes an awesome and easy gift idea!

    I don’t know about you, but I love the interior of my home to encompass what’s going on in the seasons outside and all around it. Especially when there’s a nip in the autumn air and the desire to be cozy comfy under a soft blanket in your flannel pj’s holding a mug of something sweet and warm is strong. And the best way to bring that feeling inside is with something that tantalizes the sniffer. Blusters the honker. Sings to the bugle. (AKA – is really pleasing to the nose!)

    Once you make this heavenly potpourri, you’ll be tempted to stay home all day and just sniff the aroma all around you. I promise.

    Cinnamon & Spice Potpourri


    • 1 cup dried orange & apple slices You can purchase them packaged and pre-dried. You can also slice your own oranges and apples and dehydrate them in a dehydrator or straight on your oven rack set at the lowest setting (250°) until dried out (about 2-3 hours) turning them every half hour or so. They will stick to a tray, which is why they should be placed directly on the rack.
    • 1 cup dried anise stars
    • 1 cup dried rosehips
    • 1 cup whole cloves
    • 1 cup cinnamon sticks
    • homemade gingie kids from recipe above


    • Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl or container. Take a few really good sniffs to let the amazing scent settle into the depths of your nostrils.
      Potpourri can be set out in a bowl dry or placed in a pot of boiling water to simmer over the stovetop.
      For gift-giving, separate potpourri mix into smaller boxes or bags tied with ribbon for a perfect housewarming gift, hostess gift, Christmas gift or simple "Just Because" gift.


    For an adorable Christmas addition, mix in my Cinnamon Gingie Kids (below) to the potpourri!

    Cinnamon Gingie Kids


    • 1 cup ground cinnamon
    • 1 tbsp ground cloves
    • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
    • ¾ cup applesauce
    • 2 tbsp white craft glue


    • Preheat oven to 200°. You can also omit the oven and let the ornaments air dry in a sunny spot for 4-5 days.
    • Stir together cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Mix in the applesauce and glue. Whip the mixture with your stand mixer or just your hands for a few minutes until a ball forms. If mix is too gooey, add more cinnamon. If it's too dry, add more applesauce.
    • Lightly dust your work surface with cinnamon. Roll out dough to approx. ¼ inch thickness. Using desired cookie cutter shapes, cut out dough and place on non-stick sprayed pans. Don't forget to punch a hole using a toothpick or skewer if you wish to hang them with ribbon or add a bow.
    • Bake for 3 hours.
    • Allow to cool completely.


    The Best Frozen Butterbeer

    Watching Harry Potter is always a fun time. But, I’m tellin’ ya, watching Harry Potter with a Frozen Butterbeer is the absolute best!

    Being crazy ridiculously HUGE HP Fanatics, my family has tried many different Butterbeer recipes until we found THE one. The one recipe that makes us giddy excited to make a trip to our local grocer to pick up the few ingredients needed. The one recipe that everyone in this house loves and looks forward to.

    And now, I’m sharing the Harry Potter LOVE with you!

    All you need is: Vanilla Ice Cream, Ice, Cream Soda, Butterscotch Sauce and Whipped Cream. And of course, the entire Harry Potter movie series!

    Frozen Butterbeer


    • 2 cups Vanilla Ice Cream
    • 2 cups Ice Cubes
    • 2 cups Cream Soda
    • 2-3 tbsp Butterscotch Sauce
    • Whipped Cream


    • Add ice cream, ice and soda in the blender.
    • Once blended, add 2 tbsp. butterscotch and mix again.
    • Pour into ice cold mug, add a dollop of whipped cream and a bit of drizzled butterscotch on top.
    • Must drink while watch Harry Potter!

    Crap I've Made

    Pegboard Bookshelf Doors

    One of our many stuck-at-home-going-stir-crazy Quarantine projects was this bookshelf. I wanted it to match the home library we already have in the dining room. You can see it here.

    I totally love having a space for my own personal books, but I wasn’t loving how cluttered it always looked. I tried a few different ways to style the shelves and none of them left me content with the result. Plus, our Stick Figure Art (you can see those here), were always wonky and crooked. But, of course, I didn’t want just plain doors – blah! And wouldn’t it be so fun if said “doors” displayed all of my children’s priceless artwork?!

    So, off to Home Depot I went. I picked up 2 pieces of pegboard, some pine furring strips, brass door handles and brass hinges.

    After measuring the length and width of my bookshelf and dividing that size in half (while also allowing the space the hinges would take), I knew how large each door needed to be. For this project, I only needed two 48″x24″ prefinished white pegboard panels and (2) 2″x4″ pine pieces.

    I attached the cut pine to the outside of the pegboard using wood glue and a few wood screws. The panel was too hard for our handheld staple gun to go through and we didn’t have the right size nails for the air stapler, and honestly, I was entirely too lazy to go back to the store, so glue and screws were our next best option (screwed in from the underside of the panel, of course).

    Once the panel doors were constructed, it was time to sand and paint. I used a brush and acrylic white paint to paint the interior side of the pegboard and white spray paint for the front.

    After the paint was dry, I attached the handles. I knew the shelf sat a bit higher (and I’m not the tallest of folk) so I placed the handles a bit lower than halfway down instead of centered.

    Next came the hinges. I measured and screwed them into the doors first and then into the sides of the bookshelf.

    I ordered a set of inexpensive gold frames in multiple sizes, miniature bulldog clips as well as the pegboard metal prong hooks and Pegitz Pegboard Peg Locks needed to hand the frames. Now I don’t have to worry about the frames falling off when I open the doors.

    GAH! I literally cannot stop staring at the finished product! I even switched out the individual Stick Figure Art frames for a sturdy set of long gold frames to match the ones on the doors and keep those guys from getting all out of whack!

    Ramblings of a Mother

    Academically Speaking…

    Like every other parent I know in the midst of this crazy Pandemic, I’m completely overwhelmed with all of the upcoming school decisions, what-if questions without answers and “possible” Plan B’s (& Plan C’s & D’s). It’s unnerving and I feel like I’m slowly losing my ever-lovin’, Covid-hatin’ mind. Being an avid planner and organizer by nature, all the ‘unknowns’ are driving me bonkers!

    Can I get an ‘Amen’?!

    For now, this big ol’ fam of mine is trying to just keep on trucking. Planning for upcoming events and appointments while remaining fully aware that things will change multiple times in the days ahead. All we can do is just keep on keepin’ on, right?!

    As parents, we are charged with the impossible task of planning a future of “normalcy” while juggling the knowledge that the next handful of months (or possibly more) will be nothing at all like we had hoped.

    No matter what this new school year throws at us, whether it be in the buildings or online, being organized and on top of our calendar game is going to be more important than ever! Which is where needing a good academic planner comes into play.

    And guys, I’m totally loving this  Order Out Of Chaos Academic Planner! It’s a clear-cut calendar system with plenty of space for notes, reminders and assignments. The Accessory Pack w/Page Marker, Monthly Tabs & Student Stickers make keeping on task that much easier! Plus, who doesn’t love cool stickers?!

    We may not have much control over how this new academic year’s going to look, but we can at least have control over getting our crap organized!


    My reader friends can use code MBC20 for 20% off your order!

    Crap I've Made

    Homemade Mosquito Repellent

    I know I’ve already shared all of my super Top Secret tips and tricks to camping in the great outdoors in my Tired Mother’s Guide to Camping with Kids, but I also wanted to share my recipe for Homemade Mosquito Repellent that is not only good for camping but excellent for use all summer long.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve always disliked spraying my kids with drugstore mosquito repellent products. When I read the label, I feel like they’re full of unknown crap and the over the counter sprays tend to leave their skin feeling sticky and gross. Not a good combination of feelings on hot summer nights.

    I decided to try my own hand at a more natural, homemade option.

    Now, I should definitely disclose that I don’t normally use essential oils for anything in my home other than to put in my cute lil’ diffuser that I absolutely love as a “cover up the baby poop smell” air freshener. That’s it. I’m not rollin’ it on my armpits or behind my ears or any other place that may be unmentionable. I purchased a set of 6 cheapo oils on Amazon for like $9 to use in said diffuser. This was literally the only time I’ve bought and used essential oils for any purpose.

    I’ll definitely be using them a bit more now when I need to make a new batch of this mosquito repellent, though. Most of the oils in the recipe are fairly common to come across. I’ve seen them at the grocery store and at most drug stores. I did need to order the citronella oil online as that was the only ingredient I didn’t have on hand. (Yes, that absolutely means I had a huge bottle of vodka in our garage fridge. Don’t judge me, Karen. Sometimes alcohol makes me a better mother…)

    I promise you that this DIY Bug & Mosquito Repellent is clean, fresh and doesn’t leave an oily residue. Plus, you can make it in under 5 minutes (and it’s cheap to make – once you buy the initial supplies, you have plenty to make many additional batches!)

    Homemade Mosquito Repellent Spray


    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 cup Witch Hazel
    • 1 tbsp rubbing alcohol or vodka
    • 30 drops Citronella essential oil
    • 30 drops Lemongrass essential oil
    • 20 drops Lavender essential oil
    • 20 drops Tea Tree essential oil
    • 20 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
    • 10 drops Peppermint essential oil

    *the essential oil amounts and types you use are really up to you. I personally love the smell of the spray with all of the listed oils together. But, if one or two of these oils aren’t exactly your cup o’tea, just omit them (with the exception of the Citronella as it’s the main ingredient to deterring those pesky blood suckers.)

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