Easily and Painlessly Remove Silly Putty from Hair

This isn't something I ever thought I would have to write about, but silly putty and slime are big around my house and earlier this week an unnamed child walked through the door after school distraught. "Mom, you've got to help me." he said. I jumped into action. Turns out, this unnamed child had a handful of silly putty and forgot it was in his hands before he reached back to scratch his head. The whole thing sounds fishy to me. This is the same kid who put our whole five pound bag of silly putty around his brand new sneaker thinking he could use it as a mold. He could not. Regardless, this child had a hair full of silly putty and he needed to get it out.
This is probably nothing you will ever encounter, but if you do, tuck this away. I was able to easily and painlessly remove silly putty from his hair in under 10 minutes with this magic ingredient you probably have in your cupboard. If you don't, you need to get it in there STAT!

Digital Dudz DIY Halloween Costume with Layered HTV

I wasn't lying when I told you last week that I was not even a little bit ready for Halloween. My youngest son was playing a game on the computer when he saw an ad for a costume he just had to have. Well played marketing director at Digital Dudz. Well played. Neither of us had ever heard of this company before so I had to look it up. I'm going to assume you are just like us and have no clue either so let me explain. Digital Dudz are digital t-shirts for those people who may not want to dress up in more than a t-shirt but still look like they put a little effort into it. This is perfect for that middle school boy who might think they are too old for a costume but still wants to dress up. 
Long story short, we looked around and couldn't find any of the t-shirts he wanted in stock. We had just days to get the shirt in the mail, but shipping was estimated for the second week in November. That wasn't going to work. So we decided to put our heads together and we DIY'd our own Digital Dudz t-shirt that is going to work perfectly for Halloween. I actually made my 12 year old do most of the work, and he is wearing that shirt with pride.
Come check out how you can make a DIY version in under an hour. Perfect if you are still looking for that last minute costume idea or maybe you just want something nobody has seen before.


Instant Pot Applesauce

I got my Instant Pot for Christmas and I'm still trying to figure out how to use it. It's a little bit intimidating but so far, I've not really screwed up anything so I guess that should make me feel a little bit better. If you got this far and are wondering what the heck and Instant Pot is, it's basically all anyone on the interwebs is talking about. It's like a crock pot for those days that you forget to start the crock pot. What it is really is an updated version of a pressure cooker except safer. Ask anyone over 60 about cooking with a pressure cooker and you are sure to hear a story of something blowing up or a meal that ended up on the ceiling. 

It's apple season and that means it's the perfect time to try using your Instant Pot for making homemade applesauce. I tried it, and it's a kid approved recipe, so come on over and check out the super easy recipe that will have you eating warm home cooked applesauce in under 20 minutes.


Sweet as Pie Printable Gift Tag

Did you know that Walmart has these little boxes of mini pies in their bakery for fifty cents? Seriously, this has got to be one of the best buys out there right now. Can you imagine having these as favors at a wedding or a fall party? You could even give them as gifts to your friends. I decided that to make them an even better gift to give, you need a printable gift tag to go with them. I've got one for you, plus, if you want to design your own gift tag, I'm telling you step by step how I did it in PicMonkey  {one of my favorite design softwares} and then cut it on my Silhouette Cameo.


Last Minute Halloween Treats and Costume Ideas for the Whole Family

Can we all just wait a hot minute here. Is it really almost the end of October? Really? Well, if you are like me, zero of your kids have Halloween costumes and you haven't made a single fall or Halloween themed treat. Not to worry. I've got you covered with all the last-minute Halloween treats and costume ideas you will need for your whole family. Not to mention 5 tips on how to save on pumpkins. 


Immune boosting smoothie bowl

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Alberstons and Safeway. All opinions are 100% my own. I wouldn't share something with you that I didn't love. Promise.

Without fail my college-aged son returns to school and picks up a cold. My husband said the same thing happened every year to him. It seems like something that happens if you come to school from out of state. This is my very scientific guess at least, but that's the common thread between my husband and our son's experience. Well, that and genetics, but whatever. Let's not bore each other with details. For the better part of 18 years, I was the one distributing cold medicine and whipping up home remedies that my mom taught me that her mom taught her that her mom taught her. Really, the key is fluids. So many fluids. What better way to do that than with an immune-boosting smoothie bowl. 

I can't send that 2500 miles in a care package, but I can send a college cold care package including the recipe for the smoothie bowl. If you have a kiddo who gets sick every fall once school starts, I've got something that may just help. And if it doesn't, at least it will taste good going down!


The Best Way to Get Stink Out of Workout Clothes

I like to sweat. I'm always cold, so I like to get warmed up and start sweating. Plus a workout doesn't really feel like a workout unless you break a good sweat don't you think? Problem is, I'm a smelly girl. I sweat and I stink. It's especially bad when it comes to my workout clothes. Unfortunately, I've passed my stink on to my kids. Sorry kids. I just found out that some of the fancy schmancy fitness brands have special stink-free clothes, but my budget doesn't always allow for that. And it especially doesn't allow for that when I buy my kid's clothes. I am a big fan of working with what you have, and what I have is smelly. So what is the best way to get the stink out of your workout clothes? I think I found the answer.

Photo credit: Stephen Matera

Easy Macaroni and Cheese Bake

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 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Safeway. All opinions are 100% my own.

It's barely fall but I'm already craving all the comfort foods. I have made homemade soup exactly four thousand times since summer ended and this macaroni and cheese bake about five million. I need all the warm yummy foods in my belly right this second. As much as I love comfort foods, I also love recipes that are quick and easy and don't take a lot of time. Time is not something this mama has a lot of now that school is back in session. We are pulled in every direction, but family meal time is still a priority for us. If I can get a meal on the table in under a half an hour, even better! I'm sharing this easy mac and cheese bake that you can make in no time. It's a meal the whole family will love!
annie's mac and cheese with Ritz crackers

Sneak Peek: Hearth & Hand with Magnolia (for Target): What's Catching My Eye.

I think pretty much every single person I know was excited to hear that Chip and Joanna Gaines were partnering with Target to bring their collection Hearth & Hand™ to the masses. I've been fortunate to visit Magnolia Market more than a handful of times and there is something magical about the grounds in Waco that will be hard to replicate in the aisles of Target, but after seeing a preview of the items, I can't wait to do some shopping! The items in the Hearth & Hand collection are more in my reach {if you are curious this is my list of things I buy (and one I won't!) when I shop at Magnolia Market} and while my husband may not like seeing the bill, these are the items from the Gaines new line at Target that are catching my eye.
Fixer Upper farmhouse style home decor

Homemade Dog Deodorant for your Smelly Pooch

Smelly dog spray, doggie deodorant, call it whatever you want, but I'm calling it our new favorite thing. Our sweet Sophie smells. Part of it is because of her long luxurious locks and the other part is deferred maintenance. If you were reading along last week and saw my random ramblings, you would see that I mentioned how her grooming costs more than a trip for me to the fancy salon. It's not easy to give a bath to an aging overweight dog, so we needed to find something that would help with her smell. I've been trying things for ages, but I finally think I found something that works. Not only that, it's not filled like alcohol the way some of the store-bought sprays are. This is all natural and conditioning, something you both will love. 

smelly dog, homemade cleaner and deodorizer


What it's Like Going from Foster Care System to Adoption

I grew up in a family with an adopted brother and an adopted sister.
My dad's wife lost a battle with breast cancer at a very young age and left two young children behind.
Years later, when my dad and mom got married, my mother adopted my siblings as her own.
An insta family.

{3 of the 5 of us}

My brother and sister were never treated any differently than my mother's biological children, so sometimes I forget that I have a connection with adoption.
About 15 years ago, I became a counselor at a crisis pregnancy center.
I was able to attend several training's on adoption and I even worked with several women who placed their children for adoption.  A very selfless gift.

Over the years I have met several families that have adopted their children through the foster care system. I have gotten to see how the system works and I have gotten to know their children in the process.
I have seen older children with hard edges soften up.
I have seen the kids struggle to accept that they have found their forever home,
 when all they know is change and temporary.
I have gotten to see these kids plan a future for themselves when in the past they didn't know what was going to happen to them the next day.

Did you know there are more than 100,000 children in the foster care system waiting to be adopted?
There are children waiting for a forever home.

For the past ten years I have had the privilege of knowing a family that adopted three girls through the foster adopt program.
Sydney, oldest daughter, has graduated High School, is perusing her degree and was willing to answer a few questions for me about her experience in the foster care system and how her life changed when she found her forever family.

What has been your experience with the foster to adopt program?
Sydney: their main intent is to find you a home that will be as close to perfect for you and for the family you are joining. So while it may take awhile, the end results are really good. 

How many foster homes were you a part of before you found your forever family?
Sydney: I was a part of countless homes while in the foster care
system. My sister and I were kept together so it was difficult for temporary families to accommodate us for very long.

What was it like when you were placed with the family that finally adopted you?
Sydney: At first, being placed in the family I am with now just felt
like any other - we assumed we'd be moving anytime. But once we heard that they would be adopting us, I was both scared and quite doubtful. However, once we started to see that we weren't ever moving again, a great deal of relief set in.
How is your life different now after having the experience with the foster/adopt program? 
Sydney:I had to adapt each time I moved. So now, I can accept change
and be thrown into almost any situation without batting an eye, simply because that was how it was growing up. It also made me look at the value of friendships differently because growing up I'd never know if I'd see the people I cared about again.

Why do you think foster care adoption is worth supporting? 
Sydney: I think foster care adoption is worth supporting because kids
really need it. So many children age out of the system with no one by their side and no where to go. Whether you support the system financially, volunteer as a big brother or big sister, or even become an adoptive parent yourself, you are helping those kids greatly.

Thank you so much Sydney! It has been an honor getting to see Syd grow up and mature into a beautiful young woman.

As a child that had been in the foster care system and found her adoptive family, Sydney gave some great advice.  Support the system because it's worth supporting! 


Pumpkin Everything Recipes

I must confess, I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin. Or at least, I didn't used to be. I'm getting older and I'm starting to actually like the flavor. Pumpkin and cinnamon are kind of my favorite combination right now. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. For those of you obsessed with pumpkin, you might be looking for some new recipes. Don't you worry, I've got you covered!


Rachel's Random Ramblings

So it's been awhile since I did a Rachel's random ramblings post. I think it's because my randomness has moved over to making Facebook live videos {if you missed them, you can see them archived here in the form of Wednesday coffee chats. I'm not sure if that's working though. To be honest, my coffee on the west coast is like afternoon tea on the east coast. I just can't get my poop in a group {think about it} to make it happen weekly. Main reason why... my hair. Yep, you heard me. I was literally planning the day I was going to shower and wash my hair around Facebook lives. Don't judge. So with that thought, I bring you the most current installment of Rachel's Random Ramblings {if you are wondering, there is a WHOLE drop down menu with those from years past. You can find it here.}


Books to Recommend to Friends

It seems like at least once a month I get asked by friends to recommend a book. I actually love doing it because I am such a fan of a good book and I want to share them with others. Yesterday though, a friend told me she was going on vacation at the end of the week and was looking for a good book and I drew a total blank. It got me thinking that I really should just make a list of my favorite books. You know, the good ones that I like to recommend to friends. Get out a pencil my friends, I'm sure there is something you haven't read yet on the list that you are going to want to add.

Scroll to the end for an updated list of a few more favorites!

Update 2022! I've got 50+ more books I'd recommend to friends broken down into categories like "better on audiobook" or "good beach read" PLUS a great list of books I'd recommend for book club that are sure to have some great discussion! Find that post here!


10 Things I've Learned With Age

I'm one whole month into the final year of my 30's. I feel like lately, I've been experiencing life differently. This isn't to say that I feel like I have life figured out, I totally don't, I just realized that there are some things that I just don't have time for anymore. Maybe I'm falling into the groove of adulthood or maybe I'm just becoming more comfortable with who I am. I'm not quite sure, but today, I pulled together a list of 10 things I have learned with age. Maybe you can add something you've learned too.

personal reflection on a woman's life
Photo by Maria Shanina on Unsplash

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