4th of July Resources: Part III

Happy Friday MABW readers! We hope you had a fantastic week, and are getting super excited for celebrating our Nation’s independence next week! To continue with our previous two installments we have some more great (but simple) recipes and ideas for planning and executing your Independence Day bash! These recipes would also be perfect for a summer birthday party 🙂

No Bake Cheesecake Trifles – This recipe from Hoosier Homemade looks decadent, but only requires 6 ingredients, and did we mention NO BAKING. Which is perfect since the 4th doesn’t fall on a weekend.

No Bake Cheesecake Trifle – Image & Recipe from Hoosier Homemade

Fourth of July Fruit & Yogurt Popsicles – Who doesn’t love popsicles in the summertime? The perfect refreshing treat for any summer afternoon, but with this color combo these popsicles are perfect for the 4th!

4th of July Fruit & Yogurt Popsicles – Image & Recipe from Daily Dish Recipes

Blueberry, Strawberry & Jicama Salsa – How beautiful is this salsa? Great with regular tortilla chips or cinnamon sugar pita chips, this salsa from Two Peas & Their Pod  won’t disappoint. 

Blueberry, Strawberry & Jicama Salad – Image & recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod

How does your family celebrate the 4th of July?

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4th of July Party Resources: Part I

Happy Friday to all you readers and bloggers out there! The 4th of July is drawing closer, so over the next few weeks we will be sharing resources, recipes, and crafts to help you get ready for the big celebration. Today we wanted to start with great resources: free printables and inspiration for planning and taking your Independence Day bash to the next level.

Independence Day Printables by Midwestern Girl – these are seriously adorable cupcake toppers, banners, and invites created by Maggie of Midwestern Girl!

Independence Day Printables – Image & Printables by Midwestern Girl.

Collection of 25 Printables from Dollar Store Craft – A great little resource for even more printables! How cute is this Independence Day art?

25 4th of July Printables – Art by eighteen 25; List by Dollar Store Craft.

4th of July Party Inspiration – This collection of photos from Hostess With The Mostess will get your creative juices flowing! We love the idea of red, white, and blue punch in a mason jar!

4th of July Party Photos – by Hostess With The Mostess.

Sweet Liberty Printables by Caramel Potatoes – Another set of fantastic printables, if you want to go with a “sweet liberty” theme!

Sweet Liberty Printables – Image & printables by Caramel Potatoes.

4th of July Party Inspiration by Tweedle Dee Designs – a super cute inspiration board that will help you think about everything from your outfit to the menu!

4th of July Inspiration Board – Board by Tweedle Dee Designs.

Have you started planning your 4th of July bash yet?

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Our Favorite Summer Crafts: Part 1

Hey there Make A Birthday Wish readers 🙂 We hope you had a great week and are as excited as we are for summer! Today we wanted to share some of our favorite summertime crafts. These are perfect for beating boredom once school is out and make great decorations for summer parties & BBQ’s and even great gifts! Here is our first installment of summer craft ideas… be sure to check back next week for even more!

Paper Umbrella Wreath – How perfect would this wreath by Camilla Fabbri from Family Chic be for a luau themed birthday party or BBQ? It’s super easy to make and the results are gorgeous!

Paper Umbrella Wreath – Image & Tutorial by Camilla Fabbri of Family Chic

DIY Bohemian Dream Catcher – How romantic and adorable is this dream catcher? The Little Sage has a great tutorial for creating your own bohemian inspiration. These would be a great party craft or a beautiful gift. 

Image from Ruby Wing, Tutorial from The Little Sage.

DIY Kite – We aren’t sure if anything says summertime fun the way a kite does. And don’t bother buying one when you can make your own! This tutorial from Sweet Jack will have you catching the wind in no time flat.

Image & tutorial from Sweet Jack

What kind of crafts do you usually during the warmer months?

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A Big Collection of DIY Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Hello there! With Mother’s Day just a few weeks away we thought now would be a good time to share some DIY gift ideas for Mom’s special day.

14 Awesome DIY Mother’s Day Gifts from I Heart Nap Time – These are seriously cute DIY crafts. The emergency tin and mason jar pin-cushion are our favorites!

Mason Jar Pin Cushion – Image from I Heart Nap Time

50 Fab & Fun Mother’s Day Gift Ideas from Inspired Housewife – So these aren’t all DIY crafty gift ideas, but there are a lot of good ideas in this list. We love #50 – buy (or you could make) a journal and write 50 reasons why you love and appreciate your mom! Although #35 is pretty cool – rent your mom’s favorite car and let her drive it around for the day! Looking for something thriftier? Make it a fun day, dress to the nines and test drive cars that are way out of your price range. Then finish off the afternoon with a fancy lunch!

Mother’s Day Brag Book from A Cup of Jo – This adorable accordion style photo book would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift! And it’s super simple to make, what’s not to love?

Mother’s Day Brag Book – Image & Idea from A Cup Of Jo

25 Perfect Mother’s Day Gift Ideas from Little Inspiration – So 3 of these from this post are repeats, but that still means 22 more great ideas for Mom this May. We especially love the Mother’s Day Balloon Bouquet and the last idea, placing black and white images into glass vases or cups and using paper flowers to create a centerpiece or gift!

Mother’s Day Balloon Bouquet – Image & Tutorial from Martha Stewart

Photo Centerpieces – Image from Everyday Celebrating found at Mother’s Day Gift Ideas at Little Inspiration

What do you have planned for Mom on May 12th?

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Homemade Pumpkin Pie

 

Our first pumpkin pie completely from scratch! Not bad!

 

This year for Christmas dinner we upped the ante and made a pumpkin pie and pie crust totally from scratch. Originally we were intimidated by the idea of making a crust from scratch, but really it wasn’t bad at all! It takes only a few minutes and a couple of ingredients! The keys to making a great pie crust from scratch are:

  • Use precise measurements for ingredients
  • Add ice water by the 1/2 tbsp to achieve moist clumps
  • Flour your rolling surface and pin really well
  • Roll pie crust from the middle outward lifting up (not pressing down hard)
  • Don’t over roll the crust
  • Roll the crust to about 2 inches larger than the diameter of your pan

But let’s get down to the good stuff… the recipe. We adapted a recipe from Paula Deen for the filling. We cut back the sugar, added a few spices, and swapped low fat cream cheese for full fat cream cheese. We thought the filling came out PERFECT!

Ingredients for Pumpkin Pie Filling:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package low fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ginger

Directions for Pumpkin Pie Filling:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer.
  2. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined.
  3. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined.
  4. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined.
  5. Finally, add the vanilla and spices and beat until incorporated.

For the crust we followed Martha Stewart’s recipe and it came it just great! This crust is made with just butter no shortening, and the key is to use very cold butter!

Ingredients for Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling dough
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons ice water, adding increments of 1/2 tbsp ice water if needed

Directions for Pie Crust:

  1. Pulse flour, salt, and sugar several times in a food processor to combine. Add butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces remaining.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if needed, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time). Do not overprocess, this is key!
  3. Turn dough out onto a work surface; form dough into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. Wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  4. Before baking, unwrap dough and place the dough on a large well floured wooden surface. Roll dough to a 14-inch round (for a 9 inch pie plate). Then carefully lift the dough (it helps to have someone to push the plate under the dough as you lift) and place in the pie pan. Trim the excess edges and use a fork or your fingers to pinch the crust.

Assemble & Bake the Pie:

  1. To make the pie preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Pour pie filling into the prepared crust above.
  2. Bake pie for 15 minutes in preheated oven. Then drop the temperature to 350 degrees Farenheit and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. We ended up baking for 44 additional minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 2 hours. If you want to speed up the cooling process place a warm pie over a container of ice or refrigerate once it cools a little.

This pie was so delicious! It was great for Christmas dinner, but honestly would make for the perfect treat at any gathering, or even just a special dinner at home!

DIY Christmas Ornaments!

There are a ton of tutorials out there for crafting your own ornaments. Handmade ornaments not only look great on your tree, but they also make fantastic (and affordable) gifts! Crafting a new ornament each year could also be a special holiday tradition you start with your friends or family. And if your family isn’t down to craft you could see if there is a craft swap nearby where fellow crafters get together and swap handmade ornaments. Check out these tutorials for dozens upon dozens of DIY ornaments!

25 Christmas Ornaments To Make

This collection of tutorials comes from The Ornament Girl and is full of really beautiful decorations.

The Best Handmade Christmas Ornaments

We would expect nothing but the best from Martha Stewart! These tutorials are really divine and the results are awesome!

20 Easy Handmade Holiday Ornaments

This collection comes from HGTV and several tutorials involve easy-to-find natural materials!

Do you usually make ornaments for your tree? Feel free to share pictures 🙂

Our Top Craft Books For This Holiday Season

If you are looking for a unique, thoughtful, and purposeful gift for a friend or your children, why not give them a book? Books make wonderful gifts and today we have selected 5 of our favorite crafting books. So you can be sure that your gift will not only give the gift of knowledge but also help unlock the creative juices of your someone special! Several of the books we selected even feature “green” craft ideas and specialize in crafts suitable for younger kids! Onto our picks!

Craft-A-Day: 365 Simple Handmade Projects

This wonderful little gem is jam packed with tutorials and crafting ideas. Great for adults and kids alike, and a pretty good bang for your buck at only $16.47 on Amazon.


Drawing Lab For Mixed Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises To Make Drawing Fun

This book is perfect for both seasoned drawers and beginners. It will help reinforce good techniques and expand any readers’ artistic side. And with 52 exercises, the book lends itself well to a year-long self-guided study in drawing. Pick it up from Amazon for $15.63.

 

Green Crafts For Children: 35 Step-by-Step Projects Using Natural, Recycled, and Found Materials

This book would make a great gift to both kids and parents looking for ways to engage their children in the arts while teaching them about environmental stewardship. A great deal at $11.73 on Amazon!

 

Sewing School: 21 Projects Kids Will Love To Make

This book is fantastic if you are interested in teaching your kids how to sew and is available on Amazon for $11.53.

The Big Green Book Of Recycled Crafts

A great collection of crafts that reuse, repurpose, and recycle materials into handmade treasures. Just $3.98 on Amazon!

Do you craft with friends or your family for fun? What kinds of crafts do you do?

 

Have A Paper Holiday: 3 DIY Paper Crafts For A Homemade Christmas!

At MABW we love crafting, reusing, re-purposing, and putting a personal touch on special occasions. Today we’ve got 3 tutorials to share with you that will have you crafting most everything you need this Holiday season with paper!

DIY Recycled Paper Tree

We love this idea! Imagine using brown packaging paper, newspaper, or magazines to make mini versions of this tree? Can you say great centerpiece for practically nothing?!!!

DIY Tutorial for Recycled Paper Christmas Tree by Casa Sugar

DIY Tutorial for Recycled Paper Christmas Tree by Casa Sugar

DIY Star Wars Snowflakes or Garland

These snowflakes would make any nerd proud. Such a fun idea, you could try it with different colored paper too!

Free Printable Template from Matters of Grey

Free Printable Template from Matters of Grey

Free Holiday Gift Tags

These printables from Sass & Peril make adorable homemade packaging a cinch this holiday season!

Gift Tag Printables by Sass & Peril

Gift Tag Printables by Sass & Peril

Which is your favorite holiday paper craft? We are partial to the Star Wars Snowflakes 🙂

Our Favorite Cookie In A Jar Recipes

Cookies are amazing any time of the year, but fresh baked cookies at Christmas time takes amazing to an all new level. If you are looking for great cookie recipes to bake up for a party or searching for a great gift idea we think you’ll love these recipes we have collected from around the web. Some of the recipes even accommodate special dietary needs (vegan & gluten free).

Cranberry Hootycreeks from All Recipes

Cranberry Hootycreeks – Recipe from All Recipes.

These cookies look great in the jar and taste delightful. You could even change out the cranberries, chocolate chips, and nuts to suit your personal tastes. Dried currants, walnuts, & white chocolate chips could be a lovely combination! This recipe would make a great gift for a neighbor, coworker, or as a hostess/host gift if you are visiting family or friends over the holidays.

Julia’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies – Recipe from All Recipes.

Chocolate chip cookies rank at the top of most people’s favorite cookie lists. Simple, chocolatey goodness. This recipe is very delicious and again provides opportunity for experimentation (different kinds of chocolate chips, or swapping chocolate chips for M&M’s etc..). If you aren’t sure what cookies your friend would want, chocolate chip is a safe bet.

Gluten Free & Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies – Recipe from Oh She Glows

This recipe promises thin, crisp, and chewy chocolate chip cookies that even those on the most restricted diets can enjoy. But don’t get us wrong, these cookies aren’t really a compromise. They are kind of amazing. Angela’s recipe uses a mix of almond & oat flour to create this crowd pleasing cookie. Scroll to the bottom of her post to see the recipe!

Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies From Oh She Glows

Gingerbread Men Cookie Mix In A Jar – Recipe from Food For My Family

These gingerbread men are tasty and adorable. We love the idea of attaching cookie cutters to the jar to really complete the gift! We love this recipe for a holiday staple! Shaina even included free printables—holiday gifting can’t get much easier!

Gingerbread Men In A Jar Recipe from Food For My Family

Have you ever given cookies in a jar before? What are your favorite recipes?

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4 Handmade Gift Tutorial Collections We Love

We hope you had a wonderful and loving Thanksgiving! But with the next round of holidays right around the corner there is little time to catch your breath. Don’t worry, we’ve collected some links to great tutorials for you and your kids to make handmade gifts this year! Handmade gifts can save money and are so much more personal. Oh and there are a lot of ways to reuse materials or repurpose scraps—making the handmade option more green! If you don’t have time to hand make gifts this year you should think about supporting artists and crafters that do hand make beautiful things on sites like Etsy! These tutorials make great gifts for kids and adults alike! We love the blog Everything Etsy, and she has rounded up 101 Simple Handmade Gift Tutorials for Kids! These would be great for your kids to make for their friends, or for you to make for them!

101 Simple Handmade Gifts for Kids by Everything Etsy

The 36th Avenue Blog has a list of 21 handmade gifts for guys! Great for husbands, boyfriends, dads, brothers, or just friends! Definitely worth checking out!

21 Handmade Gifts for Guys from 36th Avenue

The Huffington Post even came out with a list of last-minute handmade gift ideas that is worth perusing! These are great small gifts that would be worth making to have on hand for those times when someone unexpected comes over for the Holidays!

Homemade Gift Ideas: Quick and Easy Last-Minute Gifts by The Huffington Post

The blog The Tip Junkie is another great go-to gift-making guide. We love her collection of hand-made gifts you can see here.

Tip Junkie’s Homemade Gift Tutorials

 

Are you trying homemade gifts this year? Need some ideas? Let us know what you want to learn to do!