With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I needed to come up with an idea to keep the kiddos occupied while everyone is here on turkey day.  Then I remembered:  we have a TON of Play-Doh toys and pieces.  My plan is to make up a few tubs of the stuff so that there is plenty for everyone!

There are is a ton of  playdough recipe information over at: http://www.playdoughrecipe.com/

They even have recipes for edible playdough!  This would also make an awesome DIY gift for the little ones on your list!

Although this is an activity that I am planning for the younger crowd, it has been my experience that EVERYONE likes to play with Play Doh.  So this is going to  be a win-win situation that keeps everyone entertained and having some fun while the food is cooking (waiting is the hardest part!)

 

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Every year I begin the annual search for easy and decent DIY gifts for the holidays.  My kids have so many teachers that it is just way too cost prohibative to buy gifts for them all.  I appreciate everything those teachers do for my kids and so I send in homemade gifts of the one-size-fits-all type (young or old, male or female, etc).

This year I am making Chocolate Banana Bread.  It is simple and very cheap to make and can be made in bulk so it meets all the qualifications.  I am baking 18 loaves for all the teacher gifts this year.  Whew!  So, here is the simple recipe!

CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD

(this recipe makes 3 loaves)

1 box of devils food or chocolate cake mix

3 eggs

1/3 cup of oil

4 mashed bananas

1 cup nuts (these are optional – I do not use them as they are expensive and my kids schools are both “nut free”)

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Grease three loaf pans (I use aluminum ones that I wash out and reuse)

Preheat oven to 350

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl

Divide batter evenly in the three pans (they will be just half full)

Bake for about 20-30 minutes depending on your oven

When they are done baking I remove them from the pans to cool

Once they are cool I wrap them in Saran Wrap (clear plastic food wrap) and then place them in a cellophane Christmas bag and seal with a twist tie (the bags are in packs of 20 for $1 at the Dollar Tree).  I have estimated the cost at a total of $17 for all 18 loaves.

 

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I LOVE lists!  They keep me on track, productive and organized.  They also make gift giving easier for me.  Whenever someone I am close to mentions items they would like to have I make a note of it.  That way when a birthday or holiday rolls around, I already have a list of gift ideas.  The great thing about doing this is that often times the recipient has long forgotten about the item they were admiring.  The gift becomes a wonderful surprise followed by “How did you know?”  because they often forget ever having mentioned that they liked the item!  I also keep a list like this for myself on the fridge so when someone asks me what I would like for my birthday, etc.  I don’t have to say “I don’t know”.  I just tell them a few ideas off my list.

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The holidays are a mere four months away, are you planning ahead yet?  I am in the process of getting all my online ducks in a row (swagbucks, e-rewards, and other incentives that I plan on using to purchase Christmas gifts).  I thought now would be a good time to share a personal, POSITIVE experience with regifting.

My best friend and I met through our sons.  Both are on the Autism “spectrum” and they attended the same school a while back and they became fast friends.  Soon playdates followed and she and I became close friends as well.  She is an avid purse collector.  She loves purses!  That is her “thing”.  Usually I notice her new finds when she uses them but there was one purse in particular that I really liked when I saw her using it.  Boy what a purse it was!  A bright pink, metallic, Ed Hardy purse!   It was not a “purse”…. it was a PURSE! LOL!

Anyhow, time went on and Christmas rolled around.  We arranged to go to lunch and she said she had a gift for me.  It was the purse!  She decided that she did not like it as much as she had thought she would and so she gave it to me!  The fact that she would give me this purse instead of returning it to get her money back just impresses me!  I love this purse and all it’s “bling-y-ness”!

If someone has told you in the past that they really admire something that you have and you are no longer using it, consider “regifting” it.  I think that as long as the item is in good condition and the person would really appreciate and use the item, it is okay to purposefully regift.  Obviously use your best judgement in this situation…. only you know how the people you are regifting to will react.

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