Christmas Wreath Tutorial

Christmas Wreath Tutorial

Hello everyone!  I am super excited to share this tutorial with you!


I am a big fan of making wreaths.  You can see my spring wreath tutorial here.  That wreath has held up very well, and I get compliments on it all the time!  So I thought I’d make another for Christmas.

It’s almost always cheaper to make the wreath yourself, so I figured I’d give it a go.  I got everything except the base from the dollar tree and spent less than $20!


Green Floral foam wreath (Hobby Lobby) – $4.99

8 packs of ornaments (Dollar Tree) – $8

2 garlands in two colors (Dollar Tree) – $2

Snowflake ornaments (Dollar Tree) – $1

Total = $16!!

Step 1: 


First thing you’ll want to do is hot glue ornaments on the outside of the ring.  I did mine in stripes, but you can do it in random patterns with as many colors as you want.  When gluing the ornaments down, have the ends hiding towards the back of the wreath.  (My wreath has a few cracks in it cause the dear husband was throwing it in the air and trying to get it to land on his shoulders around his head.  He missed, and it broke apart.  I was able to hot glue it back together.)

Step 2:

Add garland around the wreath.  I added this to help fill in the gaps that you’ll see between the ornaments.  If you don’t want to add the garland, you don’t have to.  To add the garland, you stick it between the ornaments and hot glue it to the back of your wreath.  If using two colors, thread the garland between every other ornament.  Once you reach the end, hot glue it down to the back of the wreath.  They were both 9 feet long according to the package.  The silver one was just long enough, but the red one was a little too long.  So I cut off the excess and used it where I saw a major hole when I was finished.  (My husband really liked the garland only wreath.  If you’re looking for something simple and elegant, you can just wrap a green foam wreath with the garland.)

Step 3:


Add another layer of ornaments.  I recommend placing them before you start gluing them down to get a feel for how it will look.  When you glue them down, try to place the hanging end in-between the first layer of ornaments.

Step 4:


Add a third layer of ornaments.  I also recommend placing them before you start to glue them down because you will use less of them on this third layer than the other two.  If you would like, you can do another layer on the inside, but I stopped here so it would be easier to hang on the door.

Here is the finished three layer ornament wreath.


Optional Step:

Feel free to add any other ornaments or decorations to this such as a monogram, snowflakes, or even twinkly lights.  I added a pack of snowflakes that I had left over from last year’s decor.


And that’s it!  It only took about an hour to make and was ridiculously simple.  And for that price you really can’t beat it!

If any of you guys try this, let me know how yours turn out.


Yummy Tummy Tuna Casserole: Quick Meals #2

Yummy Tummy Tuna Casserole: Quick Meals #2

Everyone in the house LOVES my tuna casserole!  It’s very hearty and is great for leftovers.  I got the original recipe from a friend of mine and tweaked it a bit for us.  This feeds us two to three times depending on if we have sides with it.  My husband and one year old absolutely love it!


It takes around 45 minutes total to prepare, but most of that time is in the oven, so you are free to do whatever while it comes together.


All you need to make this is two boxes of mac and cheese, a can of peas, a can of cream of mushroom soup, shredded cheddar cheese, and two or three cans of tuna.


We are usually Kraft Mac and Cheese people, but when I make this I just grab whatever is handy because we add so much to it.  Also, whenever I can, I usually buy “no salt added” canned veggies.  When the store is out, I just rinse them in a strainer.


The first step is to cook the mac and cheese according to the directions.  Then you’ll want to add in about a cup of shredded cheese while it’s still hot, so it can melt into the noodles.


Next, gently mix in all the other ingredients until combined.  Don’t get too enthusiastic with your stirring or you will mash the peas.  If you are worried you will mash them, mix everything else first then fold them in.


Once it is completely mixed, pour it into an 8×8 or 9×13 dish to go into the oven.  I like using an 8×8 just because it takes up less room in my dishwasher (so I don’t have to hand wash it).  If you use an 8×8 it will be FULL to the top.  This is okay because it doesn’t expand.


Then add cheese to your liking.  We usually finish off the bag, so about a cup.  After you have done this, cover it with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes!  I hope you all enjoy!  If you have any questions or suggestions, leave it in the comments!  Below is a more printer friendly version of the recipe.

If you are interested in other recipes I have posted you can find my quick meals lemon pepper fish recipe here and my super easy beef tips recipe here.


Yummy Tummy Tuna Casserole


  • 2 Boxes of Mac and Cheese
  • 2-3 cans of tuna fish
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can peas
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese – divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cook both boxes of mac and cheese according to boxes’ directions
  3. Stir in a cup of shredded cheese
  4. Combine tuna, peas, and soup gently as to not smash the peas
  5. Top with remaining shredded cheese
  6. Cover and bake for 25 to 30 minutes
How I Cut My Grocery Bill in Half!

How I Cut My Grocery Bill in Half!

Hey y’all!  There is no secret button or magic inexpensive recipe that will dramatically cut your grocery bill in half.  I know right?  That’s exactly what I was looking for when I first started looking for a  way to save money at the grocery store.  Then, I thought that I could do some crazy couponing, like on those TV shows and save a ton of money, but that didn’t pan out either.  Well, okay, I do coupon now, which does save quite a bit, but not in the way I thought it would.  What really helped me save money was planning.

I know, I know, that is probably not what you were looking for with a title like “How I Cut My Weekly Grocery Bill in Half,” but stick with me, I promise that this will pay out!  The best way to save money at the grocery store is to pay attention to what you are doing, and have a solid plan when going to the store!

(I would like to add up front that all stores, products, and aids that are mentioned in this post are all things that I use and love.  They are NOT sponsored.)

img_4562Way I used to shop:  I have always been a meal planner.  (I can’t understand going to the store without a list of what I’m going to be cooking, and what I’m going to need for the entire week.)  So I would sit down and decide what I was going to cook that week and add all the ingredients to my grocery list.  Then, while shopping, I would pick up a few non-list items like snacks.

PLAN PLAN PLAN!  Tuesday is junk mail day for the Cantrell household, meaning, we get all the weekly circulars.  Honestly, most of those circulars get chunked, except the one for my favorite grocery store, Kroger.  I’m not kidding when I say I look forward to this circular all week.  I plan my weekly menu (five or six meals for a week) by using what is on sale.

digital-vs-analog-free-license-cc0Compose list.  Never go to the store without a list of items you need and stick to the list!  I mean it; stick to the list.  When you start picking up stuff that just catches your eye or sounds yummy when you are there, you are getting too much.  You have a list of everything you need, so additional items are waste.  They will either get thrown away or replace something from your plan, and that original meal/item will be thrown away.  DO NOT buy things that are not on the list!  (If you have a hard time with this one, I suggest you turn to the buddy system.  Bring someone with you and have them help you stop the impulse buys.)  You can either use a list on your phone or an old fashion paper list.  I use the app IntelliList.  logo_300x120You can get a limited version free in the app store.  This is my favorite list because you can store the cost of items at different stores in the app.  This has helped me a ton!  Now, when the circulars say something is on sale, I can check my app and see if the sale is actually worth it.

Divide up expensive items you use frequently between trips.  Yes, I know that these are not “grocery” items, but they are items I get when I go to the grocery store.  I have both fur babies and an actual baby, so I buy lots of dog food and diapers.  Those of you who are parents know that those can be REALLY expensive.  To keep my trip totals more consistent one week I buy a 20lb bag of dog food, and the next week I buy an 88 count box of diapers.

Use digital and print coupons.  I love being able to load coupons onto my Kroger card is AMAZING, and if there isn’t a coupon on Kroger’s website, I’ll check coupons {dot} com to see if they have anything.  Couponing can be tricky thought.  The most important thing about it is do not, I repeat DO NOT look up coupons before you make out your meal plan and grocery list!  This will lead to you spending way more money, and defeats the purpose of using the coupons in the first place.  This was the mistake I made the first time I started couponing.  I would see a coupon for a name brand detergent and get excited (hey look, $1.50 off!) and would add that detergent to my list, even though I did not need any and usually bought a brand that was cheaper.  See?  (A lot of people I know prefer Wal-Mart to Kroger when it comes to grocery shopping because of Wal-Mart’s new Savings Catcher.  This is a super helpful tool if you are a brand loyal person.  However, I love using store brands, so this doesn’t save me a ton of money.)

Use a rebate system.  ibottaapp-primary-logoThere are tons of apps now that “pay you to shop.”  I currently use Ibotta and have made $35 dollars just buying what I would have bought in the first place.  Ibotta is an app that gives you a small amount of cash back for select purchases and once you reach a certain amount, you can cash out through Paypal or gift cards.  (If you’re interested in this, you can sign up here and receive a $10 after your first rebate.)  However, the warning that I gave for couponing goes double for this.  Do not buy something just because you can get a large rebate on it.  It totally defeats the purpose of the program.

Extra Tips:

  • Just because something is on sale / has a coupon doesn’t mean it’s a good deal.  Do not buy something simply because it is on sale.  Have a clear plan / purpose for each thing you buy.  Even if it is a pantry item or common staple, don’t pick it up unless you know you will be using it within the next four weeks.  If you aren’t, odds are it will go on sale again by the time you need more, and you can get it then.
  • Sometimes, store brand is just as good as name brand.  I know you probably hear this a lot when the topic of saving money comes up, but it’s true.  There are certain things that we prefer name brand, like our coffee creamer, but other things, like pasta, lunch meat, or bread, I use store brand.  The best way to figure out if you like store brand is trial and error.
  • One trip a week.  If you are going to the grocery store more than once a week, you have messed up step one.  If you have a concrete plan of what you are buying and eating that week, you only need to go one.  Multiple trips to the store increases the likelihood of impulse buys and is a total gas waster.

Doing these few things really did cut my bill in half!  My family of two (and a half) used to spend around $160 a week at the grocery store, and now we only spend $60 – $80!  What about you?  Do you have any tips for saving money at the store?  Leave it in the comments!


Other posts in my “How To” series that might interest you:

How to Have an Easier and Happier Morning!

How to Have an Easier and Happier Morning!

How to Have an Easier and Happier Morning!

Hey everyone!  This week I am starting a series of “How To” posts!  I thought I would start with something that I have recently taken control of: mornings.

Snapchat from one of my morning walks.

I don’t know about you, but I am not a morning person.  Well, okay, I can be if I have something exciting to do (like grocery shopping!), but most mornings, I do not look forward to getting up.

A morning routine can completely change how you feel when you wake up.  I know that the word “routine” makes some people cringe.  Especially those people who are busy and think that they never have the time for a routine, or that their mornings are always varied, so a routine wouldn’t work for them.  You’ll see that you don’t need a ton of time to change your mornings.  (However, I am a stay at home mom, so most mornings, I am not pressed to do things as soon as I wake up.)

My former routine looked a lot like this…  I have two dogs and a baby, which were pictured in my last post.  I would wake up, let the dogs out, nurse, and spend about an hour surfing social media (a mixture of Facebook and Instagram) while Elizabeth watches Sofia the First, Octonauts, or Care Bear Cousins.  Then we would eat breakfast, and an hour later she takes a nap while I clean up the house.

The major thing I changed was to set up constructive “me time.”  I let my puppies out and nurse the baby as usual, but instead of getting on Facebook or any other social media, we watch an episode of The Office together (yes the baby likes The Office).  Then after she eats, I put her in her bouncer and she watches an episode or two of her cartoons.  I get a cup of coffee and read something; The Bible or a book that I’m currently working on.  (This week I’m reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.)  After reading, I spend time with the baby until first nap.  Then, if my husband is home, I go on a two mile walk while listening to a book or music while she naps.  If he isn’t home, we walk together after she eats breakfast, before her nap.

I send my husband lots of walking selfies. Don’t judge.
After my walk during nap time, I cook whatever is for lunch that day and maybe catch another episode of The Office, or whatever I happen to be watching; if I have time before the baby is awake.  I only get on social media after she wakes up, and try not to stay on for more than fifteen minutes at a time.

Doing this has completely changed my mood for the day.  Carving out that “me time” makes me less grouchy.  Also, all the things going on on Facebook don’t get the chance to influence my mood when I first wake up.

So basically, it boils down to this:

To have a better morning, create an atmosphere that will make you happy.  Take charge of your day!  Do something for yourself, before you let any outside forces affect your mood.

I’ve been doing this for about a week and a half, and I (and my husband) can definitely tell a difference.

Had a neighbor tag along.
Is there anything you all do to help you start your mornings off right?  Interested in trying a new routine?  Leave it in the comments and let me know!

What I Packed on a Weekend Road Trip with an Infant

What I Packed on a Weekend Road Trip with an Infant

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We took our first road trip with Baby Elizabeth to Dallas in April, in preparation for our big road trip to Orlando/Disney this month.  I consulted other mommy blogs, via Pinterest, on what all I needed to pack to keep baby (and us) happy on the car ride.  FYI, Elizabeth is a good car rider.  We live about 20-30 minutes away from “town” so she is used to riding around.  She doesn’t like being put in her car seat, but once the car is moving she settles down and usually falls asleep.

I love packing and planning out packing.  I HATE last minute packing, hints the planning.  I am the type of person who likes to be packed a week before leaving, that way you can make sure you are not forgetting anything and aren’t feeling harried.  (However, ever since I got married, I am becoming more of a last minute packer, and I HATE IT.)

Here is the first round of stuff I packed for Baby Elizabeth:

2016-04-20 20.57.57

I started out with my Guess diaper bag:

2016-04-20 20.58.29


I bought this diaper bad when I was still pregnant because I thought it was big enough to hold everything and looked super classy, even though a lot of my mommy friends told me to buy a backpack diaper bag.  I didn’t want some boring backpack, I wanted something cute.  Well, I totally should have listened to those mommy friends and went with the backpack.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this bag, but it’s basically a duffle bag.  Trying to tote a baby in a car seat on one hand and this over the other shoulder was super cumbersome and I knocked into everything.  So it was downgraded to Elizabeth’s luggage, and I got a backpack diaper bag from Amazon (I should have went to Target to look around first cause I later saw a super cute one I really want!)  I was able to fit all her clothes and mine in this bag for the weekend.

Night time:

What I packed: Three sleep suits, one being her super thick bear suit (because we keep the hotel room really cold to sleep), with three onsies to wear under it.  Also, a swaddle sack.

What I used: Two onsies and the bear suit. That’s it.  The bear suit kept her warm in the room Friday and Saturday night with a different onsie under it each night.  We didn’t use the swaddle sack, and haven’t swaddled her since this trip.  At the house, she now wears a Halo Sleep Sack.  (She hasn’t slept well this week, so we might go back to swaddling.)

Day Time:

2016-04-20 20.58.06

What I Packed: Four outfits, two for each day, and four pairs of socks.

What I used: Luckily, we didn’t have any blowouts on this trip, so I only used two outfits and two pairs of socks.


The non-clothing items I packed:

  • Nursing cover (pictured top left) – I am still nursing, and this was my first time nursing in public so I made sure to bring it.
  • Hand pump – Just in case I needed to pump.  I didn’t use it
  • iPad – I attached my iPad to the headrest of the seat with a stretchy head band, so Elizabeth could watch Frozen there and back.  This helped keep her occupied for a little while.
  • Toy – I didn’t think to bring any toys for her to play with on the ride, but ended up picking up a ball rattle when I had to stop at the drug store for diapers.  I attached it to the car seat with a pacifier holder.  This had become her favorite toy and definitely keeps her entertained.
  • Car Bottle Warmer (pictured bottom left) – I thought I was being super clever bringing this along.  We had some frozen breast milk I had brought along in a bottle, so we could feed her without having to pull over.  Well, the bottle warmer didn’t work so we had to pull of the interstate onto a side road in the middle of nowhere and nurse.  On the long car ride to Florida, I am going to bring the hand pump and express milk directly into a bottle for her to eat if we are in an area where we cannot stop to nurse.
  • Stroller – For obvious reasons.
  • Baby Carrier – I also brought her baby carrier just in case I wanted to wear her.  I didn’t use it.
  • Bumbo Seat – I brought this because I thought she wouldn’t want to lay around the entire time we were in the hotel room if we were there relaxing.  We did use this, but not at the hotel.  We went to the drive in theater and had to get there 2 hours before show time to get a good spot and avoid all the traffic.  We used the bumbo in the car while waiting for the movie to start.
  • Small pack of diapers – Instead of packing loose diapers from the box at the house, we just picked up a little pack and used those.  When we go down to Florida for the week, we are going to buy a box when we get there so we don’t have to pack up any loose ones or take up any room in the back of the van.
  • Diaper bag (pictured) – This is the diaper bag backpack that I got from Amazon.  it is where I packed the everyday, always needed items like medicines, wipes, bibs, and the like.
  • Packing list (pictured) – A friend of mine bought me a pad of these new parent check lists as a gag gift.  It promises to get you out of the house in two hours flat and has items on it like, coping mechanism, breasts, brain, and baby.  Well, I actually used it to plan out certain things to pack and whether I was packing them in the diaper bag or the Guess bag.  It was surprisingly helpful, and I’m going to use them again on my trip to Florida.
  • Pack-n-Play – I didn’t want to use one of the hotel’s cribs, so we brought our own pack-n-play.  If I were worried more about luggage space, I would have just used their cribs and left it at home.

The take away:

So, from his trip, I learned that I over packed in some areas and under packed in others.  When it comes to clothes, I over packed and didn’t use several of the outfits.  When we take our longer trip, I will pack fewer back up outfits because we will have somewhere to wash our laundry if I end up needing more than one.  The areas I under packed were the entertainment areas.  I forgot to bring her a toy to play with and didn’t plan out any stops (because I thought she could make a three hour trip no problem.)  When we go to Florida, we are going to map out all the Rest Areas, so we can take little breaks.  I’m planning on bringing a little blanket that we can throw out and have tummy time for a fifteen minute break every four hours or so during the day.  We’re also hoping to leave around bedtime so she will want to sleep for the first half of the drive.

What are some necessities for you when traveling by your self or with babies?  Leave it in the comments below, so I can be better prepared next month!