Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Taco Chili (Freezer Friendly!)

This past week at our house has been full of teething babies, ear infections and strep throat, and a weekend spent away for a wedding. We've all been off of our 'normal' schedule, so I've been leaning on my freezer meals to get us through dinner time. One of the easiest ones that I make is Taco Chili. It's great to freeze in small sizes for lunches at work, or in big bags to give away to friends who have just had babies. :)

Taco Chili


1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can (15.5 oz) mild chili beans, undrained
1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, undrained
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14.25 oz) corn, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese blend


1. Brown meat with onions in large saucepan; drain.
2. Add all remaining ingredients (except cheese) and stir.
3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 5 minutes (stirring occasionally).
4. Serve topped with cheese (and any other toppings like crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, etc).

This recipe can also be made in the crock pot - just cook it on low for about 4-5 hours!

While I'm browning the meat, Abby's job was to dump and stir :)

Probably one of the easiest and most delicious chili recipes....hope you enjoy! :)

This recipe is a slight modification from one found in a Kraft Foods magazine years ago.

Monday, October 20, 2014

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

Last week, Katie wrote about all of the Halloween costumes we've made for our kids.  But my all time favorites were the Hobbit costumes I made.  Seriously, I don't know how I can ever top them!

The idea to dress my kids as Hobbits came to me as an epiphany moment.  Or maybe it was more of a Pinterest inspiration....  While surfing for Halloween costumes ideas, I came across this cute little girl dressed like a Hobbit on the blog Falafel and the Bee.

And oh my goodness!  My husband and I are huge Lord of the Rings fans, so I knew this would be perfect for our curly haired kiddos!

I used tutorials from 2 different blogs (links below), but I did change up a few parts.  This took me a total of two afternoon naps (but I made 2 sets of everything so it could easily be done in one afternoon!), and it truly was very easy to make.  No major sewing skills required!

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

Here is what I did for our DIY Hobbit Costumes(And I'm sorry for the lack of pictures - these were made before I began blogging.  The tutorials listed below have great step-by-step pictures.)

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com


Green felt (amount depends on the size of who will wear it)
Fabric scissors
Embroidery thread
Yarn sewing needle
Regular thread
Regular sewing needle
Small elastic hair tie

I used a combination of these 2 tutorials to make the Fellowship cloaks: tutorial #1 and tutorial #2.  I did not add the hood because I can't sew to make the project easier. 

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com


Computer paper and printer
Sewing pins
Dark green felt, 1 small sheet (mine had sparkles in it too)
Fabric scissors
Silver embroidery thread
Yarn sewing needle
Button (with loop on the back of the button)
Hot glue gun and stick
Hair clip (optional)

Instead of just using a button to fasten the cloak like what was used in the cloak tutorial (tutorial #1 listed above), I made the Fellowship brooch to cover the button.  You could just use a gold or silver vintage-looking button and completely skip these steps.  But I really wanted the cloaks to have the brooch because I'm only a little bit of an obsessed Tolkien fan!

First, I printed out a picture of the brooch and then cut out only the leaf part of it.  Then, I pinned the leaf pattern on the felt and cut it out.

Next, I took the embroidery thread and stitched in the main veins of the leaf, using the printed out brooch as a visual guide.  I also kept the stitches very tight together so it would look seamless.

Finally, I hot glued the brooch to the button that was already sewn on the completed cloak.  Perfection!

*I also made an extra leaf and hot glued it to a hair clip for my daughter to wear in her hair to go along with her costume.

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

Hairy Feet:

Computer paper and printer
Skin colored felt (amount depends on the size of their feet)
1 small sheet of felt that is one shade lighter than the skin colored felt (for the toenails)
Fabric scissors
Brown curly doll hair
Hot glue gun and stick
Black sharpie or pen
Safety pins

Oh, the hairy Hobbit feet.  It wouldn't be a proper Hobbit costume without them!

I used this tutorial to make their hairy feet.  I did not make the feet into slippers, however, because sigh, I can't sew! we were going to be walking around outside in them.  I just made the top part of the foot as laid out in the tutorial, and we safety pinned them to the tops of their tennis shoes.

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

To finish off their Hobbit Halloween costumes, they wore nice dress pants, dressy vests, and white collared and button-down dress shirts.  These clothes are easy to find (I found them inexpensively at a children's re-sale shop), and the best part is that they can be worn again after Halloween.

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

Aren't they the cutest Hobbits you've ever seen? ;)

Edit (Halloween 2016): A couple years later and another child - of course he had to have his turn at being a Hobbit for Halloween too!

Have you made your kids Halloween costumes before?  What were their costumes?

Happy Halloween!


This project was featured on:

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

DIY Halloween Costume Ideas

I love Halloween, especially now that I have kids to dress up. :) We always made our own costumes growing up, so that's what I'm going to try to do for my kids...which is easy right now because I'm picking the theme. Once they are old enough, I'm not sure if I'll be able to pull that off! :)  I'm currently making Abby and Tim's costumes for this year and can't wait to share those next week! :) Jess and I thought we'd share our previous Halloween ideas with you - if you have a glue gun and felt, you should be good to go! :)

Here are our five favorite costume ideas for kids:

Wonder Woman
DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers - Wonder Woman - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

Abby was Wonder Woman for her first Halloween (she was 6 months old). I traced the WW emblem on yellow felt, cut it out, and attached it to the red shirt with fabric glue. I cut out 3 red felt stars for her headband and cuffs. For the headband, I just attached the star with a safety pin. I used fabric glue again to put the stars on yellow felt cuffs, and then glued the cuffs onto her shirt. I never had any issues with the glue not staying, but you could use hot glue for a stronger hold if you want! As for the tulle skirt - I used this tutorial. Now that I've made more skirts, I would recommend using a crochet headband for the waist. I originally used ribbon, and that didn't hold up very well.  So for this costume, you could easily pull it off for about $10 and finish in 1-2 hours. :) This is what I do during halftime of football games ;)

Minnie Mouse
DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers - Minnie Mouse - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

This was J's second Halloween and she was so adorable! Jess found a red dress with white polka dots on it (I think the top had lady bugs on it, but it was covered by the black top). For the ears, she just used black felt circles attached to alligator clips. J had her hair up in pigtails, so the ears were on the top of her head. Talk about really easy and super cute! :)

DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers - Hobbits - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

Jess and Jim are Tolkien fanatics, so it was quite fitting to have their kids dress up as Hobbits last year. And with curly hair, they totally pulled it off! ;)  Jess used green felt to make their capes, and sparkly felt/silver embroidery thread for the leaf pin in the front. Now, if you know anything about Hobbits, you know they have really large, hairy feet. Jess made felt feet to attach to the kids' shoes, and added curly doll hair on the top. It was hilarious looking, but so accurate to what they would look like! They were adorable little Hobbits. :) She got the idea from this blog, and is going to do a full post on this next week!

Edit (10/20/14):  Here is Jess's post on the Hobbit costumes!

Cat in the Hat
DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers - Cat in the Hat - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

This was Abby's costume last year...she is a very spirited girl, so this is the best picture I have of her standing still. :)  I glued the white circle onto a black onesie, and pinned on a pre-made red bow that I found at Michael's. I made a black tulle skirt to make the outfit a little more girly. :)  As for the hat, I just used a toilet paper roll! I glued on red and white felt, attached it to a cardboard base that I painted white, and then glued that onto a black headband. We happened to have white gloves, which helped pull it all together. Abby loved this costume!

Harry Potter
DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers - Harry Potter - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

Now, this isn't Tim's outfit for this year, but I thought I'd share one more simple idea for a boy. If you have a little baby, this is perfect! I used eyeliner to draw the lightening bolt on his forehead. Wrap your baby up in a blanket, and now he is The Boy Who Lived. Bonus points if your husband is dressed up as Dumbledore carrying the baby around! ;)

And because I hate secrets, here's a sneak peek of what the kids are this year...any guesses? :)

DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com
Abby and Tim's costumes...these pieces of felt need to be cut and glued on some shirts :)

DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com
J and B' costumes...Jess found an amazing deal at a consignment shop that she couldn't pass up (so no DIY for her this year ;)!

What are your favorite Halloween costumes? I'll need suggestions for next year! ;)

DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com


I'm linking up with these awesome parties!

This was featured on:
DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com
Diary of a Real Housewife

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DIY Fabric and Burlap Pumpkins

DIY Fabric and Burlap Pumpkins - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

Sorry for the overload of DIY fall crafts lately, but I have been on such a crafting kick.  I just can't stop!

And these past two weeks, I have been on fire getting some crafts done.  I made a little mummy, a fall burlap wreath (that can be switched out for other holidays!), and some fabric/burlap pumpkins.

There are so many beautiful pictures of these pumpkins on Pinterest, but this one is my favorite.

They looked fairly easy (no serious sewing skills required!) and really cute, so I had to try to make my own.

Here are the materials I used to make my fabric pumpkins:

Fabric or Burlap (any color or texture)
Fabric scissors
Sharpie or pen
Anything circular for a stencil (or see instructions below for a larger circle)
Yarn sewing needle
Thick thread 
Any kind of stuffing or filling material (old grocery sacks, polyester fiber fill, old pillow, etc.)
Hot glue gun and glue stick
Jute or burlap (for the stem)
Ribbon, buttons, lace, etc. (for the embellishments)
Yarn (for the ridges of the pumpkin)

1.  To make the fabric pumpkins, I followed Alice's directions laid out here.  

2.  On my little pumpkin, I wanted to add ridges.  So I placed the pumpkin (top and center) on the center of a long piece of yarn.

I brought the strings up to the center and bottom of the pumpkin and pulled them tight (just enough for the yarn to indent the fabric).

Then, I twisted the yarn and went around the pumpkin again, making sure not to overlap where the yarn already was.

When the yarn met again (at the top and center of the pumpkin this time), I again pulled it tight, twisted the yarn, and then went around again.  I did this four times total so that I would end on the top of the pumpkin.

When I was finished, I tied the yarn together and trimmed the excess.  Sorry I don't have any pictures!

DIY Fabric and Burlap Pumpkins - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

3.  Instead of using a stick for the stem, I used burlap and jute.  For the burlap stems, I used scrap burlap (any size or shape) and rolled it up unevenly, securing it at the bottom with a dot of hot glue.

DIY Fabric and Burlap Pumpkins - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

For the jute stems, I took a scrap piece of burlap, rolled it up, and then wrapped jute around it.  I also secured this at the bottom with hot glue.  With both stems, I hot glued them to the top of the fabric pumpkin.

DIY Fabric and Burlap Pumpkins - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

4.  Now, for my favorite part - the "accessory" piece!  There are endless creative possibilities - that's why I love this part so much.   When I was done making the embellishment, I hot glued it near the stem.

DIY Fabric and Burlap Pumpkins - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

I think they turned out so cute!  And they really were very easy to make too.

I loved creating my own unique little fabric pumpkins to add to our fall decor collection.  I just love decorating for fall!  So do you love decorating for fall too?  Have you done any DIY fall decor projects?  Please share!

DIY Fabric and Burlap Pumpkins - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

DIY Burlap Wreath

DIY Burlap Wreath - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

I love crafting.  It's one of my favorite hobbies!  And at this time of year, it combines two of my favorite things: projects and holidays.

I think my favorite crafting project I've done so far is this DIY burlap wreath.  I started this wreath last year (I'm notorious for starting and then never finishing a project - please tell me I'm not alone here!).  It was based off of this one I found on Pinterest from SAS Interiors.

Then, when I saw Andrea post the same burlap wreath (but decorated for Halloween) on her blog Momfessionals a few weeks ago, it inspired me to actually finish mine. 

So I made my burlap wreath exactly like theirs, but I did come up with how to decorate it on my own.  ;)

Here are the materials I used for my take on this burlap wreath:

Burlap (2.5-3 yards)
Wire coat hanger
Wire cutter and pliers
Scrap burlap in fall colors (for the leaves)
Burlap ribbon (for the bow)
Fabric scissors
Hot glue gun and glue stick
Yarn sewing needle
Safety pins
Jute and/or Yarn

1.  I followed Andrea's directions that she posted here to make the wreath.  My only changes were that I cut the burlap 3 inches wide instead of 4, and I only used 1 coat hanger.  You could use burlap ribbon if you want a more clean cut look.  Personally, I like the fly-aways!

DIY Burlap Wreath - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

As you can see, my wreath is two different colors.  A happy accident, maybe?  I ran out of brown burlap, but I had some white that was leftover from another project.  So I just finished it off with the white.  I mean, I did it on purpose...color blocking, you know...;)  

DIY Burlap Wreath - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

2.  For the leaves, I drew the leaves free hand on the colored burlap with a Sharpie and cut them out.  You could also trace an actual leaf if you need a stencil.

Then, I pulled out a string from the edge of the larger piece of the scrap burlap and used that as my thread to stitch in the veins for the leaves.

3.  For the bow, I used orange burlap ribbon and followed these directions by Shanty 2 Chic here.  

DIY Burlap Wreath - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

4.  To attach the leaves and bow to the wreath, I used safety pins because I want to be able to use this burlap wreath for other holidays.  So when fall is over, I'll unpin the leaves and bow.  Then, I can add new Christmas and winter decorations to switch it out for the new holiday season.  A multi-holiday burlap wreath!

DIY Burlap Wreath - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

5.  Finally, I hung it up with jute and yarn in our kitchen - I wanted my burlap wreath to be somewhere where I would see it often throughout the day because I love it so much!

DIY Burlap Wreath - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

This was such a fun project!  I'm looking forward to making the Christmas and winter decorations to go with it once Thanksgiving is over.  And then there's Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, and the various patriotic Red, White, and Blue holidays.  And even birthdays too.  :)

Do you have any holiday decorations that work for multiple holidays?  I'd love for you to share!

DIY Burlap Wreath - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com


I'm linking up with these awesome parties!

This project was featured on:
The Diary of a Real Housewife

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