A Gift of Love (and a Christmas Miracle!)January 6th, 2015 | Posted by in Inspiration from others | Spice Grove Designs - (4 Comments)
Need a quick Holiday Decor idea? (You probably have everything you need in your kitchen!)December 18th, 2014 | Posted by in DIY | Healthy Living | Inspiration from Nature | Recipes | Spice Grove Designs - (0 Comments)
Are you searching for a last-minute decor idea for your table or tree this Christmas?? Come on by and check out this super easy one that will have your home looking (and smelling) fantastic in just minutes!!
If you haven’t heard of orange pomanders before be assured they are amazing and you’ll love them! I remember seeing them and hearing about them from my Grandma and her friends. I’ve seen gorgeous photos of them all over the web and have always wanted to make some. So this year we decided to give them a try! And they were so easy and fun for the whole family to make!!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Oranges (clementines, tangerines, etc.)
Toothpicks or other sharp tool
3 Tbs. ground cinnamon
3 Tbs. ground cloves
3 Tbs. ground nutmeg
3 Tbs. ground ginger
3 Tbs. orris root powder (dried and ground root of certain iris’ used as a fixative) Although I have a couple sitting in my office that are a couple of years old and had no fixative used and they still smell great!
1. Pick out orange with good solid rind. I picked up a bag of Cuties the other day and not only were they delicious but just the right size for little hands.
2. Decide what pattern or design you’d like to make. You can draw it on beforehand or just ‘wing it’ and see where your imagination takes you! (Anyone else like the idea of planning when it comes to crafty projects – but secretly you’d rather just see what happens?) If you are going to hang it sometimes it’s easier to attach the ribbon or thread before you start placing the cloves.
3. If your orange rind isn’t too tough you can simply push them through the rind by hand in whatever design you like. If it’s too tough or your little ones need some help you can use a toothpick or other piercing device to make a small hole so that the clove pushes in more easily.
(or if your kids are anything like my helper, they may just enjoy playing with the toothpicks!)
Be careful as the whole cloves can be very sharp. My fingers have built up a tolerance from all of the cloves that we use here in the shop though. Here are a few examples of some designs that the tiniest Spice Grove and I came up with!
4. Step back and enjoy your work!
5. Let the orange dry for 2-3 weeks in a dry place. A sunny window is the perfect place! If you want you can let it dry in a delicious spice mix of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and orris root powder. The mix will add an even more delicious smell to your beautiful orange. If you do this last step, just turn the orange in the spice mix every day or so, so that it gets coated evenly. (Sadly I don’t have any photos of this last step as I was too anxious to get this post done and share it with you!
Have fun with it and get creative! Remember there is no wrong way to make these! They will look (and smell) gorgeous in a simple bowl on your holiday table or hanging on your tree! The beauty is they will last for years!! If you’re really prepared you could have these made up early and give them as gifts for the Holidays. I’d love to see photos if anyone tries these out!
I know there are only 6 days until Christmas – but I wish you peace and joy this wonder filled week before Christmas! Take time to enjoy and see the little miracles!
DIY spiced playdough! The perfect gift!December 5th, 2014 | Posted by in DIY | Healthy Living | Inspiration from others | Recipes | Spice Grove Designs - (2 Comments)
Today I wanted to share an easy and very inexpensive DIY gift you can make for your kids for Christmas! Or use this as an awesome craft to do with your kids this Holiday Season!
I first found this play-dough recipe over at The Modest Mom Blog. She has so many great ideas for DIY crafts! I wanted to ‘spice’ up the play-dough though as presents for our girls this Christmas, so a few tweaks and I ended up with some amazingly fragrant play-dough! It’s great for all the senses. And I made 2 batches so there won’t be any arguing over the sets!! (fingers crossed on that)
Here is what you’ll need.
~Jars – plastic or glass depending on the age of your kiddo’s. I really wanted to use some recycled glass jars I had, but my 2 yr. old still drops a lot of things so we went with plastic ones this year. Here are some I found at Michaels for $6.99 for a 4 pack. With a 40% off coupon they wouldn’t be bad at all!!
~Labels if desired. These FREE printables were also on The Modest Mom’s Blog or get creative and make some of your own!
1 cup of flour
1 cup of water
1/3 cup of salt
2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 Tbsp. canola oil
Food Coloring (I’d love to try this with natural food coloring sometime but I wanted our girls to get to see that so I’ll save that for later!)
1/4-1/2 tsp. of one or more of the following spices, according to how strong you want the fragrance.
orange peel (dehydrated)
1. Put all ingredients in the saucepan. I added my spices and food coloring after I cooked the initial recipe as I wanted different spices/colors for my little jars but if you are making a big batch I would just add the spices and food coloring in at this point too.
2. Heat at a medium low temperature until the play-dough forms a ball. (roughly about 3 min.) Make sure to stir the ENTIRE time. (This isn’t a ‘walk away’ recipe!! :))
3. Put the ball on some wax paper to cool for a bit.
4. When it’s cool enough knead into a ball (if you already have spices and coloring in it) or divide it into smaller portions for your jars. This recipe made 8 little golf ball size portions for me which fit perfectly into my little jars. If you need some ideas to your creative juices flowing here are some scents and color combos that I did this time!
~red – allspice
~yellow – nutmeg
~green – cloves
~brown – cinnamon
~orange – orange peels and ginger
~pink – unscented
~blue – unscented
~purple – unscented
Have fun and get creative with your spices and colors! Pair the playdough with a couple of cute little cookie cutters for an adorable gift set! I’d love to see pictures if you decide to try this spiced playdough recipe! (By the way it’s really fun to let the kids help with this – I was just making this batch for a Christmas surprise so the girls didn’t get to help with this one!)
I hope you are having a blessed Holiday Season friends!
This Veteran’s Day, Be An Angel…November 11th, 2014 | Posted by in Giveaways | Giving Back | Inspiration from others - (0 Comments)
It’s no secret that I hold veterans and active duty soldiers close to my heart. My Dad was Air Force and sweet Mr. Spice Grove was in the Army. So when I say how impressed I am by all that my friend Brenda over at STRUCTUREbags does for our military members and families, you can be sure that I’m not overstating things!
From her amazing letter writing campaign last Christmas, (distributing hundreds of letters and ornaments to soldiers overseas and to the families of those same deployed soldiers) her partnership with Team Red White and Blue – her heart is to help those who serve! Again this Holiday Season, Brenda is looking to make a difference for military families and YOU get to be involved!!
Here is more information straight from Brenda:
“During the entire month of November, nominators can visit www.structurebags.com to create a wishlist for a nominee and tell STRUCTUREbags about their deserving nominee. Wishlists can feature anything from the STRUCTUREbags store, including items from the soon-to-be-released all-new 2015 Organic Canvas Collection and the expanded Camo with a Cause line – now available in four camo options.
Winners will have their wishlist fulfilled by STRUCTUREbag’s “Deployment Angels.”
Prizes include a $150, a $75 and three $50 gift packages. Additionally, the first 25 nominators and nominees will each receive a complimentary tree ornament in the camo print of their choice. Winners will be chosen based on the written nomination and will be selected by a panel of military spouses. There is no purchase necessary to enter or nominate and self-nominations are welcome. Complete details can be found at http://www.structurebags.com/pages/season-of-thanks-2014.”
“My time at West Point opened my eyes to the daily sacrifices made by our military,” said Brenda Guyader, founder and designer of STRUCTUREbags. “And the holidays can be especially difficult.”
“I first heard of ‘Deployment Angels’ on Valentine’s Day 2013 when someone secretly left a small box of chocolates for a neighbor – the spouse of a deployed soldier. We all teared-up,” she said.
Since its founding location at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2011, STRUCTUREbags has supported active military families through its Camo with a Cause line of products. For every item purchased in that line $1 is donated to their strategic partner, Team Red, White & Blue, the national organization connecting veterans to their communities through physical and social activities.
STRUCTUREbags continues to invest $1 per item sold or donated from the Camo with a Cause line in Team RWB’s ongoing social and athletic programs for veterans and their families.”
After being married to a soldier who deployed I can tell you firsthand that anything you do for soldiers AND their families will make a world of difference to all of them. My Hubby used to tell me it gave him such peace when he knew that we were taken care of while he was away. So don’t miss out on this awesome chance to make a huge difference in the lives of those who serve this Holiday Season! Thank you so much Brenda for allowing us to share this opportunity with our friends here at Spice Grove Designs!
Have a blessed Veteran’s Day friends and a special ‘Thank You’ to all who have and are serving!
PS…..Don’t forget to click on the ‘Deployment Angel’ photo to nominate someone!!
4 lessons learned from our ‘Charlie Brown’ Christmas TreeDecember 21st, 2013 | Posted by in Inspiration from others | Spice Grove Designs - (76 Comments)
I just love this time of year! The wonder of our girls as we unpack our Advent Calendar and Nativity is precious! Chasing my 20 month old around to try to get Baby Jesus back so she doesn’t hide Him somewhere I’ll never find Him is hilarious! I love the cooler weather and the comfy clothes. The yummy treats and family time are such a blessing! Basically, I love everything about Christmas – what is means and what it brings. We don’t do fancy decorations in our Home but try to keep things simple and meaningful. One piece of decor though that I do look forward to bringing out each year is our ‘Charlie Brown’ Christmas tree!
This tree was with my Father years ago when he was stationed in the Philippines with the Air Force. It was sent to him again when he was away in Italy for a year when I was 8. It then traveled to Arizona to be with me in college and then on to Oregon to be with my brother at college. It’s next journey sent it all the way over to Iraq to be with my Husband when he was deployed with the Army. And though it is literally falling apart, it gets more precious to me every year. It serves as a wonderful reminder to our girls that beauty on the outside fades, but a beautiful heart will never age or grow dim.
It teaches them about sacrifice and courage as we tell the story of its journeys. They marvel, touching each branch, at how this little tree has traveled more miles than any of us probably will in a lifetime. It tells them of love that can never be dimmed by distance or time. But most of all it shows them that just as this little ‘falling-apart’ messy tree was able to impart joy and hope and comfort in dark time, so too, the Messiah born as a baby in that messy, dirty stable was able to give hope, grace and the ultimate gift of love for all of us……
Yes, this little tree will always hold a special place in my heart. As we spend time together this Christmas, we wish you and your loved ones a Blessed Christmas and Peaceful New Year.