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Thanksgiving Cupcake Recipe

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe


1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1 3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup milk


1. Preheat oven to 350F

2. Cream together butter and sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time, then add in vanilla extract and stir to combine.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Add half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine. Mix in the milk, and finish with remaining half of dry ingredients.

4. Divide batter evenly between 12 cupcake liners. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Buttercream Recipe


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2-3 T milk

½ tsp red, orange, and yellow gel food coloring (more if liquid food coloring)


1. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla extract, and add enough milk to reach desired consistency.

2. Divide frosting between three bowls and color with red, orange, and yellow food coloring.

Source: Pottery Barn


6 Ways to Help Your Local School

There are many ways to help your child's school, without spending extra money. Here are some ideas!
  • Box Tops for Education
    Box Tops are available on hundreds of items sold in the store. These are all worth 10¢ each and they do add up quickly.
  • My Coke Rewards

Donate your points here and your child's school can cash in points for sports equipement, art supplies and more!

  • Campbell’s Soup Labels
    Clip the UPC off participating items (Campbell’s, V8, BIC, Pepperidge Farm, Pace Swanson).  Labels earn points that can be redeemed in the Labels for Education catalog on sports, academic and art equipment.  More info.
  • Smile.Amazon
    Shop through SMILE.AMAZON.COM and your charity/school gets a percentage back from what you’ve purchased from Amazon.  You still get the items you want (even free prime shipping) and they earn too.
  • Sell Old Phones & Tablets
    Sell your old tech online and earn money for yourself and your school at the same time!  You get every penny your item is worth and MAXBACK gives a 10% donation to your school of choice. 
  • Your Local Grocery Store
    Add your school to your rewards card and every time you shop, scan your card at the register and the store gives a percentage of your purchase back to your school.  There is no cost to you at all!

How to Make Mercury Glass Jars

  1. Find a spot outdoors and cover nearby items with drop cloths or old sheets to protect them from spray mist.
  2. Clean the inside and outside of the glass, using glass cleaner and a lint free cloth.
  3. Tape and cover with paper, the outside of the jar or vase to prevent overspray on to the object.
  4. Hold the can of mirror paint 10-12” from the surface. Press the spray button and spray a light coat on the inside of the vase or jar.
  5. While the paint is still wet, spritz the painted side with the water vinegar solution and blot the inside of the vase with a paper towel to achieve the distressed look.
  6. Repeat steps 5-6 to achieve the desired look.
  7. Let dry and enjoy your new work of art.
  8. As an optional step to get a more distressed look, you can add a very light coat of Ultra Cover Flat black after step 5 and blot with a paper towel.



8+ Ways to Get Deals at Costco Without a Membership



Big box stores like Costco have many advantages, from bulk sizes to fantastic store brands, but the $50 membership fee isn’t one of them!

While I know several people who split the membership cost with family members, neighbors, roommates and friends, it’s still nice to avoid the extra cost. And you can -- if you use these strategies to shop at Costco without a membership.


Here are eight clever ways to enjoy all the benefits of Costco without paying for an annual membership.


1. Use a Costco Cash Card

Here’s a big secret Costco probably doesn’t want you to know: You can shop without a membership as long as you have a Costco Cash Card.

"Non-members may use the cash cards to shop at any Costco location in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and online at or on," says Costco's website.

Only members can buy Costco Cash Card from the store’s website, but that’s OK. Use this trick to save even more money: Buy your Cash Card from a discounted gift card site or from eBay.

It doesn’t matter how much is on the card; even a card with $2 left on it will get you in the door and pay for part of your purchase. Then you can use cash, a debit card or an American Express credit card to pay for the rest.

2. Visit the Pharmacy

Prescriptions can be really expensive. You can fill new prescriptions, refill existing prescriptions, or transfer prescriptions at the Costco Pharmacy. Plus, did you know you can order online at Costco Pharmacy services? Your medication can be delivered for free via standard USPS within 6 to 14 days.

You might have already heard you can score cheaper prescription medications at Costco. But did you know you don’t have to be a member?


3. Hearing and Optical Services

Did you know at most Costco stores you can buy glasses and hearing aids? They have special events a few times a year, sometimes with free samples. Keep in mind that while you can go in and see what they offer, you do need a membership to buy glasses, contact lenses, or hearing aid equipment. One trick to get around the membership is to load a Costco card with $20, then pay the difference in cash. From their web site: Members and non-members may use the cash cards to shop at any Costco location in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and online at or on Costco Cash balances may be used toward membership or merchandise.

4. Price Comparing at Costco

Do you like to shop around for the absolute best price? Costco is a great place for that. Just ask customer service for more info about membership. They will give you an application. Browse around the store before making up your mind and check out the prices.

5. Food Court Treats

Their pizza is so good!! You will definitely want to try a slice for only $1.99. Plus their $1.50 for hot dog and soda combo are a great, cheap lunch. You can also pick up a large pizza for only $9.99, which is enough to feed an army. We’ve gotten a few of these for birthday parties in the past, they are perfect for feeding a crowd. FYI, food courts only take cash as well.

6. Costco Deals Online

Say you are looking for the best deal on a TV or iPad. You can look for your item at and get the deal Costco members get! The advantage of buying online is that you can use non-American Express credit cards, which are not accepted at Costco warehouses. FYI, the website does state “Non-members may be assessed an additional surcharge. The surcharge does not apply to prescription items.”


7. Get the American Express True Earnings Costco cash card

Let’s say you open the card, and during the year you use it to purchase $1,500 in gas, $1,000 on eating out/travel and $3,000 in other purchases. You earn $45 + $20 + $30 in cash back rewards, which gives you $95. If you have a $55 Gold Star membership, you’ve paid for your membership renewal and you’ve made $40! If you’re a $110 Executive Gold Star member then you’ll only have to pay an extra $15 for your membership renewal.

This card has no annual fees for Costco members and offers cash back.  How you earn: 3% back on gas (up to $4,000/year), 2% back on U.S. restaurants and eligible travel, and 1% back on other purchases. Your cash back comes once per year in the form of a rewards coupon, which you can redeem at Costco for cash.


More Costco Secrets!

-       You can stack Costco coupons with rebate apps like Ibotta, Checkout51 and Snap.

-       The delicious Costco made to order cake is only $18, while at the grocery store it is over $20.

-       Some of the worst buys at Costco are razors and shampoo. I typically tend to avoid the health and beauty section for that reason.

-       No more having to clip out coupons! They are now automatically applied to your card, which makes it much easier to get deals.

-       Kirkland batteries are identical to Duracell batteries.

-       Need ink for your printer? Costco ink cartridges are only $7.49.

-       Watch Groupon or Zulily for membership deals. Recently Zulily offered a free rotisserie chicken, free Kirkland products and more with membership.





New Uses for Old Teacups

There are dozens of ways to use teacups other than simply for drinking tea. Here are some inventive ways to repurpose your grandmother's collection:

  1. Use them to beautifully organize your necklaces, earrings, and other baubles.

  2. Transform a single cup into a pin cushion using a scrap of fabric and some stuffing.

  3. If you have a green thumb, you could create a miniature teacup garden.

  4. And if you prefer to sip wine instead of tea, turn the cups into wine glasses — cheers!

7 Frugal and Fun Birthday Party Ideas

Choose from any of our seven simple, fun party ideas (all planned to include 12 guests, but you can customize) and you’ll spend $7 or less per kid on the best birthday for your child and your budget.


Red Carpet Glam Party for $6 per Kid

Any birthday girl or boy would love being pampered and in the limelight, and a red carpet glam party is just the way to do that.  

Invitation: Write party details on a piece of paper and glue it to a piece of red velvet; $6 for 12 guests.  

Décor: Welcome guests with a red carpet runner and add sparkle to the table with agold starburst centerpiece. Hang movie posters or celeb photos from magazines, and make your own Hollywood sign; $10 for 12 guests. 

Activities: For older kids, have guests dress up as their favorite celebrity and play “guess that star.” Play movie charades, or have the kids plan and act out their own skits; $0 for 12 guests. 

Food/Drink: Popcorn, soda and a red velvet cake, of course! Also fill little tummies with kid-friendly canapes (A.K.A. grilled cheese and tomato), or roll up slices of cheese in ham or bologna; $30 for 12 guests. 

Favor: Reward kids with VIP necklaces for their stellar performances; $24 for 12 guests.

 Little Chefs Party for $5 per Kid 

Kids love cooking, so they’ll really enjoy a “little chefs party” where they can get creative in the kitchen. Just be sure they’re old enough to stand near an oven or use cooking utensils without breaking them—this party is best for kids in kindergarten and older. 

Invitation: Use an index card to describe the party’s ingredients (fun, food, music, friends) and instructions (mix ingredients together for a terrific birthday party!); $2 for 12 guests. 

Décor: Decorate the party table with cans full of kitchen utensils and get a chef hatfor each child; $6 for 12 guests.

Activities: Let kids decorate sugar cookies with frosting, sprinkles, colored sugar and candy. Older kids (10 and up) can play a more active role, like taking things in and out of the oven and measuring out the cookie recipe without your telling them what to do; $20 for 12 guests.

Food/Drink: Set out bowls of cheese, sauce and different veggies, and let kids assemble their own mini pizzas. Supply fresh lemonade and, once the cookies have baked, serve them up for dessert; $30 for 12 guests.

Favor: Buy small birthday treat bags for the kids to take home the extra cookies they made; $4 for 12 guests.

Animal Lover Party for $5 per Kid

A real crowd-pleaser, this party theme works well for young kids, as well as the older set. It’s super easy and inexpensive to pull together—a time-starved and budget-conscious mom’s dream.

Invitation: Make colored copies of an original photo of a pet or animal and write party details on the back. Don’t forget to alert parents that the party will include painting, so they should feel free to send kids with smocks or clothes they don’t mind getting messed up; $5-$10 for 12 guests.

Décor: Stuffed animals, animal books, animal toys and anything with an animal theme works well; $0 for 12 guests.

Activities: Purchase face paint and animal tattoos and have an adult decorate each child’s face. You could also let the kids paint Wiggle Eye Animal Sun Catchers to take home after the party; $19 for 12 guests.

Food/Drink: Stock the table with hot dogs, animal crackers and cans of gummy bears; $30 for 12 guests.

Favor: In addition to their sun catchers, send little guests home with a safari pen on a rope; $5 for 12 guests.

Jet-Setter Party for $6 per Kid

Grade schoolers are fascinated with travel and transportation. Send kids on an imaginary adventure and engage their minds and creativity with a jet-setter party.

Invitation: Invite guests by writing party details on a white paper airplane; $0 for 12 guests (if you have white printer paper at home).

Décor: Hang signs (made with printer paper) that read: Gates 1-14, Departures and Arrivals. Decorate the party table with maps and old vacation photos; $0 for 12 guests.

Activities: Play bus, bus, plane (in lieu of duck, duck, goose), and have the kids design their own postcards. Play pin the tail on the airplane (check out how to DIY this game here); $7 for 12 guests.

Food/Drink: Buy individual packs of pretzels and chips and set up a small table that looks like a beverage cart. Or, go the “international” route, and serve quesadillas, pasta, fortune cookies and veggie sushi. Use an airplane cake mold on top of a sheet cake frosted sky blue; $35 for 12 guests.

Favor: Send the kids off with their very own disposable cameras; $24 for 12 guests.


Who’s the Fairest? Party for $6 per Kid

Most little girls love princesses. This party lets them actually be one.

Invitation: Invite guests by sending party details on mirror board card stock; $10 for 12 guests.

Décor: Make the room magical with white Christmas lights and scatter fake rose petals on the table. Set up a throne for the birthday girl with a fancy pillow on a pink ribbon-decorated chair; $3.

Activities: Ask guests to wear princess attire, if possible. Borrow as many princess dresses as you can from friends and have the girls take turns trying on different ball gowns. Have each girl decorate a foam tiara and read the birthday girl’s favorite princess story to the crowd; $12 for 12 guests.

Food/Drink: Tea party fare works perfectly, meaning finger sandwiches, cookies and apple juice. Don’t forget the heart-shaped cake with pink frosting; $41 for 12 guests.

Favor: Ring pops and princess stickers are sure to please even the pickiest princesses; $8 for 12 guests.

Bubble Fun Party for $7 per Kid

Broaden the definition of ‘bubbles’ by having a party that celebrates all things bubbly, fizzy and fun.

Invitations: Cut out circles of construction paper and invite friends for “a bubbly fun time.” Let parents know water play is involved, so it’s best to bring a bathing suit; $0 for 12 guests (if you use paper from home).

Décor: Decorate by tying colorful latex balloons (which you’ll find at any dollar or drug store) to each guests’ chair. Buy (or borrow) a bubble machine to really impress the little guests; $38 for 12 guests.

Activities: Make your own bubble solution by mixing together one cup of water, two tablespoons of light Karo syrup or two tablespoons of glycerine, and four tablespoons of dishwashing liquid. Fill a kiddie pool with it. Let the kids stand in the pool and use a hula hoop to create a giant bubble around each child by having the child stand in the middle of the hoop in the pool and then lift it. Have the kids make their own bubble wands with pipe cleaners by moving the stems into shapes, like hearts or circles; $16 for 12 guests.

Food/Drink: For food, think “round,” like melon balls, grapes, bagels, donut holes and popcorn chicken. For drinks, think “fizzy,” like seltzer water and carbonated punch. You could also provide chocolate milk, with plenty of straws to blow bubbles. For dessert, bake your own polka dot cake by frosting a round cake with brightly colored smiley face dots; $25 for 12 guests.

Favors: Send kids home with Birthday Bubbles; $6 for 12 guests

Out of This World Party for $7 per Kid

Grade schoolers will best understand and appreciate the “cool” factor of a space-themed party where Gatorade passes as alien juice and the Ice Cream of the Future is served for dessert.

Invitation: Provide party details on an astronaut printout; $0 for 12 guests.

Décor: Hang a solar system ceiling decoration over the party table. Decorate the table with foam space shapes; $12 for 12 guests.

Activities: Play solar system bingo and set up a moon sand table where kids can play with homemade moon sand, or have the kids make their own; $15 for 12 guests.

Food/Drink: Serve individual flying saucer pizzas, cosmic fruit salad (pineapples cut into star and moon shapes) and alien juice (Gatorade or some green-colored juice). For dessert, kids love the futuristic Dipplin’ Dots ice cream; $40 for 12 guests.

Favor: Kids will love these cut and fold paper spaceships and crystal rock candy pops; $17 for 12 guests.





Wedding Day Emergency Kit DIY

Items include: 
-Safety pins 
-Mini sewing kit 
-Hair spray 
-Stain remover 
-Pressed powder 
-And more! Find out on Kiss My Tulle.

DIY First Aid for College Students

Items include: 
-Gas-X and Pepto 
-Cold medicine
-Ice pack 
-Antibiotic ointment
-And more! Find it here on One Hundred Dollars a Month.