Easter on a Dime: Make Your Own Peeps

After seeing this on the Twig & Thistle blog, I was inspired to make my own peeps! This was the result:

Already at most of them myself, and they taste just like store bought peeps–except I got more for my money, and it was made from the heart. And I make no apologies for my puns!

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Say hello to Francis–and then listen to me on my soapbox

This is my rabbit, Francis. Should I have spelled his name Frances? Yes, but it’s too late because I already told the vet to spell it the first way. His prescription bottle basically acts as his birth certificate. It’s the only concrete evidence that he even exists.

I love my rabbit, to everyone’s dismay; my family’s, my boyfriend’s, my friends’, past coworkers, etc. etc. But I really don’t care, because he is hilarious, potty-trained, and mommy’s favorite boy!

I won’t go into details about the nature of rabbits, how misunderstood they are, what great pets they make…I’m already getting carried away…so I will just say that if your are thinking about getting a rabbit, please read up on them first. There is a wealth off information on them on the internet, like: http://www.rabbit.org/ AND because I spend so much time reading about rabbits, you can also contact me: laurapavin@ymail.com

Also, make sure you don’t make the mistake of getting your child a cute rabbit, chick, or [insert Easter creature] for Easter. I mean, you can, no one’s stopping you; however make sure you know that you and your family will be committed to taking care of the animal–they get older, and less baby-fuzzy later on in life. Just make sure you keep that in mind!

The humane society says it better: http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2011/04/rabbits_chicks_easter_gifts_041811.html

There will be more Francis to come

Easter on a Dime: Make Your Own Jelly Beans


I’m a starving freelance writer with a generous heart—these two characteristics of my being don’t mix well. But I’ve found a variety of ways to work around it without people knowing how much I DIDN’T spend on things. You all are an exception, and I am glad to share my penny-pinching ways with you.

I have recently been infatuated with the idea of making my own candy, and I found a cool recipe for jelly beans/or jelly bean drops if you don’t want to buy the special “bean tray mold.”

What you’ll need:

~1 ½ cups water, and then ½ cup water

~2 ½ cups sugar, and then 1 cup sugar

~½ oz gelatin

~½ tsp. salt

~1 cup juice (this flavors your beans!)


~Vegetable oil

~3 or 4 Jelly bean pans or cookie sheets


~Stainless steel pot with lid

~Wooden spoon

~Cooking thermometer

~Bowl of ice

~Food coloring


Pretty basic stuff, right? Good! Now let’s make the beans!

1. Combine 1 ½ cups water, 2 ½ cups sugar and ½ oz powdered gelatin in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat and stir continuously using the wooden spoon until the mixture comes to a boil.

2. Periodically check the temperature with a cooking thermometer as your stir until the temperature reaches 230 degrees F. Once it reaches 230 degrees, take the pan off the burner and CAREFULLY place it in a bowl of ice so that the temperature doesn’t increase any more. If you let it get hotter than 230 degrees, the jelly beans will end up being too hard—so 230 is your magic number, and don’t let it get any higher than that.

3. Now take your 1 cup of whatever flavor of juice you like. Start basic, because we don’t want to be making any of Bertie Bott’s reject beans. If you use a blander juice like blueberry or orange, you can add lemon juice for a little punch. In that case, you would use ¾ cups juice and ¼ cup lemon juice. Filter out pulp. After stirring in the juice, let the syrup cool.

4. Now, whether you use a cheap candy jelly bean mold or cookie sheet, lightly oil the surface with vegetable oil. Then you will quickly fill the mold or pour small, jelly-bean sized drops on the cookie sheet.

5. Let your soon-to-be delicious jelly beans sit in the trays for about 4 to 6 hours until completely firm. After they have sat and are firm, take them out onto a wax paper sheet and dust the sticky beans with cornstarch to dry them out. If they don’t pop out after you’ve let them sit in the trays, then put them in the freezer for about 10 minutes and try again.

6. For the outer shell coating, combine the jelly beans with ½ cup water and 1 cup sugar in a stainless steel pot with a lid. Add food coloring for some extra pizazz. Put the lid on top of the pot and quickly move the pot in a circular motion so that the beans are evenly coated with the sugar and/or color. Continue to check the beans until you no longer see a lot of moisture left in the pan.

7. Finally, place your coated jelly beans on cookie sheets and put in the fridge to sit for 2-3 hours until the shells are completely dried and hardened.

Finished product? Lookin great!

THIS person was feeling extra clever…

It’s George Clooney! People amaze me

how to effectively search and shop the internet

It blows my mind when my friends can’t find the shoes or shirts they’ve wanted to buy for ages on the internet, so I usually end up taking matters into my own hands with a simple Google search. And you know what? I ALWAYS find what they want because I use Boolean searching.

Sometimes I don’t even need to use a Boolean search to help them find their stuff though, and that makes me concerned that not enough people know how to sift through the internet using Google.

In this post, I will teach you how to efficiently shop online using the best Google search method ever—Boolean search, as I’m sure you’ve guessed. I’m not going to make it super complicated, so make sure to contact me via laurapavin@ymail.com or via comments if you have more questions after you’re done reading.

Let’s begin.

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Scouring stick magic; rid your toilet of hard water stains

It used to not matter that I scrubbed my toilet until my hands cramped–I could NOT get rid of that ring! If you have hard water in your residence, you may know what I’m talking about. Surely, you didn’t think that the toilet ring came from negligence or stubborn buildup?

Wait, stop! BEFORE you call a maid or professional to clean that ridiculously heinous-looking ring and associated marks from your toilet (or bathroom, in general), read on. You have just stumbled upon your quick-fix solution. If it doesn’t work, then I question the nature of your toilet’s ring…*shudders*

Because more than 85% of American homes have hard water, it is more thank likely that your ring is from hard water. My toilet suffers from the same fate, because my household depends on well water–the water with the egg-like smell, blegh. Given the nature of my house’s water source, our toilets needed a fast solution.

So now, I give you the Scouring Stick. 

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Unclog your drain with just baking soda and vinegar

My bathroom sink had been clogged for quite an embarrassing amount of time before I decided it was time to put an end to it’s antics. I shouldn’t have been TOO

mad at it, however; was the one shedding the extra, thick long hair. And letting it fall down the drain? How does that even happen? I don’t wash my hair in the sink.

But anyways, I had done a bit of research and found that my go-to, Drano, can destroy your pipes if you use it too much…well, I need to use it more than once a year! Is that normal? I had no idea, but I naturally dashed to the interwebs and found a cool little home-remedy using just baking soda, vinegar and boiling water. It’s non-invasive too! With that said, I plan on using this process more than once within a 12-month time frame.


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