Printable Thanksgiving Planner

Save time and get organized this Thanksgiving with this printable Thanksgiving planner. Seven pages included!

Hey there, friend. I hope you’re having an awesome November. Novembers are so hectic. I love the crackling fires and and brisk days. But as we approach Thanksgiving, it feels anything but calm in my house.

Several years ago, I took over the responsibility of hosting during the holidays. With two kids and all the other responsibilities on my plate, I always felt frazzled when it got close to Thanksgiving. So much to remember! So much to prepare for!

Thats why, I created this printable Thanksgiving planner to help me create my guest list and gather my recipes. I’m able to keep track of all my annual Autumn decor. I use the monthly calendar to space out my responsibilities so I’m not saving everything for the last minute.

printable thanksgiving planner

Planning Ahead

Here are my tips:

  • If you haven’t already decorated for Fall, you can do that in late October. I like to keep an inventory so I know if things get lost or broken. It forces me to look at every item and see if they are getting too raggedy. It also helps me see how much I really have so I don’t go crazy buying during every season. I make note of where I store it (I number my tubs) so I know exactly where to look to find it.
  • The first week of November, make your guest list and set your food budget. Give guests at least two weeks notice for an invitation. Three or four weeks is even better. Paper invitations are always more personal and elegant.
  • On the second week of November, I would start gathering recipes. Consider what entertainment or music you’ll have for guests. Order or create any table centerpieces.
  • The week of Thanksgiving, buy your groceries. Wash all your plates and dishes that have been sitting in storage.
  • If you’re using a formal dining room, consider setting your table the day before to save time.
  • Also the day before, you can bake your pies and do a lot of the prep work (like chopping) to help save time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day.

I hope my planner helps you get a handle on entertaining the way it has helped me. I’d love to hear about what things have helped you!

Here is What You Get

  • 2 Planner Covers or you can use them as signs to frame or hang.
  • A Party Planner sheet with guest list and menu
  • Decoration Inventory Worksheet to keep track of all your decor and where it is stored.
  • An undated monthly calendar to use year after year
  • A Recipe page
  • A Thanksgiving music playlist for your dinner party

Get Organized This Thanksgiving

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Biblical Baby Girl Names

Gift your little princess with a special and blessed name. Here are biblical baby girl names, complete with meanings.

biblical baby girl names
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

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Having a baby is such a joyous event and choosing a name is such a fun experience. The name you give your child is the first blessing they receive that’s why I think it’s so important to consider the meaning of names. The list below is from both the Old and New Testament and I’ve included the meanings to help you.

My husband and I were very much in love with the name Hannah when we were trying to get pregnant and we had it selected if we ever had a baby girl. But after two very traumatic births and two miscarriages, we felt it was time to stop having kids. Especially since I’d be over 40 when we tried again. Honestly, I was heartbroken at the thought of only having two children and no living daughters. But God was good. My sister-in-law got blessed with an unexpected pregnancy and they named their baby girl Hannah. So I still got to have a Hannah in my life! God is so good. We named the baby girl we lost after our two aunts who were barren and were very close to us, Daphne Guadalupe.

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches and loving favor rather than silver and gold.

Proverbs 22:1

Tips for Choosing a Name

As I mentioned in my Biblical baby Boy Names post here are some tips that I found helped us during the naming process.

  • Be flexible 
  • Consider if any family members should be honored
  • For names that are loved by one spouse and not by the other, consider using it as a middle name instead as
  • Consider if the name will be shortened (example: Candace = Candy / Elizabeth = Liz) and whether you want or like that
  • You may want to consider omitting the names of exes
  • Say names in full, out loud, to hear how it sounds.

A Word of Advice

I mentioned this in my Biblical baby boy names post as well because I think it’s important to remember, especially for first time mamas. Everyone is going to have an opinion about what name you choose for your child. Some people will hate the name you choose. Others will love it. Just remember that their opinion doesn’t matter. The choice is yours to make an no one else has a say-so. Don’t let other people’s opinions steal your joy from this happy moment.

Biblical Baby Girl Names

  • Abigail (my father’s joy)
  • Abijah (my father is Yahweh)
  • Abital (my father is the night dew)
  • Adina (slender & delicate)
  • Adah (adornment)
  • Agrippa (horse)
  • Ahna (answer)
  • Anne (favor, grace)
  • Apphia (increasing)
  • Aquila (eagle)
  • Ariel (lion of God)
  • Atarah (crown)
  • Athaliah (Yahweh is exhausted)
  • Bathsheba (daughter of the oath)
  • Bernice / Berenice (bringing victory)
  • Beulah (married)
  • Candace (queen mother)
  • Chloe (green shoot)
  • Claudia (Lame, crippled, female version of Claudius)
  • Deborah (bee)
  • Delilah (delicate, weak, languishing)
  • Diklah (Palm grove)
  • Dinah (judged)
  • Dorcas (gazelle)
  • Drusilla (female version of Dresus, strong)
  • Edna (pleasure)
  • Elisabeth/Elizabeth (my God is an oath)
  • Esther (star)
  • Eunice (good victory)
  • Eve (to breathe, to live)
  • Gomer (complete)
  • Hagar (flight)
  • Hannah (favor, grace)
  • Hosanna (deliver us)
  • Jael (mountain goat)
  • Jemima (dove)
  • Joanna (female version of John, Yahweh is gracious)
  • Judith (jewish woman)
  • Julia (female version of Julius, downy-bearded)
  • Keturah (incense)
  • Keziah (cinnamon)
  • Leah (weary)
  • Lois (more desirable, better)
  • Lydia (unknown meaning)
  • Magdalena (tower)
  • Mara (bitter)
  • Martha (the lady, mistress)
  • Mary (bitter)
  • Michal (brook)
  • Miriam (bitter)
  • Naomi (pleasantness)
  • Orpah (back of the neck)
  • Phoebe (bright, pure)
  • Priscilla (ancient)
  • Rachel (join, tie, snare)
  • Rhoda (rose)
  • Ruth (friend)
  • Salome (peace)
  • Sapphira (sapphire)
  • Sarah (lady, princess, noble woman)
  • Shiloh (tranquil)
  • Suzannah/Suzanna (common fate)
  • Tabitha (gazelle)
  • Tamar (date palm)
  • Tryphena (delicacy)
  • Zipporah (bird)

Biblical Baby Boy Names

Be sure to check out my other post with Biblical baby boy names, complete with meanings.

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Printable Halloween Memory Game

Keep your little one busy and improve their short term memory with this FREE printable Halloween memory game.

We are just a few weeks away from Halloween and today, I’m sharing another FREE printable with you. I love making memory games for my preschooler. It’s a simple game that he has really grown to love.

I love getting my preschooler to do it at the kitchen table while I make dinner. It’s a great boredom buster and I don’t actually have to sit down with him to play.

Benefits of Memory Game

Playing memory games has lots of benefits for your child. Some of those benefits include:

  • Trains short term memory
  • Builds vocabulary
  • Practice problem solving
  • Trains visual memory
  • Improves concentration
  • Improves ability to classify objects based on similarities and differences
  • Practice following directions

To find similarities, your child will look for similarities in size, shape and color. This skill is actually an early math skill. They’ll need this skill to find patterns and sequences in numbers.

Free Printable Halloween Memory Game

How to Use Your Free Printable Halloween Memory Game

  1. Download the file to your computer

  2. Use Adobe Acrobat or other PDF viewing software to open

  3. Open file and print on card stock or paper

    For added durability consider printing on card stock and laminating.

  4. Trim following the lines provided

  5. Mix them up and place them face down in rows

  6. Take turns lifting two at a time until a match is found.

Have a wonderful and safe Halloween, friends!

Monster Halloween Gift Tags

Halloween is upon us and I’m sharing these cute monster halloween gift tags, perfect for all your spooktacular gifts and treats.

monster halloween gift tags

This post may contain affiliate links. Should you click or make a purchase through one of the links, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. Your support helps me offset the costs associated with this blog.

Halloween is here and today I’m sharing a FREE printable! I know how much my readers love the free printables (Thank you for telling me!) and so I’ve made a cute set of Monster Halloween gift tags for you to use. Personally, I love using these on treat bags, but you can use them on basically anything you want.

This year I used them on party goody bags, snack mix treats for school and soap and hand-sanitizer gifts for our teachers. I even put this on a bottle of wine I took to a party! Get creative and use them on any kind of gift-giving you do this Halloween.

monster halloween gift tags

Download Now

The monster halloween gift tags are in a pdf file. You’ll need Adobe Acrobat or some other pdf viewing software to use them. Just print them out, trim, hole punch and tie around your gift or treat. I recommend printing them on white card stock paper for best results. Enjoy!

I’d love to see how you use them. If you are on Instagram, be sure to snap a pic and tag me at @my_beautiful_mess_blog

If you’re looking for an awesome treat, you need to try my Monster Munch Snack Mix. It’s so easy to make and the best part is it can be a fun Fall activity to do with your kids. Also if you are looking for other fun Fall things to do, take a look at my Fall Bucket List. It’s a great way to make to celebrate Autumn and make it extra special.

Monster Munch Snack Mix

Peanut butter and chocolate are the showstoppers in this yummy sweet and salty monster munch snack mix perfect for Halloween entertaining!

Monster Munch snack mix

This post contains affiliate links. Should you click or make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. You support helps me offset the costs associated with this blog.

Happy Halloween, friend! I love Halloween. It’s so much fun even as an adult to decorate the house, dress up and make some spooktacular treats! That’s why I’m sharing one of my favorite Halloween goodies – Monster Munch Snack Mix.

I love making this with the kids and putting it out at our Halloween parties and events. It’s always loved by kids and adults alike and I’m always left with an empty bowl. I also make it and package it in cello bags as a treat for my son’s classmates and teachers at school.

Making Monster Munch Snack Mix

If you have kids, I highly recommend getting them involved. Kids love to help with cooking and since there is no actual cooking involved, this is a really fun activity. All you’re going to do is pour everything in a bowl and toss together. Even your toddler can help with that. I love doing this with our kids as part of our Ultimate Fall Bucket List.

Monster munch snack mix

This recipe calls for a mix of sweet and salty ingredients and really centers around peanut butter and chocolate flavors. It includes both Reese’s peanut butter cups and Reese’s pieces. It also includes Chex Muddy Buddies. I have found that Muddy Buddies can be hard to source at times. Sometimes my store has them and sometimes they don’t. Thank God for Amazon Pantry! I’ve included a link on Amazon in case you can’t find it at your store.

monster munch snack mix

Monster Munch Snack Mix

Ingredients

  • 1 10.5 oz Chex Muddy Buddies
  • 1 14 oz Bugles Corn Chips
  • 1 7 oz Mini Reese's Cup
  • 1 4 oz Reese's Pieces Candy
  • 1 11 oz Candy Corn
  • 1 5 oz Pretzel Mini Twists

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss well.
  • Serve in a bowl or wrap as individual treats.

I hope you enjoyed this Monster Munch Snack Mix. Be sure to check in for the next post for some cute Monster Halloween gift tags. These are super fun for packaging your monster munch snack mix. Also, try another fun fall activity like listening to a Halloween Music Playlist!

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25 Fabulous Fall Finds on Amazon

I’ve done a lot of the hard work for you! Here are 25 Fabulous Fall Finds on Amazon to get you ready for Autumn!

This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. Your support helps to offset the costs associated with this blog.

25 fabulous fall amazon finds

Yay! It’s fall, y’all. I adore Fall. It’s my favorite season and I love to decorate and get into the Fall season. Today, I’m rounding up 25 Fabulous Fall Finds on Amazon. Many of these items I have personally bought myself and others are on my wish list for this year. I’ve done a lot of the hard work for you by putting some of the best items here in one place.

Click on the link or picture to purchase!

25 Fabulous Fall Amazon Finds

1. Fall Plaid Blanket Scarf

It wouldn’t’ be Fall without donning the perfect Fall accessory – a plaid Fall scarf. Sweater weather calls for it. This beautiful plaid blanket scarf is just a mere $12.99 and comes in a variety of plaid shades.

2. Fall “Hello Pumpkin” Doormat

There is nothing quite so pretty and inviting as a Fall porch. Make an entrance statement with this cute “Hello, Pumpkin” Door Mat. I love the look of layered doormats particularly with a black buffalo plaid mat underneath.

3. Fall Olive Wreath

If you’re looking for a more natural look, this Olive Wreath is beautiful and classy. I think it pairs really well with a Buffalo Plaid layered door mat. This one has some of the better reviews and retails for $49.99 and is Prime eligible.

4. Rae Dunn Inspired Mug

Rae Dunn without the price? Yes, please. This super cute “Sweater Weather” mug is not eligible for Amazon prime, but its only $8.95 and has FREE shipping. I totally bought one for my sipping my pumpkin lattes this year. You could also use it to decorate a Farmhouse tiered tray.

5. Buffalo Check Table Runner

It wouldn’t be a Fall dining table without a gorgeous black and white buffalo plaid runner. The best part? It’s under $10! They also have it in grey check, orange and black check and even red and black check for Christmas time. My dining table looks adorable with it!

6. Buffalo Plaid Throw Pillows

Yes, more plaid. Can you tell I love it? These cute plaid throw pillows come in variety of sizes from 16×16″ to 26×26″ and a variety of shades including red and black for Christmas. What’s nice is that they come as a pair and they are just $10.99!

7. Pumpkin Patch Pillow Cover Set

If plaid isn’t you’re thing, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. I found this super cute set of Fall Farmhouse Pillow Covers. It’s just the pillow covers (not the inserts) and comes in 18×18″ for just $18.99 for 4 different coordinating covers.

8. Wooden Welcome Porch Sign

I’ve seen this floating all over Pinterest and I love it. It’s a cute wooden “welcome” sign for the porch. Just lean it near the front door. So cute. It would look great with pumpkins and that Hello Pumpkin doormat. Just sayin! It retails for $59.99 which is the same price I’ve seen on Etsy.

9. Fall Burlap Bunting

Seriously, bunting is the quickest way to make anything feel festive. That’s why I love this Fall Burlap Bunting. You can hang it across your mantle, over your dining or entertaining area, even take it outside for Fall entertaining. Just $10.99 and Prime eligible.

10. Galvanized “Gather” Sign

I love my galvanized gather sign. It’s one of the first things you see when you walk through my front door and I’ve received several compliments. The sign measures 23.5×11″ and is $19.99.

11. Double Sided Letter Board

I’m in love with this double sided letter board, y’all! I love having mine up. Every day I put a inspirational quote, mantra or funny saying. It also makes a great prop for photos on Facebook and Instagram. This one has a rustic farmhouse look and comes with some modern calligraphy letters and letters in white and gold. So pretty!

12. Wooden Nesting Crates

These cute Fall nesting crates are great for all kinds of things. Obviously, you can use them for decor around the house and filling with Fall florals and objects. But they also make a great photo prop in Fall photos. Since these are white, you can use them all year round.

13. Resin Thankful & Blessed Pumpkin

How cute is this? I found this beautiful Thankful & Blessed resin pumpkin and I’m totally getting it! I love the beautiful gold modern calligraphy! Just $18 and Prime eligible.

14. Rustic Pillar Candle Holders

I love these rustic wooden pillar candle holders. These are so cute on a coffee table, mantle or even on your dining table. It comes as a set of 3 in varying heights and is $31.63 on Prime.

15. Copper Moscow Mule Mugs

I love my set of copper Moscow Mule mugs. Yes, they’re typically for an amazing Moscow Mule cocktail, but I’ve used them to serve guests all kinds of things like hot chocolate, hot toddies, and warm apple cider. They’re always festive and charming. This comes as a set of 4 and are the classic hammered style.

16. Warm Fairy Lights

About a year ago, I discovered how to decorate with fairy lights and these warm fairy lights are one of my favorites. These are waterproof so you can even use them outdoors for an occasion. I like using them on my mantle and twirling them inside my mercury glass pumpkins. So pretty! This is 33 ft (100 lights).

17. Crocheted Boot Cuffs

One thing I love about Fall? Boots!! And who doesn’t love some cute boot cuffs to go with them? These crocheted boot cuffs come as a set of four in neutral colors – black, grey, cream, and beige. They offer different sets too. Some have button accents, tassels and different crochet patterns. They stretchy so they work with both short and long boots. Adorbs! Just $15.99 for the set of four.

18. Hunter Snow Boots

Speaking of boots – it’s boot season and one of my favorites is Hunter snow boots. These boots are great not just for snow, but for wet weather. They have a rubber sole for slip resistance. I love the classic black, but I have to admit that the Hunter Green version is my favorite!

19. Orange Fall Throw Blanket

The hubby and I love cuddling up by the fire in the fall and having a soft throw blanket is a must. If you need to refresh your throw blankets we love this super soft orange throw blanket which comes in seven different colors.

20. Farmhouse Blanket Ladder

What a cute way to showcase those beautiful Fall throw blankets than with this gorgeous rustic farmhouse blanket ladder. Just lean against the wall with a favorite throw.

21. Buffalo Plaid Apron

One of the things I love about Fall is all the amazing comfort food! So why not look cute making it? I bought this beautiful buffalo plaid apron. Whether you’re entertaining or just want to protect your clothes while you cook or clean, this apron is adorable. It actually comes in seven different plaid colors and it’s just $13 on Prime.

22. Wooden Candle Lantern

Because you can never have enough candles going in the Fall, I discovered this cute neutral colored wooden candle lantern. This makes a great addition to any table or mantle. But this lantern is suitable for both indoor and outdoor decor.

23. Eucalyptus Silk Garland

Eucalyptus is such a versatile botanical. I love using it during the Fall. This pretty eucalyptus silk garland is beautiful on a buffalo plaid or burlap runner. Just add cream pumpkins and candles for an instant elegant Fall tablescape.

24. Burlap Ruffle Placemats

These sweet burlap ruffle placemats almost look like chargers. They are a beautiful addition to a Fall dining table yet versatile enough to use throughout the year. These burlap ruffle placemats come in three different sizes up to 20″

25. Thankful Wooden Pallet Sign

This lovely “Thankful” sign is great to nestle into your Fall decor. It’s roughly 24″ x 7″ and is on solid pine.

That’s it! Those are my favorite top 25 fabulous Fall finds on Amazon. I hope you have a wonderful Fall. Be sure to tune in late November for my favorite Christmas Amazon finds! Until next time.

20 Life Hacks For Busy Moms

Life on the struggle bus is rough, but there are some things that can make life easier. Here are 20 life hacks for busy moms.

20 life hacks for busy moms

Hey there, mama! I feel how busy you are. There is so much to do and not enough hours in the day. We’re always looking for ways to save us time and energy. Am I right? So today, I’m sharing 20 things, small hints and tips that have helped me in the past. Maybe some of these aren’t new to you. If so, congratulations on figuring this stuff out before me! But if you’re a struggling mama like me maybe these things will help you get through the day. Here are 20 life hacks for busy moms.

20 Life Hacks for Busy Moms

1. Disposable Placemats

I was first introduced to these things at Chick-fil-A. Then I discovered Amazon sold these in packs. These were amazing for me as a busy mom, which suddenly create any surface in a clean eating space when I was on-the-go. (Yes, even at restaurants. I don’t trust the rags they use to wipe down tables). I’ve always stashed these in the car and diaper bag.

2. Online Grocery Ordering

I’m a Texas gal and we have the best supermarket ever, H-E-B. That said, their online grocery ordering system has literally changed my life. First, I find myself buying less because I can see how much I’m spending when I add stuff to the cart, but I found it also stopped a lot of impulsive buys. Lots of grocery stores are following suit and getting into the online ordering game. Even Target, Wal-mart, and Sams Club now offer curbside or online pick-up-in-store ordering. If you haven’t checked out Shipt, they offer a delivery service from stores in your area.

3. Norwex

Let me introduce you to your new best friend – Norwex. Norwex is a brand of green cleaning products. It’s the best cleaning product you’ll ever use. Best of all, all you need is water. NO CHEMICALS! The special silver infused microfiber is designed to pick up bacteria once and for all. You’ll never go back to Clorox wipes again! All the products are enviro friendly because they are reusable and sustainable. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars over the last two years because I’m no longer using toxic commercial cleaning chemicals around my family.

But hey, don’t take my word for it. Just check out some of the amazing demonstration videos on YouTube.

You can purchase Norwex through independent sales consultants, directly through their website or even through Amazon. This was a game changer, y’all! Here are some of my favorite Norwex products.

4. iRobot Roomba

I admit. I was skeptical when my husband first suggested getting one of these. Certainly, I thought it would do a terrible job and have no real suction power. Boy was I wrong. My hubby surprised me with one for Christmas a couple of years ago and let me tell you – it’s impressive!

As it vacuums your house, it learns the layout of your house and will become even more efficient the more you use it. It has a downloadable app where you can schedule cleaning. I love to set it when I leave the house with the kids. I come back and the house is vacuumed!It has a soft rubber all the way around so it won’t damage the bottom of furniture. In addition, it automatically adjusts it’s height so it can go from carpet to hard flooring without any problems! It even detects stairs and steps. Also, it moves around objects that it bumps into. It’s self-charging meaning it heads back to the docking station when the battery is low. For the mama who doesn’t have time to clean, this is worth every penny!

5. Command Hooks on The High Chair

All you have to do is apply a large command hook on the back of the high chair and hook your bibs so you always have them at hand when you’re serving your little one.

command hooks

6. Potty Pads

Potty training is so much fun, I can’t wait to do it again with baby #2. I lie. Potty training is a nightmare and I’d rather have my head sewn into the carpet than do that again. That said, I found something that really helped. One of the hardest things to do is to get your toddler to stay seated on the potty. They don’t want to sit still and you’ll resort to anything, including bribery to get them to stay seated. That said, accidents happen.

I can’t count how many accidents we had early on. From standing up too early to simply not telling me when he needed to go, we had lots of pee accidents on our floors. Trust me, after you’ve mopped the floor for the fifth time in one day, these things will look awesome to you. It saves your furniture from urine and from you mopping all day long. Puppy training pads. Just put them under your toddler to catch accidents without all the awful clean up.

7. The Instant Pot

Maybe you’ve heard of the Instant Pot and don’t know what it is. Well, let me introduce this amazing whatchamacallit to you. It’s basically an electric pressure cooker and pressure cookers allow you to cook food very quickly and efficiently. It’s like if a microwave and a slow cooker had a baby. You get the amazing tenderness of a slow cooker, but 2 to 10 times faster than a conventional oven. Unlike a microwave it doesn’t dry out food or make it hard. What is really nice is it’s programable so you’re cooking things properly. Most of them also function as a slow cooker or just keep things warm as well.

If you’re looking for great recipes, take a look at my Pinterest board filled with loads of Instapot recipes.

8. Freezer Meals

I did this when I had my first baby and I’ve been doing it ever since. Freezer meals! There are lots of casseroles and dump dinners you can freeze and dump into the oven or crockpot on a busy night where you don’t have time for a lot of kitchen prep. Instead of eating out, you can still offer your family a home cooked meal. A lot of times when I make things like chicken pot pie, lasagna or enchiladas, I make two batches. One for that night and one to freeze. I can’t tell you how many nights they come in handy.

Take a look at my Pinterest board for ideas on Freezer meals.

9. Amazon Subscribe & Save

Make life easier with Amazon subscribe and save. If you are an Amazon Prime customer, this makes a lot of sense to do. You can automatically set up regular subscriptions to things you use all the time. Things like paper towels, toilet paper, Goldfish crackers, diapers, wipes, coffee pods, etc can be delivered right to your door on a schedule. Setting this can up saves you both time and money. Lighten your grocery load and let Amazon do some of the work for you!

10. Restaurant Busy Bag

Please tell me I’m not the only mamas whose kids suddenly decide to get fussy, moody, and full of energy any time we decide to have a nice dinner out at a restaurant. With my oldest son we struggled to enjoy dinners out. Then I decided to create a restaurant busy bag. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of busy bags. its just a bag you have full of small toys or activities that keep your kid busy by themselves. So I made one just for eating out and it was a life saver. You can see how I made ours here.

how to make a restaurant busy bag

11. Pacifier Clips

My oldest was so addicted to his pacifier. These things are so gross. They fall between seats, on the floor, etc. They get so dirty and you are constantly washing them off. Did I mention they get lost? Like all the time. But I found something that really helped. Pacifier clips. These little things helped us so much and minimized all the washing and hunting for pacifiers.

12. Door Latch Cover

There are times when you might need to check on your little one face to face instead of using a monitor. I don’t know why, but my boys would immediately startle themselves awake no matter how quiet I was turning the door knob. Before the door was open they’d be standing at attention at the end of the crib. So much for the rest of nap time! That’s where these door latch covers are a godsend. Hook it to both door knobs and it holds the latch back so the door makes no sound when it’s opened!

13. Car Seat Lap Table

Okay, I found this when my son was about 2 ½ and it was a game changer for us on our road trips. This handy dandy disk straps around the car seat to turn it into a portable table. This was great for keeping his little hands busy. He could play, color, and eat in the car all without ever leaving his seat. If you spend a lot of time on the road, I can’t recommend it enough.

14. The Potette

One of the most nerve wracking things when you first potty train your little one is being on the road for a long period of time without a potty. Suddenly trips across town or road trips seem impossible. That is where the lovely Potette comes in handy. This awesome potty chair is completely portable. This is great for storing in your car for potty emergencies. Best of all, it comes with disposable liners. So you can throw their “business” in a trashcan when they are done. It’s a lifesaver on long road trips.

15. Rubber Band Baby Proofing

I too have spend lots of money on baby proofing products, but I’ve also learned that having some spare hair ties or rubber bands around is super useful. Slip rubber bands around cabinet knobs and other things so your baby can’t open it. My favorite use? For toilet paper. It makes is harder for them to unravel the roll.

toilet paper

16. Mattress Pad & Sheet Layering

I don’t know what mama came up with this one, but I could kiss her. I can’t even remember where I saw this, but early in my mom journey I came across this nifty little bedding trick. You layer your baby’s crib mattress with a crib sheet, then a waterproof mattress protector then another fitted crib sheet. If you have a terrible poop-splosion or vomiting in the middle of the night, you can whip these off in the dark and have clean sheet ready in a flash without having to turn on lights and wake your child up further.

17. Pacifier Medicine Dispenser

My little one hated taking medicine, but then who could blame him. Most baby and toddler medication comes with this syringe and you awkwardly squirt it into their mouth. It was always a fight until I found this. This is just an ordinary pacifier except it has a vial to dispense medication through it so it isn’t a traumatizing syringe. For mamas who are at their wits end, this might help. It did for us.

18. Mess Free Baby Art

I did this with both my kids when they were around a year old. Put a piece of paper in a large gallon zip lock bag. Squirt some tempera paint and close up the bag. Tape it to the high chair and let your little one smear it and mix it within the bag. I used to love doing this activity when I was busy making dinner. It kept my little one occupied and bought me a few minutes and I didn’t have to worry about a mess to clean up.

19. The Yeti

I’m an avid coffee drinker. Since I’ve been a mom, the Yeti has been awesome. First, as a mom, you rarely get to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee while it is still hot. But now you can keep it warm even if it takes you a while to drink it. The Yeti is the best hot thermos I’ve found. But here is the clincher! I’ve also used it to keep water warm for formula feeding and I’ve even kept chicken nuggets warm for my kiddo while we were out of the house. The Yeti is great!

20. Keep Your Fridge Clean with Bins

I’m gonna share a secret. I’ve finally figured out how to keep my fridge clean. I use bins. How many times have you opened up the fridge to discover something has dripped all over the fridge? It’s over all the shelves and somehow manages to find its way all the way under the veggie and fruit bins. Suddenly, everything has to come out and you are washing every crevice with hot soapy water.

I found these bins. Not only do they keep all my food grouped and organized but if anything spills it catches it in the little bin instead of escaping all over the fridge. Here is a sneak peek into my own fridge. It cuts down on how often I need to remove, soak and scrub the shelves and drawers.

That’s it. 20 Life Hacks for Busy Moms. I’d love to hear about the things that have helped you. Have you learned any tricks? Don’t forget to PIN this post or share with a mama who needs it!

5 Fall Printables to Help You Decorate

Decorating for Fall just got easier than ever with these 5 Fall printables to help you decorate now available in the My Beautiful Mess Etsy shop.

5 fall printables to help you decorate

I love Fall. It’s actually my favorite season. The crunchy leaves. Warm fires. Pumpkin Spice everything. Yes, please. Decorating for Fall is one of my favorite things. On September 1, I’m ready to throw the decor up. Thankfully, my husband talks some sense into to wait until the end of September!

I love making printables to decorate with. Printables are images that you can print at home and frame yourself. For larger sizes, you can email them to your local print shop (like Office Max) or photo center (Shutterfly, Walgreens, etc). Then you take them home and frame them. You can use them year after year. If something happens to it, you can always print it again. It’s yours to keep forever.

I make and sell lots of printables on my Etsy shop. Today, I’m sharing 5 Fall printables to help you decorate.

Farmhouse Pumpkin Patch

Farmhouse signs are all the rage and I’ve made this cute pumpkin patch sign just for you! I mean who doesn’t love a pumpkin patch sign. When you purchase it, you’ll get it in two sizes – 11×14″ and 16×20.”

Harvest Truck Pumpkin Patch

Here is a different take on the pumpkin patch sign – a good old fashioned pickup truck full of harvest pumpkins! When you purchase this sign you’ll get it in two sizes – 11×14″ and 16×20.”

Pumpkin Patch Printable

Buffalo Plaid Fall Words

These are the things that immediately make me thing of fall. Over the last few years, I’ve fall in love with text signs. So I’ve decided to make this one and now I’m sharing it with you! When you purchase this cute sign you’ll get two 8×10 versions. One in PDF and the other in JEPG.

5 Fall printables to help you decorate

It’s Fall Y’all

Who doesn’t love Buffalo Check? I’ve made this chic Southern style pumpkin sign. I have mine in a distressed wooden sign for a Farmhouse look. When you purchase it on Etsy, you’ll get two files to print in an 8×10″ – one in JPEG format and another in PDF.

It's Fall Y'all Printable

Take Me To The Pumpkin Patch

I love plaid! That’s why I made this cute orange buffalo plaid pumpkin patch sign with lovely watercolor pumpkins in fall colors. This cute printable is available in a landscape 8×10″ size in JPEG format.

Check Out All My Printables

From printable signs and planners to handmade cards. Take a look at everything on the My Beautiful Mess Etsy Shop.

Looking for more printables? Take a look at my FREE printable page and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog where I send out a FREE printable every single month!

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Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti

Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti is a meat lover’s dream. Two kinds of meat and triple cheese make this the ultimate Italian-American comfort food.

pioneer woman's baked ziti

This post is a sponsored post, meaning I have collaborated with Pioneer Woman in return for financial compensation and free products for testing purposes. This post also contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through a link I provide I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

Baked Ziti is one of our favorite dishes. It’s the ultimate in Italian-American comfort food. If you like the way lasagna is baked, you’ll love baked ziti. It’s similar, but without the tediousness of layering pasta. Served casserole style, it’s filled with zesty tomato sauce, Italian sausage and gooey cheesy goodness.

Today, I’m going to share Pioneer Woman’s recipe for baked ziti. This was the first time I’ve tried it and it was yummy!!! Ree girl, this was awesome!

The Pioneer Woman

If you’ve never heard of the Pioneer Woman, I pity you just a tad. Ree Drummond is a famous blogger who shares her life on a ranch in Oklahoma. On her blog, she cooks up some good ole’ eats that anyone can cook. These days she also has her own show on The Food Network. I love her down to earth writing style that makes you feel like her best friend. Be sure to follow her blog…after mine, of course!

Making Baked Ziti

Traditionally ziti uses ziti pasta which resembles small tubes, but I’ve also used penne pasta in a pinch and found it works just as well. In Italy it’s ziti al forno, which translates exactly to “baked ziti.”

I received a complimentary jar of the Rustic Bolognese sauce. It’s very tasty and reminds me of a homemade sauce, minus the hassle! I grew up on Prego. Over the years, I’ve used all kinds of sauces. I highly recommend trying Pioneer Woman’s new line of Italian pasta sauces which now come in the following varieties:

  • Marinara
  • Italian Sausage & Peppers
  • Rustic Bolognese
  • Four Cheese
  • Garden Vegetable

In the past, I’ve used a different recipe for baked ziti, but after today, I’m switching. This is a meat lovers dream! It calls for a pound of ground beef and a pound of Italian sausage! I’ve written the recipe to use ground Italian sausage because it is readily available to me at my store. If you can’t find it, you can always use regular link Italian sausage. I recommend cutting the casing lengthwise with a knife and then peeling off for easy removal. Then brown, like normal.

baked ziti

Pioneer Woman Baked Ziti

A delicious Italian-American casserole filled with zesty tomato sauce, cheese, Italian sausage basked into bubbly goodness.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: bacon casserole, cheesy casseroles, italian, italian sausage, pasta, tomato sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs Ziti Pasta Uncooked
  • 2 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Chopped Onions
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 Lbs Italian Sausage Ground
  • 1 Jar PIONEER WOMAN Pasta Sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 15oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Cup Parmesan Shredded
  • 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese Shredded
  • 1 Lbs Lean Ground Beef

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 375
  • Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently
  • Crumble sausage, then ground beef into skillet with cooked vegetables. Cook until ground meats are evenly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  • Mix egg, ricotta, and parmesan until blended
  • Drain pasta and spoon into a large bowl. Add pasta sauce mixture and ricotta mixture; mix lightly. Spoon into 13×9-inch baking pan sprayed with cooking spray; top with mozzarella.
  • Bake 20 mins or until heated through
pioneer woman's baked ziti
pioneer woman rustic bolognese

Pin For Later

Pin now for later! Also, don’t forget to subscribe so you can get great recipes delivered right to your inbox! If you’re looking for more comfort food, you absolutely need to try my Shrimp & Crawfish Étouffée and my Rich Fudgy Scratch Brownies. Thanks for reading!