Homemade Crockpot Apple Cider Recipe 🍎

One of the things I love about fall is hot apple cider. I Usually buy store bought, but it gives my hubby heart burn, so this year I attempted homemade apple cider. I asked my chef hubby how I should make it and he told me to use the crockpot. After that I literally just started adding different ingredients hoping it would taste good, and guess what?!? It tasted like Fall! Plus it made the entire house smell AHHH-MAZZ-ING!

Below is the recipe my hubby helped me put together if you want to make this yumtastic beverage. I just made that word up. I think I’ll keep it. ☺️

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 3.5 hours
Please note, this recipe makes a little over 2 quarts. 

Ingredients:

2 large granny smith apples
1 large red delicious apple
4 medium gala apples
1 large orange
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp of ground nutmeg or 1 whole nutmeg
1 tbsp of ground or whole cloves
5 cinnamon sticks
Water

Note: I did not measure the amount of water I used. I just filled the crockpot leaving about 1 inch of room at the top. 

Step 1: Wash all the apples & orange.

Step 2: Cut all the apples in 4 halves and remove the core and slice the orange. 🍊

Step 3: Add all the ingredients in the crockpot, then fill the crockpot with water about 1 inch from the top.

Tip: If you do not want the residue from the ground spices in the cider, I would recommend using whole cloves & one whole nutmeg instead of the ground spices. I only had the ground spices on hand and was too lazy to go to the store. 😂 

Step 4: Turn the crockpot to high and allow to simmer for approximately 3.5 hours or until you can easily mash the apples with a wooden spoon.

Step 5: Using a large wooden spoon, mash the apples.

Step 6: Using a strainer and large bowl, dump the contents into the strainer over the bowl. You might want to do a little at a time depending on the size of your strainer and bowl.

I used a colander because our fine mesh strainer ripped a few months ago and I keep forgetting to replace it. So I had some apple & orange particles left in the cider as well as some of the ground spices, which I was ok with since this was my first time making it. However, I will use a fine mesh strainer and opt for whole cloves & nutmeg when I make this again. Either way it was still yummy! My hubby loved it and that’s all the confirmation I need.

Tip: If you don’t have a fine mesh strainer, you can use cheese cloth. I wish I would have thought about that before now. 😏

Step 7: Push down on the apples/orange in the strainer until all the cider drains into the bowl.

Step 8: Pour the apple cider into a drink dispenser or pitcher. That’s it!

Tip: I used a collapsible silicone funnel to pour the cider into a pitcher from the bowl. I have few go-to kitchen items that I swear by, and my collapsible silicone funnel that I got for $2.95 years ago is one of them. CLICK HERE for the details on one of my favorite kitchen items.

Serve immediately if you prefer hot apple cider or put in the refrigerator to cool. I prefer hot, so I drank it immediately. 😋 You can also hear it up later. Your choice!

Easy peasey apple squeezy right?!? 👈🏼 see what I did there?!? 😂 I realize I am not that funny. 😉 I garnished the cider with a cinnamon stick and two apple wedges and enjoyed my homemade hot apple cider.

Side note, aren’t these mugs amazing?!? I have always wanted clear glass mugs, so when I saw them online for $3.95 I was sold! Plus they make hot drinks look pretty. 😍  CLICK HERE for the direct link to buy the mugs.

Well friends that’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed it! If you decide to make it please let me know! I would love to know what you think. You can tag me on Instagram at @acarriedaffairdesigns or comment below!

Until next time. Xo

 

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Dresser Makeover

I absolutely love when I stumble across well-built furniture that just needs a little love. So when I found a dresser at Goodwill for $14.99 I couldn’t pass it up. It’s solid wood and well-built. It just needed a facelift.

I knew once I saw it, it was going to be baby K’s dresser. When we moved into our home, the previous owner left a wire dresser in the master bedroom. We used that for baby K’s dresser, but it was ugly. 😵 So we had it tucked away in his closet, which left no room for storage in his room.

Now he has a dresser that is functional and nice enough to not be tucked away in the closet. 💙

Doing this makeover was a couple of weeks of work, mainly because the layered paint. I attempted to sand it off at first, but was going through multiple sandpaper sheets, which can get expensive.

Below I provide all the steps I took to achieve the new look, along with some tips & tricks I picked up along the way.

Tools & Materials for Paint Removal:
Electric sander
80 grit sand paper
120 grit sandpaper
Citristrip
Scraper
Paint brush
Metal bucket
Towels
Soap & Water
Tarp

Paint & Paint Supplies:
Paint color of choice
Variety of sponge brushes
Mini foam paint roller
Paint stirrer
Early American stain by Miniwax (optional)
Towel (if using stain)

Tools & Materials for Mounting Hardware:
Electric screwdriver
Tape measure
Pencil
5/16 inch drill bit
3/16 inch drill bit

Step 1: Remove all the hardware. I didn’t do this at first, but I recommend you do.

Tip: Before you remove the hardware take a lot of pictures so you remember how they should look when you put them back on.

Tip: Put all the screws in a ziplock bag so you don’t lose them.

There are several paint thinner options to choose from at a hardware store, but I went with Citristrip because it is safer to work with and it doesn’t have a harsh odor. It smells like citrus. Hints the name. 😂

Step 2: Pour the Citristrip into a metal container. Do not pour it into a plastic cup, it will eat the cup.

Tip: Shake the Citristrip well before opening.

Step 3: Apply a thick layer of Citristrip using an actual paint brush and not a sponge brush. Citristrip will eat the sponge within seconds, then you’ll have black particles all over the piece of furniture.

Tip: Leave the Citristrip on for about 30 minutes or until you see the paint bubbling.


Step 4: Use a scraper to scrap the paint off going with the grain of the wood.

Tip: I would highly recommend laying a tarp down before you start scraping the paint off. Citristrip is super messy!

Step 5: Once all the Citristrip residue has been scraped off, clean the wood with soap and water.

Step 6: If there is still paint residue, use an electric sander with 80 grit sandpaper to remove the remaining paint.

Tip: 80 grit removes paint, but be careful to not let the electric sander sit too long in one spot as it will remove the wood to.

Step 7: Once all the paint is removed, use the electric sander with 120 grit sandpaper to smooth the wood.

Step 8: Clean the wood with soap and water to remove all the saw dust.

Step 9: (optional) Make the holes for the hardware, if you are adding new.

The dresser didn’t have any hardware when I bought it, so I purchased 10 1/16″ pull bars from Wayfair to mount on the drawers. I looked at several places online and Wayfair had the best selection (in my opinion) and a good price point.

For the screws to go all the way through the wood I had to use two different drill bit sizes because the screws that came with the drawer pulls were the same length as the front of the drawer, 1 inch. This is the standard screw size for hardware.

To do this I drilled the hole from the front back starting with the 3/16 inch drill bit, then I flipped the drawer over and used a 5/16 inch drill bit to drill from the back about half way in.

Tip: If you do this, be very careful when drilling with the 5/16 drill bit so you don’t go all the way through the wood.

Step 10: Apply 1 coat of primer. In the past I have used Bulls Eye 1.2.3 Primer and it works great!

I did not do this step, but if you plan to use Valspar furniture paint I highly recommend you do! It will save you a lot of frustration. The paint says on the label no priming or sanding necessary, but I assure you that’s not the case.

Step 11: Once the primer is dry, Apply a thin layer of paint using a sponge roller, going with the grain of the wood. Allow the paint to dry and repeat until done. Let the paint dry completely.

I applied a total of 5 coats before full coverage was achieved. This was the first time using Valspar furniture paint and probably my last. I had such high hopes, but the number of coats I had to apply has turned me away. The color options are amazing and the color itself is beautiful. It just took way too many coats of paint to achieve the color and I even sanded all the paint off before painting. I could only imagine how many coats it would have taken if I hadn’t. 😳

In the past I have used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, which is absolutely AMAZING! But I didn’t want a chalky finish, I wanted a clean finish. Which Valspar furniture paint will give you, just be prepared to apply several coats.

The color I used was Deep Sea Diving. I wanted a dramatic blue and this one was it! The paint choice actually worked out perfectly. My hubby is a die-hard cubs fan and the Cubs new locker room is in gold and blue, so he loves the color combo too!

Ok, enough about the paint. 😂

Step 12: Mount the hardware.

Step 13: Mount the drawer tracks back on the dresser.

The drawer tracks that came with the dresser were covered in paint. Whoever had this dresser before did not choose to remove the hardware leaving all the drawer tracks covered in various paint colors. 😭 At first I was going to just purchase new ones, but then I looked at how much they were and was like, no.

I remembered purchasing a can of brass spray paint a while back for a different project, so I decided to spray paint the drawer tracks instead of buy new ones. Lucky for me the hardware I purchased was brass so it all worked out! 💃🏻


Step 14: Mount the legs.

I LOVE mid-century pieces. Especially the legs. The dresser is a lot smaller than a standard sized one, so I wanted to give it a lift.

When I was at Lowe’s purchasing the other materials I ran across these legs. I just applied one coat of Early American stain by Miniwax and wiped it off a few seconds after applying to get the color I wanted. If you like the darker color I suggest leaving the stain on for about a minute before wiping it off.

The legs were $2 each, so I spent a total of $8 for the legs and $8 for the hardware to mount the legs. $16 is a less expensive than the ones I saw online so I was super happy!

Step 15: You’re done! Now you can style your new piece of furniture!

I was so excited to get the dresser in baby K’s room. 💙 As soon as it was positioned, I started putting his clothes in the drawers. Now he has his very own dresser and I couldn’t be happier.

P.S. I painted the baseball and car paintings that are hung on his wall. When I was hanging them up he was pointing and saying car & ball. It was the cutest.

In total we spent about $40 on the necessary supplies i.e. paint, sponge brushes, Citristrip & $60 on the hardware & legs. So a total of $100, which is way less expensive than buying a new dresser that is real wood.

Well friends, that’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed it and leave here feeling inspired.

Until next time. Xo

 

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Fall Tablescape 2017

Oh Fall, how I love you. 🍂 Fall has always been my favorite season. Big sweaters, colorful leaves, hot apple cider, crisp air in the morning, I mean what’s not to love. 🍁

Every year I usually decorate for the season with whites, woods, & neutrals, but this year I stepped outside my home decor color comfort zone and added pops of color.

Emerald green is my absolute favorite color so when I found the green glasses from Anthropologie I knew I wanted them to be the focal point of my fall tablescape. Aren’t they dreamy? 😍

Side note, I built our table from scratch. I still can’t believe it. It’s simple, yet my favorite piece of furniture in our home, because it was made with love. ❤️

For the centerpiece I originally wanted artichokes with the stems to add to the vase, but I had no luck finding any, so I went with Protenia (a tropical flower that resembles an artichoke), white hydrangeas, and green foliage. I was able to find a few artichokes at the store in good condition. so I added them to the base of the centerpiece.

BTW, isn’t this pillow to die for? My sweet friend Rachel makes the most amazing pillows of EVER. Seriously.

Well friends, that’s it for this post. I hope you leave feeling inspired to decorate for the upcoming season. Make sure to check out the other hosts AMAZING tablescapes on the #falltabletopbloghop Each host is listed below. Click their name to hop to their blog.

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April – @sweetkentuckyholler

Bethany @crispcollectiveig

Rachel – @rachelelizabethcreates

Jackie @sawdustangelwood

Meeghan @caligirlinasouthernworld

Dara @hoodcreeklogcabin

Creating an Organized Home Part Three – On-The-Go

Technically this isn’t organizing a space in your home, but it is to help stay organized outside the home. That counts, right?!? In part one I talked about ways to organize your kitchen and in part two we went over bathroom organization. If you want to catch up part one is HERE & part two is HERE. For this post I will be providing tips & tricks to stay organized on-the-go.

We all know that life is hectic. Whether you work in the home or outside the home. Between school pickup, doctor appointments, helping with homework, my marriage, a career, toddler, blogging, cooking, baking, grocery shopping, laundry, & countless other daily tasks it is super easy to forget about something. Ahhh!!! Just typing all this just gave me anxiety! However, I have learned over time how to stay organized-ish and saving a little money on the way. It’s hard and I am not saying the list I am about to provide is going to magically make you captain organized, but I can say using these items have helped me immensely, so I am sharing them with you.

Tip 1: Monthly Agenda

I’m an old soul at heart. I still believe in handwriting a letter or a to-do list. I actually absorb more when I write it out instead of type. I know I could note everything on my smart phone, but what if I drop my phone?! I have definitely done that, so I like to depend on old faithful, my agenda. I’ve been using Kate Spade agendas for several years now and even converted one of my coworkers to them.

They come in a variety of fun prints, but most importantly will keep the most unorganized of people (like me) organized each day. Bonus, they are 17-month agendas, starting in August of the current year so you get 5 extra months! I use my agenda for work and home so I always know what events are coming up and where I need to be.

Tip 2: Invest in a Travel Mug

I bleed coffee. One of my coworkers actually told me that a coffee mug is a staple in my hand every time she sees me in the office. I laughed when she said it, but it is absolutely true. I use to buy Starbucks EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. but that gets SUPER expensive. I’m not going to say I don’t buy Starbucks anymore, because that would be a lie, but I do buy it a lot less now that I have this adorable travel mug.

I’m not the best morning person. Actually, I’m probably the worst. 😉 So in the evening before I go to bed I set up the coffee maker for the next day. This way I can go downstairs, push the start button, and then go back up to get ready. That way when I’m ready to go out the door the coffee is ready.

Tip 3: Setting Alerts on my Phone

I know this contradicts number 1, but my agenda can’t alert me. So I write the details in my agenda and put a generic alert on my phone to notify me of whatever it is I need to do. I always set my alert two days in advance and then on the day, two hours before.

Tip 4: Checklists

This ties in to number one. The agenda has space to write things on each day. I make a checklist for the day. I am one of those people that gets the feeling of accomplishment when I make a check in a box. Sometimes I actually will write something down I have already done just to put a check mark next to it. I know, I’m a little cray, but it really does give me a sense of accomplishment.

I write each to-do item on a separate line along with a check box. I don’t know about you, but I always feel accomplished when I can check a box.

Tip 5: Invest in a Good Pen

I am left handed and the only (yes only) 😂 draw back to that is that I would always smear the ink when I would write. And with my OCD it would bother me. But the clouds parted when I found the fine tip sharpie pen! I LOVE these pens. I have them in a variety of colors and the ink has never smeared while using them. Ever. Yay!

Tip 6: Carry a Pencil Pouch

I’m pretty sure I bought this pencil pouch when I was in college. I still use it to hold my pens but also where I keep all my coupons. That way if I stop by the store I always have my coupons with me.

Tip 7: Have a Nightly Routine

I’m not much of a routine person, but to keep me sane in the morning, I have a routine. I gather all the things I need in the morning the night before. Such as:

Get my bag/briefcase ready for work
Setup the coffee the night before
Have my travel mug cleaned and next to the coffee maker
Layout my outfit
Put my car keys & jewelry next to my bag
Sign school papers (if any)
Gather items the boys need for school/daycare

Doing these things makes getting ready in the morning almost seamless. And believe me, I need all the help I can get in the morning. 😂

Now you know my secrets of how I attempt to juggle my busy life. Again, these are the things/ways that have helped me stay organized. I hope this list has inspired you in case you are like me and struggle with organization.

Well friends, that’s it for this post. Until next time. Xo

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