Friday, October 12, 2018

How a Vinyl Tablecloth And A Pair Scissors Saved My Day

Car trips with infants and toddlers can, at times, be tricky. Timing your departure around nap time, feeding them before you go, making sure the diaper bag is stocked with all the necessary supplies and packing for yourself can be so overwhelming!

There are always the unexpected events that happen along the way especially if your child is in the early stages of potty training or an infant who has regular "blow outs".

I remember a trip we took when our oldest was about 10 months old. We were only going an hour away to visit grandparents but you wouldn't know this if you looked into our trunk! I thought I was totally prepared - I had the stroller, the pack-n-play, extra diapers and wipes, extra outfits and a million more baby supplies. I was prepared!

At the start of our trip she fell asleep cozily strapped into her car seat but when we were about half way there I started to hear a little noise coming from the back seat - little grunts, then a big rumbling sound (we all know what that means!) followed by an awful smell.

Of course we had to pull over and assess the damage. What I hadn't expected was the massive blow out my little angel would have as we were halfway to our destination. Yikes, it was bad!

As rookie parents we didn't know what to do so we made due with what we had on hand. After plowing through two boxes of wipes I felt as though my little princess was adequately "clean" and could once again go back into her car seat and we could hit the road. WRONG! Oh my word, the car seat was destroyed - covered in it! Wipes were not going to solve this problem.
we love this car seat (via: Walmart)

My poor hubby took the car seat out, pulled out the cushion liner and we shoved it into a plastic bag. Knowing she couldn't sit on the cold hard plastic we spread a few blankets over the bare seat and strapped her safely in. Needless to say we arrived at Grandma's with a bag of dirty laundry and a baby that desperately needed a bath.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information please see my disclaimer page.

Have you ever lived this story before? All I knew is I didn't want to do that again. Fortunately the ride home was uneventful but by now my wheels were spinning as I thought about how to avoid this problem in the future. Little would I know how important this brainstorming session would be for the future when my child was beginning the journey of potty training!

The "light bulb" moment came when I was wiping off our picnic table after a meal with friends. I had a pretty vinyl tablecloth over our picnic table and one of our guests had spilled a little water on it during the meal. I thought to myself "Look how that water just sits on that vinyl without soaking through" - and this is when I ran back into the house, grabbed a pair of scissors and started hacking away at the tablecloth!
via: Walmart

I cut a long rectangular shape piece first then bolted out to the garage to see if my crude hack job fit into the baby's car seat. To my surprise it did! After doing a little more thinking and cutting I was finally satisfied with a piece of vinyl tablecloth that extended up to the shoulder straps of the car seat, just down to the center buckle and up a few inches along the sides.

via: Walmart
Since no one, including babies, likes to sit on sticky vinyl I flipped the piece I had cut out over so the soft fluffy cotton side was against the baby's legs and the vinyl side was against the inside car seat liner. I cut up the rest of the tablecloth so I had spare pads and stored several in the car and a few in the diaper bag. Time to road test this new little invention! Guess what? It worked! And the best part was that these little pieces of table cloth were washable! I could re-use them or toss them (depending on how bad the damage was) and to replace them was pretty cheap, just the price of a vinyl tablecloth.

Over the years as our family grew, this little homemade pad was a lifesaver on many trips. From blowouts to vomit, spills and sticky food, the car seat was kept relatively clean. When the time for potty training came I knew that if my kiddo had a little accident in their cars seat I didn't have to panic, rip out the car seat liner and spend time washing it. Instead I just replaced the tablecloth liner with one from my stash and we weren't stuck at home waiting for the washer to clean the car seat liner and for it to dry.
via: Walmart

Oh, and I didn't stop there! I used these handy tablecloth liners in the stroller as well. It saved the stroller seats just like it did the car seat. No more scrubbing sticky crumbs from the cracks in the stroller seat, just take out the tablecloth liner and replace with a new one.

I hope these helpful tips & tricks will save you some sanity as you walk through the seasons of infant blowouts and potty training toddlers. I know it saved me on many occasions and for that I am very thankful.

Do you have any tips you use to keep your sanity as you journey through the early years of parenting? I'd love to hear from you - please leave your comments below.

Looking for more great parenting tips & tricks? Here are some posts I think you might find interesting:
click to read more

click here to read more

click here to read more

Thursday, October 11, 2018

10 Reasons Why Art Is Essential For Successful Childhood Development And How Parents Can Help
photo credit: Pressfoto

Making time for art and creativity doesn't require hours and hours of time or lots of fancy supplies that cost a fortune.  Start small, ten minutes here and there should give you and your child a little creativity pick me up ! As they get older and become more engaged in these moments allow them more time to explore and really exercise their brains.  

Their little brains need this type of exercise. I recently read a study done by Michigan State University on honors college science and tech grads whose lives included STEM studies as well as some sort of art or creative study. The results were somewhat surprising! The study showed that grads with arts and crafts experiences had a higher likelihood of producing patentable inventions and founding new companies. Many stated that their innovative abilities were inspired and stimulated by their crafty knowledge. In a nutshell the study revealed that continued participation and exposure in arts and crafts yielded the most significant impacts for innovators and entrepreneurs (MSU ArtSmarts Among Innovators, 2011)

Wow! Doesn't that convince you of the importance of art and creativity.

The following post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through any of these links I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information please see my Disclaimer Page.

10 Reasons Why Art is Essential for Successful Childhood Development

1. Development of Fine Motor Skills

Holding a paintbrush, scribbling with a crayon or squishing a lump of clay are all essential to the growth of children and the development of their fine motor skills. Letting a child explore the tools used to create art and the cause and effect of those tools when used is all part of the process of honing their fine motor skills. Discovering that more pressure put on a crayon results in a darker or thicker line (OK, scribble) is mind blowing to a child! 

2. Healthy Brain Development 

Think of your child's brain like you do a healthy diet with a variety of different foods. Our brains consist of two "sides", the left side where analytical and logical functions take place and the right side for emotional perception and intuition. To have a healthy brain we must exercise and feed both sides! Seems pretty logical doesn't it? When we expose our children to the rigors of a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) directed education but neglect the arts (dance, art, music, drama) that portion of their brain doesn't get the same stimulation as the side processing difficult analytical skills. When a brain's left and right sides are "fed & exercised" the two hemispheres start to work together to function at a much more efficient level. The skills for science and math can greatly benefit from the skills we learn pertaining to art, dance and music. 

3. Increase A Child's Ability to Focus

Being creative and artistic requires some focus on the part of the artist or crafter. Obviously in young children their attention spans are short but as they get older their attention spans will increase. A healthy way to guide them along and learn how to focus for longer intervals is by providing them with a creative outlet. Today your youngster may only be able to paint a picture on one sheet of paper but I guarantee that shortly you will have enough "masterpieces" to cover your entire fridge!

4. Outlet for Creativity and Ideas

Providing a variety of ways for your child to express themselves through art and creativity gives them an outlet for all of these ideas. All kids have BIG imaginations so why not give them an opportunity to use that imagination and see what they come up with. I bet they will blow you away with their creations. 

5. Improved Communication 

For some children putting words with their emotions is difficult. Drawing their emotions or picking colors to show what they are feeling expands their abilities to communicate reducing frustration. 

6. Art Is Fun

Who doesn't love having fun? The process of creating something is just plain fun! Watching a blank piece of paper turn into a colorful picture or a lump of clay take shape into an ashtray for Great Uncle Bill is a blast. Art is fun and fun is good!

7. Learn About How the World Works

Allowing a child any amount of time to watch and observe something helps them figure out how it works or what various properties it is composed of.  Children who are engaged in art and creative exploration learn how things work, feel and function. They start learning about how our world works through the exploration of art.

8. Boost Math Skills

Art can be a doorway to introduce your child to simple math concepts like shape, size, making comparisons, counting and spatial reasoning. These are all necessary math skills that can be reinforced with art.

9. Teach Children to Have A Good Work Ethic

"All hard work brings a profit" is a Bible verse that I tell my kids when they are starting a new project. Learning to work hard to make something is an important skill to teach our kids. Learning this through an art project is a fun way to teach work ethic to your child especially since they end up with a finished project they can be proud of. 

10. Self Confidence Boost

My fridge is covered in various projects my kids have created. Each time they look at the picture they drew or the paper weaving project they gave me I can see how proud they are of their work. They put a lot of time and effort into making something and they should feel proud of their hard work and finished project. Doing art or crafting is a great way to boost a child's self confidence!

How to Encourage Your Child Through Art and Creating

Ask Open Ended Questions

Ask your child to tell you about their picture rather than ask "What is it?". Open ended questions allow your child to explain to you what they created. These types of questions show your interest in what they created and most kids are excited to share. 

Instead of trying to figure out what they drew or painted describe the specific things your child is doing by saying things like " I see you are using purple, orange and brown to make those squiggly lines" or "I see many different shapes in your creation like circles, squares and triangles." These types of comments show your interest rather than your judgment in their artwork or creations. 

Provide A Variety Of Supplies

Providing your child with a variety of materials to use like paint, playdoh, clay, oil pastels, crayons, markers, chalk, scissors, stickers, ink and stamps. Show them how to use each media but then back off and let them take the wheel. Throw in some surprising materials like Q-tips, glitter glue, dry pasta, clear glass stones, beads and beans. 

Here are some materials my kids love:
purchase from Dollar Tree
Dollar Tree

Let The Child Lead 

Like I mentioned above, once you show the child how to safely use the materials you as the parent should step out of the way and let them create. Allow the child to explore the materials as well as decide what they want to make. Let your child use their imaginations and come up with their own project instead of having them follow a strict list of instructions. 

Be OK With A Mess

Squash that urge to tell your child not to get messy. Messy is a perfect place for learning to happen so don't stop your child from learning because you are scared of them getting dirty. Grab an old shirt from Dad's drawer to use as an apron and let the creativity begin. When they are all done with their project have the child help clean up their materials. Show them how to properly rinse out a paint brush or how to put oil pastels back in the box. They will learn how to respect the materials they use and how to clean up properly. 

Focus On The Process

The goal here isn't a perfectly shaped vase or a Van Gogh worthy painting. The goal is the process not the product. Praising your child and focusing only on the end result may cause the child to begin creating things just to get your approval instead of doing what they want to do. The unstructured process of art allows your child to express themselves freely. They shouldn't be worried about what others think, so remember to praise their hard work, effort and the process they used to create something amazing.

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

So you carved out a chunk of time for your kid to do art but all they want to do is sharpen the new box of colored pencils! Don't worry, to them this is part of the fun. Instead of getting frustrated that they aren't "making anything" ask some questions to get them curious. For example "I see you are spending your time sharpening pencils, I wonder what a dull pencil mark looks like compared to the razor sharp edge of the one you just sharpened?"  Or "It looks like fun putting the crayons in the box in that organized order, I wonder what colors look best together when you draw with them on paper?"

Art Project Inspiration

The web (Pinterest) is chocked full of ideas to get you and your child started introducing art into their regular schedule. Please don't feel overwhelmed - remember start small and simple. A great place to get supplies is the Dollar Tree! No need to buy professional grade materials right off the get-go. Don't forget to look in your recycle bin for inspiration too! Empty toilet paper rolls, newspaper and cereal boxes are wonderful art materials. 

Here are some great projects I've done with my kids that should help you get inspired: 

I've also written a great e-book that includes 10 nature inspired craft projects you and your child might enjoy. You can find it here on Amazon:
purchase on Amazon

What types of art materials do your kids love to use? Got an easy art project idea you want to share? I'd love to hear from you - comment and share with everyone. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Little Hoot Owl Craft For Kids

Owls are fascinating creatures! Learning about cool animals plus cool (and simple) craft projects are what we love!

For science this year my oldest son is studying Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day which is part of the Apologia Young Explorers Series science books. The Junior Notebooking Journal is amazing, full of activities, lab reports and lap books for him to complete as he works through each lesson. However in an effort to throw in a little art in our school day I love finding good crafts that tie in with what he is studying. My favorite kinds of kid crafts are simple and quick. Since my son is not a big "crafter" this little owl craft we did was the perfect thing for him.

This craft could be used for any age - my 5 year old and my 12 year old made their own owls too! It doesn't take long, uses simple handy supplies and is easy to make. Here is how we made our owls:

This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information please see my Disclaimer page.

Materials For The Little Hoot Owl Craft

Styrofoam or plastic Solo cup 
yarn of various colors
school glue
white card stock
orange construction paper

Instructions for Little Hoot Owl Craft

Cut several lengths of various colors of yarn. We found it easier to use cut lengths rather than use a big ball of yarn.

Spread an even layer of school glue on the outside of the cup covering the entire surface except for the top . Stick a piece of cut yarn on the outside of the cup pressing it down to get it to stick to the glue. Begin wrapping your yarn around the cup, pressing to stick. Continue covering the entire perimeter of the cup with the strings of yarn until the cup's surface is no longer visible. You may need to add more glue as you go to make sure the yarn stays glued to the cup.

Once your cup is completely covered, set it aside to dry. While your yarn wrapped cup is drying cut out two quarter size circles from the white card stock paper. Select two buttons (if you don't have buttons just use black construction paper) and glue them to the white circles. If you want silly looking eyes or crossed eyes you can adjust where you glue the buttons on the white card stock circles. Set the eyes aside to dry.

Now cut a triangle shape from the orange construction paper for your owl's beak.

Since all the owl parts are ready we can begin assembling the owl. It's OK if the glue on your yarn covered cup isn't completely dry yet. Begin by gluing the owl's eyes onto the front of the cup. You may have to hold them on for a bit until the glue starts to dry. The buttons can cause the eyes to slip while the glue is still wet.

After the eyes are on glue the beak just under the eyes tucking one edge of the triangle under the eyes. Next select two large feathers to glue to the sides of your cup to resemble the owl's wings. You are finished! See wasn't that easy?

You could make any type of bird you want by using different colored yarn. Our earth tone browns and beige yarn really made our bird look like a little owl. For a cardinal red yarn would work great and you could use navy or black yarn to make a crow! The possibilities are endless.

 These are the supplies I used and recommend for this project (click on the link to be taken directly to the website where you can purchase the item):

found on Amazon

found at Walmart

found on Amazon

found at; Walmart

from: Walmart

What is your favorite bird? Send me pictures of your "little hoot owls" and share your creations with everyone!

Love simple crafts? Check out the Bird Kites we made. This is super simple and functional! My kids love flying their bird kites and I know yours will too.

Friday, September 28, 2018

How Long Does It Takes Food To Spoil? Get The Answers In This Awesome Food Safety Guide

If you’re a busy mom or have a big family like me you might find yourself buying extra food to store in the fridge, freezer, or pantry to keep your kids tummies full and your family happy. But it’s easy for those half eaten cartons of leftover foods to get pushed to the back of the fridge or pantry and forgotten about. 

Here is something we are all guilty of - leaving food out too long and not refrigerating it in a timely manner! I still get teary eyed when I think of a time I made a pork tenderloin for dinner and left the unplugged crockpot out on the counter cool for a bit before sticking it in the fridge. Well needless to say I got completely distracted, left the poor roast out all night and came down to the kitchen in the morning to find the crock pot just where I left it - roast and all! The budget conscience side of me tried to convince the rational safety conscience side that the roast was fine and I should just pop it in the fridge and pretend nothing happened. Thankfully I listened to the more responsible voice and tossed the whole thing out (while wiping tears). Food poisoning is nothing to mess with especially if my kids were to get sick. I would never forgive myself. 

I know this was an extreme case but don't you ever wonder how long food is safe sitting out? Even food that has been in the fridge for a bit can make you ask yourself the same question - is it still okay to eat? What's even more confusing is that the not all food has the same lifespan  So before you choose to eat it or toss it make sure you know the proper lifespan of your food - both fresh and cooked.

Luckily, this helpful guide by Kitchen Cabinet Kings clears up any confusion with an average lifespan for common household foods. It’s broken down by freezer, refrigerator, and pantry and every typical item you’d take home in your grocery haul is included. The guide can also be downloaded and printed out so you can keep it close by as a reference.

You should consider adding a simple organizational system to your groceries, like food labels or a calendar and chart to keep track of when you purchased something or when it’s set to spoil. Or if this is too much work just grab a Sharpie marker and write the date of purchase on your food as you put it away after a grocery shopping trip.

This simple extra little step can help you reduce throwing away food, save some bucks by not doing so, and most importantly avoid getting you or the little ones sick from eating food that’s gone bad

The visual below is a great reference next time you’re wondering about the shelf life of your favorite food!  To get a free download click HERE.

via: Kitchen Cabinet Kings

This post contains affiliate links which means that if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Here are some handy items to help you keep your food safe!

food label stickers (Amazon)

label maker (Target)

food labels

food thermometer (Target)

For awesome kitchen guides and a free kitchen design service please visit my friends at Kitchen Cabinet Kings. Design a kitchen that is functional, beautiful and affordable. A well functioning kitchen helps you store food safely and efficiently!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Make Your Wedding Day Unique With DIY Newlywed Tip Jars

DIY Trendy Newlywed Tip Jars

Weddings are a special time to come together and celebrate your love with family and friends. You have planned out this day for a long time, and want to have a special memento from each guest to look back on later. That's why Personal Creations has put together a FREE PRINTABLE titled Newlywed Tips that guests can fill out before or after the ceremony.

If you haven't heard of this tending DIY idea, a newlywed tip jar is a unique way to allow guests the opportunity to offer advice to the newlyweds Simply print out the tip ideas, decorate a mason jar for guests to place the completed printables and set on a table at your wedding. Add a few pens for guests to use, and let their creativity begin! From managing finances to navigating the first year of marriage, getting insight from loved ones who have gone through it themselves can be extremely helpful.

Not only is this alternative guest book budget-friendly, the tips are unique and useful for years to come. Once they have written their insights on the printables, just place them in the jar folded. Then when the two of you are looking for some real-life advice down the road, you'll have a plethora of wisdom from loved ones!

Here is what the free Newlywed Tip Jar Printables look like! Pretty amazing, right? From words of wisdom to date night tips, these printables are the perfect way to leave your favorite couple with a keepsake they can enjoy long after their big day- customize them yourself and add to the wedding tip jar!

Words of Wisdom:

printable HERE

Date Night Tips:

printable HERE

Tips for the Mr. & Mrs

printable HERE

If you haven't heard of Personal Creations you need to check out their website NOW! They have the most amazing gifts for all occasions that can be personalized. Here is my favorite personalized wedding gift:

find it HERE

This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information please read my Disclaimer page.

Budget Friendly Bridal Shower Ideas

We all know that weddings are expensive but the cost of throwing a bridal shower can drain your bank account quickly too! Don't worry I have put together some great ideas to help you save money without sacrificing quality when throwing a bridal shower. For more awesome budget friendly wedding and wedding shower ideas read 10 Ways To Throw a Bridal Shower That Won't Break The Bank.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Awesome Science Craft Project For Boys - The Bird Kite

This year my 9 year old son is studying science using the Apologia Young Explorers Series Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day book. We are just getting started and already just after a few pages the creative juices started flowing. The book is full of great experiments, which is my son's favorite part about science but I wanted to throw in a simple arts & craft project to go along with the science theme.

In an effort to kill two birds with one stone (couldn't help myself!) the idea of making kites that look like birds began to form in my head. I wanted to incorporate a craft that used some of the science he had studied. The first chapter explains how the shape of a bird's wings contributes to its ability to fly. We had a lot of great discussion about this and how the study of birds has helped humans learn to fly airplanes.

I found a great tutorial on Krokotak and we went to town making a flock of seagulls....kites (ok, I'm sorry, it just slipped out!). This project required a minimal amount of supplies that you probably already have handy which makes it so easy to pull together last minute.

Now because my youngest, who just started kindergarten wanted to participate in the crafting I used this time to teach shapes, follow directions and measure the length of yarn. Cutting skills, coloring, folding and measuring are great skills for your little one to practice.

Here is what you need to make your own bird kite (a list of where I got my supplies is at the end of the post)


8 1/2 x 11 piece of construction paper (white copy paper works fine too)
1 small scrap of orange paper cut into a triangle for the beak
3-4 small scraps of other colored paper for tail feathers (approximately 2" x 3")
stapler & staples
glue stick
18"- 24" piece of yarn
black crayon or marker to draw on eyes
hold punch

Fold the 8 1/2  x 11 in half matching the short sides together. The fold becomes the belly of the bird.

Next take the two of the corners at the top of the folded paper and bend them backwards towards the fold. As you fold them back until the tips of the paper meet at the fold. Staple the folded back tips right at the fold (belly of the bird body) to make the wings.

Next make a hole with the hole punch just behind where you stapled the wing down. Thread the yarn through the hole and tie it securely to the belly of the bird.

Now take the triangle shaped piece of orange paper and put a little glue on both sides of one of the triangle bases. Slip the glued edges into the narrow end of the folded paper where the bird's head is. It should now start to look like a bird with a beak.

With the marker draw eyes on both sides of the head just behind where you glued the beak.

Lastly, cute 3-4 long feather shapes from the small scraps of colored paper and glue the ends together one on top of the other. Put a dab of glue along both outsides of the stack of feathers and insert them at the back of the bird inside the fold to give your bird tail feathers.

Take the completed kite outside (or in a big open space inside) and gently pull the kite along with the yarn. The bird kite should fly even if there isn't any wind. Shorten the yarn to make the flying bird kite even easier to handle for younger children.

For the full video from Krokotak click here:

Of course this awesome craft project isn't limited to just boys! Girls are welcome to make these kites too. I just happened to make these fun kites with my two boys and thought it would be fun to write a post specifically for boys.

Supplies Found Here:

This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information please read my Disclaimer page.

Here are some of the supplies we used to make our kites:


hole puncher from Walmart

yarn from Amazon

via: Amazon

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Easy Homemade Carmel Corn and Kettle Corn Recipes

I have always loved popcorn. I think my love for it is genetic. My dad consumes mass quantities of popcorn on a regular basis. He loves air popped lightly salted popcorn and so do I. When it isn't doused in butter, popcorn can really be a healthy satisfying snack.

Occasionally I love to make homemade kettle corn and homemade Carmel corn popcorn. I know this isn't as healthy as air popped popcorn but sometimes a little indulgence is Okay!
If you are intimidated about making homemade kettle corn or Carmel corn you don't have to be any longer! It is super simple and takes no time as at all. 

Let's start with homemade kettle corn. Unfortunately using an air popper machine won't work so get out your traditional popcorn machine that uses oil or large pot with a lid to make the popcorn. 


Pour 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the pot along with 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels. ( I prefer yellow popcorn versus white but use whatever you like best. ) Next sprinkle  2-3 tablespoons of granulated sugar over the un-popped kernels. Turn on your popcorn machine or if you are making it in a pot on the stove, put the lid on and turn the heat to medium high. Shake the pot every few seconds to keep the kernels moving. Once the popping stops remove the pot from the stove or turn off your popcorn machine and pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Lightly salt the kettle corn if you desire. 



Preheat your oven to 315 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour 6-8 cups of popped popcorn in a large roasting pan and set aside.

In a medium size saucepan mix the following ingredients except for the baking soda and vanilla over medium high heat, stirring constantly.

Ingredients for Carmel:
6Tbsp butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3-4 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Baking soda
1/8 tsp. Vanilla

Let boil for five minutes continuing to stir. Turn off heat and add the vanilla and baking soda stirring to combine. Pour the Carmel mixture over the popcorn in the roasting pan and stir to coat evenly. Put the Carmel covered popcorn into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Stir the Carmel corn and bake an additional five minutes. After it is done baking quickly scoop out the Carmel corn into a large bow (or two) and stir occasionally to break up the chunks as it cools.

Let the Carmel corn cool for about 10 minutes and then enjoy!

Popcorn Machine Recommendations

This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Please read my disclaimer page for more information.

Easy, right? I love these two recipes and so do my kids. Since this is all about popcorn I thought I'd share with you the tools I use to make the best popcorn. My favorite popcorn maker is the Whirley Pop Popcorn Machine and it is the most amazing popcorn popper. This popper can make 6 quarts of popped popcorn in 3 minutes! (I timed it - it only takes 3 minutes). You can make the kettle corn recipe from above right in this popper too!

Williams Sonoma

Remember how I told you how much I love popcorn, well I wasn't kidding. I actually have a "backup" popcorn machine in case my regular popper is out of commission or sitting in the sink waiting to be washed. My backup popper is this cute little machine from West Bend called the Stir Crazy Popcorn Maker.

I think the Whirley Popper makes better tasting popcorn overall and it is so FAST! But use what you have on hand - even a large stockpot with a lid can make a pretty tasty batch of popcorn. I got mine from Walmart!

I'm not overly picky about popcorn kernels however like I mentioned before I prefer yellow popcorn over white. I think yellow popcorn is bigger and has that fluffy appearance whereas white looks small and crumbles easier.

Did you know Home Depot sells popcorn? Weird (but totally awesome) right? Here is one of my favorites - a 4 lb. Yellow Popcorn in a plastic container with a screw on lid! Keeps it fresh and 4 lbs should last a little while.

Home Depot
What is your favorite popcorn topping? The fact that you can put just about anything on popcorn as a topping makes this treat so much fun! Next time you make a batch sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on it as a topping - yummy! Enjoy your popcorn, I know I will.