DIY First Aid Kit for Active Families

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Hello, my name is Debbie and I am a klutz. This is a trait that I have passed down to my kids. Being able to trip over our own feet doesn’t stop our family from being active. We are always outside and doing something. We hike and bike, float down rivers and more, we are just prepared and I always have our first aid kit ready for whatever may happen. (more…)

Giving Back and Easy DIY Gift Bags

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WrapGiveRepeat #CollectiveBias 

How do you give back during the holiday season? Do you volunteer? Do you do small random acts of kindness? What do you do? While I volunteer year round I do extra during the holidays to help make sure everyone has a great holiday. Each fall I figure out and develop a plan that centers around our military members and veterans and what I can do for them.  It usually revolves on small homemade or store bought goodies of all types that let them know they are being thought about.  I learned that small stockings can be hard to find and when you do, they can get expensive but making my own DIY Gift Bags were a snap! Sure I could buy them but when you are needing a bunch it is often cost effective to make your own. Plus, I could have the sizes I need with all sorts of different patterns. They are a great way to wrap, give, and repeat during the holiday season.

Giving Back and Easy DIY Gift Bags | My Hot Southern Mess


DIY Collage Picture Frame

I have to say Pinterest is awesome and has become a go- to for me when I am searching for ideas for certain things. It is also a black hole sometimes where adhd takes over and I start pinning all the things instead of just what i’m looking for. You know how you start looking at one thing but somehow end up looking at something completely different. The thing about Pinterest though is you have to check to make sure the pins take you back to the correct link for the DIY or recipe because so many times they do not. Sometimes though I will keep a pin around thinking I can figure out how to do that myself. That is how I came up with these collage picture frame. The Pin’s I had took me to Etsy or to a slideshow of different picture frames but no directions on how to make the frames for myself. Well there should be directions so here are mine!

DIY Collage Picture Frame |Country Girl Gourmet

How to make a Collage Picture Frame 


  • Picture Frame (Thrift stores are awesome for these! I bought a huge one for $5)
  • Paint (I used spray paint)
  • Hemp Cord
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
  • Mini Clothes Pins
  • Pictures
  • Newspaper or Cardboard (to cover work area)


1. Prepare Your Frame.

After going to the thrift store or finding a frame around the house that you would like to use the first step is to prepare your frame. Remove any pictures and/or glass. Clean your frame and make sure it is dust and gunk free. If there are rough areas you may need to sand them a little bit. You will be painting the frame.

DIY Collage Picture Frame |Country Girl Gourmet

2. Paint

Once your frame is ready you will be painting it. It seems lately everybody is all about chalk paint but I went with spray paint. Yes, spray paint.  After helping at a remodel of Restaurant Impossible and using spray paint to make light fixtures look new again I became a huge fan of the method. Spray paint works wonderfully for this.

DIY Collage Picture Frame |Country Girl Gourmet

This is what I used. I liked the fact that it had a primer also.

DIY Collage Picture Frame |Country Girl Gourmet

With spray paint you just need to be careful to  use nice even strokes/sprays so the paint doesn’t drip. You may need to go over the frames a couple times.

DIY Collage Picture Frame |Country Girl Gourmet

Then all you have to do is allow it to dry. I let my frames sit for 24 hours before proceeding to the next step.

3. Add Hemp Cord

Once your frames are dry it is time to add the hemp cord rows that you will use to hang the pictures from. Use a picture if needed and plot out your rows. Remember to  allow space for the clips you will be using to hang the pictures up by. Once you have plotted your rows there are 2 methods  that you can use to attach the rows.

In the first method you can use the staples that are in the back of the frame and tie tightly.

DIY Collage Picture Frame |Country Girl Gourmet

For my picture frames I was unable to do this because my staples were not even.

The second method is how I made both of my frames. I used a hot glue gun and hot glue. Yes, I use my hot glue gun for everything. Recently my big hot glue gun went to glue gun heaven so I had to pull out my back up mini glue gun.

DIY Collage Picture Frame |Country Girl Gourmet

All I did was add a drop of hot glue to the back of the frame. Place hemp cord in glue and hold tightly against frame until set. I then pulled the cord across and repeated. I then cut off excess hemp cord.

4. Add clips and Pictures

The last and final step is to add your clips to the hemp cord rows and then your ready for pictures! My clips came from Target in their dollar spot but I have found the mini clothespin clips at Walmart in the office supply section.

DIY Collage Picture Frame |Country Girl Gourmet

And there you go a super easy to make collage picture frame. All I need to do is go through the thousands of pictures I have and start to fill it up.

Hot Cocoa Mix

The weather is getting cooler and  some people have even seen snow, all things that make what I have for my first day of Homemade Christmas perfect.  Hot Cocoa Mix is something that is a must have when it gets cold out and especially on snowy days. There is nothing better than coming in from the cold and have a nice, warm mug of Hot Cocoa. Sure you can go to the store and pick up a box but homemade Hot Cocoa Mix is so much better and easy to make. An added bonus is Hot Cocoa Mix makes perfect gifts. You can put it in a jar or for an individual serving size you can use cake decorating bags and make hot cocoa cones. With the jar just layer some of your favorite chocolate and marshmallows on top (Homemade Marshmallows work wonderfully!).  Just add some candy canes for stirrers and tie it up with a pretty ribbon and voila you a wonderful homemade gift. That is perfect for family and friends. Being a mom of special needs kiddos who have a ton of teachers and aids this hot cocoa mix has always been perfect for teacher gifts. I know my kid’s teachers have always raved about how good it is.

Try this hot cocoa mix for yourself and see. I am sure you will convert from the store-bought box stuff to homemade. Homemade is always so much better anyways. You will love it and so will your friends and family!

Hot Cocoa Mix | Country Girl Gourmet

Hot Cocoa Mix
The perfect Hot Cocoa Mix to have on hand for when the weather cools off
  • 10 cups dry milk powder
  • 6 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1¾ cups powdered non-dairy creamer
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine milk powder, confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, and creamer. Stir till thoroughly combined. Run hot cocoa mix through the food processor to make it powdery fine. Store hot cocoa mixture in an airtight container. Makes about 15 cups mix, or enough for about 45 servings.
  2. For 1 serving, place ⅓ cup cocoa mixture in a coffee cup or mug, and add ¾ cup boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Top with dollop of whipped cream or a few marshmallows, if desired.
  3. *If desired use different flavor creamers for different flavors of hot cocoa mix*

Adapted from Hot Cocoa Mix from

10 Uses for Reynolds Foil

This month with Allrecipes we are working with Reynolds Foil a product that I use just about every day in my kitchen. It is also a product that goes way beyond just covering dishes and wrapping up leftovers. Reynolds Foil is perfect for using when you are having a BBQ. You can use it for every part of your meal from preparation,cooking and clean up! Today I want to share 10 of my favorite tips for using Reynolds Foil to make your next BBQ a knock out! As a added bonus I am throwing in a salmon recipe that my husband and second son really love.

10 Uses for Reynolds Foil | Country Girl Gourmet


1. Keep food from sticking

Are you making BBQ Chicken or Fish? Hate how it sticks to the grates on your grill? When grilling line your grill with Reynolds foil to help prevent sticking. Just poke a few holes in the foil to drain juices.

2. Keep food from falling into grill grates

Want to grill some shrimp or veggies but you don’t have any kabob skewers or a grill basket? Just use foil! It will keep your food from falling through your grill grates. I’ve even known people that use this method to make bacon on their grill for bacon cheeseburgers!

3. Individual Foil Packets

There are so many things you can make in foil packets. The possibilities are endless and delicious! Foil packets are simple and easy to make too. All you need to do is, place food on the center of two layers of foil Next top with your desired seasonings and oil. Finally bring the two long sides together, fold foil over the food. Fold over three or more times. Fold and crimp remaining sides and then grill as directed. Then clean up is easy peasy. Check out the recipe I have below for Salmon. I have issues making fish but with foil packets I can make it easily for my husband and son.

4. Keep Food Warm

If you need to keep food warm until serving time cover with some Reynolds Foil until serving time. The foil is also perfect for wrapping meats that need to rest before serving like brisket.

5. Easy Clean Up

Line baking pans and cookie sheets with aluminum foil to cut your cleanup later. This tip is perfect for times where you are making a bunch of burgers to grill. Just cover a tray with foil and discard once the burgers are on the grill. Your serving tray will still be clean for your cooked burgers.

6. Grill Scrubbers

Want to use your grill but it is a dirty mess? Use Aluminum Foil to clean your grill without chemicals. Just ball up a piece of foil and use tongs to clean the grill grates.

7. Make-shift Funnel

Want to transfer your favorite condiments into a different container for your BBQ but you don’t have a funnel? Make one with Reynolds foil! All you need to do is take a piece of foil and make it a cone shape with an opening at the pointy end. Secure it with a piece of tape and then you are ready to pour and transfer your favorite condiments.

8. Sharpen Scissors

Need to cut something and your kitchen scissors are dull? Fold a sheet of foil several times and cut through it with a pair of dull scissors to sharpen the blades

9. Pie Crust Protector

Making a classic apple pie for dessert for your BBQ? Another favorite  Reynolds Foil use of mine is the pie crust protector.  To prevent burnt pie crust edges, crimp foil around the edges prior to placing the pie in the oven.

10. Clean Baked on Food off Baking dishes

BBQ time is over and it’s time to clean up, Reynold

]s can help you there also! Use Reynolds Foil to scrub off baked on food instead of using steel wool. If you have food stuck to your baking dish or frying pan, wad a clean piece of foil into a ball, then use it with few drops of dishwashing liquid to scrub glass cookware clean.

Now here is the Salmon recipe I was talking about above. When I was a kid I had food poisoning from fish and since I have not been able to eat or really cook seafood but with foil packets I was able to easily make this for my husband and son. They loved the salmon this way!

Grilled Salmon Greek Pitas | Country Girl Gourmet

Grilled Salmon Greek Pitas

recipe from


  • 1 (1 pound) fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillet
  •  1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  •  1 tablespoon olive oil
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  1 lemon, thinly sliced6 Greek pita flatbreads
  • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup fresh cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 (5.3 ounce) container plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill weed


  1. Thaw fish if frozen. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  2. Tear off an 18×18-inch sheet of Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil. Place onion in the center of the sheet. Top with salmon. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and black pepper. Top with lemon slices. Bring up foil sides. Double-fold top and ends to seal packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside.
  3. Stack flatbreads; wrap tightly in heavy duty aluminum foil.
  4. Grill salmon packet over medium-high heat in covered grill 12 to 14 minutes or until fish begins to flake when tested with a fork and vegetables are tender.
  5. Add the flatbread packet to the grill for the last 5 minutes of cooking to warm through, turning once. Remove all from grill.
  6. Open packets carefully by cutting along top folds with a sharp knife, allowing steam to escape. Then open top of foil. Discard lemon slices. Use two forks to pull the salmon apart into chunks.
  7. Assemble pita sandwiches by topping with the salmon, onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. Fold in half to serve. In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, basil, and dill. Serve over pita sandwiches.

Grilled Salmon Greek Pitas | Country Girl Gourmet



Looking for more great Reynolds recipes? Check out their webpage.

10 Uses for Reynolds Foil | Country Girl Gourmet




Homemade Carpet Cleaner

 Last week in the early hours of the morning my husband was getting ready for work and accidentally spilled his coffee. He did put a towel on it and soak it up some but he didn’t have time to clean it properly. When I came down later that morning I saw the towel and spill and planned to clean it up as soon as I got the kids all on the bus to school. It became one of those days where things just were not going as planned and when the kids got home the spot was still there and remained there until today. With 4 kids and 3 dogs messes are not uncommon and I have a little green machine to spot treat as well as a full size steam cleaner. We have light colored carpet that I have grown to hate because it is a dirt magnet so cleaning carpets happens on a semi regular basis around here. The only problem is I have yet to find a cleaning solution that works well. I have used different store-bought solutions hoping each one was better than the next but I never found one that got my carpets really clean. I then started trying different DIY solutions that I found by Googling or by Pinterest.  Want to know what happened when I put solutions with dawn dish soap in my carpet cleaner? Bubble-geddon, that is what. It was a combo of bubbles coming out of the machine and dumping the dirty water container because it wasn’t full of dirty water but soap bubbles. While it took longer my carpet was cleaner than when using the different store- bought solutions but I wasn’t thrilled with the results. Back to the internet I went searching for a solution. While searching for a solution I repeatedly read that soap leaves behind residue that attracts dirt! My journey then became how to clean my carpet without detergent. What I found were different combinations of borax, oxyclean, hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, fabric softener, baking soda and hot water. So I experimented and found a combination that worked well and is now my go-to                              Homemade Carpet Cleaner.

After cleaning up an almost week old black coffee stain with ease I knew this was the homemade carpet cleaner for me!

Homemade Carpet Cleaner | Country Girl Gourmet

Homemade Carpet Cleaner


  • 1/2 cup Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cup Hydrogen Peroxide (3%, This is what you find at the drugstore/Walmart/Target,etc.)
  • 1 cup White Vinegar
  • Hot Water


  1. In the clean water tank of your carpet cleaner add baking soda, peroxide and vinegar. Add hot tap water to the fill line. After closing tank gently shake to make sure your your solution is thoroughly mixed.
  2. Pretreat stains as needed and follow your carpet cleaner’s instructions for cleaning.

Happy Cleaning!