Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Get Organized!

Whew- 6 month hiatus! Raising babies is tough and it's a pain in the butt to move with 2 kids. We've been in this new place for 2 months now and are still trying to unpack and organize the last few boxes... BUT we have managed to get some sort of schedule going, which is something I encourage every family to try to do.
For instance, Sunday is our prep-for-the-week day. I try to do laundry throughout the week, but I make sure to finish it all on Sunday. I also wash all of the bedclothes and rugs on Sunday. We meal plan, grocery shop, clean bedrooms, and make sure everything gets cleaned, not just tidied. During the rest of the week, I pick up the living room and kitchen every night, making sure especially that the dishes get done and laundry gets put in the dryer so that it doesn't sit in the washer overnight. I tidy the bathroom whenever I give the girls a bath, so every day/every other day it gets disinfected and things get picked up off of the floor and put away. I wait to sweep and mop it until Sunday.
So my challenge for you is to pick a day when you can spend a little extra time cleaning, and to try to spend a half hour every night cleaning something... pick the rooms that annoy you the most when they're dirty. I pick my living room and kitchen because I spend the most amount of time there and because they're both where visitors are the most often.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Turkey, turkey!

This one was a fun craft to do while I had the pleasure of babysitting my daughters best friend! You need...
(per turkey)
1 babyfood jar (any size)
2 googly eyes
1 small orange or yellow triangle for the beak
6 feathers from construction paper of assorted colors
1 rubber band
candy (candy corn, m&ms, it's your choice)
marker, glue, scissors

1) Cut out your beak and feathers.
2) Ask your child(ren) things they are thankful for (or if they can't quite grasp this, try asking what things they really like) and write their answers on the feathers
3) Have your child fill the jar with candy they like.
4) Put on the lid and glue. on the eyes and beak.
5) Glue the feathers together, then onto the jar. Put the rubber band around the feathers/jar so that they stay down while drying.
6) When dry, take off the rubber band and enjoy!

Homemade liquid soap and sugar scrubs!

Sorry I haven't been updating! I have been visiting family and -whew- I am worn out...
Soap turned out AWESOME. I used the bar soaps from Bath & Body Works, which aren't very moisturizing, and since my soap ended up being just a little less than 1 gallon, I filled it all the way up with moisturizing lotion (I used Coco Butter actually) and poured it all back into the pot, stirred, and back into the milk jug. Works great! And soooo much cheaper than buying it- which is good, because my daughter has a nice habit of using a lot of soap whenever she washes her hands. I know how to make regular baby soap in to foaming baby soap, so I am going to try it with the liquid hand soap and let you know how that works out. It should be the same!

Here's the recipes I used:

Brown Sugar Scrub
(this is very much a play-with-it recipe, meaning you chose just about everything for it, lol)
1 part brown sugar 1 part white sugar.
oil (olive oil, sunflower oil, grape seed oil, any oil you want)

Mix sugars. Pour into container that it will be stored in, and pour in some oil. When the oil has soaked through as far as it is going to, pour some more. Continue until it reaches the bottom. You will probably have to stir it to make sure that everything at the bottom is covered.
Ta-da! All done!

Lemon Sugar Scrub
This is also a play-with-it recipe! Lucky you!
Measure out how much white sugar you will need to fill the container (fill it pretty full, because it will sink down once soaked in oil). Pour that into a bowl and set aside. Juice a lemon (if you don't know how to do that, go here) and mix the juice (sans seeds) with the sugar. Put the sugar in the bowl, and follow the same process with the oil as with the brown sugar scrub. After a while, the scrub will settle and have about a half an inch of oil on top. If it does not, add more. You will need to stir this before using, and if you are giving as a gift, I suggest finding a cutesy soup spoon at Goodwill or Salvation Army to tie to the jar with a ribbon. It is also cute is you want to do some glass etching, which I will be doing to mine and posting pictures of later.

Liquid Hand Soap from a bar of soap
This one is not so play-with-it.
Use a cheese grater to grate one bar of soap. Or, if cheese graters hate you the way they do me, use a sharp knife to cut the bar into very small slivers. As small as you possibly can.
Bring 1 gallon of water almost to boil (if it does start boiling, it's ok)
Add the soap and 2 tablespoon of glycerin, and stir until the soap is melted (it should only be a minute or so, I was actually very surprised about how fast it was).
Turn off the burner and let the soap cool overnight (about 10-12 hours). Check it in the morning. Mine was fine, but if you think it is too thick, add a little bit of water and use a hand mixer to mix. I would just do a little at a time. Then, use a funnel to put it back into your gallon milk jug for storage! ta-da!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lots of DIY gifts today

Today I DIY-ed some lemon sugar scrub, brown sugar scrub, cinnamon/nutmeg/honey/lemon face mask, and liquid hand soap.
I will let you know tomorrow how the soap turned out (have to let it sit overnight to cool and thicken) but the scrubs and face mask look great! I haven't had a chance to try any yet because the scrubs are Christmas gifts. I will post recipes tomorrow when I post about my soap!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

S'mores cupcakes!

I made s'mores cupcakes today! They consist of graham cracker cupcakes, marshmallow icing, and chocolate drizzle!
here ya go:

graham cracker cupcakes
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of milk

1) If butter is not already room temperature, set it out. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray your cupcake pan with non-stick spray. Line with papers if you want to use them. (Cupcakes do not rise well, just enough to go over the paper and stick to the pan, so make sure to spray it. If you forget, you can use the back of a spoon to un-stick the cupcakes.)
2) Put 3 full graham crackers in to a plastic bag and smash until crumbs are as small as possible (check in measuring cup, but this should equal about 1/2 cup)
3) Combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt in the mixing bowl. Stir until mixed well.
4) Gradually beat in butter.
5) Beat in sugar thoroughly.
6) Beat in eggs, sugar, and milk one at a time.
7) Add vanilla and mix until just combined.
8) Bake for about 15-17 minutes. Let cool before frosting.

marshmallow icing

4 large egg whites
1 cup of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

This is what you're supposed to do:
1) Place all ingredients except vanilla into a metal heatproof bowl from the mixer. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until sugar is dissolved, about 3-4 minutes.
2) Remove bowl from heat and attach to mixer. Using whisk attachment, whisk for 5-7 minutes, gradually moving from low-high, until peaks form. Add vanilla and whisk until just combined.
3) Use immediately.

and this is what I did (and why my icing looks deliciously melty and tastes very marshmallowy)
1) Place all ingredients except vanilla into a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until sugar is well blended (about 5 minutes).
2) Pour sugar/egg/etc. combination in to the mixer bowl. Using the flat attachment, mix for 13 minutes, gradually moving from low-high. Get annoyed that it isn't peaking and get out the hand mixer with the whisk attachments and mix for about 4 minutes. Glare at the lack of peaks. Add vanilla, taste test, and decide to use anyway.
3) Use immediately.

Break a full Hersey bar into pieces and microwave in a small microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Stir, and drizzle on to cupcakes. (Use 1 1/2 bars for 30 seconds if you want more chocolate). Break apart another full Hersey bar and place pieces onto cupcake top.

Let me know what you think! Which icing recipe did you go with? Which did you prefer? Have you tried another recipe for s'mores cupcakes?

(I combined 2 recipes for this. The original cupcake recipe can be found here and the original icing recipe came from my grandmother.)

Colored rice!

We made colored rice today. It took very little time and Calandra had a lot of fun with it! She played with it for 45 minutes and only stopped because it was dinner time. I just gave her a cup, a scoop from baby formula, and 2 airplane spoons from her kitchen set. It was nice quiet time, and she had a lot of fun filling things up and making "mountains."
There you go, easy peasy!

TOH Kids Coloring Cookbook!

Calandra loves to help me cook, and she loves to color. Now, thanks to Taste of Home, she can enjoy both! My grandmother sent me the link to this. You print out a page to the cookbook and the kids can color it. Each month they will post a new page for the cookbook, so make sure to check back!
For the site and to download the cover page (for the month of November) and other pages later, go here.