Saturday, December 22, 2012

Missing the sun

On dreary days like today, with a house full of sick kids, I really start to miss the sun. The warm bright days of summer seem so far away. I miss the silly things that summer brings like lady bugs and hanging laundry outside. So as I hang cloth diapers up on the indoor line with cold wet hands I conjure up an image in my mind of the way I'd rather be line drying and enjoy the fake warmth of the space heater and pretend it's the sun...

Monday, December 17, 2012

end of the world?

12/21/12 -- end of the world? Maybe, maybe not but you should be prepared either way. So buy all that cool survival gear and wrap it up as presents for under the tree. If the world comes to an end then hey you are all set. And if not, least you have presents to open Christmas day!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Paper People Chain Card

I recently took advantage of a very good deal on a refurbished Cricut cutter and am so happy I did. I think I could waste hours just watching it cut out shapes for no other reason that to watch it. Okay, so I am easily entertained, but it is really neat. So as a first fun test project I set about making birthday invites for 'lil man C's 2nd birthday.

Not having very many patterns to pick from I thought it would be fun to make a people chain card using the Mini Monsters and Freshly Picked cartridges that came with my machine.

After I measured my envelopes and figured out the largest size I could fit, I laid everything out in the Cricut Craft Room and got to cutting. Or rather it got to cutting and I sat staring.

Then armed with a stacks of little boy cards, green overalls and little number twos, I glued everything together including a printed invite message for the inside.

I intentionally sized the pants to not fit perfectly to give everything that messy little boy, imperfect look. Just for fun I cut out tons of extra little twos on the scrap parts of paper and tossed them in the envelopes with each invite. Everything is more fun with a little confetti!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Make your own Piñata

My lil' man turned 2 this fall and I wanted to do something fun and original for his party and for his pictures.

I decided on a piñata for both!

With very few supplies required and no special crafting skills needed, this is probably one of the easier projects out there. If you can use scissors and tape you are all set! All you need is some cardboard, tissue paper, scissors, tape (duct tape or packing tape) and if you want you could also use hot glue or spray adhesive for a few parts, but I wouldn't run out and buy any just for this.

Start out with your cardboard. Any old large box will work just fine. I cut up the box our inflatable house came in since I could never get it to fit back in the box!

Trace out your letter or number or fun shape on to one side. Cut it out and trace it in reverse to cut out your second piece. The photo is actually the reversed piece because I wanted the box label to be on the inside when it was all finished.

Once you have your main pieces cut you'll need to decide the depth of your pinata and cut several long strips of cardboard that width. These long pieces will be taped between the front and back for shape and support.

When you have all your pieces cut, line things up and start taping. I was using cheap dollar store duct tape, so I used a lot.

Make sure you leave a gap uncovered somewhere that is large enough to fit your hand in to add candy later. I would recommend the middle of one side if your chosen shape has lots of bends or curves because candy WILL get stuck and unless you have bendy hands, it's really hard to reach inside. I left a gap at the back straight part of the 2 I made. Once your entire shape is taped up you can add the candy and seal up your hole but if, like me, you don't want candy inside while taking pictures, just make sure the hole can be sealed and covered later.

If you use packing tape, or you trust yourself to completely cover the duct tape, then you don't have to do the next part. I just quickly sprayed the entire thing with spray adhesive and put a layer of tissue paper over to better hide the duct tape.

Now comes the part you'll waste the most time on, cutting the tissue paper fringe. Cut strips a little over double the width of the length you want your fringe to be. Fold each strip in half the long way and then snip the fringe. To make things go faster take the strips and loop them around your fingers before you cut. Cutting long strips will take forever.

Finally you'll take all the strips of tissue paper fringe and wrap them layer by layer from bottom to top on your cardboard form. You can use hot glue, sticky tape or fold regular tape back over itself to create cheap double sided tape. Overlap each layer of fringe with the next as you work your way to the top. If you have any areas that are hard to wrap fringe over you can twist little squares of tissue paper on the end of a pencil eraser and stick them in to fill.

When it's all done, run your hand lightly upward across the fringe to make it all stick out.

Now it's time to find a place to hang your piñata for party fun, or to use it in your photos, or both.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Clean Room

If your kids are like mine they leave everything they own on the floor so you can step on it when you go to tuck them in at night. Despite threats, bribes, begging, and flat out telling them to clean up, the piles on the floor had reached a point I could no longer ignore and so I went in to clean.

Often I have cleaned and reorganised everything but this time I didn't feel like cleaning. I got a huge bin, picked up any and everything that wasn't where it was supposed to be and took the bin back to my room. What I left was a poem on the door. 'A' had to read and explain it to 'B' who just didn't get what it meant. Amazingly they cleaned up the rest of the room and set to work on several chores to earn back toys. They sorted clothes and unloaded the dish washer and even helped pick up baby C's stuff in the front room. Seems to be working pretty well.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle

Fall allergies have hit me hard this year so this past few days I have been feeling less than fantastic. When you can't breathe you usually don't much feel like making a fancy dinner or even anything healthy. What I really wanted the other night was some chicken noodle soup and as I refuse to use that canned stuff and happened to have everything I needed on hand (thank you Bountiful Baskets) I set to making my quick and easy chicken noodle soup.

Chicken Noodle Soup (serves 8-10)
prep/cook time 45 minutes
3  boneless skinless chicken breasts
12-15 cups water*
3 cloves garlic
6  carrots
6  celery
4-6  cups uncooked noodles
2-3 tsp chicken broth base
salt/pepper to taste

In a large stock pot combine water and garlic. While the water is heating up put chicken breasts in skillet to brown and scrub and chop your carrots and celery. (I use the celery leaves too when I make this.)

Add carrots and celery to the garlic/water and bring to a low boil.

Next you'll add in your broth base. You want to use chicken base not chicken flavor, you can really tell the difference. Also you'll have to add a lot more if it's flavored to get the right taste. Start with just 2 tsp base, give it a quick taste and add more base if needed. You don't want it too strong because when you add the chicken and drippings later the flavor will be stronger.

Depending on the type of noodles you are using you may want to add them now. I used thick Italian noodles and they take 15-20 minutes to cook. Other noodles only take 5-10 minutes and you can wait until nearer to the end. Also if you don't like as many noodles use closer to 4 cups instead of 6.

When your chicken is all browned add a couple spoonfuls of liquid from your pot to the pan. Stir liquid to gather up all the yummy chicken drippings. Remove the chicken and dump the liquid back into the pot. This adds a lot of flavor so don't skip this step.

Chop or shred your chicken breasts into whatever size pieces you prefer and add them to the pot.

Test a noodle and carrot to make sure everything is cooked to soft.

You can add salt/pepper to the entire pot or let everyone spice their own bowl. Dish up and Enjoy!
*The amount of water you use will depend on two things: what liquid ratio you want in your finished soup and how much water your noodles absorb. If you use thick Italian noodles they will absorb a lot more water. The bowl pictured above was about the average liquid per bowl when using 12 cups of water.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Photo Book Giveaway

In honor of my baby turning the BIG 2 next week we'll be giving away a free 8x8 Photo Book from Shutterfly to one lucky winner.

Giveaway runs until 09/23/2012 at 12:01AM EST. What's the catch if you win? You only have until Sept 27th to use it, so get those photos ready in case you win! Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

DIY wood floor oil

Our entire upstairs is hardwood floors, minus the kitchen and bathrooms. With over 1000 sq ft of hardwood, I spend a lot of time cleaning fluff and trying to polish floors without drying them out. I've used a lot of different floor polish products that all seem to make my floor very slippery. And as much fun as A and B think it is to slide around the house in socks, I don't think C enjoys falling down all the time while learning to walk and run.

This past weekend I decided the front room was over due for a good deep cleaning and went in search of a floor oil I could make at home. Nothing seemed like it would be just right or not smell terrible, so I took a few ideas and came up with my own plan.

Begin by cleaning the floors as normal. Vacuum and mop. It's best to either dry mop or, for a deeper clean, use a vinegar/water solution. Make sure not to leave any water sitting on the floor. I opted for the lazy deep clean using my scuba electric floor mop. Of course instead of getting other things done while it cleans I sit and watch it run back and forth because I still think it's neat. I had to vacuum myself though, don't have the vacuum robot, yet!

And if you think these don't clean very well? Check out how gross the water coming out of this was.

Once everything is clean you want to mix up your floor polish. This is a very simple two part solution. Measure up 1/3 cup olive oil and 2/3 cup lemon juice. You may use vinegar in place of lemon juice but personally I mixed a little and it smells awful. The lemon covers the oil smell and leaves just a subtle lemon clean smell when you are done.

Take your mixture and pour it into a spray bottle. If you don't have a spray bottle you can just dip your sponge or rag directly into the mix, it's just a little more work that way.

Working in sections, spray a light mist over one area and using a floor sponge mop or thick rag on a dusting mop (like the Swiffer floor duster) rub the spray along the floor in the same direction as the wood is cut. This will keep you from getting visible streaks.

Over lap each section old to new as you work your way across the room. Make sure you spray only the section you are working on to avoid spots.

When you have finished the entire floor grab a towel and run over the surface to gather up any extra solution left on the floor. This is a fun time to give a towel to the kids and let them slide along the floor while it's still a little slippery.

Once everything has dried a bit you should have nice shiny, clean floors.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

FREE jewelry

Hurry on over to Daily Deal, 1 Sale a Day to receive a Free Silver Plated Heart Pendant or Silver Plated Hoop Earrings. Just login or sign up and it's free. Offer runs until 10PM MST.  ENJOY!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

No Rub Remover

I just don't have the time or patience to sit and rub nail polish remover on my toes to scrub off the polish and let's be honest I'm just not that flexible anymore either. So I pretty much always just let them grow out. They go until they are chipped and half off on their own before someone tells me they look bad and I'm shamed into finally removing the polish.

So this time around when faced with glittery polish, which is by far the worst stuff to get off, I decided to try the no rub foil method of removal.

Armed with my remover, ugly polished toes, cotton balls, foil, and some tissues (in case of accidents) I set to work.

To begin you'll gather up your supplies from the above list and should also included a beverage, tv remote, snacks, and comfy clothes.             (Any none photographed items are optional.)

You only need to use a small chunk of cotton ball for each toe so 2 cotton balls should be enough to do both feet. I only used one for both.

Pour a little polish remover onto the cotton ball piece and place directly onto nail. You don't want this dripping wet, just use a little. Then rip a piece of foil big enough to go around your toe. Wrap foil piece around the cotton ball and your toe and squeeze it in place.

Once all ten piggies are covered sit back, relax and enjoy your snack. Or whatever else you actually need to be doing! How ever you choose to spend this time you'll want to let it sit on for about 5 minutes.

When you go to remove don't lift or unwrap the foil, instead pinch the foil down against your nail and pull the whole thing off together. The little bit of pressure will pull all the soaked polish right off. Just for the photo I lifted so you could see how easily the polish comes off.

Check for any missed spots, some polish can be very stubborn. Then give your toes a rinse to remove any left over remover. This method will also work on finger nails. Plus you can chase your kids pretending to have crazy witch fingers.

Now to decide what you want to put next on your newly clean and pretty toes. I decided to stare at how pretty they are clean and decided I'm still far too lazy and unflexible to paint them!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Binky Fix

Mini man C loves his pacifier or binky as we call it. I try to only let him have them at nap and bed but I decided when A was a baby and refused all binkies and bottles that they really weren't such a bad thing. So the rule for in bed only never seems to be something I'm strict about.
When C was tiny he couldn't keep a binky in his mouth to save my sanity. He had enough dexterity to pick up and put the binkies in his mouth but didn't always pick it up the right direction and would get very upset. So in the middle of the night the hubby and I would have to shuffle in and correct the backwards issue. This is when I decided he needed help and started looking for something.
I happened upon WubbaNub and got two thinking he at least wouldn't loose them behind the crib anymore. It was instant love. C could grab these cute things and pop the binky right in his mouth. It was perfect. That is until the binky started to break off where it's sewn. They are almost 2 years old so really I'm amazed they didn't break sooner. I knew they would eventually. Then this week it finally fell apart. C looked worried when I said it was broken but sat quietly and watched me fix.

The up side is that fixing is both easy and can not only be done as a repair but also to turn just about any tiny stuffed toy into a binky friend. As a bonus I can now detach the binky for easy cleaning.

Here's what you'll need:
  • Stuffed toy and binky of choice 
  • Snap and Snap setter (OR if you don't want to use snaps you can use a binky adapter or silicone O-ring)
  • Ribbon, needle, thread, scissors

Start by opening a slit in the toys mouth to sew in the ribbon. You could also just sew ribbon over if you don't want to cut the toy open.

Use sturdy ribbon, I like grosgrain. Cut ribbon to length based on space needed to attach binky. I suggest doubling over the ribbon. Some will be sewn inside the toy so you should cut it longer than you need and adjust down when you sew in place.

If you want to use an o-ring or adapter instead of snaps, fold the ribbon in half and loop it through the o-ring or adapter before sewing. For snaps fold the ribbon ends into the middle and then in half. Tuck either option ribbon ends inside the toys mouth and hand sew in place. Use thread the color of the toy so it won't show.
(If you sew to the surface and don't hide the ribbon ends inside the toy you'll want to tuck the ends so that they are hidden when sewn.)

Once ribbon is sewn your toy should look like it is sticking out its tongue at you. Two tongues for snaps or one tongue with a ring if you used the o-ring or adapter.

Now you'll place your snaps top and bottom. Leave yourself plenty of room to attach the binky. Mine was a little too close so it can be hard to attach to the binky without a little work.
When everything is finished grab a binky and make sure it works. I use the snaps alone on both Soothie \ Gumdrop (as shown) and handle style binkies. Then I clip in an o-ring to attach to any MAM style or loop around any thicker handles. In the end it works great and C was very happy to have his binky back.

I forgot the best part! When they are old enough to part ways with a pacifier they can still keep the cute little friend to sleep with and be comforted. Then they only loose half the comfort object instead of going cold turkey. And how could I ever take anything away from that face?!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Diaper Bassinet

Had so much fun today putting together a diaper bassinet gift basket. This will be going to a soon to be new mom (and dad) to triplets. Good luck!!

Here's what's inside:
50 size 1 diapers
12 baby washcloths
4 receiving blankets
4 spoons
3 handmade crochet bow ties
3 onsies
2 books
1 wipes container
1 basket

Bassinet Assembly:
First in the basket was the larger of two books, The Nursing Mother's Companion. On top of the book sits 50 diapers. They seem so small next to the size 4 my own little guy is in these days.

The diapers were covered with one blanket and the outside wrapped on 3 sides with another. A third blanket is run up the back to create the canopy which is stuffed with some paper to puff it up.

Inside the bed area sit a flat wipes container and on top of that under the canopy is the other book. You can just see the book pages in the picture (right). Next are three adorable onsies tucked in with the last blanket. Washcloths made into lollipops (with spoons for sticks) and a teddy bear are tucked in next to the onsies and stuck in front. The four left over are tucked under the canopy to add a little more height.

And last but not least three handmade crochet bow ties are stuck to the lollies and a onsie.
Wrap it all in a ribbon, tie it off with a bow and presto!

      If you've never made a washcloth lollipops before it is really easy. Grab a baby wash cloth and fold it diagonally in half. If you want two tone fold another cloth and set it on top of first with the long edge a little higher up. Roll it up into a log starting with the small corner. Pick either end to start and roll your log into a circle. If you used two colors make sure that you roll so they both show. Once it's rolled up you'll want to cover it so it doesn't come unrolled. I like heat shrink plastic but you can also use little plastic baggies or even plastic wrap or cellophane.

Once the roll is wrapped slide an infant spoon on to the back of the roll to act as the stick. Then just tie it off with ribbon or a twist tie and there you have it, lollipop washcloths.

The most fun of the entire thing was when C, who is almost 2, came over begging for one of the lollipops. Apparently they look good enough to eat. I showed him how I made it with a wash rag and spoon and he looked at the one I rolled up like I was totally crazy. I even got a real swirl lolli out of the candy bowl and he still wanted the ones off the front of the basket!