Monday, December 9, 2013

DIY Cute Snowman & Reindeer Decoration

Here's an easy and cute diy Christmas project. I must note, however, this project is probably better suited for kids who are a tad older than my preschool aged children. It' just as important to note that it's also perfect for adults who are looking for any excuse to exercise their inner child. ;)

You'll need:

Googly eyes 
Mini pots
Paint - brown, orange, red, & white
Pipe cleaners - brown

We'll be making the snowman from an upside pot, so when painting the pot white, make sure to paint the bottom. For the reindeer, the pot will the upright, so, be sure to paint the inside of the pot as well.

For the snowman, I used the toothpick to paint his coal eyes and smile. I used a small paintbrush for the carrot nose and used the toothpick to add the black details.

To make the earmuffs, cut a length of pipe cleaner and glue pompoms to the end of it. Then glue the pompoms to the snowman.

I used 2 lengths of ribbon for the scarf. The first piece wrapped and glued around the perimeter of the pot. The second I tied into a knot and glued to the first piece.

You can play around with different facial expressions. Below are a couple that my girlfriend made:

These are super cute, the pix don't do them justice!

Now for Rudolph!

Paint a small, red circle on the bottom of the pot for Rudolph's nose. Glue googly eyes at the top for, duh, his eyes.
Googly eyes make everything cuter!
Cut 2 identical lengths of pipe cleaner for Rudolph's antlers. Make them a little longer than the actual height that you want. Cut a few more smaller lengths of pipe cleaner for the tines. Twist them onto the original 2 pieces. Glue them to the inside of the pot.

Alternatively, you can cut even longer pieces of pipe cleaner and bend them into a repeating zigzag pattern.

And here's the whole gang!

For some reason, the pic shows the little guys quite grainy, but, they are super cute and would love to adorn your house for the holiday season!!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Japanese Noodles

A few weeks ago, I invited some friends over to the house. Since I'd be busy cleaning the house while keeping an eye on my energetic little boys, I knew couldn't spend too much time or effort making lunch.

Enter this easy Japanese noodles recipe. It's perfect for causal entertaining. I made the sauce first thing in the morning, while the boys were occupied with breakfast. When my guests arrived, I simply boiled a pot pasta and added it to the sauce. Done. Easy. Loved it.

You'll need:

  • 12 ounces thin noodles
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons pure sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot chili sauce (or more if you like, I kept it mild for the kiddies)
  • 4 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon hot water (resevered from pasta water)
  • 4 whole green onions, slice thin

Bring a pot of water to boil, add pasta and cook according to the directions on box.

Add all ingredients, (except the noodles and green onions), in a large bowl and whisk together. If you're making the sauce ahead of time, you can add the hot water to the sauce when you're ready to serve. The hot water helps to get the sauce to the right consistency.

Once the noodles are cooked, add to bowl. Add half the green onion; mix well. Sprinkle remaining green onions on top.

It's delish just like this, or... can add chicken...

...or shrimp...

...or both!!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Honey Facial Cleanser

So, I woke up one morning and felt I was transported back to my teenage years. As I looked at my face in the bathroom mirror, I was horrified to discover that during the night, my face had broken out. I'm mortified just sitting here typing about it.

I jump onto Google to try to find a solution. I was repeatedly asked, by the articles, for my face type. Oily? Normal? Dry? Combination? I didn't know, my face didn't come with any labels!! All I knew was that I had a very specific problem that needed to be taken care of yesterday.

I found an assortment of strange homemade remedies that used a wide range ingredients such as toothpaste, witch's hazel, lanolin, and dried hibiscus. I didn't want to drive all over the DC Metro area looking for items on a pimple inspired scavenger hunt.

Okay, okay, I did, (and still do) have toothpaste on hand on a daily basis. I just wasn't crazy about simply addressing the issue after it erupted on my face. I wanted to stop this nonsense from ever happening again.

In my continued research, I stumbled across a site that sang the praises of the honey mask. It was gentle and effective enough so it didn't matter what type of face you had. And it only had one ingredient.  Simple...I loved it.

Honey is the natural choice to clean your face:

  • It is antibacterial and anti-fungal, meaning it will disinfect your skin and help bring you back to your beautiful, glorious self.
  • It helps detoxify by soaking up impurities.
  • It posses antioxidants, which can help protect/repair your skin from sun damage.
  • It contains bee pollen, propolis and beeswax - think exfoliate! 
  • It leaves your face feeling incredibly soft!
When selecting your honey, please be sure to pick up raw honey. The honey at the grocery store has been filtered, heated to temperatures high enough to loose it's beneficial nutrients & enzymes, and/or is watered down. 

Also, a lot of the grocery store honey does not have any pollen in it. This honey has been ultra-filtered to remove any of these identifying markers. Pollen is the only fool-proof way to determine where exactly the honey came from. According to, "It is a spin-off of a technique refined by <countries> who have illegally dumped tons of their honey - some containing illegal antibiotics - on the U.S. market for years. 

Not exactly stuff I want all over my face. (Or in my body for that matter!!)

For this remarkable Honey Facial Cleanser, you'll need:

Your favorite raw honey and a spoon!

Scoop out about half a teaspoon.

You don't need exactly half a teaspoon, just enough to cover your face.

Please make sure to tie your hair back before applying the honey. Needless to say, it is very sticky!! 

Put the honey in the palm of your hand and mix it with your finger for a few seconds. The honey will become lighter in color and will spread more easily on your face. 

Spread the honey all over your face, be sure to massage that honey goodness in!!

Leave it on your face for 10-15 minutes. (You can wash it off immediately, but, I recommend leaving it on for a few minutes.)

Rinse and enjoy!

Try this honey cleanser once a day for two weeks. I wasn't brave enough to post a before & after picture, but, if you are, send them my way. I'd love to post on the site!!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Energetic Body Scrub

If you know me, you know this, I love coffee. Throw in a little French Vanilla, and I'm in Heaven.

So, when I came across a diy coffee scrub, I had to try it. After using the scrub, I found I had immediate results. I was afraid I had some sort of positive placebo effect going on in my mind, but hubby confirmed that I now posses smoother skin. :)

You'll need:

3 tablespoons brewed coffee grounds
1 tablespoon salt

Brew 2 cups of coffee using 3 tablespoons of your favorite coffee. Once the coffee is brewed, dump the grounds into a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Mix.

Use these grounds within 20 minutes of brewing coffee. After that, oxidation sets in, essentially meaning the grounds have gone stale. 
Hop in the shower, rub all over, and rinse.

Make sure you have a mesh net over the drain to catch all the grounds. 

Coffee grounds have magnesium, vitamin E, and  have antibacterial properties. In addition to all these perks, you also have a cup of coffee waiting for you when you hop out of the shower.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Colorful, Fun Bread!!

Here's a fun twist to an immortal, albeit, a sometime boring staple. Grab a bread recipe, a couple bottles of food coloring, and your favorite little helper to make some colorful treats. 

First, prepare your favorite Italian or French dough as the recipe dictates. If you don't have a favorite recipe, here's a link to quite a few:

After you prepare the dough, let it rest for at least a hour.
After the dough has risen, divide the dough into equal parts. The number of balls depend on how many colors you want to work with. 

Place one ball on a slightly floured mat and set the rest aside. Add a few drops of coloring. 

Knead the coloring into the dough until the color is evenly spread.

It'll take about 5 min of kneading. Most of that 5 min, the dough will look like this.
Hang in there. Eventually, the dough will look like this.

Repeat this process with the remaining balls of dough.

Now it's time to call your little one. Have them roll out each ball of dough.

Roll out to the size of your baking pan.

Brush a thin layer of water on top of the dough. 
Place dough strip in baking pan. Repeat process with remaining pieces of dough, firmly placing each color on top of the previous one.
Here's an example of another bread Archer and I worked on together. Here he rolled little pieces of dough and put in this small cake mold. We skipped the layer of water in this one. The water layer helps keep the different layers of dough together to prevent air holes. Press the dough in tightly and you should be fine.
Allow your dough to rest again for at least a hour then bake in oven as directed by your recipe. When the top is golden brown (though that's a little hard to see when working with colored bread), and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped on, it is done.

Here it is cut open, just beautiful!

The kids loved eating their colorful sandwiches and buttered toasts. I have to say, at times I felt as if I was going to bite down into a lovely piece of colored white cake, but, rest assured, the food coloring will not change the flavor of your bread.

This activity does take a little more time than others, but both my little ones loved helping me make the bread dough, and then rolling and shaping the dough into the molds. Plus it gets them acclimated to cooking at an early age, which is very important. :) 

(Oh, and did a fail to mention, you get lots of yummy bread at the end.)  :D


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Fun Fix for a Missing Zipper Pull Tab

Poor Alexander. Being the second baby means means not getting the same one-on-one attention that big brother did as a baby. It also means trying to play keep up with Archer and wearing lots of hand-me downs. Since Archer had such an extensive wardrobe as baby/toddler, I haven't had much need to buy Alexander new clothes.

On a recent rare occasion when I did buy Alexander a new hoodie, I felt like the universe was telling me I should just stick to the hand-me downs. Why? Well, when I got home, I noticed that the pull tab for the zipper was missing. Sure, I could have driven back to the store to get a replacement, but it was some distance from my house and I really didn't feel like doing that.

Instead, I drove to my local Michael's, with 40% coupon in hand, and bought a little motorcycle charm. (Archer loves all things automotive.) Using two pliers, I pinched the metal link that came with the charm around the crown, (tab holder), of the zipper.

It's a little hard to see, but, here's a pic of the charm and hoodie.

Also a little hard to see, but here is the new and improved hoodie.
I honestly think that the hoodie with the charm zipper is an improvement over the original because it personalized it based on Alexander's love of motorcycles. I love this idea and think I may "loose" other zipper pulls, just so I can personalize other items with more meaningful charms. I think your little ones will really like this one!


Saturday, May 11, 2013

I Spy With My Little Preschool Eye...

Sometime ago, hubby and I were both hit with a nasty bug that was going around. Since we both had appointments with the same doctor in a 30 minute window, our boys had quite a long time to spend in the waiting area.

After what seemed an eternity in the waiting room, Archer could no longer patiently site, he was literally bouncing off the walls, turning the lights on and off, (which garnered nasty glares from the receptionist), etc, and nothing could calm him down. Nothing, that is, until he found a book in the waiting area...Where's Waldo.

For the rest of our time there, he sat glued in his seat, looking for Waldo in a sea of red and white. What a life saver!!

A few days ago, I sat trying to think of a new way to encourage my younger son to talk more, while teaching him new words, colors, shapes, etc. Then I remembered the success we had with Waldo; hence, Baby I Spy!

You'll need:

Large piece of cardboard
Glue or ModPodge
White Paper (optional)

If you'd like, glue white paper on top of the cardboard to give a clean background. Or, if you'd like, keep the cardboard bare, you'll be covering most of it with pictures anyways!

Flip through old magazines and cut out pictures of different sizes. You'll use the big ones to fill up the space and little ones to fill in the gaps. Focus on what you want to teach your child.

Are you interested in teaching color? Pick pictures that are simple and boast primary colors, (vs all the different hues in between).

What to teach your child about animals? Look for magazines that have a wide array of animal pictures.

What to emphasize healthy foods? Cut up those old Cooking Light magazines you have buried in the garage.

Alexander looking for a the shoe.

Alexander finding the shoe!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

DIY Bird Feeders

Since winter always means slim pickings for wild birds, I thought it would be nice if the boys made a bird feeder to help the little hungry guys out. It's an easy and fun project. The best part is, the boys can watch the birds appreciate their efforts and they can learn a little about the joy of helping others. :)

You will need:

Empty milk carton, washed and dried
Bird seed


The first fun part of this project is going out and getting a stick!

As you can see, Archer had a lot of fun looking for the stick!
Next, have your little ones paint the milk carton. Mine were too inpatient to wait for me to cover the carton with white paper first. Covering it with paper first makes the paint job look better, but, it does make it less weather resistant. (Once the first rainfall comes, the paper will fall off, but the carton itself will be fine.)

Cut a small hole in the side of the carton and shove the stick in there. Cut a small exit hole on the other side of the carton and shove the stick through that. Make sure the hole you cut is smaller than the stick. This way the stick will be secure and won't fall out. Cut two small holes on the top and the carton and loop a length of ribbon through. Tie a secure knot.

Cut small holes next to the stick. Don't cut them too big or the seed will fall out!!

Stick a funnel into the spout of the carton and pour birdseed in. If you'e having the kids help with this part, please do this on a hard surface; do not do this on a rug or carpet. No matter how careful you are, some seeds will fall on the floor.

A lot of birdseed fell in our case!!!

Hang your bird feeder outside and wait for the animals to come!!

Okay, so this is not a bird, but, a hungry woodland creature is a hungry woodland creature. :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

DIY Scratch Off Valentines

In a couple of weeks, Archer will be at his first Valentine's Day party, thrown by his preschool; and of course, no Valentine's Day party would be complete without Valentine's Day cards. No surprise here, Archer selected a box of Angry Birds Valentine's to hand out to his classmates.

I thought, however, it might be nice if Archer made a card for his teacher. To make it a little different, we hid Archer's message to her behind a scratch off.

To make your own scratch off, you'll need:

liquid dish washing soap

Yup, that's it - 2 things. It's a pretty simple and fun idea, and I'm pretty you have at least one of things items on hand. :)

Mix two parts paint with one part soap. Gently mix, if you mix too hard, your paint will be full of air bubbles.

Archer's Valentine with his message to Ms Miller.
Paint over the desired area. You will need to give it two or three coats.

I made a tester as well.

After painting over the message a couple times, it became clear that the paint Archer chose was not opaque enough. Learn from my mistake, don't try to paint over black marker with neon green!!

So, I painted over the green with silver paint, which wasn't a bad thing. It looks more like traditional scratch off cards.

Archer's message is successfully covered!!
I covered the test message with silver paint as well. Once it dried, we scratched it worked!!

Obviously, this scratch off paint can be applied to more than just Valentine's Day cards. Use it for birthday cards, party invites, save the date cards, etc!!