About Me

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I'm a mom, but I am also so much more. I'm a wife, I work, cook, shop, craft, try to stay healthy, keep up on the latest technology, and style trends, and much more! Come join me in my adventure of making a new blog that allows us to share the everyday things (ups and downs) that turns living an everyday life into living a lively life!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Observation of nature :-)

We have a new 'per' in the house, a caterpillar! 

I found it chowing on my parsley plant.  I was going to take it  off and throw it in the weeds in the yard but my daughter saw it and thought it was the coolest thing ever. So I figured why not, a great chance to watch nature in action.
We used a glass ball jar I had in the pantry and some plastic wrap up with a few holes for air. A simple bit of research online Told me it was a black swallow butterfly that like to eat carrots, celery, dill, and parsley. (Makes sense why he was on my parsley)
So here we are with our pet caterpillar, watching him grow daily, and I am willingly (?) feeding him my parsley.

I do admit, we do look forward to seeing him make a cocoon and hatch into a butterfly. It'll be a great experience for my daughter to watch nature in action.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Time to make another batch of homemade laundry detergent. I thought I would share with all of you how easy it is to make this. 

The recipes are all over the internet. There are several variations. If you make a batch you need to find a measurement that works for you and your laundry. It all depends if you have hard water or soft water, if you have well water, lake water, etc. 

This is the mix that works best for me. I have been using this for over 9 months now and I will never go back!

1 Fels-Naptha bar,
1 Cup WASHING Soda, (not baking soda) 
1 Cup Borax, 
1/4 Cup Purex Crystals
Supplies: Fels-Naptha bar, Washing soda, Borax, & Purex Crystals

I prefer to use my KitchenAid grater attachment to shred the soap. You can easily use a hand grater to do the same thing but it takes longer. The KitchenAid shreds it so fast and it is really easy to clean up. I scrub off the soap with some hot water and then run it through the dishwasher to make sure its food ready for the next use. 

You can make this batch any size you want with the 1:1:1 ratio

I happened to quadruple it this time because my neighbor and I both use this soap so we alternate making it and share the batches every few months. 

Once your soap is shredded, add the Washing Soda, Borax, and Purex Crystals into a large bowl. Use a spoon and gently mix the ingredients. (This will toss a little bit of powder in the air so chose your mixing area carefully.)

Store your detergent in a glass or plastic container.

Use 1-2 Tablespoons per load of laundry. I usually toss in 1 for a small load and 2 for a large or really dirty load. I toss in the clothes and put the soap on top, start it, and walk away.

A batch this size will last for MONTHS! At pennies per load this is worth it. My clothes smell good, all the regular dirt comes out, any extra dirty stains I usually hit it with a spray of shout before washing. 

Best part, by using the homemade detergent and the vinegar in place of laundry softener, I don't get that funky build up of detergent or softener and my washer never smells funny! 

Have you used homemade laundry soap? Do you like it?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sulley Popsicles

Summertime calls for popsicles and I adjusted a recipie to make some healthier versions. My daughter named the Sulley because the colors remainder her of Sulley from Monsters Inc. 

4oz box Sugar free jello
1 cup water 
1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt

Heat 1 cup water and mix in jello.
Stir in 1 cup yogurt. 
Pour into popsicle molds until 3/4 full. 
Slice grapes in half and drop several into each mold. 
Top off popsicle molds of needed. 

Place molds in freezer and wait several hours till firm.

Eat and enjoy!

Do you have a favorite popsicle recipie?

Home grown herbs all year round.

Fresh herbs are amazing, but I can't grow them all year round. I have found that dried herbs are much better than store bought herbs. Last year I made an attempt to dry a few herb and ran out far too soon. 

Then my mom bought me a dehydrator for christmas. I LOVE IT. 

You know that herbs grow better when you trim them periodically right? My herbs are flourishing this year and I am gladly harvesting handfuls every few weeks and throwing them right into the dehydrator. 

(You can also dry in the microwave on a paper plate or in the oven. Both techniques are easily found by doing a search on google.)

Here is a glance at the parsley (left) and 
rosemary (right) on the drying racks before being dried.

Oregano after being dried.

I find the best way to make the herbs into small usable pieces is to put the leaves into a bag after drying and just gently crush them with my fingers. I once tried using a knife and it just made a royal mess. 
I store my herbs in a sealed plastic container pr a zip lock bag and find they last all winter in my spice cabinet stored that way.

Have you grow herbs? What are your favorite fresh or dried herbs?

Bugs and Bees TicTacToe

My mother-in-law gave me some supplies to do a very cute craft with my daughter. She found the idea on Pintrest and made a 'kit' for each of her grand-daughters. 

A round log (or wooden board at least 5 inches in diameter)
Paint: black, red, and yellow
10 Rocks (semi smooth and at least 1 inch across)

1. Use a wood burner (or just paint) tic-tac-toe lines onto the log.
2. Paint 5 of the rocks red and 5 of the rocks yellow. Let dry.

painting stones

3. Add a large black 'head' on each bug. 
4. Paint black dots on the lady bug.
5. Paint yellow stripes on the bee.

6. To seal in the pain and make for a glossy finish spray the rocks with a coat of sealer.

Have fun playing with your bugs and bees!

Bugs and Bees Tic-Tac-Toe.

Pintrest link originally linked to http://chickenscratchny.com/2013/04/spring-time-tic-tac-toe.html

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Forget the new, in with the old!

Was doing some cleaning at my parents house and ran across an old game from my childhood. Sometimes old is better than new!

Still had a the parts and was the perfect game for my daughter and I to play together right now.

Great way to add a fun 'new' game to our collection without taking any money out of my wallet?

Have you pulled out toys from your childhood that are fun options for your kids?


Its been a rough week. I've had a relative in the hospital and have spent several days away from home helping prep things for that person to return home. So I'm feeling unmotivated to cook a full meal so leftover night it is. 

More than enough to chose from... 
Lets see what I can come up with. 

Dish One: Chicken quesadilla, grapes, and carrots. (All ingredients were leftovers, or needing to be used up, except the cheese)

Dish Two: Mixed salad. Using leftover spinach, chicken, feta cheese, tomato, and threw in a few fresh snow peas picked from the garden. 

Dish Three: Pulled pork sandwiches. Using leftover rolls, coleslaw, and pulled pork. 

Success; three delicious dishes easily heated up and served in less than 10 minutes and three happy tummys. 

Using up leftovers on a regular basis is not only economical but timesaving as well.

What are your favorite leftover dishes?

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Wonderful Mr Clean Magic Eraser!

One of my FAVORITE cleaning products is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I am convinced that it can clean almost anything. I bought it originally for walls years ago, but as time has gone on I have found many, many, MANY more uses for it.

Some of my favorites uses:
-removing crayon from wall (and many other surfaces)
-appliance handles (stove, fridge, microwave)
-removing scuffs from the floor
-removing the 'ring around the tub' in the bathtub
-making the bottom of the tub and shower white again
-cleaning off the burnt on stuff from pots and pans

I found a website thats lists many more uses and I think I might try some of the suggestions.


Do you use a Magic Eraser? What is your favorite use for it?

Pet Jellyfish

A few days ago we decided to make a "pet jellyfish". I'd seen in (where else?) on Pintrest! Short and sweet craft activity great for a 3 year old, looked easy enough, and required minimal supplies. 
Here is how it unfolded:

2 liter bottle
plastic lunch baggie
food coloring

Step 1: using a plastic sandwich baggie fill one corner with 1/2 air 1/2 water and tie tightly with string. This 1/2 and 1/2 air water mixture is what is supposed to keep the jellyfish floating in the center of the bottle 

Step 2: Cut bag to desired length.

Step 3: "Shred" the bag with scissors to make the tentacles of the jellyfish.

Step 4: Shove the jellyfish into the bottle.

Step 5:
Add ONE drop of blue food coloring to (or any color your child would like).

Step 6: Fill with water and seal securely.

Step 7: Watch your jellyfish bob up and down and stare for hours mesmerized by its likeness to the real thing. 

OK, OK. I confess. The above picture is not mine! Unfortunately this would be a fail on my end. Our jellyfish moved right up to the top of the bottle and didn't bob in the middle at all.

The real results. 

I don't know if the air/water mixture was wrong or I didn't tie it tight enough. Or maybe this is one of those ideas that looks cool on the internet but never really works in real life. 

What kind of stories do you have about crafts that didn't quite work out? 

Sneak peek + confession

A sneak peek at the latest project I've been working on. 

It's a gift so I can't post the finished product till later (plus its not finished yet). I spent four hours working on it this morning. I'm not the kind of parent to pop my kid in front of the tv, as a general  rule I strive to not do that. But thank goodness for a good Disney movie to keep my daughter distracted. Sometimes  rules are made to be broken. :-)

Do you have an example of a parenting rule that you have broken?

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Minions are coming!

My daughter loved the first Despicable Me movie and has been asking (begging) to see the 2nd movie. I wasn't willing to spend the money on a trip to the movies today but a minion craft was received with much excitement! I checked Pintrest and the web but Minion inspired crafts were few and far between so I decided to make my own.

blue, yellow, and black construction paper
goggly eyes
popsicle sticks

Step 1:

Cut several rectangular shape with rounded edges.
Trace and cut a piece of blue to cover the bottom 1/3.
Cut two small rectangles.

Step 2:
Glue the "pants" on the Minion. 
Add the overall straps.
Use a marker to add the button on the overall strap.
Add eye(s).

Even my husband couldn't resist participating in this craft.
Step 3:
Use marker to add goggles, hair, or other accessories.
Add arms and legs by using scraps of paper to cut hands, arms, feet, and legs.

Step 4:
Put glue on popsicle stick and attach to back of Minion.

Now you have your very own group of Minions to do your bidding! 

What fun crafts have you come up with? 

Leaping and learning

Beautiful day outside today, time to break out the chalk (and sneak in a little education too!)

We started with a regular hopscotch but I decided that hopping up to ten was too easy. I've been working with my daughter to get up to 20 but she was getting confused in the teen numbers. So a new game was born "Froggy Hop Fun".

I made round "lily pads" in a random pattern a then colored in the surrounding areas in blue "water". I numbered the lily pads up to 20 and told my daughter to hop like a frog without getting wet and say the numbers out loud. 

Frog Hop Count Fun

My daughter jumped on two feet instead of one foot. Either can be done depending on the age and skill level of your child. You can also change the numbers. You can count even numbers or odd numbers. You can count by 10's. You could even work on spelling words!

Added a frog to the number pond!
There are lots of studies out there that prove any time you can combine movement and learning the information sticks in you mind better. Use this as a fun way to help your kids learn and get some exercise!

Happy Hopping!

What fun ways do yo help your child learn?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Free onions

Did you know you can get free onions! (Well you do have to grow them.)

In the spring and buy a package of 200 onion bulbs for a $1.99 and plant them in my garden because I love having green onions. They require very little care to grow, just occasional water if there us a dry spell, and then you just pull them up when you want them. These cost pennies a piece compared to the 10 for a $1 pay for at the store.

Here is the free part: Chop off the ends (roots plus 1/2 an inch to 3/4 of an inch) and replant them right back out I the garden. 

Just use your thumb to make a one inch hole, insert the onion roots down, cover with dirt, water, and walk away.

In a few weeks time you'll have another set of green onions!

*Note: Green onions are very hardy. If you don't have a garden bed you can also grow them in a container on your deck backyard as long as they plenty of sunlight.

Do you know any other good garden tricks?