About Me

My photo
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!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Its that time of year for Teacher Thank Yous!

Its that time of year for Teacher Thank You Gifts!

I will be the first to admit that if another mom hadn't shown up a today (a day early) with teacher gifts I would have totally forgotten to bring something on Friday.

Click on the picture to hop to a blog with more cute teacher ideas.

I want to do something to show my gratitude (because my daughters teachers were phenomenal) but i'm on a budget and now only have 36 hours.

Run to Pintrest…. find a spark of an idea….. run with it…..

I want something practical that the teachers can use in some way. I've worked in the education system long enough and have received several gifts that I look at with appreciation but wonder what in the world I will do with yet another mug, etc….

It came down to two choices:

Thanks for making me sparkle and attach sparkly nail polish.
Thanks for making me one smart cookie and attach cookies.

I love the play on words for both but don't know if either teacher paints their nails. I do know both teachers have families with kids who would (i'm pretty sure) love to eat sweets.

One smart cookie has won!

I hopped online and typed in "one smart cookie" and found some free clip art, downloaded it...

Added the text in Microsoft word, then I printed it on card stock.

Next a quick trip to the grocery store for a gourmet cookie for each teacher. Add some cute ribbon….

And it is done.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Heavenly Homemade Sugar Scrubs

Lets be honest moms, 5 minutes is about all the time was have to indulge, right? I take my 5 minutes in the morning and use my sugar scrub in the shower a few times a week.  

I have loved sugar scrub and sea salt scrub for years but have bought it very sparingly in the past due to the price in the stores. 

About a year ago I discovered homemade sugar scrub on Pintrest. 
I gave it a try and not only did I fall in love with it, I love it MORE than the store bought stuff. 

There are so many great things about it. 
~The ability to chose any sugar granule type and size. 
~Use any scent.
~Very inexpensive.
~Whip up a batch in a matter of minutes.
~Great as gifts for friends and family.

There is so much more but my favorite is that it leaves my skin softer than a babies bottom and I feel like i've just had a mini spa treatment!!!

Here are my 3 favorite recipes for sugar scrub. 

My favorite energizing summer scrub:

  • 1 cup fine sea salt (course if you like a rougher scrub)
  • 1 cup Sugar (raw or granulated)
  • Orange essential oil or Orange extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut Oil (add more or less if needed to achieve desired texture)
  1. In a medium bowl combine the sugar and salt.
  2. Add Coconut Oil and orange extract.  Stir until well blended. (this will require some mushing around if the oil is in a more solid state, if you want you can slightly heat is just enough to make it runny, then it will be easier to mix. Careful, it gets hot fast!)
  3. You should try for a texture similar to damp sand.
  4. Store covered in a tight container. (I recommend plastic container if you are keeping it in the shower.)

Inspired by the recipe at:

My favorite scrub to use in the fall:

Pumpkin Brown Sugar Scrub
  • 1 cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/3 cup coconut Oil (add more or less if needed to achieve desired texture)
  1. In a medium bowl combine the sugars and spices.
  2. Add Coconut Oil and stir until well blended. (this will require some mushing around if the oil is in a more solid state, if you want you can slightly heat is just enough to make it runny, then it will be easier to mix. Careful, it gets hot fast!)
  3. You may add more if your scrub is too dry.
  4. You should try for a texture similar to damp sand.
  5. Cover in a tight container. (recommend plastic container if you are keeping it in the shower.)

Adapted from the recipe at: http://www.theidearoom.net/tag/pumpkin-spice-sugar-scrubs

My favorite winter time scrub:

Peppermint Sugar Scrub

2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
Red food coloring
Peppermint extract (you can use essential oil too, found at a local craft store, but a few drops of extract do the same thing and is much less expensive!)

Mix sugar and coconut oil until it resembles the consistency of damp sand.
Separate the mixture into two bowls
In one bowl add a drop or two of red food coloring and mix throughly until it is a nice pink color.
In the other bowl add several drops of peppermint extract and mix thoroughly.
Layer pink and white layers into a plastic jar. 

If you go to the original site you can get the free labels pictured above to put on the jar!

Gardening With Your Kids

A few posts ago I talked about the little steps towards healthy eating that I do with my family. One of the ways I provide healthy food is by growing some of our own veggies in the summer.

I grew up with a family of gardeners so I have a bit of an advantage when it comes to the amount of background  knowledge I have. Nonetheless, I have had my fairshare if gardening failures but haven't let it deter me from continuing to try new plants and grow new things. 

I am now trying to teach my daughter these things so she develops a love and appreciation of gardening too. I love seeing my child's eyes light up as she sees the perennials pop up each spring and the excitement when the first tomato appears on a plant or he first strawberry is ready to be picked. 

I am a firm believer that children should see plants grow and so they understand where plants come from and how much work goes into helping them grow. Also, children seem much more eager to eat veggies when they've helped grow them!

The return on investment is really pretty good. A few dollars for a set of tomato or pepper plants, some herbs, or any other plant will usually provide I have more than we can eat at the end of the season.

I strongly encourage you to garden with your children, even if you only do a simple potted plant such as a tomato plant or a bowl of lettuce. No one says you need a full size farm. The process of planting, caring for, and harvesting is full of teachable moments. 

Here are some other tips I've gathered:

~Grow a theme garden. For example, a pizza garden. Grow pizza ingredients - basil, tomatoes, oregano, onion, and green peppers, etc.

~Let you child feel special by giving then their own kid size gloves and shovel/spade to use while helping you or working in their own special area. 

~Plant a sensory garden. Let you child explore gardening by using all their senses. Kids enjoy touching plants so plant a variety of textures, lambs ear is very soft in contrast straw flowers are very crispy. Sense of smell is very powerful. Look for fragrant flowers such as sweet peas, marigolds, and freesia. Bright colors are great visual stimulators. Look for a varity if colors or let your child pick their favorite color but in a variety if plants. Introduce new tastes by picking a few new veggies that your child has never tried and make a special meal out of it come harvest time. 
~Encourage your child to experience all the things that go along with gardening. Let them browse the seeds at the store and chose flowers or vegetables they want to grow. Have them start seeds in simple Dixie cups ans place near a window to grow in they are big enough to transplant outside.
~If you have enough room let hem have those own little comer of the garden to plant and care for.

In the end it doesn't matter how much you harvest from your garden, the important thing is to let your child enjoy the expierence. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cleaning a Cast Iron Skillet

I love using my cast irons skillet to cook. However the first time I cleaned it and realized I couldn't use soap I was at a loss. It wasnt until I saw a post about cleaning with salt that I found the ultimate way to clean this pan. I have used this often and it works!!!!

Here is my dirty pan after making some phenomenal gluten free fried chicken... Yuck!

First scrap out all the grease and residue you can with a spatula. 
Then grab our COURSE sea salt. (Only a few dollars for a large size at your cloc grocery store.)

Sprinkle it liberally onto your pan.

Use a sponge or plastic scrubber and firmly push the salt around the pan. Add a tiny bit of water if needed.

You will notice an the salt starts to turn to a dirty color.

When it looks like most of the dirt is in the salt and off the pan, rinse thoroughly.

If you see any remaining residue add more salt and scrub again.

Dry thoroughly and you are ready for your next use. 

Some people like to coat the pan with a bit of olive oil to prevent rust but I find that the pan doesn't need that because use it often enough.

Do you have a cleaning tip that you love? Please share :-) 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Roasted Veggies

My me favorite way to eat vegetables is to roast them. It is so quick, so easy, and so delicous!

Step 1: 
Preheat oven by turning the broiler on low (or if you don't have a broiler 350 degrees will also work)
Chop up your select veggies. Some of the veggies that taste good roasted are: broccoli, butternut squash,  potatoes (red, sweet, etc.) carrots, brussel sprouts, peppers, onions, zucchini, and lots more! 
It never hurts to try. 

Step 2
Prep your pan.
I line a jelly roll pan with with foil for easy clean up.
Spray pan with a good coat of olive oil (or cookin spray of your choice)

Step 3
I like to lightly blanch my veggies. It slightly cooks/softens them. I also think the extra moisture helps keep them from burning under the broiler. 

To blanch being a pot of water to a full boil. 
Put the veggies in, the boiling will stop.

As soon as the water comes back to a rolling boil pull out the veggies with a slotted spoon or drain in a colander.

Step 4
Place on treated cookie sheet and season.  Salt and pepper are a must for me, you can add additional specie depending on the veggies you are roasting and your taste preference. 
Garlic, Italian seasoning, and Rosemary are all favorites of mine. 

Finally, give them another generous coat of olive oil spray on top of the veggies.

Step 5
Throw them in the oven and let them roast! (On top shelf under LOW broil)

Smaller veggies like broccoli and chopped up brussel sprouts can cook I as a little as 10 minutes. Thicker veggies like potatoes and carrots will take more time. 

Poke test or taste test are great ways to check for 'doneness'.

All you have left to do is eat and enjoy this delicious, high fiber, low calorie, side dish!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Spring Cleaning

I am feeling the need to do some spring cleaning. Yes my house needs spring cleaning the house always needs cleaning but I'm talking about a little bit of spring cleaning in my life.

 Lately I find myself overwhelmed by the amount of activities that I'm helping with or lending a hand for participating in the number of emails and getting the sort through each day time to clean out. 

Do I really need all those emails from websites that show how to make cute cards and cute scrapbook pages? I can always search the web if I really need an idea and it will provide me with plenty of ideas...

Time to unsubscribe or block all those emails so that I'm not tempted to clutter up my life and eat up time going through them.

Ahhhhhhh! Feeling better already...

Now it's time to look at the committees I'm on and nicely resign from a few and bring it down to just one committee meeting once a month.....

I am feeling so much better! This is the way its supposed to be. I want to come home from work and be able to take of what needs to be done at home and then spend the rest of the time with my family. I don't want to be constantly burdened by the thought of what I need to do and where I need to go next.


There are all sorts of other spring cleaning tips out there, tips for home cleaning, fitness programs, healthy eating cleanse programs, and more. However, I need to be on my way. It is time to spring clean my life by listing out my priorities and cleaning out the rest of the "clutter"!

While in the midst of this "spring cleaning life" revelation I did a bit of web searching and found a few good links I thought I would share:

This website gives a few good tips on how to do a mental/spiritual spring cleaning:

If you are looking for some tips on how to do a spring cleaning of your digital world take a glance at this story: