Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Ok so you can see the DISGUSTING stain on my carpet...not sure how it got there which is probably more scary. Oh well it won't be there for much longer!
Dab/spray the area with the vinegar/water solution until damp. Place the rag on top of the stain and set the iron to the "cotton" setting or about medium. Hold the iron on the stain for about 10 seconds alternating spots until you have covered the entire stain. You may need to add a little more of the solution if the stain doesn't come up immediately. You are basically just steam cleaning your rug with a harmless cleaner.
This is the area where the stain was. Pretty amazing for a few minutes of work, plus I didn't douse my carpet with smelly chemicals or anything like that. I have seen alternative methods using ammonia, while it may do the trick a little quicker, I liked the idea of vinegar better. The stain wasn't in a room that I could "tape off" from the girls and I just didn't feel like doing it at night when they were sleeping--lazy! :)
Have fun cleaning!
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
I had been browsing Etsy for the perfect vintage dress pattern for Laura's school dress. I found this one from 1965. I LOVE how innocent and sweet the dress is and besides the buttons, it was pretty easy to make. Her favorite feature are the "treasure pockets."
Ours isn't quite as short as the pattern called for, but I thought that it would get me a little more wear out of it. Well, at least a few extra months maybe.....My sleeves were also a little too large and the sewing is definitely amateurish but it made me so proud when her teacher commented on her pretty dress and she beamed and said, "My mommy made it!!" :)
The fabric is Michael Miller's Children at Play in Meadow Pink.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Ahh goodbye summer, picnics, and pools but we're ok with that because it gives way to FALL and fun fall activities like pumpkin carving, planting mums, crock pot recipes, and bread making!
I had been pretty obsessed with Danielle of Blissful and Domestic and her family's plan to live on $14,000 a year. While her suggestions are great, they don't all fit the needs of our family, HOWEVER I was intrigued that she makes her own bread all the time.
After trying a couple of recipes, this one is by far the best and easiest! I actually fell asleep (thanks Baby 3) during the rising stage and overshot it by 40 minutes--did not make a difference in the least!
Try baking your own sandwich bread this fall, it's a lot of work, no lie, but it really makes your PB&J sandwich special. Plus you can devote a Sunday when you are at home watching football to make a few loaves and kids can help too! Caroline helped me with these two loaves!
Easy Homemade Bread (Adapted from The Wannabe Country Girl)
1 packet of yeast
7 cups of flour (bread or all purpose)
4 cups of warm water
1/4 Olive Oil
2 Tsp Salt
1 Tbsp of Sugar
1. Dissolve yeast according to package add sugar and let sit till foamy.
2. In a separate bowl, add flour, salt, oil, and water.
3. Stir that mixture ( or if you have a Kitchen Aid, attach the dough hook and give it a whirl!)
4. Add yeast mixture and continue to stir until completely incorporated. If you aren't using a dough hook you will have to take the dough out and knead it until it forms a ball.
5. Once the ball is formed, plop it onto a sheet of parchment paper or saran wrap and spray the bowl you just used with cooking spray and then plop it back into the bowl.
6. Cover with a towel and find a nice warm and dark place for your bowl. Some people choose their stove top, but I go with the top of the the dryer. It also forces me to do a load of wash, so I kill two birds with one stone haha. ( You should have seen the hubby's face when I asked him to get the bread dough from the laundry room in the basement haha)
7. Let it sit for about 45 minutes until it is nice and fluffy.
8. Take it out and sprinkle flour on top. Cut in half and store the half that you don't want to use right away in the fridge or freezer.
9. Take the other half and roll it out into a rectangle shape. Roll it up like a fruit roll up and tuck the ends inward.
10. Spray a loaf pan and pop it into the oven at 350 for 25 minutes!
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
I'm not sure if I am nesting or just in the cleaning mood for these past few weeks! I have been scouring the internet trying to find ways to fix little things in our house that have been driving me crazy. For instance the mildew and rust stains in the bath tub. Now I clean my bathroom probably twice a week--it's one of the things I am crazy about, that and the kitchen. I will allow myself to step on the same toy for a week, but I don't miss my twice a week bathroom cleanings. Anyways, I clean my bathroom a lot, but I could NOT get those stubborn mildew and rust stains out of the grout. GRR!
So...after some digging I found a home remedy that was cheap and easy and made my bath tub look BRAND NEW.
1. Ok, so go to Sally Beauty Supply and get Cellu Cotton. It's basically a long cotton ball that can easily be torn apart.
2. Break the cotton coil into strip to fit your tub.
3. Put gloves on and open your windows (it's best to do this when you will be out of the house or at night when you can shut the bathroom door so fumes don't escape and leave the bathroom window open and fan on to ventilate).
4. In a pot/pan/bucket, pour a little bit of bleach and soak your cotton strips. Place the strips on your mildew infected areas. It should stick up there like caulking.
5. Let it sit for at least 3 hours (the longer the better)
6. Remove and rinse the area with hot water from the shower head.
7. Go back to the rust stains and use a magic eraser to get rid of those and then you are DONE!
Magic Eraser Trial Size: $1.76
Cellu Cotton: $1.99
Bleach: Had it already
Total for a shiny new tub: $3.75
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Our favorite things for Back to School!
We are channeling Oprah today! I spent a ridiculous amount of time on Pinterest the other day and found some seriously cool things to start the year off right!
The item featured above is called Knot Genie and they are on sale right now on the Mini Social for 8.99! The makers claim to gets knots out of hair of varying lengths. The bristles bend so damage of the cuticle. The hair is supposed to remain shinier than normal! With the amount of curls in our house, this one may be worth it for us especially when school starts and baths and hair washing are a daily occurrence.
These are also very cool! To Go Ware, RePEat Utensils. This would be great for older kids who may not accidently throw them away. For 11.99, you can provide utensils for the kiddies and be eco-friendly while doing it!
The adorable skirt featured above is from Down East Basics. If you haven't checked out their site, you have to soon! They only carry women's, girls', and home decor. Their aesthetic is close to JCrew but at a fraction of the price! Plus, their sale right now is discounted an additional 30%!
We Give Books is a GREAT resource for parents of preschoolers. It's totally free and you can read books to your kiddos online, so that mean if you are out and about in a doctor's office or car ride you can read pictures books instantly. It's a philanthropic organization, so every time you login and read a book, they will donate a book to an organization of your choice. Great for you, great for the cause!
Finally this last one is for the mamas out there preparing the little ones for preschool and school. Capri Blue Candles are HEAVEN! They come with a hefty price tag ($30 for the largest candle) but they are oh so worth it! My favorite scents are Aloha Orchid and Volcano. They also sell them in Anthropologie stores. So brew yourself a cup of tea, put your feet up, turn on one of House Hunters International and enjoy! The smell will transplant you to all of those fun locations!
(The above reflects my own opinion about the products featured. I was not paid nor compensated for any of the reviews. All referencing information is shown below each item.)
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
We cut that them in shapes and letters. It was the cheapest bath toy ever, which is great because Pete and I frequently have to throw out bath toys....
Oh and the best part was that they used the sponges to clean up their mess in the tub when they were done! We just used these paints for one bath, but you could buy the tiny Gladware containers and store them for a couple of days for extended bath fun!
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
I should call this the "empty the fridge" pasta dish :) I had friends over earlier in the week and picked up some smoked salmon from Trader Joe's, along with some fat free cream cheese and capers to make mini salmon and caper sandwiches. Anyways, I had extras so I threw everything together and thankfully the family enjoyed it!
8 oz of fat free cream cheese
1 box of fettuccine
1 1/2 cups of frozen peas
6 oz (about half a package of smoked salmon)
1 cup of chicken broth
1 cup of milk
2 teaspoons of French Thyme
1 clove of garlic minced
salt and pepper to taste
1. Boil water for pasta and cook pasta till al dente.
2. In a large sauce pan over medium heat, pour chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add garlic and stir.
3. After the garlic has been incorporated, add the cream cheese and allow it to melt.
4. Once the cream cheese has melted, add the milk and stir with a whisk. Slowly add the thyme and salt and pepper.
5. Finally add the peas and salmon and cook until the salmon is light pink in color and the peas have completely thawed and are warm.
6. Drain the pasta and add the sauce to the pasta and wa-lah! :)
The girls nibbled it right up! :) It was quick and looked way fancier than it actually was to create. Enjoy!
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
This recipe was born out of necessity! I had to throw dinner together without that many ingredients and used up a lot of odds and ends in the fridge, so overall this recipe was pretty darn cheap and resourceful!
3 pieces of whole wheat bread for bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of Italian Seasoning
1 Teaspoon of Garlic powder
1 Egg White with a splash of water
1 cup of flour
2 Chicken Breasts Split (I actually split my two breasts into five pieces, two for the little mouths in the house)
Left over Spaghetti Sauce
1/2 cup of shredded Mozzarella
Toast for serving
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine the first 3 ingredients into a food processor/magic bullet and pulse until breadcrumbs are made and pour into a shallow dish.
3. Pour egg wash into a shallow dish and then the flour into another shallow dish.
4. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium.
5. Dredge the chicken pieces through the flour, egg, then breadcrumbs and brown each side-about 2-3 minutes each side.
6. Once each piece is done, put them on a baking sheet and add about a tablespoon or two of spaghetti sauce and then add about a tablespoon or so of cheese.
7. Bake for 16 minutes. While you are baking toast your bread.
8. Once the chicken has cooked and the cheese is nice and melty, put it into between your pieces of toast and serve!
This was a favorite of my husband! I don't normally do sub-like sandwiches for dinner so he liked this surprise, plus it had the homemade element to it which made it a little special!
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
We had paper mache letters up in Laura's room that were painted a basic pink and green, but after our recent trip to Chicago's Land of Nod, I was instantly inspired by all the creativity that hung from their walls! For those of you who haven't heard of Land of Nod, it's Crate and Barrel's kids' line. They have adorable furniture, decor, and toys. They only have a few stores throughout the country so I love visiting the Oak Brook store when we go to visit Pete's family in Chicago.
One of the coolest ideas that we saw was the yarn wrapped letters. It was easy and it added neat texture to her walls. I had the yarn lying around the house, so that part of the project was free. As for the glittered letters, I repainted them teal (just one light brushed on coat) and then covered them with glue. I used an old box to contain all the glitter. It was an incredibly easy project and one that she really appreciated. She says her room looks like Hollywood! Haha! If only I didn't figure out earlier that it would be this easy to impress my little one! I had some helpers....well...they tried....oh and yes, they got into the glitter box when Mommy and Daddy weren't paying attention-MESS!
Caroline has asked when her name will be going up on the wall...very soon, Caro, very soon!
Monday, August 20, 2012
Roasted Corn and Chicken Carbonara
1 Chicken breast ( I threw mine in a mini crockpot with some chicken stock earlier in the afternoon, made this easy because the chicken just fell apart!)
1 package of Linguini
Half a pack (about 6 oz) of Fat Free Cream Cheese or Neufchetal Cheese
1 Cup Chicken Stock/Veggie Stock
6 strips of Turkey Bacon
1 1/2 cups of Trader Joes' Roasted Corn (AMAZING and should be a freezer staple!)
1 cup of frozen peas
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 garlic clove minced
Parmesan Cheese for sprinkling
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta, about 10 minutes.
2. In a medium pot or sauce pan over medium heat, add the oil and turkey bacon. Brown bacon will crispy.
3. Add the chicken to the bacon and break up into chunks. Stir and immediately add corn and peas.
4. Lower the heat to medium/low.
5. In a small pot, add cream cheese and chicken or veggie stock. Stir until cheese cheese has melted and a cream sauce has been created. Add garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. (You now have a healthy version of an Alfredo!)
6. Once the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving about a 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the bacon/veggie/chicken mixture and pour the cream sauce on top!
7. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve!
I have some seriously picky eaters in my house, but they cleaned their plates! :) Plus, the hubby liked the addition of bacon to my usual pasta and pea dishes. He would have preferred the real deal bacon, but he said that it was tasty all the same. I save some fat and calories too. This meal took about 35 minutes from opening the cabinet to get the pot to serving my last hungry mouth!
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Oven Roasted Tomato Polenta and Chicken
This is a quick and easy "gourmet" dish. From beginning to end it took about 30 minutes! Plus it's economically since I only used two chicken breasts and half of the bunch of organic tomatoes! I can use the rest tonight for dinner--Mexican this time I think.
1 cup Instant Polenta (I used Ferraro)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 Chicken breasts halfed (this is where you can save money, half them so everyone gets an adequate portion without going overboard
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
a handful of fresh basil chopped
3 garlic cloves still in skin
4 organic (or not) Compari tomatoes
dash of Italian season and salt and pepper to season chicken
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Grease baking dish with olive oil. Half chicken breasts (so now you have 4 pieces of chicken) and put them in the dish (move them around a little). Season one side of the chicken with Italian seasonings and salt and pepper and then repeat with the other side.
3. Cut tomatoes into three parts and place them on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with a little pepper. Sprinkle your basil on top!
4. Place both the chicken and the tomatoes in the oven. The chicken will cook for 15 minutes and then you will flip the pieces and cook for another 15 minutes. At the halfway point you can take out the tomatoes and place them to the side.
5. During the first 15 minutes of cooking, pour yourself a glass of wine or tea and hang out. Once the first 15 minutes are up and the tomatoes are out, start the polenta.
6. Follow the directions on the box, but I warn you polenta cooks VERY fast and you need to whisk or stir to get rid of lumps.
7. Once your polenta has finished cooking, add your butter and cheese. Stir until the butter melts and then add your tomatoes. Smash your garlic to get the skins off. (Don't worry the garlic won't be as strong as it is in raw form) I added a basil leaf to pretty it up, but it's not necessary!
8. Your chicken should be done, just check to make sure it isn't pink.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Easy Peasy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies!
I snatched this recipe from Milk and Cookies! It is the quickest, easiest chocolate cookie recipe that you can throw together with ingredients you may already have in your cupboards! The baby has been begging for cookies and milk, so this was an afternoon snack that hit the spot! You can find the recipe here, but I cut it a little short on the butter, about a stick and a half instead of two and lightened up on the flour! It also freezes beautifully!
This is their dramatic cookie face! Nothing is more serious than enjoying chocolate..oh and Daddy, I may have allowed them to lick the spoons....don't hate me :)
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
This idea is genius and delicious! What is there not to like about sweetened condensed milk??? This paint is made in a muffin tin with the sweet stuff and food coloring! I had to slap my own hand from trying to eat the paint--what am I back in kindergarten???
They had so much fun painting! When it dries, it has a wet look to it. I originally saw this idea on Pinterest and the pinner said that this was mess-free....uh not so much. At least not when you do it with toddlers. Come to think of it, what is mess free when toddlers are involved? There was actually a good deal of mess but since the paint is think it pretty much stuck to that drop cloth. I would be careful doling it in a carpeted area. ( Our carpet is on its way out the door, so I didn't care. :) )
Sorry for the dizzy picture but picture manager didn't allow me to alter this for some reason, but I did want to show how cool it was that they mixed colors in the extra muffin wells.
Overall it was a great idea and I am glad that I tried this pin. Super cheap, since a can of the milk costs about $1.99 and the kids love the feel (and taste-I let them try it prior to coloring it) of it!
Monday, February 20, 2012
Ok so in the new year I vowed that some of my pinning would not be done in vain....I wanted my thousands (and I mean thousands) of pins to mean something. :) I vowed that I would do at least one pin a week! Last week I did two--but today we'll just get into the first!
I found these DIY tile coasters on Pinterest some time ago and have been wanting to try them. Last week, my MOPS group met to have a crafty little play date and our crafty chairlady decided to do these coasters! It was perfect--one pin down!
The original coasters are came from The Happy Housewife, a blog that I love to check for cool DIY ideas! You should check her blog out--very good stuff!
I made mine with:
- Porcelain Tiles (Home Depot--about 0.40 each)
- Mod Podge
- Scrapbooking Paper
- Polyurethane Spray for finishing
- First cut your scrapbooking paper to fit the size of your tile (TIP: If the scrapbooking paper is of thicker quality then cut it slightly smaller than your square. The Mod Podge is great, but it won't mold the paper or be sticky enough to stick the paper down completely and then you will have corners that pop up!)
- Apply Mod Podge to both the backside of the paper, as well as the tile and fix the paper to the tile.
- Let dry for a few minutes and then apply 2-3 coats of Mod Podge on top of the whole coaster.
- Let the coaster dry for at least 20 minutes.
- Once the coaster has dried and there isn't that tacky feeling, go to a well ventilated room (outside is best) and spray a coat of the Polyurethane spray on top. Let it dry and then you are done!
My friend Chrissy made monogrammed DIY coasters for her friends and family and they turned out GREAT! Very cute gifts, especially for teachers!
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I have never been one to whip up salads for meals, but for the birthday party this past weekend, I figured that I should provide a healthy side dish for my guests. :) The girls helped me with this one! Making the dressing may sound silly when you can just buy some at the store, but keeping foods whole is better for you. I figure that if it can sit on a shelf, unrefrigerated for any number of days, it must have some kind of preservatives in it. And if it can sit on that shelf for that long, how long can it sit in your stomach?
They even ate the leftovers the next day with dinner--well everything but the tomatoes!
bag of baby spinach
2 hard boiled eggs diced
half of a white onion, sliced
bacon chopped ( looking back I will use turkey bacon)
1/2 package of baby bella mushrooms
Horseradish Ranch Dressing
3 TBS Low fat milk
1 TBS Horseradish
Half a packet of ranch seasoning
1/2 cup of low fat or fat free sour cream
Whisk with a small whisk or fork, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add more sour cream if it is too thin or more milk if it is too thick.
Mix it up and
Monday, February 13, 2012
In going with the Abby Cadabby theme, fairy wands were a must for party favors! We made these pretty cheaply and they took about and hour to make 9. They even turned out to be a hit with the boys!
They take just a few supplies:
- a roll of tulle (get the kind in the bridal department at Michael's or Joann's-it's already 6 or 7 inches in width)
- dowels (Home Depot will cut the 3 foot dowels for you into 12 inch wands--only $0.80 a dowel and you get 3 wands from 1 dowel!)
- various notions, I used the $1 bin ric rac and ribbon
- Hot Glue Gun
- glitter and mod podge for decorating the dowel (optional)
I started by decoupaging the dowels, although this is totally optional. They would look cute without this step.
Once the dowels are dry, cut the tulle into 7 four inch strips. Fold the strips accordion style and tie string the in the middle and fluff your layers out. ( Remember those tissue paper flowers we used to make in elementary school?? Same technique!)
Take your hot glue gun and glue random strips of ribbon, ric rac, or anything else that you want to hang from the wand. I thought about taking some of their broken play necklaces and using those but we unfortunately were attached to them.... ( Really???) Glue the notions to the tip top of the dowel.
Once the notions are secure, hot glue the tulle puff to the top! Ok now that I am typing out the instructions, they sounds like a lot of work--but trust me they are totally worth it! The kids played with the all evening!
Now you have awesome fairy wands, wizard wands, whatever you want to call them! They are great for dress up or a good game of chase. :)
Yes they are in their jammies. Yes that is a lollipop hanging from her mouth........No, they didn't have lollipops for breakfast that day, but they got one when they finished--hey sometimes it's not worth the fight.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
I had this coffee table that my mom gave me when they got some new family room furniture. I liked it because it was pretty sturdy but our family room/play room was pretty dark so I had to paint it brown.....
Thursday, February 9, 2012
My youngest daughter turned two yesterday so we are having a party for her on Saturday. I was racking my brain about what to do for party favors. I remembered how much fun the girls had making play dough last week so I figured we'd whip some of that up! We needed it to be special....what could we add..........GLITTER! My husband has a bad relationship with glitter. He says it gets stuck in his beard-that is why I made it when he wasn't home hehe :)
Many of your ingredients you will find in your own kitchen cabinets....
Many of your ingredients you will find in your own kitchen cabinets....
- 2 cups Flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 2 cups water
- 4 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 TBSP veggie oil
- white glitter for glistening dough
- silver glitter for sparkly dough
- Wilton Brand concentrated food coloring
You make the dough pretty much the same way that you made the dough from last week with a few tweaks.
1. Dump all ingredients in a pot and stir until smooth.
2. BEFORE heating divide mixture into as many bowls as you would like colors (I used three)
3. Heating one of the batches over medium, add food coloring until it is the shade of your choice. Mix.
4. Add lots of glitter! I went through two containers of glitter!
5. Stir and once its a dough ball, let it sit cool either on the counter or in the fridge before storing it.
6. Rinse out your pot and repeat with other colors.
I also picked up these cute little Glad Ware containers to keep the dough in when I stuff their goodie bags!
There you have it! A cheap and easy party favor that all kids love! Who doesn't love glitter play dough!?!
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
When the weather is cold and we can't play outside, we look to the shoe store for entertainment. My girls would spend hours in the shoe department at Nordstrom Rack! Haha hey at least its a free activity that makes them happy!
Monday, February 6, 2012
I am an avid fan of Joy the Baker's blog. I've baked her cakes for birthdays and the crowd goes wild. :) Oh and her mocha coffee cake is to DIE for!! Anyways, she did not disappoint with this pretzel dog recipe. Soft pretzels are delicious and so are hot dogs.....although I used Trader Joe's Organic Turkey Dogs for this one-needless to say, they came out amazing! I Thank you Joy. My husband really thanks you Joy. BUT Laura thanks you the most! Imagine smiling like that over a hot dog!
Recipe: c/o Joy The Baker
Friday, February 3, 2012
My co-conspirator/creative partner in crime and I decided to do this after searching for dollar store type crafts. Oh I should preface that first line....I am the co-head of creative for my MOPS group in Vienna. We come up with crafts to complete within the meeting that are under 2 bucks a mom! This one was pretty close!
- chalkboard paint
- all purpose craft paint pen
- extra scrapbooking supplies
- Tin serving tray from the Dollar Tree
Instructions are self explanatory but this board is great for kids to write on while riding in the car or you can use it for a memo board. the other AWESOME thing about it is its magnetic! You know those cute little magnet letters we all had as a kid on our fridge?? Well you and your little one can play with words and letters or drill them for spelling tests on this little board! Quick-Cheap- and easy enough to do with older kids!