Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Threading Beads

We first did this activity about a year ago (that's when these pictures were taken, I forgot I had them :).  It's a great way for kids to work on their hand-eye coordination, along with colors and counting.  We don't do this activity too much anymore, but we'll be getting it out again soon for Ashlyn.

Pipe cleaners
Plastic beads
Rimmed cookie sheet
I already had the cookie sheet, the other things I bought at the dollar store.

Place the colander upside down on the cookie sheet.  Stick pipe cleaners through the holes of the colander and then thread them with the beads (the cookie sheet is just there to catch any stray beads).


The first couple times I got this activity out, Redmond entertained himself for at least 30 minutes.  Priceless.

Oh the concentration.  Look at that wittle guy!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Laundry Detergent 2

As you know, I've been making my own laundry soap for awhile now.  I've been consistently using this recipe, but I've decided to give another one a try.  It is pretty much the same recipe, except that you use Fels-Naptha laundry soap and Purex Crystals.  This one definitely smells more like traditional, store-bought laundry soap.  In fact, it smells quite strong.  Like burn-the-hair-in-your-nose strong.  So, I don't recommend using this recipe if you have skin (or smell) sensitivities.  It works great, but I think once this batch is gone I'll go back to my original recipe.

2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda
1 bar Fels-Naptha, grated
1 1/2 cups OxyClean
1 1/2 cups Purex Crystals
1 cup Baking Soda
1.  Combine all ingredients.  If desired, place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until it's a fine powder (I choose not to do this).  Use 2 tbsp. per load of laundry.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pretty Shiny Sinks!

I've been using this green cleaning recipe for months now.  It works wonders!  We get horrible hard water build up on our kitchen faucet and this concoction made it look like  almost new!  All you need are three simple ingredients and a spray bottle.  That's it!!!  I'm sure any dish soap will do, but I only use the blue Dawn.  That stuff is ah-mazing.

2 parts White vinegar
1 part Lemon juice
1 part Dish soap

Spray bottle

Step 1:  Fill the bottle up with the ingredients and shake, shake, shake!!!

Step 2:  Spray any spot that needs treated.  Let sit for at least two minutes, but up to 30.

Step 3:  Wipe clean and admire your reflection in your shiny, sparkling sink!!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Glow Bath

We are still in what feels like a frozen tundra here in MI.  Stir crazy and cabin fever don't even begin to describe it!!  While going through my craft mess in the basement, I came across some glow sticks I had purchased awhile ago. 

So, one afternoon after their nap, I put the kids in the tub, turned off the lights and added the glow sticks.  They loved it!

Best part?  The glow sticks are from the dollar store!  Ours has TONS of different shapes and colors. 
Great way to pass some time while stuck inside :)


Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Here's a peek into our Valentine's Day:

I surprised the kids this morning with pancakes....but not just any pancakes - heart shaped pancakes with Valentine sprinkles.  Mom of the Year, here I come!!  We'll ignore the fact that after he requested "all the sprinkles!", Redmond then requested a plain, round pancake.  Ho hum.


Photo shoot time!!

Could they be any sweeter!?  

A few little gifts:

A Valentine flap book and a snow globe for Ashlyn, a Valentine I Spy book and a new DVD for Redmond.

Heart-shaped pizzas for dinner!

Jason surprised me with a gift certificate for a couples massage!  I.CANNOT.WAIT!!!!

Tomorrow we're going out for sushi and the kids are spending the night with their grandparents.  No kids!  Holla!!!

Did you do anything special for this Hallmark Holiday?


Valentine Sponge Painting

Redmond has been really into painting lately so I wanted to do something fun with paint for Valentine's Day.  My idea was to do a sponge painting!  I couldn't find heart shaped sponges, so I improvised.  I bought large sponges and cut them (poorly, I admit :) into hearts.  We used cookie cutters too!


It turned out great! 


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy 6th Birthday Oliver!!

This handsome devil is six years old today!  I can't believe it!!

He had a pretty low-key day - he slept in and took lots of naps.  Well, that's no different than any other day I guess :)

Redmond and I made him a special birthday cake this afternoon.  
Side note - is it bad that I make my dog a cake from scratch for his birthday, but order cakes for my children's birthdays?  No?  Okay, good :)
Anyhoo, Redmond loved making the cake - he even got to use the mixer!  
Redmond couldn't wait to give Oliver the present that he picked out.  Of course, the kids wanted to play with it first.  
Oliver was so excited about his cake!  He loved it!
I can't believe that our first born is six!!  He's such a huge part of our lives and we can't imagine having a better dog for our family.  Hope to celebrate many more birthdays with you Oliver!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bath Paint

Like most people this winter, we have had a huge case of cabin fever.  It's so cold and there's so.much.snow!  This is definitely the harshest, coldest winter that I can ever remember.  And, being locked inside all day with a one and three year old had really tested my patience :)  So, I've been digging in my box of rainy day supplies to see what I can dig out.  Last week I decided to break out some shaving cream and food coloring.  Ta-da!  Bath paints!

Supplies:  (I bought all three of these items at the dollar store.  Score!)
Muffin tin (really anything will work)
Shaving cream
Food coloring

Fill the muffin tins with shaving cream and add a couple drops of food coloring to each mound of shaving cream.  Mix together (I used a toothpick) and have fun!

As no big surprise, Ashlyn was all over this!  She dove right in - she is definitely the more adventurous one of my two :)

Also as no surprise, Redmond was a big more cautious.  At first, he would look away every time I put the paint anywhere near him!
I finally convinced him to dip his toe in......and eventually his finger too!
It was a fun activity for both of the kids to be involved in and they both had a lot of fun.  Plus, it turned the bath water green which was so cool! 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Getting Clean While Going Green

After doing a little research lately, I've decided to go green when it comes to the cleaning products I use.  I've been making my own laundry soap for awhile and it has worked great!  Best of all?  It's SO cheap!  Sure, it's a little extra work and takes an additional 10 minutes out of my day, but it's totally worth it and one batch lasts for months.

I'm currently awaiting (quite anxiously!) a package from Amazon full of essential oils and other items that I'll put to use in my green venture.  I'm hoping to become almost completely green in a few months.  Here are a few things I'm looking forward to making:

Dryer Sheets
Kitchen Cleaner
Tub Scrub
Kitchen Sink Cleaner
Bathroom Cleaner
Carpet Powder

And, eventually, I'd like to make homemade soaps and lotions.

Stay tuned - can't wait to share my experience with you!

Laundry Soap

I've been looking forward to making my own laundry soap for awhile (does that make me weird?), but I had a ton of the store bought stuff I had to go through first.  Months later, it's finally gone!  I picked up all of my ingredients and my jar from the grocery store.  My tools came from the dollar store (except the silver/black grater, that came from my drawer).  I used a 1 gallon jar and made a double batch.  I used a lavender oil this time, but use whatever you like (I'm going to use vanilla next time) or omit it altogether.  Also, I wanted to use an all natural soap made for sensitive skin, but any soap will work.

1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Oxyclean
1 bar soap
1/2 cup Baking Soda
Essential Oil (optional)


Large jar or container
Measuring cups/spoons

Step 1:  grate the soap into your jar. I specifically picked up the small grater just for detergent purposes.  After 10 minutes I wasn't even a quarter of the way through the bar and had made a huge mess!  So, I grabbed my large-hole grater from my drawer.  Worked SO much better.

Step 2:  measure the dry ingredients and add to the soap.  Add in about five drops of essential oil.

Step 3:  mix, mix, mix.  Stir everything together for at least five minutes.  Make sure everything is well distributed.

Step 4:  get washing!  You're ready for laundry (woo-hoo!!!).  Use 2 tablespoons per load, pretreating any stains.