Tuesday, August 27, 2013

life is short, get messy!

Last week, we were invited to a different kind of play date -- one filled with finger paints, shaving cream and kool-aid powder!

My friend Heather graciously (and bravely) agreed to host it at her house once previous plans fell through. She certainly is courageous allowing several toddlers the opportunity to run around with paint brushes and paint filled hands! But, the kids had a great time. When we first arrived, Audrey was a bit skeptical about the whole thing, but after a few minutes, she was elbows deep in paints and shaving cream! At the end, I had to scrub her off in the baby pool to wash off all that mess!

Heather had several cute activities for the kids, allowing for lots of fun art projects to be made. My favorite was the shaving cream paint art..we haven't seen the finished projects yet because we left them to dry, but even wet they were pretty!

I'll leave you with some photos of our fun day!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

adventures in homemade laundry soap!

A friend of mine recently talked about making all of her own laundry detergent and cleaning products. What? I mean, sure, I've seen pins on Pinterest about it, but I didn't know anyone personally who actually did it...until now. I was intrigued. Was it easy? Did it work as well as the store bought stuff? And most of all, was it actually cheaper?

I decided to find out. My friend gave me her recipe, which I based it off of, but I wanted to make the powder version. We just prefer powder over other reason, really. I did a little more searching and located a recipe that appeared simple enough, and most importantly, was HE compatible. My husband was already skeptical about the whole idea, and the last thing I needed was something that would ruin our newish washing machine!

The recipe I found was simple, only requiring three ingredients. Also, when all is said and done, it ends up costing around 3 cents per load. Um, sold? Three people in my house more like husband and a little of daughter and there is SO much laundry. I am scared to see how much it increases when we add a 4th and maybe a 5th..!!

Here is what you'll need:

- 2 cups borax
- 1 bar of soap (any kind - just NOT a beauty bar like Dove or Olay)
- 2 cups washing soda

Get a cute container to store it in. I went with a classy gallon sized ziploc bag, myself. The first part is easy. Measure out 2 cups of each of the borax and the washing soda.

The next part is a little trickier. The recipe I found said you could cut the soap up into smaller chunks, and put them in a food processor or blender, as is. Um, no. My food processor isn't the best one our there or anything, but it definitely has good chopping power. It most definitely wasn't cutting through those soap cubes! So, it turned into a three part process. After chopping, I grated each cube into shreds..THEN, I finished off by putting the shreds into the food processor and bada bing, bada boom!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

midweek randoms

- Audrey had her 18 month check up today. Luckily, she only had to get one vaccine, and she hardly cried. It's getting harder and harder to take her to the doctor's, because she knows and understands what is going on :( As soon as we enter the exam room and the door closes, she starts to cry. Heartbreaking!! She's still in the upper percentile for height/weight as she has been her whole life, but its starting to slow down a bit. She's not a chunky kid at all, so I think its funny she's in the 80th percentile for weight! She's just a very solid kid. People pick her up and are surprised. lol.

- This is the week for doctor's appointments. We have a follow up visit with the pediatric dermatologist for her hemangioma tomorrow. I contemplated not even going, because really, I already know how its going to go. They are going to look at it, say its looking great and we'll be on our way. We stopped treatment 6 months ago, and its only gotten better.

- Earlier this week, I went and got a pedicure with Katie. I try to get them done once a month or so, but sometimes it ends up being longer than that, when life gets in the way. I get really dry skin, so my heels need more than just a pumice stone! It's definitely best when left to the professionals. Plus, 45 minutes in a massage chair? Yes, please. I normally go for a simple french pedi, but this time I switched it up and got some color. Add an iced latte and we have mommy bliss hour!

- This past weekend, Audrey and I went up to Erie for the night. My dad and I took her to the beach for a bit since she had never really been there. I can tell she's going to be a little beach/water baby -- she loved it! She was having a blast running in and out of the water and around the sand :) I was unprepared and didn't pack a bathing suit, but she didn't care. She was just as happy running around in her diaper.

- Is anyone watching Breaking Amish: LA this season? We started watching it last year when it was a different group and in New York City. This is only the 3rd or 4th episode, but I am hooked! So much drama. I am a sucker for reality TV, what can I say? I am also watching Dexter, of course, and some others. Can't wait for Grey's Anatomy and Teen Mom 3! What shows do you watch or are excited for? I am always looking for new suggestions!

- Wednesdays are typically my days to catch up on laundry and housework since the beginning of the week is always busy. It took every ounce of motivation to get me to fold a basket of clothes today during nap time! I also cleaned the litter boxes, but that was in between cooking dinner. Sanitary, right? :p

- The weather was much cooler today, as in, low 70's. I absolutely love it! The cooler days remind me of fall, and since its my absolute favorite season -- you know I'm smiling! When any sort of inkling of fall appears, I am all over it and have a tendency to do things like light a fall scented candle. But, I love wax warmers so much more than candles, so I usually use those! While I do love Scentsy products, I have no problem using knock-offs. While at Walmart today, I couldn't resist and picked up a couple fall scented wax cubes. My house smells amazing right now!!

- Tonight was spaghetti night for dinner. I love that its so easy, but yet, delicious. Pasta is the ultimate comfort food, and I could probably eat it every day if I could.

- After dinner we took Audrey to the park next door. She is always so full of energy at night constantly, so we let her run off some steam. She had a blast, of course. The girl is relatively easy to please, as long as she has space to run and things to get into!

Hope your midweek's were just as random! ;)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

GUEST POST: Tips for the Perfect Staycation

I recently did a guest post exchange with Michele over at Mommy Blogger Directory :)

Tips for the Perfect Staycation

Vacations are a great way to spend time with your family, but they can be expensive. Staycations have become an increasingly popular alternative for families on tight budgets who want to spend some quality time together. Ready to start planning your staycation? Keep these tips in mind.

1. Turn off your real life. During a staycation at home, it's incredibly easy to let "real" life get in the way of spending time with your family. During your staycation, turn off your laptop, and don't make work-related calls.

2. Be a tourist in your own town. A staycation is the perfect time to view your very own city in a different way. Take the kids to a museum they've never been to. Explore a cute new boutique that recently opened. Just because you haven't left home doesn't mean you can't enjoy something new.

3. Use your space in a different way. Even if you're not prepared to pitch a tent in the back yard, you can still turn your house on its head. Allow the whole family to "camp out" in the living room to watch old movies until the wee hours of the morning. Let the kids turn your dining room into a giant pillow fort. If you have a fireplace, use it to make s'mores. Be creative.

4. Take pictures. Just like on a traditional travel vacation, you'll make memories during your staycation that you'll want to cherish for years to come - so don't forget to snap a few pictures

Thursday, August 8, 2013

(healthy) homemade fruit popsicles!

Ever since the warmer weather has hit us, cool treats have been abundant at our home, usually after dinner as a sweet treat. The hot weather combined with teething has really been a winning combination for my daughter. She absolutely loves popsicles and freeze pops, and looks forward to them after she eats her dinner. I don't mind giving them to her, but in the back of my mind I knew there had to be a less sugary, healthier (and cheaper!) option out there. They do have real fruit bars, which I could have easily purchased, but I decided to try and make my own. That way, I knew exactly what was going into her sweet treats :)

A couple of weeks ago while at Ikea, I spotted these and decided to pick them up. They cost $1.99 which is extremely pocket friendly, and I like that they are the perfect size for my 18 month old. Also, they come with a little tray which makes it easy to pop them in the freezer while your homemade pops are freezing.

I googled a few recipes, but ultimately decided to come up with my own. We buy strawberries a lot, but they don't always get eaten before they start to ripen, so I will cut them up and store them in our freezer to use later for things like smoothies, or in this case, popsicles. I also had some bananas that needed to be used, so I quickly decided on some strawberry banana fruit pops. I also added in a layer of nonfat plain yogurt for an added boost of calcium :)

If you're interested in making your own homemade popsicles for your little ones, or even on!

The obligatory "ingredient" photo. I used:

- 1 cup ripe strawberries
- 2 bananas
- 2 tbsp honey
- 6 tsp yogurt (you can use any kind, I happened to have some plain in my fridge)
- 1/2 cup juice (I used orange strawberry banana from TJ's)
- blender or food processor

First you'll start making the purees. While I was doing this step, it totally took me back to my days of making homemade baby food. Oh how I miss those days. I was one of those weird ones that took joy and excitement in making my own baby food!

Anyway, I digress. So you'll start by putting your strawberries in your blender. Add 1 tbsp and about 1/4 cup of juice (I kinda eye balled the juice portion) blend until a nice puree consistency. Set the strawberry puree aside in a separate bowl, and rinse your blender out.

Next, you'll do the same with your bananas. Slice your bananas into coin sized circles, add 1 tbsp of honey and about 1/4 cup of juice. Blend until smooth.

Now comes the fun part...layering it all up! I started by adding 1 tsp of each and went in layers. So, 1 tsp strawberries, 1 tsp yogurt and 1 tsp bananas..rinse and repeat until you reach (almost) the top of the container. Don't layer to the very top because when you put the stick in, the puree's WILL squeeze out and make a mess. I know from experience ;) Once you've completed this step, put all the sticks in as far as they can go and pop the tray right in the freezer to get nice and...frozen.

I let them freeze about 3-ish hours and they were done! Just run the plastic part under hot water for a few seconds and it should slide right off.

Toddler tested, and mother approved ;)