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Valen-Slime

February 19, 2015

I saw a recipe for homemade slime on Pinterest (of course) and thought it would make a fun DIY gift for my boys for Valentine’s Day. I had never made anything like it before and since my 3 year old loves Play-doh I figured he would like slime. It seemed simple, only three ingredients other than add-ins, so I thought it would be an easy, no-stress project.

Wrong. The three ingredients are water, glue and liquid starch. Water and glue are easy but have you ever tried to buy liquid starch? I went to 4 places before I finally found it at the 5th place, a Walmart super center. Target, Hy-Vee, a regular Walmart and a marketplace Walmart all didn’t carry it. There is no Walmart super center in between my home and my office so I had to make a special trip out south.  My low-stress project ended up being very frustrating in trying to find the dang liquid starch!

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Once I procured the liquid starch, mixing it up was actually very simple, though I wasn’t really sure it was going to turn out until the next day. I got the recipe from Little Bins for Little Hands. It’s a simple process. Mix together 1/2 cup water and a 1/2 cup washable glue. Then add in any food coloring or glitter as desired. Then pour 1/2 cup liquid starch into a second bowl and pour glue mixture into that. It will immediately start turning “slimey”. Mix with spoon at first then mix with hands.  I did this last Friday night.

So a couple notes on this project. First of all the standard bottle of glue is not quite half a cup.

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If I had turned the bottle upside down and let it all run down it probably would have been 1/2 cup but I didn’t have the patience for that (it was 9:30 at night and I was tired). I topped it off from another bottle of glue we already had.

Second I used a lot of red food coloring and red glitter.

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Third the slime gets better with age. When I was first mixing it it was really stringy and gloppy and I honestly thought it was going to be a bust.

IMG_8622But I kept mixing and threw it in a big yogurt container and let it sit overnight. The next day it was MUCH better. Very smooth and elasticy.

Finally do not try to dry off the slime with a napkin or paper towel. I thought it was a little wet when we first got it out to play with it on Saturday so I thought I could blot it dry with a paper napkin. As soon as I laid the napkin on the surface the slime sucked it in and there was no getting it back. I tried to pick little pieces of napkin out of it but to no avail. I thought I had ruined it and would have to start over! But we just started playing with it and the napkin disintegrated into the slime never to be seen again. The slime seemed fine after that.

I let my 3 year old play with the slime in a 9×13 pan and that worked just fine.

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He loved it! He played with it a good long time. The glitter came off on the pan and our hands though.

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It was easy to rinse off. My 18 month old played with the slime in his high chair. I supervised him pretty closely though to make sure he didn’t try to eat it. Both boys loved putting it into little cups and squishing it to make tooting noises. Boys. :)

The slime was great on Saturday and Sunday.  By Monday though it started to get really sticky and wasn’t coming off our hands and cups as easily as before.  Then my older son stuck is elbow in a big slime glob and got it all over his fleece pullover.  The younger one managed to sit in some and got it on his pants.  We rinsed the clothes off pretty quickly but I can confirm this slime didn’t stain their clothes thank goodness.  I am going to do some searching to see if we can add water to it to make it less sticky.  Surely it didn’t run its course in just three days!  If I find anything I will come back and edit this post.

Bottom line though the slime was super easy to make and my kids really liked it.  The older one has already asked when we can make more colors!

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Preschool Valentines

February 11, 2015

Valentine’s Day is Saturday which means preschool Valentine’s Day party is Thursday.  Last night we let our older son stay up a little later after dinner to help put together his valentines for his classmates.  I knew I wanted to do a no-candy valentine and there are tons of ideas on Pinterest.  I also knew I wanted something simple and inexpensive.  I settled on something like this:

Have a ball snipPinterest is a rabbit hole when it comes to finding out who did the original design so I can give credit where credit is due.  After clicking through multiple blogs I finally got down to the original source: Dandee-Designs.  As you will soon see, ours looked NOTHING like the original.

I could’ve done a cute printable.  I could’ve done the entire thing myself and left my son out of it.  It would’ve been a lot faster.  But where’s the fun in that?  Then it becomes just another thing to cross off a to do list.  So last night we sat down and tackled putting together 14 valentines.

I previously bought the bouncy balls at Party City for 49 cents each.  To start, my son helped take off the little cellophane wrapper and put each ball in a bag.

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I decided to hand write the tags because I thought it would be more personal.  And my printer is actually broken.  ;)

I cut sheets of red cardstock into fourths and then folded them in half to make the tops for the bags.  On one side I wrote “Have a BALL this Valentine’s Day!” and on the other side I wrote “Your friend,”.  Then I let my son write his name on all of them. This was a great name-writing practice activity!  They’ve been working on it a lot at preschool and he did really well on some of them.  Then there was this one:

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If you know his name you’ll know that is not even close.  I pushed all my Type A feelings aside and just tried to go with the flow.

After name-writing we then decorated the tags with stickers and put the bags together with the stapler.  He did the sticker part and I did the stapling part.

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The preschool teachers gave us a sheet with all the kids names in these little cards that we could cut out and attach to the valentines.  We stuck ours inside the bag with the ball with the names facing out (that’s the little red card behind the ball).  So for each ball my son picked out a card and then decorated the tag to go with it.  This was actually really fun because it gave us a chance to talk about each boy or girl and what stickers they might like on their valentine.

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Yes the stickers are stars and smiley faces and not hearts but that’s all we had in the craft drawer.

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I’m really happy with how they turned out!  I like the handwritten, homemade vibe.  And now I know for sure that even if another mom/kid does the “have a ball” valentines they won’t look exactly the same as ours.  I mean everyone is on Pinterest so chances are pretty high that there’s a duplicate.

I’m also glad I took the time to do this project together with my son (and that I actually planned ahead enough in advance to do so!).  The whole thing only took about an hour and he seemed to enjoy it.  I know I enjoyed the time together.

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Egg in a (Heart) Nest

February 6, 2015
by

Egg in a nest.  I’m definitely not reinventing the wheel here as egg in a nest has been around forever.  I remember making it myself as a girl.  I had forgotten about it until just the other day my older son and I were up earlier than the other two in our family.  Since we had some time to ourselves I thought it would be fun to make egg in a nest for breakfast.  And for a special twist we used a heart cookie cutter instead of the standard glass.

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Here’s how we made it:

  • Using a glass or a cookie cutter, cut a hole in the middle of a slice of bread (kids can do this part!)
  • Butter both sides of the bread if desired.
  • Heat a skillet to medium-high heat.
  • Place bread in the skillet.  Crack an egg in the hole.
  • Cook until egg starts to whiten and bread gets toasty.  Flip and cook on the other side until egg is cooked through.

I had forgotten how fun this breakfast is to make and eat.  My son really enjoyed the whole process.  With Valentine’s Day coming up this would be a fun activity to do with your kids.

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Craft Drawer Organization

February 2, 2015

In my last post I mentioned organization and how I’d like more of it.  There’s one organization project I did complete over the holidays and I am pretty proud of the result.  It’s the “craft” drawer, aka the “drawer where you cram a whole bunch of crap”.

Right off our kitchen we have a set of cabinets and at the bottom is this very wide, very deep drawer.  In the drawer we stored all of our craft supplies and anything else we needed to get rid of fast when trying to sit down to dinner.

IMG_8418.JPG My kids love to do crafts so we have a plethora of craft supplies.  The obvious problem with the craft drawer is that we couldn’t find anything in there without a significant effort.  The other problem is that the drawer was so disorganized and crammed full that the contents ended up all over the kitchen.  We stopped putting them away and ended up piling them on the counters.  Then the crafts started getting mixed up with other stuff and it was just a downhill spiral from there.

The first thing I did was empty the entire contents of the drawer onto the dining room table.  Can you believe all of THAT was in one drawer?
IMG_8419.JPG I sorted out all the trash and used up supplies that needed to be discarded.  Then I made a list of everything that was in the drawer and started grouping it into categories like stickers, crayons, markers, stamps, etc.

I knew I wanted vertical storage so that supplies would be easy to get in and out of the drawer and not be piled on top of each other.  I also knew I wanted slots for the different kinds of paper to keep it organized.  I measured the size of the drawer and made a trip to Michael’s and Joann and also looked online before I finally found exactly what I was looking for at Hobby Lobby.  And it was the Iris Portable Project Case.
IMG_8426.JPG It was the perfect size to slide vertically into the drawer.  I ended up purchasing seven of them after going back to Hobby Lobby over several days using a 40% off coupon each time.  Each case holds different supplies and I even labeled them with my label maker.  Fancy I know.

Along one side of the drawer I inserted cardboard dividers (custom cut by Benzo from miscellaneous boxes we were going to recycle).  Now there are slots for construction paper, coloring paper, cardstock and cutting paper.  If you are wondering “cutting paper” is miscellaneous junk mail we toss in there for when the older one likes to practice cutting.
IMG_8427.JPG The finished drawer ended up with seven new cases plus one case we already had (the smaller blueish one labeled stamps).  There’s a bit of space along the side to slide in the chalkboards, a really big coloring book, and a little dry erase board.  Then on the other side from the paper slots there are a few smaller cases that are stacked on top of each other that hold things like pencils, scissors, beads and other smaller items.  They are small so they are easy to shift around in the drawer.
IMG_8425.JPG The best part about the whole thing is that it has actually WORKED.  Now my 3 year old can get out a box and take it to the table and do a project.  Then when he wants to do something else, we can gently encourage him :) to put away the current box before getting out another box.  Also when we are trying to clear the table for dinner, it’s much easier to put craft supplies away and slide the cases in the drawer instead of just tossing everything on the counter in a big jumble.

Before and after:
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Don’t get me wrong, our kitchen is still cluttery, but it’s definitely LESS cluttery with this new system.  I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.  I am also proud of myself for my plan of attack.  Assessing the situation, researching options and finally putting it into action.  It’s so tempting to go out and buy a bunch of organizing supplies without really knowing what you need.  Those craft supplies sat on my dining room table for a good three days before it was all back in the drawer.  That was tough even for me!

Hopefully this sparks an organization idea in you.  I know even just posting about it has given me more motivation to tackle the next project – the upper cabinets!

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Hello Again.

January 30, 2015
by

Hello there!  I’m climbing out of my cave and thinking about posting again regularly on my blog.  If you scroll down a teeny bit you’ll see that I haven’t posted since October 1, 2013.  Yikes!

So what’s new with me?  Well I am still a working mom of two boys.  Not long after my second boy was born was when I had to take a break from blogging.  There just wasn’t enough time for everything and since blogging is a hobby, not a job, it was something I could easily let go.  But life keeps on changing and now my baby is a toddler and I might be able to squeeze in a few posts now and then.

I still love to make stuff myself though my focus has shifted a bit in recent years.  I used to post mainly about food and cooking.  I still love to cook and experiment with food, however it’s hard to try new recipes when cooking for children.  Meals need to be healthy and stuff my kids will eat and most importantly they need to be ready fast!  So we tend to rely on the same dinners over and over again.  And that’s fine.  It works for our family right now.

Lately I’ve been thinking about organization tactics.  I’d like to make a real effort this year to get the house a little more organized.  We have a LOT of clutter everywhere and it’s really hard to get under control.  I feel very overwhelmed and most of the time I end up watching Netflix instead of doing anything about it!  So I might be posting a little bit about organization and what I’m trying at home.

And since I have two little kids you will likely see some posts about kid stuff – craft projects, learning activities, games, etc.  For Christmas this year Benzo and I gave the boys almost all DIY gifts that we made ourselves in some fashion.  I will try to post those because I’m pretty proud of how they turned out!

Also I’ve recently become obsessed with capsule wardrobes!  I am searching Pinterest all the time for ideas and I have just started working on slimming down my closet.  Maybe I’ll do a write up on that depending on how far I go with it.  If you are interested in capsule wardrobes, check out the blog Unfancy.

During my time off I’ve still gained a few followers so if you are a new reader, here are links to some of my more popular posts:

Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner (I still use this all the time!)

Whale Canvas Nursery Art (I never did post a final “tour” of the whale nursery so maybe I should get that together)

Cheese Fon-DO (one of my first posts – wow it’s over 7 years old!)

Basic Cornbread

How I Cloth Diaper as a Working Mom (we actually don’t cloth diaper anymore :( )

Have a great weekend!

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Kale Pesto

October 1, 2013

While I’ve been on maternity leave I’ve really been enjoying going to the farmers’ market on Wednesday mornings. It’s something I normally can never do because I have to be at work. Big brother goes to parents’ day out on Wednesdays, so I drop him off and then head over to the market with the little one.

The mid-week market is a lot less crowded than the Saturday market so it is very relaxing. I can push the stroller up and down the aisle perusing the veggies at my leisure. This past Wednesday the fall produce was really starting to come out. I picked up a butternut squash and some sweet potatoes. I also grabbed a zucchini and a couple of cucumbers. And at every stall there were beautiful bunches of fresh kale. They were so pretty I had to get one.

I originally thought I would make Baltimorean style rice and beans with the kale but then I remembered that you can make pesto out of kale. Our basil plants have already gone to seed, a result of inattention due to a newborn, and I don’t have quite enough pesto stockpiled in the freezer for the off season. Kale is plentiful in the fall and kale pesto just might fill in the gap.

There are quite a few kale pesto recipes out there on the interwebs. Some with just kale and some with kale and basil combined. I originally was going to follow this recipe:

Kale & Walnut Pesto @ Love and Lemons

I wasn’t sure of the proportions of ingredients as I was reading through it so I ended up using my old stand-by recipe and subbing kale for the basil. Here is the finished product tossed with pasta and cherry tomatoes from our garden.

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Kale Pesto
Makes 1 – 1 1/2 cups

1 bunch kale (mine was 6 leaves, some big some small)
1/2 cup walnuts
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large garlic clove
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2/3 cup+ olive oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a full rolling boil. Meanwhile wash kale and trim the leaves from the large stems. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Once water is boiling, blanch kale leaves in boiling water for approximately 30 seconds. Immediately place kale leaves in ice bath to stop the cooking. Lay kale leaves out on a towel and pat dry.

With food processor running, add peeled garlic clove to finely chop. Add all remaining ingredients and process until combined, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. I found that I needed a couple extra drizzles of olive oil to get the pesto to the consistency I desired.

The pesto turned out great! We all really enjoyed it, including the two year old. I wonder if kale pesto counts as a vegetable? Honestly though it mostly tastes like garlic, cheese and oil. Not that that’s a bad thing!

I am planning on making a few more batches to freeze while kale is still in season this fall. Pesto is so good on everything. In fact I’m considering making pesto egg sandwiches for breakfast this morning!

Baked Spaghetti Squash, Margarita Style

September 21, 2013

Ran across this recipe on Pinterest last week. When I saw spaghetti squash at the market on Wednesday I knew what dinner would be that night!

Baked Margarita Spaghetti Squash @ Hoopfinity’s Happenings

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The recipe was really easy and had few ingredients. Benzo and I both really liked it. And we even got our 2 year old to try it by conveniently leaving out the word “squash” and just calling it spaghetti. He ate a few bites which I was happy with.

Next time I would add more tomatoes and basil. Also the spaghetti squash on its own was not enough dinner for either of us. We were both a little hungry afterwards. I would definitely serve a big green salad with lots of fixings alongside next time. Or maybe some quinoa bites.

Overall though the recipe made me want to eat spaghetti squash more often. I’m going to search for other recipes to try. If anyone has a favorite please share!

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