Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday swirl cookies

This mommy made the cutest cookies the other day..... these are my holiday swirl cookies, these are pretty easy to make and look super cute sitting on a plate to serve to guests!
So you will start with making a sugar cookie dough..... any recipe you like is fine but here's the one I use:
Cream: 1 cup butter and 2/3 cup sugar
Beat in 1 egg
Add 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 1/2 cups flour
Mix until all ingredients are well blended. 
Divide dough into 2 equal halves.
Leave one half as is, and use food coloring to color the other half the color you would like.
Chill dough for a couple hours before rolling out.

Once chilled take the first half of dough and on a floured surface roll dough out into a 9 X 11 rectangle.  Take the other half of dough and do the same. 
Take a small amount of water and rub the top of one of the rectangles with water to make it slighty sticky. place the other rectangle on top of the wetted side of the first one.  (This can be difficult by yourself, the daddy normally helps this mommy do this part, but if you are doing it yourself you can use wax paper to roll the rectangles on instead of just a floured surface so that you can lift it up using the paper)
Lightly press the dough together (not too much or you will lose your swirl!)
Trim the edges to make them even.
Take the dough on the 11" end and start rolling the 2 rectangles together into a log roll.
once they are rolled together you can look at the end and see the swirl  :)  (this mommy is excited at this point)
You can then lay out sprinkles on a cookie sheet (cover the whole sheet) and roll the dough roll in the sprinkles making a "skin" of sprinkles on the outer layer (you don't have to use sprinkles but they are fun!)
Then you will get your sharpest knife out (be careful!  This mommy doesn't want anyone hurting themselves for the sake of cookies!) and begin cutting off the cookies.  Cut a 1/4 inch thick and lay the peices on greased baking sheets.
Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. (however every oven will vary, your first batch just watch and learn)
Take them out when they are barely golden brown, if you cook them too long you will lose the high contrast of swirls!
Let them cool, and enjoy! 
They are worth it I promise!  Take a look.........

Now aren't those cute?  They are perfect for a holiday platter!!  And you can make them for any occasion and just change up the colors!  I'm thinking football party in the colors of the team you cheer for....... yeah that would be awesome!  Enjoy!  This mommy is going to go eat some of these now!

Catching up

So this mommy knows its been a while since her last entry and she appologizes greatly!  Things here in this mommy's house has been crazy through halloween and thanksgiving.  This year was the princess's first halloween and thanksgiving.  She's also gone to see Santa for the first time!  Crazy how time flies!  She's 10 months old and crawling everywhere!  Where oh where has my baby girl gone?! Anyway, I thought I'd fill you in on what we've been up to!  First off, this mommy made both kids' halloween costumes so that consumed a bit of time, but the results were worth it.........

The boy as Captain America!  This mommy loves his fascination with super heroes lately!  This mommy made this costume completely from upcycled tshirts and a frisbee!  This mommy thinks its pretty cute!

The princess as a cute little lady bug!  This mommy made this tutu dress from tulle and a crochet band, with a homemade flower she was adorable!

Both kids had a blast trick-or-treating at the children's museum and our street!  Both got many compliments on their costumes which made this mommy very proud!

This mommy hosted Thanksgiving at her house and had about 20 people come!  A good time of food, conversation, prayer, and games was had by all! (And this mommy kicked some butt at Wii!)  :)  The boy was able to make sugar cookies with this mommy and he cut them out all himself!  This mommy is sad, the boy is growing up too fast!

Recently we took the kids to see Santa, and while waiting we took the opportunity for a quick photo shoot......

So that is all in a nutshell, but this mommy will try harder to stay updated!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Make your own Febreze!

So this mommy is a firm believer that you should get rid of the smell rather than just covering it up, but when company is coming over this mommy likes to do a quick spray over just to make sure there are no offensive odors that she missed somehow (hey, it happens, this mommy does have 3 dogs and a cat, plus 2 messy kids!).  Now this mommy is NOT a fan of the price of Febreze, especially since its so easy to make!  This will cost you next to nothing to make!

Here's what you need:
1 spray bottle (this mommy used an old Febreze bottle, then she didn't have to re-label it and everyone knows whats in it) 
2 cups warm water
1/4 cup fabric softener (find one you like the smell of, or make your own...... stay tuned, that will be another post!)
1 Tablespoon baking soda

And here we go......
pour your water into the spray bottle, add the fabric softener and baking soda.  Screw the top back on the bottle and shake well.  That's it!  Honestly, that's it!  Super easy, costs next to nothing and you can control the scent you want!  This mommy is a fan!  Now go spray your offensive smells! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Our potty training adventure : How it took the boy 1 week to be completely potty trained!

So the boy is 28 months now and this mommy decided  last month that she was done changing his diapers (especially since I also have the princess to change).  I know all the statistics that say that "boys are harder to train" and "boys aren't ready as early" and blah blah blah.  Just for the record this mommy thinks thats all a bunch of bologna and it just depends on whether you want to spend the time working with them or not.  Now this mommy had researched every possible potty training technique, "put pull ups on them" (well arent pull-ups just glorified diapers?  How would that work?!?)  "watch for signs and then take the diaper off and take them to the potty" (well for my boy by the time he showed signs of going he had already gone! so that was out) "wait until he tells you he's ready to try" (well this mommy wasn't going to change diapers until the boy was 4!).  This mommy was getting frustrated..... how was I ever going to potty train this kid?  He knows what the toilet is and he knows what its for..... This mommy just knew he was ready!  Then this mommy read about a technique called Naked Training.... this one made sense!  Basically you take the diaper off and let them go naked (yikes, this is where this mommy was nervous).  But reading on, it was based on the theory that if they don't have the diaper they are more aware of what is going on and what they are doing with their bodies (well that makes sense, nobody wants to pee on themselves!)  So with a big sigh and a determined mind I decided I'd try it, what did I have to lose?!?  So the next day, off went the diaper!  I took it off and told him we didnt have any more diapers for him, the only diapers we had now were for the baby and he had to use the potty since he was a big boy.  He didn't seem to care at the time and ran around naked perfectly happy.  Then came the time he had to go, he quickly asked for a diaper, and when I responded "we don't have any diapers for you, you have to go in the potty" the thing I dreaded happened, he stood there looking at me and pee'd on the floor!  Sigh!  This mommy cleaned it up and thought "well at least he knew he had to go!"  I'm not going to lie to you, that first day of no diapers was a disaster and very frustrating, we cleaned up about a million messes (or so it felt) and this mommy was following him everywhere watching his every move to rush him to the potty at the first sign of pee!  At the end of the day this mommy was exhausted, then I thought "what do I do at night?!?"  they reccommend not having the diaper on at night either, which would be fine if he slept in his own bed, but we co-sleep with him and this mommy didn't really want to end up waking up in a pool of pee!  Then it hit me.....a cloth diaper!  He would feel it if it was wet but it wouldn't be the same as his diapers he was used to!  So on went the cloth diaper, we called it his "big boy sleeping pants" and off to bed we went!  We woke up dry!  This mommy was happy, and she rushed the boy to the potty to go, and he did!  Off to a good start!  This mommy looked like an idiot cheering and jumping but I didn't care!  He went in the potty!  Then the boy went naked again, with this mommy determined this day would be easier!  The day started off horribly!  More accidents and this mommy was getting frustrated and thinking this wasn't going to work!  Then right after lunch something changed...... the boy went to the potty, sat down and peed!  (granted he had bad aim and not much went in the potty but still!)  Yay! a breakthrough!  We cheered, we danced, we had candy, and we got a new hotwheels car!  This was a big deal!!  The boy was so excited that the rest of the day we were pretty much going to the potty to pee (sometimes we'd miss, sometimes we would wait too long, but it was progress!).  But then..... uh oh, this mommy knew that look, he had to poop!  This mommy took him to the potty and sat him down, the boy started screaming saying "no!!  need diaper!!  need diaper!!!"  I again told him we didnt have any and he had to go on the potty....... the screaming and kicking continued for about 20 minutes, then he calmed down and nothing happened for another 10 minutes.  This mommy figured she misjudged and let the boy get off the potty.  He took about 5 steps and pooped on the floor!  Sigh!  Well its a work in progress and this is only day 2!  Time for bed again so "big boy sleeping pants" go on and off to bed we go!  Woke up dry again!  yay!  Day 3 was a good day!  we ended up being around 90% there through the whole day, including pooping!!..... not too bad at all!  We didn't dare go out yet.  Day 4 & day 5 were even better getting up to about 95% there.  Day 6 we put on big boy underwear and worked on taking them off and on and going, still about 95% there even with the extra step, this mommy was very proud!  Day 7 we braved going out and about with only underwear on under his pants.  We only went out for about 2 hours, and we stayed dry the whole time!  As soon as we got home he ran to the potty and went!  Yay!  Good job boy!!  Only had 1 accident but it was my fault, he wanted help and I didn't hear him ask until it was too late.  No blame on the boy, and this mommy knew he wasn't going to have any more accidents, and she was right!  We then started letting him go to bed with only underwear on and have been dry every night!  Its been about 3 weeks since we started this process and I can honestly say I don't ever worry about him going in his pants, I trust him 100% with pottying, he plays and then you'll see him run into the bathroom and take his pants off and go all by himself!, he still wants to cheer and dance when he goes so he'll come get me after to show me he went and we cheer and dance!  So this mommy is a happy mommy, I have a completely potty trained 2 year old and less diapers to change!  And who ever has said he's too young to potty train doesn't know anything!  The proof is here sitting next to me!  I'm a very proud mommy!!! 

If you have questions about this method feel free to ask, I'd love to help you so you too can have a potty trained little one!!!  :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fast and easy granola snacks!

So this mommy likes quick snacks, but quick healthy snacks are definately a must!  And these granola snacks are so quick to make you'll make a ton!  The best part, you don't even have to cut them into bars!  Have a few minutes?  Let's go!

Ingredients you'll need:
-2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
-2 cups quick oatmeal
-1/4 cup honey
-1/4 cup corn syrup  (don't have corn syrup on hand?  you can use maple syrup instead, this mommy has done both and they are both just as yummy!)
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1/2 cup peanut butter
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-Whatever add ins you'd like (the boy likes chocolate chips and marshmallows the best but he doesn't always get what he wants  lol)

Got your ingredients?  Good!

Step 1:  Measure the rice cereal and oatmeal into a large bowl and set aside.
Step 2:  In a medium saucepan, mix your honey, corn syrup (or maple syrup), and brown sugar.  Cook over medium heat until just boiling.  Remove from heat and quickly add peanut butter and vanilla, then stir until smooth.
Step 3:  Pour mixture into the bowl with the cereal and oatmeal and mix until well coated.
Step 4:  Add your mix ins, stir lightly until evenly distributed.
Step 5:  Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.  (this is why you won't have to cut it into bars, you'll already have nice portion sized with no time added for cutting!! this mommy likes that!)
Step 6:  Scoop out the mixture and put into the muffin tins.  ( You should get about 18 servings- this mommy just fills each spot until almost full)  and then press the mixture down firmly in each spot. (you can use wax paper if you don't want to get your fingers sticky)
Step 7:  Put your muffin tin into the fridge for about a half hour to cool.
Step 8:  Pop out your snacks and enjoy!

Yummy!  And a perfect on the go snack!  Your little ones (and anyone really) will thank you!  This mommy loves making things easy!

Roasted Potato Bites!

If you are ever like this mommy you stand in the kitchen wondering what kind of side dish to make for that day's evening meal.  These are a favorite side dish in this mommy's house and on the plus side, they are super easy!  They take no time at all to prepare and are cooked and ready in 30 minutes!  So here's what you do....
First and foremost: preheat your oven to 450.

Step 1:  Take your potatoes (this mommy likes to use russet but you can use whatever kind you like best) and cut them into chunks, this mommy normally cuts them into eighths sometimes a little smaller depending on the size of the potato. 
Step 2: Put your potatoes into a bowl and pour in just enough olive oil to cover the pieces.
Step 3: Put in your seasoning (this mommy likes to use salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and rosemary - you'll want to experiment with how much seasoning you want to put on them, this mommy puts quite a bit because the daddy in this household likes to have all the flavor in every bite).
Step 4: Stir potatoes well to make sure they are evenly covered in seasoning and oil.
Step 5: place potatoes on a baking sheet (spread them out to make sure they are single layer and evenly spread on the sheet)
Step 6: Place them in your preheated oven and bake them for 30 minutes (the potatoes should be golden brown on the edges)
Step 7:  Serve them up and enjoy!

That's it!  That was easy!  Whew! Your side dish for tonight is planned out, now on to things that this mommy doesn't like to do, like cleaning those pesky bathrooms, seriously when will someone invent a self cleaning bathroom?  Oh well, maybe someday! 

Homemade Pop-tarts!

So in this mommy's house we love pop tarts!  All kinds of pop tarts, we just love them!  And this mommy likes the fact that its a fast breakfast, however this mommy doesn't like the fact that she can't control all the ingredients that go into them...... until now!  I found this recipe quite a while back and its become an instant favorite in this mommy's household!  The boy loves when I make him chocolate ones and brown sugar ones.  I love how flaky the outside comes out, and the filling possibilities are endless!  Smitten Kitchen is amazing for coming up with this recipe......... I'm copying the recipe here but definately check out their site!  They are also on facebook (bonus!)

Homemade Pop Tarts
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk
1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)
Cinnamon Filling (enough for 9 tarts)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg, to brush on pastry before filling
Jam Filling
3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
Alternate fillings: 9 tablespoons chocolate chips, 9 tablespoons Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut paste or 9 tablespoons of a delight of your choice, such as salted caramel or a nut paste
To make cinnamon filling: Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.
To make jam filling: Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.
Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.
Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. You can roll this out immediately (see Warm Kitchen note below) or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. [You can use a 9" x 13" pan, laid on top, as guidance.] Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.
Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.
Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.
Charming tip from King Arthur: Sprinkle the dough trimmings with cinnamon-sugar; these have nothing to do with your toaster pastries, but it’s a shame to discard them, and they make a wonderful snack. While the tarts are chilling, bake these trimmings for 13 to 15 minutes, till they’re golden brown.
Bake the tarts: Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.
Whole Wheat Variation: I was itching to swap out 1/2 cup of the flour with whole wheat flour. I am sure it would make it more deliciously breakfast.
Pop Tart Minis: The biggest struggle I had with these was the size. I actually like my baked goods on the tiny size, thus I think this could make an adorable batch of 16 2 1/4″ x 3″ rectangles.
Savory Pop Tarts: Nix the sugar in the dough and halve the salt. Fill with pesto, cheese, ground nuts or olives, or any combination thereof. Brush the tops with additional egg wash and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. Please invite me over.
Do ahead: The sweet versions should keep at room temperature in an airtight container for a week. If you’d like to make them further in advance, I vote for freezing them unbaked between layers of waxed paper, and baking them as you need

There you go!  Try these today!  They make this mommy very happy at breakfast time!  And if you want to be just like this mommy, crank up the radio and dance around like an idiot in the kitchen while making these - this mommy tells you it makes it even better!  :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Flower pillows

This mommy found something she thought was way too cute to pass up during one of her many internet explorations.  Flower pillows!  Of course the princess needs one (or fifty) for her room!  :)  This mommy found them at Come Together Kids and ran right out and bought some fleece!  The only thing this mommy did differently was she sewed all the petals on rather than hot glue making it washable (which is a definate must have for this mommy since the boy and the princess are messy beings!)  And this mommy did the center a little differently as well.  Took a bit longer but well worth it!  I mean how cute did these turn out?!?!...........

This mommy wants to make one in every color now!  Now go forth and make pillows, this mommy commands you!  :) 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Make your own liquid Laundry detergent!

This mommy has found all sorts of recipes for this all over the internet but finally found one she likes!  I took out things I didn't like and changed them to things I liked and viola my perfect recipe!  Works great!  We use it for everything we wash.  You can choose what scent you like and what soap you use will determine what color your finished product is!  The best part? The final cost is around 1.5 CENTS per load!  Yes you read that right it says just over 1 CENT!  This is awesome!  And here we go!

1 Bar of soap (choose whatever you like the smell of -this is where the extra bar of soap from my previous post on making your own body wash comes in)
1/2 Cup Washing soda (this you can find in the laundry isle of your local grocery store)  Walmart sells this for around $3 (but you can get several batches out of that $3 -we've made 5 batches out of this box so far and still have plenty more left)
1/2 cup Borax (normally right next to the washing soda in the laundry isle, again walmart sells this for around $3 and you can get several batches out of it!)
1- 5 gallon bucket to store detergent in (you only need to buy this once so your first batch won't be 1.5 cents per load if you count this cost in, sorry, but after that you're back to the 1.5 cents, this mommy promises!)

Step 1: Get your cheese grater out again....... grate your bar of soap into a pot
Step 2: Add 6 cups of water to soap
Step 3: Heat on medium heat and stir until soap all melts
Step 4: Add both the washing soda and borax (note: please pour this in slowly and stir while doing so, this mommy has made the mistake of dumping it in and ended with a mess -think school volcano project- however on the good side this mommy ended up with a VERY clean stove afterwards  lol)
Step 5: Once all borax and washing soda is dissolved remove from heat
Step 6: Pour 4 cups of HOT water into the bucket
Step 7: Pour your soap mixture into the bucket and stir
Step 8: Pour in 1 gallon PLUS 6 cups of hot water and stir again
Step 9: put lid on bucket and put in laundry room and let sit for 24 hours

You will use 1 cup for each load.  Note: The mixture will gel a little, some batches gel more than others and it all depends on what soap you use and the temperature of your laundry room, no matter how much it gels or doesnt gel it still all works just as well.  I like to say it looks more like egg soup consistancy, you'll have parts that are gloopy and parts that are smooth, that's OK!  This mommy just makes sure she gets a little of both the smooth and the gloopy (yes that is a real word in my own dictionary lol) parts for each load.  This mommy normally doubles the batch and makes 2 at once, they both fit in the 5 gallon bucket and this mommy likes not having to make it as often (however I don't have to make it very often anyway and we have 2 messy kids!)  That's all there is to making your own laundry detergent!  Have fun making your own! Feel free to let me know how yours turns out!

Make your own body wash!

This is a recipe originally found on but this mommy loved it so much I'm sending it on to you (with some changes made by me)
Supplies needed:
-2 bars of soap you like the smell of (to be really frugal this mommy likes to get the 3 packs of soap from the local dollar store- I use the 3rd bar for making laundry detergent, stay tuned as this mommy will be adding that on another post!)
-Water (we all have that!)
-Cheese grater
-Large pot
-A plastic or glass bottle to put your body wash in

Step 1: Grate 2 bars of soap into pot
Step 2: Add 2 cups water
Step 3: Place on medium heat and stir until soap is all melted
Step 4: Take off heat and let cool down a bit
Step 5: Once cooled off a bit, pour into bottle
Step 6: Use your body wash!  (a dime size amount on your puff will do plenty!  Make sure you shake it well before each use as it seperates a bit)

That's it!  Now that wasn't so hard was it?  This mommy knew you could do it!  And guess what?  You are avoiding all those extra chemicals in store bought body wash and saving money while you are at it!  If you really wanted to you could even make your own soap to do the same with!  There's an idea for a later day!  This mommy may have to try that..... but for now this will do!  Saving money is an awesome feeling isn't it?!?

Sharpening Disposable Razors!

This mommy must admit when I first saw this I was so skeptical.  Nothing is this easy right?!?  But this mommy decided to try it anyway!  Based originally on the methods to sharpen the old straight knives used for shaving on a leather strip.  So here are the steps : 
Step 1: Obtain your razor that is dull and ready to be thrown out (this works for both the fully disposable kinds and the kinds that you have disposable cartridges)
Step 2: Take your razor and run it backwards on the inside of your arm (your arm is after all a leathery substance) blades down but facing the opposite way of the direction you normally would shave. (Think of it as backwards shaving however this won't remove hair this way)  :)  Apply moderate pressure.
Step 3: Repeat step 2 approximately 10 times (This mommy did it a little more than that cause as I said I was skeptical)
Step 4: Shave with your new sharpened razor!

Yep, that's it!  Comments I've seen on this method have people saying they have used the same razor for 2 years without replacing it!  I haven't gotten that far, but this mommy can tell you after she did this with her razor she then went on to shave both legs and was completely knick free!  I love it.  I can get a 10 pack of razors at the dollar store and if its true that I can use the same one for 2 years, I'm set for 20 years on $1!!  Gotta love it!  Can't get more frugal than that!  This tried and true method makes this mommy very happy!!