Sunday, December 13, 2009

Letters from Santa

Here's a website where parents can communicate with Santa so kids can receive a letter from him. Go to this website and you'll find all of the details.
Have fun!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix and Homemade Microwave Popcorn

In the cooler seasons, hot chocolate is a staple in our home, but it feels like we go through it so quickly!  I found this recipe (which can be altered easily to suit individual tastes) and don't think I'll ever go back to buying hot cocoa mix from the store ever again!  I haven't done any sort of cost analysis on this, so I don't know that this really is a huge money saver, but I like being in control of the flavor!

Hot Chocolate Mix
11 c. dry milk powder
1 4-oz container powdered non-dairy creamer
1 4 oz container french vanilla powdered creamer (or any other flavor...I really like hazelnut)
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar (play with amount to find desired sweetness)
3 c. instant chocolate drink mix (Nestle's Quick, for example)
1/4-1 1/2 c. cocoa powder (again, play with the amount to find your desired chocolatey-ness; I used about 1/2 c.)

Basically, you just mix all of it together and put it in a container that you can seal.  This makes at least one gallon's worth of mix, so just make sure your container is at least that big.  Then you just use it like you would any other hot cocoa mix and add hot water!

Microwave Popcorn
Easy stuff!  I never knew you could make homemade microwave popcorn, but I learned how a few weeks ago, and now we have it all the time.  You just take about 1/4 c. of popcorn kernels and put them in a brown lunch sack.  You fold over the end of the sack just once and use a small piece of tape to secure it.  Then you stick it in the microwave for about 1 min 50 sec (or just use the popcorn setting on your microwave...that's what I do).  After that, you have full control over how much butter, salt, or other toppings you want to put on it.  My kids like it lightly buttered and tossed with some parmesan cheese or just lightly buttered with garlic butter.  It's been such a long time since I made air-popped popcorn that I almost don't even remember how to really flavor it, so I'll be looking up some ideas for that!

Nativity Silhouettes

I started putting up our Christmas decorations today, and was a little sad to note that in our new place, we don't really have a kid-friendly area to put up some of our nativities in the living room.  However, since the living room is really the main room in our home, I felt that it needed a nativity!  As I was looking around the room pondering this dilemma, I was drawn to our head silhouettes.  Then it dawned on me that I could use this same idea and divide the frames into a nativity!

 I have the files for each of the pictures and the picture that I took these images from, if anyone wants them.  They are for 5x7 frames and the files are 72 bmp.  The resolution isn't perfect, but it's better than good enough for me!  I really loved how these turned out and how they look in our living room!  The take home point from this post is to be creative about how you decorate seasonally.  I have a few areas in our home that I change the images in the frames to depict seasonal interests.  I just keep the images that had been in the frames in a folder in one of my scrapbook storage boxes so that they won't get bent, and then once the holiday or occasion passes, I put the usual ones back in the frame.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


For our living room, I didn't want to put up a bunch of pictures because I wanted to do a collage of frames in the connecting dining room.  However, I did want to have something in our living room to show our family, so I made these silhouettes.  They were so stinkin' easy and I love how they look.  I'm sorry about the picture quality, though.  These photos were taken with my phone because Brandon left out the camera charger, which Nicholas then found and promptly hid we can't find our camera charger.

At any rate, here's how I made them:

First, I took a digital profile picture of each of us.

I knew I wanted them to fit in my 5X7 frames, so I opened photoshop and cropped them down to 5X7, leaving enough room around their silhouettes as I'd like to have as empty space in the frame.  My cropping settings were 5 in. by 7 in. at 300 dpi because I do everything at 300 dpi.

Then I printed out the cropped image just on regular computer paper using a low ink setting. 
Next, I used some two way tape to lightly secure the printed image to a piece of black card stock.

Then I just cut out around the printed silhouette, leaving a fancy curving torso/bust (not sure what to call that part, actually).  

Once you have it cut out, you remove the computer paper from the card stock and adhere the card stock on a background paper using craft bonding spray or two way tape, and then frame it!

I plan on updating the silhouettes on our walls about once a year because I just really like the look of them in our living room!  I have also seen people make Halloween and Christmas silhouettes this way by printing off pictures of haunted houses, witches, black cats, Santa, Christmas trees, etc. this way and putting them in frames to display with the rest of their holiday decorations.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bed Canopy

I found this idea on the Roberts Crafts blog,, and thought it was super cute! It's a canopy from IKEA and decorated with fabric and mod podge.
Here's a link to the instructions:

I've heard that the canopies at IKEA are very inexpensive, but I haven't actually been there yet, so I don't know for sure. There are a lot of other great ideas on the blog, I just really liked this one.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Repurposing clothes

I found out about this website from a friend and I LOVE it! You can use your old clothes (or your husband's old clothes) to make cute clothes for your kids. There are a ton of ideas. Go to to check it out! I might actually dust off my sewing machine and use it!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fun recipe

I didn't know if you guys wanted recipes posted on here or not, but I really love making oatmeal packets for my kids and I wanted to share the recipe. It's a recipe the kids can help make. It's way cheaper than store-bought oatmeal packets and you know what's in them!
Here's the basic recipe (makes 8 packets):
3 cups quick cooking oats
snack-size zip baggies

Make oat flour by putting 1/2 cup of oats in blender. Blend on high until powdery. Repeat with another 1/2 cup. If you have a food processor, then you can do the 1 cup in one batch.

Place in each baggie: 1/4 c. oats, 2 Tbsp. oat flour, and 1/8 tsp. salt.

To serve: Empty packet into a bowl and add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir and let stand 2 minutes. Add more water for thinner oatmeal, or less water if you want it thicker.

Serve plain or add sugar or honey to sweeten it.

Also, you can add other ingredients to the baggies to make fun flavors. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Apple Cinnamon- 1 Tbsp. sugar + 1/4 tsp. cinnamon + 2 Tbsp. dried apples
Brown sugar/Cinnamon- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar + 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Brown sugar/Raisin - 1 Tbsp. brown sugar + 1 Tbsp. raisins
Health Nut- 2 Tbsp. wheat germ
Fruit and Cream- 1 Tbsp. non-dairy creamer + 2 Tbsp. dried fruit
S'More- 6 miniature marshmallows + 1 Tbsp. chocolate chips


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kids craft ideas

My kids love doing art, so it's something I try to do with them as much as possible, but I'm always in need of more ideas. I found this website and I absolutely love the ideas! You can search for craft ideas by age or theme. There is a list of recommended books for some of the craft ideas, so you can read a great book with your little one and then do a craft that goes along with it. The website is Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Toy Bin Labels

I've been wanting to make these for a while now. I hate just throwing my kids' toys together in one big box because they just play with the same ones over and over unless I introduce new toys to them. I found that if I group the toys by a theme (i.e. animals, transportation, music, etc), it is much easier for me to just get those toys out for them to play with. Then when they are bored, we clean up those toys and switch them out for another group. But, I wanted to make cute labels for them. I want to do a red, white, and light blue theme for their room, so I opened up my Photoshop program and made some coordinating labels. I set the size to 4"x6" at 300 dpi. After printing them out on regular white computer paper (the toy bins are also white...if they weren't, I would have used card stock to make them opaque), I cut them out and taped them to the bins with clear packing tape over the labels. I am actually going to redo these using clear contact paper instead because the packing tape left ridges on the surface, but other than that, they are just how I wanted them to be!

Nicholas wanted to model the effectiveness of the bins. He is showing off his "transportation" toys!

Easy, Easy Kitchen Curtains

I love that kitchen curtains don't have to be too fancy. When I'm in my kitchen, I want to be able to see out the window as I'm cooking, doing the dishes, or whatever. But, I also like a little privacy.

(This is the best before picture I have of this window.)
I was reading up on different window treatments when I discovered this idea and adapted it to my situation. I just bought some tension curtain rods and some cafe rod clips, though regular drapery clips would work, too. Then I took some cloth napkins that we got for our wedding (and never use) and clipped those on to the hooks to use as my curtains. We're going for a blue and white kitchen, so I think these work beautifully!

Other variations on this idea are using bandanas or tea towels. I think each window (I have two of them in the kitchen) cost about $6.00 each because I already had the cloth napkins.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Easter eggs with a gospel message

I've been searching for ideas on how to make Easter fun while keeping the focus on Christ. Here's one of the ideas I found. I made mine today and was really excited to share it! I plan on using it for FHE on Monday or on Easter morning.
Each egg has a scripture and an item to represent the scripture. You open the eggs in order. Here's the list of scriptures and items:

Egg #1- Matthew 26:39 - Sacrament cup

Egg #2- Matthew 26:14,15 and Zechariah 11:12-14 - 3 dimes

Egg #3- Matthew 27:1,2 - Knotted twine

Egg #4- Matthew 27: 24-26 - Piece of soap

Egg #5- Matthew 27: 28-30 - Red velvet

Egg #6- Matthew 27: 31,32 - Small nail

Egg #7- Matthew 27: 35-56 - Pair of dice

Egg #8- Matthew 27: 50-54 - Small rocks

Egg #9- Matthew 27: 58-60 - White cloth

Egg #10- Matthew 27: 60,65,66 - Large stone

Egg #11- Mark 16:1 and Matthew 28:2,5 - Bay leaves

Egg #12- Matthew 28:6 - This egg is empty to represent the empty tomb

Saturday, March 14, 2009

More homemade cleaner recipes

Sorry for the really long post. I have even more recipes for homemade cleaners, but didn't want to post all of them. I'd be happy to email them to anyone who wants them, just let me know!

Daily shower spray
Simply give your shower a few quick sprays after you jump out!
1 cup water
1/3 cup rubbing alcohol
Combine and pour into a spray bottle. Simply spray the shower when you get out, no rinsing is required when you use this daily shower spray.

In a 32 ounce clean spray bottle, place 4 tablespoons of Ultra Downy fabric softener (you can chose the scent you like best, or use liquid fabric softener you already own.) Then fill the spray bottle with water, leaving about an inch from the top. Gently shake, then use just as you would use febreeze.
As with all cleaners, spot test before spraying on any fabric or furniture.

Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner Recipe
Great for disinfecting the bathroom when your family has the flu!
1 cup baking soda
2 tbsp liquid soap
2 tsp tea tree essential oil
1 tsp peppermint essential oil
1 tbsp white vinegar (optional)
In a bowl, add baking soda then liquid soap. Mix well until the baking soda forms a paste. If it is still too crumbly, add slightly more liquid soap until it forms a paste, as some liquid soaps are more "liquidy" than others. Next, add essential oils, mixing well, then add vinegar.
To use, put a small amount on your bathroom sponge to scrub down your toilet seat, shower, bathtub, sink and counter. Rinse out your sponge, and go over it again with clean water.

Lemon dishwasher detergent
This dishwasher detergent is for your dishwasher, not for using for handwashing dishes.
1/2 cup citric acid
1 1/2 cup borax
15 drops of lemon essential oil
Combine and store in a sealable plastic container.
Pour (or use a scoop) to pour into your dishwasher's detergent compartment and use the wash cycle as usual.

Prewash Laundry Stain Removal Treatment Recipe
This stain removal recipe can be made in bulk and stored in a plastic spray bottle.
Create a mixture of 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup liquid detergent, 1/3 cup ammonia. Pour into a clean plastic spray bottle. To use, spray directly on stain, and let soak before washing in the washing machine as normal.

Laundry Detergent Recipe
In a large heavy-duty plastic container, combine 1 cup soap flakes, 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup of borax.
Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load of laundry. Use with cold and warm water washes, with cold water rinse.

Hand Santizing Gel Recipe
1/4 cup aloe vera gel
1/4 cup grain alcohol
10 drops fragrance oil
1 drop food coloring
Combine ingredients and shake well. Store in a spray pump bottle to use.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Homemade Cleaner & Wipes

I recently started babysitting a little girl who is just 2 months younger than Nicholas.  On her first day here, her mom handed me a Rubbermaid container with what looked like a toilet paper roll on the inside and told me it was homemade wipes.  I thought that was a little strange, but gave her the benefit of the doubt.  Now I love them!  We have started making our own baby wipes for much less than the cost of regular wipes.  Here's the instructions:

1/2 c. baby wash
1/2 c. baby oil
2 c. water
1 roll paper towels, Bounty works the best and is worth the extra money over a cheaper brand!
2-3 plastic containers

I use three 7c. Rubbermaid containers for mine.  I then cut the roll of paper towels into thirds so that it looks like you've got three TP roll sized sections (you can also just cut the roll in half, but need to have two taller containers).  Place one of each of those in your containers.  Mix the baby wash, oil, and water together.  Distribute the mixture evenly over each of the rolls, which will quickly absorb the liquid.  When the cardboard is wet in the middle, you can easily pull it out and then dispense your wipes from the center.  They pull out really easily and are nice and soft of little bums!  Make sure to put the lid back on the container after you are done using them so that the wipes stay moist.  So easy and works really well!

I don't know about you guys, but I'm obsessed with using Clorox Anywhere spray!  Love it!!  It's also so darn expensive to buy when I go through it so quickly.  I decided to look up online if anyone has figured out the proportions of bleach to water that is used in it, and I found this article.  Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 tsp. bleach
22 oz water (that's the size of one regular Clorox Anywhere bottle)

I think I'm just going to make this from now on because I use it to sanitize the high chair, table, door knobs, counters, sinks, toilet handles, etc.

Have a great day!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Easy, inexpensive signs

For quite some time I've wanted to make a sign and bow holder for Rachel's room, but I didn't want to spend any money. I came up with this idea and I was surprised at how much I liked the result. I found scrap wood in our shed and painted it with craft paint I already had. I used my sizzix machine to cut the letters out. I glued them on (using a glue stick), then sealed it all with liquid varnish. I nailed ribbon to the top so I could hang it, then nailed in the white ribbon at the bottom. I tied the ribbon in a knot to hide the nails. Then I just clipped her bows and flowers onto the white ribbons.

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Favorite Blogs

I love all sorts of fun easy, CHEAP crafty tutorials.  I love that I've found so many of them on crafting blogs!  Here's a list of some of my favorites:

What are some of your favorite blogs or DIY websites?  Also, I'm looking for some great websites that give ideas about teaching toddlers and educational activities.  I am now babysitting a girl who is two months younger than Nicholas, and I would like to be able to do some educational activities with them.

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Two Peas Videos and Congrats to Lori

First - congrats to Lori on her wonderful baby news. And now I guess we will have to wait until an ultrasound to know if Max will be having a baby brother or sister. Any guesses! I'm not going to guess right now - although I am leaning towards a girl but that is not my official guess!

Anyway - I have always gone to to get quotes and ideas, etc. However today I realized that they have videos of different things. If you go to their web site - on the tool bar is the word education - click on it and then you will find various "classes" you can attend by watching the video. They have some on scrapbooking, card making, using photoshop elements, etc. Any some of them are monthly classes. They are fun - some new ideas. I can't believe I haven't noticed that before. I guess it was one of my duh! moments.