Tuesday, November 26, 2013

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

The other day I ran out of dishwasher detergent and in a house of 5 members, that's no bueno. I didn't want to make a special trip to the store just for that but the sink was piling up with dishes and I had three choices; wash them all by hand (no thank you!), go to the store and buy detergent, or make some.

I had seen a few pins on Pinterest about making your own dishwasher detergent and decided now was the perfect time to try my own. The ingredients are simple...

Borax - 1 cup
Washing Soda - 1 cup
Citric Acid or Lemonade mix as a substitute (I used two packets of Lemonade Kool-aid)

There are variations of the recipe out there but this is the simplified and very basic version, also the cheapest.

Since April, I have been making my own laundry detergent (works just as well as store bought but for a fraction of the price) so I already had the Borax and Washing Soda on hand (also had the Kool-aid on hand, thankfully). The directions are super easy too...

Thoroughly mix the three ingredients together and use only 1 Tablespoon per wash.

After using this for a week now and through several wash cycles, I have discovered using more detergent causes a film to stay on the dishes so don't use more than directed. This recipe should last you about 2 months if you're like me and run your dishwasher every other day. It is very easy to double or even triple the recipe if you'd like. And total time to make this detergent? Oh, about five minutes. Way less time and much cheaper than if I had gone to the store.

Winner winner folks.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lessons Learned

After watching me make my delicious pumpkin cookies, the kids wanted to try their hand at making their own... sans recipe.

So as much as I was cringing inside at the thought of all that mess, I gave Alena and Christian (almost) free will of the kitchen. They had no idea what they were doing but they just knew that their cookies were going to be the best ever. 20 (or so) mixed ingredients later, they had a dough-like substance ready for the oven.

The cookies were baked and as soon as they were cool enough to eat, the master bakers themselves tried them. When asked how they tasted, they replied through forced fake smiles, "Mmmm. They're really good!". Did they taste good? NO. But they were proud as peacocks over their creations.

Christian's face says it all.

PS - They walked away from this experience learning two important lessons...

1. Throwing random ingredients together a good cookie it does not make.
And 2. When all else fails, smile and pretend to like it. :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pumpkin Goodness

Way back in the beginning of summer I posted this Pumpkin Cookie recipe. Since pumpkin season is now in full swing, I wanted to bring back the recipe again to share with you. I just made these for our church and received many compliments (great ego booster!).

These can be made Gluten Free too just by substituting regular flour with GF all purpose flour. I left off the frosting when I made them for church and they were still extremely delicious!

PS - They are neighborhood kid tested and approved! The kids loved them so much that they were begging for more!


Here we go...

Pumpkin Cookies

1C shortening (I didn't have any so I used butter. Also, if you add some extra butter they turn out super soft)
1C sugar
1 egg
1C pumpkin
1tsp vanilla
2C flour (I used a gluten free flour)
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp baking soda
pinch of salt (pretty sure I skipped the salt)

I added a small amount of nutmeg and cloves even though the ingredients don't call for them.

Cream shortening or butter and add sugar and eggs; beat well. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool then add frosting. Makes 25-30 cookies. (side note: I thought they would flatten/smooth out while baking but they didn't. How you plop them on the baking sheet is how they'll bake. Hence, my lopsided looking cookies.)


1Tbs butter
2Tbs milk
1/4C brown sugar
powdered sugar
vanilla to taste (I probably added 2Tbs)

Melt together butter, milk, and brown sugar. (I microwaved for 15seconds at a time until brown sugar was dissolved.) Add in vanilla. Stir in powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. (I felt like I was adding a TON of powdered sugar).

Monday, November 18, 2013

Noah - 7 Months

Only semi non-blurry shot I could get of him sitting. Kid does not stop moving.

 Weight - 17.2 lbs With all your mobility, your weight has significantly slowed down but that's OK. I know you are growing and perfectly healthy.

Height - 27 in

Appearance -. Your hair is just crazy. Very light and fluffy and turning blond. I love your little 'jack-o-lantern' teeth!

Eating - You nurse every 2-3 hours, generally closer to 2. It is hard to nurse you when we are in public, you are so easily distracted! We've been giving you food a little more consistently as the month went on and you are LOVING it! You will try anything and everything we give you and surprisingly the only thing you've disliked are the Gerber baby lil crunchies (look like mini cheese doodles). I do notice that when you have a little more to eat, it is harder for you to go #2. So I'm limiting you to only eating once a day or every other day (solid food. don't worry, I'm not starving my child) and only for breakfast or lunch.

Sleeping - You sleep from around 8 or 9pm - 7am usually waking up once, sometimes twice to eat. You may be getting into somewhat of a napping routine. Generally, you will nap around 830am no more than an hour. Another nap in the afternoon that is a little longer than your morning nap. You will then nap once again in the early evening for a short time.

Sizes -  You wear 6-9 month clothes and size 3 diapers.

Milestones - Pulling up, climbing, trying to stand alone, and cruising furniture!

Getting your fourth and fifth teeth.

You have started to take baths sitting up. You love being able to sit up and SPLASH.

You will actually crawl to us after pooping and will whine as if you are telling us to change you. Mommy and daddy love that you are communicating with us!

 Likes - food, exploring the house, taking a bath, chewing on everything, watching Alena and Christian play, looking out the windows and doors
Dislikes - getting stuck or falling while trying to stand and crawl, when you have a dirty diaper, waiting to eat, being put down when you are tired (you like to be held or nursed to sleep), diaper changes

Noah, my dear sweet boy. You have done so much growing this past month and I just can not believe you are now closer to one year than not. Seven months just sounds so OLD to me. You have started interacting with Alena and Christian more now that you are so mobile. You will try to climb and wrestle on them. Dear boy, you are always so busy! Crawling, exploring, and playing. You are such a good independent player but love when others engage you in play too. Noah, you bring us so much joy!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Turkey Turkey

Today I'll be showing you an easy turkey craft perfect for the Thanksgiving season.

Things you'll need:
  • pencil or pen
  • scissors
  • empty toilet paper roll
  • markers
  • glue
  • colored construction paper
  • googly eyes (optional)
First, you or your child will trace your child's hand on the construction paper with the pen or pencil. Do this several times as they will be the turkey's feathers.

Next, cut out the hands and glue them onto the empty toilet paper roll. You'll want to glue them in a fan shape so they're spread out.

Either draw or glue on googly eyes. You can use scraps from the leftover paper to make the beak, feet, and wattle. Drawing them on is OK too.

You can see here how with Alena's turkey (on the left), she drew on the face and feet. She also drew feathers on the paper instead of using her traced hand.

There you have it! Easy peasy! It was simple enough that the kids were able to do most of it themselves.

Alena and Christian took it one step further and drew backgrounds for the turkeys. Cute!

Alena's pasture and flowers scene.
Christian's playground scene.

What kinds of fall crafts have you done? I'd love to hear em!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Weekend Rewind

This past weekend was a long holiday weekend and it was a busy one!

First, it started off with a potluck dinner that we hosted for my soccer team. I was prepared for only 6, maybe 7 families that had confirmed they were coming. But we ended up with 10 families! There may have been 18 kids (hard to count them when they were always running in a million different directions) and 15 of them were boys. I'll let that sink in.... 15 boys under one roof.

But we all had a great time. The adults were able to relax, talk, play pool and darts while the kids all played together. With only one bloody nose, one burned finger from the sparklers we lit later in the night, and Christian crying cause all the boys played with his toys, I'd call the night a smashing success!

Saturday was Gabe's birthday. He had chosen to eat at Joe's Crab Shack which is in Tucson, so we spent the day there. We had bought tickets this past spring for the Biosphere 2 and that was our first stop of the day. It was a pretty amazing thing to see. They had several different ecosystems ranging from a rainforest to the desert.

Their "ocean" with water brought in from the Pacific.

The Rainforest. Just amazing to see, also HUMID.

Where crops were grown when scientists spent two years actually living in the Biosphere.

After the Biosphere, we hightailed it over to the mall to get Gabe some new clothes after his 25lb weight loss. I only got one photo from shopping and it is the most adorably cute picture!

"Take a picture of us mommy!"
We finally made it to Joe's Crab Shack where Gabe got his birthday dinner. Afterward, we raced home because Gabe and I were having our first date night since Noah was born! We ended up bringing Noah because I wasn't sure how he would do at the sitter's since it would be around his bedtime. Thor was the movie of choice that night.

After two late nights in a row, we were all kind of sluggish come Sunday morning but we managed to get to church mostly on time. A little shopping and some lunch later, it was naptime. The rest of the day, we lounged around still tired from Friday and Saturday's activities.

Monday, Veteran's Day, we joined some friends for the annual Veteran's Day parade. We also went out to Applebee's which were giving free meals AND desserts to all veterans. Yes, please! Yum!

Hope you all had a great weekend and happy Veteran's Day to any vets who are reading!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Halloween Photo Dump

We didn't do a family theme (next year's is already planned though!) but we did do matching costumes. Gabe and Christian were ninjas, Alena and I were ladybugs, and Noah wore the only costume we had in his size that Alena wore 6 years ago, a horse (or a cow or giraffe as others mistook him for).

We hit up the mall for their Trick-or-Treating where they had some activities for kids to do. Christian got to break a board at a karate exhibit. He was over the moon and spent the rest of the night convinced he was the real deal. :)

We headed home and while I got hot chocolate and a movie ready, Gabe took the two biggest around the neighborhood. Since it was pretty bare as far as people went, everyone was being more than generous with the giving of the candy. The kids came home with a huge haul that I am doing my best to not eat.

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's Tough Being a Mom

Last night Alena begged me to let her wash the dishes and though I normally don't because I just know the mess she will make, I figured I wasn't doing her any good by never letting her learn. That, and I just really didn't want to wash them myself. ;) So, I handed her some gloves, filled up the sink, and let her have at it. Did she get water everywhere? YES. Did I have to do the dishes? NO.

Alena claimed as she was washing that she felt like a mom because you know, only moms can do dishes... This is the conversation that followed.

Alena - "It's tough being a mom."

Me - "Yes, it is."

Alena - "What's your favorite part of being a mom?"

Me - *thinking*
Alena - "Oh wait. Let me guess. Taking care of the kids and kissing your husband!"

Friday, November 1, 2013

November Goals

I snagged this idea from a fellow blogger and have been meaning to put up a monthly goal list for myself. Something about having a baby, two other kids, sports, and whatnots got in the way though. Bygones.

So! Here we are in November (already?!) and I'm finally getting around to setting this up. These are simple (cause let's be real, if it's not simple, it ain't happening) goals that I have in my mind.

  1. Read 5 pages a day from a book - I want to read, I try to read, but I can't ever get more than half a page before something else needs my attention. So reading a little here and there throughout the day should hopefully be doable. Baby steps...
  2. Date night! - Gabe and I have not had a date night since before Noah was born. This is Gabe's birthday month so perfect timing!
  3. Declutter master bedroom - Because the master bedroom isn't seen by anyone but us, I tend to wait far too long to clean it. Flat surfaces are the perfect landing ground for all things clutter and our dresser and night stand are suffering for it. And with the weather turning cooler, I will be bringing my winter clothes in from storage and taking summer clothes out making this the perfect time to go through our clothes and purge what we don't wear.
  4. Meal plan - I was doing really good with meal planning for quite some time and then just stopped. Now, most nights consist of me asking "So what do you feel like for dinner? Oh, chicken nuggets? Sounds good!"
  5. Blog at least twice a week - Right now, I'm averaging 5-6 blog posts per month so 8 should be attainable.

And that's it folks. Five goals. Wish me LOTS of luck cause I'm sure I'll need it. I'd love to hear if you have any goals that you're trying to accomplish this month too.