Guest Write

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

No Dye Easter Eggs with Melted Crayons





Looking for a way to decorate easter eggs with your kids that doesn't involve messy bowls of dye? Here is a fun an easy way to decorate eggs using crayons!

Simply boil your eggs on the stove and when they are cooked pull them out and place them back in the carton.

While they are still hot take a crayon and draw all over the egg. The heat from the egg will melt the waxy crayon and create interesting designs all over the egg.

If you like you can dip them in egg dye after for
 even more color!

Be careful, the eggs are very hot when they are taken out of the boiling water so make sure your kids know not to touch the hot eggs. You may want to reserve this craft for older kids who won't accidentally burn themselves.


Colorful eggs, no messy dye!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Make Your Own Make up Removing Face Wipes




Confession time. I often get really lazy about washing my face before I go to bed. Considering how much make up I usually wear I really should be diligent about washing my face before I sleep. I decided to make things a little bit easier by making my own make up remover cloths. I have seen a few recipes online and decided to make up my own. Here is how I made my own for super cheap. I already had all the ingredients and it only took a few minutes to make.


Supplies:
Paper towels
Olive Oil
Face Wash
Essential Oils


Cut the roll of paper towels in  half using a large knife and gently pull out the cardboard roll  in the center.

Put the half roll of paper towel into a waterproof container. An old tupperware or plastic coffee container work well. The only thing I had on hand was my ice cream cone cookie jar. Anyone searching around for cookies in that thing is up for a little surprise! Haha!




Next brew up your make up remover solution.  Take two cups of water 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of face wash soap and a dozen drops of your favorite essential oil. For this recipe I actually used no-tear baby shampoo. It's nice and gentle and we have a ton of it in the bathroom for Chloe.

Shake up all the ingredients an pour it over the paper towels in the container.

Take one out and wipe your face, then rinse your face with warm water or take a washcloth saturated with hot water an gently pat and wipe off the make up remover.

Follow up with toner and your favorite moisturizer.

I will keep you updated with how the wipes hold up over time. There are no preservatives so there is a chance that mold could grow inside the container. You may want to make small batches at a time in order to make sure everything is fresh!












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Friday, April 11, 2014

The State of the Yard




Several weeks ago I showed you my front yard and wrote about my plans to get things cleaned up and looking better. I have been busy digging, planting, mowing and weed wacking. Things don't look too shabby these days. I got myself an old school push mower from someone on Craiglist and it's great because I don't need gas or electricity and it's good exercise. I met this guy at his house about 20 minutes away from where I live. He was on his lunch break and quickly met me to exchange $20 for the mower. He took off and I was left with the task of fitting it into my little Mazda 3. Apparently my car is way smaller than I thought, especially with baby Chloe in the backseat. After the guy who sold it to me left to go back to work I was stranded on the side of the road trying to fit this stupid mower that I could barely lift into my car. Note to self: Don't do that again! Ha!

I've got my flower boxes planted and the tulips are blooming.



I have plans to plant some hydrangea underneath the three windows next month. I will share that project once it's completed.

I planted more herbs and added some hostas and shrubs under the Japanese Maple. Hopefully the maple will bloom soon.


Those are lilies in the black pots I transplanted from under the windows in front of the house. It's going to take some time for the hostas and shrubs to grown and fill out.

In the front yard I plan to re-build the front porch steps and install the fence properly. I would also like to paint it white.



In the past I have done a lot of vegetable gardening in the front yard. This year I am taking a different approach and planning to plant my veggies in pots on the back porch. I let my little veggie garden grow grass and am hoping that doing container gardening on the back porch will be easier and more convenient.

Next week I will show you my backyard. It's pretty horrifying so brace yourself. I've got big plans for the backyard so I think it deserves it's own post. What are you planting this Spring?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"Buttered" Coffee with Coconut Oil



Have you ever heard of Buttered Coffee? It's a new culinary trend that has been gaining popularity over the past couple months. Buttered coffee refers to swapping out milk, cream or creamers with grass fed, non salted butter in your coffee. I know it sounds really disgusting. Why would you put butter in your coffee? Well the idea is to infuse your morning coffee with healthy fats that are good for your body and good for your brain. You can read more about it here.

I decided to give buttered coffee a shot. We don't eat butter, we just have margarine so I wanted to see if coconut oil would work. I brewed up my normal cup of coffee and poured it into the blender. Then I noticed that I had not screwed on the bottom of the blender tight enough and coffee was pouring all over the counter. This is pretty much my only complaint with buttered coffee. How can one be expected to be coherent enough to blend up some buttered coffee if you haven't had your morning dose of caffeine?

After I cleaned up my mess and assembled the blender properly I tried again. I poured in the freshly brewed coffee and and add a couple heaping teaspoon of coconut oil. This was mistake number two. One teaspoon probably would have been sufficient. A little oil does go a long way and if you add too much oil and your tummy isn't used to it you will probably get a stomach ache. Which is exactly what happened to me.

Let me just say this about coconut oil buttered coffee. It is delicious! It was probably the smoothest creamiest tastiest cup of coffee I have ever had. I ended up needing to add less stevia than normal because it was so creamy and less bitter than usual. The only downfall is the prep work that I mentioned previously and the extra cleaning you have to do with the blender. I tried making buttered coffee a second time but just stirring in the coconut oil and letting it melt instead of blending it but it wasn't the same. Blending is definitely the way to go. If you have a Magic Bullet I can imagine that would be the perfect tool for the job.

I'm sure I will be making buttered coffee again soon but I probably won't make it a daily habit. Have you tried buttered coffee? What did you think?


Thursday, March 27, 2014

DIY Fairy Dust Bubble Wand Necklace

 

 

 


Disney has an all new Tinkerbell movie being released in April. I am one of several bloggers chosen to help promote awareness for The Pirate Fairy, a fun new kids movie from the world of Peter Pan. This Fairy Dust Bubble Necklace is inspired by fairies like Tinkerbell and fun to make for yourself, friend or your kids.

This DIY necklace is suited to kids that are a little older. The bottle is glass and the bubbles can get a little messy. There are a lot of small parts as well so keep that in mind when making this necklace.

Supplies:

Tiny bottle with cork stopper
Wire
Pre-made necklace chain or chain and clasp set to make your own necklace chain
Dish soap
Glitter
Wire cutters
Needle nose pliers for jewelry making



Cut a piece of wire about 2 inches long. I used wire for making memory bracelets from the craft store. Try to straighten the wire  as much as possible. To make it into a bubble wand take one end and bend it into a loop using the pliers. Take the other end of the wire and poke it up into the bottom of the cork stopper. Test the bubble wand to make sure it will fit through the opening in the bottle. The hole can be pretty tiny and still be able to form bubbles. If you are unsure if it will work you can test it out by dipping it in dish soap and try to blow bubbles before you insert it into the cork.



To make the bottle into a necklace you can push a tiny eye pin into the top of the cork. You can make your own by cutting a small piece of wire and bending a loop on one side like you did with the bubble wand. Then string your chain through. You can make a custom length chain with jewelry chain from the craft store and adding your own clasp.

Add a small amount of fairy dust (glitter) into the bottle. A couple little pinches will do. Carefully pour a little bit of liquid dish soap into the bottle and give it a little shake.  Now you can pull the cork up and blow into the bubble wand and create tiny bubbles everywhere! The glitter won't affect the bubble formation as long as you add a small amount so it is not too thick. There may be little bits of glitter that land with the bubbles so you may want to limit bubble blowing to outdoors only if you don't want small pieces of glitter around the house.


 

 




 The Pirate Fairy will be released in Blu-ray and Digital HD April 1. To purchase click here.

 For more information check out the Facebook Page


Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Amazing DIY Mattress Cleaner Recipe







Shortly before I got married I bought a very expensive mattress from Sleep Country in Canada. It's Simmon's Pillow top mattress and it's one of the best purchases I have ever made. I used to wake up with a sore back every morning and since I bought that mattress I have been pain free. It's like sleeping on a cloud it's so comfortable. Now, if I had the foresight to know that I would have slobbery dogs sleeping on the bed, occasional spills of food and drink, a messy cat and a baby in that bed all at the same time- on more than one occasion, I would have gotten a waterproof mattress cover ASAP. But it didn't and so there are several stains on the bed that make it look kind of gross (don't judge)

 Note to self: Next time I buy a new mattress get a cover for it to protect it before I ever sleep on it! They make covers that zip around and completely envelope the mattress. This will prevent bed bugs and bed mites from living in your mattress. You can put a softer cover over the vinyl one so it feels nicer if you need to.

I wanted to clean the mattress and since I stick my nose and mouth next to it for several hours every single night I didn't want to use harsh chemicals. I knew sprinkling on a little baking soda to freshen it up would not do the trick. After a little help from my friend Google I brewed up this recipe:

1 cup of hydrogen peroxide
2 Tbsp of baking soda
1 tsp of Dish soap

Mix the ingredients into a spray bottle and spray right onto the mattress stains. Gently blot and rub out the stain with a cloth.

After the spots are completely dry then sprinkle a mixture of baking soda and essential oil onto the mattress. Let it sit 20 minutes and then vacuum it up!

This recipe actually works really well. Do a test patch if you are worried about discoloring your mattress as the peroxide will lighten the fabric.

Why no before and after photos you ask? Well do you want everyone in the world seeing your dirty mattress? I didn't think so! 

Fresh, clean and natural. Do you have any mattress cleaning tips? Share in the comments!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tis The Season for Yard Clean Up



Current state of the front yard

In a few days it will officially be the first day of Spring!! This has felt like the Winter that will not end and honestly, all of us on the West coast didn't even have it all that bad compared to the Polar Vortexes and freak ice storms raging on the East coast. Regardless, I am happy to see the little crocuses popping up in the garden and the buds about to burst on the trees.



I've got my work cut out for me
This is the perfect time of the year to start doing the back breaking chore of yard cleanup. If you start now before everything blooms and starts growing out of control I promise in June you will be so happy you did it.


Another view of the front yard from the front walkway

If you remember last year I had some lofty goals and we even applied to be on the TV show America's Most Desperate Landscape after the producer of the show saw photos of my yard and recommended us as potential candidates.

It seems every year I set out with the best intentions of growing myself a spectacular garden and then though trial and error I end up with a huge freakin mess in the yard. I am only one woman and I can't do it all by myself. This seems to be my theme so far for 2014. Last year I had amazing aspirations of building new porch steps and installing fences. Unfortunately I realized that once you are about 5 months pregnant you can't bend over anymore. Any goals of structure building or flower planting were quickly squashed and I realized all these lovely ideas I had would have to wait another year.

Well, the time has come and I'm fired up and ready to go! Baby Chloe is happy to hangout in her stroller and watch Mommy picking up weeds and digging holes. I'm on a mission to beautify my landscape once and for all, one blade of grass at a time.

My goal is to work on things bit by bit, accomplishing one area or so per week with the hope that by Chloe's first birthday at the end of July we will be able to throw a nice BBQ and birthday party for her and I won't have to be embarrassed of my yard!

I've got some inspiration boards up over on Pinterest. Check out my Gardening, Front Yard Landscape and Tropical Backyard Ideas boards for ideas or leave a comment with some ideas of your own!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring Cleaning Week 3 - From Top to Bottom





I have been on a mission to clean up my messy house for a few weeks now. I decided around Christmas time that I was ready to get things clean and organized once and for all. I am currently on week 3 of my Spring cleaning extravaganza. If you missed my other posts you can catch Week 1 here and Week 2 here. Overall things are definitely less cluttered. I can see the bedroom floor, the laundry is manageable, things are going great. Now that so much of that extra crap is out of the way I can actually clean. I don't even really mind cleaning- it's the organizing, sorting through piles, folding laundry and putting it away, it's those types of chores that I despise. There is something so satisfying about scrubbing something dirty and making it sparkling and clean. That's probably the same reason why when I was an esthetician  I liked doing pedicures. Feet are gross but when you scrub, file, buff and polish them they look less gross. It's an odd satisfaction.

So here we are on to Week 3 of cleaning and this time I'm working from the top of  the house down. Ceilings to floors. Here is how the week is going to look:

Monday: Dusting and cobweb removal. I can see them all over the ceiling. Dust bunnies and cobwebs. I'm sucking them out with the vacuum. I'm also dusting off all the light fixtures and light switches. Scrubbing off dirty hand prints from the walls and getting the dust of the ceiling fans

Tuesday: Windows. I am taking off all the curtains and window valances and throwing them in the washing machine. While they are in the wash I will be washing the windows and dusting the window blinds. Since I am doing all this laundry I will throw in the shower curtains and shower curtain liners in as well to disinfect them.

Wednesday: Time to clean the mattress on the bed and the throw the sheets and pillows in the wash while I am at it. I am also going to wipe down the couches (fake leather) and vacuum or wipe down all the upholstered furniture and throw the throw pillows in the wash.

Thursday: Refrigerator. It's time. I skipped it when I was cleaning the kitchen last week. It's nasty and I need to devote a chunk of time to focus solely on the fridge.

Friday: Floors! Time to sweep, vacuum and mop the entire house. I'm going to move all the furniture out of the way and get into all those hard to reach places.

Wish me luck! In no time I will be on to the final week and hopefully be sitting in a sparkling clean, nicely organized house!