Posted 10-16-2016 at 09:23 PM by Jessica
Are you looking to spruce up your dinner menu? Is your family getting sick of the same old dishes over and over again? Do you want to teach your kids about other cultures but aren’t quite sure how to do it?
Do you want to teach your kids about other cultures without having to pay thousands of dollars to travel to a different continent?
How about you try an “International Night?”
Because each country is bound to have a traditional food, why not try your hand at making it? Having a Mexican theme one month and then trying Indian the next month, Moroccan another month… The options are endless! And nowadays it is so easy to find a whole lot of different recipes, you’re sure to find something that the whole family would love with just a few Google or Pinterest searches!
While you can do a full dinner with an entree from that country along with appetizers and a dessert, you can totally just do a dessert or just a simple dish if you don’t have the time or resources to go all out. Just print out a photo of the country and get the family together to talk about what you know about the country already, and then do some research together to broaden your knowledge! You can even find out how to say basic phrases in that language and practice saying “hello” and “good-bye” to each other. Music is also a great way to learn about that country; find a few fun songs originating from that place and listen to them! Honestly there are so many simple ways to learn more about different countries and help your kids, too!
Who knows, they may even ace their next geography test after a few of these “International Nights!”
Let us know if you have any other ideas on learning about other countries and cultures! If you have any fun international recipes, please share them in the comments as well!
Posted 10-14-2016 at 09:08 PM by Jessica
How cute would an ice cream sundae party be? It’s the perfect idea for a birthday party, family reunion, or just a fun get-together!
Ice cream is usually a pretty universally loved treat, and with so many different flavors there can really be something for everyone! I’ve put together a list of what you’d need in order to create the best Ice Cream Sundae Party ever.
1. Ice Cream. It might be kind of hard to have an ice cream party without the ice cream… Make sure you have a large variety of flavors, and don’t forget some good old-fashioned vanilla for those boring people out there (totally kidding! Kind of).
2. Spoons and Napkins. I don’t think those need too much explaining…
3. Bowls and Cones. Give everyone the choice with cute bowls and lots of cones.
4. Candy Toppings. Sprinkles are a necessity. Also marshmallows, chocolate chips and nuts!
5. Fruit Toppings. Bananas, strawberries, raspberries… You can really go with just about any fruit!
6. Syrups. If nothing else, set out some chocolate syrup and whipped cream. If you’re feeling fancy grab some pineapple preserves and some caramel and strawberry toppings too.
7. Ice Cream Scoops. If you really want to be cool, keep them in a large bowl of hot water so that there is less flavor mixing and it’s easier to scoop!
8. Decorations. How cute are these ice cream balloons? Even if you just make a few of these and set everything out on a nice tablecloth, you’re set!
9. Invitations. Make your own, like these adorable invites, or simply send out a mass text. Anything works.
There you go! An Ice Cream Social is a super cute party idea for any time of the year, not just the Summer! It doesn’t take much work or planning, just the right supplies!
Let us know how it goes, we’d love to hear it!
Posted 10-13-2016 at 09:02 PM by Jessica
It is officially Fall, and I’m always looking for unique ways to celebrate the season. Pumpkin themed recipes and Autumn inspired crafts are always super fun, but sometimes you just want something different! When I stumbled upon this Pumpkin Scented DIY Soap, I just knew I had to make it, and I sure am glad I did!
There is just something super luxurious about a fun-scented soap. Especially if it is homemade! Of course a bar of Dial does the job, but wouldn’t you rather have something that cleans, moisturizes and makes you smell pretty?
We have officially made it into the Autumn season and since I am obsessed with all things seasonal I decided that a pumpkin spice scented soap was not only a good idea but the absolute best idea. Of course, if you’re not feeling the pumpkin scent (how dare you!) you can replace the spices with some essential oils. Lavender is my favorite oil to add to soaps, but there are so many great options!
Now, heading out to buy a block handmade soap can end up running you more that you’d probably like, which is why I found an easy DIY version to save you money and still have you smelling beautiful!
Alrighty, now that I’ve chatted for a while, lets get to the soap concocting! I got this recipe from Happiness is Homemade, so head on over there with this link!
I promise you’re going to love how soft your skin feels, and the sweet pumpkin scent. Have I mentioned that this is a fantastic gift idea as well? Make a couple of these bars and give one to your mom, your niece, your neighbor! Inexpensive and easy!
Tell me in the comments if you ended up making this, and how you liked it! Did you use the pumpkin scent, or did you try something else?
Posted 10-11-2016 at 08:57 PM by Jessica
Did you know that a portion of your energy bill is paying for devices that you aren’t even using just because they are plugged into the wall? While it’s not always a lot of money, maybe a few dollars a month, it certainly can add up! Leaving a device plugged in 24/7 still siphons away some energy, and that is energy that will show up on your bill each month.
Unplugging some devices when you leave for the day or before you go to bed at night, or simply once you’re done using it can save you quite a bit in the long run.
Here are a handful of devices that you can benefit from having unplugged:
- Desktop and Laptop computers
- Your TV
- DVD players
- Cable TV boxes (though this one could be a pain to wait for it to reboot each time)
- Cordless phones
- Stereos and radios
- Your Coffeemaker
- Microwave (sometimes this is an easy plug to reach, if not, don’t bother with it)
- Game Consoles
Now, you may be thinking “so I have to run around the house unplugging things over and over?” The answer is no, you can actually make this much easier on yourself (especially if there are multiple cords in the same area) if you plug the devices into a power strip and just switch the power strip off.
Pretty easy, right?
Let us know how this works for you, we’d love to hear it!
Posted 10-9-2016 at 08:54 PM by Jessica
Science has been my favorite subject for as long as I can remember, and I think that a lot of what made me enjoy it as a child was the fun experiments I did in my class.
In my 4th grade class my teacher told us that we were going to make our very own rock candy! I don’t think that you can fully understand how exciting that is to a class of 9 year olds. The idea that science can lead to a sweet candy is sometimes a new concept as most kids only think of science as a study of bugs, plants, and possibly mixing liquids together that blow up.
I’ve found that same experiment that I did as a kid, and I’m going to share it with you!
This is a super easy experiment that does require adult supervision because you’re dealing with very hot liquids, but it’s simple enough that most kids will really enjoy it. All that is required is some patience as it will take 3-7 days for the sugar crystals to fully develop. But honestly, checking to see what’s grown each morning is almost as fun as eating the candy once it’s done!
I’ve copied the supplies needed and instructions down below for easy reference, but feel free to pop over to the Science Bob website for some photo demonstrations and tips.
- A wooden skewer or chopstick
- A large clothespin
- 1 cup of water
- 2-3 cups of granulated sugar
- A tall narrow glass or jar
- Clip the wooden skewer into the clothespin so that it hangs down inside the glass and is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the bottom of the glass. (as shown)
- Remove the skewer and clothespin and put them aside for now.
- Get a helpful adult!
- Pour the water into a pan and bring it to boil.
- Pour about 1/4 cup of sugar into the boiling water, stirring until it dissolves.
- Keep adding more and more sugar, each time stirring it until it dissolves, until no more will dissolve. This will take time and patience and it will take longer for the sugar to dissolve each time.Be sure you don’t give up too soon. Once no more sugar will dissolve, remove it from heat and allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes.
NOTE: While it is cooling, some people like to dip half of the skewer in the sugar solution and then roll it in some sugar to help jump start the crystal growth. If you do this, be sure to let the skewer cool completely so that sugar crystals do not fall off when you place it back in the glass.
- Have your friendly ADULT carefully pour the sugar solution into the jar almost to the top. Then submerge the skewer back into the glass making sure that it is hanging straight down the middle without touching the sides.
- Allow the jar to fully cool and put it someplace where it will not be disturbed.
- Now just wait. The sugar crystals will grow over the next 3-7 days.
Want colored rock candy? Add food coloring to your sugar water and make sure sure that it is pretty dark in color for the best result.
And that’s it! Just check back each morning to see the sugar crystals magically forming on the stick! Your kids will love this. And since it’s made with just sugar and water (and possibly food coloring) it is totally safe to eat!
Let us know how this fun experiment turned out for you!
Posted 10-8-2016 at 08:40 PM by Jessica
As a kid my siblings and I enthusiastically referred to Fridays as “Stay Up Late Night.” It was the one night that my parents did not implement a bed-time and we could stay up as late as we wanted to (we’d usually crash before we ever reached 10pm, though) and we’d have a blast watching movies and eating pizza. Pure kid heaven, let me tell you.
Fridays were the best days ever because our school let out early so we usually went to get lunch with my mom and grandma. After that we’d head home to board games, movies projected onto the wall with my dads dinosaur of a projector, and lots of other fun. Having those fun activities to look forward to during the week was the greatest, and I’d love to share some fun ideas with you so that you can host your own “Friday Stay Up Late Night” with your family each week.
Pick out a movie: After school my mom would take us to Blockbuster (do you remember Blockbuster?! Holy cow I can’t believe it’s gone. So much of my childhood was spent at Blockbuster) and we’d pick out a movie. Now all you have to do is open up Netflix and let the kids choose what they want to watch.
Buy some treats: Or better yet, bake some together!
Break out the board games: Apples to Apples, Monopoly (if you really want to stay up late…), Clue, Trivial Pursuit… Grab a few and have a blast!
Create a cozy viewing area: Have everyone bring all of their blankets and pillows and stuffed animals into the living room. Your kids will get a kick out of the chaotic coziness.
No bed-time: Seriously, just let them fall asleep whenever they feel like it. (Most likely, it won’t be much later than their bed-time anyways…) Even if this is just a once-a-month thing, they’ll love it!
Invite friends over: While I wasn’t able to have sleepovers with friends, we could have “late nights!” (Meaning that we got picked up from the friend’s house around 11pm, right around when we’d usually just fall asleep anyways.) Inviting some cousins or friends over to enjoy the junk food and games will make it that much more fun!
There’s so much you can do on a Friday night in with the family, these are just a few of the things that I loved as a kid.
Do you have any fun Friday ideas? Let me know what you like to do as a family!
Posted 10-6-2016 at 08:14 PM by Jessica
Notice that I didn’t write The Best Ever Sheet Cake (and Chocolate Icing). It’s written the oppossite way for a reason, though the sheet cake is honestly the best cake I’ve ever had. So that’s saying something for the icing. Heaven on earth.
Now, before you stop and think “well I’m not an icing person” just go ahead and take a second to hear me out. Read through the rest of my rant about how fantastic this icing is, click on the link to The Pioneer Woman’s website (where you can find the icing recipe along with a sheet cake) to drool over the photos, and then pretty-please try it for yourself. I’m positive that you’ll end up loving it almost as much as I do.
This icing can be spread over any type of cake (especially the Pioneer Woman’s Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever), drizzled over ice cream, or if you’re like me, shamelessly eaten with a spoon.
So go ahead and click on this link right here. It will take you to the most amazing chocolate icing you’ve ever tasted (and a fantastic sheet cake as well, I really shouldn’t leave that out).
By the way, I do realize that I just posted the same link to the same website page 3 different times. So if you don’t want to click on that last one you can honestly choose any other and you’ll be taken to the same place. Please just head over there and check out the deliciousness.
So tell me honestly, did you end up eating most of the icing with a spoon before you even had the chance to spread it onto the cake? It’s okay, no shame.
Posted 10-5-2016 at 08:10 PM by Jessica
The taste of Fall with all of the pumpkin-flavored goodies is amazing. The feel of Fall with sweaters and the chill in the air is also essential. But one of the most important aspects of Fall are the scents. Pumpkin bread baking in the oven, caramel melting on the stove in preparation for caramel apples, homemade pecan pie…. Oh boy. I think I’m in too deep.
Those heavenly smells are part of what makes the Autumn season so spectacular. But unless you’re baking another goodie each and every day, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the Autumn Aroma all that often. Well, it’s a good thing I have the perfect solution. Potpourri!
The following ingredients can be placed in a crock pot or simmered on the stove, whichever you prefer!
A few cups of water (or enough to fill a crock pot just about an inch below the rim)
An apple, cut into quarters
An orange rind
A few cinnamon sticks
A handful of whole cloves
and a teaspoon of vanilla extract
Boil the water if it’s on the stove top, and then add the ingredients. You can always play around with the amounts as well, it’s totally up to you.
Once the water has come to a boil on the stove and you’ve added the fruits, spices and vanilla turn the heat down so it can simmer. Be very mindful that the water will evaporate quickly so more water will need to be added every half-hour or you’ll risk burning everything in the saucepan. (And no, I am definitely not speaking from experience…;) ) If you plan to keep the potpourri simmering for longer than an hour or so make sure to add a little more spice each time you replenish the water.
That’s it! In only a matter of minutes your house is going to smell amazing.
Posted 10-3-2016 at 06:52 PM by Jessica
Now that it is officially Fall it is time to give your home a little Autumn flair. One of the easiest and most noticeable ways to let your neighbors know that you are participating in the Autumn season this year is to put out a wreath! Heading into a home decor store to find a cute Fall wreath is probably not the best idea, though. They’re usually insanely expensive for something that only lasts for a couple months, so opting to DIY it is likely going to be your best option.
After perusing the internet for a bit I found 3 really adorable wreaths. You can easily customize these to designs that work with craft supplies you already have, or mix up the elements to create your own masterpiece.
How cute is this Burlap Pumpkin Wreath?! It’s unique and sure to earn you lots of compliments. While it is a little more time-consuming to make than the others, it’s well worth it, as you can definitely see! Simply add some black triangle cut-outs to make it into a Jack-o-Lantern once October rolls around.
This Sparkly Letter Leaf Wreath from Hobby World is my favorite. I love that all you need to do is make a bow, arrange the fake leaves and place your letter in the center and hot glue it all down. Super simple but very festive! All of these supplies can easily be found in your local craft store. Make sure to check out the sales before you go, I know that Hobby Lobby is great about having lots of discounts going to each store section every week. They also usually always have 40% off a single item, just google “hobby lobby coupon” and it’s almost always the first link to pull up.
I know that I said Wreath Number 2 was my favorite, but after looking at this adorable Burlap Fall Wreath from the Card Store I’m not so sure anymore. I just can’t get over how great an idea the chalkboard is! It would be so easy to change it from “Happy Fall” to “Happy Halloween” in October and “Happy Thanksgiving” in November! The blogger also mentioned that she used pins to secure her decorations instead of hot glue so that the Fall foliage could be swapped for Christmas come December. Brilliant.
I’m having a hard time deciding which of these 3 is going to end up on my front door… I may just make all 3 and switch off each month.
Which of these is your favorite? Let me know in the comments and have fun crafting!
Posted 10-2-2016 at 06:52 PM by Jessica
Positive reinforcement is crucial for teaching your kids to be on their best behavior and complete the tasks that are asked of them. Most of the time that means praising them, and occassionally that means a fun treat, whether that’s a donut or a small toy. When your kids are being so great you just want to spoil them with both words of encouragement and praise and fun items but constantly buying knick-nacks and toys can get expensive and add unnecessary clutter to their rooms. Instead of those, why don’t you give some coupons a try?
Elementary teachers come up with fun little extra privileges that kids can earn in their classroom all the time, and you can use that same idea for your home! All of these ideas are completely free, but they’re things that your kids are probably going to appreciate even more than that candy bar or yo-yo. I’ve put together a few ideas that I’ve seen before or that I think kids would really like (what kid wouldn’t want to stay up a little past their bedtime?!) but these are just a very tiny amount compared to all of the fantastic ideas out there! Read through this list and let these ideas inspire you to come up with some of your own that specifically tailor to things your kids would appreciate.
1. Stay up 30 minutes past their bedtime one night.
2. Family movie night, and they choose the movie!
3. Bake a favorite dessert with mom or dad after dinner.
4. No chores for the day.
5. 30 minutes more electronic time!
6. Choose what the family eats for dinner that night.
7. Choose a board game for the whole family to play together.
8. Eat dessert for dinner!
9. Have full control of the TV remote for a period of time.
10. Help mom or dad with a fun project or craft.
Each child is so different that there’s sure to be something they would really love a coupon for. Perhaps you have a child who just adores going on car rides, add that to your list! Maybe your kid always wakes up too early on the weekends? Let them get up 30 minutes earlier than usually allowed on one Saturday morning and you’ll turn on some cartoons for them. These ideas can be especially rewarding if you let them brainstorm some things that they would want a coupon for. You don’t have to spend any extra money on rewards, just let them either choose from a list of ideas, or draw one randomly out of a bag!
Please let us know if you have any other fun “kid coupon” ideas, we’d love to see them in the comments!