Fourth of July Jello ‘Poke Cake’ – The PERFECT Patriotic Dessert

Posted 07-1-2018 at 12:01 PM by Jessica

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You need an easy recipe for something unique.

You’ve done the same standard chocolate cake dozens of times before, and you want something new.

Perhaps you want something that you can customize to fit the color scheme of your next get together? I have just the solution for you.

~Jello Cake!~

Growing up, this was my most favorite cake. My mom would make it for my birthday each year, and it was always so fun to help her make it. She’d bake a white cake and then pour liquid Jello on top after poking a few holes into it, and viola! We’d have a colorful and delicious treat! Poke cake is a fun dessert for the 4th Of July because you can make it look really patriotic with red and blue Jello, so that’s how I prepared it this time. But don’t just do those colors, experiment with lots of different colors for a really unique cake!

I’ve included the recipe for the cake below, enjoy!

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You’ll need:

  • Prepared White Cake
  • Whipped Cream (Beat 1 pint cream, then add 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar once soft peaks form. Add more sugar to taste.)
  • 2 boxes of 3 oz. Jello
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • Berries for decoration

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Make it:

  • Bake the cake, and then poke holes throughout it. (You can use a fork, a bamboo skewer stick, whatever you’d like.)
  • Mix each box of Jello with 1 cup each boiling water, stir until the Jello is completely dissolved.
  • Pour the hot liquid Jello over the top of the cake carefully. You can do one color on each side, or go for a tie-dye design!
  • Refrigerate cake for at least an hour, and then frost with whipped cream and decorate with berries.

This is a really great recipe to do with kids. They’ll have a blast poking holes into the cake. If you do want them to help with pouring the Jello, make sure that is has cooled down enough before they pour it. Have fun with this cake, it’s a great one! It’s sure to be colorful hit at your next party!

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Diaper Swapers

Winter Weather Driving Tips – Stay Safe!

Posted 12-28-2017 at 10:11 PM by Jessica

Toddler on a winter drive

Some people are lucky and never have to brave a winter storm to head to the grocery store or work. Though these tips are specifically for driving in the snow I think that a lot of them work just as well with extremely rainy conditions as well.

If you can avoid driving altogether when the conditions get rough, please do! But sometimes you absolutely have to drive, and in those cases please remember these tips.

1. Check your tires.

Before the first snowfall comes make sure to check your tires to see if they have sufficient tread to handle icy roads. In order to test your tread take a penny and hold it so that Mr. Lincolns head is facing down. Insert the penny in between the tread on your tires and if you cover the top of Mr. Lincolns’ head, you’re good. If the tread doesn’t reach the top of his head then you probably need new tires.

2. Drive slowly.

This one seems so obvious, but there are so many people who must forget because there are so many accidents caused by cars going way too fast. Even if you do end up hitting another car or running into a fence, if you’re going a slow speed there likely won’t be much damage.

3. Don’t come to a full stop, if possible.

If you can slow down way before a stoplight and be going slowly enough that you can continue through as it changes to green before you fully approach it, go ahead and do that as you may otherwise get stuck on the ice.

4. Understand your brakes.

If you have ABS (anti-lock brakes) then you simply need to push the brake all the way down when you’re trying to stop quickly. It is normal for the pedal to vibrate quite a bit when you’re stopping, that means that the ABS is working! If you do not have ABS you’ll need to pump your brakes in order to come to a quick stop.

5. Accelerate slowly.

You can’t expect your car to accelerate as quickly when the roads are icy. If you get the wheels spinning too quickly off of the get-go you won’t gain enough traction and may end up digging yourself holes in the ice and snow that your wheels will get stuck in.

6. Give yourself plenty of room to stop.

It can be easy to revert to your sunny-day driving and trail behind the car in front of you without giving much room. But when the roads are icy you won’t be able to stop as quickly and may end up rear-ending the other car! On dry pavement you should follow someone by about 3 to 4 seconds. When there are winter conditions present, you should increase that to 8 to 10 seconds at least.

If the conditions are too bad, please try to stay home and wait for the weather to lighten up and for the roads to be plowed and salted. If you must venture out, please be safe!

DIY Rice Heat Pack (Stay Warm & Ease Aches)

Posted 12-15-2017 at 09:56 AM by Jessica

Pain

Got aches and pains?

Now that the weather is getting colder, I find my body hurts a lot more. I have a heating pad that plugs into the wall, but it requires me to be close to an outlet at all times. That simply does not work when I’m on my couch, as I don’t have an outlet anywhere near me. That means no TV watching when I’m hurting… No thanks!

Just about everyone has had a time when they desperately needed a heating pad to ease sore muscles or cramps. You may think that trying to make your own would be too much work, but let me tell you, it absolutely is not. It’s actually really simple and all you need is a sock and some uncooked rice or beans!

Simply take a tube sock (a clean one, preferably ;) ) and fill it up with a cup or two of rice or beans. Add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil and then tie off the top of the sock off where you want it. How full you want the sock to be is totally up to you. I like to have a little extra room after I’ve tied the end just so that the heat pad can bend more easily. And remember, you can always add more rice or beans later on, or take some out if you want. That’s really the beauty of this; it’s easy to customize to your needs along with being so easy to make!

To actually make the filled sock help your muscles just place it in the microwave for 30 second intervals until it is at your desired temperature. So easy!

Oh, Holiday Food. Why Must You Be So Fattening? 6 Tips for Staying Healthy this Season

Posted 12-10-2017 at 08:05 PM by Jessica

Family having Christmas dinner

Eggnog, cookies, candy canes, oh my!

My favorite cookies come out this time of year, along with delicious flavors of hot chocolate. With all of the yummy foods out this time of year, it’s hard to keep from packing on the extra pounds. Here are a few tips that may help, though. Check them out!

  1. Don’t stop your exercise regimen!
  2. If you want to indulge, make up for it by increasing your activity level.
  3. Restrict yourself to one treat a day, such as a glass of champagne or a piece of cake.
  4. Don’t stick yourself by the food. Remember to mingle and have fun! If you’re talking, you can’t be eating! (Or, at least not politely!)
  5. Eat a healthy meal before you attend parties.
  6. Eat foods high in fiber which keep you fuller longer!

Hope this helps you stop the traditional ten pound holiday gain! And if not, I suppose there are always New Year’s Resolutions!

3 Easy Ways to Make Some Extra Cash this Holiday Season

Posted 12-2-2017 at 05:07 PM by Jessica

Hands counting us dollars with calculator and digital tablet

If you’re in need of a little extra cash, especially as we head into the crazy holiday season, then you have come to the right place for ideas! It can be so hard to build up additional cash for Christmas presents when you’re already juggling the other expenses life throws at ya, and it’s not always probable that you’ll get a raise or find a higher-paying job in time for the holidays. Because of that, I’ve compliled 5 of my favorite ways to earn some extra cash for the holiday season!

Legal Focus Groups:

I just participated in my first focus group last week, and I loved it! Basically, some law firms need people to come in for a few hours where they can gather opinions on certain legal cases. This helps them to strengthen their cases, or determine whether to take on particular cases at all. The group I attended was 3 hours long, lots of fun, and best of all they provided dinner and refreshments along with a $50 check for my participation! Not bad for just a few hours of my day.

Sell your clothing:

Whenever I clean out my closet, I gather a large bag of clothes that I don’t want any more, and I take them to a local thrift store in Utah called Plato’s Closet. The store will look through my clothes and pick out the items they want. They’ll then offer me cash for those items and return the rest, which I then donate to a charity. I’ve received as much as $70 to as little as $15 – this varies depending on the sizes you provide, and whether the items are currently in-style.

Yard sale/Craigslist:

This one is tried and true. I’m sure you have lots of items just sitting around in your house. Instead of letting it take up space and accumulate dust, sell it! There are lots of apps and websites that you can list your items on if you’re not interested in hosting a yard sale.

There you go! Just 3 of my favorite ways to get a little extra cash. Try them out and let me know what you think! Good luck!

December Deals You Don’t Want to Miss

Posted 12-2-2017 at 01:19 PM by Jessica

Cashier in coffee shop takes payment card from customer

You may already know that stores have sales cycles that change every month or so. Often they stock up on certain items (usually ones related to the holidays or seasons) that then need to be removed from the shelves once the appropriate time has passed. When those stores are looking to move items from their shelves is the best time to buy those particular items.

Let’s move from the abstract to the concrete as we look at what items are discounted this month.

1. Baking Supplies. The best thing about baking supplies going on sale is that they are easy to store. If you use baking cups regularly, be on the look out for discounts. Also, if you don’t mind the holiday decorations on them, you will be able to get those at half price or better on the day after Christmas. You’ll also find flour, spices (I just bought organic spices at 50% off last week!), chocolate chips (which store very easily in the freezer or the pantry), condensed milk, and pumpkin puree (who says you can’t have pumpkin pie in January!) discounted this month.

2. Thrift Store Merchandise. This is not as much about a discount as it is about availability and selection. A lot of people are trying to get last minute donations in before the end of the year for tax purposes. So, thrift stores like Goodwill and other organizations (with the tax-exempt status) will have plenty to choose from by the end of the month.

3. Gift Cards. Right now there are lots of promotions offering “bonus cash” if you buy a gift card. So, if it’s a store or restaurant you frequent regularly and you have the cash (after you’re done with all your shopping), then it’s a great way to maximize your money.

What else do you buy in December?

DIY Christmas Chandelier

Posted 12-2-2017 at 01:01 AM by Kat Weeks

A very cheap and easy way to save money this year during the Christmas season is to create your own decorations! And here’s one of them.

Things you’ll need:

  1. Hula hoop
  2. Tinsel or Garland (green and red preferably)
  3. Ornaments
  4. Battery powered led string lights.
  5. Hot glue
  6. Holiday ribbon

*every thing can be bought at the dollar store or a Walmart.*

Instructions:

  1. Get the hula hoop, hot glue, and garland.
  2. Start to glue to garland to the hula-hoop and wrap it spirally.
  3. You can do all one color, or you can make it go every other color and wrap it all around.
  4. Once you’ve finished wrapping the garland on the hula-hoop; get the light strand and place onto the hula hoop, making sure it’s not totally visible.
  5. After all of that, get the ornaments and place on the hoop.
  6. Then get the ribbon and you’re going to use that to hang the hoop from the ceiling.

Now you have created your perfect Christmas chandelier!

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YAY! Creative & Inexpensive Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Posted 12-1-2017 at 06:45 PM by Jessica

Christmas stockings hanging from a mantelpiece above glowing fireplace

Stocking stuffers don’t need to break the bank.

It seems like even when you start out with good intentions and get most of your items from the dollar store the stocking ends up costing you way too much money. Before I get into a list of inexpensive items to fill the stockings with, look at these 2 tips to help you get the most bang for your buck:

Tip 1: Fill it with larger items. Not only will this fill the stocking up faster and with fewer items, but you’ll also avoid some of those tiny knick-knacks that never actually get played with anyways.

Tip 2: Add a few things from around the house. Already have an apple in the pantry? Maybe some leftover boxes of crayons from your back-to-school stock up? You certainly don’t need to purchase everything from the store. You could even check out local yard sales for gently-used items!

Check out these creative ideas…

  • An apple
  • An orange (for some reason, kids get so much more excited about fruit if they find it in their stocking)
  • Bubbles
  • Slime (it is THE hottest trend lately)
  • Small hand-sanitizers/lotion
  • Watercolors (this Crayola 24ct set looks like lots of fun!)
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Toothbrush (this was always a staple in our stockings, and we loved it!)
  • Stickers
  • Markers/Crayons
  • Free printed coloring pages
  • Playing cards (UNO, Go Fish, Pokemon…)
  • Mini Play-Dough (make your own with this recipe!)
  • Small stuffed animal (Disney Tsum Tsums would be a big hit!)
  • Bath toys
  • Fluffy socks
  • Chapstick or lip gloss
  • Yo-yo
  • Slinky
  • Hot Wheels cars
  • Finger puppets (divide this adorable finger puppets 12-pack between a few stockings for a great value)
  • Mittens
  • Silly putty
  • Kinetic sand
  • Flash cards
  • Rubiks cube

As long as you follow those tips and then just choose a few of these items, you’ll be set! And of course, balance it out with some candy, too. If you’re trying to limit the candy you could always include snacks like Goldfish crackers, granola bars and fruit snacks! They’ll take up some space and be much healthier choices.

What do you like to fill your kids’ stockings with for Christmas? Let me know in the comments below!

Family Christmas Bucketlist

Posted 12-1-2017 at 06:54 AM by Jessica

Cocoa or chocolate, holiday decorations, to do list, christmas planning.

Now that the weather has cooled off (at least it has here in Utah!), it’s time to plan out some fun activities during the holiday season! The chaos of gift shopping and hosting family members can make the holiday season stressful, so be sure to take some time to relax and have fun with your loved ones.

Have lots of fun with these ideas…

  • Go ice skating
  • Find some snowy hills to go sledding
  • Pack up everyone in the car to go for hot chocolates
  • Find the most festive neighborhoods in your city and drive around to see the lights
  • Look for a free live nativity by where you live
  • Think up a few random acts of kindness to do together
  • Watch Christmas movies in your pajamas
  • Build a blanket fort and drape Christmas lights over the top
  • Find 3 cookie recipes and bake all 3 (you could even have a cookie bake-off and see who bakes the best cookies)
  • Make Christmas Candies together
  • Attend a Christmas play at a local school or theater
  • Host a game night complete with all of your favorites
  • Decorate Gingerbread houses together
  • Indoor S’mores (you can roast marshmallows over an unscented candle or simply microwave them for a few seconds)
  • Blast holiday music at home and have a dance party

Have fun!

Your Toddler Bathtime Survival Guide

Posted 11-26-2017 at 04:37 PM by Jessica

Time for baby's bath

Some kids love to take baths. For others, bath-time can be a real struggle. If your toddler does not get excited at the prospect of getting into the tub each night, you should give a few of these ideas a try!

Homemade & Natural Bath Crayons

Your kids will love these. They get to color all over the tub, their toys, themselves, and the best part is they’re actually getting clean at the same time!

All you need for this easy creation is:

  • natural bar soap
  • a few tablespoons of water
  • non-toxic food coloring!

Directions:

  • Grate the bar soap into a medium bowl
  • Add the water and a few drops of food coloring
  • Stir, and once incorporated, knead into a paste
  • Invite your kids over to help you mold these into fun shapes (placing the mixture into a cookie cutter or other mold for at least one day will help the crayon keep its desired shape)
  • Let dry for an additional 2-3 days
  • Once they’ve fully dried, they can be played with in the tub for hours!

Bathtub Artist

 Creative Bath Toys

A few new toys can work wonders in motivating your little man or lady to hop into the tub. If there are specific toys used exclusively for bath-time only, they may be more excited to take a bath if that’s the only time they get to play with that particular toy.

Make sure that the bath toys you do buy for your little one are PVC, phthalate and BPA free. So many bath toys on the market now contain harmful toxins that can easily be ingested by a toddler who loves to try drinking the bath water, or who often places the toys in his or her mouth.

happy funny  baby  laughing and bathed in bath

Bubble Bath

Bubbles may be all you need to entice your kiddo to take a bath! Make sure to look for a Bubble Bath that is natural and free from harmful ingredients, or try making your own!

All you need is:

  • 1 cup liquid Castile soap (make sure it’s the tear-free version)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable glycerin (this makes for more bubbles, and moisturizes their skin!)
  • essential oils of your choice (lavender is great for soothing crazy kiddos before bedtime)

Here comes the hard part… add the ingredients to a bottle and shake a few times to incorporate. (Just kidding, that’s not hard at all. Unless you don’t have the cap screwed on tight enough and you end up with a luxurious-smelling slippery mess…)

Anyways…

Add a couple tbsp. of your bubble bath solution to the running bath, and BOOM! You’ve got a relaxing, all-natural bubble bath for your toddler. He or she will love playing in the bubbles, and you’ll love that they’re  playing in safe water that is cleaning and moisturizing their sensitive skin.

Give these ideas a try and see just how quickly your toddler finds that taking a bath can actually be a lot of fun! :D

**Remember, never leave your child unsupervised in the tub. Even just a couple inches of water and a few seconds alone can prove to be fatal.**