All-Natural Homemade Play-Doh

Posted 03-8-2017 at 01:14 AM by Jessica

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Who doesn’t love Play-Doh? I know that as a kid I could play with the stuff for hours. I’d make anything from ice cream sundaes to animals to jewelry. As fun as the legitimate Play-Doh was, I always got so much more excited when my mom would make up some of the homemade type because we’d have a much larger batch and the grainier texture was so much fun! I’d watch as she mixed flour, some salt and water together and we’d magically end up with a bowl full of homemade Play-Doh that we would play with for days. Sometimes we’d add some food coloring to make it even more fun.

If you’re sick of spending tons of money on Play-Doh go ahead and make your own! You likely have all the ingredients in your pantry already, and you can make a huge batch that your kids will LOVE.

Materials:

Large bowl

1 cup water

A few drops of natural food coloring (optional)

4 cups flour

3 tablespoons oil (canola is my favorite)

1 cup salt

 

Instructions:

Mix the water and food coloring in the bowl, then add in the flour and salt and mix it all together really well.

Pour in the oil, adding extra if the mixture still seems too dry after it’s been mixed.

Play, play, play!

 

Seriously, this is so easy and it’s going to be a big hit! When your kids find out that you know how to make the best Play-Doh ever and they can even pick the color(s) they’ll be thrilled!

Let me know in the comments how this recipe turned out!

 

 

Diaper Swapers

Tips for Making Teeth-Brushing Time More Fun

Posted 03-5-2017 at 01:13 AM by Jessica
  1. Brush with them. Kids learn best by seeing the behavior modeled for them. If you are consistent and brush your teeth next to them, kneeling down so that they can see better, they will likely copy you. Demonstrate how moving the toothbrush in a circular motion cleans the best, and that you want to get behind your teeth as well!
  2. Let them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. You’d be surprised at how motivated a child will become if they get to pick out a Spider-man or Hello Kitty toothpaste and toothbrush. Choosing a few different flavors of toothpaste is always a great idea as well so that they can mix it up each night.
  3. Tell them they’re fighting “Cavity Monsters.” If they can think of cavities as little monsters that put holes in their teeth they’ll be more likely to want to fight them with their handy dandy toothbrush and “cavity-killing” toothpaste. After they’re done brushing ask them to open their mouth so that you can make sure they got rid of them all!
  4. Turn it into a game. Kids love games and anytime you make something into a competition it instantly becomes more fun! Set a timer for 2 minutes and see who can make the most bubbles in their mouth by the end of the 2 minutes.
  5. Reward them. Positive reinforcement and consistency is key to instilling good habits at a young age. Create a sticker chart where they can add a sticker each time they brush their teeth, with the goal being twice a day.697224

Natural Homemade Teethers for Baby

Posted 03-2-2017 at 01:11 AM by Jessica

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When babies are teething they need lots of different objects to help soothe their sore gums. Sometimes the typical teething ring works great, and other times it doesn’t do the trick. In order to keep baby comfortable during the rough teething stages typically from age 6 months to 2 years old, you’ll need lots of different remedies on hand.

Plastic teething rings and other baby teething toys can work great, but they’re not always the most practical options if you’re concerned about only using it for a short period of time and then needing to throw it away. Instead of spending money on lots of those, grab a couple at the store but then try out a few of these other simple remedies as it will both save you money and help the Earth by reducing landfill.

Frozen Washcloth

This is one of the most popular methods for soothing a teething baby’s gums. All you need to do is get a washcloth wet and put it in the freezer, then let baby chew on the cold rag once it’s frozen. (I’ve also heard that you can soak the rag in Chamomile tea instead of water before freezing it because the Chamomile is calming and has anti-inflammatory properties. How cool!)

Hard Fruits and Veggies

Freezing is optional, but not required with fruits and vegetables once baby has reached solid-food age. A celery stalk or large peeled carrot stick can work great, just as long as baby is constantly supervised and only large pieces of produce are used in order to prevent a choking hazard.

Frozen Pacifier

Squeeze the pacifier nipple to release the air, and then submerge in water and release in order to suck the water into the pacifier. Fill about halfway, and then place in the freezer until the water is frozen. This works great for babies who find comfort in pacifiers, and really helps to soothe those back molars.

If you’ve got a favorite homemade teether, please let us know in the comments!

Homemade Essential Oils Heating Pad

Posted 02-28-2017 at 01:10 AM by Jessica

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Just about everyone has had a time when they desperately needed a heating pad to ease sore muscles or cramps. And the absolute worst thing ever is to go searching for a heating pad when you’re already so sore only to come up empty handed. 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!

 

Have you made one of these before? What essential oils do you prefer to have around when you’re sore?

Natural Brown Sugar Vanilla Sugar Scrub Recipe

Posted 02-26-2017 at 01:10 AM by Jessica

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I was just recently introduced to sugar scrubs a couple of years ago, and after using one on my feet and legs I couldn’t believe that I’d gone so long with out trying it! The way the sugar exfoliated my skin and the oil moisturized it, I had the silkiest skin ever! But when reading the ingredient list in some of the sugar scrubs I found at the stores, I was a bit taken back. There were so many chemicals that I really don’t think are necessary in a scrub. So I decided to make my own!

This “recipe” is so simple, you just mix everything together and tweak it by adding more oil if it’s too dry or more sugar if it’s too soupy. That’s it! And since you’re using ingredients from your own pantry you know that it’s all going to be safe and there are no impossible-to-pronounce chemicals.

Be careful with this one, though. The brown sugar and vanilla will make it smell heavenly so you’ll have to resist the urge to taste it. (Though it’s obviously all food safe the oil will probably make it taste pretty nasty…)

All You Need:

1 Cup Oil (Sunflower, Olive… Whatever you prefer)

1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar

1 Cup White Sugar

1 Tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract

 

All You Do:

Put the oil, sugars and vanilla in a bowl and mix them all together! That’s it, you’re all ready to pamper your skin with the sugary goodness!

“Get Better Soon” Gift Basket Ideas

Posted 02-24-2017 at 01:09 AM by Jessica

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Flu season has arrived. Coworkers coughing up a lung at the desk next to you and your kids giving you the lay down on how many kids have thrown up at their school this week…

Isn’t it just the most wonderful time of the year?

Someone around you is bound to get sick unfortunately, and I have the perfect “Get Better Soon” basket filler ideas so that you score some serious brownie points with whoever you gift it to. This basket can be as expensive or inexpensive as you’d like, just pick and choose which options you want to find, and use this list to inspire you to add some of your own favorites as well. (Maybe your grandma has the best soup recipe that she swears cures the common cold? Print it out and include it in the basket!)

 

“Get Better Soon” basket filler ideas:

Saltine Crackers

Bottle(s) of Sprite or Ginger Ale

A Mug

Cough Drops

Canned Chicken Noodle Soup

Mints (Altoids also help upset stomachs)

Tea

Ice Pack or Heating Pad

A Book or Magazine

Coloring Book or Puzzle Book (Sudoku is my favorite)

Hand Sanitizer

Warm Fuzzy Socks

Vitamin C Drops or Emergen-C Packets (I love Emergen-C!)

Chapstick

Vapor Rub

Medications (if you know what kind they prefer)

Boxes of Tissues

Lotion (Stay away from heavily scented if they have a cold; it could trigger symptoms)

Disinfecting Wipes

Reusable Water Bottle

Fruit Juice

Fresh Fruit

Thermometer

 

Those are just a few ideas out of the many out there! You can really include anything you’d like, and your friend or family member will really appreciate the time and effort you put into it for them.

Getting and Staying Organized in 2017!

Posted 02-23-2017 at 01:08 AM by Jessica

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Now that 2017 is here it’s time for “in with the new, and out with the old.” If you’ve got clutter stacking up around your house (which is likely for everyone after the holidays) it’s time for you to get started on being organized. While the process of organization often isn’t all that complicated, the idea alone can be very daunting and may keep you from getting started. Here are a few tips that I’ve found helpful during my organizational adventures.

Get Started Somewhere

This is one of the biggest hurdles people face before getting going. They spend so much time dwelling on where to begin, and end up wasting so much time. All you need to do is choose a cluttered area. Just one! Start with something relatively simple so that you can build up your confidence from the beginning so that you don’t get burned out and quit early in the game. Maybe the shoe rack has shoes that don’t fit anyone any more? Or the shelf in the living room has somehow accumulated too many random trinkets? Put your mind to one specific area and do not move on until you’ve completed it.

Get Rid of Things!

If you haven’t worn that blouse in 6 months, you probably won’t ever wear it. There is obviously something about it that you don’t particularly like, so let it go. Pack it up in a box and take it to your local Good Will or Charity. Or, if you’re looking to make a little extra cash, take it along with a bunch of your gently-used clothes to a store that will buy them from you so that they can re-sell them!

Stick with a Schedule

De-cluttering is a constant process, especially with kids around to get things all cluttered back up again. Setting a schedule can really help to keep the clutter under control. Make it a plan to go through the fridge and pantry before each grocery shopping trip; organize the closets the first week of each month, and do a play-room run through every Monday to keep things under wraps. It’s much easier to take a few minutes here and there to tidy up and toss out old or unused items than to have to do a full clean-out.

Happy New Year, good luck with being organized in 2017!

 

5 Mix-ins to Dress Up Your Boxed Mac and Cheese

Posted 02-21-2017 at 01:08 AM by Jessica

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Macaroni and Cheese was the food of my childhood. I would choose the Kraft box over a serving of the homemade stuff in a heart beat. I’m not quite sure what the stuff is infused with that causes such an intense liking among children and adults alike, but whatever it is, it’s delicious.

The tastiness of the Macaroni isn’t the only thing that makes the meal so dang awesome; the fact that it can be also made in about 10 minutes tops is enough to get very excited about. All in all, it’s a great dish. But sometimes you just have to mix things up a little bit! I’ve found 5 different additions that you can mix into your Mac and Cheese that will add to the tastiness but not much to the preparation time, making the dish a little more unique on days when you’re feeling a bit fancier.

Cherry tomatoes + Mozzarella Chunks + Fresh Basil = Margarita Macaroni Heaven

Feta Cheese + Sun-dried Tomatoes + Garlic Powder = Mediterranean Style Mac

Canned Pumpkin + Nutmeg = Autumn Inspired Macaroni and Cheese

Frozen Peas + Bacon + Breadcrumbs = Comfort Food Style Mac 

Canned Chili + Pinch of Chili Powder = Chili Mac (my favorite. We used to eat this bi-weekly when I was growing up).

 

Let me know how you like these variations, and share with me your favorite Macaroni Mix-ins! 

 

Get Moving! 3 Easy Ways To Incorporate More Daily Exercise

Posted 02-18-2017 at 01:07 AM by Jessica

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Instead of thinking solely about getting in more exercise even though that is very important, if you truly want to be healthier, start thinking about how you can get in move movement each day. The extra movement doesn’t have to be a mile run or 15 minutes on an elliptical, it can simply be taking a flight of stairs or parking farther away from the store so you have to walk a little more. Those extra steps really add up, and if you pair that with regular exercise, you’re on your way to a much healthier you! Here are a few of my favorite easy ways to get more movement in each day!

 

Park Farther from the Entrances

Even if it’s just a little farther, switch up your standard parking spot for one that’s got a little more distance to it. Even just an extra 20 steps can make a difference.

Skip the Elevator

This one is frequently mentioned, and for good reason! Even if you just go up one flight of stairs before catching an elevator for the rest of the way up, your heart will thank you.

Stand Instead of Sitting

I’m one of those people who frequently finds themselves sitting, and hardly ever stands for longer than a couple minutes here and there. Don’t do that! Whenever you find the chance to stand instead of sit, take advantage of it!

 

It’s usually the small things that will become habits and end up making the biggest difference, so as 2017 comes around pay a little more attention to the small ways you can increase your movement, and you’ll be set to be so much healthier!

Tips for Driving in the Snow

Posted 02-17-2017 at 01:06 AM by Jessica

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I know that not everyone has to deal with driving in the snow, 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. 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.

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. 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.

 

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!