Ending Chore-Time Dawdling For Good

Posted 07-6-2017 at 04:28 PM by Jessica

Part of the spring cleaning team

I don’t think I’ve ever typed out the word “dawdling” before. I had to double check that I even spelled it correctly. I think it’s just one of those words that you use often when you’re speaking, but hardly ever when you write. It’s a fun word though, I really like it!

Anyways… I love the word, but I hate the action. Dawdling is a huge problem when it comes to kids and getting things done. With so many fun distractions though, you can’t really blame them for not getting things done as they should. Suddenly wiping down the counter has taken them a solid 15 minutes, and you don’t know that they’ll ever get through the dishes. This is where a timer comes in.

Almost everyone thrives on friendly competition. When you have the clock counting down while they’re doing the dishes, they’re racing against the clock to get everything done before time runs out! Truly, it’s so simple, but so effective.

You’ll have to play around with the timing a bit to see just how long each particular task may take that person, but in no time you’ll have the timer set to 30 minutes and everyone will be quickly getting through all their tasks.

Of course, the issue of quality may come up. You’ll want to let everyone know ahead of time that even though they are wanting to get their chores done fast, they need to be done correctly or they’ll have to do them over again – impacting their time greatly. And you may wonder what happens when the time runs out. No, that doesn’t signify that they’re done, everyone keeps going even after time runs out to finish their jobs.

Having the timer running brings in the element of competition, which seems to make everything a bit more fun; even folding laundry! It cuts WAY back on dawdling, and gets everyone through their tasks faster – freeing up lots of time! Even if it’s just me doing some basic tidying up, I always set the timer so I can stay focused. Give it a try and let me know how it worked for you!

Diaper Swapers

Strawberry-Watermelon Yogurt Popsicles

Posted 07-3-2017 at 03:35 PM by Jessica

Strawberry watermelon ice cream popsicles with mint over steel tray background

Looking for a nice refreshing snack on a hot summer day? Well this is definitely one of my favorite summer snacks. My mom used to make these for me all the time when I was young. If you love watermelon you will love this recipe! Not only will you love eating them but you they are fun to make as well! Watermelon has always been one of my favorite fruits, not only is it tasty by itself but there are so many recipes out there that make this fruit even better!

Serving size (12 popsicles) Feel free to double the recipe for even more frozen treats!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups Watermelon – cubed
  • 2 Cups Strawberries
  • 1 Cup Yogurt (Greek or plain)
  • 2 Tbs Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 12 Popsicle Sticks

Directions:

  1. In a blender combine the Sugar, watermelon, yogurt, and lemon juice
  2. Blend it all together until it is perfectly smooth.
  3. Next pour the mixture into popsicle molds and insert sticks.
  4. Put into the refrigerator and freeze for about 4 hours (or overnight) until firm and frozen all the way through.
  5. Best part of all ENJOY these nice cooling treats

You’ve Got to Try This Jello Poke Cake (Perfect for 4th of July)

Posted 07-3-2017 at 10:47 AM by Jessica

Planning an event for the 4th of July, and need a yummy dessert to share? Well you’ve come to the right place! This recipe has always been a fun tradition every year that is not only fun to make/decorate but tastes as good as it looks! It is definitely the perfect recipe to get the whole family involved to help create not only a delicious treat but a very perfect cake to help celebrate the USA for the fourth of July.

 

Ingredients

  • Boxed White cake mix
  • 1 cup Boiling water
  • 1 (3 oz) box flavored JELL-O of your choice
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8 oz) cool whip
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-3 cups blueberries
  • 16 oz of thin sliced strawberries

Directions:

  1. Be sure to follow the directions on the cake box as explained.
  2. Next let the cake cool completely.
  3. Using a fork, poke holes all over the cake
  4. Mix together the JELLO mix and boiling water until fully dissolved.
  5. Stir in the cold water and mix well.
  6. Pour JELL-0 mixture evenly over cake.
  7. Next cover the cake with foil and let refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
  8. While refrigerating, incorporate the cool whip, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. (Mix until smooth and creamy)
  9. Lastly top off the cake with the strawberries and blueberries forming a flag.
  10. ENJOY! :)

Helping Your Child When They’re Having a Tantrum

Posted 06-30-2017 at 03:16 PM by Jessica

Girl Having Arguement With Mother At Candy Counter In Supermarket

Children act out and throw tantrums when they feel their needs have not been met, and when they’re hit with a wave of emotions. It is our job as parents and care-takers to teach these little humans how to express their emotions and feelings in a more effective way. They should understand that there is nothing wrong with feeling angry or sad – it is just the way we express those feelings that can get us into trouble.

Once children have practice talking through how they’re feeling they can learn to express themselves so that others can understand them, and the tantrums will become less and less frequent. Here are just a few tips for parents on how to help small children face tantrums.

1. Discipline with love and watch the little ones to identify the start of their attitude. Sometimes you can catch onto the behavior and talk it out before the outburst can even occur.

2. If your child does start having a tantrum take them into your arms and show calmness to make them feel secure. Get them out of the place where he started to make the tantrum, taking them somewhere that he or she can take out their anger or frustration without annoying passerbys. This is called “time out” and lasts until he or she is calm again. Sometimes they just need to cry and yell for a few minutes before they can calm down.

3. Talk to him or her and be sure you do not lose your temper. Remaining in control and genuinely asking what is upsetting them will let them know that you want to understand him or her and the reason behind their outburst. Help them to understand why what upset them happened, and talk through various solutions and/or consequences.

4. When they have calmed down, help them to understand the difference between acting out when angry and calmly talking to an adult about their feelings when angry. Acting out causes discomfort, tears, and we may inadvertently hurt others – not solving anything. Children should understand that there are other ways that their feelings can be heard, and talking to an adult calmly can help us look for the best solutions more effectively.

Cheesy-Stuffed Mushroom Chicken

Posted 06-29-2017 at 06:49 PM by Jessica

Chicken Marsala

Love mushrooms? Craving comfort food?

If you’re in need of some serious comfort food, you’ve got to try making Stuffed Chicken Breasts. This recipe uses both fresh mushrooms and Cream of Mushroom soup – perfect for any mushroom lover! It’s also fairly simple, and doesn’t take much time to complete. You and your family are sure to fall in love, and you’ll likely have to add this to your list of go-to dinners.

Ingredients:

    • 4 boneless chicken breasts
    • 3 cups Italian bread crumbs
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 egg
    • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
    • Sliced ham
    • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    • Butter
    • 4 cans Cream of Mushroom soup

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Wash the mushrooms and let them drain on paper towels, then slice them.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the milk, pepper, garlic salt and the egg until well-combined.
  • Cut a slit into each chicken breast to form a pocket about 2 in. deep. Add the raw chicken breasts to the milk and egg mixture and let them marinate for about 5 minutes.
  • Pour the breadcrumbs into a large bowl and dip each chicken breast into the crumbs, coating each piece completely.
  • Then, fill each chicken breast with the mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, a little bit of butter and ham, and then use toothpicks to keep the pocket closed to make sure most of the filling stays inside. Place them all in a 9×13 pan and put it into the oven.
  • Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly. Remove the toothpicks.
  • While the chicken is baking, heat up your cans of Cream of Mushroom soup in a saucepan, and drizzle over the cooked chicken immediately.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes or a salad!

Homemade Funnel Cakes (Cheap, Easy and Delicious!)

Posted 06-28-2017 at 11:15 PM by Jessica

Funnel cake / Carnival food, selective focus

If you want to make an easy, delicious, and inexpensive treat, then you’ve got to try making homemade funnel cakes! Funnel cakes are perfect for summer (or really any occasion)! They’re also a fun treat to make with your kids as long as you keep them far away from the hot oil! If you like the funnel cakes you buy at your local fair, you’ll love this from-scratch version even more. Turn funnel-cake-making into a fun tradition that you can share with your family for years to come!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Approx. 1 quart oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • powdered sugar for dusting on top

Directions:

  • In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients until well-combined. Then slowly add the wet mixture to the dry, beating with an electric or hand mixer until smooth.
  • Heat the oil to about 350°F in a medium saucepan. Take an empty and clean plastic bottle and fill it with your dough (use a funnel if you have one available). Then, screw on the lid tightly and puncture a hole in it.
  • Squeeze the dough into the hot oil – moving the bottle around in a circular motion to create the classic funnel cake shape.
    Let the dough fry for about 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Then flip it over with tongs and let the other side fry for approximately 1 more minute.
  • Once the entire funnel cake has turned a light golden brown color, carefully remove it from the oil and let drain on paper towels.
  • Dust with powdered sugar, and allow yourself to get transported back to the county fairs of your childhood. Enjoy!

Cheap & Natural DIY Orange Peel All-Purpose Spray

Posted 06-28-2017 at 01:55 PM by Jessica

Water Spray bottle in hand

Nowadays there are so many harmful ingredients in a lot of the cleaning products out there. If the ingredients concern your family, you should know that there are other natural solutions that can be just at effective. One of my favorite all-natural cleaning solutions is made with just orange peels, vinegar and water! With this simple recipe you can save money and protect your family from products with harsh chemicals. The ingredients used are not toxic or harmful to health, and can disinfect your home while also leaving a pleasant aroma behind.

Okay, lets get started! For this all-purpose spray you’ll need:

  • The peels from 3 oranges
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • A large bottle (preferably glass)

tangerines on a board with a place for an inscription

Cut the orange peels into pieces and put them inside the jar, adding a cup of water and a cup of vinegar, seal the jar and let it stand for about 2 weeks. After the 2 weeks passes, open your jar and split it in equal parts and, if you’d like, add a teaspoon of olive oil to one part – making sure to shake it every time you use it to properly incorporate the oil. This mixture with the olive oil is perfect for cleaning your furniture as it will leave it shiny and give it bright and fresh citrus aroma. Put the other part into a spray bottle and use to clean surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom. If you’d like it to be an even more effective disinfectant, add a spoonful of rubbing alcohol.

There you go! A super easy and effective all-purpose cleaning spray made from ingredients you likely have around the house already! You’ll save money while also protecting your family from harmful chemicals.

 

Quick and Easy “Water Bottle Crepes”

Posted 06-26-2017 at 06:13 AM by Jessica

crepes

I LOVE crepes. And I know that I say I LOVE every recipe I write about, and that is absolutely true as well. My heart is big enough to love all the food. ;) There’s just something about crepes though. They’re much lighter than pancakes, and even though they’ve got their fair share of sugar, they seem kind of healthy to me – especially when they’re loaded with berries.

Another reason I love them so much is because of how easy they are to whip up with kitchen staples you likely already have on hand! I’m about to take the ease one step further, by whipping them up using NO mixing bowl. Yep, you read that right! No mixing bowl needed – the only supplies you’ll use are a clean recycled plastic water bottle, a funnel, a frying pan and a spatula.

Note: This would be PERFECT for camping! Simply add all the ingredients to the bottle and store in a cooler until breakfast time!
Ingredients:

  • 2/3 c. flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil or melted butter
  • Optional: Powdered sugar, Nutella, whipped cream, fruit

Preparation:

Take the funnel to the bottle nozzle and start adding the eggs, flour, butter or oil, milk and sugar. Seal the bottle and shake until the ingredients are well mixed. Butter your frying pan and place on medium heat, then pour enough of the batter to coat the bottom of the pan in a thin layer. Let cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, flipping when it reaches a golden brown color. Put the crepe on a dish and add your choice of toppings (Nutella with lots of berries is my favorite!) fold in half or roll, then top with powdered sugar.

How simple was that?! Enjoy!

Why Fruit Baskets Make the Perfect Gift

Posted 06-25-2017 at 05:47 PM by Jessica

Fruit basket with pineapple, bananas, lemon, apple, peaches, grapes

 

Want an original, beautiful and healthy gift idea?!

If you’re in need of a relatively inexpensive and very unique gift idea for someone (and you know they’re a fruit lover) this is perfect! For starters, you’ll need a variety of fruits… For example: oranges, pineapple (I love using a pineapple because it’s just so darn cool-looking!) bananas, bunches of grapes, red and green apples, kiwis, melon, pears etc. You’ll also obviously need a basket. I like using the kind with a handle as it makes it easier to transport, but any size or style basket will do. Also, some colored tissue paper or cellophane, maybe some paper confetti, and a piece of cardboard that you’ll cut to the size of the bottom of the basket. A colored bow or ribbon also adds a nice touch.

If you’d like to do a little more than just fruit you can always add in a bottle of honey, a bag of granola, some cheeses or chocolates… anything! If you’d like some tips on assembling the basket, keep reading… :)

Grab your basket, and if you’d like it to be a little more sturdy you can put the piece of cardboard as a base. Start by adding some tissue paper on the sides before adding in the fruit that will hold it all in place. If you’re using a pineapple, place it in the center (because pineapples are the best and they deserve to be the center of attention).Then add in the other fruits around the pineapple, placing the larger fruits at the bottom and the smaller ones like the plums or kiwi’s on top so they can be seen. If you’re using bananas, detach them from the cluster and arrange them individually to add a pop of color all around.

Once the fruits are placed you can add in more tissue or cellophane paper and any other items you’re gifting. If you want to take it one step further, wrap the entire basket with some of the cellophane paper and tie the top with a bow!

There you go! It’s a really simple gift to put together, but it’s creative and lots of fun to do. This is a great “just because” gift, it would be awesome to gift to a family moving into a new home as a house-warming gift, or to the parents of a new baby. No matter how you assemble it, whether it’s just a simple basket with some bananas and oranges or a large one filled to the brim with colorful fruits, whoever you gift it to is sure to appreciate it. :)

7 Tips for Keeping More Money in Your Pocket Each Month

Posted 06-24-2017 at 11:37 AM by Jessica

Money in the jeans pocket at supermarket

Want to save up for a vacation, put some extra money away for the future, or just cut down on costs generally?

To start, you’ll need to analyze how much you spend in any given category (food, clothing, utilities…). Put together a spreadsheet, write it in a notebook, or use an online budgeting site! Calculate your monthly transportation and/or gasoline costs, how much you’re spending on groceries, eating out, etc. Sometimes it can be a shock to see how much you spend vs. how much you really should be spending, but in order to be more financially savvy, you’ll have to face the reality and look at all of the numbers in order to know what needs to be cut back and come up with a game plan!

Did you really need to go out to dinner 4 times that week? Or perhaps you could’ve waited for a sale before grabbing those expensive shoes? Each family is completely different when it comes to the extra expenses and how they work them out. If eating out is important to your family, don’t stop it entirely! Perhaps just opt for less expensive restaurants, share large dishes, or cut down a bit on the number of times you go.

Other costs are just plain necessary (like gasoline, groceries, etc.) but there are obviously ways that you can cut back on them, too! For example… Carpool, take the bus, meal plan before grocery shopping, use coupons… etc etc etc.

Inserting Power Cord Receptacle in wall outlet

Here are just a few more tips!

1. If you’re spending too much on utilities, consider disconnecting all the electronic household appliances when they are not being used. The microwave, televisions, and even computers that are turned off but still connected to a charger in the wall can still be using up electricity. Even though it’s a small amount, it adds up!

2. Also, you can reduce gas consumption and electricity by turning off the thermostat in winter season and using the fireplace instead (depending on the type of fireplace you have). Or just opt to not have the heat on as high at night and layer everyone up with a few extra blankets and warmer pajamas. As long as everyone is still comfortable, changing the temperature by just a few degrees can make a big difference!

3. When it comes to furnishing your home, buying clothes or household items, try to purchase second-hand whenever possible. Many people sell their objects and furniture online or at yard sales, and you can usually find quite a few pieces are are in almost-new condition! (I once bought barstool chairs for super cheap, and they hadn’t even been used! The previous owner bought too many a while back, and just stored them in her garage.)

Female Carpenter Painting Furniture.

4. Or, instead of buying anything at all, do some research and figure out how to restore or even just repaint your current furniture, or learn to properly clean your old shoes or patch up worn-out clothing for cheap. PLUS, before going out to buy a new pair of shoes, try selling the few pairs that you don’t like or that don’t fit first!

5. As mentioned before, to cut back on gasoline costs, try to find someone that may want to carpool – whether that’s a carpool buddy for work, or perhaps a group of parents that trade off taking everyone’s kids to school. Not only are you spening less on gas, you’re also helping the environment as well! Woohoo!

6. And, also as mentioned before, try to find ways to cut back on food expenses as well. Simply look for ways to not to leave each day to eat in  restaurants – packing lunches for work, taking turns with cooking to lessen the meal-making burden, and simply setting a limit for how many meals can be take-out or eaten at a restaurant.

Mom shopping for groceries with daughter, checking price on item

7. When grocery shopping, check the supermarket ads before you go to see what is on sale. Also, learning how to use coupons can help you save so much! Plus, never go to the store hungry, and try to have recipes already planned out so that you don’t end up wasting money on items you don’t even need.

Those are just a few specific tips that have personally helped me to save money. Each family is different, with different expenses being more important, so be sure to take some time to see what would really help you best!

If you have any tips on saving more money each month, leave them in the comments! I’d love to hear what you do, and I’m sure other readers would as well!