Monday, April 22, 2013

Homemade Glue

This was a very easy recipe to follow!
I loved that we could make it quick for our afternoon project today too.

We put ours in a small mason jar - apply with cotton swabs, cotton balls, or Popsicle sticks.
Happy Crafting!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Meatless Monday :: Bean Taquitos & Rice

Bean Taquitos & Rice
10-12 Corn tortillas
1 large can of Pinto beans (undrained)
1 small onion - chopped
dash of S&P
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 ts. chili powder
Bring beans & liquid to boil in a saucepan, add onion and seasonings - simmer for 10 min.
Preheat oven to 350°
Strain beans (keep liquid in saucepan)
Mash beans - spread on corn tortillas - roll - set in baking dish.
Bake 15-20 minutes
Cheese Sauce
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. flour
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese
To bean liquid in saucepan, add 1 Tbs of butter - bring to boil,
add 1-2 Tbs. of flour - whisk until lumps are gone,
then add 1 cup of milk - bring back to boil for a minute or two - stirring often.
Take off heat when mixture starts to thicken - add cheese, mix and let stand for 5 minutes.
When taquitos are done in the oven, pour cheese sauce over top.
Layer on sliced avocado.
Sprinkle with fresh or dried cilantro.
For Rice:
1 cup white rice - cooked
1 can of  Zesty Tomato Bisque (Campbell's)
any tomato or spicy soup could be used!
heat thoroughly - soup will thicken a little.
Serve hot!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lavender - Bergamot Shower Jelly

Shower Jelly!
Where did I find out about this? Pinterest, of course!
Remember "Knox Blocks"?  Now think about taking one in the shower and washing up with it! Haha!
The idea of soap with a gelatin texture was so intriguing, I had to try this recipe! I was pleasantly surprised and totally love this soap - it lathers up so beautifully.
The ingredients are cheap enough and almost on-hand.
Lavender - Bergamot Shower Jelly
2 packets of gelatin
3/4 cup of boiling water
1/2 cup castile soap
( this can be ordered online, but I found a bottle for under $10 at my local food co-op)
5-10 drops of lavender essential oil
5-10 drops of bergamot essential oil
red & blue soap colorant
(this can be found at craft stores)
Empty gelatin packets in a bowl - add boiling water - stir until dissolved.
Add castile soap, essential oils and stir gently until mixed. Add drops of colorant until desired lavender color is achieved.
Pour mixture into gelatin mold, silicone mold or ice cube tray.
(I used a vintage, metal, ice cube tray - it worked well to loosen the sides and lift out the middle part)
Refrigerate until solid.
About 2 hours
One per shower or bath.
There are so many different essential oil combinations to try and would also be great fun for kids to make and use. 
*Be careful with essential oil - adult use or supervision when adding to mixture!
I'm thinking my next batch will be a eucalyptus scent to help with these winter-spring transitional colds!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Homemade Detergents and Cleaners!

Homemade Detergents and Cleaners!
Today we are cleaning the, well, now I am cleaning. The children have disappeared.
I decided to hand wash the tile floor for a nice, deep, spring clean.  I have a super quick and easy floor cleaner recipe that leaves our floor shiny and bright!
Floor Cleaner
2 gallons hot water
1/4 cup white vinegar
(if possible, keep a gallon always on hand - so many uses!)
1/4 cup Super Washing Soda
(this can be found at grocery stores and Walmart - near the laundry detergent)
1 TBS dish soap
 Add wet to dry.  
(This cleaning solution + 2 microfiber cloths + 1 floor brush + 3 children = a clean floor and time to work on other projects!  Ah, wishful thinking! :)
After the floor comes loads of Saturday laundry. Ideally today is "sheet day", but it usually turns into loads leftover from the week and last minute " I need my black pants washed for church" day too.
I mainly purchase the less expensive, bulk detergents, but the current one does not get our clothes very clean and leaves a slight residue. I have decided to try out a homemade recipe with a couple of test loads this weekend to see how clean our clothes get and how many loads can be done with this amount of soap.
So far the making process is great...or grate!   I've got the deck door open and spring breezes flowing in while I grate a bar of Fels Naptha. Yes, there is still snow on the ground but it's spring and heck, we are going to enjoy it!  The grating part is not bad either, this soap is soft and smells so lovely. Next time I might try running the bar through the food processor, but it's only taken about a 1/2 hour to grate with breaks. 
Here we go:
Laundry Detergent
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1 bar Fels Naptha - grated
mix and store in airtight container
(I'm using a large gallon jar)
1-2 TBS per load
I've read this can be used with the front load - HE washers - fingers crossed!
* add some white vinegar to the softener compartment in place of fabric softener too.
 Good to have on-hand:
White Vinegar
Washing Soda
Baking Soda
That being said,
 I noticed the other day that our 1/2 gallon jar of dishwasher detergent was running low and will probably be gone sometime in the next two weeks so I have added one of the ingredients to our shopping list (we still have enough of the on-hand ingredients).  Guess what?!  We made this back in DECEMBER!!!
Dishwasher Detergent
1/2 gallon glass jar
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda
1/2 cup Kosher salt
10 packets of unsweetened lemon drink mix
mix together and store in airtight container
1 TBS per load + 3 drops of dish soap
add a splash of white vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher before starting
(this helps keep the dishes sparkling and I have noticed it also keeps the dishwasher clean, rust-free and running smoothly)
We are a family of five and pretty much run the dishwasher every day. This 1/2 gallon jar has lasted since mid December and still has a week or two to go!  Our dishes are very clean - no soap residue!
OK! One more goodie!
I love this one, we have been using this since December as well thanks to a load of oranges brought by our landlord. We're on our 3rd batch - all is well!
I have found that this cuts grease and shines (great for windows!), plus I can use it on the counter near open food without any worry!
Orange Cleaner
1 glass quart jar
peels from 2-3 oranges
white vinegar - enough to fill jar
cover, set in a dry, cool place and let sit for about 2 weeks
fill a spray bottle and use!
I hope these recipes brighten your cleaning day!
Happy Spring! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chorizo & Arugula Pizza

Chorizo & Arugula Pizza!
Yum Yum Yum!
 Our weekly pizza party happened one day early because I couldn't wait to try this!
We already had pizza crusts in the freezer, ready to use, so it was just a matter of the toppings.
I checked out the usual suspects at our local grocery store - pepperoni, canned tomatoes, shredded mozz.  They're all good but time for something different. I grabbed a roll of Chorizo and the rest is history!
This recipe makes two pizzas:
Ready to top pizza crusts (2)
(or make your own)
1 can or bottle of pizza sauce
1 roll of beef chorizo - browned
1 large red pepper - diced
grape tomatoes - sliced
3 small yellow onions - sliced & caramelized
8 oz. bag of Mexican cheese
(not taco but the kind with a mixture of cheeses)
handful of cilantro
Arugula - enough to lightly cover top of pizzas
Thaw crusts(if needed), then add pizza sauce - top with browned chorizo, onions, red pepper, grape tomatoes and cilantro. Sprinkle on cheese and Arugula. 
Bake according to crust directions.
It's a bit on the spicy side so I suggest serving with sour cream or a nice n' cool guacamole.
Sooo Gooood!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tree Trimming x 12! (Feb.)

Tree Trimming x 12
   ♥ LOVE is ALL we NEED!

This months tree theme is, of course, LOVE!
We kept the snow because it's still snowy and cold here and then added our favorite
Valentine's from loved ones, handmade heart decorations, church bulletin, and even a red ribbon we had leftover from Christmas.

This is a great way to display those special mementos!
xoxo ♥
Happy Creating! ☺

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

LOVE Week - Home Preschool

As the title suggests, it's a LOVE theme this week!
We are actually heading to the desk to start today's lesson in a few minutes so I am going to make this short & sweet!
Great LOVE & Valentine's Day preschool activities:
Math & Reading
Art & Crafts
Hand Print Heart Card
Science Fun
Happy Learning! ☺ ♥

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mardi Gras Fun

Just giving a quick "Hi"!  It's been a busy week!
We are expecting some snow/rain here in a few hours, nothing quite like what is happening out east though!!
Thinking about the upcoming week with Mardi Gras & Valentine's Day. Although we don't really  go nuts on Fat Tuesday, we sometimes just make fun meals or have a lil' party.  Here are a few ideas:
The "Dollar Tree" actually carried a lot of party supplies this year like masks, decorations and, even beads. If you didn't get a chance to grab some masks - no worries! It's a blast to make your own.
What you need:
Foam Rubber mask
(or foam sheets - just make a mask template)
sequins, feathers, gems, ribbon, sparkles
popsicle stick (for handle)
This year I decided to make a "Mardi Gras meal", mainly because I found the recipe on Pinterest and actually had all the ingredients!
It's a party so one must have dessert right?! Love these cookies from The Farmerette
(check out more of her blog too - great!!)
Don't forget to decorate!! This site has easy diy table settings and decor along with a crown template - something to keep the kiddos busy!
Bon Mardi Gras!!!
Here at our home we to throw a holiday parties even though, as Lutherans, we do not entirely celebrate Fat Tuesday, especially with all that it stands for today. We do rather celebrate Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.
For more information on both, check out these links:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Prairie Hill Living
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Homemade V-day Decor

Valentine's Day inspiration from our home to yours!
A simple heart cut from red felt, using a pinking shears, adds lots of L♥VE to a shelf display!
Vintage buttons and an old key adorn tea-stained muslin on this hand sewn heart pillow!
Easy LOVE sign!  Scrap wood, acrylic paint & red button!
LOVE collage ArT!
FREE  LOVE  Printables

  For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." 
John 3:16
1 Corinthians 13: 1-12
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 
 1 Corinthians 13:13


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Valentine ♥ Votive Jar

Valentine ♥ Votive Jar
This morning, after preschool, I had some time in the "art room" and decided to make a Valentine heart - votive holder.
This is a great reuse-it project! Gather up those odds n' ends from around the house.
 I actually have a drawer in the art room where I toss misc. metal, like different wires, keys, and screen; and also have a corner with lots of old jars (I cant resist those $1 boxes of 'em at yard sales!)
What you will need:
1 small jar
votive candle
metal screen 
(needs to be metal so it won't fall apart when it's cut)
heart template + marker
spray adhesive
(thin enough to fit through the screen holes)
Using a template, trace out heart shapes on the screen and carefully cut out.
Lay out on paper (to save your surface) and spray hearts with adhesive - add sparkles.
When the hearts are dry, string them onto the wire and wrap your jar with the heart-wire.

I ♥ the way it looks in a dark room and the sparkles give it great effect in daylight too!

 More great Valentine jar crafts!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ooey Gooey Toffee Bars (Cake Mix Recipes!)

And for DESSERT:

photo courtesy of 
Ooey Gooey Toffee Bars
1 box white cake mix
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. water
1 egg
1/2 toffee chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 small can sweet & condensed milk
cream butter and sugar
mix in water and egg
gradually mix in cake mix and toffee chips
pat 3/4 of mix into 13x9 pan
sprinkle on chocolate chips
crumble on remaining cake mix
pour sweet & condensed milk all over top
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes
 Let cool before serving.

Quick Chicken Stir Fry Dinner

After a long day of cleaning, organizing and keeping kids busy I did not want supper to be very complicated. Here's a rundown of tonight's meal, in case you're feeling the same way! 
Quick Chicken Stir Fry

add 1/4 stick of butter in wok over med. heat
1/2 head of green cabbage - chopped
4 carrots - use veggie peeler to make long, thin peels
1/2 onion - sliced
4-5 mushrooms - sliced
3 celery stalks - chopped
cook until veggies are soft - 10 min
boil 8 oz. of spaghetti noodles
add a bit more butter &  3 thawed chicken breasts
 to center of wok
 (veggies can hang out around the sides)
cook thoroughly
cut up chicken into chunks
keep all together in wok
add cooked noodles & 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce
toss and heat for a minute
serve hot!
(toasted sesame seeds would be great )
Enjoy! ☺

Friday, February 1, 2013

Recipes for FUN!! Ice Cream Dough

Today we hit up the dollar store for some new, sensory, supplies. We scored a few boxes of cornstarch and baking soda plus some bottles of shaving cream and baby oil and even found water beads! Over the next couple of weeks we will be trying out some great sensory recipes and sharing our results.

Our first Recipe for FUN is ice cream dough!!
Oh my was this fun to make!!
We followed the directions in the link below:

Ice Cream Dough

One cone coming up!!

 For our first batch we wanted chocolate ice cream so we added one Tbs. of unsweetened cocoa powder to the cornstarch before mixing in conditioner.
Then we decided strawberry would be great for our second batch. We added a cap-ful of strawberry extract and a few drops of red food coloring to the cornstarch & conditioner before mixing.
I love how this turned out!! The food coloring doesn't mix in all the way and leaves little specks of red throughout the mix that resemble strawberry chunks and, of course, it smells amazing!! 
Any extract could be used (banana would be yummy!), even unsweetened drink mix would work well - just remember to mix dry together first then wet.  I also recommend using an unscented conditioner. (we did not have that on hand so our scents were a little bit off due to the existing, fruity scent of our conditioner)
Do Not Eat!! :)

Crazy enough, the dough actually feels cold and looks like real ice cream for awhile.
(It does start to turn quite dough like the more it's handled.)

We used play kitchen cups and bowls and some play dough supplies to create our ice cream shop.
This recipe took about 5 minutes to make and 10 minutes to clean up afterwards with a good hour of fun in between!
 Ok, so just in case you don't have cornstarch on hand or don't want to use up a lot of conditioner, here's a quick n' easy recipe that calls for baking soda & water:

Ice Cream Parlor Bath
Growing a Jeweled Rose

P.S. Sometimes when preparing meals I feel I have to say "no" a lot to when it comes to my littlest helping out. I do have him set the table and find ingredients but I limit most of it yet (the two older kids like to help as well and it becomes a lot of commotion by the stove) so with recipes like these I am free to let him "cook" all he wants. We do the measuring together and the pouring and mixing is great for him, it's ok to get messy, nobody gets hurt and no real meal is lost if some falls on the floor!

Happy Creating!! ☺

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lemon Tuna Pasta!

Tonight's dinner was a hit!
Sometimes I find myself looking through the cupboard wondering what I could possibly make with what's in there but, I love a challenge! 
We had spaghetti noodles and a can of tuna, plus one sad lemon that needed to be used. I searched these ingredients on Pinterest and found a great recipe to use as a base. (although someday I would like to make the whole thing!)
photo courtesy of

We did not have capers, olives or red, I had to change it up a bit.
In place of those missing ingredients I added slices of red onion to the garlic, butter, oil & lemon. This worked well as the red onion became super sweet!
Once the pasta was done I tossed it with the oil mix and added tuna plus Parmesan cheese and fresh thyme from our window garden, instead of basil.
 It transported us to someplace warm & sunny with every bite!
A must try recipe to break the chill of winter.

Newspaper Nail Art!

Ok! I have seen this a few times now and couldn't wait to try it with my G! All the kids were home today  - due to an ice storm - so we had plenty of time. 

We used regular, white nailpolish as a base and transfered images that we had cut out of old book orders! The effect turned out great!!
(make sure to let the nailpolish fully dry first though, our test nail had to be redone.)

Easy instructions:
image courtesy of

Snowman Fun! (Home Preschool)

Home Preschool

Last September my lil' guy & I started home preschool. At first it was a challenge but, after getting into a routine this has become our most favorite time of the day. I love how excited he gets about learning! 
Although I knew the basics I wanted to teach and do have workbooks for most subjects I did need a lot of extra help on how to put it all together and make it FUN! Thank goodness for all the wonderful resources out there, Pinterest being #1 on the list! From the daily schedule to fun activities and crafts to go with our theme it proves to be a wealth of information.
Our weekly themes are decided by holidays, seasons or current topics & interests.
For this snowy & cold, last week of January a Snowman theme seemed appropriate!
Along with creating the Snowman tree (posted earlier) we will be using some of these fun activities and crafts too:

This site is super! Lots of printable worksheets for the a Winter/Snowman theme plus great information on home preschool.
Oopsey Daisy -W is for Winter

We do most of our painting projects on Thursdays, because we have more time, and will be trying this out for sure!
Marshmallow Snowman Stamping

I love this page! There are so many great sensory recipes and theme bath ideas. (If we only had a tub!)
Erupting Snowballs

 Aerial Snowman by my C!
This was a good craft for cutting and gluing practice.

Our Snowman theme changes to Winter Fun for the first week of February with some more great, learning activities:

Mitten Matching

Ice Fishing For Letters

Magnet Number Fishing

Tons of Winter Theme Activities!

Winter Theme for Preschool


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tree Trimming x 12! (Jan.)

 At our home, we love to reflect the changing of the seasons and our favorite holidays with special decorations. 
(my personal faves are fall & of course, Christmas!)
With kids and dogs running through the house it doesn't take long for our creations to look a bit not so fresh. So this year, in a effort to cut down on clutter,  I decided to keep those special items in just a few designated spots. Our lighted, north woods, pine tree is one of those spots. We keep this tree up year round as it goes with the main decor and fits perfectly in an awkward cubby near our foyer.
For the most part I just love turning on the twinkly lights but, after decorating it for Christmas the idea came for adding fun new decorations for seasonal changes and holidays, then on to monthly changes to fit in with some of my upcoming, home preschool, activities.
Get ready for Tree Trimming x 12!
Each month the tree will get a new look. We are excited for the challenge and to share our creations!
Our tree:
For our first look of the year the kids and I had decided on a snowman tree.
It was so fun to find all the necessary components & get down to creating.
We think the final result turned out great!
The snowman is just batting mixed with some foam snowflakes and plastic icicles. We used pine cones for a mouth, buttons for eyes and a carrot nose (made from a cone-shaped, thread spool covered in orange felt).
The kids found mismatched gloves that slid nicely onto the branches and topped it off with a hat.
I ♥ twinkling lights covered with snow!
We have already begun planning a "Love" theme for next month!
Happy Creating!!