Tres Leches Cake

Delicious for any occasion

Homemade Watercolors

For homeschoolers, or just fun at home

DIY Toothpaste

Great for good health, and a happy pocketbook

Vegetarian Meals for the Whole Family

Even picky kids will love these meat-less dishes

Sewing Projects and Tips

Even more tutorials to come soon

Friday, April 22, 2011

Experiments Around The House

...kinda. Here's two things we have going on right now, can you guess what they are? (Just-for-funsies!)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easy Sweet & Sour From Scratch

Delicious Sweet & Sour pork or chicken, better than the bottled sauce, and without the nasty red dyes. This will make a big huge batch, family sized!

First prep your veggies so they're ready to go:
  • 2 or 3 bell peppers, of any colors- chopped in 1 inch-ish pieces
  • 1 whole onion, roughly diced in 1 inch-ish pieces
  • 1 celery stalk, very thinly sliced on the bias
Then begin cooking your meat of choice and setting aside, keeping warm. Many like to batter & deep fry, some like to brown in a little olive oil to save calories, I do kind of an in-between and shallow fry in a wide shallow pan with a sprinkling of cornstarch. I made about 1 1/2 pounds for a big batch.

While cooking your meat, combine in a small mixing bowl:
  • The juice drained from a 15oz can of pineapple tidbits. You'll also use the pineapple later- so don't let grubby little hands steal it! 
  • 1/2 can frozen (but thawed) orange juice concentrate.
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 rice wine vinegar
  • grated ginger to taste, 1teaspoon or more. I use A LOT, it is delicious!
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup- I don't know why, but my sauce never worked until I added this odd ingredient!
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
If shallow frying, or browning with little oil, dump all but about 2 Tablespoons of oil out of the pot, or add oil if needed. If you deep fried, add about 2 Tablespoons oil to a wide, shallow pot. Toss in your veggies and stir often while scrapping the lovely brown bits off the bottom of the pan. When your celery is soft through, and your larger veggies are al dente,  add back in your meat and the pineapple tidbits. stir to combine. Whisk the mixture in your bowl, then pour in. Lower your heat to medium, and stir until heated through and the sauce thickens. Serve on a bed of rice.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I Still Love You Sharpie, but I Also Have A New Love...

At least when it comes to writing on plastic bottles and containers! I use a few spray bottles throughout the house, clearly marked with their contents (SAFETY FIRST!), for cleaning and such. Every couple-few weeks I'd whine and complain that the marker has rubbed, or been cleaned off, and re-write it. Why is that such a problem? Because it starts to look cloudy & gross. AND sometimes it comes off on my hands. (I'm going to go with it being my lotion, because I'm preeeeetty sure my hand aren't THAT greasy!)
I don't know WHY I didn't think about this earlier- it is like the greatest idea EVER!
Nail polish! Not any old nail polish though, my handy-dandy decoration-drawing L.A. Colors Art Deco polish. It has a long, thin brush that makes lettering look neat and tidy!

I got mine super cheap at Dollar General for $1 each. They don't have all the colors, but they often add a new one to the rotation, so I pick one up for my stash when I see them. Black obviously works for all purposes in container identification....but I'd imagine other colors would be cool for coordinating with your color schemes.  Stay clear of the glitter ones (for containers- for nails they ROCK!) because you wouldn't be able to read them. I think I need to hop over to DG and grab a back-up bottle of black before I use it all up! =-)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Baking Soda In The Kitchen

There are thousands, and thousands of ways to use baking soda around the house- here are a few handy ways to use this versatile powder in your kitchen.

  • An oldie, but a clean a clogged or stubborn drain the eco-friendly way, pour 1/4 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a pot of boiling water. Repeat as needed.
  • Baking soda will cut the grease on all sorts of pots, pans, and even the bottom of your oven. For extra easy oven cleaning, sprinkle baking soda on those pesky spill-overs, and when you're ready, lift up the whole mess with a spatula and wipe with a damp rag.
  • A damp sponge dipped in a little baking soda will quickly rub out stubborn stains on counter tops. Even fruit juice and coffee stains will disappear!
  • Cleaning microwave gunk and grime is easy if you mix two tablespoons of baking soda with a bowl of water, and run the microwave for about two minutes. Let the steam sit in the microwave for a few minutes longer, and the yuck will wipe out quickly and easily!
  • Adding a bit of baking soda to your homemade tomato sauces will cut out some of the acidic tastes.
Bonus tip: For cleaning around the house, I wash very well, and sanitize an old Parmesan cheese can  for sprinkling baking soda with ease.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Kinda Tutorial: Mini/Play Oven Mitts

Here is a method, disguised as a tutorial, on how I threw together my little one's play oven mitts that will go with her new play kitchen she'll get for her birthday soon. That is one long sentence.

First, you'll want some fabric. Either enough of one color/pattern for your mitt, or mitts, or two coordinating fabrics. I used old baby clothes of hers. (I also turned her old favorite dresses into an apron, but that's another post...) You only need a bit, toddlers and pre-preschoolers are known for their awfully tiny hands. ;-)

I did an outline of her little hand, and added about an inch-ish all around to get a pattern to trace. I slip-stitched, so I needed very little seam allowance, but you may need to add an extra 1/4 inch if sewing by machine. I can also try to make a printable pattern if you all would like...

You'll want to trace on the wrong-side of the fabric, and be sure to flip the pattern over for the opposite hand. (If making a pair.) Match the pieces right-sides together. Hem the bottom edges if needed. I cut mine out against the hem of the shirts I used. Lazy never looked so lovely.

You're going to want to add a little loop for hanging (just like real mitts...) I used the straps off one of my shirts (that I cut the mitts out of...) for one, and bits of ruffled collar off an other for a second pair. You can used almost anything, ribbon, a bit of bias tape, hemmed scraps, etc...
You'll want to place you loop between your layers like so:
Pin or baste in place.  (The lighting is wacky because I did this at

Sew around, leaving the bottom open. (Hey, sometimes we need little reminders- MOMMY BRAINS!)

Turn right-side out and smooth the rounds on the inside with a chopstick.
I also made matching mini tea towels by sewing the edging off the cuffs of the shirts I used to some CHEAPY white washcloths. The kind that are about 18 for $3 and scrub so awesomely. You can also use ribbon, lace, bias tape, etc here as well, but the edges I cut off just fit perfectly and matched! I did the top & bottom of the washcloth. I may make some more when she's a bit older & more sophisticated, adding a bit of embroidery. =-)

A Giveaway- From One Nutty Mama

Just wanted to let you all know that Kim from One Nutty Mama is having her first giveaway. You can win a cool Scentsy prize. Head on over for details:

Long Time, No See....

If you follow on Facebook, you've seen that the past few couple few months we've had  quite a lot of illness & crap busy-stuff at home. This all has put blogging on the back burner, but HOPEFULLY we're back!
Spring has brought allergies out the wazoo for the little Princess, but everyone else is full of health & vigor. I have a bit of a stockpile of pictures and such to post, maybe I can make up for the long hiatus.

One tutorial coming up- mini play oven mitts for play kitchens. The Princess is getting a shiny new play set for her upcoming birthday (shhhhh....don't tell her!) & Mommy isn't paying $30 for fake mitts and matching apron. I'm making a couple colorful, preschooler-sized sets (with coordinating tea towels...) to go with her new kitchen. I'm making them out of her old baby clothes...because I'm cheap like that....
So, I'll get back to work, & I'll see you all in a bit! =-)