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 27, 2012

Have You Seen This!? Homemade Stain Remover

Have you seen THIS post all over Pinterest? It's from One Good Thing By Jillee, a blog FULL of awesome. 

Homemade stain remover. And I thought I'd give it a try.

The original "recipe" is this: (but I halved it to try...)
  • 2/3 C Dawn
  • 2/3 C ammonia 
  • 6 Tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 C warm water
Shake it all together in a spray bottle. Shake your boot-aaay while you do it. The kids love that.

Grab a preschooler's jacked-up white t-shirt. Cry about the spaghetti on it because you were too tired to remember to get it off of her before dinner.Wonder if the stain remover will mess up the glitter bits. Then don't care because there is tomato sauce on the damn thing. (*you may omit and replace this step with one more suitable to your household.)
bleep bleepity bleep.
Grab your handy-dandy stain remover, give it a shake. Spray. Pray. Rub it a little bit.
Holy moly.

Wow. Jillee, I could kiss you! It didn't even mess up the glittery bits! That slight shadow of sauce was even GONE after washing. AMAZING.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The BEST Foaming Hand-Soap Refill "Recipe"

I love my foaming hand-soap dispensers. I got them on sale of course, and they REALLY help the little soap monsters not gobble up so much money when they wash their hands. (I'm looking at you, Princess and Calculator...) What I don't like is paying so much for "proper" refill solution. So, I did what every cheap frugal mom does, and turned to bloggerland for a homemade refill. Bingo. THRIFTY and easy. My two favorite adjectives. BUT. They just didn't seem perfect. Yeah, they cleaned. Yeah, they foamed. Yeah, they smell nice. But they didn't have that THICK, lovely foam that the originals have. I liked that. A lot.

So I tried something.
I took my beloved Dr. Bronner's. Put about thiiiiis much in my dispenser:
Click to enlarge

You might even be able to put a bit less, sometimes I add a couple inches of water when it's low with no loss of foamy goodness.
Then I added HOT water with a funnel so it wouldn't agitate the soap too much. Not all the way up, leave some space for the pumping mechanism.
Popped that pump back on. Then rejoiced in thick-foam heaven.
Ooooooo...that's niiiiice.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I've been feeling a little achy lately, too many things being a little hard on my bad back. The Princess' allergies have been crazy, her eczema itchy, her personality whiny, and her temper hot. That's a lot of carrying her to her bed "because muh legs dooooon't woooooork....", and helping her on the potty, "becaaaause I caaaaan't by muhseeeeeewf." A lot of "Ow...ow...ow" for Mom.

Aches and pains, all part if getting older, especially when you have a bad back. But HOW FREAKIN' OLD am I when my aches turn to tear-inducing, unbearable, debilitating pain...from a sneeze!? A s-n-e-e-z-e. I threw my back out sneezing. I am ancient. I know it was only the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back", one hard, quick motion on top of days of mild back-abuse. But cheese-on-a-cracker, this Jenni-camel wasn't expecting to be broken like that.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Meatless Monday: Falafels in Pitas

A lot of my Meatless Mondays involve chickpeas. We love them here. Here's a delicious way to use them in something other than hummus ;-)

You will need:
click to enlarge
  • 1 drained can of chickpeas, or 1 cup dried chickpeas cooked and drained.  (Will be slightly less than 2 cups.)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • salt and pepper to taste (about a pinch each)
  • about 1/4 cup more flour for dusting hands and rolling falafels in.
  • Vegetable oil for frying
Dump everything but the last 1/4 cup of flour into a food-processor. Pulse until a thick paste, stopping frequently to scrape down the sides.

Using lightly floured fingers, roll into balls slightly smaller than ping-pongs. Flatten slightly, the will be about silver-dollar sized.  Lightly roll in the remaining flour to coat. Set aside. Let rest for about 5 minutes while you heat your oil. Fry without crowding, a few at a time for about 2-3 minutes on each side until dark golden brown. Let drain on paper towels.

Serve as you wish, but they are most commonly served in a halved pita, with lettuce and/or tomatoes. We like them with spinach leaves and a simple cucumber sauce. We love these homemade whole wheat pitas from Tammy's Recipes.
click to enlarge

Serve them with a tasty Middle-Eastern side, like tabbouleh.  (Seen here is a quinoa tabbouleh.)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Most Recent Cleaning Love

I never thought I'd love a product with such hype, but after trying I have to say it:
     I love Dr. Bronner's Castile Soaps.

I've always been on the hunt for things that are easy on The Princess' allergies and eczema, and for things that make cleaning green a breeze. These bottles of concentrated soapy goodness fit perfectly. A couple drops in bathwater get the little one squeaky-clean without irritating her skin or leaving any residues. A follow up with some coconut oil before popping on her jammies and she's set. =-) I like using it full strength on a wet washcloth for myself, and it still rinses away. The peppermint leaves a lovely tingle! The Princess loves the lavender for her baths.

I also thought I'd give it a try in cleaning.  A couple drops in a bucket of hot HOT water has been cleaning things all over the house. It really does seem "magical."

I've been using them like crazy for about two months, and still only have used about an inch from each bottle! So, I'm saving money too! They'll last SO long! I definitely need to write down and share ALL the specific "recipes" and uses I've done! 

Look out for posts on:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Our Favorite One Bowl Super Cookies

Mixed in just the right order, these cookies don't need separate bowls for dry and wet ingredients.

Preheat oven to 325.

In a large bowl stir until thoroughly combined:
  • 1 1/3 C all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup oats. Quick cooking is fine, but we like hearty old fashioned. Steel cut would NOT work. Definitely not instant.
Toss in the flour mixture until coated:
  •  3/4 C M&Ms
  •  3/4 C chocolate chips. Equally delicious with either semi-sweet or milk chocolate. I've even mixed!
Stir in:
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C regular sugar
  • OPTIONAL: 1/2 C shopped nuts (we like pecans.)
 Then stir in:
  •  1 egg
  • 1/2 C butter. (1 stick)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Mix until completely cohesive. Portion into cookies using a small cookie scoop, or a couple of tablespoons.

Bake until just golden around the edges. Let cool on the pan for 3 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cook. If you use a cookie scoop this recipe will make about 2 and a half dozen cookies.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Putting in Our Dream Wine Cellar

Guest post written by Grant Douglas

There have been so many times that I've been looking through some wine enthusiast website and see where people have some wine cellars built into their homes. We have a basement, but I didn't know the first thing about how to make it into a wine cellar, so I decided to do the homework for it.

I had a lot of research to luck up for it and while I was doing that I saw some stuff on seras window replacement and realized that it would really help to probably get our windows replaced in our basement. So I think that I'm going to have that done as part of the conversion.

There are some other things that we need to do to our basement to make it appropriate for a space for a wine cellar, but we're going full speed ahead and I'm pretty excited about how it's going to be so nice to go down into the basement and select a nice bottle of wine from our wine cellar. It really is something to get excited about!

Simple Solution for Hair Elastics!

I've seen a few posts on Pinterest where moms have sorted their little girls' hair things, and recently a few have had the great idea of putting the little tiny hair ties in tackle boxes! Genius!

Being super clumsy though, I had to go a step further...push-to-open pill boxes!
I got one like this at Dollar General for two bucks. It opens easily, shuts tight, and I can have the ONE color open at a time and not spill all of them EVERYWHERE.

These push-to-open boxes for arthritic hands are normally off limits in this house because of tiny beings. But they're the perfect size for our hair tie needs, not too big, not too small.

As you can see, I sanded the letters off with an emery board. Not the prettiest solution, but there are some letter decals I want to get next time I'm in the city, and they'll need a rougher surface. =-) (The marker will just come of with a little rubbing alcohol.)

Our supply of clear ones was a bit too much, so they reside in the tiny container that previously held the whole jumbled mess: