Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday: Oreoception. That Is to Say, an Oreo within an Oreo Cupcake

Are you ready for... OREOCEPTION?! Good. Because that's what we have for you. Not sure if I like Double Oreos, Oreoception, or Cupcake Oreos best, but... you can pick the name. (PS. Remember my hubby's favorite cookie is an Oreo? Sure hope he loves this....)

Ingredients
*Box white cake mix
*Box chocolate cake mix
*Chocolate frosting
*Oreos
*Eggs (as required by your mix)
*Oil (as required by your mix)
*Water (as required by your mix)




Step 1
In separate containers, mix up your white  and chocolate cake mixes, respectively, according to their instruction labels.

Step 2
Thoroughly grease muffin tins or line with cup cake papers

Step 3
(this is where the magic happens...)
-Spoon a very small amount of chocolate cake batter in the bottom of the cup- just enough to cover it
-Smush an Oreo into the middle of this cake batter (1/4 an Oreo if using mini-muffin tins)
-Spoon enough white cake batter on top of the Oreo to cover it and the chocolate cake batter completely


Step 4
Bake at 325 for 13-18 minutes (depending on pan size)

Step 5
I cut the Oreo in half on this one
and it makes it look like a very
angry cupcake..
Frost your cupcakes with chocolate frosting after your cupcakes have cooled (I made mine using milk chocolate and it was freaking delicious), then garnish with Oreo pieces, if desired.

GET IT? Chocolate cake bottom (Oreo cookie bottom), white cake middle (Oreo cookie frosting) and chocolate frosting (Oreo cookie top)- plus an Oreo inside.

No fail, fun, and (for my hubby's sake, I hope...) yum, yum, YUM!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday: DIY Rich n' Zesty Barbecue Sauce

Let me ask you a question: Why BUY barbecue sauce when you can make one, to your specifications, at home? Answer? Because you didn't know you COULD DIY a good barbecue sauce. SO, lucky for you, here is a simple and yum DIY barbecue. I'd call it Emily's Rich n' Zesty BBQ Sauce if I were marketing it for the masses....

Ingredients:
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 tsp cumin (awesome. I love this spice!)
1 tbs garlic powder/onion powder, mixed
Salt and pepper to taste

Step 1:
Mix it. Eat it. Braise with it. Broil with it. Baste with it. Bake with it. Fry with it. Grill with it. Whatever.

I have made this barbecue sauce a number of times for a number of different types of meat. This one is best for chicken and pork; if you are making a barbecue sauce for beef, I'd recommend taking out the cumin and putting in a teaspoon of crushed garlic instead. Whatever you make, enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday: How to Save Money on Groceries

I am a bargain hunter. Let's be honest. That 10 cents might make all the difference for me. Be it for good or for bad, I love a good deal. And since I have to go grocery shopping  so often, saving money grocery shopping can be an AWESOME money saver. But, I'm a little lazy and not willing to extreme coupon. These are what I do that helps my dollar to really stretch at the grocery store.

-Every extra trip to the store will cost you $20 and up-
Understand this. In shopping, minimize the number of trips you take to the store by:

*Making a List of What You NEED
Regardless of what you end up buying, if you come home without something you are actually in need of, you will end up going back to the store and spending another $20 on random stuff you find. SO, whatever you DO get, just make sure to follow your list of things you HAVE to have.

*Stocking Up On Freshies
Do you drink a gallon milk every week? Buy two. Do you eat 2 loaves of bread each week? Buy 4. If you keep a little extra on hand of the things you need fresh, you'll be less likely to go to the store again to replenish your stock. If you are out of cardamon, it's not likely you will run to the store that night to get some. IF, however, you run out of milk, you probably will.

*Plan Meals
This one is more time consuming and you really might not love doing it, but if you know exactly what meals you need to shop for, you will not buy extra things that you don't need- and it will save you big week to week.

-Get It Cheap-
Food keeps. It really, really does. Canned food is good for months and years. Cheese, unopened, is usually good for 4-8 months from when you buy it. Milk, meat, and many veggies/fruits can be frozen and then keep for months. You don't have to use everything you buy within a week from purchase. SO-

*Buy it Cheap, Stack it Deep
This is an old saying from when I worked at a grocery store- and it really works. Every store you shop at has sales. Do you need one can of green beans? It can cost 1.19. Get it on a really good sale, 2/1.00 or 3/1.00 and buy a dozen. Then, when you need green beans, just turn to your cupboard and retrieve that .33 cent can of beans, rather than running to the store and spending that 1.19 (plus the extra 20 you are liable to spend)

*Pick a Speciality
Divide up the groceries you buy into a few groups- this will be different from family to family
*Meats/cheeses
*Breads
*Canned goods
*Cereal
*Non foods (cleaning supplies)
*Baby (diapers, wipes, formula)
Use these groups one at a time to employ the 'buy it cheap, stack it deep' adage. Each time you go shopping, based on the sales at your grocery store, stock up 1-2 months worth of one of these categories, and then buy bare minimum for the rest of them. For example, if cereal is a $1 a box one week, buy a dozen boxes of cereal, but only the meat, cheese, bread, canned goods, and cleaning supplies (and, of course, fresh fruits and veggies) that you need to last you for a week. Do this for 2 months and compare it to the amount of money you spent for the 2 months before starting it. You will be surprised at what you save.

Shop Around
This doesn't take long and is not time consuming- just pull up an ad or two for local stores before you head out to the grocery store and then price match their front pages. The front page of any grocery store ad will most likely be where all the best steals are posted, so by price matching these few deals from local stores, you will be able to maximize your dollar by getting the best deals from each one.
(PS: Wal Marts and many other stores price match)

Many of these might be common sense, but if you haven't tried them before, I do hope they help!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday: Waking Up in the Morning

Know how babies cry when they wake up? THAT is what I feel like EVERY morning.
And maybe it's just me- but mornings and I are not best friends.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday: 5 Unbelievable Graham Cracker Crust Substitutions

There are literally thousands of recipes that require a graham cracker crust- and if you are like me, I would bet that there has been a time or two when you needed a graham cracker crust but didn't have one on hand- so here are a few substitutions for graham cracker crusts when you just need it for dessert.

The recipe methodology for each is the same, only the ingredients differ.

1/ 1/4 cups of __________, crushed (put in a double Ziploc bag and crush with your hands, a mallet, or a rolling pin until the consistency that you want- I recommend pea-size or smaller)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 stick butter/margarine, melted

Mix the three ingredient together in a mixing bowl and then form into a pie pan (or glass dish, if you are making lemon bars, etc.)

Your five options?

*Pretzels: almost ends up with a caramel flavor
*Saltine Crackers: ends up very close to shortbread
*Ritz crackers: also ends up similar to shortbread
*Chips-a-hoy: kinda ends up tasting like a cookie-dough crust
*Ramen noodles: yes, dried ramen noodles crushed up (VERY finely) turn out great. Also shortbread-esque, but worth trying just to be surprised at how well it turns out.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday: DIY Air Freshener

Sometimes you live in a basement apartment. And sometimes that basement is over 100 years old. And sometimes even when the entire place is clean, fresh paint and shop-vacced carpet, it smells old. And if you are me, this 'sometimes' is my daily reality. So, I have been on a constant mission to make my apartment smell nice!

This week's addition? A DIY air freshener. Not tough, and all made with what I already had at home.

Materials1 tsp essential oil (or 2 parts scented extract (vanilla, lemon, almond, etc.) to 1 part olive oil)
Cereal box/mac-n-cheese box etc.
2 print outs of the same cute image
New dish sponge
Glue
Needle and thread
Scissors

Step 1
Glue cute print-out (I did a lemon, since my air-freshener scent is lemon) onto the inside of a cereal box/mac-n-cheese box and cut it out.

Step 2
Cut your new sponge to the same size as the printout and then use your glue to apply the printout to both sides of the sponge (for this, I recommend super glue or a glue gun)

Step 3
Thread your thread through the top middle of the sponge/air freshener and tie the thread together to make a loop

Step 4
Using a dropper (or a small baggie with a tiny hole poked in one end), add your essential oil/scented oil to the sponge portion of your new air freshener.
Hang in your car/office/kitchen/baby's room wherever and just add a few drops of scented oil whenever the scent starts to fade!
All done!

BOOM! Easy! As always....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday: How to Use Bacon Grease in 5 Different Ways

Did you just make bacon? And end up with a lot of extra bacon grease? Well, lucky for you, there are actually uses for that bacon grease. And they just might surprise you.


1. (most obvious) Replace your spray grease for your fry pans with just a dab of bacon grease. Take about 1/2 teaspoon of the solid fat and put it on a paper towel- then use the greased paper towel to coat your frying pan before burgers, steaks, eggs, you name it. The bacon flavor infused adds an extra level of taste and only will cost you 20 calories.


2. Use it to polish leather. Now, I'm not talking leather couches or any extreme like that, but a dab of cooled bacon grease on a rag is a great way to add back in the suppleness that leather loses over time. Good for boots, belts, shoes and the like. An inexpensive way to replace leather shoe polish.

3. Make your cracked heels smooth again. You'll have to accompany this procedure with a shower, but it is a great way to make you want to show your feet in public. Before bed, dab some solid bacon grease on the dry parts of your feet and put on a pair of socks. In the morning, wash your feet thoroughly in the shower and BOOM! Softer feet!

4. (most awesome) Non-toxic bug destroyer! Take your solid grease and mix in a little bit of vegetable oil to make the grease a little more runny and sticky. Then, just put it in a Styrofoam plate or a pie pan and leave out wherever you want flies, mosquitoes, and bugs to be gone! They will land in the grease and the sticky weight of the grease will hold them down, unable to get free- all you will have to do is throw it away once it is full of bugs!

5. (most time intensive) Make soap! For those of us with a little more time and skills, you can use your bacon grease to make soap! Here's great article on how to make soap using bacon grease easily. DIY Soap


Enjoy your crisp, delicious morning bacon and make something useful from what's left over!
(Note: For the love of all that is good, DON'T use hot bacon grease for any of these.... wait until it cools and solidifies so that you don't burn yourself)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday: Teach Your Children to Watch the Horizon

When I was 16, I remember learning to drive with my dad. Still just out with my learner's permit, he took me out on the freeway. I really, REALLY didn't want to drive off the road, so to make sure that I would stay straight on the road, I watched the white line on the road and made sure that it passed by me in the same place in my window. I stared at that white line, making sure that it stayed parallel to me- and while I was busy staring at this white, painted line, my dad was busy staring at the cars in front of me. "Stop! That car is stopping! STOP!"

Yup. I almost hit a few cars in front of me before I realized that the place to focus on wasn't the white line right in front of me, but on the cars and the road in front of me. Once I learned to watch the horizon, I figured out where I was going and how to get there.

Now the tricky part.

Teaching my kids to watch the horizon.

And I don't mean when they are driving. I mean in life.

It is so easy to see the small things right in front of you:
*the pot of spaghetti sauce boiling over
*those 5 pounds that won't go away
*that bedroom wall color you hate
*that job that you don't want to go to
*that neighbor you can't handle

I know that you won't make it far focusing right in front of you- you'll just end up with a fender bender.

We really need to learn to focus on the horizon.

Like, where we are going. And who we can become.

Learn to answer these questions and then teach our kids.

So, when your little boy comes home and is upset because some other kids teased him for his clothes, you teach him that the clothes he is wearing might be right in front of him, but that what is on his horizon is far more important.

When your daughter doesn't do well in her piano recital, teach her that the bombed recital isn't all she is- it's not where she ends up- it's not her horizon.

I hope that I can be able to really teach my little girl not to focus on the trials and disappointments of the day, but to be able to look at her horizon, see where she is going, and know that there is more to life than the day-to-day.

But then again, every mom wants to teach her baby to grow up right.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Friday: Upcycled DIY 3D Dragonfly from Empty Paper Towel Rolls!


I have lots of extra paper towel rolls. I've made  I have this cute dragonfly that I used to make a card for my baby girl's grandma... (inside is complete with her hand and foot print 'signatures', a Disposable Flower Vase, and a DIY Wall Hanging. Waste not, want not, eh?

Materials

*Empty paper towel roll
*Spray paint
*Needle and thread
*Piece of colored paper
*Stickers/markers to decorate with

Step 1

Smash the empty roll flat and then cut into 6 thin 1/8 inch wide strips

Step 2 

Spray paint to your desired color and all to dry
Step 4- Secure with stitch
on edge of each
 middle piece

Step 3

Take your sheet of paper and fold it in half (to make the card). Next, thread and knot your needle and thread and run it through the far end of each piece of the empty roll and knot it at the end
Step 4- lay out flay
Step 4- Secure with middle
stitch

Step 4

Lay out the connected pieces on your card in two sets of three, making it look like a dragonfly. Use your needle and thread to 'sew' the dragonfly on by securing it with a single stitch in the middle and on the far end of the middle wing on each side.
Step 5

Decorate as desired! You can probably make it look cuter than mine.... Either way, have fun with this idea! Make flowers, leaves, whatever! Makes a cute 3-D card.



Saturday, May 19, 2012

5 Non-Window Uses for Window Cleaner

I don't want to pull a My Big Fat Greek Wedding on you, but here are some other uses of window cleaner besides plain old windows....

1. Clean bugs/sap from the outside of your car. Just spray on, allow it to sit for a few minutes, then wipe away! (some stuck-on bugs require multiple treatments)


2. Cleaning INSIDE your car. Window clener is great for inside your car because it is a light cleaner that won't damage your upholstery if it comes in contact with it. It is also non-greasy, so there is no worry of getting slippery cleaner on your wheel or shifter that can cause accidents.

3. Acne? Yes, if you use it on small areas of your face and don't have sensitive/dry skin. Spray a small amount on your bad breakout areas, let sit for a few minutes, and then wash your face with normal cleaner.

4. Oily surfaces in the kitchen. Sides of the fridge, wall, floor, around the oven... wherever you find greasy, oily surfaces. It gets rid of the greasy smudge and isn't a harsh cleaner. (plus, you can buy the knock-off at the dollar store for ultra cheap!)

5. Kill bugs! If you see ants, flies, bees, whatever, around the house and don't feel the urge to actually kill them yourselves... just spray window cleaner onto those little buggers until they no longer have the urge to bug you...

Friday: Upcycled DIY Name Hanging- with Paper Towel Roll!

As my second project in my DIY up-cycled projects done with empty paper towel rolls/ toilet paper rolls, I made this name wall hanging. Cute for bedrooms, nurserys, or grandma/grandpa gifts if you have your children help assemble them. What do you need?

Materials
*Wide ribbon
*Fun paper/black marker
*Needle and thread
*Empty roll
*White spray paint

Not a bad set of items, right? You probably already have all of it on hand. It's easy to put together!

1. Cut the empty roll on one side and then into 1/2 inch wide strips (1 strip for each letter in the first/last name) (the pieces should look like a C)

2. Spray paint these pieces white- allow to dry

3. Use your black marker and cute paper to make separate letters for the name

4. Tie each end of the wide ribbon into a know

5. Lastly, use your needle and thread and put it first through the letter, next, through the white 1/2 piece of paper towel roll, and then through the ribbon. Make sure to put a knot in the very end of the thread (bottom of the letter), a knot where you want the 1/2 piece of roll to stay, and again on the back of where you secure the letters. Repeat this with each letter, evenly spacing out each letter on your strip of ribbon

6. Hang your awesome creation on the wall! You can hang it vertically or horizontally- and depending on the paper and ribbon you use, it can be absolutely darling!

STILL have extra paper towel rolls? Make a 3D Dragonfly or a Disposable Flower Vase.

Friday: DIY Up-Cycled Paper Towel Roll into a Disposable Flower Vase!

Maybe it's the kindergartner in me, but every time I throw away empty paper towel rolls or toilet paper rolls, I feel like I should be saving them. So, I did some thinking and came up with a few ways to up-cycle your old toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls into something that doesn't suck. In fact, a few of them are pretty cute. Almost chic, even! The first project I will share is a simple flower vase. Perfect to make for a special occasion where you want to have vases that match perfectly to a theme, or for giving garden flowers to neighbors. What do you need?

Materials
*1 paper towel roll
*1 sheet cute paper
*Clear masking tape
*Glue stick
*Plastic baggie

Step 1
Cut your paper towel roll to the length you want your vase to be, then push it flat (to create corners), and push flat on the opposite side (giving you a square shape).
Step 2
Step 2
Next, take a plastic baggie and push it into your new square roll, so only the edges hang out. (I had zip-baggies, so I cut my zip-top off)

Step 3
Using your clear masking tape, seal the edges of the baggie to the outside of the paper towel roll.

Step 4
Next, cut a piece of paper to be the same size as the paper towel roll (and maybe just slightly longer) and then glue it to the outside of the paper towel roll (gluing it on will make it easier to tape on later).
Step 5: Adding small pieces
of tape to the edge of each
sheet of paper to secure it
to the ed

Step 5
Lastly, use a few long strips of clear masking tape to cover the entire sheet of paper and make sure no paper is exposed. Then, just add a few small pieces of tape to each end (1 for each side, 4 on top, and 4 on bottom) to secure the edges of the paper onto the roll.

Now, you are done! You have an awesome (possibly chic) vase that you can giveaway or share! You can also use empty paper towel rolls to make a 3D Dragonfly or a DIY Wall Hanging.





Friday, May 18, 2012

Thursday: Sweet, Simple Cran-Chicken Pasta Salad

This is an easy toss-together pasta salad that doesn't use dressing or mayonnaise.

Ingredients

*2 cups cooked pasta (rotini, bow tie, etc.)
*1 can chicken
*1/2 cup sweetened cranberries
*1/4 cup honey
*Juice from 1/2 lemon
*1/2 cup sliced celery
*1 tsp salt
*1/2 tsp pepper
*1 small can sliced mushrooms (optional)

I feel like the procedure is self explanatory- put all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix it. The end! I like the consistency, with sweet bites of cranberry, crunchy bites of celery, and the sweet tang of the honey and lemon together. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Secret to Smooth, Shiny Floors You Can Eat Off Of.

Believe it or no- Hand Sanitizer! I discovered this by accident once when I was refilling a small bottle of sanitizer from a larger one and happened to spill it on the floor. Upon wiping it up, I knew that my floor cleaning habits would never be the same... How to do you use it? Let me tell you!

1. Clean/mop your floor as normal.
2. Once your floor has dried, sprinkle on a fair amount of hand sanitizer on it (I just use the bottle from the dollar store- lasts through a few moppings)
3. Next, use a paper towel to dry the floor.

Take a look at the paper towel you just used. Keep in mind that you used it on a CLEAN floor! Mine came away brown!

The benefits? A doubly-cleaned, sanitized floor that you can feel good eating off of. Literally. (PS. NOT for wood floors.)

 (And, yes, I know about so-called super germs...I'm sure my floors now support them... ;)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday: My Five Favorite Foreign Conundrums

I love to travel. LOVE it. You learn so much and grow so much just by experiencing someone else's way of life. Of course, you also get the chance to come across different language and culture differences, which often make hilarious stories. Here are some of my favorite ones.

1. Spiritual Sex
I served an L.D.S. mission in Tokyo, but before leaving, spent several months studying Japanese in a training center. Japanese is a difficult language and some struggled more than others. One way that we had to practice was to learn a lesson in Japanese and then actually give it to Japanese speaking volunteers who came by to help us. My favorite language mis-hap from these? A very kind, soft spoken man was studying Japanese in earnest but really didn't quite get the grasp of it. Let  me tell you how his lesson to the volunteer ended.
(In Japanese)
seirei= The Spirit, Holy Ghost, etc.
reiteki= Spiritual (i.e., have a spiritual experience)
seiteki= Sex, sexual

This poor young man, while trying to give his lesson said, in Japanese,
"I promise you that if you read the Book of Mormon, you will have many wonderful sexual experiences. I know this because I have had many sexual experiences with the Book of Mormon."

We all knew what he was trying to say.... but sometimes you just can't help but to laugh- and by the end of his lesson that he gave to a volunteer, that volunteer was in tears because they were laughing so hard.

2. Many hats, small sex
The group I went to Russia with was out and about shopping in one of the many bazaars in Moscow. One of the members of our group was a petite, blond sweet girl fresh out of high school. As she was out shopping for a fur hat, one Russian man pulled her aside and promised her a great deal on hats. As he pulled her into her booths, he offered her whatever hat she would like. When she asked how much it would be, he said, in broken English, "No money, just sex for hat". When she balked, he went on, grabbing her arm and trying to convince her. "No weak American sex. Good, RUSSIAN sex." She still denied him, so he continued you. "You want hat? Take hat. Take all hat. Not big thing- just small sex. I give you many hats, small sex. Yes? Many hats, small sex?" By this time, thankfully, her friend had pulled her from his booth and on to another, where she was safe from selling her body for many hats....

3. Love is just different
While on a road trip through France, a particular Russian boy with fairly solid English struck up a friendship with me. He was interesting, to say the least, and I became suspicious of his feelings for me one night as I sat writing in my journal. He asked to take the journal because he wanted to write something. This is his 'love confession' (as taken from my journal).

Hello. I am Sasha. I'm a good gue. I want to say a couple words about Emily (sorry for my grammatic mistakes- I'm not good in english, and sorry for bad words.- I'm write about Emily). I think it make sence to start my story form info tha Emily do not like me. You think it is stupit to not like me? I think that same. Anyway, it is Emyly's choose. But, I like Emily. She is cute and not really smart. I like theese qualityes in girls. I should return this doing to Emily. Kiss you. >m. <-- this is my kiss.

Granted, he may have been a little inebriated, but I must say, it was the first and last time that a guy has told me he likes me because I am "cute and not really smart." I guess what you look for in a girl is different if you're Russian?

4. Favorite Words
I taught English to a group of 3-5 year olds in Moscow. Sometimes I really questioned how well I taught them when I read through my journal, where I had recorded the phrases that they used most.

Danill: "Bomba!" "F*** you!"
Masha: "Your mom's not very pretty"
Ljuba: "I'm not a baby", "Not sex"
Dina: "You're a crazy bumblebee"
Ester: "Chocolate, yes? Chocolate, yes? Me chocolate, yes, it's ok? Yes chocolate me? Yes?"

5. Lezbianka
When living in Moscow, our group went on a road-trip through Europe on a giant tour bus. Sitting across from my friend (a girl)  and I were a few Russian teens. They didn't speak English and we really didn't speak Russian, but we struck up a type of friendship by exchanging a few sentences from our Russian guide book. Once, we read out loud every ridiculous example from the book. "Wait, stop- that policeman took by book!" and other weird ones. I finished by reading out loud (in Russian) "Please get help-my wife has been hit by a car!" To this sentence, the Russian youngsters looked at us oddly and whispered to one another "Lezbiankas!" We KNEW what they were talking about but didn't have the lingual skills to let them know that my friend was not actually my wife....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday: DIY Hairspray

I recently ran out of hairspray and thought that there just HAD to be some way to DIY hairspray. Lucky for me, there is! (and it runs on the el cheap side, so I was a fan. We're talking under 25 cents and only 5 minutes to make. Total win.

Materials
4 tsp sugar
1 cup water
1 tb vanilla
Spray bottle

Heat water to boiling, add the sugar and vanilla. (in this case, the alcohol in the vanilla is used as a stabilizer and preservative, and the scent is a bonus! If you don't have real vanilla, DON'T use imitation, just use a 1 tb of vodka and a few drops of your favorite scented oil).

Put the mix in a spray bottle and you are good to go! DIY hairspray on the fly! Loving the DIY beauty care? Try out DIY Blush! Or DIY Sugar Scrub! Or DIY Bath Salts! Money savers, fun gifts- you can't go wrong.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday: 4 Things You Should Never Say to Your Child

If you are like most moms, then you really want to be, well, a good mom! You probably think about it all the time, worry, wonder what your kids will be like when they grow up.... On your road of trying to be the best mom, here are a few things that you should never say to your children.

 1. Stupid, dumb, slow-witted, retarded, etc. Any word that denotes a low intelligence should not be used, especially when joking. Some parents think that it is ok to say words like these teasingly, but in reality, children don't get a good grasp on how jokes work until they are nearly adults. You may feel like it is funny, and they may even laugh, but the truth is that it can leave a  wound deep in them.

2. Fat, chubby, overweight, even 'not that skinny' are all terms to be avoided. Your children, especially your girls, are growing up in a world obsessed with image. They will be pummeled with digs about their looks. The absolute last place that a child needs to hear an insult about their weight is from their mother.

3. "We don't______with ______ kind of people". Children learn their attitudes about the world at home. Even if you find yourself struggling to see people equitably, DON'T pass that on to your children. Love them enough to want them to have a fresh, unadulterated view of the world. Love them enough to not raise them with racism or biases.

4. "Your father is such as _______". Almost more important than the way you treat your children is the way that you treat their father. Even if you are separated from your spouse for one reason or another, that person is still the father of your child and will have exposure to your child. Don't ever try to pit your child against the other parent- it is an awful position to be in. You want the best for your child, right? Your child will most likely end up with someone like their parents. If you build a poor image about your spouse to your child, then they are more likely to end up with exactly the kind of person you describe. The way that you speak about your spouse will change your child's view of them (for good or for bad) and they will subconsciously learn that whatever kind of a person you describe is an ok person to be married to.Whatever your spouse might be, if you insult them to your children (stupid, lazy, jerk, etc.), then you are increasing the chance that your child will marry a stupid, lazy jerk. And I think it's safe to say that is not what you want for your child.

Keep plugging on and plugging on- keep on trying to do your best for your child. As long as you are constantly striving to be your best, you can feel safe that

You. Are. A. Good. Mom.

Now that you've mastered four things to never say to you child-

5 Ways to be a More Productive Stay at Home Mom

5 Ways to be a Happier Stay at Home Mom

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Friday: DIY Up-cycled Cereal Box --> Darling Daily Planner

I have needed a new daily planner for some time, but was a bit too, well, cheap to buy the kind I liked- so I decided to use an empty cereal box to make my own! Here's how to do your own, step by step.

Step 1
MATERIALS NEEDED
*Empty cereal box
*Printed planner pages (50-100)
*1 striped sheet and 1 polka dot sheet of paper
*Clear masking tape
*Letter stickers
*Needle and thread
*Scissors

Step 2
Step 1
Choose the size of your planner-to-be by printing off the inside pages- include whatever information you think is pertinent (date, times, goals, etc.) I chose to keep my simple, with just a few goals, then a general blank space to put whatever I needed for the day. Once you have them printed off (or, hand-write them if you prefer), cut them all to the same size of sheet

Step 2
Step 3A
Using your needle and thread, sew together 10 pages together at a time (I did 5 packs of 10 each)

Step 3B
Step 3

Carefully take your cereal box apart and then, using the section that has just a small lip of cardboard bent up, trace around one of your bundles of paper. Make this outline 1/2 inch or so larger than your sewed bundle of papers. Repeat this step so that you have two identical sized pieces of cardboard.
Step 4B

Step 4
Step 4A
Slide these two pieces of cardboard together to form the cover of your planner. Place a piece of clear masking tape on the top and bottom of the center piece, just enough to make it hold it together.

Step 5

Step 5A
Step 5B
Once the cover has been secured, secure the paper that you chose for the inside of your book (I chose this turquoise polka-dot) with a few small pieces of tape. Once it is secured, use the masking tape in strips to completely cover the paper
Step 6
Next, in the same way that you covered the inside of the cover with paper, cover the outside of the cover. Overlap slightly on the inside of the cover to make it look almost like a dust jacket.

Step 7 (almost done!)

Step 7A
Once your cover is finished, use a needle and thread to sew the pages into your book. Tie a knot at the end of the thread and thread it through the top of the cover, right in the middle. Next, thread the needle through each booklet of papers, one at a time, then back through the top of the cover. Repeat this by going around it twice to hold your book together strongly. Next, repeat this step for the bottom of the cover so that your book is secured strongly. (You may want to add an extra piece of masking tape to cover the exposed piece of thread on the outside). Lastly, use your stickers to name your planner. Mine was simply 'Emily's'.
Step 7B

YAY! You did it! And what's extra nice is that once you have used up all the papers on the inside, you simply need to cut the thread that holds the pages in and re-thread in some new ones. Way to up-cycle! I hope the extra-illustrated instructions helped!
Step 7C

Need to upcycle even more? How about upcycling some empy paper towel rolls into a Disposable Flower Vase, a DIY Wall Hanging or a 3D Dragonfly!









Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday: Easy 3 Ingredient Home Made Butterfingers

DIY Oreos DIY Twix Bars
Talk about delicious, easy, and hubby-friendly! (aka, my husband's favorite candy is Butterfingers) What do you need?

*Creamy peanut butter, 16 oz
*Candy corn, 16 oz
*Chocolate, 3 cups

Melt the candy corn in a glass dish in the microwave, stopping every 30 seconds to stir it. One the candy corn has been fully melted, mix in the creamy peanut butter until smooth. Pour into a wax-lined cookie sheet that has sides and cool in the freezer/fridge until solid.

Once the candy is cool, cut into the size of bars that you want to eat and dip in melted chocolate. (you can melt the chocolate the same way that you melted the candy corn) After dipping the candy into the melted chocolate, allow to cool on a wax sheet.

Enjoy!!

Not satisfied with just the DIY Butterfingers? Try out some DIY Oreos or some DIY Twix Bars.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

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