Monday, May 31, 2010

A Winner...And A Little Something Sweet!

So today is the day we announce the winner of our Felt Necklace Giveaway! And the lucky winner is...#25 - Shannon! Congrats to her and thank you so much to everyone who not only entered our giveaway but read our little blog. It means the world to us!

For those of you who didn't win the necklace, we thought we'd have something to sweeten things up a bit: Homemade Marshmallow Fluff!! The store stuff is good, but (like so many things) homemade tastes so much better! And like most things we do around here, it is SO EASY!

Ingredients:
  • 3 egg whites (if you are nervous about using raw egg whites, powdered ones can be substituted)
  • 2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (if you want different flavors, try different extracts. We want to try peppermint!)
In a large bowl, combine egg whites, corn syrup and salt; beat with mixer in high speed for 10 minutes or until thick. Then add in the powdered sugar; beat on low speed until blended. Finally, mix in vanilla until blended. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

This recipe makes a lot, but rumor has it it freezes beautifully - we wouldn't know because it doesn't last long around here. Especially when we make a double batch of Baked Perfection's S'more Cookie Bars! Try them - they are AMAZING!
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Butterfly Feeder

With the warm weather came loads of butterflies to our area, which has caused great delight in Maggie's 2 year old. To encourage more to come to their yard, we decided to make a butterfly feeder using this wonderful tutorial we found! It's so easy and is a great way to recycle!

What you need:
  • an empty water bottle
  • nail
  • cotton ball
  • pliers
  • butterfly nectar (recipe below)
With the pliers, hold the nail over a flame to heat it up (the pliers will keep you from burning your fingers as the nail heats up). Then gently push the hot nail into the bottom of your water bottle.

Next take a piece of your cotton ball and push it tightly into the hole (the tighter the better).
Finally, mix up some butterfly nectar (1/4 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 3-4 drops of red food coloring) and pour it into your bottle. Tie on some string and hang your feeder outside near some flowering plants!
This feeder may also attract some hummingbirds so keep your eyes open!

**Don't for get to enter our GIVEAWAY ending May 31st!**
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Monday, May 24, 2010

A Brand New Mama

For over a year now Homemade Mamas has been just us: Rebecca and Maggie. But we have always had help and inspiration along the way. One of the many people who have passed along their great ideas is our friend Jill - she's super-crafty with a flair for finding a bargain. And now we are happy to announce that she has agreed to be the newest Homemade Mama! We know you will be as thrilled with her ideas as we are. Check out her first official project: a Flip Flop Wreath!

For a flip flop-themed birthday party for her nine year old niece, Jill created a wreath made from flip flops. Now you can too!

What You Need:
  • Flip Flops
  • Construction Paper
  • Markers
  • Super Glue
  • Yarn
  • Extra embellishments (she used wooden details and gift wrap ribbons!)
Jill used 3 pairs of large kid's sized flip flops (thank you Dollar Tree! $1 a pair!) to form the circle and just super-glued them together. To make the wreath a little sturdier, you can also glue a cardboard shaped circle to the back of the flip flops.
Jill then used some wavy scissors to cut cards, which she stenciled her name on. She used colorful yarn to tie the name tag together, and glued each end to the flip flops.
She purchased a few wooden embellishments from Hobby Lobby for less than a $1 each of her niece's favorite things; flip flops, flowers, and peace signs to add sparkle to the wreath. And also shopping at the Dollar Tree, Jill found curly ribbons to add as well. She placed them where they fit and super glued again.
Ta-Da! A great addition to the flip flop-themed party! Or you can add this to Hawaiian or any other decor to create a fun summer wreath to welcome guests to your front door!

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Homemade Bleach Scrub


Both of us Mamas have these old white kitchen sinks. They are always stained and pretty gross looking. The only way to clean them is with bleach or special bleach cleansers. It can be hard to clean with bleach because it is so runny. We would either have to spray it on, or fill the sink with water and add at least a cup of bleach and let it soak. After learning that baking soda can boost your bleach's cleaning power in your laundry, we decided to give it a try in the kitchen as a scrub. Baking soda is great for cutting grease and it won't scratch.

We mixed 2 parts baking soda and1 part bleach (we used a tablespoon for our sink) and stirred. It should make a nice paste. We used a lot less bleach and it didn't run down the sink before we could scrub down the sides.
Before...

After!!!

Quick and easy

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Time to Celebrate With A Giveaway!

Wow! There have been a couple new developments around here over the past few days. First of all, we noticed last week that the number of wonderful people who have chosen to "follow" us has climbed to over 500!! CRAZY!!! You are all so wonderful and we have to admit that we get ridiculously excited every time someone new joins us. Thank you all for your support!!

Secondly, we FINALLY decided to get with the times and start up a Facebook page for Homemade Mamas. Yeah, we know...about time, right?

So to celebrate these accomplishments we want to give something back to our wonderful readers! We saw this felt necklace a while ago, but it didn't have a tutorial to go along with it. So we gathered up our crafting courage and came up with our own version.And we were so pleased with how it came out, we thought we would give it to one lucky reader!

Want to enter to win it? You can have up to three chances! Simply:
  1. Just leave us a comment!
  2. Followers get a second entry! Just leave us a second, separate comment telling us you are following!
  3. Hop over to our Facebook page and become a fan. Then come back and leave us a third comment letting us know you've done so!
Just be sure to enter by May 30th, and the winner (as chosen by Random.org) will be announced May 31st! Please be sure to include your email address in your comment if it is not viable in your profile so that we can contact you if you win!

Good luck and thank you so much for your continued support!!
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Balloon Paint

After several family birthday parties, we have been left with a
plethora of balloons. With the weather being very rainy here, we thought it was the perfect time for some balloon painting!

Your kids will love the idea of painting with something as different as balloons. Jonah thought his mom was crazy when she said he could dip his balloon in paint.

All you need is some tempera paints and balloons blown up small so kids can hold them. Cover your work space. Then put blobs of paint on a paper plate. Now you are ready to balloon paint!

Be prepared for your kids to make stacks of art work!

Let your kids dip the balloon into the paint and bounce it all over their paper. Jonah here figured out he could make little circles with the tied end of the balloon. You'll be amazed what your kids will discover.

The balloon makes amazing affects with the color and texture of the paint.

Have fun with this project. Look around your house and see what else you can find to paint with!
Come back Monday for a big announcement and giveaway!!

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Homemade Baking Powder

Baking powder is one of those ingredients that you always seem to have on hand...until you are in the middle of baking something, go to reach for it, and find that you're all out! Or at least that's how it goes with us. Luckily, our friend Benita passes on the best ideas to us! Her latest find was this recipe for making homemade baking powder! Who knew you could actually make it yourself? It's a handy recipe to have, since even the baking powder you buy at the store has a very short shelf life.

What you need:
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
Simply mix these few ingredients together and store in refrigerator. This recipe can be doubled or tripled, but really only make what you plan to use in the near future.

How well does it work? Check out these pretty little "French Breakfast Puffs" (recipe courtesy of our trusty Better Homes & Gardens cookbook):
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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mad Scientist Cake


When we shared with you the Mad Scientist Party we put together in our last post, and mentioned the cake we had made, we thought that today we would share with you how we made it! As we mentioned before, we were inspired by this cake, but needed to make it bigger. Here's how we did it:

What you need:
  • 2 boxes cake mix (we use red velvet to make our cake extra icky-looking)
  • metal bowl
  • 9x13 cake pan
  • 2 cans vanilla frosting
  • food coloring
  • various candy
We took the first box of cake mix and made the batter according to the packages instructions. Then we sprayed the bowl with non-stick cooking spray, and scooped about 2 1/2 cups of batter into it (we made cupcakes with the leftover batter). We then baked it in the oven for about 55 minutes (you know it's done when a toothpick inserted in teh center comes out clean). Once it's finished backing, remove it form teh oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes before removing it form teh bowl. and letting it cool completely.
When it is completely cooled you are ready to frost! mix a few drops of food coloring into 1 can of your frosting (we used black food coloring to make our brain gray). We put our frosting into a zip-lock bag, cut off a corner, and squeezed our frosting onto our cake in s-shaped squiggles. Then ta-da! You've got a brain cake!If you'd like to have more cake to feed your guests, mix up that second batch of cake batter, pour it into your 9x13 pan, and bake it according to the instructions on the box. Once it is finished baking and had cooled completely, youc an mix up the second can of frosting with more food coloring (again we used gray). We then decoated the cake to look like a machine, using candy and frosting to make buttons and knobs. We then took some red licorice whips to make wires to connect the brain to our machine, just a like a mad scientist should!This was a super-easy cake to make, but really impressed the kids (and adults!)
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Monday, May 3, 2010

Mad Scientist Mamas

Maggie's son Jack turned five last week, and he informed us that he wanted to have a science party. We put on our thinking caps and came up with some fun and simple ideas and activities to get the kids brains working while having fun at the same time! So while we don't really have a tutorial for you all today, we thought we'd shared the various aspects of our homemade party, as well as let you in on a few of our frugal tricks!

To make this an official science party, we ordered the kids lab coats from this company. We found they had disposable ones for super-cheap and the kids loved dressing up. To make them even sillier, we put gobs of hair gel in their hair so they could have "mad scientist hair". It was a simple thing, but it really helped set the tone for the party.
Jack's first requirement was that his party needed to have a piñata in the shape of an exploding test tube. WHAT?? After a few moments of thinking, "how in the world are we going to pull this off?", we checked out our post from last year on making a piñata. Using a long balloon for the basic shape, we covered it in paper mache, then covered it in tissue paper to make it look like a test tube filled with green stuff. To make it look like it was exploding, we cut out a circle of paper to cover the top of the "tube" and made a plume of red, orange, and yellow tissue paper to be the explosion and a little green tissue added to make it look like the stuff inside was coming out as well. To complete the look we added measurement lines and numbers up the front of the piñata (we numbered it from 1 to 5, since Jack was turning 5). We think it turned out pretty cute!

Since the majority of the kids at the party were around 5, we tried to come up with some age-appropriate experiments for them to do, such as sucking an egg into a bottle, observing celery in colored water, making a volcano with baking soda and vinegar (with sand playdough for the base!), and exploding a bottle of soda with Mentos.

Our boys (and most boys we know) LOVE to get messy. So we decided that one of our activities would be to make slime. With the kids, Rebecca whipped up a batch using liquid starch, food coloring, and white glue. This gloppy, slimy, stretchy, sticky stuff kept the kids occupied for a long time. With this activity, we were happy they had lab coats because some of our scientists got a bit messy! We also had some test tubes (which we found at Amazon.com for free thanks to a gift certificate!) in the goody bags filled with our slime for the kids to take home!

After the kids were finsihed with experiments, we had pizza and of course cake! Maggie was inspired by this brain cake but thought it might be a little small to feel the crowd we were having. So she decided to make the brain but have it hooked up to some sort of machine (made from a sheet cake). What mad scientist wouldn't love that?

This turned out the be a great party for Jack and all the kids. They were able to be involved in so many activities and even learn a few things in the process. And all this fun cost us very little money. Almost everything we used was either homemade or found at incredible prices. Three cheers for thrifty fun!
We had to share this picture of Rebecca's son Jonah making his "mad scientist face" - hilarious!
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