Monday, May 30, 2011

This Bud's For You!

Happy Memorial Day! Hope you and your family are enjoying beautiful weather! We've actually had quite a bit of rain lately, which has made the flowers so happy. Our kids are also happy, since they LOVE to pick flowers! The flowers they pick tend to have short stems (though we keep telling them to pick further down the stem!), and therefor need little bud vases to hold them. Around here vases little enough can be in short supply, so sometimes we have to resort to using shot glasses....classy! But thanks to Camilla from Family Craft, we now have a great way to dress up our less-than-attractive shot glass vases!

What You Need:
  • a shot glass or two
  • balloons
  • scissors


First, cut a bit off of the neck of a balloon.

Then work it over your shot glass going from the bottom to the top. You can then either leave the neck of the balloon pointing up...

...but we like it tucked in.

Fill your new, modern-looking bud vase with water and pop in a flower or two!

The perfect way to brighten up a rainy spring day!
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Butterfly Cafe


Today, six year old Jonah bought a an old copy of Spider Magazine (June 1997) from the used book store at school. He was very excited when he found an article about making your own butterfly cafe. The article talked about butterflies and how important they are to our planet because they pollinate flowers. It said that butterflies are disappearing from many parts of the world, but that you can make your yard a safe and inviting "cafe" for these beautiful creatures. This is a great project for the whole family!

The article said to look for a sunny place in your yard. Butterflies are cold-blooded. They need sun to keep them warm. Place several dark rocks there. They love to bask on stones heated by the sun. Butterflies need water. You can dig out a shallow hollow in the ground and fill it with water, or place a plate with only enough water in it to barely cover the bottom. Place a few small rocks in it for them to sit on. Most importantly plant lots of colorful flowers like zinnias, phlox, daisies, cone flowers, brown-eyed susans, marigolds and butterfly bush.. Nectar from flowers is their primary food. Many plants at garden centers are marked to let you know they attract butterflies.


To Attract butterflies you can also try making this butterfly bait. This recipe was also in Jonah's magazine. He had to make it right away!

what you need:




  • 1/2 cup of soft ripe fruit (we used kiwi, but bananas, pears or apples would work too)


  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


  • 1/4 cup maple syrup


  • 4 tablespoons of cola









Stir ingredients together. Pour into a small plate. Place it onto a larger plate. Fill the larger plate with water. This will keep crawling bugs out like a moat. Set the mixture in the sun for about a day. It will start to ferment and give off a strong sweet, fruity Oder that will attract the butterflies. We added a few rocks for the butterflies to sit on as well. (We just put ours out tonight, so we will let you know how well it works.) Once you have butterflies in your "cafe", you may want to try making our butterfly feeder.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Ten Minute Top...From A Skirt!


These days we are becoming more and more inspired to expand our summer wardrobe. Being on a budget means we are looking to more creative solutions to do this! Having seen this project on Recycled Fashion, we knew it was just what we were looking for. And it seriously takes 10 minutes or less to make! Maggie happened to have a long, boring skirt that was not her style and just taking up space in the closet, and was excited to give it new life!



What You Need:
  • a long skirt with slits up the sides (ours didn't have any, so we did a little seam-ripping and quickly made some!)
  • pins
  • sewing machine or needle and thread

First, put on your skirt and twist it around so the slits are no longer at your sides but go front to back.The leopard print slippers really complete outfit!

Then grab the corners of the slits and lift the skirt up to your shoulders so it's inside out. Then pin the corners of the front slit to the corners of the back slit to make sleeves. You can pin as much or as little as you'd like, depending on how much of a sleeve you like or how deep of a v-neck you want (we decided to make ours more of a tank top).

Once it's pinned, take off your new top and sew along your pins.

Then turn it right side out, try it on, (tucking under the waistband) and enjoy how cute your thriftiness can be! The best part about this skirt (aside form it being cheap, quick, and easy) is that if you ever decide to turn it back into a skirt, all you have to do is remove a few stitches. But with it being so cute, we think we'll keep ours as a top!
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Poor Man's Lasagna

This is a great recipe we found at Mommy's Kitchen; not only is it inexpensive and easy to make - it has become a household favorite for Homemade Mamas!










Ingredients:
2 - packages (7.25 oz) Macaroni & Cheese
1 - lb ground beef or Italian Sausage
1 - Jar Spaghetti Sauce (use your favorite)
1 - (8oz) package mozzarella cheese, shredded







Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the macaroni and cheese according to package directions.


While the macaroni is cooking, brown and drain the ground beef/Italian Sausage. We also added 1/2 chopped onion to the sausage while browning.

Add the ground meat to the prepared macaroni and cheese.


Mix in the spaghetti sauce and add to a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan.


Top with mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil sprayed with baking spray and bake for 25 minutes until heated through and bubbly.


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Monday, May 16, 2011

Anti-wrinkle Banana Mask


Here is a quick, easy (and delicious) anti-wrinkle facial mask. We did a little research on ingredients that you probably have around the house with anti-wrinkle properties. We were surprised to learn that bananas and their peel have been used for centuries to help with many skin conditions, including acne, wrinkles, warts, psoriasis and poison ivy. We also used honey because of it's moisturizing and anti-bacterial abilities. The final ingredient is plain yogurt (we used Greek) which cleanses the skin, unclogs pores, reduces wrinkles and moisturizes dry skin.

The recipe:


  • about 1 T of banana (just break off a hunk)

  • 1 teaspoon of honey

  • 1 teaspoon of yogurt

Place ingredients in a bowl.

Mash with a fork. Apply with your fingers to your face. Let dry for 20-30 minutes. Wash off your face with a clean, warm washcloth. You can save the unused portion in the fridge for up to 3 days.

The best part of the mask is it also doubles as a delicious breakfast treat. Slice the rest of your banana into the yogurt with a drizzle of honey and enjoy while your mask dries!


You will be beautiful on the inside and out!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pillowcase Dress-up!

We are back from our much-needed break with a really quick and fun project for you! While trolling the thrift store, we came upon a plain brown pillowcase. With visions of a tote bag dancing in our head, we happily purchased it (originally priced at .99 but we got it for 25% off that!). But when we got it home we realized it was a pillowcase for an extra-long pillow. Definitely not the right size for a tote bag...more like a duffel bag! Not to be discouraged, we put on our thinking caps and came up with the idea to turn a blah, long pillowcase into a cute, just-below-the knee strapless dress (who says pillowcases are just for skirts?)! And it took almost no time at all to create!

What You Need:
  • Long pillowcase
  • elastic
  • scissors
  • sewing machine (or needle & thread)
First, lay out your pillowcase. You might want to iron it, but we were too excited (not to mention impatient) by the idea of this to pull out the iron. Then cut off the sealed base of your pillowcase.

Next, fold your cut edge and pin it , making sure it is wide enough to fit your elastic to fit through. To avoid fraying, you might want to fold it over twice so the raw edge isn't exposed.

Once it is pinned all the way around, sew it up to make your casing. However, be sure not to sew it up all the way around - leave a small opening so you can insert your elastic.

Measure your elastic by wrapping it around under your armpits (or where you want the finished top of your dress to sit) and then cut it a few inches shorter. This will insure a snug fit. No one wants a dress dress that will fall around your ankles! Then attach a safety pin to your elastic and work it through the casing.

Once it is inside, stitch the two ends of the elastic together. The sew up the hole in your casing.

Now try on your dress! It will probably look like a sack, so tie a cute ribbon or cinch it with a belt to give it more interest and shape.
From boring pillowcase to cutie dress in no time flat!
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Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy (Belated) Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all our lovely readers! We hope you and your loved ones had a wonderful day!

In honor of Mother's Day, the Homemade Mamas and taking a day off! But we will be back on Thursday with a fun new project for you!
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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Corona Beer Bread

It's Cinco de Mayo! Corona Beer Bread is an easy snack for the festivities!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour (sifted)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) beer (we used Corona)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter



  • Directions:

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Mix dry ingredients and beer.

    Pour into a greased loaf pan.

    Pour melted butter over mixture.

    Bake 1 hour, remove from pan and cool for at least 15 minutes.




    This is perfect on its own or with a spicy cheese dip!


    *Please note; be sure to sift your flour to keep your bread from coming out like a brick! The above recipe calls for you to pour the butter on TOP of the bread - this will make the crust more crunchy. Mix the melted butter into the batter if you prefer a softer crust!




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    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Gross Out!

    This weekend, Maggie's son Jack turned six (where did the time go??). When asked what kind of party he wanted, he gleefully answered, "A GROSS party!!" This was right up our alley!
    (Here are Jack, Jonah, & Ben making gross faces)

    We were expecting a pretty large group kids, so we wanted to have activities that were not very structured and would allow the kids to do them at their leisure. We made a large batch of slime for the kids to get good and goopy in.We also made some "Mystery Boxes"! We cut holes in empty diaper boxes, painted them black and decorated them with question marks. We then covered the holes with black fabric.

    When the boxes were done and ready for the party, we placed bowls of icky feeling things (cold, wet spaghetti, peeled grapes, and wet batting) inside. We then let the kids stick their hands inside (without seeing what's inside, of course) and feel the grossness!!

    Another activity we had for the kids was super-simple! We hung a ton of streamers from the ceiling and just let the kids run through them! While it sounds like a pretty basic idea, the kids loved it!!

    No gross party would be complete without a gross birthday cake! We had such a large group that we decided to make two sheet cakes. We then covered them in slime green-colored frosting and decorated it with plastic, eyeballs, witch fingers, bugs, and various gummy creatures. Super icky-looking but oh-so-tasty! The kids washed down their gross cake with tall glasses of Auntie's Yoda Soda (although we changed the name to "Swamp Soda").

    The final activity we did was a piƱata. Using pretty much the same technique we've used before, we made this one in the shape of an eyeball!

    So there you have it! A really gross party using a few simple things that we pretty much had on hand! Happy Birthday Jack!
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