Monday, February 28, 2011

Last Day of February

Here is what I am thinking of posting about this week:

Taste a Rainbow Cupcakes
Ratatouille Bake
Gak Recipe
St Patty's Day Pot O' Gold
some sort of St Patty's Day craft

Most of today is going to be spent cleaning up and recovering from last weeks cold and headache from the weekend.  The house looks like a tornado hit and no one sent FEMA to help clean it  Guess I could be waiting for a

So while I am busy cleaning and getting ready for the week, HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND?  Please tell me it was more exciting than mine, which included a day in bed with a headache and a second day feeling just yucky.  I want to live vicariously through you.  :)

Have a good day!  And Happy Last Day of February!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Inspiration needed!

I am trying to figure out what to blog  I have some ideas for next week (read cupcakes, a new dinner recipe, some more kids projects and perhaps a St. Patrick's Day craft/recipe or two as well) but I am rapidly running out of ideas.

So help me out if you would...what do you want to read about?  What do you want to see?  Is there a craft that you want to try but are not brave enough to do so?  Is there a topic you would like to see my opinion on?  What kind of recipes do you want to see (quick and easy, crock pot, desserts, etc)

I am ready to try new things and hope that you all will help me out by telling me what you want to see.  :)

Hope you all have a GREAT weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Since we did the finger painting earlier this week my 3 year old has wanted to do some brush painting.  So, being the nice mommy I am I let them to it today.  :)

Right now they are sitting at the kitchen table with the plastic Christmas table cloth covering the table using tempra paint to make some new creations.

While they did this I took the "spare time" to make some watercolor paints.  It was SO easy!  I think the hardest part is waiting for the watercolors to harden!

Here is the recipe I used:

Watercolor Paints:

3T baking soda
3T cornstarch
3T white vinegar
1 1/2 T light corn syrup (or you can boil 1 cup sugar with 1/2 cup of water until it is clear...that's what I did)
-food coloring

Combine all the ingredients (minus the coloring) and mix completely.  You may need to wait for the fizzing to subside before completely mixing.  Pour them into containers (I used glass stage 1 baby food jars) and add the desired amount of color.  Remember a little color goes a long way (note: my pink looks more red because I  You can get little paint trays at Michael's for about $2 or you could use a plastic egg carton as well.    Leave out to harden for 3 hours.  NOTE:  Make sure you add the coloring pretty quickly. the mixture actually starts to harden almost right away.

Finished product:
The color seperated just a bit (I think it was because I added too much color) so I just dabbed the excess off with a paper towel.  The consistency is very nice!  Hard but not too hard.  I think my kids will enjoy painting with it.  I sure did!  :)

While I was waiting for this to dry I was going to try the milk paint recipe I found.  I mixed it up, smelled it and threw it out!  It was terrible...but maybe that is just because I am pregnant.  I thought of it drying and walking by a painting that my kids did and thinking what a terrible smell.  So we just stuck with the tempra paint  :)

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe too!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I took the day off...

...because it is my birthday!
Today I age one more year.  Today I reflect on what I have learned in the past year.  Today I think about how crazy the last year has been.  Today I start a new chapter in my life.  Today is my gift.  I am so grateful for today.

Hubby is picking up a birthday cake from DQ tonight and some dinner as well.  I can't wait to share it with my kids and hubby.  Even though I am feeling under the weather I feel very blessed for all that I have.  I have my family, my friends and my home...and generally my health...a cold is nothing right?  :)  My hubby has a job that allows me to stay home with my kids.  What more could I ask for?!

Someday I will look back on these birthdays and I wonder what I will think.  I hope that I see how blessed I am.  How wonderful my family is.  I hope that I realize how blessed I have been.

Tomorrow I will be back on with more kid friendly crafty ideas...I am thinking watercolor paints...the homemade kind of course!  :D

<3 Alison

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fingerpaint Fun!

This morning, despite my cold, I thought I would try my hand at making some homemade finger paint.  While I worked on making the homemade kind I let the kids play with the store bought kind that they got for Christmas.  So I covered the table, covered the kids and let them have at the finger painting.   :)

I used this recipe and really like the results.

Original Fingerpaint
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups cold water
food coloring

In a medium pan, mix all the ingredients together to make the finger paint. Cook over low heat 10 to 15 minutes. Keep stirring the finger paint mixture until it is smooth and thick. After the finger paint has thickened take the pan off the stove and let the mixture cool.
After cooling, divide the finger paint into storage containers depending on how many colors you would like. Add a few drops of food coloring to each container. Stir the coloring in to the paint to determine the shade of color. You're ready to finger paint! Cover tightly when storing.

I am storing my finger paints in stage 2 baby food jars (glass).  I think they are just big enough for the little ones fingers and they hold just enough of the paint.  
The colors I made are much more vibrant than the store bought ones that we have.  I am very impressed.  The kids loved helping me mix the colors in too.  
I will note that I didn't wait for the mixture to cool completely.  I let it cool for about 10 minutes or so and then divided it into the jars.  By the time I was ready to color it, it was cool enough for the kids to help.  
I hope you enjoy this one as much as my kids did!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Play Dough! And lots of it!

Today I spent the morning making and playing with play dough.  Abby didn't have pre-school today and was distraught so I thought we could make play dough and cheer her up a bit.  It worked!  :D

I tried 5 different recipes for play dough and I will give you my take on each one as well as the recipes if you would like to try them.  

Alum Playdough

2 tablespoons of alum
2 cups of flour
1 cup of salt
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of oil
a few drops of any food coloring you wish
Pour the dry ingredients into a pan and stir. Then, stir your food coloring and oil and water together. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients carefully while you mix them together. Afterwards, you will need to knead the mixture. This recipe is best stored in plastic containters in the fridge.

My Take:
I thought this play dough came together nicely in the beginning.  I let the kids play with it while I was working on the others and they enjoyed it as well.  However, as I went back to it to take pictures and get more of a feel for the dough I felt how incredibly grainy it was. 

Traditional Playdough Recipe
2 cups of baking soda
1 and a half cups of water
1 cup of corn starch
Mix with a fork until the mixture is smooth and boil until thick. Takes about 4 minutes.

My Take:
This playdough is DRY.  I let it set out while it was cooling and when I went back to it I had to peel a crusty layer off of it before I could knead it.  And it was still HOT underneath the crusty layer.  I do not care for this recipe.
No Cook Playdough Recipe
1 cup of flour
1 cup of boiling water
2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
a half cup of salt
1 tablespoon of oil
Simply mix all the ingredients together! Be careful as it can be quite hot.

My Take:
I really like this playdough.  It was easy to mix together, didn't require a stove, and cooled quite quickly.  It is nice and soft, but not too soft.  It is still firm enough to let the kids play with and not have an ooey gooey mess.  

Cream of Tartar Playdough

2 cups of plain flour
2 cups of coloured water
1 Tbsp. of cooking oil
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup of salt
Place all of the ingredients in a medium size or large pan. Cook slowly on medium-high and stir it until the playdough thickens. Keeps best in the fridge in plastic containers. This is simular to the traditional playdough recipe.

My Take: I do NOT like this one AT ALL!  The consistency is all off.  I couldn't integrate all the ingredients before it set up so my batch has odd white lumps in it.  It is a very firm set up as well.  I find it hard to play with.  
Salt Playdough Recipe
1 cup of salt
1 cup of water
2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of cooking oil
Mix the salt, flour, oil, & water together.

My Take:
I could not get this one to set up right.  It is sticky, sticky, sticky!  I added a 1/4 cup of flour to try and help it.  It worked to an extent but I wouldn't want my 3 year old playing with it.  I can only imagine what she would get it on.  EWWWW! 

To sum up:   My favorite recipe is the No Cook Playdough Recipe.  It came together the easiest and had the best consistency.  It was firm but not too frim, soft but not too soft.  I think it is the perfect mix.

I hope that you guys can find a recipe that works for you and that you may have found this post helpful.  In the meantime, the kids and I will have lots of playdough to play with.  :)


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mommy and Daddy Vacation!

Hubby and I just got back from a much needed mini vaca away from the kids.  We took the weekend to celebrate his birthday, Valentine's Day, and my birthday.  We had a baby shower to go to as well so we just made a weekend of it and spent the night at a Hilton Garden Inn.  It was so nice!  We booked our room through and got a great price on the room.  The amenities were great as well.  A king size comfy bed was my favorite.  They had a great shower (although no tub) and a microwave as well as a mini fridge and coffee maker in room.
We also got a chance to go see a movie!  AHHH!  It wasn't rated G either!  We saw Just Go With It, starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler.  It was a great romantic comedy.  A little something for the both of us.  Unlike many of Adam Sandler's movies, many of the people you expect to see in his movies were not in this one.  I didn't think I would miss that but I did.
Now that we are back and things are hitting stride again we are glad.  We enjoyed our time away but we love our kids so much that we are glad to see them and hear all of their antics again.
I highly recommend getting away with your spouse when you can.  I don't mean you have to go and do an overnight or anything but just get away for a little bit to remind yourselves why you married who you did.  Go out for a nice dinner or a quick trip to the store.  Just allow yourselves to relax and remember why you love your spouse.
Now, off to go enjoy my birthday Nook Color!  :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Being Productive

It is hard to be productive when Bee and Bubby aren't feeling well but add on top of that that Hubby is gone for the week and I don't feel well either and it is REALLY hard to be productive.  Part of my motivation today is that my dad is coming over.  He is going to help do some small things in the house.  I am hoping to have the dishes done and the kitchen swept before he gets here.

On the agenda for today is hanging my spice racks and reorganizing my cupboards.  I don't like how they are currently set up so it needs to change.  I didn't get to it yesterday so today it must get done.  I need to get my groceries put away and organized!

With any luck I can finish the laundry and put it away as well.  I wish Bee's dresser would come in already.  It has been 2 weeks and I badly want to put her things in her dresser like I have been with Butterfly.  Cross your fingers it comes in today and they can deliver it as well.

Hopefully I will have pictures for you all tomorrow to show you all what I have gotten accomplished.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


With most of what we need unpacked from the move I am coming up against organization.  I love my new kitchen.  LOVE LOVE LOVE it!  There is more cupboard space than I have EVER had.  But I find myself still not knowing what to do with the stuff I have.  I have 2 very deep corner cupboards and find it very hard to access things in the back of those cupboards, especially in my preggo condition.

I have 2 spice racks that need to be hung and then I will have one more cupboard open.  Yes, my spices take up almost an entire  I will then switch the plates, glasses and mugs to that cupboard.  It is closer to the table and isn't a corner cupboard, like the current cupboard they are in.  But then I have that corner cupboard to deal with.  What am I going to use it for?  What should I store in there?  What do YOU store in a corner cupboard?  How do you make it more useable?  The top is going to be strictly for things that I don't use very often, roasting pan and the like.

Another challenge I am facing is my canning jars.  I have a lot of them.  We have gone through most of our stash of food that I put up last summer/fall so I have an abundance of jars just hanging out.  Where do you store your jars?  What about your canning supplies?

My plan for the moment is to set up a set of plastic shelves in my basement and store my canning supplies and jars down there.  I think I will also store the food I can down there as well.  I think that most of our surplus supplies (bulk toilet paper, bulk paper towels, and any bulk food) will be stored down there as well.  As I type it all out it seems I might need another shelf to store it all!  LOL!

Anyways, as I am organizing, I am wondering if you all have any awesome organizing tips.  I would love to hear them!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love Valentine's Day.  I love holidays in general though.  :)  I love giving people things to make their days brighter or put a smile on their face.  I have big plans for our kids today.  We are going to be making strawberry flavored Rice Krispie Bars, brownies with pink icing and some sugar cookies!  Then for dinner we are going to have a Valentine's Day tradition, Buttermilk Pancakes topped with fruit and whipped cream.  The kids love it and so do I.  My mom used to make it for us when we were kids and it was just one of those simple things that I wanted to do to make our day just a little more special.

By the time Hubby gets home from work I plan to have this house full of pink and red construction paper hearts that the kids have made.  Here's to hoping at least!

Hubby is leaving for four days and so we won't get to celebrate Valentine's Day tonight but we will get to this weekend.  We are heading out for an overnight away from the kids.  We will then get to celebrate Hubby's Birthday (yesterday), Valentine's Day (today) and my birthday (the 23rd).  It will be good to get away and just relax.  We will of course miss our kids like crazy but we feel that it is important every now and then to get away and remember why we married each other.  We don't want to wake up one day wondering why there is this strange person lying next to us in bed.

At any rate, HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!  What are you doing to make today special for you and your hubby/spouse/significant other and/or your kids?


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Hubby!

Today was my hubby's birthday!  YAY!
He took the girls to church, I normally would have gone but Bubby has a fever and someone had to stay home with him.  The girls had a Valentine's party during Sunday school so they really didn't want to miss that.
After church, Hubby's family came over for pizza and cake.  We played some board games (with the girls) and some Wii (mostly the
We had such a wonderful afternoon.  We are so blessed that we can now spend these days with our families.
On the spur of the moment yesterday we headed up to see my parents and then went out to dinner for Hubby's birthday as well.  We are both so happy that we decided to move back here to be near to family once again.  We had forgotten how much we missed spending these holidays/special times with them.

<3 Alison

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A couple of recipes!

So if you are a friend of mine of Facebook you will know that the recipes that I made were huge successes.  I am so excited to be able to share them with you today.

First off I made the Peanut Butter Play-Doh for my kids first.  :) My thinking here was while they were playing with it I could easily make the Coconut Cupcakes...and it WORKED!  :D  I was thrilled.

So here it goes!

I got the Peanut Butter Play-Doh recipe here.  I used a bit more of the milk and a bit less of the honey.  I also doubled the batch because I have two kiddos...and let's face it, I wanted to taste it too!

Peanut Butter Play-Doh

1 cup dry milk
1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup honey

Mix together and enjoy!

I should add to this...make sure you use a sturdy spoon when you are mixing the play-doh...this is what happens if you don't...

Now here is my absolute favorite part of yesterday, the Coconut Cupcakes!  My friend Alysha had posted this recipe a little while back and I just had to try it.  She warned me that when she made it the frosting didn't turn out well so I made some modifications to it.  I will note the changes in parentheses.

Here is the original recipe from Simply Recipes.

Here is how I made my cupcakes.

Cupcake Ingredients

3/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 c sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 c coconut milk
1 t of vanilla extract (I used coconut extract instead)
2 1/4 c flour
1 t salt
1 t baking powder
1/2 c sweetened desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to 350*.  Cream the butter until light and fluffy.  Add sugar and cream till light and fluffy again.  Scraping down the sides halfway through to ensure even mixing.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds each to ensure mixing.  Be sure to scrape down the sides after each egg.

Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in one bowl.  In another add the coconut milk and the vanilla (I used coconut flavor).  Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix, then add 1/2 of the wet ingredients.  Continue alternating with the wet and dry mixtures ending with the dry.  Stop mixing once just as the ingredients become incorporated; do not overbeat.

Fold in the coconut.  Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters of the way full.  Bake for 18-22 minutes (mine only took 18 minutes), rotating the pn after the first 15 to ensure even baking.  Be sure to check with a toothpick to see if the cupcakes are done.  If the toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean, the they are ready.  Allow the cupcakes to cool for a minute or two before you remove them from the pan.  Allow them to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Ingredients

1/2 c butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2-1 c powdered sugar
1/4 c sweetened desiccated coconut
1/2 of a small lime, juice only
an equal amount of coconut extract

Cream the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides and bottom.

Add the lime juice and the coconut extract and mix well.

Slowly add the powdered sugar, taste as you go adding more sugar until you have the desired sweetness.

Fold in the coconut.

Spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Sprinkle a little extra coconut on top of the cupcakes and serve.
ENJOY!  :)

I hope you guys enjoy these recipes as much as I do.  Have a good one!
<3 Alison

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Crafty, crafty, crafty...

I am so excited about today's post!  It is about all things crafty.  A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and I thought these ideas were fantastic.  Check it out for yourselves!  Over the next week or so I am going to start making some of these things and sharing my experience with them.  But to hold you over til I get them done I am posting some crafty things that the kids and I have been doing.

Today we are trying the edible peanut butter play-doh.  I am so excited!

Here are a couple of crafts that I have made with the kids for Valentine's Day.

#1.  Valentine's Day Poster
I was going to post the link to the original site where I found it but I have since lost it...ugh.  So if anyone finds it let me know and I will gladly give credit where credit is due.  :)

First we cut out a heart.  Butterfly cut out her own after I traced the heart shape on the paper.  Then we glued the heart to a big piece of manila paper.  The next step was to paint the kids' hands and have them put their prints on the paper overlapping onto the heart.  When that was dry to the touch I let Butterfly write her own name with the glitter pen.  I wrote her name so she wouldn't run out of room when she wrote it (since that is generally what  But other than that she did it.  At the very end I wrote Happy Valentine's Day on the bottom.  These are now hanging in the kids' rooms.  :)

#2.  Paper Chains

Now every kid I have ever known has done these.  You can use these to count down the days to something or to decorate a room.  They are super cute and super easy.  I had Butterfly help me.  She wanted a fat chain so we cut the paper the short way instead of the long way.  Bee wasn't as interested in making a chain this time but that was ok.  She had fun coloring instead.
Have a fun day everyone!
<3 Alison

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

18 weeks

I am 18 weeks pregnant today.  WOW!  2 more weeks and I will be half way done.  4 more weeks and I will know the sex of the baby!  I am just amazed at how fast the first part of this pregnancy has gone.  I definetly look a lot more pregnant than I have before at this point.  I guess when you get to the 4th pregnancy that is what happens.  :)

I have been comparing and contrasting things with this pregnancy and with my other pregnancies.  This one I am eating more healthy.  I tend to want things like sauteed zucchini, baked potatoes, meat, fish, and veggies (fresh and frozen).  I have also been craving lots of chocolate.  In many corners of my home you will find different types of chocolate.  Everything from Hershey's kisses to Godiva.  I try to limit myself to just a couple a day.  With this pregnancy I have also been craving water!  I know weird right?!  But it is true.  If I don't have at least between 90-120 oz of water a day I feel PARCHED!  I will get headaches, be cranky, and just plain unmotivated.  I have eliminated almost all caffeine, with the exception of the occasional cup of coffee in the morning.  I don't even drink iced tea much any more.

In my past pregnancies I have been much less careful with my food and beverage intake.  I would eat fast food, drink soda, and tons of coffee.  I felt sluggish and I gained a ton of weight.  Now that I think about it a bit more, that is what I ate when I was preggers with both of the girls.  When I was pregnant with Bubby I ate very similarly to the way I am now.  Only this time the amount of fast food has decreased drastically.  We moved to a new area where fast food isn't as readily available.  You are probably thinking, where did you move to, the sticks?!  Yup, that is where I  :)

At any rate, for the most part I have been feeling so much better this time around.  I have, again for the most part, more energy and less problems.  This time around I didn't get sick in that first trimester...ok I didn't get morning sickness, I got the  But that was only for a couple of days.   I haven't had the braxton hicks contractions that I got starting at 15 weeks with Bubby.

So far in this pregnancy, I haven't gained anything.  I actually think I lost a couple of pounds.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not trying to lose weight.  I am just eating the way I should have been before hand and will be from now on.  It really helped that before I got pregnant (no matter how unexpected that it was) that I was already on track for making these life changes.  My best friend back in OH was helping me get healthy.  She was helping me with exercising and keeping me accountable for the food I ate and the water I needed to drink.  So when I did get pregnant my body was ready and used to eating that way and I guess it has just continued.  I LOVE IT!

Well, that is just an update on my pregnancy.  Hope you all are having a great week!
<3 Alison

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy February!

I am so excited that it is February!  I love February, albeit it is a busy month, but it is a fun month.  Birthdays and Valentine's Day fill our hours.  I am especially excited this year as we have moved back closer to family.  We will now get to celebrate our birthdays with the ones we love!  YAY!

I am trying to drum up some ideas for some Valentine's crafts for you and your kiddos do to so be on the look out for those in the coming days.

I am also hunting for a few good ideas for Hubby for his birthday as it comes up on the 13th...I can't tell you what I decide on until after I give it to him since he occasionally reads the blog...hehehehe...caught ya honey!  ;)

At any rate, how has the 1st of February been for you all?  We are snowed in and waiting for the -30 to -50 below windchill to be gone.  Thank goodness my in laws dropped off our beef from their freezer or we would be up a creek without a paddle!

Happy February everyone!