Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Homemade Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix

My husband and my kids love Ranch salad dressing on just about everything-- chicken, salad, steak, pizza... The list goes on! I decided to try to make some Ranch Seasoning to try out. It took me no more than two minutes to make and it tastes great. I plan to make some homemade ranch dressing and experiment with it a bit. This mix can also be used to make a delicious fresh ranch dip for vegetables or potato chips by adding it to sour cream. 


Homemade Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix


  • 4 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • Add each of the dried spices to a bowl and gently stir.
  • Store in a small air tight container or a Ziploc bag in a dry dark place.
*This makes about 8 tablespoons of seasoning. You can cut the recipe in half or double it to make as little or as much as you like.

Shape Button Snake-- Great for Hand/Eye Cordination!

This a fun and very simple busy bag activity that I put together for my little one. A busy bag, is pretty much exactly like it sounds,  an activity in a bag that will keep a child busy when need be. Some busy bags are educational, others are just fun. Think fun busy work in a bag! My kids have well over 100 busy bags, I keep most of them away, until we need them. I have a huge tote bag full of busy bags in my car for when we go out to eat or have a doctor's appointment. They really come in handy! I even have some that I keep for traveling and long car rides.  This shape button snake is great to help with hand/eye coordination, learning shapes, color recognition, patterning, and learning the basics of buttoning. This busy bag does not cost much to make, it can be made with scraps that you have on hand or you can pick up the items from a craft or dollar store.
Making this busy bag does require a tiny bit of simple sewing, you have to sew a button on to a piece of ribbon and sew the other end of the ribbon to a piece of felt. The rest is simple, just cut shapes out of felt and cut a small opening in the middle of each shape for the button to go through.
Give your child the ribbon snake and have them make the snake eat through each shape.
This activity could easily go along with The Very Hungry Caterpillar too!

While your child plays with this, you can teach them the different colors and the different shapes.
Older children could practice making a pattern with the shapes or the colors as they put them on. 
This is a fun and easy way to learn, don't you think?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Make Your Own Taco Seasoning!

Yesterday, we had a bit of a nasty thunderstorm that left us without power for most of the day. My kids were driving me a little crazy, so I figured it was best to get them out of the house for awhile. We headed to grandpa's house. The kids were excited that the weather cleared up shortly after we arrived so they could swim in the pool. We decided to make tacos for dinner. For whatever reason, I ended up reading the back of the package of the taco seasoning, mainly the ingredients-- do you know there is silica (silicon dioxide) in the store bought seasoning mix? Silica is what is in that little packet that comes inside of items when you buy them that says DO NOT EAT! Silica is also used to make glass! I couldn't believe it when I read it. Let's just say, that is the last time my family uses store bought taco seasoning! This morning, I made my own taco seasoning. Now, I know exactly what is in it every time I use it. It was so easy to make, it only took a few minutes and was so cheap to make! I picked up my seasonings in the dollar store, I'm sure you can find them even cheaper than $1.


Taco Seasoning


  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 1/2 cup ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup  garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup  onion powder
  • 1/8-1/4 cup crushed red pepper (depending on how spicy you want it)


  • Mix all the spices together and store in an airtight container.
  • After you cook your ground beef, add as much or as little as you like to flavor the meet. Add a small amount of water if needed to season the meat evenly.
* You can make as little or as much of this seasoning as you like, notice it is equal amounts of everything with the exception of the crushed red pepper.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Speed Dry Your Freshly Polished Nails with Pam Cooking Spray!!

I love the way my nails look when they are polished, but rarely have the time to sit and paint them. I don't mind painting them, just waiting for them to dry. I recently read somewhere that Pam cooking spray will dry your freshly polished nails instantly. I had to try this out for myself. I painted my nails with regular nail polish (not quick dry nail polish) and as soon as I was finished, I sprayed them with Pam cooking spray. I let the spray sit for no more than 10 seconds and then washed my hands with soap. I could not believe it, my nails were completely dry! Pam will be a part of my manicures and pedicure from this point on!

20 Mule Team Borax Review

Recently, as a Purex Insider I was able to review a box of 20 Mule Team Borax. I was excited to try it out because I need all the help I can get with my house full of boys!  I decided to test it out on the most difficult load of laundry-- my husband's laundry! My husband works in heavy construction and takes pride in wearing his work! I'm talking concrete, dirt, and heavy duty epoxy!

I added the recommended 1/2 cup of Borax. I sprinkled the Borax into the soap dispenser along with my regular detergent and then let my washing machine and the Borax do their magic. When the clothes were done, I was amazed at how great they came out. Don't get me wrong, they were not spotless, but the only time his clothes were ever spotless was the day I brought them home from the store. This was the best they looked since the first day he wore them to work. I also noticed that not only did his clothes look better, but they smelled fresher too.

Amazed with the results of the first load, I tried 20 Mule Team Borax out on the next load. Our whites were up! I loaded them into the washer along with my laundry detergent and 20 Mule Team Borax and awaited the results. My whites looked absolutely fabulous and white! The grey stains that were originally left behind on my kid's white socks (Did I mention that my kids love to walk around our yard in their socks?) were gone! From this point on, 20 Mule Team Borax will always be found in my laundry room!

After researching 20 Mule Team Borax, I found that there are so many more uses for it! You can use it to clean your carpets, use it on pet bedding, to help with pest problems, and more! I have used Borax in the past to make some fun items too, like my rainbow slime. I plan on purchasing another box of 20 Mule Team Borax to use to make my own laundry detergent. It really is amazing how many uses it has!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Soft Scrub 4-in-1 Toilet Care Review


One of the benefits of starting this blog was that I was able to become a Purex Insider. Being a part of the Purex Insider team is awesome! It allows me to try some of there newest products first. I recently got to try the new Soft Scrub 4-in-1 Toilet Care! As soon as I clipped it onto the rim of my toilet, I fell in love with it! The Soft Scrub 4-in-1 Toilet care has a great scent and is so powerful. It is a toilet cleaner and freshener that clips on to the rim of your toilet bowl and has 4 little cleaning balls that sit inside a plastic cage.   Soft Scrub 4-in-1 Toilet Care lasts up to 4 weeks and is definitely a product that I will be purchasing every month for my bathrooms!

Make Your Own Laundry Stain Remover!

Making your own laundry detergent seems to be the craze lately.  I have all of the ingredients I need, I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Part of the reason that it is not top priority is that I have like six more bottles of laundry detergent on reserve. Last night, I ran out of stain remover-- in a house of all males, stain remover is a necessity. I decided to search for a recipe to make my own on Pinterest. I found one that I had everything that I needed to make it. All I needed was an empty spray bottle, some blue Dawn dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. I mixed 1 part of Dawn to 2 parts hydrogen peroxide in the spray bottle. I sprayed it on the stain, saturating the area, and let it sit for a few minutes and threw it in the washing machine. This stain remover works great! It got all of my stains out, even some that were old! Try it for yourself!

Stamping It Up with Our Homemade Stamps!

With the weather being much cooler today, the kids were unable to swim in our pool, so I needed something to keep them busy. We made very some very simple and incredibly cheap stamps today. All we used were some bottle caps from milk, juice, and Gatorade bottles and some foam stickers. If you do not have a million different foam stickers like me, you can pick some up in the dollar store. Attach the stickers to the top (the outside) of the lid. Get out the stamps and start stamping!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I recently participated in a swap with a group of very talented women, in which we exchange items to help us create a Literacy Basket for the book Where The Wild Things Are. A literacy basket (or bag) is basically a basket (or bag) filled with items, such as props and activities, that can be used in conjunction with a story.  Our Literacy Basket includes a small wooden Max, a felt crown, Monster Feet(made out of cardboard), some popsicle sticks characters, a felt monster face, painted trees, and Max's ship. My youngest is having a blast with this! All of the props take the story to a whole new level!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Make Your Own Paper Mache with Flour, Salt, & Water!

I just whipped up a batch of homemade paper mache for my playdate tomorrow. With just 3 ingredients, it was so simple and super inexpensive to make!

1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup of salt
4 cups water saucepan

Directions: Put all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Over a medium heat, whisk the ingredients together to combine. Keep whisking to prevent lumps until the mixture is thick, smooth and paste-like. This only takes 7-8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Mixture can be placed in an air tight container or in a jar and be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.

*This recipe makes about 4 cups of thick paper mache glue. You can adjust the recipe to make as much or as little as you need. If you are looking for a runnier glue, just add more water. I prefer to make it thicker because it is easier for the younger kids to handle.

Stuck Zipper? Olive Oil Can Help!

Zipper stuck? Rub a small amount of Olive Oil on a stuck zipper, the oil helps the zipper slide more easily. Problem solved! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What's For Lunch? Red Spaghetti with Butter and Cheese!

I have a playdate scheduled next time that is all about spaghetti and one of the things I am making is Rainbow Colored Spaghetti. For lunch today, I figured I would try it out, but to keep it simple, I only did one color. When my water came to a boil, I added salt and the spaghetti, as I always do, and then squeezed in 10 or so drops of red food coloring. I strained my pasta and served it up with some butter and parmesan cheese. My kids got a kick out of it! They are going to love it when I make the rainbow pasta! Next time, I think I will add a bit more food coloring to make the colors bolder.

What's For Lunch? Hot Dog Squid!

My kids got a kick out of these during lunch time!
My 4 year old said "These are the coolest hotdogs ever! They even taste better than regular hotdogs!" LOL Too cute! It was definitely work the extra couple of minutes to make them!
Starting a little more than halfway down the hotdog, cut it in half lengthwise.

Rotate the hotdog and cut again, cutting the bottom part of the hotdog into 2 parts.

Put the hotdogs in a pot of water and bring the water to a boil.
Prop your little squids onto a plate and serve. You can use ketchup or mustard to give the little guys eyes. Enjoy!

Make Your Fresh Flowers Last Longer!

I love fresh flowers, especially Tulips! There is nothing like having a vase of fresh flowers sitting on your desk or dining room table so that you can admire them every time you pass them. I add a few drops of Bleach to the water in my vase to help make them last longer. Sounds a bit odd, huh? It really works! The Bleach prevents the build-up of the slime caused by bacteria, just like chlorine in a swimming pool. Try it out for yourself!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Lot's of Fun with Easy to Make Bubble Blobs!!

We had so much fun making Bubble Blobs, we did this for over an hour and continued even when it began to rain! This is so simple to do and it is a great way to use up those mate-less socks, which there always seems to be an abundance of in my house. All you need is an empty water bottle, a sock, some dish soap, food coloring (if desired), and a container.
Cut the bottom of the water bottle off.

Fit socks snuggly around the bottom. If needed, you can use a rubber band to hold the sock in place.

Pour some liquid dish soap into a shallow container and add water. Dip the bottom of the bottle into the soapy mixture and blow.
Remind your children to blow and not suck in! I kept reminding my little guy, meanwhile my 12 year old took a huge breath in and ended up with a mouth full of soap!
To make colored bubble snakes, add some food coloring directly onto the bottom of the sock. Dip and blow.

My kids really had fun with this, we will definitely be doing it again!
They even had fun playing with the blobs that hit the floor and throwing them up in the air.


Don't Forget To Enter the Giveaway for a set of Infinity Markers!

Less than 36 hours left to enter to win your own set of these fabulous markers!
Click HERE to enter now!

Little Fingers Getting Jammed? Make your Own Easy Peasy and Inexpensive Door Stoppers!

Make your own simple and inexpensive door stoppers out of a pool noodle! You can probably make a door stopper for each door in your house out of one noodle. This time of year, you can pick up a pool noodle at the dollar store. Use a serrated knife to cut a piece of the noodle off and then cut it open on one side. Easy Peasy and Inexpensive!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Keep Strawberries and Other Berries Fresher Longer!!

To keep your strawberries and other berries fresh longer in the refrigerator, use 1 Part White Vinegar to 10 Parts Water. Soak the berries
in the vinegar/water mixture for a few minutes. Then drain the berries in a colander until they are completely dry. Place berries in an uncovered bowl in the refrigerator. The vinegar/water mixture kills any mold spores on the strawberries and keeps them fresh longer. The vinegar does not affect the taste. This works for all kinds of berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
Try it for yourself and see how much longer your berries last!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Japanese Emperor and Empress Peg Dolls

These are the Japanese Emperor and Empress Peg Dolls I made for my little guy to add to his peg people collection. In the future, they will be added to a World Traveler sensory tote that I plan on putting together.

Socks Without Matches? Stick Them On You Washing Machine!!

I put all my laundry in the washing machine, transfer it to the dryer, and then put it in the laundry basket... As I reach the bottom of the basket there is ALWAYS socks without mates! How does that always happen?  I end up putting the all of the odd socks in another basket, where they stay until the basket is over flowing with socks and I get the motivation to sort through them all. In order to avoid that in the future, I decided to take action!
I painted some clothespins and used my hot glue gun to glue some magnets on the back of them. I stuck them on my washing machine and that is the new home for our lonely and mate-less socks. Now, after I finish my laundry, I take the odd socks and match them up with the socks that are hanging on the washing machine and the ones that don't have a match get hung in their new home.
Bye bye huge basket of socks, you won't be hanging out in my bedroom anymore!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Glow Bubbles

We decided to try out Glow Bubbles by cutting open a few glow sticks and adding them to the bubble mixture.

The bubble mixture glowed, however when you blew the bubbles in the dark, you couldn't see them.
However, they did glow with the flash of  my camera or the use of a black light. 

We also tried mixing the bubble solution with acrylic glow in the dark paint, which is the bright green solution. We had much better results with the glow sticks.
Even though we didn't get the glowing bubbles that we hoped for, my kids still did have fun with the activity and it gave us a reason to blow bubbles in the house.

Microwave Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn-- YUM!

This popcorn is absolutely delicious and very easy to make! You use the microwave start to finish-- it doesn't get an easier than that! My kids and I love this popcorn, it has definitely
become a new favorite in our house! Have 10 minutes? Try it out yourself!
Microwave Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn
1/2 cup brown sugar 
1/2 cup butter 
1/2 cup mini marshmallows 
1 bag popped popcorn

 Microwave brown sugar & butter until melted. Add marshmallows. Microwave until melted, 1 & 1/2 to 2 minutes. Pour over popcorn. Mix well.

*This popcorn is very sticky right after you mix it, as it cools it gets less sticky. If you can't wait to eat it, grab a spoon and dig in!! That is what we do :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

GIVEAWAY--- Get A Set of the Write Dudes Permanent Markers

The Write Dudes and Sverve have given me a set of Infinity Markers to give away to one of my lucky readers! Enter below using Raffelcopter and good luck!! 
Check out the fun projects I made with my Infinity Markers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sopapilla Cheesecake~~ My Favorite Dessert!!

This is my absolute favorite dessert and it is definitely a "Go To" recipe when I have to bring a dessert somewhere. It only takes about 5 minutes to prepare and 20 or so minutes in the oven, but it tastes like you slaved in the kitchen for hours!  The great thing is that you can always keep the ingredients on hand because both cream cheese and crescent rolls have a pretty long shelf life in the refrigerator. You can't go wrong with this dessert, try it and you'll see!
Sopapilla Cheesecake

-2 cans pillsbury butter crescent rolls
-2 (8oz) packages cream cheese (softened)
-1 cup sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/4 cup butter (melted)
-Cinnamon & sugar

Unroll and spread 1 can crescent rolls on bottom of un-greased pan. Combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Spread mixture over crescent rolls. Unroll and spread the second package of crescent rolls over mixture. Brush melted butter over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. 

You can serve this warm or cold, depending on your preference, I enjoy it both ways. Be sure to refrigerate for long periods of time.

* You can easily half this recipe using an 8x8 pan and splitting 1 roll of crescent rolls for the top and the bottom.
*Don't have cinnamon and sugar at home? See my post for making your own cinnamon sugar in seconds. It is quick and easy to make and so much cheaper than purchasing it premixed in the store.

"After the Rain Comes the Rainbow"

"After the rain comes the rainbow" has been one of my favorite quotes for as long as I can remember.
Last night was proof of that saying!
Not only were we lucky enough to see a rainbow...

We got to see a double rainbow!

Look at how amazing the sky was! Absolutely beautiful, huh?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Make Your Own Cinnamon Sugar in Seconds!

Need cinnamon sugar for a recipe? Have a piece of toast with butter that needs something more? Want to add a special touch to French toast or pancakes? Make your own cinnamon sugar in seconds!

All you need is:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
    Mix cinnamon and sugar in a bowl until thoroughly combined.

    Little Red Riding Hood Pegs

    My kids love these little peg people, so I am always experimenting and trying to make new ones to add to our collection. I made these Little Red Riding Hood peg people for a swap I participated in. They were pretty easy to make. I made the cape out of red felt and I used my new Infinity permanent markers color the body. For me, it is so much easier to color them than paint them! Now, I have to make one more for my kids. I do want to try to make the wolf to accompany her. I'll be sure to share how he comes out. 

    My Flower Fariy Pegs

    I really enjoy making little wooden peg people almost as much as my kids enjoy playing with them. My biggest problem is that I cannot paint or draw to save my life, so I stick to what I know-- Felt! I found a pattern for these adorable Flower Fairies on The wooden pegs come in multiple sizes and can be ordered online or picked up in most craft stores. I am positive that your kids will love playing with these as much as my kids do!

    Sunday, July 7, 2013

    Hitting the Beach with my Infinity Permenant Marker Projects!

    I was able to try out the Write Dudes new Infinity Permanent Markers this week, so I wanted to come up with some fun projects to try them out on...

    My first project started out with a pair of white sunglasses that I picked up in the dollar store and I used my Infinity markers to brighten them up a bit!
    With the markers, I just alternated colors and made little dots on them,
    They came out cute, didn't they?
    Project #2 also started out with something I picked up at the dollar store-- a water bottle.
    I was trying to figure out how to customize it, without putting their name on it so that my kids would always know which one was theirs.

    Since I cannot draw to save my life, I decided to draw colored blotches on the bottle with the Infinity markers. It made the water bottle look kind of like stained glass. My kids are loving their new water bottles and no one has one like it!
    The last project I did was very simple and just for fun, but I thought I would share it with you because it is a lot of fun for the kids to do.  Start out with a piece of cardboard and wrap it with aluminum foil, you can tape the ends of the foil onto the back. Now, you are ready to draw! Look at how vibrant the colors are on the foil! My kids never get tired of making drawings like this and since it is so inexpensive and easy to throw together-- I never say no! 

    *If you are interested in purchasing a set of Infinity Permanent Markers,  visit their page for a coupon for $0.75 off.