Thursday, June 28, 2012

Picnic paper

The next time you're hosting a barbeque or picnic, take the time to bundle plastic utensils with a napkin. Using scrapbook paper, cut rectangles out and secure around the napkins with double sided tape for a coordinated look. Not only do they look great, but they keep the line moving faster! Get started for July 4th now and try some in red, white, and blue.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dress with the greatest of ease...

Using gallon-sized Ziploc bags, pack one outift per bag, including undies, socks, hair accessories, the whole works. Now the kids can dress themselves with no parental guidance required! It takes one more hassle out of traveling, and you can easily see how many day's worth of clothes that are packed. Count me in!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Swimmer's ear solution

Try gold medalist swimmer Natalie Coughlin's recipe for preventing swimmer's ear. It's a good idea to mix up a batch and take it with you if you're headed for the beach or the pool!

To make:
Mix equal parts rubbing alcohol (to dry) and white vinegar (to disinfect) in an eyedropper.

To use:
Put a few drops into the ear canal, wait 30 seconds, and drain.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Temporary pets

Hermit crabs make perfect pals for the kids if you vacation at the beach. They are inexpensive (usually $2-$5) and are great for the occasional rainy day. Growing up, we had hermit crab pets and loved to "race" them, feed them, and paint their shells. (Mine's name was Herbert.) I know what you're thinking: I don't want to have another pet at home! Here's the beauty of this plan: release the crabs on the beach at the end of vacation. Be sure to let your kids know up front that this will happen! You can even tell them that the crab is "on vacation" with them and that he has to go home to the ocean when vacation is over. And there you have it, that fun of a pet with no long-term obligation. Sounds great to me!                                                     

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lemonade Bar

Next time you have guests with kids or kids at heart, make a quick lemonade bar. If you have the time, make homemade lemonade, but if you don't have the time, use frozen concentrate instead of powder. Whip up a few flavored simple syrups with flavors such as mint, ginger, or even lavender. Here's my favorite new discovery: making a fruity flavored lemonade, by adding a small scoop of sorbet. (Sorbet, folks, not its milky cousin sherbet!) It is so much cheaper and easier than buying frozen berries which requires cooking and straining and packs a ton of flavor! You have, have, have to try this! Set out several varieties so guests can get creative with the flavors. Don't forget the lemon slices for garnish and some fun straws!

*To make simple syrup, heat equal parts of sugar and water over low heat until sugar dissolves. Add fresh ginger, or herbs to steep while syrup heats. Cool completely and remove herbs before serving.

Monday, June 18, 2012

No more drips!

To make less mess of popsicles, place a cupcake liner on a cutting board and cut a slit in the center. Thread the popsicle stick through for an instant drip catcher. Kids like to choose their own colors too!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Father's Day Gift Idea

Struggling to decide what to get your husband for Father's day from the kids? I hear you! My husband said he didn't need anything when asked what he'd like for Father's day. Of course we want to do something for him, so I ditched the idea of buying a gift and went for a more practical solution. He has a long to do list of different things that he doesn't have time to tackle. For example: calling the insurance company about a bill, cleaning off the deck, washing the car, organizing the garage, cutting the grass, taking junk to the landfill etc. We're going to surprise him by doing his to do list! I'll list what has been done in his Father's Day card so he can take a break and enjoy his new found free time. Don't have the time to do this yourself? Call a neighborhood kid to cut the grass or wash the car. Can someone do this for me for Mother's Day?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chalk Holder

I got tired of those plastic sidewalk chalk buckets whose lids seem to disappear, leaving a soggy, neon-colored mess behind after a good rain. After spying this outdoor candle holder on my deck, I thought why not? Its new purpose works beautifully. Dry chalk in a fun-to-use container and it's aesthetically pleasing. Let's face it, candlelit parties on our deck are rarer occasions than sidewalk drawing sessions!

*You can also store bubbles in these too.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Clip Art

I stumbled across this website that has amazing free clip art! They have hundred of gorgeous images, from animals and flowers to vegetables and food. Each picture is bursting with timeless charm! I'm going to print off a few botanical images to frame for our daughter's room. Check it out today!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Squeaky Clean Produce

I found this recipe for homemade fruit and veggie sanitizer. It is many times cheaper than the expensive veggie wash found in grocery stores and kills salmonella, e. coli, and other bacteria as well. It was developed and tested by Virginia Tech and proved to be effective.

What you need:
1 bottle Hydrogen Peroxide (from Drugstore), 16 Ounce Bottle
1 bottle White Vinegar Or Cider Vinegar, 16 Ounce Bottle
2 bottles Plastic Spray Bottles (16 Ounce Capacity Or More Is Ideal) 

  • Buy two opaque trigger-style spray bottles (about 99 cents each at the discount store). Note that they should NOT be translucent or transparent, as light can lessen the effectiveness of the hydrogen peroxide. Label one bottle “hydrogen peroxide” and pour the hydrogen peroxide into it. Label the other “vinegar” and pour the vinegar into it. DO NOT PRE-MIX the hydrogen peroxide and the vinegar; it makes them ineffective.
  • When you have fruits or vegetables to prepare, first brush off or rinse off any dirt. Spray generously with hydrogen peroxide, turning to spray all sides. Then spray generously with vinegar, turning as before. (You can spray first with vinegar and then with hydrogen peroxide; the order doesn’t matter.) Now rinse well with clear water, and you’re done. No more e coli, salmonella, or shigella. This technique can also be used to clean off cutting boards; just be sure to rinse well.
  • The combination works INSTANTLY to kill many bacteria. But it is important that you do not mix the hydrogen peroxide and vinegar; spray them one at a time, and keep the liquids separate. Keep the bottles under the sink where they will be in the dark, and also ready for instant use.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cure for cradle cap

I tried this home remedy for cradle cap yesterday and it worked great! The best part is that you probably have all you need in your house already- no running to the store. Simply rub a little olive oil onto the affected area, wait 1 minute, and comb out with a fine-toothed comb. (My baby actually seemed to enjoy this part!) The ickyness will come right off. Follow with a quick shampoo and you're done. You will be left with a smooth, clean scalp and a ki

Friday, June 1, 2012

Road Trip Ideas

Try these fun ideas for keeping kids happy in the car on those long summer road trips:
  • Pack a small cookie sheet for each child to use as a lap desk for coloring. It's also fun to use for magnets and bendaroos too. Store inside the seat back pocket.
  • For extra long trips, make "tickets" with a number on each one representing the number of hours travelled. For every 1-2 hours, have your child turn in their ticket for a small toy or treat. This also helps them to see how much time is left until your destination.
  • Bring several rolls of coins. Every time you "catch" your child doing something right, give them a coin. They can then use the money they've earned to buy a souvenir. *Examples of ways to earn coins include: good attitudes, sharing, listening, reading a book, memorizing a poem or verse, or acts of kindness.
  • For toddlers, store small treats, Cheerios, or toys in plastic Easter eggs. Toss one back to them every so often to keep them entertained.