What to do, What to do?

Next week the grandchildren are taking over the “family ranch” in Leoti, KS. This ranch has been in my husband’s family for 4 generations (including the grandkids). I told MiMi (grandma who lives the out there full time now) that I would be the back up adult for a few days. 6 kids to one adult is a little much, especial with 2 still in diapers. I would run for the pasture myself after a couple of hours, if not sooner!

So I was browsing TONS of blogs, okay maybe not 2000 plus, however; it was probably 10+. I was so inspired by Handmade Charlotte, You Are My Fave, Say Yes to Hoboken, Paint Me Plaid, Bloomize, Ambrosia Creative (many of the posts were linked through a couple of the blogs), etc.

I have come up four activities I am sure the older kids will do. The younger ones – okay let’s be honest, my son needs to be included with the younger ones despite turning five last week, will only be interested in the activities for about 3 minutes each. I think the older girls will sit for a bit.

Here is my list with links to give credit where credit is due: I *heart* Handmade Charlotte right now!

DIY Printable Sewing Cards – Handmade Charlotte

Photo from Handmade Charlotte – not my own

Print + Paint with Handmade Charlotte – Paint me Plaid via Handmade Charlotte

Photo from Handmade Charlotte – not my own.

Painting Pillows – These are fabric dolls – on madebyjoel seen on Handmade Charlotte

I am calling mine painted pillows because I will make 12″ square pillows out of painters canvas for the kids to paint on. I plan to use my Mini Cricut to cut out stencils such as animals, simple shapes and abstract patterns on freezer paper.

Photo from madebyjoel – not my own

Paint Chip Animals – Handmade Charlotte – a great and inexpensive idea!

Paint Chip Animals – not my own photo – from handmade charlotte

Another activity for just incase purposes – DIY Pinwheel Necklace by MerMag as a guest post on Handmade Charlotte

DIY Pinwheel Necklaces – MerMag for Handmade Charlotte – not my own

I think these activities should keep everyone busy for a while. This and the new “pool” (actually one of the circular “tubs” they put out in pastures to get water to the cattle) that is about 2′ deep and the new life size playhouse the grandparents got the kids. It should be a great way to end the summer break and be with family before everyone gets busy with school.

I will take photos of the projects to see how the kids responded. Wish us luck!

Laundry Time – 4 year old style

Last weekend, my son was very adamant that he do his own laundry. I said “okay” and was fairly impressed that he wanted to do it. He called for help a couple of times, yet I was not helping him the way he wanted. So I backed off and let him do his own thing.

Here is his process:

This is how I wanted it to be sorted.

Piles won't do, it has to be stacked NICELY!

He had to pour the soap, not me, so he poured the soap in, even though I measured it.

Looks like the right place to pour it.

Don't forget to rinse the soap cup

Now we can finally put the clothes in there. This was  a process as well.

One....... at a time

still....one at a time

Make sure they get in the washer!

still taking it one at a time

Pile is getting smaller

Yep, it's in there

Finally.... we are done

Maybe I should take more time for my laundry to be sure it is sorted just right! Always learning something new and never cease to be amazed by my little guy and his quirky ways!

Humble Beginnings

So this year I really pushed my DH to build me a raised garden bed. I am really excited to see how much will survive.

Mushroom compost

Mushroom compost!

So we went with mushroom compost for the first season. I read it is not a good idea to use animal manure the first 6 months. I will add the stinky stuff in the fall to prep for next year. I wonder how many neighbors will say “what is that smell!” I know I do when I smell manure.

Is this enough soil?

is this enough soil?

So I am a big fan of MiracleGro. Other soils get all hard and turn to cement, so I am hoping this will stay loose enough to help the water get to the roots and not become so compacted.

Soon to be peas!

Soon to be peas! Yay!

Peppa - peppers

Soon to be peppers!

Grow baby grow!

Grow baby grow! I think this is lettuce in the making. They all look the same in the beginning!

Broccoli baby

Broccoli baby!

Popeye would be happy to see this Spinach growing!

Popeye would be proud to see this spinach growing!

The start of something ... lettuce

the start of more lettuce... I think!

AN UPDATE since planting the garden the end of March. We had SNOW!!!!! Of course, right after I planted the garden – MURPHY’S LAW right? Many of the plants didn’t make it and kept shriveling. I even covered it up to protect it. So I dug up many of them, I am an impatient gardener! I planted more seeds and then recently went to the garden section at Lowes and purchased broccoli and new tomato plants. I reused the containers to plant more peppers, leaf lettuce, bibb lettuce, and spinach. I have high hopes for this otherwise, I owe DH the money he spent to help me put it together. YIKES! Here’s to grey thumbs hoping to turn more green as the season progresses (I don’t have a black thumb, just grey)

Also as we were getting the garden ready, we had a little accident:

I just fell out of the tree! I can't stop crying!

I am starting to feel better. I am trying to be "strong and tough" "boy-like" - Boys can cry - it's okay

The scene of the CRIME! (He fell facing the other way on his belly) Poor guy! He is definitely more cautious climbing the tree lately.

So, You Think You Can Sew?

I am so excited!

Monday I took an introductory sewing class with my sister-in-law at one of my most favorite stores here in Denver, FABRIC BLISS! We made the cutest tote bags!

Little tote bags we made in class. Yah to my sister-in-law, this was her FIRST sewing project! Photo from Fabric Bliss Denver, Facebook page.

I LOVED, LOVED the sewing machines we used that I got one the next day. I am anxiously waiting for Amazon to ship it out!

This will be my latest baby, next to my KitchenAide mixer (from Costco at $149!)

from Amazon.com the Brother CS 6000i

This machine comes with EVERYTHING! I am so excited for it. No more 1969 Singer Touch and Sew Zig Zag machine. That heavy sucker is going back to my mom.

I will be computerized! So exciting. Check it out here.

Terrarium Inspiration

I was looking around on Teal and Lime a while back and really liked her terrariums. So that evening I went and bought all the materials I would need to make my own. (please click on the “terrarium” link, above, to go to the original tutorial and pin or look at the original photos/tutorial referenced in this blog)

I found two great glass vases/candle holders from HomeGoods (love that store) for $10 and $8.

At Lowes I picked up the following:

  • White Marble Rocks – 5#
  • Potting Soil – Miracle Grow, Moisture Control
  • Moss
  • Various plants

The layering is very simple:

Bottom layers of Terrarium

  1. White Rocks
  2. Layer of moss – to keep the soil from falling through to the bottom
  3. Layer of Soil, enough to plant the plant in and establish its roots
  4. Moss to help hold in moisture

We did not use activated charcoal because the tops were open and air could circulate. I think the charcoal is more for closed terrariums

Lastly – Add your plants. We broke ours up to split between the two vases. I am showing you the smaller of the two.

Plant for thinner vase

Here are our two terrariums (that are STILL ALIVE!!! Woo Hoo!)

Larger terrarium

Smaller terrarium

Our plants are a little larger, the selection was minimal at Lowes when I did this. It is best to look for smaller plants or ask your local nursery for terrarium appropriate plants.

Teal and Lime inspiration:

Teal and Lime Terrarium Inspiration

Layering as shown on Teal and Lime

Whipped Coconut oil

Here is a great link to a recipe for whipped coconut oil.

Homemade Whipped Coconut Oil Body Butter Recipe

(thanks to livingthenourishedlife.com for their post about this. This one is all over pinterest, if you are ever on there.)

photo from livingthenourishedlife.com

Doing it yourself is so much more cost effective and you maintain the integrity of the Coconut oil’s nourishing properties. You could do the same with Shea butter (which may be a bit harder to find unless you go to somewhere like brambleberry.com or thesage.com or snowdriftfarm.com – I am not a paid sponsor I just have used these site a lot and have done price comparison with them).

Here is one that combines both shea butter and coconut oil.

I plan on making some this weekend. Fill up some down time.

A New Month… A New Challenge…

Picture found at theartofcomplexambition.blogspot.com

I have been getting email updates from one of my newest and favorite blogs the House of Smiths. On there she has been encouraging  her readers or informing them of a photo a day challenge. I am overjoyed with a new idea of having a way to really get me to document the everyday (as I wanted to do this this year and it didn’t materialize very far).

I went to the original creater of the challenge and she has a WONDERFUL blog as well. There are WAY TOO MANY blogs out there that I am falling in love with. The blog is Fat Mum Slim. Check it out. She is from Australia and has set up a wonderful blog that is super popular.

I haven’t explored too much of it yet, trust me I plan to.

Here is the March list:

Each day is a new theme. This will be so helpful in figuring out the subject for the photo. The themes are broad enough that they can be opened for your own interpretation.

photo found at charliequinscameras.blogspot.com

This challenge will help me develop my photography skills, get my newly forming scrapbooking love kicked into gear, allow me to get some good use out of my latest (secret) purchase of the Cricut mini (little party going on here), appreciate the everyday, introduce a new “hobby” to my son (he can help stage or be in the photos- he already loves the camera), become more creative with staging photos, on and on and on.

I highly suggest checking out the blog and challenging yourself!

I also read on a newly discovered blog that the Nikon D40 is a great starter camera that allows most ANYONE to take great pictures. Guess what is on my wish list!!!

photo from Nikon.com

Bombs Away……

I got my package from Brambleberry on Thursday. I was super excited! I was finally able to finish my sister-in-law’s gifts and make bath bombs.

Friday I got all the supplies I needed to make the bombs:

What you need:

  1. Citric Acid – can be purchased online or at a local brewery/wine making supply store. At the stores it can cost $9.95+ for a pound. On Brambleberry.com I got 10# for $24.50.
  2. Baking soda – 2# costs me $0.79 at my local King Soopers. Brand does not matter.
  3. Witch Hazel – better than water when some moisture needs to be added to the dry mixture. It doesn’t activate it like water. This can be found in the medicinal aisles at the grocery store. It may cost around $3.50 for 16 oz, I cannot remember for sure. I got 10# (the large bottle) for $14 on Brambleberry.com
  4.  A spray bottle for the witch hazel.
  5. Coloring if you would like something other than white. I got LaBomb colors from Brambleberry. I believe they are not water based coloring, it is not on my mind what the base is right now. You only need a 4 drops for the recipe below. (You will see how “concentrated mine turned out per the request of my lil’ guy). Using too much will turn the water the same color as the bomb. I got 20 mL of Cornflower Blue and Irish Moss for $7.10 and $8.55, respectfully. Oh and don’t forget a dropper or pipettes to transfer colors and fragrances.
  6. You will also need a mold of some kind. The one pictured we used to make one GIGANTIC bomb and then in subsequent photos we used small molds from Joann’s from Wilton – their bite size treat molds work really well and come in fun shapes depending on the season – or use a candy mold, whatever, get creative.
  7. Lastly, you need a scent either a fragrance oil or essential oil. Adjust to your “scent sensititivty”. The recipe below calls for 18 mL or 6 pipettes.

Here we go:

The Basic Recipe: (if you want to make a larger or smaller recipe remember the 2 for 1 rule – 2 parts baking soda with 1 part citric acid)

  • 2 cups of Baking Soda
  • 1 cup of Citric Acid
  • 18 mL of fragrance
  • Witch Hazel – ready to go in a spray bottle. Use amounts depending on how humid it is in your area it needs to be a “dry” mix that will hold it’s shape if squished in your hand.
  • Coloring – 4 drops

For my bombs I cut the recipe way down –

I used only 1/2 cup of citric acid I used 1 cup of baking soda.

Be sure to thoroughly mix your dry ingredients. Make sure there are no clumps.

Just to be sure you do not have clumps – use a sifter to really break up any chunks of baking soda or citric acid. If you do have clumps you will get “warts” on the bombs (you will see them in the giant bomb in a minute).

Next add your fragrance. We used Vanilla because my son does NOT like any other scents I have. This is from thesage.com. They have reasonable prices and a HUGE selection of fragrances.

The next step is to mix these ingredients really well so your fragrance is mixed in well. This amount of oil also helps with the binding of the dry ingredients.

Add your coloring. You will be mixing for AT LEAST five minutes to really incorporate and bring out the color.

This is about 1 minute of mixing. It has a bluish tint to it at this point.

This is after 3-4 minutes of mixing. It is definitely turning blue. Just wait until you see the finished product.

This slightly darker than above; however, my son wanted it really blue so I added two more drops of color.

Get your mold out and be sure it is clean and DRY before you begin to put the mixture in. Prior to putting the mixture in, grab a handful of it and squeeze it. If it holds its form then that is great. If it falls apart spritz with some witch hazel and squeeze again. Repeat as necessary to get a good hold. Remember the more liquid you add, the LONGER the drying time an the finish product will expand and distort as it dries (trust me I KNOW this!)

Be sure to pack the mix in well and up to the top of your molds. Let it sit for five minutes and then gently flip it over and tap lightly on your mold to pop out the bomb.

Once you have the bombs out set them aside to dry for at least 4-8 hours. They fizz up really well and have a great scent!

 For fun we made this big bomb (at least a 2.5 inch tall/wide cube), which began to take on a life/shape of its own. It is all in good fun and for practice. I have a second recipe I will post that I like much better than this one.

You can see “warts” on it. That means some of our materials began to clump in the process. I don’t mind it so much, it is going to be thrown in the water anyway, however, you may not so mix well and be sure you still have a fine power after adding the oils and witch hazel.

I don’t take baths and I use these in the shower. Place it on the tub floor and when water hits it, it will activate and you will get a lovely scent in the steam.

If you have a recipe that you use that you really like, feel free to share, otherwise use this one (as it is pretty universal) and let me know how it turns out. Kids love these. They add 3-5 minutes of good giggling/fun to bath time.

Enjoy!

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