Watermelon Refresher Recipe (With or Without the Booze)

It’s summer time which means tons and tons of watermelon in our house.  The kids eat it constantly and I encourage it because it’s cheap and good for them!

This is a great treat for kids (or Momma, especially with a bit o’ booze!) because it’s refreshing with a bit of sweetness.

Watermelon Refresher

You will need:

1 cup watermelon cut

1 cup coconut water

1 cup ice

1 tablespoon sugar

(Optional: make it a ‘grown up’ drink with a shot of vodka!)

Blend those ingredients up and pour into glass.  It’ll be a water/juice consistency, which is really refreshing but if you’d like a thicker more ‘smoothie’ type consistency add ice and more watermelon, as needed.   Garnish with a wedge of watermelon if you are getting fancy or sharing with company.  ENJOY!

DIY Wooden Kitchen (Re-Purposed Bookshelf)

My sons love to help in the kitchen and I knew a while back I wanted to add a play kitchen to the playroom.  I started keeping an eye out for sales, deals and second hand options.  I wasn’t exactly opposed to a plastic piece but really preferred a wooden set.  The price for wooden kitchen was far too high, I was seeing them used for hundreds!  Also, I wasn’t finding many neutral options.  I don’t mind a pink kitchen and my kids certainly wouldn’t care, but I did find it interesting that the neutral or ‘boy’ kitchens seemed few and far between with a very limited supply and choice.

DIY Kitchen

So I set out to make a DIY Play Kitchen for my kids.  It was a fairly easy project, really.  It took a few weeks but only because I wasn’t able to work on it often (an hour here, 30 minutes there etc).  I made this a while ago but I’ll try my best to explain what I used and what I did.  I wish I had more photos of the process, but, again, I did this before I was writing DIY posts or blogging at all!

kitchenfull

 

You Will Need:
Wood
Corner Braces
Friction Lid Support
Nails and Screws
Metal Bowl
Faucet
Drawer Knobs
Drawer Pull
Magnetic Push Latch
E6000 Glue
Plastic Lids (or something for the burners)
Optional plexiglass or thick plastic

I took an old small bookshelf we’d had for quite some time and measured the dimensions for the new shelf and for the piece to divide one shelf and make an ‘oven’.  I figured out the size of the oven door, too and had Lowe’s cut my wood for me before coming home with all my supplies.

DIY Wooden Play Kitchen

Using the corner braces (for my small kitchen I only used 1 inch braces) I added the shelf and put the divider in and used nails through the back to reinforce the new additions.

I added the drawer pull to the piece of wood for the oven door, cut a whole for the plexiglass/plastic and glued it to the back for the oven door. Then Hubs helped attach the oven door to the bookshelf. I was worried about the door falling open so we used a magnetic push latch to keep it closed (but the kids could easily open it too) and the friction lid support was to ensure the door didn’t fall and hit shins or smash toes.  It keeps the oven door from opening all the way to the ground.

Next came the hole for the sink.  Using a jigsaw (my first time!), I cut a hole for my dollar store metal bowl (score!) to fit.  The bowl was perfect because it had a small lip that sits perfectly.  I used E6000 glue on the metal bowl and kept a brick in it over night while it set.

I searched and searched for an inexpensive idea for the faucet.  I wanted knobs they could actually turn (both for the stove top and faucet).  I found this extremely simple faucet for $10.  It was a perfect!  It comes ready to use with plastic screws to connect it to a real sink/faucet.  I just cut them off flush to the piece and glued it in place using E6000 and a clamp to keep it in place overnight.

I picked a paint color and decided last minute to add some chalkboard paint to the side, for menus, lists and just plan doodling if they liked.  The paint is simply an acrylic paint I got at Michael’s using a coupon.

Kitchen From Book Shelf

I painted plastic lid tops (these came from toddler snack canisters) with chalkboard paint (I thought they could use chalk to indicate a ‘hot’ burner or not (that feature is rarely used so any paint will do) and glued those on the other side of the sink.  The burner knobs are drawer or cabinet knobs.  I got them at Lowe’s for $1- there are more expensive options but these worked great.

I bought some play food and some pots and pans from the dollar store and our little DIY Play Kitchen was complete!  In total I spend about $65, not too shabby!  The boys love their kitchen and I love that it was inexpensive and one of a kind.

Easy DIY Play Kitchen

 

DIY Strawberry Jam (No Pectin)

Strawberry Jam Syrup

I buy a lot of fruit.  It is always available as a snack option for all four kiddos and these kids can EAT.  Sometimes I over buy, though and I hate for things to go to waste.  I use over ripe bananas in lots of recipes like banana muffins and 3 ingredient pancakes.  When I had strawberries right on the verge of turning; you know, softening and not exactly perfect for snacking, I decided I wanted to make a yummy but THICK type syrup.

Strawberry Jam

I wanted the ‘syrup’ to be thick enough to put on toast and I liked the idea of keeping the chunks of strawberries.  Really this is more like a jam (without pectin) but for a thinner more syrup-y outcome just use more water and strain the chunks out.

strawberrycanned

You Will Need:

1 Cup Strawberries Chopped (I had about 8 ‘leftover’ and used that)

1/3 Cup Sugar

3 Tablespoons Water (More if you want it thinner)

1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice (Optional)

Add all three ingredients to a small saucepan and turn heat to medium/high.  Once boiling, reduce heat and stir occasionally.  Let mixture cool before storing it in the fridge.  I don’t know how long this will last in the fridge because we used it in two days.

 

 

Easy Halloween Popcorn Snack Mix

Halloween Snack Mix

This is a sweet and salty snack using only three ingredients!

It’s so simple and a huge hit with the kids.  You can change this up for other holidays, too, but I’ll get to that!

You Will Need:corningredients

Popcorn (Plain)

White Chocolate

Candy Corn (or other holiday inspired candy- think red and green M n M’s or maybe even conversation hearts?!)

Optional: Cinnamon and Vegetable Oil

 

Pop popcorn according to directions and set aside.  I love my air popper (a wedding gift), it make perfect batches of popcorn every time and I find the kernels are cheaper than buying the bags.

Melt white chocolate.  Use the 1:1 ratio.  If you have three ounces of popcorn, melt 3oz of white chocolate.  I use the microwave in 20 second intervals and stir until melted.  Optional: you can add a drop of vegatable oil to thin out the chocolate and make it easier for the next step.

Add candy corn to the popcorn- corn to the second power (Yes, I’m a nerd)!  The candy corn will likely fall to the bottom of the bowl, no worries, you’ll mix it up.  Add the melted chocolate to Corn² and mix it all up until it’s coated with white chocolate goodness. Optional: add a pinch of cinnamon to this mixture.

The total time this took me to make was 5 minutes and my kids loved it!  I also may have eaten quite a bit of it myself…but I will neither confirm nor deny these allegations *wink*!

eatcorn

Let me know if you use other candies in this super simple snack mix recipe and how it turned out!

Cheesy Crock Pot Chicken 3 Ingredients!

Creamy Cheese Crock Pot Chicken (3 Ingredients!!)

On busy days my crockpot is my best friend.  With school starting back up and extracurricular programs we’re having more and more busy days; which means my crockpot has been getting used far more often!  I made this 3 ingredient chicken dish last night and my entire family devoured it.  I worried that because salsa is one on the three ingredients it might be a bit spicy for my 4 and 2 year old (who say they don’t like spicy but ask for salsa in their Taco Salad).  I used mild and it was great for all of us but use what your family likes!

You Will Need:
3-4 Chicken Breasts
1 Package Cream Cheese
1 Jar Salsa

Place ingredients in your crock pot.  Cook on high for 5 hours; if you find the mixture is too liquid-y take the top off your crockpot for the last hour.  You can top the chicken with shredded cheese and/or sour cream to make it extra cheese and creamy.  I found this recipe didn’t need salt or pepper but it may depend on the type of salsa you choose.  I served ours with re fried black beans and tortilla chips.

Creamy Cheese Crock Pot Chicken (3 Ingredients!!)

 

What are some of your favorite simple meals for busy days?  Do you love your crock pot as much as I do!? 

DIY Face Mask for Nourishing Skin and Reducing Acne

My skin has been rebelling lately.  I’ve always battled acne and now adult acne is extra fun. Not.  A while back I shared a Nutmeg Face Mask (for reducing acne and exfoliating) and it’s still one of my favorite quick and easy ways to spruce up my skin.  This mask helps tighten skin, smooth it and even reduce some inflammation from acne already on your skin.  This one has a ‘yucky’ texture due to the egg whites in this recipe.  My family thinks the nutmeg mask looks like poo smeared on my face…I just can’t win.

Homemade Apple Butter in the Crockpot (No Sugar Added)

No Sugar Added Apple Butter (AKA Naked Apple Butter)

Each year my grandparents (or as my kiddos call them, GiGi and PopPop) end up with more tiny green apples from there trees then they know what to do with.  Lucky for me!  These apples are perfect for cooking and I love cooking with fresh, organic home grown ingredients any chance I get.

apples

Last year I took many of the apples and made apple butter for the very first time.  My nephew was living with us and has an allergy to peanuts so I used the apple butter as a fun treat on toast for all the kids.  The recipe I came up with (and the ones I keep seeing) had quite a bit of sugar and this year I decided to attempt  to make apple butter with no sugar, I’m calling it naked apple butter!  I picked up some local honey at a farmers market recently.  I thought it might be the perfect sweetener for these tart little apples. Spoiler Alert: it was!

 

applesneed

You Will Need:
16 small apples (approximately 2 lbs)
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons honey

Core and slice apples (I peeled mine but you don’t have to if you plan on using a blender later for a smooth butter). Place the apples in the crock pot and add the water, honey and spices.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  Once the apples are soft and easily mashed you can turn off the crockpot and let cool.  If you prefer a chunkier apple butter you can leave it be.  I like a smooth apple butter so I used my blender.  Store your apple butter in the fridge and enjoy on toast, in a pie, with peanut butter or on a spoon straight from the jar!applebutter

Kid Safe DIY Homemade Paint

My two year old still randomly decides to taste things.  His older brother rarely (if ever) put stuff in his mouth.  And Baby G doesn’t do it often but when he does it’s always things that freak me out.  Like Easter egg dye, crayons and paint.

Our summer list included painting and I changed that to painting with homemade paint.  I figured it’d be an activity within an activity.  I wanted to let them mix the colors in and then paint with the color creations they’d made!

Here’s how we made Homemade Edible (but not yummy, but you know, just in case!) DIY Paint!

Warning: Do not tell your kids you are starting this process.  There is wait time to let the mixture cool and well, if your kids are like mine…waiting isn’t a strong suit!

You will need:
2 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 tbs white sugar
1 tsp salt

On low to medium heat mix ingredients in a saucepan and let warm up, stirring occasionally.  It took a good 15 minutes for my mixture to thicken.  I was able to walk away and tend to other things, coming back in to check and stir.  Perhaps if I turned the heat up it would’ve been quicker, but I wasn’t chancing it.

If you are planning to reuse the paint you’ll want something airtight to keep them in (baby food jars would be good).  I didn’t plan to save the paints so I used a shaped ice cub tray (and a baby plate with four separate areas since the ice cube trays only came in a two pack and I have three kiddos :)).  Let the mixture cool…I told you there was waiting involved!

Once the mixture has cooled let the kids use food coloring to make custom colors for their works of art.  We used small paint brushes and toothpicks to stir.  Us can use this paint on regular paper or something thicker (or even a driveway and when they are done you can just spray it away?!).

Dollar Store Craft: DIY Display Stand

I found some easy DIY stands on Pinterest (follow me!) and knew I wanted to make one for my vanity or bathroom.  I kept it in the back of my mind but it certainly wasn’t on my top priority list.

While I was waiting for my prescription I decided to kill some time in the dollar store nearby.  This project popped into my head. 

The awesome part about this DIY project is it you can change it up for what your store offers, you can change the sizes or styles of the plates…the possibilities really are endless.  So here it is- my stand for $3!


You will need:
2 plates
1 margarita glass (I was looking for a candlestick holder but couldn’t find one)
E600
Optional: Glue, paint brush and glitter

Because I couldn’t find a candlestick holder I opted for the margarita glass (although I almost went with a small wine glass).  I wanted to fill the glass with something.  I went through my craft supplies but couldn’t really find anything but I did see my glitter!  So I took the glass and painted the inside with glitter glue (any glue will do- as long as it dries clear) and coated the inside with the loose glitter.  Let it dry.

Then take your glue and line the top of the glass and place down onto the bottom of one glass.  Glue the bottom of the glass and carefully place the second plate in the center.  Let it dry over night.

I’m using mine for random bathroom items right now.  I love the idea of a bigger one on my kitchen counter! 

I had the E6000 glue, paint brush, glitter and glitter glue.  I purchased the two plates and glass for a dollar each.  So the total for this project was only $3! 

Do you have any ideas for dollar store crafts?  These are some of my favorite kinds of crafts!

Comment below and let me know where you would put a display like this?

DIY Face Mask for Acne Healing (and Exfoliating Skin)

I’ve read that nutmeg and honey both contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.  When used on your face it can help acne heal quicker.  I have heard of using nutmeg and honey as a kind of paste and applying it to your face.  I didn’t like the consistency of that so I read up on other natural solutions.  I wanted to use items typically found in homes already- not things I (or you!) would have to buy for this purpose.

 

I found that milk is a natural and gentle exfoliator and the Vitamin D found in milk helps with skin  growth.  I did read that organic and full fat milk are best for using topically on your skin- which makes sense.  I think if you have organic honey, that would be best, too. Truthfully, I don’t by organic milk often (simply because of price), sometimes I have organic honey…but I use what I have on hand.  If you aren’t keen on cow’s milk (or have an allergy) you can certainly use Almond Milk, if you prefer.

I’m not a scientist so use this recipe and your own common sense.  The logic of why these three things work makes sense to me and I use it and I love the way my skin feels afterwards.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon milk

Instructions:
Mix ingredients together to form a watery paste.  Apply to face in circular motions, being careful not to rub too hard.  Let dry and wash off (again being careful not to scratch your face- not a whole lot of pressure is needed for the nutmeg to exfoliate).  I washed it off before it was completely dry because my family wasn’t being very nice.  Examples?

Whatever, I look good! 😉

 

When my 4 year old came into my room right after I’d applied it his reaction was “Eeew!  Why is your face gross?!”

His dad wasn’t any nicer! Hubby asked why I’d smeared poo on my face.  Hi-lar-ious.

Ok, ok.  It’s not the most beautiful looking mask.  But it smells good and it works so whatever.  Mock me!

Do you have these ingredients in your fridge and pantry?  I definitely recomend trying it.  But maybe wait until you’re alone. :)  Let me know your fav DIY beauty tricks below!