Thursday, March 27, 2014

Homemade Cleaner

Big girl has fought excema most of her life. Pretty mildly, but it flares up mostly on her back when she has too many chemicals in contact with her skin. I've found that fabric softener is the worst! She cannot have it in her clothes. Any laundry detergent other than All Free and Clear also really irritates her. Her last bout was triggered by Strep, or so the dr. thought, even though the test came back negative. I have never seen it so bad on her body! It lasted weeks, covered her whole trunk, and felt like sandpaper. At first they thought it was strep rash, but it lasted too long, so it was deemed excema, her worst case yet. 

We are moving to all natural laundry detergent soon, we are moving towards mostly all natural foods, so I figured I might as well de-toxify our whole lives. Slowly but surely I am switching to natural cleaners as well. I made this mixture to use in our kitchen. 

From Wikipedia: Vinegar has been reputed to have strong antibacterial properties. One test by Good Housekeeping's microbiologist found that 5% vinegar is 90% effective against mold and 99.9% effective against bacteria

 Now I'm not against a good spritz of bleach from time to time, I especially like to spray doorknobs and light switches from time to time. But for a daily cleaner, this will help us be just a touch more natural, with less and less chemicals to have the girlies be touching daily. 

What I did was poke a hole in the top of the lid and I just sprinkle it on the counters before I wipe.

Next on the menu is our health and beauty products... but I have a whole stash of soap to use up so it might be awhile! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

UpCycled Baby Snuggly

I love thrift stores. I love babies. I love reusing items so they don't have to be buried in giant landfills. I love creating one of a kind pieces. I love sewing. I love funky kid items with character and mismatched pieces. And I love homemade!

Combining all those passions... meet the UpCycled Taggie Baby Snuggly

Isn't she cute? This particular one was pieced together from some leftover scraps, a thrifted knitted mens polo shirt (the yellow stripes), and a thrifted ladies striped gray shirt. My cousin had a baby girl and I wanted to make her one that was mostly yellow and gray, her nursery colors, but with a girly touch. I even left the shirt pocket right there on the tummy see?

So fun! You can tuck love notes or pictures in there. If this belonged to my girls I'm sure they would keep their 'special' rocks and all sorts of other goodies they call treasures, like pine needles and beads they found in the street, and scraps of fabric from my sewing projects.

It's exciting because everything on this cutie would have been in a landfill if it wasn't stitched together to make an adorable little cat a baby can snuggle with.

The taggies on the hands and toes can be sucked on and played with, and also hooked on with rings to hold binkies and other toys. The taggies can also be used with rings to hook on to the stroller or diaper bag so nothing will get lost or thrown onto a dirty floor.

It's flat like a blanket so it can be snuggled with at bedtime like a blankie, but still looks like a friend. It is just too fun!

This could be used to keepsake baby clothes, kind of similar to those baby clothes quilts you can buy. For a 1st birthday present all the baby blankies can be sewn into a cute animal. Or if a baby never got to snugglie with his great grandfather, a snugglie made out of his old flannel shirts could be sweet. 

I've also stitched up a bear and alligator. Pics to come...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bread Machine Blueberry Bagels

Remember way back when, when I promised to share my favorite Bread-Machine recipes? Good ol' classics that work for me every time, even here at high-altitude? Well, I've finally gotten around to posting another one. Last time I posted...

And today it is... 

These were so delicious! 

My daughter happens to love bagels for breakfast. I think they are good, but even better when I can make them myself to cut out preservatives and whatever other yuckies are in packaged, as well as save some money! I always change the flour to at least half whole wheat in anything I bake, (well, when I have whole wheat flour in the house. I am trying to be better about this!)

I got this recipe from same book as the cinnamon rolls, The Bread Machine Book by Marjie Lambert. 

So without further ado, the recipe:

Bread Machine Bagels
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 1/2 TBSP veggie oil
1 TBSP sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
3 cups flour (I use 1 1/2 cups whole wheat, 1 1/2 cups white)
**I added about 1/4-1/2 cup blueberries (defrosted frozen ones) to increase the healthiness of these.**
1 TBSP yeast

1 TBSP sugar
1 egg white
2 tsp. water
sesame or poppy seeds for the top

Put all but last four ingredients into bread machine. Set for dough cycle.

When dough is ready, remove from machine and punch down. Cut dough into 12-15 pieces. Roll each piece between your palms to form a thin rope, about 8 inches long with tapered ends. Bring ends together to form a circle, with the tapered ends overlapping. With moistened fingers, pinch the joined ends so the circle sticks. 

Set bagels in a warm place to rise and cover them loosely. (I use a clean dish towel.) Let rise for about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1 TBSP sugar. 

When bagels are ready, drop 1-2 at a time into boiling water, handling them as gently as possible. They will rise to the surface and swell up. Let them cook 1 minute, then turn them over and let them cook 3 minutes longer.

Remove bagels, let drain over water, and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Beat egg white with water and brush over bagels. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake until golden, 20-25 minutes.

This is a wonderful food to have on hand for busy mornings. The whole wheat flour provides long term energy and the blueberries add a super food, while the cream cheese adds the protein.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Sun is Out, and I Can Paint!

I'm not sure why, but I only really love to paint on the driveway in the sun while the kiddos run around with the neighborhood kids or ride their bikes back and forth on the culdesac with a nice podcast on my iPhone. It's just a lovely way to spend the afternoon. It's even better when a neighbor wanders over and chats to me while I paint. I also love when everyone's at work and naptime and I have the sky to myself and a nice bubbly Diet Coke. Even though I'm starting a Paleo-type diet for my family, so not sure if Diet Cokes will fit in with that anymore... another post, another day.

So, needless to say, it's been a long paint-less winter, and I think it's over!!! Spring is starting to spring up around here. The grass is secretly turning green if you look close. The trees are budding out. We're having more flip flop days than boots. The girls and I are going to go to Sprouts and pick out some seeds to start. Big Girl wants to plant morning glories and a bush. Totally doable. Little Girl wants to plant a poppy... not so doable in Colorado, but we'll try!

Needless to say, all these means I'm getting out and painting!! A friend had a birthday party for her daughter, and I was so excited to paint her a sign as she always compliments mine. Of course my daughter got a stomach bug the morning of the party, so the present is still wrapped and sitting in the front room. :( Oh, well.

And then I had to paint a sign for our church nursery after I saw this quote on Pintrest, and modified it to say faces instead of face :) 

 It's so nice painting in the sun again :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Long Time, No Paint

It's been awhile since I posted anything. I guess life just took off for a bit there. I was adjusting to life watching my nephew one or two days a week. It's funny how such a tiny little baby with so few needs can disrupt so much! :) In a good way!

Other than remembering how to pop binkies back in, warm up breastmilk, and teaching my kids how to play quietly so they won't wake the baby!, I've been doing my normal- hitting estate sales and thrift stores for goodies, catching up on laundry, and constantly trying to empty our garage of furniture.  The last two weeks I have finally finished the four pieces that were in there. Two pieces went into my little girl's room, which I will post about another day, (since she's sleeping in there, hopefully until 8am, thanks to daylight savings!), but one I am selling. I took some pictures of that one already, so I'll share that one today!

distressed, white dresser

It would make a beautiful distressed, white, flowery changing table I think! 

white, distressed changing table
Homemade Chalklpainted Dresser

I used my HomeMade Chalkpaint, Oil-Rubbed Bronze Spraypaint for the hardware, and Minwax Furniture Wax to finish it. 

chalkpainted, distressed, dresser
Pretty lovely! 

I just LOVE painting furniture!! Here's a few snaps of what the finish looked like before: