craft: garbage disposal pods

I’m a CraftGawker junkie. I’m not on Pinterest because all my time would be wasted there, and my kids and husband would never eat, and the laundry would swallow our house…

… But CraftGawker, yes.
The only problem is, I “favorite” hundreds of things and I don’t make half of them. So I created a bit of a rule for myself, that I actually have to make one every so often, before I can “favorite” any more of them.

So here’s one of them! I got this recipe (is it a recipe if it’s for soap?) from here.
It’s SO easy and I had all the stuff I needed! I hate seeing great ideas for projects, clicking the link,  then you have to go out and buy 4 different things, plus have 10 things on-hand already before you can start. This is NOT one of those. :-)

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Visit her blog for the recipe. I made my own label for a jar to make it a little prettier in my kitchen. (again, already had an old spaghetti jar, so why buy one?)  I also printed the recipe on the back of the jar label so I won’t have to keep looking it up online. :-)

Enjoy a fresh smelling kitchen!

summer theme day 4: ocean day

Last week was Ocean Day.  We kept it simple and stuck to the easy outline: cardboard box for a boat, magnet fishing poles, paperclip fish and Goldfish crackers for a snack.  My mom is a teacher, and she had some great resources for learning about ocean life too, so we got a bonus there.  Thanks, mom!

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It’s been understandably more difficult to get a theme day done with a newborn in the house – no more schedule; we just fit it in whenever we can.  But, it has been really nice to have activities already planned out, along with snacks and a supply list, so we always have something to fall back on when the kids are getting antsy.

If you could do a theme day, what would you do?

 

summer theme day 3: bob the builder day

Well, we’ve done two more theme days, but are just now getting around to posting them. (I wonder why…)

The third one was Bob the Builder Day.  I didn’t take many pics, but we spent the day watching Bob the Builder, teaching the kids how to use a hammer and nails and screwdriver, and then for snack we built fun structures out of marshmallows and toothpicks!

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He wanted to make a stoplight for his cars.  What a creative little guy!

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Next up… Ocean Day!

 

summer theme day 2: bug day

Bug Day was the first theme day we did after baby arrived, so I’m glad it was an easy one! (baby pics to come soon)

Thanks to the Target Dollar Aisle (we’ll be there a lot this summer) we had a mesh bug container and some magnifying glasses to hunt for bugs in the backyard.  They might still be at Target if you look this week!

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We searched the backyard and found two beetles, so one of our activities for the afternoon turned into searching online for what type of beetles they were, and drawings pictures of them.  Fun and free!

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Then we made paper butterflies.  Clothespin, construction paper and markers.  Just color patterns on the paper, accordion-fold, and cut into the shapes of wings. Done!

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Then after dinner, we surprised the kids with special “bug dessert.”  The old standard, dirt and worms in a cup!

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Side note: her eyes.  Daddy is gonna have to watch out for all the boys…

I have to say, I LOVE having activities planned ahead of time.  It took a little bit of time on the front end, but simply having a 20-30 minute activity each day keeps us from going crazy.  The kids are happier and I’m more patient with them.  And it forces me to take the time to spend with them and do kid things.  No laundry, no dishes.  Just play.

I highly recommend it!

 

 

summer theme day 1: crayon day

Started our theme days today.  Our first official Friday of summer!

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We started with Crayon Day.  So easy; if you have crayons, wax paper and an iron (and a computer for the video) then you’re set!

First, we watched the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episode where they take a tour of the crayon factory. (on Amazon Prime, or you could probably find it on YouTube.  There’s also an old Mister Rogers where they take the same tour.)

Then we did the stained glass window/crayon shavings craft using all of our broken crayons, then colored pictures with our new crayons. :-)

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Disclaimer: Our kids are 6 and 3.  It’s messy to have them do the shaving themselves. :-) Do at your own risk. (metal pencil sharpeners work best – the plastic ones that come with crayon sets aren’t as good)

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Staple a frame on it, punch a hole, and hang it like a stained glass window!

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So easy and fun, and the kids had never done it before, so they loved it.  Next Friday, we’ll be doing Bug Day!  We’ll also have a newborn, so hopefully that’s an easy theme to pull off!

summer “school”: week 1

 

In addition to Theme Days this summer, we’ll be doing summer school with the kids.

 

Goal #1: Keep our daughter fresh on all she learned in kindergarten, and to work on alphabets, colors and numbers for our 3-year old son.

 

Goal #2: Have something for our kids to do that’s planned/organized. :-)  I’m choosing Tuesday and Wednesday as school days.  That gives us Monday off, and Thursday to prepare for Theme Day on Friday.

 

That’s at least 3 days a week where we have at least a 20-30 minute activity to do.  We just finished day two of summer school and I am loving having a planned activity!  Even if it’s just a few minutes, it’s a big deal to the kids, and after we finish, they are so happy to go play on their own and entertain themselves.

 

So, our schedule will be as follows:
Tuesdays - Our son will do alphabet/number puzzles or watch a Leap Frog video about letters and numbers.  Our daughter will illustrate and write a short story each Tuesday.  We’re planning to scan them all in and make a photo book online of her whole summer’s worth of stories!

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Wednesdays - Creative learning day.  Paints, shaving cream, chalk… something fun!  Our daughter will work on math/numbers on Wednesdays, as well as have individual reading time.

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That’s it!  Just a short activity to keep the summer moving.

Anybody out there have good ideas on creative ways to teach kids over the summer, with a little hint of fun? :-)

recipes: freezer meals

Getting ready for baby and knowing I won’t want to cook after he’s born, I posted this picture on Facebook of the freezer meals I made, and had several requests for the recipes that I used.  So, here they are!

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Homemade Lasagna (makes one huge family size pan or several small ones)
Meat layer: (mix all)
2 lbs ground beef (browned)
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 T. parsley
1 T. Basil
Salt
16oz. diced tomatoes
12oz. tomato paste

Cheese layer: (mix all)
24oz. cottage cheese
2 beaten eggs
2 T. parsley
1/2 c. parmesan cheese

1 pkg. lasagna noodles, pre-cooked
1 pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese

Layer ingredients, starting with meat layer on bottom.  Add a layer of noodles, then cheese layer, then mozzarella, then end with another meat layer. (double the layers if you have a deep pan or like more noodles in yours)

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or cover with plastic wrap and foil and freeze.  To bake after freezing, thaw first (at least half a day), then bake.

cresentCrescent Chicken (great fresh, or make chicken mixture and freeze)
This is one of my favorite recipes from my mom.  It’s similar to this recipe; the photo is from her blog and shows how to pinch the rolls together.

3oz. softened cream cheese
3 T. butter
2 c. cooked chicken, cubed
2 T. milk
1 T. chopped onion
salt & pepper
1 can crescent rolls

Blend cream cheese and 2 T. butter, add chicken, milk, salt, pepper and onion.  Spread 2 crescent rolls into a square, fill with chicken mixture and pinch rolls over to close.  (makes 4 pouches with 1 can of rolls) Spread with melted butter.  Bake 20-25 minutes.  If you want to freeze it, just make the chicken mixture ahead of time and freeze in a ziploc.  Thaw and put chicken mix in rolls when you’re ready to bake. (You could probably assemble the whole thing, with rolls, and freeze that way too – I’ve just never tried it!)

Chicken Stroganoff
6 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
16oz. sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg. onion soup mix (dry)
1 pkg spaghetti noodles, cooked

Mix all but noodles together.  Put cooked noodles in the bottom of a large baking pan (13×9 or large aluminum pan). Spread chicken mixture on top.  Cover with plastic wrap and foil; freeze.  To bake, thaw and bake at 350 degrees for 30-60 minutes.  Top with grated cheddar if desired.  This also works as a Crockpot meal, just put all ingredients (except noodles) in a crockpot for 4-6 hours on low. (do not cook chicken beforehand)  Serve with noodles.

Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie (adapted from Kraft for freezer type meal)
1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1/4 cup Italian dressing
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2c. chicken broth
1 pkg. (10-12oz) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 refrigerated pie crust

Mix all ingredients (except crust) together.  Pour into 8-9″ round pan.  Place crust on top.  Freeze!  Store-bought pie crusts usually come in a box with 2 crusts, so I usually double this recipe and make two pies.

Chili (for chili dogs in summertime)
1 large can Hormel chili (no beans)
1 can chili beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 lb. ground beef, browned

Mix all.  Put in ziploc and freeze!  Thaw and heat to serve over hot dogs.

1f9b63ca-58df-4c83-9fbb-35de773ae933Mini-Cheeseburgers
I also made these and baked in foil cupcake papers, then froze in ziplocs in portions that we would need for one night with our family. I used the recipe on the Bisquick box for their mini-cheeseburgers and adapted to what our kids like.  It’s basically a regular mix with Bisquick, milk and eggs, and you put hamburger meat and cheese in it.  See the box for recipe or see the link here! (photo credit to Betty Crocker)

For other freezer meals, I like to brown ground beef and freeze in ziplocs by 1-pound or 2-pound portions.  Same with shredded chicken or pork.  I love to make a HUGE crockpot of plain chicken and shred it all, then freeze in portions. Great for adding spices later: taco, bbq, throw in a stir-fry skillet, use chicken in a skillet with pasta/tomatoes/spinach and feta for an italian dish, etc.  Having the meat already made saves you that extra 30 minutes!