A Simple Sock Bouquet

Father’s Day is just a few days away. If you’re still struggling to come up with an idea for the Dad in your life then the sock bouquet is the way to go. It’s fun and creative, but totally practical. Kids love to help make it and Dad will love his new pairs of socks, and (if you’re like me) you’ll get perverse satisfaction in love getting rid of all the old ones riddled with holes. Also, you’ll love how easily customizable a simple sock bouquet can be to cater to Dad’s favorite colors, teams, you name it.

     Sock Bouquet 4 

Read more

DIY Fireman Costume

Did you hear somebody yell, ‘Fire’ ?

DIY Fireman Costume 4

No worries. With the help of a little duct tape, an old t shirt, and a couple of iron on’s … an adorable little helper is on the way.

DIY Fireman Costume 3

Do your kids’ have Career Day at school? The sons’ elementary school hosts one every year, and you can literally be anything you want when you grow up. Well, besides a Ghost ‘Butter’, much to our honey nugget’s initial disappointment. The school does require they be legitimate ‘carrier’ choices, and since I haven’t heard that the cast of Ghost Adventures is looking to hand over the reigns anytime soon (or in the future), we went with the youngest son’s second choice.

DIY Fire man Costume 5

If he can’t be a hunter of wayward souls, he’s perfectly content spending his adult hood ‘saving people’. He couldn’t have pickled a nobler profession.

Whether it’s for Career Day, Halloween, or just creative play where we encourage them to ditch the batteries for a few and stretch their imaginations, this DIY costume is too easy not to make. The whole get up cost me less than $10 (it could be significantly less depending on what supplies you have on hand, too).

Directions

DIY Fireman Costume

yellow duct tape
smaller silver duct tape
American Flag iron on patch
iron-on letters that spell FIRE DEPT
over-sized, black long-sleeved t-shirt
fireman hat
black or yellow galoshes, optional

DIY Fireman Costume 2

1. We used a hand me down black t that had a graphic design on it and just turned it inside out. Take the standard size yellow duct tape and wrap it in a complete circle about 1/2 inch above the bottom of the t shirt. Do another under the armpits at ‘chest’ level. Then do two more yellow circles on the sleeves, one towards the bottom and one up towards the shoulder. Go over each yellow circle with a strip of the smaller silver tape creating another band right down the middle.
2. Have a heated iron ready. Follow the directions on the patches. Iron the flag patch above the upper band on the right sleeve of the outfit. Iron the letters for ‘Fire Dept’ above the top/chest band on the back of the outfit.
3. Complete your child’s fireman costume by wearing the shirt with black pants, a fireman hat, and rain galoshes for ‘boots’.

DIY Indiana Jones Costume

When the kids were little we bought their costumes for Halloween. I couldn’t bring myself to break the bank so we’d shop at the local Kids’ consignment shops and even Goodwill, and they always looked adorable, and they were always quite content but something about our ‘process’ was missing for me. Then when the youngest son was 3, I decided he was going as The Doctor for Halloween. The 10th regeneration, my favorite: David Tennant’s Doctor. And seeing as how I wasn’t made of money to custom order every costume component from Think Geek, the only option was to do it ourselves. And we all had a blast! The whole family got in on it.

DIY Indiana Jones Costume 3

And we’ve never looked back since. Each year we start brainstorming about a month ahead of time and then we get to work assembling everybody’s costume of choice. We’ve done a stickman, Uncle Si, God’s gift to women, Steve from Minecraft, Superman/Clark Kent, The Hulk, Kristoff from Frozen, and The Scarecrow from Batman just to name a few. One of my favorites, and easiest to throw together was Indiana Jones.

‘Hey, Lady. You call him Dr. Jones!’

DIY Indiana Jones Costume

We found khaki pants on clearance at Walmart, but they’d be easy to find at Goodwill or a consignment shop as well. For us, they doubled as church pants, post-Halloween. We found a brown fedora in the costume section. We did hit up Goodwill for the white button up, and found the awesome aviator jacket there as well (for $5!!). That’s also where we found his ‘messenger bag’. He wore a pair of brown hiking style boots and brown belt he already owned. We hot glued a twine ‘whip’ to one of his belt loops, and we completed the look with a big ass grin and some rosy red cheeks.

DIY Indiana Jones Costume 2

Wherever he went, everyone knew who he was! Which he thought was pretty much the greatest thing ever. And the whole thing cost me maybe $15 with everything being reusable and needed outside of Halloween. That’s what I’d call making it big, or as Dr. Jones so aptly put it …

‘Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.’

Despicable Me ‘Minion’ Pumpkin Tutorial

The sons have always enjoyed the Despicable Me movies, and the Minions’ antics have kept them in stitches throughout all three films. The boys even made me download the game ‘Minion Rush’ onto my tablet so they can play it whenever the mood strikes. (Just don’t tell, since the older ones might get a tad embarrassed to have their secret outed, you know since they’re supposed to be to old for cartoons and all) They have a legit talking Dave and the teenagers still can’t help but pick up and play with the fart gun (remember our families four tenets? No judging please).

Minion Pumpkin 1

So when my little bit asked me to help him make a Minion ‘punkin’ for Halloween, I couldn’t say no. Never even crossed my mind. But after I’d automatically said yes, I had that ‘oh shit’ moment all Moms occasionally have at the thought of a commitment they’ve made where they’ve bitten off more than they know they can chew. I can fake it til I make it most of the time but, even on my best day, my pumpkin carving skills aren’t anywhere near up the the standard of precision required for any of the stencils and templates I googled.

But even on my worst day, I can paint. So we kicked all thought of carving to the curb, and painted ourselves a pumpkin shaped Minion. And he was adorable. But nowhere near as adorable as the youngest son’s face when he first saw our finished pumpkin.

DIY Minion Pumpkin

minion pumpkin tutorial

Pumpkin (real or fake)
Canning jar lids
Long nails
Wooden skewer, optional
Hot glue gun and glue stick
Yellow spray paint
Blue spray paint
black and brown paint, or Sharpie markers
Black pipe cleaners

Directions

  1. Paint the top half of the pumpkin with yellow paint and let dry. It’s ok if it takes more than one coat to get the desired effect. On the pumpkin pictured we used acrylic paint and did multiple coats.
    2. Paint the bottom of the pumpkin with blue paint and then allow it to dry completely. Once dry, add a second coat if desired.
  2. Minion Pumpkin 4
    3. Take a canning jar lid and pierce a hole in the center with the tip of the nail. Tap gently with a hammer if need be, to pierce.
    5. Flip the lid so that the white part is showing and insert the nail through the hole in the center, and apply a bit of hot glue to secure the head of the nail to the lid.
    6. Apply a ring of hot glue all around the inside of the silver ring and press the flipped lid firmly to it, hold for a second to seal and then set aside to completely dry.
    7. Use a skewer, or an extra nail, to pierce a hole where you would like the center of the canning lid ‘eye’ to be, keeping in mind that the eyes form the center of the face.
  3. Minion Pumpkin 3
    8. Gently push the nailed lid into the hole, being careful not to push any of the attached bits apart.
  4. 9. Paint the black straps of the goggles on both sides of the eyes.
    10. With paint or Sharpies, color in the details of the eyes (the screw will be camouflaged by the paint).
  5. Minion Pumpkin 1
    11. For the hair, use the skewer, or extra nail, to pierce holes at the top of the head and insert the pipe cleaners into the holes.
    12. Finish your pumpkin off by drawing on a mouth.

Homemade Electrolyte Sports Drinks

It’s summer and the kids are soaking in every minute of it. There’s been fishing. Plenty of time spent at the pool. And of course bike riding, and any other outdoor activity you can possibly think of. Like running. So much running. And it’s great. Except then they come in soaking wet, clothes stuck to their bodies, dripping salty puddles everywhere and smelling like stinky little puppies. And while a good dunk in the tub solves most of this, it doesn’t help replace all that their losing in sweat alone. It doesn’t do much to re-hydrate them. Even if they do manage to swallow some bath water. Shoot, even the copious amounts of actual water their gulping down isn’t enough. And I’m not trying to keep them cooped up in the house, or have any kids keeling over from dehydration. So a good electrolyte drink is key to keeping the summer fun coming around here.

I’d seen this idea before, but have always been disappointed in my previous attempts at a good for you, and good tasting, homemade electrolyte cocktail. I’m glad I decided to give it yet another go after seeing Heather of Mommypotamus‘ recipe ideas. These drinks are perfect for hydration by replacing vital minerals and electrolytes they’ve lost. They’re also contain easily absorbed simple carbs that help boost energy, too. All of the ingredients contain key components that help during and after their exercise and recovery periods.

 Homemade Electrolyte Sports Drinks

Orange Twist Sports Drink

3-4 cups water (depending on the concentration you prefer)
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2-3 oranges)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup, or more to taste
a few drops of Concentrace minerals drops (optional)

Homemade Electrolyte Sports Drinks 3

Herbal Cooler

4 cups herbal tea (citrus flavored teas work well, and we also like using berry flavored ones)
2 -4 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
a few drops of Concentrace minerals drops (optional)

Homemade Electrolyte Sports Drinks 2

Lemon Sports Drink

4 cups filtered water
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup raw honey, or more to taste
a few drops of Concentrace minerals drops (optional)

Directions

1. Mix all ingredients together and STORE in the fridge. Usually we make enough to consume at one time, but using honey (which is naturally antimicrobial) and keeping it cold in the fridge it has kept for up to a week..

Grill Master Card for Father’s Day

Still struggling to find the perfect card for Dad or Grandpa tomorrow? This card is perfect for the grill master in your life on Father’s Day. It would also make an adorable birthday card. Super simple, and how fun are those Mike & Ike ‘hot dogs’?

 fathers day card 2

black/orange/yellow marker
paper or card stock
glue
red Mike & Ike candies

To Assemble

1. Fold and/or cut your card stock into your preferred card size.
2. Draw a black circle on the paper and color in the middle with orange and yellow to make ‘fire’. After that color some charcoal dots over top the fire with the black marker.
3. Use a ruler, a book, or some other object with a firm straight edge and draw diagonal lines across the circle to make the grill rack. Draw three lines on top of each of the candies for grill marks. Glue them down on top of the grill.
4. Write ‘Dad … The Grill Master’ at the top of the card and then your message on the inside. Done!

Tired Toes Foot Scrub

You know what’s fun? Going to pull measuring spoons out of the drying rack only to have something jump out at you. Something small. Something insect. Then, after the heart palpitations stop, you’re finally able to get your stuff together to call for a son or two to come help you remove the offending cricket. And you’re all like what the fook just happened, while they’re all what’sthebigdeal AND laughing at you, and then you tell another son, and they’re just like oh, yeah … i knew there was a cricket … but when i looked again I didn’t see it and forgot about it. Glad you finally found him.

 Tired Toes Foot Scrub 4

This is something you tell me, little people!! This is not something I need lying in wait to surprise me with ninja like skills when I’m in the kitchen, in my zone, and couldn’t be less prepared for some life or death, instant reflex situation.

And to put the cherry on the top of my Tuesday cupcake, son # 3 then says offhandedly an hour later that if somebody really wanted me to have a bad day, they’d go buy a cheap-ass bag of crickets from the Pet Store and leave them somewhere for me to find, or wrap them up and put a bow on them.

Not cool, boys. Not. Cool. BUT, this does bring me around to the whole point of this post.

Tired Toes Foot Scrub 2

Being a parent is a full-time job, it cane be non-stop and there’s not always a lot of ‘down’ time. Most days we’ve always got something going on, and it’s go go go. Sometimes in multiple directions at once trying to get everyone where they need to go, keep em all entertained, their bellies filled up, and little heads and hearts full. One thing I don’t always have time for? Me. All this time spent doing for everyone else, and by the end of the day the thought of doing something for myself just seems to foreign to even wrap my head around. But it’s a shame really. Those few extra moments spent pampering myself? They should really be considered an investment. Especially when considering how much better my whole attitude is afterwards.

So for a busy parent, constantly on the go, what do you think the most neglected part , and the one most used and in need of a little extra TLC would be? The feet! And that’s why I love this easy scrub so much. It takes no time to whip up, or to use and it’s the perfect way to tickle and tantalize tired tootsies in need of a pick me up with.

Tired Toes Foot Scrub 3

If anybody saw, and tried, the Pinterest idea for a Listerine foot bath/soak, I’m truly sorry. I hope your feet weren’t stained blue for too long, and that no one mistook you for a smurf. Still, while a whole foot bath full of listerine may have been to much, a little bit does go a long way. Pair it with some Epsom salt and you’re in business. Epsom salts are well known for their all natural detox, and stress relieving ability, ie. helping you relax and gain energy! They’re also a great exfoliant, helping to easily remove dead skin along with any foot odor that may or may not be hanging around. (It was a long day, ok?) The little bit of Listerine this scrub uses will leave your toes feeling tingly clean (and germ free!) while leaving a light, fresh scent behind without tinting your skin. Be prepared to be amazed, and refreshed.

So if you have tired toes, have dry feet, and/or just enjoy a little bit of frugal, DIY pampering– then the Tired Toes Foot Scrub is for you.

Tired Toes Foot Scrub

Tired Toes Foot Scrub

2 cups Epsom salt
1/4 cup Listerine

Directions

1. Add the ingredients together in a bowl, stirring until evenly incorporated. Apply a generous amount to your feet and gently rub/massage into the skin. Rinse off and enjoy the pampered feel of your refreshed feet.
2. Use right away, or store until ready to use. The listerine won’t dissolve the epsom salts, but if storing it will settle to the bottom of the jar/storage container, so be sure to give everything a good stir together before using.

Re-purposing Coffee Grounds & A Homemade Exfoliating Scrub

Anybody else here live off of coffee? For the hubs and I, it’s just part of our morning routine, and as integral and necessary as say brushing our teeth or getting dressed. Don’t expect me to function if I haven’t had my coffee. But speaking of coffee, as you stumble your way into the kitchen, wiping the sleep from your eyes, how much thought have you given to the coffee grounds when you add them to your Keurig or coffee pot’s filter? If you’re like the hubs and I, of course you didn’t give them a second thought, before you used them OR after you threw them away. They’d served their only purpose in life, creating the lifeblood of our people. But if you’re also like us, one day you’re going to have a friend over and offer to make them coffee. Then you’re going to react with confusion and dismay when you toss the used coffee grounds out and they react like you’ve just thrown dollar bills down the disposal. And then you’ll be thanking the dear sweet Lord for the sweet sweet nectar of the gods while you’re lectured educated on the many, many, many used for coffee grounds. And then you’re not going to be able to forget. And then it’s going to click that you could be saving some money, and since you’re not above being cheap to do so, you’ll do some research and before you know it you’ll see coffee grounds floating down the drain as money washing away or it spilled on the counter as loose change to be scraped together. And pennies make dollars, people.

Read more

Orange & Honey Vitamin C Supplement Gummies

 Shiver me timbers, matey. Have I got a tale ta tell ye. You like Pirates? o’ course you do. You’re a little guy and Pirates be cool. Possibly th’ coolest. They sail th’ seven seas in their big old pirate ships with their motley crew and be nigh on invincible. Or be they?

(glad I got that out of my system!)

I know it’s the 21st century and in the developed world you won’t see anyone sporting a nasty case of scurvy, but for Pirates (sorry with 4 boys I’ve learned a lot about pirates over the years) scurvy was a real plague upon their plundering. It was a serious scourge for anyone in the Maritime world pretty much up until the early 20th century when proper treatments were developed and fresh food and fruit was able to be safely stored for long periods of time. Food? Why food? Because food, especially your greens and citrus fruit contain Vitamin C, a must have for our bodies in collagen production. Remember all those times your Mom was haranguing you about eating your greens and pushing an extra serving of fruit on you? You should thank her, since it could be argued that she’s a life saver. Well, duh, she’s a Mom, but you catch my drift.

Flash forward 20 years and now it’s my turn to try anything (be it sneaking in, I’m not above forcing upon, or even the occasional bribe, I know how very pirate of me) to hoist those ‘good for yous’ onto, and into, my own guys’ growing bodies. They may not grow up to be bad ass Pirates in search of treasure, and I do hope there’s no pillaging or plundering in the cards for them, but you can’t beat staying healthy. And there’s no arguing that copious amounts of C are a definite plus.

So what do I do? I buy orange juice. You know, because I think that’s the most logical way to get this stuff into their little bodies in addition to their solid diet. And what do you know. I’ve got plenty of orange juice, orange juice that has an expiration date on it, and Son 4 refuses to drink the stuff. What’s a frugal mama to do? Well, I suppose I could have drank it all myself, and been sick. Or I could have forced it on the older sons and the hubs, but none of them were out of vitamins and I already force a supplement on them, so I’d feel kind of bad.

So I MADE some Vitamin C supplements for Son 4, ahoy! And he was gonna like em! Thankfully, he did. Otherwise there might have been a situation with a plank involved.

They’re pretty fun, especially if you have several different silicone molds to choose from. They’re also tasty, so for him it was closer to getting a fruit snack than taking a vitamin. Perception is everything guys. Wondering how we got them out of the molds so easily? With the silicon molds you just invert the shape and the set gummies pop right out. We’ve even used our molds to make crayons and side walk chalk and (of course) candy. So they’re really a fun and affordable investment.

Orange & Honey Vitamin C Supplement Gummies

orange & honey vitamin c supplement gummies

recipe adapted from Butter Believer

1 1/2 cups cold orange juice
7 tbsp gelatin powder
5 tbsp honey
4+ tsp of vitamin C powder
1/4 tsp orange extract (found in the baking aisle near the spices)
1/8 tsp vanilla
just a pinch of real sea salt

Directions

1. Add the orange juice to a small pot. Sprinkle the gelatin powder on top. Now, you’re going to let the gelatin “bloom”—this is key in getting good texture in your gummies and allowing the gelatin to fully dissolve. As the gelatin powder absorbs the liquid, it will cause the juice to swell up into a weird, wrinkled, brain-looking thing in your pot (kids always get a kick out of this). Let it do this for a couple minutes, and if the juice hasn’t totally absorbed the gelatin and you see white powder floating on top, stir it in. You can’t let any white powder on top stay there, or it will cause lumps of goo to remain (which are nearly impossible to dissolve) once you heat it up.
2. Now that all the powder has been absorbed, heat the mixture on low and let it liquify. As the juice gets warm and just a bit steamy, stir in the honey and the other remaining ingredients until everything is equally incorporated. Once the mixture is totally liquid (not thick and pudding-like), it’s ready to be poured into your molds.
3. You can use the different shaped silicon molds like we did, or you can simply pour the mixture into a small glass baking dish or baking pan, and then you can cut it into squares after it’s set or even let the kids use cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes.
4.  Place the filled molds or the baking dish in the fridge for about a half-hour, or until the gummies have completely set. The gummies should easily pop out when pushed from the bottom side.