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.

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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 shown on a white plate

If you’ve tried these ORANGE & HONEY VITAMIN C SUPPLEMENT GUMMIES, or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTERESTFACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes and whatever else we’ve got going on!

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Orange & Honey Vitamin C Supplement Gummies

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • You can use the different shaped silicone 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.
  • 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.

recipe adapted from Butter Believer

The Tooth Fairy Door

A few weeks ago son # 4 lost his first tooth. He got them all early, so I wasn’t at all surprised that he’d lose them early-ish too. I immediately knew it was time to get started creating his very own Tooth Fairy Door.

Tooth Fairy Door

 Two days after he first noticed one of his front teeth was loose, he bit into an apple and that was all she wrote. Tooth down! Repeat: TOOTH. DOWN.

Once the blood had stopped, and the crocodile tears of terror had dried up, he was able to embrace his new smile and the funny feeling hole.

It was at this point that Son # 4 first learned about the tooth fairy. The magical little lady, pixie, we couldn’t settle on exactly what she was, but what was important was that she trades in teeth.

Somewhere during our talk, the son wondered how exactly she was going to get into our home, and into his room, to sneak his tooth out from under him. And this is when we got out the tooth fairy door.

The magic little portal that would grant her access to our world and the sons’ room. Made total sense to him.

the tooth fairy door

We set up his ninja turtle nightlight to guard the door and make sure the tooth fairy wasn’t disturbed. We even found a trail of glitter the next morning marking her trail.

Best of all? She’d taken his tooth and left a whole dollar bill! (This is the tooth fairy people, not the Nobel peace prize. We try to keep it realistic around here. After your first tooth, you only get a quarter for each one after. And the sons are perfectly content. They’re not suffering.)

I figure that fairy doors are more than just adorable accents for children. They’re for parents, too. After all, if your child still believes in fairies, they’re not growing up too fast, no matter how many baby teeth they lose and when, right?

And this is our youngest. The last one. I’m going to savor all of these final firsts. I mean how long is he going to keep letting me call him my honey nugget whenever, wherever.

How much longer will he still insist on giving me a hug, a kiss, and a smug every night before bed? And how long until he’s grown and has lost this innocence that enables him to believe in wonderful things like magic and tooth fairies?!

We’re already onto loose tooth # 2 …

Back to the tooth fairy door. It couldn’t be any simpler. It’s just a doll house door (you can find that at any craft store) that we painted.

We used a LEGO piece for our door handle, but you can buy an actual doll house door knob from the craft store too for a more polished look. If you’ve ever seen any of the sons’ rooms after a single afternoon, you’ll know why I was ok with ours being a little ‘rough around the edges’.

The sons helped me slap some paint on the trim and the door, and within 30 minutes we were ready to roll.

Something so simple, and so cheap, yet so magical to our little guy.

Well, maybe not as magical as the $1 he found under his pillow the next morning. And maybe not even as magical as the chocolate covered doughnut with sprinkles it bought him. But, still magical. 😉

Snowman Milk Bottles

So remember when we started this whole 12 Days of Christmas thing? Remember my little pre-apology just in case life got in the way of a post or two coming your way? Well, it was bound to happen and it finally did. (Although we did have a solid six day run before that. Yes!)

Long story short: Son # 4’s allergies got the best of him. Zyrtec kicked his allergies butt and dried up excessive amounts of mucus. And backed them right up into his ear which culminated in an ER visit narrowly avoiding a burst ear drum. Now that we’re all back to normal, we’re ready to resume our regularly scheduled programming. And back to the Christmas craftiness we are. In 3 … 2 … 1 …

I’m about to show you something really cute.

Like really, really cute.

And it’s so simple! Just a few supplies, and you can have an adorable Winter milk jug ready for the kids, for guests, or even for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Snowman Milk Bottle

Also, it’s Christmas time, and that means it’s also (unofficially) cookie season. And you can’t have cookies without milk. It’s just one of the unwritten laws of dessert. So whether you’re throwing a Christmas party, hosting the family baking day, or just enjoying some much needed qt with your cuties, having milk on-hand is a must, and what better way to serve it than this?!

Snowman Milk Bottles

milk bottles, I happen to own a set, but Starbucks Frappuccino bottles would work perfectly too
felt, I used red but any color would work
black buttons
straws
glue gun

Directions

1. Cut a strip of felt. Snip the ends of the strip of felt to resemble a scarf.
2. Tie the strip of felt around the neck of the bottle. Arrange the ends so they both lay flat. If needed apply some glue to the bottom strip and press the top down onto it to secure.
3. Glue two black buttons onto the midsection of the glass.
4. Fill with milk, insert a straw, and you’re ready to impress!

Sous Chef Sunday: DIY Pixie Sticks

 Pixie sticks… aka kiddie crack. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many of these sugary shots I downed as a kid. These little straw like sticks of powdered candy were a favorite of mine, and most every other kid I knew from elementary school. Can we say sugar high? I once knew a kid in middle school who took it a little too far. He had the bright idea to sniff one, acting as if he was cool in doing so. Yeah. That resulted in a horrible headache. Sugar highs aside (kids don’t care about crap like that) I know my own kids enjoy them just as much as I did. They would probably have lived off of them, and any other candied item if given the option. Balanced diet, right? When I saw a recipe for a make-it-myself version, my dormant sugar censors kicked into high gear. The sons were totally on board. And all this with ONLY two ingredients. That’s right, two.

 DIY Pixie Stix 2

I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make our very own little sugar shots. Seriously, like less than 10 minutes. We made them just for fun this time, but I’m definitely going to be whipping out a bunch as part of the spread for their next birthday celebrations. What table wouldn’t look just a tad more adorable with these? The sons did almost all of the work themselves, and being Mom I was the self appointed glue-gunslinger. I love when we can all get down and crafty will all our bad little selves.

DIY Pixie Stix

DIY Pixie Sticks

Kool-Aid packets (flavor of your choice)
sugar
paper straws
glue gun

Directions

1. Take a sandwich baggie and add 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and the Kool-Aid dry mix.
2. Shake well until evenly dispersed.
3. Hot glue the bottoms of the straws closed by adding one dot of glue and then firmly pressing both sides together. I used a pair o scissors to press them together against my counter top.
4. Cut a small hole in the corner of your baggie and fill the straw up until about a 1/2 inch from the top.  Then hot glue the other end.
5. Told you they were easy!  Each baggie will fill about 12 straws.  They aren’t quite as pretty as the ones you can fill up at the candy store but these taste better!

DIY Campfire Starters

Remember when Scentsy was all the rage? Then wax warmers and wax cubes started popping up everywhere, including Walmart and Target when Better Home & Garden got in on the idea? Now, even Glade is putting out their own version. I love the way the scented wax keeps my heavily traffic-ed and/or ‘smelly’ areas such as recently used bathrooms constantly smelling awesome. A pack of six cubes, which each last about 3 days, costs $2 so I never really felt bad for buying something that I’ d be throwing out just a few days later. It never even dawned on me to consider recycling/ upcycling the old wax.

Then we took a camping trip and the fire starters the hubs had brought got rained on. Wet thing don’t start fires. This was the genius idea that came out of that unpleasant camping sccenario. The wax protects the highly flammable cotton, if coated completely. Just light, and add one or two to your kindling and you’ve got an up and coming campfire. Just make sure you have the smore ingredients handy.

Since this we’ve also begun using the old wax (now that we have a nice stock pile of starters) to make emergency candles for power outages. $2/pack really doesn’t seem bad now that I know all the things I can continue to use those cubes of wax for.

DIY Campfire Starters

4 Sons 'R' Us: DIY Campfire Starters

used wax, melted
cotton pads, cosmetic variety

Directions

1. Dip one half of the cotton pad into melted wax. Hold until dry (doesn’t even take a minute).
2. Holding the end covered in dry wax, dip the other side into melted wax covering completely.
3. Allow to dry.
4. Store in a ziplocking bag or other container.

For the best results make sure the cotton pads is completely covered in wax as this makes the water proof and will allow the to catch fire in any inclement weather conditions.

DIY Weekly Menu/Memo Board

I love the sons to death, but sometimes I wish they’d stop badgering me about what’s for dinner. They’re like a whole revolving chorus of broken records with the question. It’s like some insane versions of food-related whac-a-mole. Get one to stop, another one pops pipes up. It makes me want to scream, and tear out tufts of hair. Sons, I’ll let you in on a little clue…if I’m not even done clearing/cleaning the breakfast dishes, I am not ready, in any way shape or form, to address the dinner issue. Sometimes when you ask me what’s for dinner…..I honestly don’t know yet! It’s not like I have an inexhaustible source from which I can pull creative meal plans to begin with, and I’m horrible under pressure. As you may have noticed. Repeatedly. To be clear, I am not, nor will I ever be, a short order cook. Some days I can barely get it together to prepare ONE meal for us all. There’s a lot of pressure to make something healthy and enjoyable for everyone…and some nights that even proves impossible. Let’s be honest, NO matter what I finally do tell you is for dinner, at least one of you will be unhappy. At least one of you, somedays more, either before sitting at the table, or in between giant mouthfuls you can barely chew, will make sure to ‘express yourself’ and rebelliously declare that you don’t, or you may have, liked it if I’d only done A or B differently. Can I just put it out there again, how much I loathed being asked the revolving question (6925x) of what’s for dinner? Even when I’d refuse to answer, the sons would continue.

Son: “What’s for dinner?”

Mom: ‘Food’

Son “What type of food?”

Mom: ‘Edible’

And then I had an epiphany. The menu board! Not only would it better help me plan my weekly menu in advance (at least for the chaotic dinner rush), but the sons could finally have answers without ever having to ask! It was a Monday morning miracle!! Hallelujah! There’s was no light bulb, but there was a heavenly chorus and golden beams of light shining down all around (well, at least in my head). The sons, knowing me, know that you get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit, or you may lose your plate. This little God-send has helped save my sanity and has actually helped curb complaints. It’s in writing. On the board. It might as well be set. in. stone.

I no longer have to get cranky and frankly driven a little past crazy when they ask what’s for dinner for the eleventh time on any given day. I know my obligation to make dinner. And I do truly want to nourish them. Most nights I even enjoy it. The menu board is a promise. If somethings marked in for the day we can all just assume that at some point it will be dinner time, and at that point the sons can rest assured, I will put some form of decent –albeit occassionally uninspired– nutrients on the table for your consumption.

The world has become such a more peaceful place for the six of us. Well, seven, if you include the dog (who has, ahem, yet to ever complain about anything I’ve fed him…..just sayin’).

So simple, but cute and life-saving fully functional. Don’t have dinnertime issues? Use it as a weekly memo board so the kids (and Mom) know what the big plans are for the day.

DIY Weekly Menu/Memo Board

4 Sons 'R' Us: DIY Weekly Menu/Memo Board

Scrapbook paper in colors of your choice

stickers, or other accents of choice (I opted for stencils)
8 frame picture frame (I purchased mine from Walmart for around $10) and you can choose from woodgrain or black frame.
Glue

Ta-Da! Turn those few supplies into this…

4 Sons ;R; Us: DIY Weekly Menu/Memo Board

Directions

1. Using the paper inserts (ya know the ones with random people smiling at you!) as templates for your scrapbook paper and cut out 8 rectangles.
2. Lay out your pieces of paper in the direction and order you’d like them to hang in the frame.
3. Keeping in mind which directions your board will hang, vertical or horizontal, decorate each piece to coordinate with a different day of the week.
4. Feel free to ‘bling em out’ a little but, just be careful not to over clutter as it will make it hard to write over.
5. When you’re done decorating, reassemble, and enjoy your new menu board or weekly planner.

Homemade Bath Bombs

What’s hotter than a bath? A bath with bombs! To soak away a stressful day, all you have to do is toss a bath bomb into your tub. It will set off a fizzy reaction that releases super-relaxing essential oils. Plus, they make great gifts! Pamper yourself (or your loved one) and make your own DIY bath bombs.

One of the best parts of making your own bath bombs is getting to choose the essential oils! You can go with floral scents like lavender or rosemary, or a citrus blend with lemon or grapefruit.  Some other common essential oils used for bath bombs are peppermint, vanilla and chamomile. Let the bath bombs dry for at least one day before you use them! If your bath bombs are a gift, wrap them in cellophane or tissue paper for a pretty ‘present’-tation. Get creative with these. Girls might like some glitter added to theirs. I mean, seriously, what isn’t made better by glitter? You can easily make dissoluble ‘glitter’ by adding a few drops of food coloring to some large grain sugar and mixing well. Sprinkle some on top of your bombs and pack it in. The kids will love discovering a fun bath toy revealed as the ball dissolves. Looking for a cute, frugal Valentine’s Day gift? Add a conversation heart to each one and go for shades of pink, red, and purple. If you want to get even more creative with it, check out some of the neat bath bombs offered on Etsy for some inspiration.

Homemade Bath Bombs

4 Sons 'R' Us: Homemade Bath Bombs

recipe originally from The Passionate Maker

8 oz. Baking Soda
4 oz. Citric Acid
4 oz. Corn Starch
4 oz. Epsom Salts (make sure these are fine grained)
¾ tsp Water
2 tsp* Essential oils
2 ½ Tbsp Light vegetable oil
2 drops Food Coloring
Whisk, bowl, jar, wax paper, cookie sheet, mold (opt.)

* Adjust essential oil quantity if using strong oils like geranium and be sure to avoid oils that are strong skin sensitizers like cinnamon (or be sure to only use a drop or two of such oils).

Directions

1. Blend the dry ingredients in a large glass bowl to a smooth consistency.
2. Blend wet ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake to combine.
3. Slowly whisk small amounts of the liquid into the dry ingredients. If the mixture starts to foam, you are adding the liquid too quickly.
4. When all the liquid has been added, test to see if it clumps together like wet sand when you squeeze it. If not, add more wet ingredients, a tiny bit at a time. Press the mixture into 4 to 5 round balls. You can also try using a mold such as a melon baller, candy or soap mold, or ice cube tray.
5. Let dry overnight, then store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag for storage up to 6 months.
6. When ready to use, drop in a warm bath and relax. The bomb will fizz slowly because of the combination of citric acid and baking soda, and the oils will disperse.

I absolutely love the ‘rustic’ feel of these, bursting with dried flowers and herbs!

Easy Fabric ‘Roads’

What is about hotwheels/matchbox cars and boys? It’s like love at first sight. In an instant they’ve formed a long-lasting, unbreakable bond. I can always be sure son # 4 has at least one of his little metal cars tucked in a pocket of his dirty, discarded jeans. Despite numerous pocket checks, there is always one waiting for me in the washer and/or the dryer. I’ve always loved those cute little carpets covered in roads and scenery just for pushing their little cars along, but they are ridiculously expensive. Out of my frugal budget, by far. Also, while the cars go everywhere with us, a big bulky rug isn’t portable or practical for on-the-go entertainment. These easy DIY fabric roads were a perfect solution, and with 4 sons there’s always a pile of old, holey jeans ready to serve as scraps of denim. After a few weeks of the youngest son playing with them at home, I rolled them up and stuffed them in a leftover zippered pouch from a twin sheet set, added a few cars, and have it tucked in the glove compartment for easy access on the go.

Easy Fabric ‘Roads’

4 Sons 'R' Us: Easy Fabric Roads

old denim jeans
sharp, sturdy scissors
yellow paint
sewing machine, optional

Directions

1. Take any old pair of jeans and cut out whatever road shaped pieces you’d like. I made several long straight roads, turn arounds, curvy roads, an intersection, and even a round-about.
2. If you’re worried about fraying, use a sewing machine and do a quick zig-zag stich around the outer edges.
3. Using the yellow paint add road marks. Let dry and then let the creative fun begin!