Rustic Pan Seared Chicken Thighs with Garlic Gravy

Rustic Pan Seared Chicken Thighs with Garlic Gravy are the solution to all your ho hum chicken and gravy problems. Perfectly seasoned, seared chicken thighs are simmered in a rich, garlic & thyme infused gravy. It’s a dinner dream come true, especially since it’s easy enough for any level of home cook to accomplish.

Rustic Pan Seared Chicken Thighs with Garlic Gravy

Read more

Easy Cast Iron Pan Pizzas with Perfect Crust

It seems like more and more people are turning to hand tossed pizza style dough, but I still prefer the pan style crusts from when I was a kid. These Easy Cast Iron Pan Pizzas with Perfect Crust have the best crispy, oiled golden brown crust. Fix ’em up with your favorite toppings for an easy, at home experience you won’t soon forget.

Read more

Pumpkin & Olive Oil Pull Apart Rolls

Skip the store-bought package of buns– these soft Pumpkin & Olive Oil Pull Apart Rolls are easy enough for anyone to make. As slider buns, as your new go-to dinner date, or even dipped in a hearty bowl of your favorite soup– whatever incarnation you enjoy them in, they’re perfect. 

pumpkin-olive-oil-pull-apart-rols Read more

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!

The Mummy Pumpkin

Son # 4 lovingly referred to this as his ‘Mommy’ pumpkin. I, of course, was tickled pink. It took some practice, but this year he’s having no trouble pronouncing the word ‘mummy’. I’m thinking to celebrate we will be seeing multiple Mommy, err Mummy, themed crafts this October.

When I found this easy, fun pumpkin craft on Martha Stewart’s website I knew we had to do it. I love carving pumpkins with the older boys (I spend a shameless amount of time scouring the web for the lates and greatest pumpkin template for them to choose from), but I wanted something different to do with the youngest son. Let’s save carving, you know pumpkin guts, tools, knives and all that, for at least a few more years. Please? That and if he needs a quick sensory lesson he can always stick his hand in his brothers’ pumpkins. Which he did…repeatedly.

While my version may not be as pristine, or authentic looking as Martha’s, it did the trick. I used what I had on hand in the house so it was budget friendly, and it was a quick craft to fit in before nap time.

The Mummy Pumpkin

4 Sons 'R' Us: The Mummy Pumpkin

  • roll of gauze
  • googly eyes
  • black cardstock
  • glue gun

Directions

  1. Starting at any point on the pumpkin glue a starting edge to the pumpkin.
  2. From their wrap the gauze around the pumpkin, continuing until you feel like it’s sufficiently covered.
  3. When satisfied with the ‘look’, cut the gauze and hot glue down the end piece.
  4. Glue two googly eyes on.
  5. Cut a mouth out of the black cardstock and glue on.
  6. Voila, you now have a pumpkin mummy.

30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels

My husband and Auntie Annie have always had a special bond.

One I’d long ago accepted that I couldn’t come between.

There’s something sacred in her delicious doughy confections that he finds… irresistible. T

his cheap and easy homemade soft pretzel recipe did something I had long-thought impossible. It put the kibosh on their long-time love affair.

One taste that’s all it took, and it was love at first bite.

Move on over, Annie. There’s a new soft pretzel in town.

If you thought, like I did for so long, that delicious, homemade pretzels were only for the over-achievers, think again.

This recipe couldn’t be any easier or more simple. These cater to all ages, genders, occupations, and availability.

For those of you with pretzel lovers of your own, I challenge them to try these.

I assure you that even the most loyal brand supporter won’t want to buy or pay for their pretzels anymore.

30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels

4 Sons 'R' Us: 30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels shown on a wooden cutting board

If you’ve tried making these 30 MINUTE HOMEMADE SOFT PRETZELS, 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!

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups luke warm water
  • 1 packet active yeast 2 and 1/4 tsp
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4-4.25 cups all purpose flour and more for flouring the counter surface and hands (for whole wheat, use 2.5 cups wheat flour & 1.75 cups white)
  • 1 large egg
  • salt for sprinkling optional
  • cinnamon & sugar for sprinkling optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Dissolve yeast in water. Stir with a spoon to combine. Add salt and sugar, stirring to combine.
  • Slowly add flour, one cup at a time. Stir with a wooden spoon until dough is thick. Continue to add flour, one cup at a time, until dough is no longer sticky.
  • Poke dough with a finger. If it 'bounces back' it is ready to knead.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes and shape into a ball.
  • With a sharp knife, cut the dough ball into 1/3 cup sections. This measurement doesn't have to be exact.
  • Roll the dough into a rope about 20 inches long.
  • Once you have your long rope, take the ends and bring them together until your form a circle. Twist the ends then bring the down towards yourself and press them down into a pretzel shape.
  • In a small bowl, beat the egg. Dip the shaped pretzel into the egg wash, evenly coating both sides.
  • Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt or sugar depending on your personal preference.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 425. Turn the broiler on and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the tops. Watch carefully to prevent burning.
  • Allow pretzels to cool, and serve.

Notes

recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

DIY Tiki Torch

During the summer months, I love being able to sit out on my porch in the evenings and enjoy a good book, watch the kids play, and just take in the beautiful weather. I’ve always loved the look and feel of lit tiki torches on summer evenings. Something about it just totally sets the scene for me. There prices, however, horrified me.

I was so excited last summer, when I came across little globular tabletop torches in the store. For a great price!! I could totally envision the queenly atmosphere they would create. The part of my brain that logically rationed as Queen of my Castle I deserved to stoke my fairy-tale inspired fire, demanded their immediate purchase. I automatically saw my little piece of far, far away where I could decompress, and just lose myself for a few minutes each evening.

Naturally, I came home with a matching pair, assuming we’d live out the rest of our days creating beautiful, enchanted Summer memories together.  Unfortunately, my happily ever after just wasn’t meant to be.  Both pots (let’s face it, at this point their ambiance setting fairy God mother had abandoned them and, in my eyes, their clock had already struck twelve) leaked horribly. Despite my valiant husband’s best efforts, they just weren’t salvageable. For me, the whole affair was quite tragic. So much for my illusions of grandeur.

Ever my knight in shining armor, my husband came to my rescue! If I couldn’t buy the perfect table top torch, then he would make me one! This was his brain child.

This easy to make tiki torch was a roaring success. Using citronella infused torch fuel I’m able to keep the mosquitoes at bay, all while adding a little ‘enchantment’ to my evenings. My still full wallet was feeling pretty enchanted too!

DIY Tiki Torch

4 Sons 'R' Us: DIY Tiki Torch made out of an old Patron tequila bottle shown lit up

  • old, sturdy glass bottle
  • 2 washers that fit the lip of your bottle
  • 1 spacer
  • rubber grommet (make sure it will fit tightly down into your bottle creating an airtight seal that prevents the wick from moving around)
  • tiki torch fuel (I used one with citronella to keep the mosquitoes away)
  • tiki torch wicks

Directions

  1. Add fuel to your bottle. Be careful not to over fill.
  2. Place a wick into the bottle. Leave about 2 inches exposed above the lip of the bottle.
  3. Thread the end of the wick through the grommet, pushing the grommet towards the bottle opening. Force grommet down into the neck of the bottle, leaving it flush on top with the lip. Make sure to hold onto the end of the wick so it doesn’t also get pushed down into the bottle.
  4. Take one washer and thread it onto the wick, pushing it down until it rests on the top of the bottle. Make sure there’s not gap between the bottle and washer # 1.
  5. Thread a spacer onto the wick and push it down until it’s resting flush against washer # 1.
  6. Thread washer # 2 onto the wick, pushing down until it is resting firmly against the spacer. The washers will keep the flame away from the glass preventing it from getting hot, at all.
  7. Push the exposed wick down into the bottle, leaving only about 3/4 of an inch of wick exposed and ready to light.
  8. Allow the wick time to completely saturate with tiki torch fuel before lighting.

DIY Pinwheel Headbands

While watching my friend’s daughters one day, I decided we needed something crafty. It was my attempt to keep them from going stir crazy, in between our daily 30 minute reading time and a trip to the pool, while we waited for the littlest son to wake up from his afternoon nap. I had recently seen this idea, and knew I had most of the supplies on hand, and that it would take up just the amount of time I needed to fill. The actual headbands I found at the craft store in the jewelry making section. These simple headbands were an immediate hit with the girls. Even my boys wanted to get involved in making them and were surprised, and even impressed, at how something so simple could be turned into something so ‘professional’ looking. Next time you’re feeling ‘crafty’, create your own easy and trendy pinwheel headband. They’re so simple, you can even make a spare to share, or several, quickly.

DIY Pinwheel Headbands

4 Sons 'R' Us: DIY Pinwheel Headbands

  • 2 different colors of felt, preferably coordinating and 1 sheet of each
  • 3 buttons
  • headband
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • hot glue gun

Directions

  1. Cut out 2.5 x 2.5-inch squares of felt, 2 squares for each pinwheel.
  2. Starting at each corner, cut a slit toward the center of the square, measuring approximately 1.5-inches long. This should leave at least a half inch of the center of the square uncut.
  3. Now there are 4 “triangles” within each square.
  4. Place two of the coordinating squares together, one a top the other. Secure with a dot of glue in between each.
  5. Begin by folding over one corner of a triangle toward the center of the square. Place a small dot of hot glue in the center of the square to hold down the edge of the triangle. Continue around, gluing down every-other triangle corner to form a pinwheel shape. Continue for the second layer.

  6. Next, glue a button over the center of the pinwheel where all the triangle corners come together. Finally, put a little dab of glue on the headband and place the pinwheels!

Son # 2 ‘pouting’ that he didn’t get a headband too! I couldn’t help but laugh, I love my little comedians.

4 Sons 'R' Us

The 5 Minute, No Sew, Bottom Bunk-Bed Fort

I often hear the saying ‘Boys And Their Toys’, but after having four of my own, I feel like it should really be ‘Boys And Their Forts’.

It seems boys, or at least all four of mine, are biologically programmed to build forts.

Almost like clock work, their first fort seemed to signify their ‘christening’ into Toddler-dom. After that, the building never stopped.

Without fail, anytime I step foot into one of their bedrooms I find sheets strung up, taped up, tacked up. Up! B

ins have been used as room dividers, with blankets for doors, and pillows inside serving as child-sized divans for lounging and comfort.

While I love the little kingdoms they create for themselves in their world of blankets and imagination, sometimes we just don’t have time for all the construction, and eventual clean-up, that that kind of creativity requires.

When that happens, I go from being the beautiful ‘Mom Princess’, as the littlest son has dubbed me, to the mean old ogre storming the gates.

I hate ruining harmless fun. Then I really feel like a giant grouchy, green ogre.

Stumbling upon Laura’s idea for an easy, DIY Bunk Bed Fort was a Godsend.

It’s fast, easy, and there’s not a single thing to cut or sew! You can literally throw it up in 5 minutes.

There’s not even a mess to clean up afterwards, and it’s always ready and waiting to play.

Perfect for any ‘Mom Princess’ or ‘Queen of the Castle’, whether you’re raising young lords or little ladies, who wants to keep letting the good times roll, even when you’re running out of time.

The 5 Minute, No Sew, Bottom Bunk-Bed Fort

4 Sons 'R' Us: The 5 Minute No Sew Bottom Bunk Bed Fort- a striped curtain drawn on a tension rod across a wooden twin bunk bed

  • flat sheet, twin sized
  • 12-14 curtain rings with clips
  • tension rod

Directions

  1. Slide your curtain rings onto the tension rod.
  2. Mount the tension rod to the bunk bed.
  3. Fold your twin-sized, flat sheet in half, lengthwise.
  4. Attach the clips on the fold, spacing them as evenly as possible so the whole sheet is evenly held up.
  5. You’re ready for playtime!

Look how it works.  The curtain can be all tucked away when not in use, but just slide it closed for your very own Bottom Bunk-Bed Fort. The sheet easily un-clips for washing, and the tension rod is equally easy to remove whenever desired.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Bottom Bunk Bed Fort- a striped curtain drawn on a tension rod across a wooden twin bunk bed