Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to Re-Grow Celery

Last week I showed you how to re-grow green onion / scallions from grocery store leftovers.  Did you know that you can regrow celery the same way?  Now if only I could figure out how to regrow a chicken from the leftovers!

It’s a pretty easy project that will only take a few minutes and will a lot of fun for kids to watch as the celery grows.

Cut off the bottom of the celery

You’re supposed to pull off the outer layer of stalks but I forgot to do that part..

Place in a bowl of water in a sunnyish place.  Leave it alone for the most part, topping off the water or even changing the water out whenever it starts to look a bit murky.

Day 2

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 18

You can see why you’re supposed to take off the outer stalks.  They tend to get a little dried out and gross.  Once you’ve reached about day 7 growth or so you can go ahead and plant the little guy in a small pot.  A leftover coffee can is perfect.  Keep it watered and eventually you’ll be able to just cut off the stalks as you need them.  A bit like a continuous celery farm for your kitchen.  Or your child could use it for a school project.  Keep in mind I took these photos round about 6am so some of them are a bit blurry.

Pot a few of these in your kitchen window and you’ll have a lovely celery row ‘ripe for the picking”!

Next week I’ll show you how to grow lovely cucumbers with only a square foot of soil and two seeds.

What is YOUR favorite indoor ‘edible’?


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cheese Waffle

This week’s Waffle Iron Wednesday we’re making a cheese waffle.  It’s a basic waffle but with a cheesey twist.  Imagine a waffle and a cheese it had a little baby waffle and there you go.  The recipe makes about 12 or so waffles that I cut into segments and then stored in the refrigerator. 

I’m pretty sure I came across this recipe Cheese Waffle Recipe while trying to find new ways to use my waffle iron.  These waffles were soooo good Hubster and I had a hard time NOT eating them all in one sitting.  Keep in mind that most waffles do not reheat well in the microwave.  It’s just as easy to plug in your waffle iron, let it heat up  for a minute and then place the waffle back on the waffle iron for about a minute or two and there you go.  A perfectly crunchy reheated waffle.  I made a few adjustments because I was making these waffles for a toddler who needed a bit more healthy waffle.

  • 2 c flour (I used half flour, half brown rice cereal)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • 3 T vegetable or canola oil (I used coconut oil instead)
  • 1 c cheddar cheese grated
    • I also added a bit of Italian seasoning to my waffle batter just to make it a bit more ‘savory’

Now for the directions.  Keep in mind that every waffle iron is a bit different so always keep in mind the rule of thumb.  If the steam stops rising from the iron then the waffle is probably finished.

  1. Preheat waffle iron
  2. Combine the flour, powder/soda, and salt in a bowl.  Whisk together.
  3. Add the cheese and make sure to coat it with the flour mixture (this will help the cheese stay separated).  It’s really important that you make sure the cheese is really well coated with the flour mixture.  It makes a big difference and keeps the cheese from getting clumped together.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and oil.
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and whisk to combine. 
  6. Pour about 1/3 c of the batter into the greased waffle iron and cook 3-5 minutes.  (I didn’t grease mine, the brand of waffle iron that I have seems to be impervious to sticky stuff…crazy.)

(Forgive the weird photos this time around.  I’m trying out a new way of posting the photos that just doesn’t want to do what I want it to. Grrrrrr. )




Check back next Wednesday when I show you how to make a delicious stuffed French toast (thanks to my mom friend McMommy!)

What is YOUR favorite savory breakfast dish?


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Save the Remover!

Last week I told you about Citrustrip.  This week we’re talking about a much different type of paint remover.  Nail polish remover!  I’m sure you’re familiar with the cotton ball / paper towel soaked in remover method.  It always seems like it’s a waste of the precious fluid and takes forever to actually remove the polish.

I have a ton of baby food jars leftover from when Little Man ate the stuff.  I realized that the salons usually soak your hands to remove the polish more efficiently.  Put those two things together and there you go.

Simply fill your baby food jar with a bit of nail polish remover and soak a finger or two for about 30 seconds.  Then the polish will just rub right off.  You’ll even be able to pour the leftover remover back into the bottle, good as new.


I’ve posted a few blogs while soaking off my polish.  I’ve become quite adept at typing with one hand!

What’s YOUR favorite nail tip?


Monday, July 28, 2014

Homemade Honey Nut Cheerios

Recently our local market had huge boxes of cheerios on sale for a pittance.  I bought them because Kidster and Little Man will eat them with a banana for breakfast and I hoping Hubster would replace his usual kolache at work for something a bit more healthy.  Kidster started to get bored with them and I wanted to ‘season’ them a bit when I came across this blog post Homemade Honey Nut Cheerios
The ingredients are pretty straightforward:
  • 2 Cups Cheerios
  • 1 T honey
  • 1/4 t almond extract (next time I’ll use less, it was a bit over powering)
Put everything into a pot on medium heat.  Stir to make sure it’s all being well coated.  Continue for about 3 minutes. 
Cool on a pan or silicone mat.  We ate them right away and they were really sticky.  The blogger recommended leaving them on the pan/mat overnight to let the honey really soak in and they should be less sticky.  I need to do that next time for sure. 
Kidster wasn’t too sure about the sticky mess, Little Man was too young to have honey at the time, but Hubster and I loved them.  I wonder if next time I could just roll them up into balls and bake for a bit to crunch them up?
DIY Honey Nut Cheerios
Check back next Monday when I show you how to make simple baked mini corn dogs!
What is YOUR favorite Cheerio recipe?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Toddler “Beads”

Kidster, Hubster and I were visiting Auntie A and her family recently.  Kidster found an MP3 player and headphones and started trying to put the headphone cord into the jack.  I realized that she was ready for a few more complicated toys especially ones that help develop her small muscle motor skills.

You only need two items.  Both can be found at the Dollar Store.  A shoestring and a pool noodle.  Pretty simple to find almost anywhere especially during the summer season.

Using a serrated knife cut the noodle into ‘bead’ shapes. I cut ours into about an inch width but I think next time I’d make them thinner.  You want the end of the shoelace to go all the way through the bead so the child can grasp the other end when threading it through.

We use the ‘beads’ to learn small muscle manipulations, colors, numbers, and counting.  As she starts to learn more about numbers and letters I’ll use a sharpie marker to write numbers and letters on the beads so we can put them in order.

Kidster will ask for the ‘bead’ to play with all the time.  Be sure that your child is past the stage of having to put everything in their mouth!  

5 Kid Fun Friday

What is YOUR favorite kid craft?


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Regrow Green Onions (Scallions)

Thankfully Hubster is the cook in our house.  He uses a lot of fresh produce and even though it’s generally pretty inexpensive it would be nice to get more for my money! 
This week’s Green Thumb Thursday topic is re-growing green onion from the leftovers.
I originally came across this blog post from TheKitchn - Re-Growing Green Onions. I was pretty excited about it because Hubster buys a lot of green onions and we have a fairly large window sill in our kitchen.
Simply cut the green onions leaving about 3 inches at the bottom.  Place in a jar with water (I used baby food jars, you can also use a glass or a mason jar). Put the glass in a window and wait a few days.  This is growth from about a week or so.
Re-grown green onions!
I have two other baby food jars with green onions in different stages of growth.  Whenever Hubster needs more green onions he just cuts back a bit of the oldest one. 
Check back next Thursday to find out how to regrow more produce from the grocery store!
What is YOUR favorite thing to re-grow?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Organizing Baby Photos–First Two Years

I have so many mom friends that complain about having thousands of photos of their kids on their phones.  It’s overwhelming when they realize that they have to now move thousands of photos to their computer.  It’s especially scary when your household only has one computer.  What happens if the hard drive crashes?  You lose all of those precious photos.  I’m pretty luck that Hubster is a computer fiend so we have about 3.5 computers per adult in our house right now.  He’s very serious about saving files properly and backed up properly.  I’ve had hard drives crash permanently before and it’s horrible.  They aren’t built to last forever.  They are made up of very small moving parts that get hot and sometimes the spinning mechanism just fails.  I can never stress enough to moms how important it is to invest in a $50 external hard drive and regularly copy the photos to it.  It’s also pretty great that Shutterfly and Snapfish offer unlimited storage of photos.  Getting them printed is the best way to keep them safe.

The best way to keep your child’s photos organized is to have a place already ready to dump them into.  It’s hard to try to find the right photo when you’re having to search through thousands of ‘loose’ photos on your computer.  By taking a few minutes to create ‘laundry basket’ files for your future photos it will be less of a challenge to transfer your precious photos from your phone or SD disk to your computer.

Enough preaching about externals and uploading and all that stuff.  Time to get your photos ORGANIZED!  Do a little bit every day and eventually you’ll have a wonderful record of you’re sweet baby growing up.

We’re going to use Kidster’s photo file names but feel free to change up the dates to fit your child. Kidster was born on 2/12/13 just for reference.  Also, keep in mind you can’t use the character “/” in a folder name so I used the ‘.’ instead.

So, create a folder called “Kid Name”. Open the folder and create a new folder called “Kid and Friends”.  Open THAT folder and create a few folders for various play dates or outings that have more than just a few photos.  If you have a friend that visits often, like Little Man, then you can make a whole folder just for them.   Go back to the “Kid Name” folder, open it up and create a new folder called “Kid Videos”.  So on and so forth.  I’ve listed the file names in such a way that you can see where the ‘sub-folders’ should be.  Don’t be freaked out when you open the folders later and (especially the weeks/months) the folders are rearranged a bit.  Your computer will usually put them in alphabetical order.  That means that you’ll see 2 Days Old next to 2 Weeks Old.  That’s ok!

I kept the First Holidays outside of the first year because they were special.  Second holidays will be stored in the Second Year folder. 

Kidster Fabrycated    
  Kidster and Friends  
    Kidster and Little Man
    Kidster and Other Friends
    Special Play Dates
  Kidster Videos  
    Edited Videos
  First Birthday  
    Auntie A Pre-Party
    Eating Cake
    First Birthday Snapshots
    Invitation Photos
    Opening Gifts
  First Halloween  
  First Thanksgiving  
  First Christmas  
    Visit with Santa
    Decorating The Tree
    Dinner with Family
    Opening Gifts
  First Month  
    L & D
    Birth Day
    Birth Announcement
    1 Day Old 2.13
    2 Days Old 2.14
    3 Days Old 2.15
    4 Days Old 2.16
    5 Days Old 2.17
    6 Days Old 2.18
    1 Week Old 2.19
    8 Days Old 2.20
    9 Days Old 2.21
    10 Days Old 2.22
    11 Days Old 2.23
    12 Days Old 2.24
    13 Days Old 2.25
    2 Weeks Old 2.26-3.4
    3 Weeks Old 3.5-3.11
    1 Month Old 3.12-3.18
  First Year  
    5 Weeks Old 3.19-3.25
    6 Weeks Old 3.26-4.1
    7 Weeks Old 4.2-4.11
    2 Months Old 4.12-5.11
    3 Months Old 5.12-6.11
    4 Months Old 6.12-7.11
    5 Months Old 7.12-8.11
    6 Months Old 8.12-9.11
    7 Months Old 9.12-10.11
    8 Months Old 10.12-11.11
    9 Months Old 11.12-12.11
    10 Months Old 12.12-1.11
    11 Months Old 1.12-2.11
    12 Months Old 2.12-3.11
  Second Year  
    13 Months Old 3.12-4.11
    14 Months Old 4.12-5.11
    15 Months Old 5.12-6.11
    16 Months Old 6.12-7.11
    17 Months Old 7.12-8.11
    18 Months Old 8.12-9.11
    19 Months Old 9.12-10.11
    20 Months Old 10.12-11.11
    21 Months Old 11.12-12.11
    22 Months Old 12.12-1.11
    23 Months Old 1.12-2.11
    Second Halloween
    Second Thanksgiving
    Second Christmas
    Second Birthday
  Third Year  

Now that you’ve created the nooks and crannies for the precious memories let’s figure out the best way to get those thousands of photos floating around into the right places.

These instructions will work for either your iPhone, SD card, camera, etc.  Whichever digital device you use.  OR even that random folder on your computer that is full of random photos.  I’m going to refer to iPhone simply because that is what I use.

First, create a folder on your desktop named “iPhone Date”.  The date will help if you’re uploading the photos from you iPhone to organize later. 

Plug your device into your computer. Open your device in the file explorer.  I never use any software to upload my photos, it makes things more complicated and a LOT less stable.   Open the file where the photos are stored. On an iPhone this is usually titled “DCIM”. Don’t fret my pet.  This folder doesn’t contain anything except Digital Camera Images.  It won’t brick your phone or delete those text messages you’ve been hanging onto.  I’m going to assume you’re using Windows 8 here.  Highlight every single photo in that folder using the RIGHT button on your mouse. Drag the photos to the desktop folder you just created.  When you let go of the mouse button it should ask if you’d like to copy the files or move the files. You want to MOVE the files.  This will remove them from the device therefore freeing up space for the next time the camera comes out to catch those amazing moments.

Now that your photos are safely nestled onto the desktop you’re going to want to get them into the right folders.  It’s not nearly as time consuming as you think.  We’ve already done the hard part. 

Open the “Kidster Fabrycated” (you’re kids photo folder of course).  Drag the title bar of the folder to the left corner of your screen. This should cause the folder to take up exactly half of the screen.  This is now your destination folder. Do the same thing but to the right side of the screen with the “iPhone Date” folder.  It should now take up the other half of the screen.  This in now the origin folder.  If you already have a giant folder of photos on your computer treat them as the ‘origin’ folder.   If your origin folder has photos other than of your child go ahead and create another desktop folder and drag all of the NON kid photos to that album.  You can organize those later.  Remember, if you hold down the Ctrl button you can click on all the non kid photos and it will highlight only those that you’ve selected.  Select with the right mouse button to have to the option to MOVE the photos. Now on to organizing your kid photos.

Your workspace should look like this:


It’s a bit fuzzy but you get the idea. 

The folder on the right may not look like this one.  It’s easy to fix.  Click on the tab “View”.  Select “Details”.  This will show you the dates of the photos.  Keep in mind I am assuming that you only have kid photos in this folder for this next part.

Click on the word Date at the top of the date column.  This will put all the photos in order of the date they were taken.  Simply highlight the photos that fit in the date range of each folder and move them to the right destination folder.  You should assume that the photos that are dated close to a holiday belong in the holiday folder.  You may have to switch between the Details view and the Icon view. 

Once you’ve moved all of the photos go ahead and delete the “iPhone Date” folder from your desktop.  Make sure it really is empty before you delete!

When you get a chance go ahead and copy the “Kidster Fabrycated” folder to your back up hard drive.  Get started uploading these folders to Snapfish or Shutterfly so you can get them printed.  Can you guess what the file box looks like that these photos live in?  You got it.  Tabbed dividers with the same folder names. 

Whenever you transfer photos to your computer in the future take a moment to create more ‘future’ folders with the dates in the folder names.  It will make it a lot easier!!

So remember, backup backup backup!!  If you have any issues please feel free to email me or put your questions in the comments.  I understand that some people just don’t have the time or the skill to get their photos organized.  I will try to help in anyway I can! 

What’s YOUR favorite way to organize photos?


Perfect Grilled Cheese–Every Time!

My all time favorite comfort food is grilled cheese and tomato soup.  A simple sandwich that can easily be dressed  up or enjoyed plain.  I’m pretty terrible at getting the pan the right temperature and I flip the sandwich too much.  I end up with a soggy side and a burned side when I use the usual stove method. 

Gather the usual suspects.  Bread, cheese (I prefer shredded, it heats more evenly), salt and pepper and whichever other seasonings you like.

Preheat your waffle iron on the highest setting.  Butter your bread on both sides if you like.  I don’t usually have butter that is soft enough for spreading so I skip this step.  I do love to sprinkle a bit of Italian seasonings on the inside of my sandwich. 

Once your waffle iron is preheated place your sandwich in the middle, close it up and set your timer for 4 minutes.  The general rule with any waffle in a waffle iron is when the steaming stops your waffle is ready.  I’m pretty sure it works with this too. 

I once made the mistake of using a too thick (1/4 inch) slice of cheese and WHOA! it was a cheesplosion that I was cleaning up for a good bit.  You can never really go wrong with shredded cheese or the usual American cheese slices.

The nice part of using the waffle iron is you get the little pockets of melty cheese mixed with the bits of crunchy cheese on the edges. You can add so many different things to the sandwich: bacon, ham, avocado, tomato, thinly sliced green apple, a bit of hummus (our favorite). I might try a beet and goat cheese next time just for something really different!

Kidster and Little Man will devour these sandwiches in no time!  I love that it’s easy to cut into perfect little squares.

Grilled Cheese Waffle

Check back next Wednesday when I show you how to make a savory waffle that Kidster and Little Man love!  It’s become a refrigerator staple for a healthy filling snack time.

What is YOUR favorite grilled cheese?


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Citrustrip–Arcade Machine

Hubster recently purchased a very rough, very used arcade machine.  You know, the kind that is in a big cabinet that stands in the corner of the laundromat and usually stars one of the Pac Man family members.  It’s been a dream of his for the last few years to create what is called a MAME Machine (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator).  He found this beat up machine on Craigslist for only $75 and brought it home.  I was a little chagrined at the idea because that’s a lot of money.  Evidently there were ‘boards’ in it that he was able to sell and make back quite a bit of the money spent so he was forgiven.  A man needs a hobby right?

The previous owner had, sadly, painted over the entire cabinet thus covering any of the original and therefore ‘vintage’ decals.  Very sad indeed.  He’s a big nerd and of course did much research about how best to remove this offensive paint.  He came across a product called Citrustrip.  It doesn’t have the scary toxic fumes you think of when it comes to removing paint effectively.  It actually made the workshop/ garage smell a bit nicer than usual.

Here are few photos of the process. 

photo (1)photophoto (3)photo (4)photo (5)

Just spread the product on.  Let sit and then scrape it off.  Really easy!  Turns out there was an old school “Centipede” game underneath!  The decal was a bit too torn up to salvage so it was scraped off also.  The whole cabinet is now down to the naked wood layer. Hubster is in the works creating a decal of his own.  This will be an ongoing project so keep checking back every Tuesday for updates!

What is YOUR favorite household product?


Monday, July 21, 2014

Mac and Cheese Bites

Kidster and Little Man are not big fans of mac and cheese or pasta in general so I thought maybe if they were in a more handheld form they would be a bit more interested in it.  These were a big hit with both kids and adults alike!  Hubster couldn’t stop eating them!  They were pretty easy but had quite a few steps.  I didn’t have any breadcrumbs on hand so I used pulverized and seasoned Cheerios.  The ‘milling’ blade that comes with the Baby Bullet came in super handy!

I don’t have a link to any particular recipe.  I just did a bit of research and used a few different recipes as a guideline.

1 cup elbow macaroni (veggie pasta version)

1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp olive oil salt and pepper
1 egg flour
1 T half and half or
1 1/2 tsp butter
cooking spray
  • Boil 1 cup of elbow pasta (I used the veggie pasta version) for 8 minutes.  You want the pasta to still be firm.  Next time I think I’ll use the ditalini pasta.
  • Mix breadcrumbs or pulverized Cheerios (I added pizza seasoning to the Cheerios) with olive oil.  Enough to make it a crumbly texture.  1/2 cup of breadcrumbs and 1 tsp olive oil.
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Drain pasta and return to pot.
  • Beat together one egg and 1 T of half and half (or 1 1/2 tsp butter, whatever you would add to make scrambled eggs).
  • Add egg mixture to pasta making sure all pasta is coated.
  • Alternate mixing a cup of shredded cheese and 1/2 cup milk into the pasta until a sauce is made. 
    • It is important that the pasta and the pot are still warm but not on the still hot burner.  You want a more 'soupy' texture than your average mac and cheese.  This will make sure all the pasta is kept moist while baking. You'll want to keep aside an extra half cup of shredded cheese for the topping.
  • Spray the mini muffin pan.  Then flour the pan.
  • Use a tablespoon  or cookie scoop to spoon the pasta into the muffin pan.    The “muffins” won't rise or shrink so however you fill it is pretty much what you'll get.  You'll want to make sure that the sauce is covering the pasta.
    • Allow the sauce to 'reserve' in the bottom of the pot to pour over at the end before you put the breadcrumbs on top. 
  • Cover the muffins with shredded cheese and generously sprinkle the breadcrumbs.  I would use about a half tablespoon of crumb mixture on top to help the pasta stay moist.  Better to err on the side of too much than too little.
  • Bake for 15 minutes

I baked it for 15 minutes and checked them.  You want the topping to be browned.  I wasn't sure about the cheerios topping browning (I eyeballed the olive oil..).  I baked them for another 6 minutes.  I'm pretty sure they would have been fine at 15 minutes though. 

Mac and Cheese Bites

Next week I’ll show you how to make your own Honey Nut Cheerios!

What’s YOUR favorite mac and cheese recipe?


Friday, July 18, 2014

Flash Card Books

Kidster has gotten to an age where she doesn’t just chew on books.  She’s actually interested in sitting down (in my lap of course!) and reading her little board books.  I really want to make sure that she’s as well prepared for school as I can make her.  I shopped around on for flash cards and they all range from $4 for a box of 50 up to $50 for a whole curriculum.  Flash cards aren’t going to be the sole form of education in this house but they will certainly provide a good visual aid.  Especially when we’re eating lunch or waiting in line at the store. 

Kidster and I look at the pages and I tell her what is on them.  A letter or a number or a color, etc.  You can also use the books for faces of family members to help learn names.  It will start to get really fun when she’s telling ME what is on the page!

 Flash Card Book

Check back next week when I share a cheap ‘hack’ for loose cords in the nursery.

What is YOUR favorite educational project?


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Propagating Peace Lily

Peace Lily’s are beautiful house plants that can grow quite large and have exotic white flowers.  These are generally easy to care for in a window sill with a bit of water now and again. 

My favorite thing about the Peace Lily is that they multiply quite easily.  You can plant one in a large pot and let it run wild or you can pot a small one in a windowsill pot and occasionally remove the ‘babies’ to their own pot. It’s not difficult and very hard to damage the plant. 

This a great ‘go to’ gift for a new homeowner, Mother’s Day, birthday, or “Welcome Wagon”. You could print up a little note, put the newly potted baby into a gift bag and there you go!

I let my own Peace Lily go a bit too long before separating the babies.  If you keep an eye on them you easily see when it’s made more and it is a lot less complicated to separate.

Pull out the whole plant. IMG_2470

Find where there new plants growing from the ‘parent’.IMG_2471

Repot new growth into a new pot. Enjoy!IMG_2472

It’s really hard to kill these plants but it’s nicer to use your hands instead of scissors to separate the new growth from the parent plant.  This one plant had made 4 new baby plants!  It was a bit like detangling yarn but the kids were asleep so I just jumped right in.  It’s normal for a few leaves to die after replanting so don’t worry if you see a bit of yellow in a few days!

What is YOUR favorite type of houseplant?



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Scrambled Egg Waffle

Every Wednesday I’ll be posting a new recipe that uses the waffle iron.  You know, that weird kitchen appliance gathering dust on the top shelf of that forgotten cabinet?  It’s so easy to use and a lot less heat in the kitchen than an oven or a standing at the stove.
I love to make eggs for the kids in the morning but I get tired of making the same thing every few days. (Check out my post, Mini Cheese Omelets)  This is just as easy as the omelets but adds a bit more fun to Kidster’s breakfast.
I originally came across this recipe on Weelicious Waffle Iron Eggs.  My waffle iron is a bit larger so I doubled the recipe.
  • 2 Eggs whisked together
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 1 T shredded cheese
  • Salt and your choice of seasoning (I love herbes de province in eggs)
  • *I also added finely shredded spinach so the kids didn't know they were eating veggies.
Such simple ingredients!

IMG_2680Turn on and preheat your waffle iron.  High temperature works best. Once preheated pour mixture onto waffle iron.
IMG_2681Cook for about 4 minutes.  Eggs are super fluffy and delicious!

What is YOUR favorite waffle iron recipe?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Natural Curls in 15 Minutes

I have long thick hair that holds a curl very well but there is just SO much of it that I avoid curling it because trying to keep the sections separated and uniform is really hard to do.  Getting the strands at the back of my head is really a pain too.  Imagine the black and white video portion of the ‘As Seen on TV” items.  “Ug! It’s Too hard!”  Well.  Rather than spending $19.99 for something that doesn’t work Abut just looks like it does through the magic of TV try this little trick.  If you have normal to thin hair you can use just a regular pony tail and not have to turn to the piggy tails. 

My baby sister was in town and babysat for Kidster last night.  I told her about my new favorite way to curl my hair.  It was an offhand comment between our QuizUp matches but she seemed to take it to heart.  She texted me at 10:49am “Tried curling my hair in piggy tails and it’s life changing.”  My response, of course, was “LOL!  I know, right?!”  To which she said, “It took like 15 minutes”.   That’s when I told her she had to be my To Neat Tuesday model.  Because all ladies need to know the super easy trick to flowing pretty curls without all the yoga moves.

She came over and spent some time teaching Kidster to blow into the whistle on her keychain and then we got to work.

Put hair up into a high pony tail for normal to thin/fine hair.  Put hair up into high piggy tails for normal to thick hair.


Curl hair in one piggy tail.


Curl hair in the other piggy tail.


Let curls cool.  Once cool remove rubber bands.


My iron wasn’t hot when we started so one side isn’t as curly as the other… My fault.  Still, looks pretty great!


My baby sister, Jamster. 


What is YOUR favorite hair trick?


Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Porridge / Overnight Oatmeal

My usual weekday morning is pretty slow and relaxed.  Wake up at 6:30am.  Wander into the kitchen.  Let the dog out. Make coffee. Brush teeth. Empty dishwasher.  Prepare mug of coffee.  Load dishwasher. Update my Facebook/Twitter/Blog/Influenster/etc.  Enjoy said coffee. 

But then all to soon Little Man is here.  Then Kidster wakes up and wants “Noh” (her way of saying milk) and banana’s and ‘toons.  So everything goes from relaxing and slow moving to hectic and crazy in less than 60 seconds.  My usual breakfast is the leftover pieces of toast and squished banana.  Not very healthy or filling.

That was until my fellow Mommiester, McMommy, mentioned overnight oatmeal (refrigerator oatmeal).  I was intrigued.  There are so many different recipes but I just wanted the facts, ma’am.  It’s pretty simple.  Equal parts.  Yup.  All those summer porridge / overnight oatmeal / refrigerator oatmeal recipes you’ve been pinning on Pinterest don’t break it down as well as I’m doing here.  Equal PARTS.  EQUAL parts.  Once you get that down the sky is the limit.  Or at least the top shelf of the fridge.  You don’t have to use a mason jar either.  You can use a plastic storage container.  Or do what McMommy does and use the peanut butter jar when it’s pretty much ready for the rubbish bin.  Same goes for jam and jelly jars.  Anything that can be sealed and refrigerated folks.

My favorite ‘recipe’ is what I made the other night.  1/4 cup oats, 1/4 cup full fat Greek yogurt, 1/4 whole milk, a sprinkling of milk chocolate chips, 1/2 T of honey, chopped almonds, and cocoa.  Stir cover and chill for about 12 hours.

photo 3My usual suspects. Honey, peanut butter, Trader Joe’s organic multigrain hot cereal, Hershey’s cocoa, Greek Gods yogurt and a mason jar.

photo 1Put it all into the container and stir, stir, stir.  Chill for 12 hours.

All mixed up and ready to chill.

The next morning you can take it with you and eat it on the bus or you can do what us mom’s do and take a few spoonful's at a time while the kids are distracted.  Only two bites and you’re full for the next thirty minutes!  I use the Trader Joe’s Organic Multi Grain Hot Cereal but you can use any kind of NON instant oatmeal.  The texture is a lot like rice pudding.  Reminds me a lot of the place in NYC, Rice to Riches.  Mmmmmm, my favorite place when I was pregnant with Kidster and visiting my friend in NYC.  It’s so tasty it could be dessert!

What’s YOUR favorite cold breakfast food?


Friday, July 11, 2014

Dollar Store Sensory Bag

I love the dollar store.  I can go on a shopping spree and only spend $20!  I’ve been pinning so many different dollar store kid fun ideas I figured it was time to actually DO one.  I had originally pinned the idea from this mom: Play At Home Mom.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Biggest bottle of hair gel available
  • Glitter
  • Food coloring or finger paint
  • Sandwich Bags or larger
  • Packing tape
  • Cardboard

Use whatever cardboard you have around the house. 


Cut to the size of the bag.  Leave space for the tape.

Fill bag with gel.  The less gel the better for writing practice. Squirt in some food coloring and glitter.
Tape a border around the baggie to the cardboard.
Cut to fit high chair tray if needed.
Kidster loves it!

What is YOUR favorite kid craft?


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Gardening with Wine Corks

I’m a big fan of reusing junk around the house.  I have to be careful or I end up becoming a little ‘hoardy’ as Hubster calls it.  Thankfully I have a lovely vase that I keep all of my many many (too many maybe) wine corks in.  Thus, it’s ‘decorative’ and not hoardy! 

I have a delightful little Peace Lily that I bought on eBay (I know, crazy that you can buy plants on eBay!) a few weeks before I had Kidster.  It has now multiplied as they are known to do.  I have a few pots from Ikea that do not have any drain holes in them.  In the Houston humidity it is a must for plants to have adequate drainage or you end up with root rot and no one wants root rot! 

The pots were a bit too shallow to use my trusty river rocks so I racked my brain trying to find a suitable alternative. I traversed the internet far and wide and came across a few different blogs that mentioned using corks in the bottom of the pot.  Thanks to Apartment Farm I found someone had done this very thing.  I didn’t want to make a huge mistake in case corks had some kind of anti-plant chemical in them.

It’s a pretty straightforward idea.  Slice corks into little disks and line the bottom of the pot in 2 layers.  This allows the water to drain and NOT sit in the soil. The sad part is that no one will ever know they are there but you and who doesn’t like to show off their work?

Slice the corks about a half inch. IMG_2467

Place the pieces in the bottom of the pot.  About two rows. IMG_2468

Fill with soil and plant.  Lovely!


What a great way to use up the “decorative” corks around my house!


What is your favorite way to reuse wine corks?