Thursday, April 28, 2011

Simple, Easy May Day Baskets!

These little baskets can be used for many many things! I am using them as May Day baskets for my sons teachers, Sunday School teachers and nursery attendants. I need 8 all together and so far have 4 made.

What you need -

1 square sheet of paper, I used a 12x12 piece of cardstock but a 9x9 square piece would work as well.
Paper squares 1/2" smaller than the squares on your paper, mine were 3.5"
Glue stick

Score and fold your paper into 9 squares, this is easier if you have a paper cutter that has a scoring blade but totally possible if you do it by hand. The lines show you where the paper is folded.

Cut (see the picture, the squiggly lines are where you cut)

Fold each section so that your paper bends nice

Decorate the outside squares, I just used decorative paper but you could get as fancy as you want

Bring up the sides (once again, see photo)

Using a hole punch or a sharp pair of scissors punch a hole through the three squares where they intersect. (I used my crop-a-dile but on the first basket I just used scissors to poke the hole through)

Poke a brad through the three layers plus one side of the handle.

Repeat on the other side.

Line basket with tissue paper, insert a pony pack of flowers and you have a darling May Day basket!

Happy May Day my friends!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TCT #3 Turtle Puppet - 2 kits up for grabs!

Two things make crafts popular with my two year old, glue and scissors! This cutie pie includes both so it was successful!

I cut the turtle out twice with the cricut, using Animal Kingdom cartridge in advance, set him down with the scissors and dark green paper and let him go to town cutting it up.

Then he randomly glued the small pieces onto the turtles shell. It is late and I am cracking up over the fact that I just said my two year old randomly glued....he is two, how else would he do it!

He I then glued a googly eye onto him and a popicle stick and now he (the turtle and the toddler) is prancing around the living room! So cute, so fun, so EASY!

And just so you know how talented my son really he is balancing a pair of scissors on his!

Since we are learning about ovals, we also painted with Easter Egg halves this week (the kind that split long ways).

Daddy has pretty much banned the bean playing for now! After he found the box dumped throughout the house one morning while he was on daddy duty! That is ok, the weather has been nice and little man has spent much time in the sandbox.

***If you would like your child to receive some fun mail, leave me a comment saying how many kids or grandkids you have. I will send out a kit with the supplies and some fun stickers to the first two comments! I realize that this is not a large giveaway but all kids love to get mail and all Moms love a "keep the kids busy activity"***

Homemade Pretzel Recipe

Today is Pretzel Day! Fun right! Here is a tried and true recipe for homemade pretzels. We will be making these for after school snacks today!

Pretzel Dough:

1 1/4 Cup Warm Water
1 Tbsp. + 1/4 tsp. yeat
3 3/4 C. All Purpose Flour
3/4 C + @ Tbsp Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vegetable oil


2 C. Warm Water
1/4 C. Baking Soda

In a small bowl or cup dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let sit for a  few minutes.

Combine flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Add water with yeast and the vegetable oil.

Stir with a spoon and then use your hands to form the dough into a ball. Knead the dough 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Dough will be smooth when its ready.

Place the dough into a oiled bowl, cover and store in a warm place until doubled (about 45 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Remove the dough from the bowl and shape . I always do pretzel shapes but you could just do strips too. They taste just as good!

Make the bath for the pretzels by combining  the baking soda with the warm water and stir until baking soda is mostly dissolved. The baking soda separates from the water easily, so stir it up every couple of minutes as you are dipping the pretzels.

Dip each pretzel into the bath solution. Blot on a paper towel and arrange on a cookie sheet. Spray with non-stick spray. If you want salt sprinkle with kosher salt (we just use regular salt or sea salt, whatever we have!)  Don't salt pretzels ifyou are going to coat with cinnamon and sugar!

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

1/2 C. Granulated Sugar
2 tsp. Cinnamon

Bake one baking sheet at a time. Bake for 4 minutes, rotate the pan and bake another 4 or 5 minutes till lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Brush with melted butter if you are going to sprinkle with Cinnamon Sugar topping. Sprinkle generously and enjoy!

Recipe is long but it is not complicated at all! I pinky swear it is simple and yummy!

Graduation Stamp Giveaway

Anyone you know and love graduating this year? I have 4 people that I KNOW and LOVE graduating this year and I know that there is many more that I am still unaware of. My sweet darling niece, my son's beautiful girlfriend who I adore, and my son's half-brother will all be high school graduates in little over 1 month! And my childhood best friend has a lovely wife who is graduating college! I have gifts to give, cards to send, and 1 party to plan. I know I need to get out my graduation stamps and get busy! And I am sharing a set with two lucky winners!

<-----Set 1 and Set 2----->

Here is how to enter my giveaway - Leave me a seperate comment for each please. And if you are commenting annomysously leave your name in your comment too!

1. Follow my blog
2. Like my blog on FaceBook
3. Share my giveaway on your Blog
4. Share my giveaway with a link on your FaceBook page
5. Leave me a comment telling me how many graduates you know this spring!

I will be randomly picking two winners on Monday, May 2nd!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Holidays for Everyday: April 25th - May 2nd

Are you like me and take a big sigh of relief after every holiday? As a Mom the pressure is really on to make the holidays special for our kids. Wait! What am I talking about? What I meant to say is for our kids, our husbands, our families, our friends, our churches, our students our............fill in the blank. As woman we have expectations put on us to go all out and make sure everyone has a "perfect" holiday. Whether our families put those expectations on us or we do it to ourselves it sure can be hectic and stressful and lets face it sometimes after the holiday we are filled with let down and dissapointment. That is no fun! But guess what?

Pretty much every....... is a holiday of some kind. And best of all, no one expects us to celebrate these holidays so they can remain simple and fun! I love the fact that each day we have a chance to do something special with our kids. Of course we can't have a celebration every single day but we can enjoy as many days as we can and if we are needing some inspiration these can be an excellent starting point. I hope to do this every week and I hope that someone is inpsired to celebrate a "simple" holiday with BIG fun for their families!

April 25- National Crayola Day

- This would be a great time to do melty crayons! Learn how at Bits of Everything.

- Recycling old broken crayons to make new ones in fun shapes would be fun too. I first saw this idea at a pretty cool life.

-And if you don't want to mess with that project I thought the blog Going Green had some great info.

April 26- National Pretzel day

-Have you ever made homemade pretzels with your kids? Sooo good! I will post the recipe later today.

-Dipping store bought pretzels in chooclate and sprinkles is also a fun thing to do.

April 27- Tell a story Day

- What a fun family activity during dinner. Have you ever tried doing a round robin story with your kids? One person starts the story with a sentence or two and then everyone takes turns adding a sentence or two.

April 28- Poetry Reading Day

-We have several poetry books and I will be asking each member of our family to pick their favorite short poem to share with our family!

April 29- National Shrimp Scampi Day

-Oh yummy this might be my new favorite day of the year!

April 30- National Oatmeal cookie day
April 30- Raisin Day

- Oh my yum! Do these two days go together or what! Oatmeal Raisin cookies please!

May 1- May Day

-I will be showing how to make simple May Day baskets on Wednesday. All you need is a sheet of cardstock! I always mean to do May Day baskets with my kids and then never do it. This year I am planning ahead and I will!

- If giving away real flowers won't work this year how about a cookie bouquet?

May 2- Brother/Sister Day
May 2- Sibling Appreciation Day

-These are pretty much the same holiday so I am including them both. I think the boys will make cards for each other. Maybe even small gifts if I can come up with something for them to make. Or let the kids come up with their own ideas for how they want to show love to their siblings! They might suprise us!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Scrapbook Display Board

I purchased this piece of artwork the first summer I was married for $2. It hung in our house for several years until I just couldn't stand it anymore. There is nothing wrong with the picture but gigantic pictures of the ocean, just not my thing.

So I did this. (If you love this picture you might want to quit reading now)

I warned you!

Many coats of black spray paint later. Some wire and a few mini clothes pins and now I have this....

An interchangeable way to display some of my favorite scrapbook pages in my home! And I LOVE IT! So much.....I did this project several months ago actually and I STILL feel happy everytime I see it!

Here are the pages currently displayed on the board.

Sorry about the photo quality of some of those photos of my layouts I was too busy lazy too take them down and try to get better shots. But you get the idea!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hey Mister Easter Bunny! (A note for my husband)

Hey darling Easter Bunny! I have been such a good girl, I cook you carrots, and make you carrot cake, I am in a hoppy mood most of the time, and while we haven't exactly mulitplied like rabbits, we have three handsome young bunnies, I take great care of our little bunny hut and I hope we are hopping hoppily ever after for a long time to come! could put any of these in my basket and I would be very hoppy!

I know my special somebunny is thinking Scentsy and that would make me very happy indeed! So I thought I would help him out and make a post of some of my favorites!

(Hmmm....dreamy! Imagine this with different colored ribbons tied around the top for different holidays or seasons!)

(I love the rustic look of this one! Would go perfect with my home!)

(Very traditional looking, I really like this one too!)

My favorite yummy scent is Welcome Home. Oh man, it would be welcoming to come home to a house that smelled so good!

And here is another idea! Right now Clinique is having their Bonus Days sale! You know how I love a good freebie with purchase. Well you simply can't beat Clinique at that game. And just think of all that free swag you could put in my basket if you hopped on in and bought me some foundation, which I always need by the way!

With much love, Mrs. Easter Bunny

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TCT #2- Pipecleaner Butterflies (2 kits up for grabs)

First of all let me say that I would love to show some adorable pictures of my sweet little boy making these butterflies with me. However, that would require my little boy being sweet yesterday during Mommy and Me time and yeah he had other plans. Moving forward.......

My little mister loves to string pony beads on pipe cleaners, so I thought of this little butterfly to make something pretty and spring like out of the activity. Where it all fell apart for me is when I asked him to count out ten beads and THEN string them on the pipecleaner.

Step #1:  Fold your yellow pipecleaner in half, about an inch down start twisting the doubled up pipecleaner, curl the straight ends around a pencil. This is the antennas and body.

Step #2: Have your kids string some pony beads onto a pipecleaner.

Step #3: Wrap one end of the pipecleaner around the top of the body, shape like a butterfly wing and wrap the other end around the lower end. Repeat with the other wing.

You can attach magnets or wire or simply fly them around the room.

***If you would like your child to receive some fun mail, leave me a comment saying how many kids or grandkids you have. I will send out a kit with the supplies and some fun stickers to the first two comments! I realize that this is not a large giveaway and that you probably all have pipe cleaners and pony beads :) but all kids love to get mail.***

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Chicken Diary - Week 1

Saturday - Day 1:

We picked up our chickens today! D& B farm store was absolutely packed with people looking at baby chicks today, I would highly recomend going during the week to pick up your baby chicks, for sure we will be next time. The gentleman that waited on us was ancient, no lie, and could barely hear me, he was also pretty short tempered. I do not blame him, there were kids hanging into the bins of chickens, and they were touching them, poking them, and such. All while there parents watched. (insert frowny face here!) I am proud of Michael (2) he peered into each bin but never tried to touch the babies or climb inside like we saw one little girl trying to do.

Sunday - Day 2:

This morning when I woke up I found that my little darlings had kicked shavings into the waterer causing the water to flood out and soak all their bedding. Also the mini muffin tin that I was using for their food was full of shavings.

When I went to pet them, pick them up, love them, they all acted like I was the big scary wolf. So I watched them for a while and then changed the box they were in, elevated their waterer so it was harder for them to kick shavings into and found the actual feeder that I was given for them. Much better!

My heart stopped when I checked on them after lunch, I didn't hear any peeping so I checked their box and they were all laying on the ground with their necks stretched out, I thought they were dead until one opened her eyes and starting peeping at me, then they all jumped up an started in a little peeping chorus!

Monday - Day 3:

I heard no cheeping sounds this morning when I went to check on the little fuzzy butts, they were all curled up sleeping! Too cute! The little stinkers had flooded their waterer AGAIN and soaked all their shavings! So once again I had to move them into a new box home, I don't mind moving them at all. I love them having a fresh home to run around in but unfortunately it takes a while to warm that new home up and so the little fuzz balls get quit cold for a while! And what a loud chirping they make when they are cold!

Tuesday -Day 4:

Oh my! My babies are growing! No flooding of the shavings last night and they are not kicking shavings in their food as much! I can't believe how big they are getting. Slow down little babies! I am anxious for eggs but not anxious for the little fluff balls to lose all their cuteness! Like my sister suggested I am trying to acquaint them with the dog but she acts like she is about one second from biting their little heads off whenever I introduce them. Scary!

Wednesday - Day 5:

Babies got Tail! Oh yes! There little tail feathers sprouted while I was gone! I can't believe those little fuzzy butts that were round as bouncy balls now have little tail feathers sprouted out of them! Honestly I have learned a great lesson from my chickens already, Life goes too fast, babies grow up too fast, and you absolutely MUST delight in every day because it will fly away much too soon!

Thursday - Day 6:

Stinky, stinky, time for a new box today! Its amazing how overnight they develop a stinkiness! They also need a larger box with higher sides, the little devils are almost flying over the edge! I think that Michael is the most enthralled with him and I have started to wonder how I am going to keep him out of the chicken coop once they go out there. Hmmm....regular locks don't work well with this guy so I will need to figure out something!

Friday - Day 7:

Chickies are still doing good, they are starting to be really active! Their new box is huge and I think that is a good thing as they are almost flying, they sure aren't quiet very often!

This post is linked up at Alicia's Homemaking!

Monday, April 11, 2011

TCT #1 - Fuzzy Chick Magnet (and a freebie if you are quick)

TCT? Yeppers! Another one of my days of the week themes that I am going to try! Toddler Craft Tuesday! I have a busy busy busy little man who is getting into trouble more often than not! So I am going to try to do more crafts with him and hopefully share my ideas here on my blog!

This idea was found here at Fisher Price although I tweaked it to fit what I had on hand!

First I cut out the chicks using my cricut at 5.5 inches, I used the Animal Kingdom cartridge. Using the shadow feature makes it easier for the little guy to not break the chickies legs off!  I cut up the yarn in advance while he was in bed although I quickly realized how good he is with scissors this week and next time I will have him cut the yarn himself! 

 The next day during one of our "Mommy and Mikey" times he assembled! Fun and Easy! We are learning about ovals so I drew a oval on the belly of the chick and asked him to put glue in the oval and pat the yarn down. It was so fun to watch him assembling and say "pat pat yarn" "pat pat yarn"! So cute! I glued magnets on the back so that they could be displayed on the fridge.

I asked Mikey which chick he wanted to give to Nana, he shook his head, I asked him again, shook his head, finally I said, well do you want to give any away or keep them all? He said this one is for POPPY and this one if for Emmy! I guess Nana is out of luck, good thing she lives with Poppy so she can have a cute baby chick on her fridge!

We also played in the beans lots this week. Such good practice with "measuring" and using those fine motor skills! And of course my little man is darling in the following bean pictures!

***If you would like your child to receive some fun mail, leave me a comment saying how many little kids you have. I will send out a kit with the cutouts and yarn and some fun stickers to the
first two comments! I realize that this is not a large giveaway but all kids love to get mail.***

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Homemade Wash Soap

A recipe for homemade laundry soap! My sister made some of this for us, we loved it, and I made some more last week. It cleans wonderfully and your clothes smell heavenly after using it!

2 Cups Wahsing Soda
2 Cups Borax
1 Cup Color Safe Bleach
1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap Grated

Grate the bar of Fels Naptha Soap and mix with rest of ingredients, I dump everything into a two gallon ziploc and use. Grating the bar of soap makes your whole laundry area smell clean and fresh!

I use about 1.5 Tablespoons per load of Laundry! Yep thats all! For really soiled laundry use a little more. It was fun to make but my hubby was questioning if it really was cheaper. So I did the math.

2 Cups Washing Soda - $3.09 (I used .90 cents worth)
2 Cups Borax- $3.36 (I used .71 cents worth)
1 Cup Color Safe Bleach- $1.97 (I used .54 cents worth)
1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap - 1.45

$3.60 - about 53 loads comapared to Tide which is $18+ for approx. 50 loads*.

Or 7 cents a load compared to 36 cents a load.

 Or $48.91 a year compared to $262.80

 For a mom like me who is trying to save money where I can, it is worth it. Plus I like it better!

The best part of making my own soap, no more ugly orange bottles on my laundry room shelf! :)

*The first time I figured the cost savings I used 90 loads per bottle of Tide but then I read the fine print which said 90 loads to the first fill line, since I do mostly large loads I use it to the second fill line. REALLY changes the math!

Linked Up to Alicia's Homemaking Here!

A Q&A with my sister the chicken whisperer!

(Baby Chickens that were hatched in my sister's incubator)

There is a ton of information online about chickens, raising them, buying them, getting their eggs. I have found that sometimes too much information is exactly that, too much. Luckily for me my sister jumped into raising chickens a few years ago and I don't need to sift through all that info. I just ask her my questions and since her chickens produce lots of eggs and are happy I trust that she gives me good info!

(Little Fuzzy Butts)

I thought that someone might be able to use the info too, after all raising chickens is a rising trend. There are huge benefits too, the most obvious benefit of course is fresh eggs at a lower cost,  I won't say free because you have to feed them and buy shavings for their coop and of course build them a run and a coop, all of which costs money. However if you get enough chickens you can sell extra eggs and recoop some of that money. I got 7 to start with and maybe adding a few more later.I also have a goal to "pay back" my husband the money that the coop and run cost within the first year. No I don't need to "pay back" anything but I think it will be a fun goal anyways!

(Oh My! Look at those still wet baby chicks! Too Precious!)

Question 1: How much room do chickens need?

Chickens will need 4 square feet in the coop and about 8 square feet in the run. More is always better especially in the run. Babies just need a big box until about 3 weeks old.

Question 2: What do chickens eat?

Layer pellets after about 2 months and scraps of food from your kitchen. They love scraps but be sure to read up on the food they can't eat. Babies do best on medicated chick starter. Get the medicated kind it will save you lots of problems!

Question 3: What all do I need for my baby chicks?

Shavings, Chicken Feeder, Waterer, Reflector Heat Light, 100 wattt Lightbulb, and Chick Starter.

Question 4: How old are they when they start laying eggs?

About 3 months, give or take!

Question 5: What breeds are best?

Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, Ameraucana, Cochin, Turkin, are my favorite and then probably Austrolop, Brahmas, Wyandotte, Sussex.

My sister (the chicken whisperer) blogs at and  if you have more chicken questions one of our favorite chicken sites is

(Sweet Little Yellow Peeps :)