Friday, March 29, 2013

Make your own laundry soap- Pinned it, Did it

I will admit I have always been skeptical of homemade laundry detergent. In fact, I often secretly laughed at those who made their own because I thought "there is no way it cleans as well as brand name, doesn't smell as good, doesn't whiten and brighten and could never wash way cleanly." Wrong! I found this pin on Pinterest and thought alright, I will give it a shot and see what I REALLY think.

LOVE it!!!! I love it so much that I thought I'd share it with you. For a grand total of  $38.78 I made enough laundry detergent to last my home of six people a year! I used the majority of her recipe but tweaked one little thing. The first thing you need to do is shred your bar soap (everyone complains about this part but I just popped it into my food processor and I was done in a matter of a minute). Once you have the soap shredded add it to a large bucket with all of the other ingredients and mix really well.

Here's what you will need:
1-2 (55 oz) Bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener- Found in the detergent aisle (completely optional and up to you, it's not 100% natural however it smells yummy))
1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax- Found in the detergent aisle
1 (4 lb) Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda- Found in the cooking aisle
1 (3 lb) Container of OxyClean- Found in the detergent aisle. (Helps get the stains out)
1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda- Found in the detergent aisle (totally natural)
2 (14.1 oz) Mrs. Meyer's Bar Soap (scent of your choice)

All you need is 1-2 tablespoons of detergent per load. Wash, rinse, dry as usual. It smells fantastic and works even better!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Weeknight Quick Meal-mini dogs

what should I make for dinner

Are you looking for a REALLY easy and REALLY quick dinner on a week night? Look no further! A fan favorite in our house is mini hot dogs! It's a take on something that I had a lot as kid myself. All you need are two things and a few minutes!

Here's what you need:
one package of mini hotdogs
1 tube of crescent rolls
what should I make for dinner

Cut the crescent roll triangles into three triangles. Each tube comes with 12 large triangles, so when you are done cutting them you will end up with a total of  36.
what should I make for dinner

Roll up a mini hot dog into each of the triangles (my kids love to help with this part!). Then place in the oven at 375F for about 8-10 minutes. You can also add other ingredients into the hot dog roll ups. Some people put a little piece of cheese in them and I have even heard of people putting a little bit of salsa too.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Paint With Kool-Aid

Today, Toys In The Dryer is excited to bring you a guest post from Becky of Your Modern Family:

With four kids ages six and under, I am always looking for a great activity to do with them. I taught elementary school before our oldest son was born and I know how every thing that you do with your children will teach them. Let them explore and learn and you will be amazed by them! Today we will learn how to make paint with kool-aid.
This is a fun, easy activity to do with your children! It makes your house smell great and it is so much fun to do with your kids. It is a wonderful activity for creativity and working on fine motor skills. Add in a great story (read about rainbows and paint one) and you have just done a great learning lesson with your kids!
 photo paintwithkool-aid.jpg

Make paint with kool-aid: 

I bought a few packets of the off-brand (cheapest you can find) Kool-aid mix.

To make this, you will want to start by getting out as many bowls as you have kids (or if you are separating by color, get out as many bowls as you have colors of Kool-aid. (Example: if you have green, blue and red, you could do three bowls- one for each color)

I have done both. Some days we do a colorful picture with many different colors and other times, I just use one packet and split the one color between the kids. They just love the creation of it all and they really are happy either way. Its a win-win.


Get on your aprons and get out your 'craft' tablecloth (see how to organize art supplies for kids). I like to let our kids paint with our easel, so I lay the tablecloth on the ground after we are done mixing it up on the table. If you want them to paint on paper on the table- just lay it down once and you are done.
 photo painting-with-kool-aid-kitchen-bench-001-300x225.jpg
So, if you are using just one packet:
Pour a little bit into each bowl with just a touch of water (a tablespoon or two). The more you use, the runnier it will be.

Mix it up until the Kool-aid is dissolved. 
 photo painting-with-kool-aid-kitchen-bench-002-150x150.jpg
Give your kids a paintbrush and let them go to town! (Notice the tablecloth on the floor in the first photo to protect the wood from any "paint" spills.

The Kool-aid is scented so it makes your house smell great!

Remember- this can stain, so wear your aprons!!
 photo paint-with-kool-aid-2.jpg 
We have been doing this for years- so here is an older picture of our boys painting, too. It is quite possibly their favorite activity!

 photo Becky-at-Your-Modern-Family-1.jpgBecky blogs about raising your kids & running your household (while staying within your budget!) at Your Modern Family. She was an elementary teacher until her oldest son was born. She became a (one morning a week) play therapist and Stay At Home Mom to four kids. She shares her tips on raising kids, organizing the home, and helping you to save money (to make being a Stay-at-home-Mom or working Mom easier!)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Easter Egg Memory Game

Looking for an Easter game that can keep your kids busy for a while? How about doing an Easter Egg Memory Game?
My daughter thought this game was a blast and she played it multiple different ways too. It kept her busy for literally an hour!  The only things you'll need are a bunch of plastic Easter eggs and the same amount of small, matching objects to put into the eggs.
 photo EasterEggMemoryGame1.jpg
There are a few different ways to play the Easter Egg Memory Game depending on how hard or easy you want to make it.  The basic way is to simply put the objects into the eggs, mix them up, then try to find the matching objects in the eggs.

To make it easier:  put matching objects in matching egg colors such as the pennies in two pink eggs, the buttons in two blue eggs.

To make it harder:  Mix up the egg colors such as a yellow top with a blue bottom or an orange top with a yellow bottom.  You can also do similar items instead of matching items such as a penny and a nickle, two different buttons, or two different Lego pieces.
 photo EasterEggMemoryGame2.jpg
Mix up the game:  Try matching the eggs by sound of the shake vs by memory.  Shake the eggs and try to find their match.  Once you think you've got them matched open them up to see if you are right.  My daughter LOVED this version!  It's harder than you think too!

Things to keep in mind:  As always, beware of little objects around younger kids who could choke on them.  
Also, my daughter had a little trouble opening and closing the eggs so you might have to help a bit.

Do your kids like memory games?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Easter Peep Basket- Pinned it, Did it

 The other day I was drooling over Pintrest posts (and I only say drooling because in all honesty I am obsessed with that site! I love the fabulous ideas people have, I love to see what people have done and figure out ways to improve upon them, and frankly I love to organize them). I saw the cutest Peep basket on there and immediately thought of my grandpa!

The 83 year old man has a mean sweet tooth and he can put away several Peeps in one sitting. Thing is though, he doesn't like them fresh and soft....he likes them stale and chewy or almost hard. Goofy man! He came over to our house last week after my lil' princess had her surgery to meet my lil' king at the bus stop and I thought I'd surprise him with a Peep basket as a thank you for his help! Oh man he was so excited!!!
It was really easy to do. I simply spent $2 at the dollar store (1 for the basket and 1 for the Easter grass). We had some sticks and Peeps already purchased and waiting for us at home. We filled the basket with the Easter Grass for a sturdy base.
After the basket was ready we inserted a candy stick into each Peep and added them to the basket one by one. When we were all done we were pretty excited with how it turned out and Grandpa was thrilled with the sugar overload!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Best Ever- Spring cookies

cut out cookie recipe

I'm going to let you in on a little tip.....ok, more like a secret. My grandma's recipe book was given to me before she passed away (I begged her for it, and since I'm the only one in the family who cooks and bakes she ablidged) and I found the most amazing, tasty, fabulous recipe for cut out cookies. They are really easy and bake up incredibly fluffy.
cut out cookie recipe

Here's the recipe:
Mix the dry ingredients together first:
1 3/4 C sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 baking soda
pinch of salt
5 1/4- 5 1/2 C flour

cut out cookie recipe
In a large bowl mix your wet ingredients:
1 C butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 C sour cream
cut out cookie recipe

Add your dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. Sprinkle POWDER SUGAR (yup, you read that right...not flour) on the surface and roll out your dough. Bake the cookies at 350 for around 8 minutes (give or take a couple based upon your individual oven). Enjoy!
cut out cookie recipe

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tips for helping your high potential child

One of my boys is considered "high potential." What is high potential? High potential is defined as a person (or child) with a high functioning aptitude or high intelligence quotient. This is something we've suspected for quite some time and it was only recently confirmed. I can distinctly remember his first Christmas when he was 8 months old, he got this really neat wooden shape-sorter. That kid opened the box and put those shapes into the correct places in a matter of a minute (and I'm not talking about circles and squares; like octagons and pentagons.) His thought processes have always been really literal and he is quite the perfectionist too. These are all signs of something "bigger" going on.

While registering him for Kindergarten the discussion of what the appropriate placement would be for him came up and we decided it would be in his best interest for us to dig a little deeper. Our school district has a wonderful program for high potential children and they offered some amazing suggestions that I wanted to share with you. I am taking this directly from their recommendations so please note that these are not my own personal thoughts, they are of a professional.

School recommendations:

1. Grouping your child in the classroom with other gifted students will enhance social interactions and stimulate creative and investigative skills of these intellectually bright students. Research indicates that grouping with children of like abilities leads to enhance self-esteem, cooperation skills and intellectual development.

2. Utilization of differentiated curriculum for the gifted child teaches the higher level concepts at a greater depth of understanding is recommended. In other words, challenge the child in higher levels of reading, math and learning topics at an accelerated pace.

3. Chess- yes, chess! This will encourage the child to tap into an interest but also continue to stretch their spatial relationship skills.

4. Encourage independent investigations in areas of interest or passions. It encourages them to share their knowledge with classmates and teachers and be encouraged to continue this exploratory nature within the school environment.

Parental recommendations:

1. Utilize Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding the Gifted Reader by Judith Halstead. This book provides a great resource for reading level and books that will spark imagination.

2. Understand and learn about overexcitabilities that accompany giftedness. There are five areas of over excitabilities (sensory, psychomotor, intellectual, imaginational, and emotional) that frequently accompany giftedness. The book Living with Intensity is a great resource.

3. Encourage work with mathematics and visual spatial skills. Map reading, manipulative math work and other possibilities will work on their math skills.

4. The book The Parents Guide to the Gifted Child by James Webb is a must have for parents of gifted children.

5. Watch for perfectionism. The book What to do When Good Enough Isn't Good Enough by Thomas Greenspon is a great resource to help deal with the intensity of perfectionism.

Monday, March 18, 2013

21 After Surgery Activities for Kids

If you've been paying attention to our social media over the last week, you know that both my daughter, Tottie, and Lindsi's daughter, Lil' Princess, had tonsillectomies last week. Tottie's was on Monday and Lil' Princess' was on Tuesday. Though neither daughter has been very perky, we have had to keep them occupied while they are to remain on the quiet side.  Here's some of the things we've done to keep our post-surgery kids from getting bored...
after surgery activities for kids
1)  Legos--What kid doesn't love them?  Buy a new set of Legos for after surgery and keep your child busy for hours.

2)  Glurch/Slime--This ooey, gooey stuff isn't messy at all but your kids will have fun thinking it is!

3)  Board games--When was the last time you played a board game?  Now's the time to have some fun with your kids playing the games you used to love.

4)  I spy bottles--We dusted off one of my girls' favorite toys AND made a new one!

5)  Make cards for other sick kids--Dust off your art supplies and make cards for friends or relatives who are sick.  You can also contact your local hospital to find out where to send general cards to kids in need.

6)  Make rainbows on the wall--Feeling down and cooped up?  Rainbows make anybody happy and it's fun to make them inside!

7)  Play on the iPad/tablet/computer--Find a new app or online game to play.

8)  Make paper beads--These beads are easy to make but take time.  Once they're dry, string them into a necklace.

9)  Water guns--For those stuck in the hospital for a bit, get some water guns and squirt the unexpecting nurses and doctors who walk into the room (I happen to be a pediatric nurse, trust me, we don't mind and we may just get you back!).

10)  Custom word search--Yes, you can make your own word search game!  Use words that relate to the surgery or any of your favorite topics.

11)  Play surgeon--If you're lucky enough (like we were) to take home a few hospital supplies after surgery, let your child practice on their dolls or stuffed animals.  If you're reading this before your child has surgery, ask if you can bring a few supplies home to play with.

make your own play dough12)  Play dough--An old fashion classic that is fun for all.

13)  Magic 8 Ball--Grab a magic 8 ball and ask it silly questions.  What is the answer?

14)  Scratch drawings--A new take on drawing.

15)  New books--Buy either new reading books, new activity books, or new puzzle books.

make your own snow globe 16)  Snow globes--It's fun and peaceful to watch the glitter float around in these globes.

17)  Puzzles--Pick a puzzle with more pieces and keep your child busy for longer.  Help out if it's too hard and have some fun of your own.

18)  Tissue paper flowers--Everyone loves flowers when they aren't feeling well.  Now you can make some that last as long as you need them to.

19)  Rent a new movie--You've got at lease 1.5 hours of entertainment when you rent a movie you've never seen.

boo boo bunny 20)  Email your relatives--Kids will love to email their relatives even if they don't know how to type.  Let them type any key on the keyboard to make "words" and "sentences" them ask them what they said to translate underneath.

21)  Don't forget, BooBoo Bunnies make EVERYTHING better!

What things have you done to keep your kids occupied when they've had to remain quiet for a few days?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pintrest Inspired St. Patty's Day Crafts

Because Jamie and I are busy taking care of our daughters this week (post surgeries) we are bringing you a week of fun Pintrest inspirations.

1. Shhhhh, don't tell but that's the shirt I made for my princess last year. She loves that festive shirt so much I thought I'd "re-share" it with you. Here's a link to the original post.
2.  What an incredibly cute St. Patrick's Day craft that will also double as a little writing exercise for the kids. You only need a few items and this craft is complete. Stop by Classroom DIY to see the instructions. 
3. Yup, another festive shirt. I'm partial to mine but this one had me debating which one I liked best. Just another EASY and fun way to make a St. Patty's Day shirt.
4. Making a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end of it is exactly what I think of when I think of St. Patrick's Day crafts. Here Come The Girls Blog shares with you how they did it and what they learned.
 5. Liluna shared step by step instructions for making this amazingly beautiful St. Patrick's Day banner. I have the perfect fireplace where this could hang. Pinned for next year indeed!
6. A fantastic Military Mom shared the green and rainbow inspirired shamrock she made with her kiddos for St. Patrick's Day. It's something you likely have all the "ingredients" for already.

7. Shamrock Printing is something I remember doing as a kid...and it's perfect because you likely still have out your heart shaped items from Valentines. All you need is a little green paint and some paper and you can make your own print!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pintrest Inspiration- St. Patty's Day Tasty Treats

Because Jamie and I are busy taking care of our daughters this week (post surgeries) we are bringing you a week of fun Pintrest inspirations.

1. How did we not think of this idea?!?! Shamrock green pepper snacks from Glorious Mischief . Hello, where have we been?
2. These Irish inspired hats have all the things necessary for eating...marshmallows, cookies and chocolate. Stop by The Cake Blog for instructions.

 3. Green pancakes for breakfast! Yup! I'm adding this one to my list indeed. Thoughtfully Simple came up with this one. I've done the pink heart shaped pancakes for Valentines but this one is awesome.
4.  You know how I feel about fun lunches if you have been reading our blog for more than a day. This one "takes the cake!" I think I am adding GlorysMischief to my "to read" list.
5. Um, yum....need I say more? Easy to make and it looks so incredibly good! My kids will devourer this for sure! Thanks for sharing this This Mama Loves.
6. Ok, now I have to bust out my ice cream maker machine....just to give these a try. Delicious doesn't even begin to describe how these cupcakes look. Bubbly Nature Creations shared these with the world and we're better because of it.
7. A time honored favorite. If memory serves me (and that's asking a lot) we've done this one before. It's always a "fan favorite" in our home. That sneaky leprechaun leaves these treat bags every year.
8. St. Patrick's Day Smoothies, with several different choices. There is sure to be a winner in this list for everyone. Thank you SuzieQTPieCafe for sharing these ones!
9. Another amazingly awesome lunch! I like to tell myself that I'm a little creative, but this I will admit, I would not have come up with on my own! Good thing Beneficial Bento was willing to share this one.
10. Last, but not least, My Baking Addiction whipped up some fun, festive, and green-inspired popcorn for her readers! Check it out!
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