Working Mom to Homemaker

Embracing The Change

Fast Food Fake Out

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I can’t speak for all parents out there, but Ben and I aren’t real big on our kids eating too much fast food, despite us eating it a lot. Quite frankly, old habits are hard to break and we’ve fallen into the habit of eating fast food before we had kids. We are doing better though! Luckily, Jared prefers fruit and veggies over the fast food anyway, but he’s to the age now, that when he sees the take out bags, he wants fries, chicken nuggets, or parts of our sandwiches, just because it came from somewhere else. It was getting to the point that bringing home the bags of food for Ben and I, then fixing Jared a separate meal, wasn’t cutting it, so I came up with a plan.

We saved a couple of the Subway Kids Meal bags from a previous meal trip, and before Ben leaves to pick up the food, we make Jared a PB&J and stick it in a sandwich bag to place into the Subway Kids Meal bag. Then we’ll add some sort of fruit to it and maybe another side. Ben sneaks the little bag of food we prepped with him when he leaves. When Ben gets home with our food bag, he pulls out Jared’s bag and Jared is nothing more than excited to take his food out of the bag that he thinks came from where ever we got our food. Normally we’ll add a small amount of french fries from our stash to Jared’s plate, and we’ll pour his milk like any normal dinner night, but there’s always the option of figuring out a way to pre-pack a drink too.

I know this won’t work for older kids, because they obviously will know the food didn’t come from a fast food joint, but we will be trying this gag until Jared finally catches on. 🙂 It’s a money saver too!

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December 27, 2012 Posted by | ALL THINGS KIDS | Leave a comment

Cinnamon Roll Casserole

For years, it’s been a Christmas tradition to make Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast and either eat them after presents, during presents or before presents. They’re filling enough and just the right food to go with a nice cup of warm Wassail. But this year, I decided to try a new recipe I found on Pinterest. Cinnamon Roll Casserole. It looked easy, delicious and seemed like a good variation to our normal traditions. When I made this, I prepped it the night before, but I put the cut up Cinnamon Rolls into one container and mixed the liquid ingredients in another container. Come Christmas morning I just dumped, poured and baked. I have to say, it was an easy recipe and was quite delicious, BUT since this is a casserole, I could taste the slight egg flavor in it. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t something I could eat a lot of either. The original recipe also calls for pecans and maple syrup, neither of which I like, so I didn’t add them. Overall, I’d give this recipe a thumbs up and it’s worth a try!

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Actual Pinterest Link

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter or baking spray
  • 2 cans (12.4 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2  teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2  teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped Pecans
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
             Garnish:
  • Icing from cinnamon rolls
  • Maple syrup (if desired) –I found it was sweet enough without it.
Directions:
  • Heat oven to 375°F. Pour melted butter into ungreased 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish.
  • Separate both cans of dough into 16 rolls; set icing aside. Cut each roll into 8 pieces; place pieces over butter in dish.
  • In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Beat in cream, cinnamon and vanilla until well blended; gently pour over roll pieces. Sprinkle with pecans; drizzle with 1/4 cup syrup.
  • Bake 20 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Meanwhile, remove covers from icing; microwave on Medium (50%) 10 to 15 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle.
  • Drizzle icing over top.  If desired, spoon syrup over individual servings.

December 27, 2012 Posted by | Breakfast, Breads & Muffins | Leave a comment

The Polar Express

Jared loves the movie Polar Express. We introduced it to him last Christmas and the kid watched it through Summer. One night, while I was trying to sleep and my mind was going a million different directions, I got the idea to take Jared and Alexis to see the Festival of Lights. It was something I had done has a kid and figured that at least Jared was old enough to enjoy them now. As I thought about it, I really got into the idea of making it a huge event for him.

I’ve heard of people making their children movie tickets and having a “movie night” at home. The Festival of Lights was kind of like going to a movie, in a way. So why not call our family van “The Polar Express” for a night and making Jared his own train ticket? The idea just kept growing, but the time before Christmas kept getting smaller. So on a whim, this morning, I told my Ben we should do the outing tonight. He agreed and we went to work on creating the ticket.

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We have also started the Elf On The Shelf tradition this year, and Jared kind of gets it. He knows not to touch “Thomas” the Elf, and he knows that “Thomas” is watching him and talking to Santa. So we figured to make things more realistic for him, we’d have “Thomas” holding the ticket to the Polar Express. Then we would explain to Jared that we would go for a ride in the van Polar Express to see Santa’s Christmas lights.

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We waited until Jared took his nap, then put the ticket with “Thomas.” When Jared woke up, he saw the ticket and we explained it all to him. He was very excited! When it was time to go, Ben stood by the van door with a hole punch and called out, “All Aboard!” Jared went to his side of the van, and Ben punched a couple of holes in his ticket, just like the movie. Jared was so thrilled! To add to it, we brought the movie Polar Express to play in the van on the hour drive to our destination. When the hot chocolate scene came on in the movie, we gave Jared his sippy cup of Hot Chocolate. It was pretty cute, because the conductor in the movie asked all the kids, “Who wants refreshments?” Jared raised his had along with the kids in the movie. He was so excited he nearly jumped out of his seat. If he got that excited over hot chocolate, how was you going to be at the light show??

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Once we got to the entrance, Jared was in awe. (And so was Ben, this being his first time as well.) It was an hour-long with a lot of amazing lights. All of us had a blast. When it was over, Jared was upset, but we told him we needed to punch his ticket again, like the movie did. I punched a few more holes in his ticket and then gave him and Alexis each a small gift that Ben bought at the Dollar store.

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All in all, the trip was a huge success!!…until we got home. Even though it was only about an hour passed bedtime, Jared was tired and throwing a fit because he didn’t want the fun to end. After a half hour of “Toddlerness” Jared was in bed and asleep, Alexis was asleep and Ben and I could relax and enjoy the fact that our idea was well received! We may even make this a tradition, until the kids get too old course.

December 16, 2012 Posted by | ALL THINGS KIDS | 1 Comment

Recipes for 4 Main Cleaners

I’ve tried all kinds of store bought cleaners and in reality, they all kind of suck. Plus they are over priced. When I found this link on Pinterest, I was stoked. I made all four of these and couldn’t be happier with the results. It’s also much cheaper than buying cleaners off the shelf in the stores! Being on one income, we have to save money however we can.

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Actual Pinterest Link

For the recipes I’m giving in this post, you’ll need the below items. You can find all of these at your local supermarket or health food store or you can grab them from Amazon. I’ve included links to the amazon pages.

– Castile Soap – An all-natural soap that’s surprisingly strong. A few drops go a long way. We like the lavender scent, but they have others available.

– Lavender Oil – A natural anti-bacterial oil that smells wonderful.

– Tea Tree Oil – A natural oil that cleanses and disinfects.

– Washing Soda – Sodium Carbonate which is just a strong base that works great as a laundry detergent. It has a million uses around the house.

Mixing the Solutions. If you’re going to do this, definitely buy new, clean plastic bottles. Don’t use old bottles as the trace chemicals in them might react badly.

Also, I’d recommend getting some labels because while they are all different, these solutions all look a bit similar.

 

Lavender Anti-Bacterial Spray

– 1 Cup water
– 20 drops lavender essential oil

 

All-Purpose Cleaner (Watch out for a reaction! It will bubble a lot.)

– 3 Tablespoons vinegar
– 1/2 Teaspoon washing soda
– 1/2 Teaspoon castile soap
– 2 Cups hot water

 

Grease Cutter 

– 2 Cups water
– 1/4 Cup castile soap
– 10 drops lavender oil

 

Bath, Sink, Tile Cleaner (Again, watch out for some bubbling.)
NOTE: Ideally, mix this one in a SQUIRT bottle, not a SPRAY bottle. It’s pretty thick and almost a paste.

– 2/3 Cup baking soda
– 1/2 Cup castile soap
– 2 Tablespoons vinegar
– 1/2 Cup water
– A few drops of Tea Tree oil

December 5, 2012 Posted by | CLEANING | Leave a comment

Laundry Detergent Recipe

With a Toddler who still has accidents in his pants and a baby who spits up like no other, I feel I have done more laundry in the last 6 months than I have done in my whole life! Laundry detergent is not cheap. We use coupons when we can and although we had a nice stock pile of laundry soap, that went real fast. I found this powder recipe to be a lot cheaper and last a lot longer. In my picture it shows that one batch filled up my plastic container as well as 2 other emptied (and cleaned) laundry soap jugs. I made this recipe mid September. It’s now December and I am just now to the last 5 or so scoops in the clear container. I haven’t even touched the stuff from the soap jugs yet. 🙂

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Actual Pinterest Link

1 4 lb 12 oz box Borax (2.15 kg or 76 oz) found in the detergent isle

 

1 4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (1.81 kg) found in the cooking isle

 

1  box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz (3 lb 7 oz) found in the detergent isle

 

3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap, found in the detergent isle (if you use Zote bars use 2 bars instead, Zote can be found at Home Depot)

 

2 small containers of Oxy Clean or store brand Oxy Clean (try to get about 3.5 lbs total (1.58 kg)) found in the detergent isle.
(this is optional, I added it into mine because I have pretty messy kids and the cleaner the better)

You should be able to find all of these items at your grocery store.

**Use 1-2 Tablespoons per load. I know that does not seem like enough but this recipe does not have fillers like the store bought detergent so you only need 1-2 Tablespoons.**

This detergent is fairly mild smelling, it is not over powering. If you love a strong scent you may have to add a fabric softener or laundry crystals to each load. You can find laundry crystals in the detergent isle.

Start out by grating your Fels-Naptha soap just like cheese. You can use a food processor or just use your hand held grater, what ever you have. Those of you with an HE washer may want to run the mix through the grater again to get an even finer mix.
**Don’t worry the Fels-Naptha will dissolve in your washer even if you only use cold water like me.**
Toss all ingredients in a 5 gallon bucket lined with a garbage bag. This part makes your whole house smell great. Once everything is mixed store soap however you like. The recipe makes about 2 gallons worth of detergent.

December 5, 2012 Posted by | CLEANING | 2 Comments

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