Thursday, 10 May 2012

Mothers Day Gifts

Mothers Day Gifts - Family Trees

   With Mothers Day literally right around the corner, I wanted to do something special and unique for my Mother and Mother in Law.   I wanted something Personalized, unique and beautiful.  I loved the idea of a family tree but with a twist.  When I came across this and this, I figured I could Definitely tackle this.  It really only took a couple of hours to complete both.  The most difficult was finding a frame I loved. 


Hope this inspires you to pick up some scissors and glue and make something special for the mothers in your world.

Happy Mothers Day to all the selfless women who choose to put their children before themselves!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Pudding Pops - WW 1 +Pts

Pudding Pops - WW 1 +Points

   With summer just around the corner I'm excited to finally feel some heat again.  With that also comes all the wonderful and tempting ice creamy treats I find so hard to resist.  In order to control my waistline I've decided to make my own.  For only
1 point these really are sinfully delicious and with so many options to create and enjoy theres something for everyone. 

Start with the basic:  
      Chocolate or Vanilla
1 pkg Chocolate or Vanilla FAT FREE, sugar free, instant pudding mix.

2 cups 2% milk (word of caution if you try to save calories and use skim, 
they will have a more crystallized texture.)

Mix well, pour into molds, freeze - eat!  Easy Peasy

       If you like them to be even creamier use only 1 1/2 cups of milk and a 1/2 cup light vanilla yogurt.  Still only 1 point a piece.

If you don't like the idea of artificial sweeteners feel free to use reg instant pudding mixes.  The pudding pop are then 2 points each.   

Now for the fun of Variety: 

My fave - Orange Creamsicle:
1 pkg vanilla fat free instant pudding
1/2 cups  2%milk
1/2 cup Frozen orange Juice 

Lemon Raspberry:
In a small pot on Med, heat 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh raspberries till soft. add 1 
package of sweetener.
Puree in the blender and strain seeds, set aside to cool.

1 pkg lemon fat free instant pudding
1  1/2 cups  2% milk
1/2 cup cooled Raspberry puree

Strawberry Creamsicle
In a small pot on Med, heat 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh strawberries till soft. add 1 package of sweetener.
Puree in the blender and strain seeds, set aside to cool.

1 pkg vanilla fat free instant pudding
1/2 cups         2% milk
1/2 cup cooled strawberry puree

Pina Colada pops
1 pkg vanilla fat free instant pudding
1/2 cups         2% milk
1/2 cup pineapple juice 
2 Tbsp bits of crushed pineapple 
                                              1 tsp       coconut extract

Chocolate Mint
1 pkg Chocolate fat free instant pudding
1/2 cups  2%milk
1 tsp  mint extract

Banana Cream  
1 pkg Banana fat free instant pudding
2 cups 2%milk

Chocolate Orange
1 pkg Chocolate fat free instant pudding
1/2 cups  2%milk
1 tsp orange extract

The options are really endless.  Play around and make your own combinations.  I would love for you to Share your delicious creations. 


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Homemade Body Wash

Homemade Body Wash
  We all know that body wash is ridiculously expensive.  I'm sure we can also agree that it's one Luxury we simply can't live without. 

 I LOVE Dove, and that's what I would like to buy.  But a 12 oz (354ml) bottle at the grocery store sells for nearly $5,  so I buy whatever is on sale.  

Now after my recent success with my DIY Laundry Detergent, I was sure I could make it cheaper than that, and have the Dove brand that I covet.  
Lucky for me I found a great post via Pinterest 

 It's simple, it's easy and the result is fantastic! 
 It leaves your skin feeling silky and soft like Dove does and lathers like a dream. 
Smells fabulous too.

Here's the recipe…..

- 3 bars of dove soap grated (I went with Dove "go fresh" cause it smells amazing).

- 6 cups of water

Simply grate the bars of soap

Pour 6 cups  of hot water into a large 
pot and Add grated soap

On medium heat dissolve the soap untill it is a smooth consistency. Stirring ever now and then.   

Remove from heat and allow too cool. 
(Makes 7 cups)

                   Once cooled, pour into bottles for use.

One real test for me is the lather. I love me some bubbles.....

Passes with flying colours!

Now you can use any bar soap you choose.  Dove has a lot of moisturizer in it so 6 cups is the perfect amount of water needed.  With other soaps, 6 cups of water may be too thick so you may have to play around with the amount of water needed to get the desired consistency. 

Now comes my Favourite part…..the math. (seal clap) Not cause I enjoy numbers, but simply because I love seeing how much I can $ave.  

  • I got a 4 pack of the dove soap for $4.99 so that works out to $1.25/bar
  • 1 used 3 bars so that's $3.75
  • 6 cups of water - FREE
  • I filled 3 - 530ml  bottles from my old body wash so it works out to $1.25 for a 530ml (18 oz)  bottle
  •  But if you were to compare it to a 354ml Dove size bottle it's only $0.83 per bottle!!!

Ummmm Seriously???

 YES! Seriously.   A savings of $4 a bottle???  How can u justify NOT doing this?

Now share it with the World!!!

Happy Pinning!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Pita Pizza - 6+ pts

Pita Pizza - 6+ pts

 Being on weight watchers has taught me many things.  1, My cravings for pizza have not changed. 2. Justifying 7-10 points/ slice is hard to do, and 3. having only one slice just won't cut it. So I've learnt to improvise.  With this you can have a full 6 inch pizza and it's only 6+ points, without skimping out on the cheese.  How does she do it, u ask……… I'll share my secret.

- 1 WW whole wheat Pita

- 1 Tbsp sauce - (Tomato paste, BBQ, Salsa, you choose)

- 2 oz meat (I like to stick to Chicken or Turkey pepperoni)

- as much veggies as you would like (peppers, onion, spinach, mushroom the options are endless)

- 1 oz of Great value Italian Blend Cheese

Throw it all in the oven @ 350 for 10 mins and u have a little round of cheesy pizza heaven, without the guilt.

Now I'm not gonna lie, the crust isn't as soft and squishy as the "real" thing, but it fills my void.

Happy Pinning!

Saturday, 31 March 2012

ChocoBerry Bliss - 6+ WW points

ChocoBerry Bliss - WW 6 +Points

I recently jumped on the weight watchers band wagon. (applause) Thank you, thank you!  In doing so I've found pinterest to be an amazing source for recipes.  It was the dreaded dessert night tonight and I needed to find not only ingredients I had on hand but something tasty that wouldn't blow through too many points.   I was sifting through many recipes last night and just couldn't find what I was looking for.  I came across an ingenious pin that revealed to me that you can make a cake with diet soda in replacement of all the eggs, oil and water. Hmmmmm. I was intrigued…..but simple cake was not enough for me.  So, births the concoction that not only treats you to cake, chocolate and berries at an affordable ww point price but impressed the picky "I hate your diet food" eaters. Monster size pieces too!

ok I'm not gonna lie…..not exactly the prettiest cake, but seriously delicious!

6+ points
12 HUGE servings

1 boxed cake mix - any kind your prefer
1  1/4 cups - diet soda - any kind of your choosing
1 package - instant Chocolate pudding
2 cups - milk
1 cup - cool whip
3 cups - sliced strawberries
1 package - sugar free strawberry Jello
1  1/2 Cups - boiling water

Pour cake mix into mixing bowl.  Add the diet soda and blend well.  Pour into greased 8x13 pan and bake @ 350 for 20 mins. or until knife comes out clean.  Allow to cool.

Mix instant pudding powder and milk till well blended.  Allow to partially set then whisk in the cool whip.  Spread over top of cake and refrigerate to set. 

Dissolve sugar free Jello into your boiling water.  mix in strawberries and put in fridge to cool.  Once cool, pour over chocolate layer and refrigerate to set. (note: My berries look mushy in the final product, I cooked them on the stove to soften, then added them to the Jello.  You can make the executive decision - crispy or tender)

You can make this recipe even lighter if you so choose. Use fat free cool whip and Sugar free Pudding along with skim milk and it could cut it down a point or two.  I just worked with what I had on hand!  Hope you enjoy!

Happy Pinning!!!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

This post, by far, has me the most excited. I LOVE to save money. Some might even call be cheap, but in honesty it pains me to pay full price for things or continue to throw money away after my eyes have been opened to money saving ways.  I've seen tons of posts for homemade laundry detergent and I won't lie, I was very sceptical.  After doing the math, I couldn't help but try it out. It's Cheap, really cheap, simple and completely safe for HE machine use, with promises for great results.  So why not!!!
Let me start with the Math. (seal clap)  
This Fabulous Laundry detergent Costs $2.28 to make each recipe batch.  
Each recipe makes 3 gallons of Laundry Detergent. 
3 gallons of detergent is equivalent to 96 loads.  
So that works out to $0.02 per load ……..2 cents….. give that second to sink in.  
2 CENTS a load. Madness!!!  

<----- And for reference I typically use this.  which works out to $0.13 a load.  

Ok now that I've got you excited let's make some laundry detergent!

Laundry Detergent

1 bar Fels Naptha soap (you can use any other bar soap you want but this tends to work the best.  
And if using other bar soap - use 2 bars)
1-1/2 Borax
1-1/2 cups Arm and Hammer WASHING SODA - not baking soda
3 gallons of water   

Grate bar of soap

Throw grated bits into a LARGE stock pot and cover with 1 gallon of HOT water.  Heat on low until soap is fully dissolved.

Add another gallon of HOT water along with the washing soda and borax.  Mix well and bring to a boil. (this was the toughest part…. patience is highly overrated)

Add last gallon of COLD water and stir well.  Let cool Do Not Panic! Mixture will coagulate and become VERY thick.  If your mixture is too thick….add some more hot water to thin it out. Using a funnel pour into your containers. (I used Milk jugs for easy storage and pouring)  

Now your Detergent can be used immediately.  Use 1/2 cup per load or 1 cup for extremely dirty super capacity loads.  Just give it a good shake before use.

Do not be discouraged when it doesn't bubble (suds) in the machine, it won't.  It took me a while to wrap my head around it too….but bubbles do not equal clean.    This cleans wonderfully.  

Pair it with this Fabric Softener and you have a whole new Laundry Arsenal

Happy Pinning! 

Friday, 24 February 2012

Handmade Gel Air Fresheners

Handmade Gel Air fresheners

I love my house smelling fresh and love scented candles but have found leaving them burn most of the day has spiked my cats interest and has burned a few wiskers or two.  So when I stumbled onto this alternative I was excited!!! These gel air fresheners are the perfect solution…..and cheap too!

This little project is simple and quick. It took me a whole 5 minutes. First gather your supplies:

- 4 glass jar containers that can hold at least 1 cup of fluid
- 4 Packets of Knox unflavoured Gelatine
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup vodka or 1 Tbsp of salt
- 2 Tbsp of Fragrance oil of your choice 
- food colouring 

I found these, perfect for the job, at a dollar store ($1.25 a jar. SCORE!)

oh another handy tip,  To take stickers off with ease….simply use your hair dryer on high heat for a min or so and VOILA! they come off like magic!

Now plug in your electric kettle and get some water going

While waiting for your water to boil Place a few drops of food colouring in the bottom of each jar.  1 or 2 is all you need.
 Add 1/2 Tbsp or 30 drops of essential oil give or take. The more you put in the stronger the smell. I used Orange oil simply because I LOVE anything citrus.

If you're using vodka, add it to the food colouring mixture now, if using salt wait for further instruction.

Why add salt or vodka?  Apparently it helps the gel from holding fully. Odd but true!

your water should be boiling by now so pour 2 cups of boiling water into a glass bowl and whisk in the gelatine until fully dissolved. If you're using salt……here is the time to add it as well.  

Once your mixture is fully combined pour into your containers and mix in with a disposable plastic spoon.

Let these set overnight and in the morning you have wonderful little air fresheners.
Each jar should last about a month.

Happy Pinning!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Creative Consequences and Rewards

I was recently inspired by a article and it's creative consequences found here.  With 4 kids of my own ranging in ages from 7 - 12 the typical time out or grounding just wasn't having the same effect as I wanted it to anymore.  And grounding them for simply calling their sister a retard seemed a little overboard. So I needed something to fill the gaps.  Most of the time they simply need to diffuse themselves from the situation and focus their angry energy upon something else....not SOMEONE else.  So this article got the creative juices flowing.  Introducing our newest additions to the family......

 The Naughty Jar contains chores, acts of kindness and reminders for them.  When they do something unkind, hurtful, disrespectful, ext.. they must pick a task from the jar and they MUST complete it.  If they make a big fuss and refuse they get 2 tasks. If it carries on further they simply get grounded.  They are not all chores or what one might call an actual punishment, some are silly, some are just down right annoying, but it's a way to get them out of the situation and busy with something else.  So far it's working.

Below is a list of the many consequences of the Naughty jar...

Wipe down chairs and table legs
No friends inside
Clean kids bathroom
Go have a bath / shower
write and Sing your mom a song about what u did wrong
Clean Mom and Dad's shower
Give your siblings a hug and tell them why u love them
match socks :)
Write an apology letter
mom picks
empty the dishwasherPlay with sibling (NICELY) for 30 mins
Clean up backyard
Tidy Book Shelf
wash the durango
do 2 easy puzzles or 1 hard one
Clean out the durango
Mercy (look up in dictionary) - read Deuteronomy 4:31 
Clean your room
Forgive (dictionary) - read Matthew 6: 14-15
Watch Barney videos for 10 mins
Anger - Ephesians 4: 31-32  / Psalm 103: 8-10 / Provebs 16: 32
clean microwave
Obedience (dictionary) - John 15: 10-12 / Colossians 3: 20
Read for 15 mins
Compassion (dictionary) - 1 Peter 3: 8 / Hebrews 13: 3
clean the front door 
got to bed 30 mins early
Clean basement
Be the server at dinner today (must set table and all condiments and such)
No video games today
draw and colour a picture of you doing something kind for a sibling
brush both cats

There definitely has been less fighting around here. Within a week my 9 year old son made an acute observation that if we are being "punished" for our bad actions shouldn't we be "rewarded" for the good we do.  I can't fully argue with that theory. However I don't want them to get the idea that they will we rewarded for every good deed they do. Or that they should only do kind things if they expect something in return.   So I agreed and set up a "Nice" jar.  I, as I am sure most parents, want my children to grow up being thoughtful, kind, helpful and generous. Although sometimes they need a little incentive to get their minds thinking that way. The nice jar is a great reminder.  I explained that these are random act that will be rewarded. Not ones in an attempt to gain a reward.  When they go out of their way to to do something kind, helpful, generous or thoughtful and expect nothing in return they may have the opportunity to be rewarded.  And you won't ALWAYS get one.  They can't come and tell me they've done something kind to get rewarded they must do it because they want to help someone out, make someones life a wee bit easier or brighten someones day.  If I notice the kind gesture or act of goodwill or helpful nature I will choose to validate by praise and on occasion they get to pick from the Nice jar.

Here is the list of "Rewards" I came up with 

get extra dessert on dessert night

Stay up 15 mins past bed time

pick from treat bag (treat bag is pilled with chocolate bars)

bake with Mom - u choose

free back massage
Mom must play a game with you of your choice
have a hot chocolate date with Mom or Dad
snuggle time while we watch any show u choose
pick supper one night
Pick dessert for dessert night
free pass - Mom cleans your room
Make Jello
stay up 30 mins past bedtime
Mom picks
1 extra snack in lunch
Free pass on Litter duty
camp out in the basement / outside
have a picnic
Take a cat to bed with you
Water balloons 
everyone plays Charades (15 mins)
30 mins extra electronics time
free pass on making your bed

The kids really do make bigger attempts to be helpful and thoughtful now.   It's a very welcomed change.  I'm not gonna lie, whether u feel it's bribery or not, it's brought a new sense of compassion to my home.  It may be somewhat false in the beginning but they more they're thinking about doing things for others, the more it becomes second nature.
Happy Pinning!!!

Cheap, Easy Fabric Softener

I found this pin promising fabulous laundry results with little effort and cost.  How cheap you ask?  How Easy?   Well it is quite the commitment to take on this project.  It Took me a whole 5 mins! My math to figure out costs took longer than the making of the actual fabric softener.  We're talking about mixing 4 ingredients at a total cost of $2.62 for 44 loads.  Yep, that works out to only $0.06 / load.   CRAZY right!  How could I not try this out.  So here it is....

Homemade Fabric Softener:
- 6 cups of hot water
- 2 cups of conditioner (white / non dyed preferred)
- 3 cups of vinegar
10-15 drops of essential oils of your choice (optional if your conditioner has a strong enough scent)

 mix conditioner and hot water in large bowl till conditioner is dissolved completely - Add vinegar. 
 It will break apart and look very clumpy, I had to break out my wisk. Add you scent

 pour and store in container of choice. (I just went with a empty clean milk jug)
Now you can use your fabric softener 3 different ways. 
1 - give it a swirl and simply pour 1/4 cup for a reg load (or 1/2 cup for an extra large load) in your dispenser as u typically would
2 - you can put it in a spray bottle and spritz it on a washcloth and throw it in the dryer with your load
3 - you can soak a washcloth in the softened, take it out and let it dry.  Then use it the same as u would a dryer sheet

It leaves your clothes soft, smelling fresh, and static free.  I'm never going back

In the dryer months if you feel you still have static issues, throw in a wadded up ball of Tin foil into your dryer.   It helps dissipate the charge given off by the dryer. 
Happy Pinning!!

River Rock Hot Plate

I found this beautifully genius idea for DIY hot plates.  It was honestly just a backdrop to an Etsy Teapot for sale but I thought...HA! I can do that.  Obviously it came with no instructions but hard could it be.

This is the original..
 Pretty right, and simple enough for even me to tackle.  So I made a trip to the local dollar store and grabbed me some grey felt (3 sheets / $1)  and some relatively flat river rocks ($1/ bag) score!

I gathered all my supplies.  Scissors, glue gun, rocks, felt and Old scratched up CD's to put between the felt to keep it stiff and not floppy.  I have my moments of brilliance! :)

So I go ahead and hot glue the CD to a piece of felt, and cut around it leaving about a half inch extra felt all the way around to seal the two sides together. 

Then using the cover CD and a guide I cut another piece of felt to glue to the top side of the CD

Next you simply pick out the flattest rocks from and begin glueing from the centre outward.

Keep going till you have the whole round covered

Looks great, felt smooth and flat and I was proud of my small accomplishment.  I'm not gonna lie I was excited to give it a try at supper that night and we did!  It was pretty.....I'll give it that but functional ....not so much.  It felt flat and level but I'm not sure it was level enough.  It was slippery, the glass bottom pyrex kept slipping off, the baking stone however sat better.  Being the borderline genius that I am, I however failed to realize that if Hot glue is warmed to melt and stick things can also be warmed to unstick.  lol  A few rocks did fall off.  I'm thinking I may try a different glue for the rocks.  Or just stick to the boring wooden hot plates I already have.  
Happy Pinning!