Child Passenger’s Bill of Rights on a Plane


Having traveled many times with my little one, from 10 months of age to date (3.5 years old), being knowledgeable about the safety standards of the car seat, and the FAA regulations has saved me from passing off my seat to be tossed in the belly of the aircraft. When a car seat is “checked in,” it is taken with the luggage. If you have watched the ramp agents load the aircrafts, you probably know it all gets tossed onto belts, and tossed into the belly of the aircraft. I doubt most rampers that handle baggage suddenly look at the carseat, and know to handle it with care. Cracked EPS foam renders the seat useless, and remember, we are putting our littles in them to save them from being (fatally) injured in an accident.

Originally posted on The Car Seat Lady:

For more information, see the following FAA documents pertaining to traveling by plane with children in car seats.

Regulatory Requirements Regarding Accommodation of Child Restraint Systems

FAA Advisory Circular: Use of Child Restraint Systems on Aircraft

If you had a bad experience on a flight, let the FAA know – click here.

If you purchased a ticket for your child, you are entitled to use your child’s car seat.  

FAA sticker on a car seat (will ALWAYS be in RED)

FAA sticker on a car seat (will ALWAYS be in RED)

No airline may “prohibit a child from using an approved CRS (Child Restraint System) when the parent/guardian purchases a ticket for the child.” (Section 10-d, page 7)

If your car seat does not fit in your child’s assigned airplane seat, the airline has to try to find a different airplane seat that will accommodate the car seat.

“No aircraft operator may prohibit a child from using an approved CRS when the parent/guardian…

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Amazing Orthotic Helmet Artistry

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©Lazardo Art

Rarely do I come across something that absolutely blows my mind and leaves me in a state of awe. As some know, my youngest Son Hurricane was born with a Congenital Cranial Malformation called Plagiocephaly and Torticollis. There are other medical conditions that could require infants, children or adults to benefit from the use of a cranial helmet as well.

In a Nutshell, Plagiocephaly is a condition where there is flattening of a babys head. Often when there is a flat spot on a babys head, the head will have a protrusion on the other side of the head. Plagiocephaly can have effects on the head beyond just the shape of the head which can include dental structure, ear concerns, ocular concerns or any number of other concerns. Torticollis is a condition where the babys neck muscle is short on one side causing the babys head to be tipped/turned/tilted abnormally. Torticollis and Plagiocephaly go hand in hand.

When Hurricane was delivered we heard all kinds of scary terms being thrown around the operating room like “Malformed” “Deformities” and it was very upsetting because I/We couldn’t see what was happening. Once we were able to see what was going on we were told that Hurricanes head was malformed as a result of Eclipse (Baby B) being positioned in the Frank Breach position and sitting on the back of his head from 22 weeks and on during the pregnancy. We weren’t given terminology for his head being misshapen. Around 3 weeks old while going thru photos of Hurricane on the computer I noticed he was always in the same position and I thought it was peculiar. I began trying to gently turn his head and his range of motion was very limited and it seemed like his head had an “AutoReturn” because his head always immediately returned back to the same position. We ended up seeing a specialist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and going thru Physical Therapy from about 6 weeks old to 8 months old. I was told to avoid laying him on his head, so I held him all the time in addition to his Physical Therapy and his at home therapy. He was a candidate for a Cranial Orthotic Helmet. This idea was something that really bothered me because I knew people would stare at him and wonder what was “wrong” with him and I didn’t want my child to experience that type of thing regardless of whether he was capable of remembering it or not. In the long run he ended up not needing to be fitted for a helmet but we still continue with the stretching to help maintain a good range of motion for him.

Today a friend shared something with me on Facebook that I thought was absolutely amazing and think every parent facing the possibility of having their child needing an orthotic helmet should know about. Her name is Paula Strawn of Lazardo Art. She is an absolutely amazing artist with talent that is truly, just Wow. You really must see what she is doing to truly appreciate her work. Not only is her artwork beautiful, vibrant…did I say amazing already? But she isn’t limited to just painting helmets, she also paints other medical devices such as Leg Braces too. With talent like hers, the sky really is the limit. What better way to take a clinical looking device and personalizing it. She has been doing this for 12 years now and has painted somewhere in the range of 1300 helmets. Her turn around time is exceptional as well. Knowing the sensitive nature of cranial formation, she is able to receive the helmet, paint it and have it returned to the family in just 2-3 days. That is a sign of a truly talented artist.

Please visit her website at Lazardo Art to see more of her talent and be sure to stop by Lazardo Art Facebook Page and see what she is working on next.

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Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland ©Lazardo Art

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©Lazardo Art

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Lego Star Wars ©Lazardo Art

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Snoopy ©Lazardo Art
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©Lazardo Art

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©Lazardo Art

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©Lazardo Art

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©Lazado Art

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©Lazardo Art

Handmade Dia De Los Muertos Pendant

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Everyone who knows me, knows I love Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)  which is traditionally celebrated (on November 1st and 2nd) in many Latin Countries to honor and celebrate the lives of relatives and ancestors who have passed on from this earth.

This Clay Pendant is something new that I have been working on. I’m not entirely sure I am pleased with the outcome (which naturally means I will end up making many more of these until I am satisfied).

Its made of Natural Terra Cotta Colored Clay (not Polymer Clay), hand stamped and detailed using powdered Pigments and sealed.

Id love to hear any feedback you may have. :)

Bunny Rabbit Pins

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This year we have been doing a lot of Do It Yourself Projects and finding lots of new fun things to keep myself and the kids occupied with different activities throughout the week. Bunny pins is one of those projects. Even better that I decided to do it before Easter (and not after, sometimes I procrastinate). It was fairly easy.

Supplies Needed:

Annie’s Honey Bunny Grahams
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Acrylic Craft Paint

Paint Brush

Mod Podge or Another Sealer

Hot Glue Gun

Pin Latch or Glue on Bail
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Paint your Graham Cookies. I began by first painting a coat of paint on the back of the cookie and allowing it to dry completely. Then I painted the front side of the cookie, twice. I allowed it to dry before applying the second coat. One thing I do want to point out is that if you hold on to a wet portion of the cookie, it will start to melt in your fingers. Try to avoid touching the cookie while its wet with paint.

Decorate the cookie with contrasting designs of your choosing. Allow it to dry completely.

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Once everything is dry, coat the front side of the cookie with Mod Podge and allow to dry completely before sealing the backside.

Once dry, apply a thin strip of Hot Glue to the back side of the cookie and attach your pin closure. Allow Hot Glue to dry completely.

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And Enjoy!

Easter Bunny Napkin Holders

This year Easter 2014 falls on Sunday April 20th.
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Growing up, my parents always made Holidays special around our house. Easter was no exception. My mom decorated our house with lots of expensive decor and everything was so  beautiful. She has passed many of old family decorations on to me. I, however, find alot of these things to be irreplaceable and I like keeping them stored safely away from two rambunctious 4 year olds and a boisterous 3 year old. So I’ve made it my mission to decorate (with their assistance) using things that I wouldnt be crushed over if it got broken. Like toilet paper rolls.

One of our recent project has been Bunny Napkin Holders for the dinner table. And we made them out of empty toilet paper holders.

Supplies Needed:

•Empty Toilet Paper Rolls
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•Sheet of White Paper
•Pink Sheet of Paper
•Stampin’ Up Petal Card Punch (you can draw your ears on paper and cut them out if you don’t have this punch)
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•Googly Eyes (or you can paint your eyes on)
•Acrylic Craft Paint (I used Walmarts cheapest paint .57¢ a bottle)
•Paint Brush
•Paper Towel
•Black Sharpie
•Accessories to decorate your Bunny
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Save your empty toilet paper rolls. Make sure you pick off any rubbery adhesive or bits of toilet paper stuck to the glue on the toilet paper roll. Take your choice of acrylic paint and apply two coats of paint to the toilet paper roll, allowing each coat of paint to dry between coats. Be sure to paint the circular edge and set it on top of your paper towel to dry (I found it was a bit of a pain if you paint both ends and set it on the paper towel…it will stick to the paper towel and you’ll get stuck picking lint/paper towel bits off your Bunny. So paint one end and let it dry before flipping it over and painting the other side). You can paint as much of the inside of the roll as you would like. I paint the inside of the rolls because I can be a bit of a perfectionist at some things. If you do paint the insides, be sure the paint on the outside of the roll is fully dry (or you end up with a squishy wet mess). While paint is drying you can cut/punch  out the ears for the bunny. And glue the inner section of the ear to the outter section of the ear (see photo above). Glue googly eyes on. Draw your nose, whiskers and teeth on the bunnys face. Use white acrylic craft paint to make the teeth white. Once the inside of your toilet paper has dried, you can glue your bunny ears on to your roll. I then glued little felt flowers with Rhinestones and bows onto my bunnies. You can go back with your marker and make sure the white paint for the teeth hasn’t overlapped the lines and clean it up a bit with your marker if you need to.

*Alternatively, you can make your toilet paper roll into a chick if you paint it yellow and cut out an orange diamond shape (fold it in half to make a beak) and draw some feet on orange paper and cut them out and glue them on.

If you are anything like me and my crafty quartet, you probably now have more Napkin Holders than napkins. Enjoy!

40+ Easter Inspired Nail Art Designs

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This year (2014) Easter falls on April 20th, giving plenty of time to get practicing on some hot Easter Inspired Nail Art Designs. Here are some of my favorites…

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Easter & Spring Activities for Kids

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Easter Sunday (2014) is on April 20, 2014 this year. Good Friday (2014) is on April 18, 2014. This year it falls later in the year than it does most years. Easter always falls between March 22nd and April 25th.

So, you have a little time to prepare…or if you are like me, plenty of time to start a project that you will ultimately finish on the Eve of Easter.

Here are a few ideas that I thought were fun…

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Minion Eggs

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Printable Easter Baskets – You can paint, color, add stickers, or use the link below to print and decorate and glue on.

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Stickers to Decorate your Easter Basket – If you print these on Paper, you can glue them to the Easter Basket (link above) as a non-adhesive sticker (or you can print them on adhesive paper for read stickers)

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Easter Egg Coloring Sheet

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Rabbit Coloring Page

Fun Day of the Dead Activities (Dia De Los Muertos)

Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead is a celebration and rememberance of the lives of those who have passed on. It is celebrated November 1st and 2nd.

Click HERE to learn more about Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

I love Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I mean, absolutely LOVE IT! So naturally, fun crafts and activities are always a bonus!
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Day of the Dead Calavera Mask -Really cute and colorful

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Printable Jar and Candle Wraps – I have loads of Mason Jars and that I am definitely planning to do this with.

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Dia De Los Muertos Coloring Sheets

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Day of the Dead Sun Catchers – Another cute idea. I haven’t done this one yet, but there are a bunch of variations you could do with this. You can cut the skull out of Cardboard/Cardstock and use tissue paper
on the backside if you have smaller kids working on this project.

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Dia De Los Muertos Paper Box – This one is a really cute craft project. My daughter (12 yrs old) made a hand full of these for Halloween last year and gave them out to her friends with candy inside of them. We printed them on Cardstock Paper.

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Dia De Los Muertos Skull Coloring Sheet

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Owl Coloring Sheet

A little background on Owls and Why I included an Owl Set of Coloring Sheets – Not that owls necessarily apply to Dia De Los Muertos but often have tributing factors in many cultures…and I really like owls too.

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Make your own Day of the Dead Stamp using a potato. Use Paint for Ink.

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Paint your own Dia De Los Muertos rocks for your rock garden.

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Make your own Day of the Dead Masquerade Mask out of a paper plate.

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Decorate, Paint and Carve your uncut leftover Halloween Pumpkin into a super neat Dia De Los Muertos decoration.

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Great Project for a wire art enthusiast. These would make really neat necklaces if they had ribbon attached.

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Make Clay ornaments, use a paper clip to install a hook in the clay. Follow directions on your clay for hardening it. Decorate and display them.

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Give old flower pots a fresh new look with some paints!

Funky St Patricks Day Make Up

Lately I have been really digging on fun, new ideas and trying different things. I thought it might be fun to try some spunky make up ideas. These are just a small sampling of ideas I love for St Patricks Day.

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(Probably the only design I would be able to recreate)

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And just one more St Patricks Day Nail design idea.

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Fun St Patricks Day Treats

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Rainbow Swirled Cupcakes

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Leprechaun Hat Smores

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Rainbow Pot ‘O’ Gold Cake Pop Tutorial

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Irish Cream Fudge Cupcakes

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Pot of Gold Irish Potato Soup
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Zestuous Spinach Cups – These I have not tried yet…but they look amazing, look easy enough I can do it and looks like something everyone would eat here. I can’t wait to try these!

Irish Colcannon Recipe

8 Traditional Irish Meal Ideas

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Irish Corn Muffins – I love bread…of any kind. These look delightful.

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Fun, No Brainer Drink idea for St Patricks Day. Instead of artificial coloring for ice, juices could be used as much as possible.

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Cute Clover Cookie decorating idea.

I personally LOVE cake pops. I just can’t decorate one and make it look like it was decorated by an adult. But maybe you can…or maybe you’re a bit like me and are willing to try something atleast once.
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I really love this one. It looks relatively easy.
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Or maybe cake is more your thing? Some lovely cakes…

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Turning an Old Pallet into a New Door

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Hallway side of the door
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I love unique and one of a kind things, so naturally Pinterest would be a place of inspiration (and maybe a little envy) for me. I admit, I do have quite a few “Dream” boards filled with stuff I love, but probably will never have. Many involve Pallets and other Upcycled items.

Those who know me, know my house is one of those unique, one of a kind, older than your great grandma type of things. And with old houses comes, old things (and alot of unusual one of a kind issues like odd sizes, etc).

Hubby finally agreed to do one of these projects, which really made my day. I was getting something from one of my fantasy Pinterest Boards!

This is what we were working with. A Slatted old door.
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We first took down the old door, removed all of the hardware and pulled out all of the slat boards from the center of the door.

We used two different methods when we removed the old paint from the door. On one side we sanded the door (which took…FOREVER!) and the other side we used an Orange Based Finish Stripper and lifted all of the paint off. It was a much quicker process.

Once all of the paint was removed from the door, we sanded the door. We worked our way thru the Grits starting at 80 and went to a finer 220 Grit.

We measured the inside of the foor frame and began to cut Pallet Boards. All of the boards were sanded begining at 80 and working our way down to 220. Our biggest goal was ensueing that there would be no splinters or jagged edges.

We stained the Boards and the door Frame using Minwax in Mahogany for the color, allowing the stain to set for 15 minutes before wiping excess off with a clean, lint free rag.
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We used a thin strip of Trim board and made angled corners on the board so the coners would meet together properly. We installed the strip using Power Grab caulking. We ensured it was secure by adding sone finishing nails to it. We turned the door over and began laying the pallet boards into the opening for them. We did quite a bit of arranging and rearranging of the boards to get them to fit together snugly and with the smallest amount of gaps as possible. We then places the trim boards on this side of the door and secured it with more Power Grab Caulk and finishing nails.
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The proximity of the door know hole was going to interfere with the trim board so we ended up cutting a small area of the trim board out so the door knob would fit snug and secure where it was supposed to be.
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We allowed the door to sit on our enclosed porch for about a week to help outgas some of the stink from the wood stain before we installed the hardware and rehung the door.

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Before (with a standard panel door)
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Hallway side of the door
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HUGE improvement from this:
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Ding Dong Recipe

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Who doesn’t love those delicious little fat and calorie filled discs of chocolate wrapped in the worlds crappiest foil?

Chocolate Ding Dongs (Spool Cakes)
1 Cup of Flour
1/4 Cup of Cocoa Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
6 Tablespoons Softened Butter (3/4 of a Stick)
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup of Milk

Preheat your oven to 350°
Spray your Ding Dong Pan with Cooking Spray (I use Olive Oil Spray)

In a Medium bowl combine Flour, Cocoa, Baking Power, Baking Soda and Salt.

In Large Bowl beat Butter and Sugar with an Electric Mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add Vanilla and mix well. Add Flour Mixture in thirds alternating with milk, beat well after each addition. Fill cavities 2/3rds full.

Bake for 17 to 19 Minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. All to cool completely. I am using a Spool Cake Pan. You can use either a Spool Cake Pan or even a Muffin Pan (your Ding Dongs will be tapered).

4 Tablespoons Softened Butter (1/2 Stick)
1 Cup Confectioners Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1-2 Teaspoons Milk

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until well mixed, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add Vanilla and Milk and beat until Light and Fluffy.

Cut a small hole in the bottom of the cake being careful not to cut all the way to the bottom. Save the portion of the cake you pull out to close the hole up after you have filled each cake. Spoon or pipe filling into cake. (Using a cake piping tip and bag would make this much easier. In a pinch you could use a ziplock bag and clio the corner off). Take the remaining bit of cake and place it back into the hole with the filling. You can trim it down sone so that it doesn’t squish any of the filling out.
BetsyLife gives a great example on how to cut out the bottom of the mini cake.
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1 Package (12 OZ) of Dark Cocoa Candy Melts
2 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

Melt candy in a double boiler. Add the oil and stir completely together. You can pour the glaze over the cakes on a cookie sheet and tap the cookie sheet to even the glaze out. I lay my cakes on a sheet of wax paper. It makes peeling the cakes off easier. I scrape off any glaze and remelt it.

Makes 12 Ding Dongs

I highly recommend quadrupling the recipe and buying a gym membership. They are pretty tasty.

Like this? Check out the Twinkie Recipe!

12 Wild St Patricks Day Nail Designs

Do you ever really need to have a reason to have fabulous nails? I think not. I really am digging these designs. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do.

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St. Patricks Day Freebies and Activities

St. patricks Day isn’t usually a day we celebrate at our home. We arent Irish. But we are feeling festive and we tend to have way too much fun exploring new and fun ways to introduce our kids to the cultures of other people and thought St. Patricks day would hold some enjoyable activities for us. We will be just focusing on the creative arts aspect of St Patricks Day on this post (otherwise I tend to get really carried away). Since I have been trying to do one activity with my ‘Littles’ each day, we are making it more like St Patricks Week. Why not? Surely there is more to it than just green cupcakes and shamrocks!

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St Patricks Day Stained Glass Rainbow
This is such a cute idea and can be virtually used for any holiday!

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St Patricks Day Leprechaun Handprint Craft

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Sparkly St Patricks Dough – This literally has loads of alternatives that you could do on your own. I’m not fond of glitter but maybe if its nice out, this could be an out door project for us!

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Confetti Rainbow Shamrocks – I pretty much feel the same way about Confetti as I do Glitter, but I can see this being atleast an hours worth of outdoor fun play.

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Button Rainbows

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Rainbow Wands

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Sprouts Sponge

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Leprechaun Handprints (a bit different than the one above)

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Mini Marshmallow Rainbows

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Handprint Pot of Gold

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Shamrock Noodle Necklace

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St Patricks Day Word Search (Grader School Readers)

St Patricks Word Search (Level Easy)

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St Patricks Day Boggler Puzzle

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St Patricks Day Maze (Level Difficult)
St. Patricks Day Mazes (All Levels)

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Super Cool Leprechaun Hats (might be too advanced for toddlers. Maybe 8 and up)

Potted Rainbow Project (might be a bit too advanced for toddlers. Maybe 8 and up)

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St Patricks Day Headbands (Older Kids or teens)

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Toilet Paper Roll Shamrocks

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Color By Letter – Pot of Gold

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Shamrock Clover Trio Coloring Page

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Rainbow with Clouds Coloring Page

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Dancing Leprechaun Coloring Sheet

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Large Clover Coloring Page

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Leprechaun and a Pot of Gold

Super cute baby project for St Patricks Day!
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Surely a St Patricks Fun Food Post will be in order…Green Cupcakes are a MUST!

New Easter Crayons upcycled from Old Broken Crayons

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If you have kids and you are anything like me, there is probably a stash of broken crayons somewhere around the house.

I could always save them for a rainy day and beg the kids to color with the broken reject crayons, but who wants those ones anyway? I didn’t.

Why not upcycle them into fun shaped new crayons? You can be pretty creative with what you use for a mold.
I usually pick up holiday shaped pans, ice cube trays and silicone molds after the holiday has passed and everything is on sale.

Then I peel and break/cut any large pieces into small bits. Usually about the size of a pea or kernel of corn. Keep your piles of colors separate.

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Decide your color patterns or how you will assign the colors to the mold cavities and start filling them. My crayon fragments did over fill and rise above the rim of the mold. Because of space pockets while piling your crayons into the mold, you will see shrinkage in volume once the crayon bits has been melted.

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Pop them into your oven, preheated to 170° for 12-15 minutes. The idea is to melt them just enough where the wax becomes liquid. You don’t want to “Cook” them, so to speak.

If you overheat your crayons in the mold they become difficult to use. Very waxy. Sometimes they streak when you try to color. Just creates an overall product with a diminished quality. Because overheating can occur very quickly with this type of project, I tend to stay within view of my ovens window so I can see when they start to reach the point of liquidation.

Take them out and let them cool completely in the mold. Remove from the mold. If it is having difficulty coming free from the mold you can place the mold in the freezer for an hour and it will help it release from the mold much easier.

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How I killed my African Grey Parrot

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This story starts back in October of 2001. I was pregnant with my oldest daughter and I had just moved into a new house and bought myself my first set of new pots and pans. I was thrilled. Everything matched. I had lids to everything. I couldn’t be happier. I had a bright, open airy kitchen. It had a decent sized eat in kitchen area large enough for a table, bar stools for the counter and my massive sized bird cage that housed my African Grey Parrot Henry and a smaller Nanday Conure companion bird, Aboo that I eventually moved into the kitchen too. We bought Henry as a featherless, fresh out of his egg, baby bird. We visited him often while he was in the baby bird grow nursery (before he was able to be taken home) and fed him and held him. It was truly a unique experience to feed a small, wrinkly, baby bird. Aboo was a little older when we got him but still very young. He was under a year old.

Both birds were truly fascinating and entertaining. Henry was very vocal. He had an impressive 4 letter vocabulary. He could mimick the sound of the door opening and closing to such a degree of accuracy you would come from other parts of the house to see who opened the door. I answered phones that weren’t ringing and went to turn off faucets that weren’t on. Yes, he was that good. If he heard it once, he could imitate it perfectly. He had an amazing ability to construct his own sentences based on prior conversations that he had heard.

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Aboo was becoming vocal. He could say his name, kisses and make the kissing sound, he could say ‘Mike’ (Mike, my husband was his human) and I love you. The people we bought both of them from owned an amazing shop where they bred a hand full of birds a year, held educational bird motivated events and housed birds who needed a safe place to live. Every time we took the birds in for their wing, nail and break grooming they were impressed with the level of vocals Aboo had because they had never seen one who was speaking so clearly, so many words and at such a young age.

Almost immediately after getting my new cookware Henry began to get sick. He had been seen by numerous Avian Specialists. He was unable to perch. He would sit at the bottom of the cage with his feet curled. If you tried to put him on the perches, he would fall to the bottom of the cage. If you put your hand down for him, he normally would step on to your hand and now he could no longer do this. His mouth remained open all of the time and he sounded like he was weezing.

Dispite everything in my power, multiple vets and numerous courses of treatment Henry wasn’t getting better, he was getting worse. I didn’t know what to do. Aboo seemed to be fine.

Early the next morning, Halloween morning, when I had gone over to uncover the birds, Aboo wasn’t on his perch and I climbed up on a chair and looked in. He was dead on the bottom of his cage. Henry was laying on his side on the bottom of his cage. I took both birds to the Emergency Vet. Henry was on the verge of death, there was no denying that. The vet came out and took us in the exam room and the first thing she said is “What kind of pots and pans do you have?” Honestly, It was a bit of an odd question to me. My bird is dying and she is asking about my cookware. She asked if it was Teflon Coated/Non-Stick pans. It was. She told me that it was the classic signs of Avian Teflon Poisoning. I was crushed. Why hadn’t I known this? Why hadn’t there been a warning on my pots and pans? Why didn’t anyone tell me? Now what is going to happen to Henry? That was simple. He was going to die. It was just a matter of how and when. I had two options. Let him go on his own or the vet would end his suffering. He was definitely suffering. The choice wasn’t hard to make. She came back ready to put him down. A vet tech came and took my son, who was 6 years old at the time, to another room to visit with some kittens. Before she was able to do anything, he went on his own. He died. His heart stopped.

I didn’t even want to go home because I knew there would be silence in the house and I couldn’t escape the reality that both of the birds were dead. I couldn’t even compute what had just happened. These were just as much of a family pet as a cat or dog is and my pans killed them. 

What basically happened is that birds are particularly sensitive to the airborne gas emission created by the Teflon Coating inside of the pans being heated and create a gas that is supposedly harmless to humans but  toxic to birds – even in small dosages due to their high metabolic rate and unique anatomy (high levels of oxygen are emitted to their musculature system in order to fly). The toxins cause severe edematous pneumonia – where a bird’s lungs quick fill with fluid which is then leaked into the airways.

I was baffled at how Henry had been sick for so long and Aboo was healthy and abruptly died. But after thinking about it for a short time I realized it was likely die to the fact that Aboo had been in a cage near a constant source of fresh, uncontaminated air and Henry was in the kitchen. Aboo died the day after I had moved his cage and placed him on top of Henry’s cage.

Henry and Aboo were both burried under a pair of Hibiscus Bushes planted in their memory.

I had never heard of such a thing happening. I made a point to call the people we got the birds from and let them know what had happened and they had also not heard of this happening before either.

Since this happened we have also removed all nonstick cookware from our home and have switched to Stainless Steel and Cast Iron Cookware.

 T Fal maintains that Non-Stick Cookware is safe. It states the cookware is hazardous to birds only but doesn’t go into specific detail about the hazards or risks birds may experience if exposed to Teflon.

However, what TFAL doesn’t tell you is that an stove doesn’t function on a temperature basis. A stove burner will continue to get hotter and hotter if there is nothing there to absorb the heat that it is putting off, it will just take a while but a burner set to LOW is capable of heating to 400°. Having said that, it blows T FALS theory of:

To cause any possible hazard to the consumer, it would be necessary to heat 36 non-stick frying pans simultaneously to 750° F. Since in a domestic kitchen the maximum temperature possible to which a pan can normally be heated is approximately 575° F, there is no risk should a pan be accidentally overheated. 

Completely out of the water. In other words, DONT BURN ANYTHING. But is that really even enough to protect you from the dangers of this type of toxin? Keep reading.

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If you don’t burn anything, you should be safe right? Afterall, you aren’t eating the actual Teflon right? WRONG! You are infact eating it. Have you ever examined the inside of one of these pans? If it has a chip or a scratch or missing areas of coating, it was almost certainly consumed by someone.

Chemicals used to make Teflon are in the blood of every one of us. This is something the EPA and Toxicologists around the world have not been able to fully explain.

According to Toxicologist Tim Kropp, PhD, Senior Scientist with the Watch Dog Group Environmental Working Group finds this situation very alarming. Tim Kropp tells WebMD:

It doesn’t breakdown — ever. Its the most persistent synthetic chemical known to man.

It would take your body two decades to get rid of 95% of it, assuming you aren’t exposed to any more of it. But you are.

Though DuPont is quick to point out the safety of Teflon® and to distance it from the chemical PFOA, Studies show Teflon® cookware releases PFOA when heated to 680°F (360°C). This temperature can be reached fairly quickly, for example, a forgotten pan is left empty preheating on a very hot burner. DuPont acknowledges this, but points out that this is incorrect use of the cookware.

DuPont’s own research suggested a link between PFOA and rare birth defects in animals. Of the seven pregnant women at the West Virginia plant, two of the seven babies born bore similar serious birth defects. In response to the EWG petition, the EPA fined DuPont 16.5 million US dollars (USD) in December 2005 for failing to report the dangers of PFOA.

Still not convinced its dangerous?

A recent study done by Danish researchers found that men with high blood levels of chemicals used for nonstick coating have Lower Sperm Count. Semen from 105 men (average age 19) were tested for the presence of PFOA and other related chemicals. It was found that men with the highest levels had half the number of normal sperm compared with men who had lower levels of the chemicals in their blood.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, studied data from the Danish National Birth Cohort, in which women were interviewed four times during and after pregnancy. They randomly selected 1,400 women who had planned their pregnancies, and who had provided maternal blood samples, which were analyzed for PFOS and PFOA. Women who had the highest levels of the two chemicals in their blood took the longest time to get pregnant, and had the highest rates of infertility (defined as taking longer than 12 months to get pregnant).

But these were the only negative health concerns which have been discovered. Other health concerns include High Cholesterol and Thyroid Problems.

PTFE-based nonstick coatings are sold under a number of brand names besides those mentioned above, so avoid anything advertised as Fluron, Supra, Greblon, Xylon, Duracote, Resistal, Autograph, Unison, Swiss Diamond, and T-Fal. This includes cookware as well as small appliances like toaster ovens.

In a nutshell, these cooking surfaces are not only dangerous and even deadly in some circumstances and they should be avoided at all costs.

30+ Mardi Gras Printables and Activities

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Unfortunately, I’ve never had the honor of attending a Mardi Gras Parade (March 4, 2014) or Celebration. I think I would be mesmerized by magnificent floats adorned with flowers and sparkly objects galore. Until then, Printables and Coloring Pages will be as close as I get to the event unless I’m watching it on TV. If you are in the same boat, here ya go…enjoy with me.

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(Follow Links for Downloads)
Awesome Free Printables for Cupcakes, Party Pendants, Flags, Labels, Packaging Decor and more…

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(Follow Link for Download)
Free Mardi Gras Scrapbooking Paper

7 Free Printable Coloring Pages

8 Mardi Gras Printable Coloring Sheets for kids

10 Free Mardi Gras Printables

Introduction to Animal Chiropractic by Nikohl Wulfsberg, D.C., CAC

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Did you know the nervous system is the first thing to form in a developing body? This is necessary because the nervous system – the brain, spinal cord, and the nerves that come off the cord and go throughout the entire body – controls literally every single cell, tissue, organ, and function in a body. Seriously, EVERYTHING. How you move, what you feel, and how you function – it’s all controlled by the nervous system. Interestingly enough, only 10% of our nerves control pain. That means if the nervous system encounters an issue, there’s only a 10% chance you’ll feel it! There’s a 90% chance you’ll encounter some sort of dysfunction.

The “issue” the nervous system encounters is interference – like static on a phone call, or a tree blocking the road. The interference usually happens when joints in the bones – the protective structure surrounding our soft, squishy nerves – get stuck, and they don’t move quite right. If the joints are stuck they wind up irritating the nerves. Much like a foot on a garden flow impedes the flow of water, a joint squishing on a nerve impedes the flow of information to/from the body/brain.
It’s easiest to think of the flow of the nervous system from body to brain and back again like a simple safety pin.

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When the pin is closed, your brain and body can communicate effectively – you know, like those magical moments where words come out of your mouth, children AND husband are actually listening AND comprehending what you’re saying – and everything works the way it should. But when the pin is open…all hell breaks loose!

Miscommunication is happening all over the place, no one knows what they are supposed to be doing, jobs are being half done, and everyone feels like everything is soooo much more difficult than it should be! Like static during a phone call – what you’re saying and what’s actually being heard aren’t the same. You ask for milk and eggs from the grocery store, and wind up with chocolate syrup and Reese’s peanut butter eggs. Not exactly what you were going for (although they may come in handy later, when the miscommunication leads to a nervous breakdown and you’re hiding in the bathroom!)

The loss of information between body and brain leads to pain and dysfunction. Now it’s easy enough for human beings to notice pain and things not working the way they should, but what about animals? As much as we love our brilliant pets, your dog is hardly capable of coming up to you and saying, “Look, my digestion hasn’t been right for a while. Could we maybe get that checked out?” And you cat doesn’t exactly verbalize, “It hurts when you pet that one spot on my back!” Just like the stuck joints in our human bodies need a human chiropractor to re-align everything so our nervous system can function and we feel better and function better, animal bodies need animal chiropractors to do the same thing for them. I’ll bet you didn’t even know such a thing existed, did you? Don’t worry, you’re not alone!
To be safe, it’s always best to go with the best. The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) is the primary national credential in this field in North America. Only licensed veterinarians and licensed chiropractors are allowed to go through the animal chiropractic certification program and become certified animal chiropractors, or C.A.C.s. Vets don’t know enough about spinal alignment and chiropractors don’t know enough about animals for either profession to take it on alone, so it must be a joint venture between the two professions. There are an awful lot of yahoos out there who think they can just “figure it out”, so always make sure your animal chiropractor is certified and has proof they know what the heck they’re doing. This is the website to find an AVCA certified doctor in the US. You can find one >>>HERE

So how do you know if your animal needs chiropractic care? Well, there are quite a few ways, since the nervous system does quite a few things! First of all, if your animal is an athlete, odds are good something has gotten shifted at one point or another. (Remember, there’s only a 10% chance a problem will result in pain!) Agility dogs, working dogs, 4-H horses, driving horses, cats who think they can fly – all have probably missed a step or had a bad landing or are just suffering from repetitive motion issues. Secondly, if your animal has ever been injured or suffered a trauma, chiropractic care is indicated. Car accidents are the most obvious, but roughhousing can often lead to issues. If your animals yelps, cries, or jumps away during roughhousing, something may be wrong. There’s only a 10% chance they’ll feel a painful lasting result, so keep an eye on them for signs of dysfunction as well as pain. Dysfunction can range anywhere from weird muscle or skin twitches when you touch them, difficulty chewing or not eating their food, bowel/bladder issues, lameness, and behaving in an abnormal manner. You know your animal best! If you think something is wrong, odds are pretty good you’re right. Better safe than sorry!

Dr. Nikhol Wulfsberg D.C. C.A.C., Wulf Hoof and Paw Chiropractic LLC Official Facebook Page

Zombie Apocalypse Prepping Series: Food & Preparation Needs

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Series: Food and Preparation Needs

(Be sure to check out the other articles in the Zombie Apocalypse Prepping Series)

Food is something you can’t plan to go without and expect to have great results. Unless of course, the plan is to die.

I see so many things telling people to be prepared and have 24 Hours, 72 Hours, 5 Days, 7 days and any other number of days worth of rations for your family. But what do you really need? That all depends on where you live, what you are preparing for and how trained you are. Is there really a true and accurate answer for these questions? Maybe. Aside from knowing how much is needed to sustain an individual for a day/week/month/year there is no true answer for what you should have stored away if you do not know how long any given critical situation will last. The best advice is to prepare for long term survival and hope it never comes to that.

I’m a “More is better” person and this is a situation where its appropriate. More is better. When preparing for disaster no matter what you think the disaster will be, there is no prepper in their right mind that will say “You have way too much Food and Ammo”. You will, however, run into some who will say “Your Food and Ammo stock is fantastic but your medical kit and food rations are lacking and it might be time to think about purchase a gun to go with all of that ammo”.

Fact is, you can never be over prepared.

I frequently see recommendations for Preppers to buy in Bulk and buy in large portion quantities. I don’t particularly agree with that approach, entirely. If feel that items such as dried goods should be bought in bulk  but not items that become perishable after being opened (such as canned meats, milks, etc) for a few reasons.

If you aren’t going to be using 10 portions of canned milk or another item (that becomes perishable after being opening) and you don’t have the ability to keep it at a food safe temperature, I would say its a good idea to buy larger quanities of smaller portions to eliminate possible waste.

Additionally, if you think your situation is going to call for you to move locations, it is easier to transport smaller sized goods than it is to transport a 7 pound can of Nacho Cheese Sauce or 5 gallon jugs of Mustard.

Food Storage Calculator This Calculator conveniently breaks people into two groups. Over 6 and under 6 then totals up everything based on the family size and structure.

Food Storage Calculator This Calculator breaks the family dynamic into two categories as well, but into an over 12 and under 12. There are some differences between these two calculators. One of the biggest differences I noted was water recommendations.

Being prepared for any type of a disaster is important. When it comes to ensuring you and your family will have what they need, don’t take my word for anything. What works for me may be insufficient for you and vice verse. Take the time to consult with multiple sources. When you are making your plans and storing goods for later use, if you plan to house other family members be sure to plan for their presence in your plans if they are not actively contributing to your Preparedness Plans. Many people have good intentions and lack follow through when it comes to implementing these plans.

This list of supplies was compiled from lengthy research.

•Manual Hand Can Opener
•Manual Hand Punch Opener
     (I like Cast Iron. If you go with Cast Iron, be sure you also have something suitable for boiling water)
•Camping Stove
•Propane Tanks
•Cooking and Eating Utensils
     (Tongs, Knives, Whisk, etc)
•Dutch Oven
•Percolator Coffee Pot
•Manual Meat Grinder
•Knife Sharpener
•Cheese Grater
•Cutting Board/Chopping Block
•Mason Jars, Lids and Rings
•Ziplock Bags
•Clean Glass Jars with lids
     (I save all used Jars and Lids and friends tend to save them for me as well)
•Aluminum Foil
•Plastic 2-Liter Soda Bottles with Lids
     (These make a great storage place for Sugar, Flour, Rice, Beans, etc. Once filled, be sure the threads around the rim of the bottle are clean, recap the bottle and dip the lid of the bottle in melted bees wax to ensure it is sealed. FYI, Milk Jugs are not suitable.)
•Tupperware Storage Bowls
     (Paper format since online sources might not be available)

Dried and Powdered Goods
•White Rice
•Brown rice
•Black Rice
•Wild Rice
•Dried Beans
     (Pinto Beans, Black Beans, Navy Beans, etc)
•Dried Lentils
     (Peas, Legumes, Chick Peas, etc)
     (shelled and unshelled in jars or cans)
     (Sunflower/Pumpkin, etc)
     (All Purpose, Wheat, Rye, etc)
     (White Granules, Brown & Powdered)
•Dried Milk
•Dried Fruit
•Dried Vegetables
•Dried Meat
•Powdered Soup
•Powdered Eggs
•Baking Soda
•Baking Powder
•Cream Of Tar Tar
•Powdered Flavored Gelatin
•Rennet Cubes
     (for cheese/yogurt making)
•Brewers Yeast
     (this is not the kind for baking) Brewers Yeast contains 16% Protein per serving.
•Whey Protein Powder
•30 Day Dehydrated Meal Buckets
     (MRE Style) If these are in your budget Mountain House and Wise Food both carry ready made buckets with 20-25 year shelf life.
•Slim Fast or Ensure Shakes
     (good source of calories and vitamins)
•Tea Bags
•Sweetened Powdered Drink Mixes
•Food Source Vitamins
•Boxed Insant Meals
     (Hamburger Helper, Etc)

Dairy (Canned)
•Condensed Milk (Canned)
•Goats Milk (Canned)

•Oil (Various types)
•Vegetable Shortening
•Animal Fat Shortening (Lard)

Jarred Goods
•Peanut Butter
•Lemon Juice
•Lime Juice
•Small Quantity Non-Perishable Condiments
     (buying cases of packets is ideal since refrigeration isn’t needed)
•Maple Syrup
•Vanilla Extract
•Baby Food (Meats)
•Baby Food (Veggies)
•Baby Food (Fruit)
•Pectin (Powder)

Canned Goods
•Tuna Fish (Canned, not pouches)
•Salmon (Canned, Not Pouch)
•Chicken (Cannedl)
•Corned Beef Hash
•Pasta Sauce (Cans)
•Vegetables (Canned)
•Meat Broth (Canned)
•Fruit (Canned)
•Soup (Canned)
•Oranges (Canned)

•Bleach (Non-Scented/Colored)
•Dog Food/Cat Food

Food Storage Shelf Life can be broken down into two major categories. “Best if Used By” and Life Sustaining. While food that is beyond the “Best if used by” date isn’t going to be stocked on shelves at your local grocery store for a variety of reasons, one reason being legalities followed by decreased nutrition and taste. While these factors reduce the quality of the food, it does not diminish the calories and remains Life Sustaining.

Freeze Dried and Dehydrated Foods generally have a longer shelf life but they require more preparation when it comes time to use them. Keeping a supply of both Freeze Dried and Dehydrated Foods in your stash is ideal.

Food Dehydration is something that can easily be done at home by even a novice using commercially produced Food Dehydration machines or you can build your own Solar Dehydrator and power it using the sun.

Nesco Food Dehydratirs Starting around $30

Build your own Solar Dehydrator by Off The Grid News

If you are interested in learning about Freeze Drying at home, it can be done. Its a bit more intensive than dehydration but worth it for the serious prepper.

Cuddon Freeze Dry Machine

How to Freeze Dry at Home by Prepared for That

The Birth of Grayson Allan Hampton

*Trigger Warning*

This is a story of the loss of Stacey and Allan Hampton’s son, Grayson Allan Hampton and circumstances that surrounded.


Grayson was my 4th pregnancy. I had 2 previous c-sections and 1 VBA2C. We welcomed the pregnancy with much excitement since it took us less than a year to get pregnant this time. We had secondary infertility with our 3rd child and with fertility treatments, it still took us almost 2yrs to get pregnant. So, we were thrilled when we found out we were expecting and that it happened naturally.

In the first trimester, I had random times of spotting and even though the 3 separate ultrasounds I had told me that everything was fine, it scared me to death! I had a dreadful feeling that I was going to miscarry and that feeling never seemed to leave me throughout the whole pregnancy. It felt weird to call him by name. It felt weird when others called him by name. It was a strange feeling that I just can’t describe, but somehow I knew I wasn’t going to bring him home.

My other babies were born at 37w+2, 35w+5, and 35w+1, so naturally I expected his arrival to come somewhere between all of them. The 34th week rolled around and I started having a lot of pressure. The midwife came to check on me and I was already 3cm and 50% effaced. So when weeks 35, 36, 37, and 38 all came and went, I was shocked to say the least. Every 3-4 days, I would have Prodromal Labor where I thought that it was time only to have it fizzle out. I never experienced that in any of my other pregnancies. It drove me nuts!

On Sunday, October the 13th, I noticed that Grayson’s movements were a lot less than normal. He was usually so active during the church service but that day he appeared to just sleep right through it. While at lunch with my dad after the service, I took note of his hiccups and felt reassured that he was ok. Since I never made it that far in any of my other pregnancies, I was told this can be very normal toward the end as they run out of space to move.

The following day, the whole day passed and I didn’t remember feeling him. So, off to the hospital we went. I went to the closest one to our house. His heart rate was floating at 150 bmp, but despite the beautiful contractions that were coming every 5 minutes, he was unresponsive to them. The hospital refused to do an ultrasound and recommended a c-section. We declined and drove down to the hospital that our back-up OB/perinatologist was at. He performed a biophysical profile to check that everything was fine. Grayson was immediately active once we got there and everything appeared to be ok on the ultrasound. You could see his little chest moving up and down while he was doing his practice “breathing”. One thing that did appear to be wrong was the amount of amniotic fluid I had. The high end of normal is 20 cm and I had 40 cm! No wonder I had such horrible SPD Pain! So, we checked out of the hospital and went home.

The next day, Tuesday, October the 15th, much of the day went by and I hadn’t felt him move. This time, something felt VERY wrong. I had that feeling of dread again. So, around 7pm, we went back down to the perinatologist’s hospital. The nurses in triage tried hard, but could not find a heartbeat. In comes the peri with his ultrasound machine and with much effort, also didn’t find anything. You could feel the anguish in the air. I was in denial for a few minutes until the nurse and doctor left Allan and I alone to grieve. It was the worst feeling a mother can bear. The loss of an infant baby is something I wish no other mother has to ever feel. Allan and I held each other as we wailed together. It was a moment I’ll never forget. I could not believe my sweet baby boy was gone. I planned for 9 LONG months for his arrival. I knitted him clothes, sewed him blankets, prepped his cloth diapers. Everything was ready for him to come home and he wasn’t going to.

The Labor


My body obviously was ready to let go, because within the hour of that ultrasound, my contractions kicked into full gear. I went from triage into my labor room around 11pm. The nurse checked me and I was 6 cm and 100% effaced! I quickly asked for the epidural and got one around 12am. Doc came in somewhere about 1 am to break my water. This is actually a funny part of the story. During my pregnancy, I was taking vitamin C to help strengthen the sac since I had PROM (premature rupture of membranes= water broke before labor started) with my previous 2 babies. This turned out to be quite a sac! He attempted to break it about a dozen times before it actually did break. Remember all that extra fluid I had? Well, about half of it came flying out! Poor doc!

The Birth

I labored on my own all night. While my best friend and hubby slept, I couldn’t help but stay awake thinking about it all. It was one of the toughest nights I’ve had in my life.



By 7 or 8 am, I was stuck at 7 cm and agreed to a little pitocin to help labor along. A little was all I needed! At 1 pm I felt “the urge” to push. The shakes came immediately after. I pushed for 2.5hrs!! I swore the boy was sunnyside up, but no, he was perfectly head down. Once his head was born, his shoulders got stuck, and then his hips got stuck! It was approximately 7 min before he fully emerged and at 3:33 pm on October 16, 2013 weighing in at 9 lbs 12 oz and 22” long, our baby boy Grayson made his appearance! Doc placed him onto my stomach and the wave of emotion hit me like a ton of bricks! I knew already that my boy was gone, but to actually see him, was something I wasn’t prepared for. I cried uncontrollably as my hands could feel his lifeless body.



In the 6hrs that we got to spend with him, I realized how precious life truly is and how much we take time for granted. 6hrs wasn’t nearly enough time with him!







One of the sweetest images I have, is with my doctor looking over Grayson. The love and compassion in this image is so powerful! Thank you Dr. B for all you have done, all you continue to do, and the compassion you have shown to our family.


Weeks after the birth, I found out that I was positive for Protein C Deficiency, Protien S DeficiencyFactor V Leiden, and a heterozygous A1298C copy of MTHFR. The autopsy showed Grayson to be a perfectly healthy baby. The placenta on the other hand, had extensive blood clots in one area and was rather small for the size of the baby. The umbilical cord insertion was only 4cm from the edge! We are certain the cause of death was due to the blood clots and that they were quick forming at the end. We are praying that the loss of sweet Grayson will somehow help to bring awareness of these genetic mutations and MTHFR so that one day, they will become part of regular prenatal blood work in the effort to avoid unnecessary losses.

Thanks to:

Brad Bootstaylor at SeeBaby

Beth Miller and Rachel Hart at Birthing Way

Sarah and Steve Salazar
Summer and Thad Pinch
Sara and Tim Bowmaun

Grace Fellowship of South Forsysth

ICAN of Atlanta

Photo credits Oana Hogrefe Photography

If you are facing the heartbreaking events of the loss of a child, there are resources and services available that can help during this difficult time. Silent Grief has tips for planning Funeral Services for your baby. The Compassionate Friends network is a support group for families faced with infant loss. Stillbirth Alliance holds a list of US and International support, grief and services for families experiencing loss. Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep offers Photography Services and Keepsakes. StillBirth Day offers a wide variety of connections to support, list of services both pre-birth and post-birth, lactation consultants and surrounds families of loss with  love and understanding. Forever My Child has a beautiful selection of jewelry that can be customized with your childs hand/footprints that you can have with you always.

The Ugly Truth about Forceps

Let’s talk about something ugly.
I don’t think receives nearly as much attention as it should. Something that I think a lot of people brush off, or ignore, because they don’t want to think about the ugly, or the negative.
It’s time that we think about this ugly, negative thing. Any human being who will ever face becoming a parent should definitely think about this ugly thing.

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At first glance, forceps appear to be much like any medical or surgical instrument. To many without medical experience, it may look a bit foreign. Forceps like these, and similar, are used by a doctor during the vaginal delivery of an infant, when the doctor believes it is necessary. Doctors will insert the ‘tongs’ of the forceps into the vagina, pinch the new babies tiny head with them, and pull the baby from the womb.

Now stop for a second. Read that paragraph again. I have a feeling a lot of you may stop and think that because it is a medical instrument, because a doctor has to use it and a doctor decides when it’s necessary, that it’s okay. The unfortunate truth is that forceps are not okay.

Imagine this:
Your little one has crawled under the bed and you cannot reach them. You know it is not safe for them to be under the bed, alone and they must come out. You get your forceps, grab your little one’s head with them, and drag them out from under the bed. Your child cries, hard. The tongs have left half moon wounds and bruises on their cheeks and temples. One tong has even cut your child’s face open, and they’re bleeding. No need to mention the force required to tug the child by their head has hurt their neck, and scared them.

Now I imagine most of you are sitting there thinking, but, I would never do something like that to my child. No child should be pulled out of a space by their heads. Right? It’s just so violent.

What I’m asking is, why anybody would think to do that to a newborn.  What’s worse than my ‘example’ is they aren’t under a bed. They are embraced in a tight, protective womb, held by a mother’s body. They are squeezed inside a space as small as they are. Keep in mind that every complication that could warrant the use of forceps by a doctor can be solved another way.

Forceps are never a final option, as small and fragile as newborns are, it just doesn’t follow logic to grab their head with a giant set of metal tongs, and pull them from such a tight, confined space.

This next part is the reason why the dangers of forceps need to be known by every single person who could ever be involved in childbirth.

Forceps can cause many injuries to an infant’s face, neck, and head. Bruises and lacerations are your least concern, because forceps have been documented to break infant’s skulls, tear their spinal cords, and cause brain damage.

Just to be clear; forceps are not just dangerous. Forceps are deadly.
Let me show you just how deadly forceps really are. I have to warn you, these articles are very graphic. I do, however, highly suggest everybody reading them, because I feel that the severity of forceps usage is what is so important.

Heres an article about a mother who lost her son due to forceps being used during childbirth.

Let’s focus on this article about a couple who’s baby girl died three days after a forceps assisted birth that says “thousands of babies every year are being delivered using forceps – yet this instrument is deemed so risky many obstetricians no longer use it. Unfortunately, few women are told of the potential dangers.”
It also adds later “studies since the Eighties have reported high rates of damage to mothers and babies through forceps use. Recent research confirmed this poses a higher risk of birth injury than other interventions, including Caesareans.”
As well as “Using forceps safely requires a high level of skill and expertise, which ‘means that the outcome is always uncertain, even for experienced surgeons,’ says leading U.S. surgeon Atul Gawande, head of the World Health Organization’s Safer Surgery initiative.”

And here’s an article about a couple who lost their baby girl, Olivia, due to forceps being used during childbirth. Olivia’s parents also have this page, which says “By trying to instate “The Olivia Law”, the parents hope to make the use of forceps nonexistent and hopefully illegal so that no other child suffers like their baby girl did.” And here’s a link to the petition to pass The Olivia Law.

Forcep delivery can also cause an array of medical complications for mother, including but definitely not limited to long-term or permanent urinary or fecal incontinence, uterine rupture, and bladder damage. You can look at this link to see a list of some of the other risks to mom. Remember, this list is not complete.

Forceps are not a last-resort. Any complication during childbirth that can be “solved with forceps” can and should be solved with something else, there is always another option. So please do not risk your child’s health, their life, when you CAN choose something else.

It’s time we remove forceps from our delivery rooms. Not even one more family should have to suffer at the end of forceps. Not even one more child should die.

Written By: Monica Smith

DIY Paper Flowers That Look Like The Real Thing

Do It Yourself Paper Flowers that look like the Real Thing. Yeah, kinda like Origami. Paper Flowers can be used for a wide variety of things from scrapbooking to table decor (substitute for bows on gift bags, on gifts, flowers, etc). Here are some ideas for making and using your own homemade paper flowers. Enjoy!

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Directions for Making Paper Flowers by Repiny. Be sure to check out their website for full instructions.

Beautiful Ideas for Paper Flowers by Lia Griffith 
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Beautiful Rolled Paper Flowers by Santa Barbara Wedding Designs
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If you are anything like me, you will be tearing the paper (instead of cutting the paper), using stamp pad ink to distress the edges, burning the edges of the paper with a lighter or decorating the paper in another way to make it more unique.

12 Super Cute Valentine’s Day Nail Ideas you can do at home

Who doesn’t want to have super cute fingernails for Valentine’s Day? These are  fairly basic nail art design ideas that can be achieved easily…well, atleast on one hand unless you are ambidextrous (or have a preteen living under your roof to do your other hand)

Lip kisses are made with a foil decal. This would probably be a great look if the black Polish was Matte Finish.
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I’m loving the Matte Polishes!
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Another beautiful Matte Polish design. The designs on the nail surface were made using a fine point tooth pick or fine brush dipped in a shiney topcoat polish being carefully applied in the desired pattern.
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Another lovely black polish Valentine’s Design. The thin icicles can be made by dipping a tooth pick into the desired color of polish or by using a fine detailing brush. The heart can be made using the same toothpick or brush.

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Another beautiful Matte Polish
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Making easy hearts…
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One of my favorites, this is a super easy design!
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Heart Shaped Nails…
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See Individual Photos for Photo Credits.

Vaccination Wars- The Great Lie


I really loved the way this was put into words.

“Generally, those who don’t understand, believe that anti-vax parents are actually anti-protection.  That is not largely true.  We are against the crap IN the vaccines that can do harm to our families, NOT against protecting anyone from disease.” -CautiousMom Blog

Originally posted on cautiousmom's Blog:

The National Library of Medicine
“In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.”

-Ben Franklin when asked about inoculations.

Inoculations in the 1730′s were undeniably just as controversial as they are now.  The procedure to administer an inoculation was a dangerous operation, potentially fatal, even- but less likely to kill than the disease they were fighting and after having lost his own son to the terrible disease, he fought to spread the word throughout England and…

View original 2,357 more words

50 + Valentine’s Scrapbooking Printables and Freebies

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If you are anything like me, free is good. Even better when its a great Freebie. Who doesn’t love a great freebie?

3 Cute Scrapbook Paper Printables
2 Free Printables Hearts Scrapbook Paper
Free Collection of Printable Frames
4 Free Pribtable Valentine’s Music Sheets Scrapbooking Paper
from Free Vintage Digi Stamps

2 Free Printable Scrapbook Heart Papers

3 Free Printable Scrapbook Papers

6 Free PDF Scrapbook Printables Downloads (Heart Paper)

23 PDF Scrapbook Valentine’s Papers
***NOTE: These are Password Protected, meaning you can download them.without the password but in order to get the file to open and be displayed on your screen, you must enter the password. The password is located on their page. Save it, otherwise the file is useless.***

25 PACKS (Free) of Assorted Themed Scrapbook Paper
This collection is pretty awesome. There is a LOAD of various paper themes, Polka Dots, Heart/Valentine Themes, Animal Prints…you name it. And its not individual sheets, its PACKS! Since I am almost comoletely a mobile user, I save the files to my phones external memory card then transfer things to my computer (and it works equally as great).

100+ Valentine’s Coloring Sheets and Activity Ideas for Kids

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I’m always looking for something to keep my kids entertained and happy. Lately we have been doing alot of holiday themed fun projects. Okay you got me. I’m a sucker for making Hallmark Holidays fun in other ways.

22 Coloring Sheets from MES-English

23 Free Valentines Printable Coloring Pages

DLTK Valentine’s Coloring Pages
Also see…
Coloring Page Index (Loads and Loads of Categories)

9 Free PDF Coloring Sheets

32 Free Preschool Coloring Printables

21 Free Valentine’s Printables for Boys and Girls! I really love Spoonful. Great resource for fun.

Valentine’s Activities from Spoonful including Calendars, Printables, Dot-to-Dot and other fun ideas

Easy Crayon Apron


These go by many names and there are as many ways to make them as there are names for them. This one is a simple pattern. No pattern really. This easily fits my super tiny 3 year old to my 95th percentile, almost 5 year old.

You can make it hold a few crayons or many. Mine holds 13. Had I planned it really well it would hold 16 or even 12  (since crayon packs generally come in 8, 16, 24, 48… count packages).

This is 3 pieces of fabric (waist band, Apron Portion and the Christmas Print that creates the pocket for the crayons) and 2 strings. I used a flat woven cord because that’s what I had. But you can use shoe lace, bias tape, paracord, or even make your own ties for it from fabric.

This is unlined and all of my seams cone together on the inside. It was kind of a ‘scrap material’ project.

I do consider myself to be a ‘beginner’ when it comes to sewing since I don’t know all of the rules or proper lingo.

I cut each piece to have a half inch of material that is folded under and sewn down on each side.

I did iron my material flat and ironed my edges to help me ensure I sewed straight lines.

I gathered the top portion of the apron prior to sewing it to the waist band. How to do Gathers quick and easily.

1. Waist Band Length
2. Length of Botton Hem of Apron
3. Length of Apron from Waist Band to Bottom Hem
4. Length of Waist Ties.
  •My ties are two individual ties sewn to the ends. You can run one long cord thru your material if you preferred.


For the portion of fabric used to create the crayon holder, I folded down the edges and sewed them down prior to attaching this piece of fabric to the apron.

My first attempt didn’t turn out well and I ended up removing it and redoing it because my crayons would not go in or come out easily. Be sure you allow for space for easy removal and replacement of the crayons into their slots.

I made the fabric only cover about half of the crayon so the apron doesn’t swallow up the crayon once its been used a few times.

I sewed my fabric on only securing 3 sides and leaving the top open. I then located the middle and pinned it then located the middle of each of the two halves (so I had 4 equal sections, but you will see I moved things slightly because I had too much space for only 12 crayons and needed to adjust it and add an extra space for crayon #13) and continue to pin where you plan to create a crayon pocket. Once you have checked to be sure crayons slide in and out with ease, Sew the dividers all the way from the top edge to the bottom edge of the material.

When my daughter is done, we fold her apron in half (top waist band down so it covers over her crayons) and then I roll it up and wrap the strings around it to keep her crayons from getting lost.

Hope you enjoy trying this. If you do, Id love to see what you came up with!

Tasty Parmesan and Herb Muffins

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I love muffins. In the past I would make these and serve them with Pasta dishes. This is an easy, quick recipe that takes little effort and minimal clean up.

2 3/4 Cups of Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon of Fresh Ground Pepper
1/3 Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Teaspoons of Each:
Crushed Garlic

3/4 Cup of Buttermilk
3/4 Cup of Milk
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
3 Eggs
3 Tablespoons Oil

Preheat Oven to 375°

Line muffin pan with muffin papers and coat them with oil (or the batter/muffin will stick to the paper when cooked)

Combine Flour, Parmesan Cheese, Salt, Baking Soda/Powder and Herbs. Mix Well.

Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden colored and Inserted in muffin comes out clean.

I use fresh herbs (not dried) in this muffin recipe. The flavor is so much better than using dried herbs.

You can add cooked crumbled bacon to the muffin mix for a breakfast style muffin.
You can add 1/2 cup of Cheddar cheese to the mix for a more cheesy flavor.

Delicous Fig Butter Recipe


I have a weakness. Figs. I can’t get enough of them. I make Fig Soap, Fig Bread, sandwitches (Fig and Goat Cheese on a Pita bread), Fig Butter and naturally I also will also eat them straight from the tree until I make my tongue hurt. Black Mission and Brown Turkey Figs are amoung my favorite varieties of the ones that I have tried. My scope of taste is limited since there are more than 700 varieties worldwide. A fig technically isn’t a fruit. Its an inverted flower but since it resembles at fruit, it is referred to as a fruit by convention. I really shouldn’t know all that. But what can I say…I like figs.

• 8 Ripe Figs Stems Removed and Chopped (What size you ask? Who cares! Use what you have. Want it more “Figgy” throw another in)
• 1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablesspoons Butter (Room Temperature)
• 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
• 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
• 2 Dashes of Spice*

*You can use Pumpkin Pie Spice, Allspice, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, or any other combination of spices (or none at all) if you prefer. I usually figure it out as I go. I’ve even added a teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Puree (I used homemade).

Throw everything in your blender (a food processor would work much better if you have one. I dont). Stop the blender and scrap down the sides so it blends it together completely.

Another Variation is Cream Cheese…
Everything is the same as above except swap out 1/2 cup of butter for Cream Cheese (yes, leave the 2 tablespoons of butter in). The softer Cream Cheese in the containers is much easier to mix than the block of Cream Cheese.

Both are absolutely fantastic on bagels, toast, muffins or whatever else you like.

Creamy Pesto Dip

1 Pack (8oz) of Cream Cheese (Softened)
3 Teaspoons of Milk (use heavy cream if you want it to be thicker/richer)
1/2 Cup of Basil Pesto
1 Red Pepper Finely Chopped (Optional)

Mix Milk and Cream Cheese unit smooth with an.electric mixer. Blend in Pesto and Red Pepper.

I serve it as a side snack or something fun for the kids to enjoy with veggie sticks.

Beautiful Green Fluorite Necklace


This beautiful, one of a kind necklace is hand crafted with a brilliant hemp cord, colorful acrylic beads, and a green fluorite stone, this necklace truly unique piece and is available for Purchase at The Crunchette Crafts Shop for a limited time.

Green Fluorite, similar to all the Fluorite stones, enhances the immune system, absorbs vital nutrients, increases cell regeneration, helps bones, and teeth, heal scars, both emotional and physical, and eases arthritis. It can help with sore throats, ulcers, stomach upsets, and even with insomnia. This green stone is known as the gentle healer; it will detoxify, and energize all of the chakras, especially when placed on the Heart or Throat chakras. 

Green Fluorite amplifies intuition, and brings harmony to bedlam. It banishes negativity, particularly from the environments, like electromagnetic smog from electronics, and the like. It then will recycle the energy into the atmosphere. If you want to keep your mind from wandering, this stone will help to keep you on track, and focused on the job at hand.

Green is the color of growth, and renewal, which can boost personal growth, and insight in your life.

Coconut Milk and Honey Soap


Coconut Milk and Honey Soap

This is one of our household favorites. Everyone loves the fantastic texture and smell of this soap…and the cute honey comb pattern on top. Its has become one of my favorite soaps to make.

Coconut Milk and Honey Soap has an immeasurable  amount of positive benefits for the skin because it can penetrate into the skin and counteract effects which can be detrimental to healthy skin.

Because Coconut Milk and Honey Soap has a high fat content and Vitamin E content it is very healing and hydrating which makes this a fantastic soap for vulnerable skin types. 

The addition of Raw Honey gives soap  additional humectant properties. Raw unfiltered honey has a milky-like  appearance & has the most nutritional value of any honey. Quality that cannot be matched by commercially produced honey. It has textured crystals, particles of bee pollen, honeycomb bits and propolis (which you can see when you look at the surface of one of my soaps).

Honey has Antibacterial, Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidants Properties. Honey also Moisturizes, Speeds Healing, Reduces Scars, Relieves Burns & destroys Fungus naturally. Making it a fantastic addition to soap.

Click HERE to order your today!

Stacked Amethyst Necklaces


Amethyst is said by mystical lore and spiritual healers to physically help with headaches, insomnia, arthritis, diabetes, pain relief, circulatory system issues, endocrine system problems, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, immune system deficiencies, asthma, phobias, pregnancy and preventing miscarriage, menopause, PMS, heal the withdrawal symptoms of any sort of addiction, and healing in general. Amethyst is very well known from the ancients as a sobriety stone, and has been used for centuries to prevent drunkenness, and is used to assist in getting rid of addictions to destructive compulsive behaviors of all kinds, e.g., alcohol, drugs, smoking, etc.
Amethyst has a gently sedative energy that can promote peacefulness, happiness, and contentment, and is used in crystal healing to help heal grief, and losses. It also is said to bring emotional stability, and inner strength. 

Amethyst is a calming, and meditative stone which works in the emotional, spiritual, and physical planes to provide balance, calm, patience, and peace. In the psychic and spiritual realms, amethyst is a magnificent all-purpose stone that can escalate spirituality, and enhance intuition, and psychic powers of all kinds. It is known to do this by forming a clear connection between the earth plane, and other planes, and worlds. Amethyst is also exquisite for meditation, and lucid dreaming. Amethyst also protects against psychic attacks during spiritual work.
Amethyst is beneficial when dealing with money troubles, and legal issues; though it is not best known as a prosperity stone, it has many benefits in such areas.

Ready to Order one for yourself or for a gift?

These handcrafted works of art are approximately 30″ long, and can be placed on your choice of black or a tan cord, please message me to let me know which upon ordering. The stones (approximately) measure 1-1.5″ when completed. 

*Since each stone is naturally occuring, each sone has it’s own unique ambiance and will have different variations of colors, textures, and sizes.

If you have any questions please feel free to send me a message, and if you local to the Milwaukee area, message me prior to ordering if you would like to pick up, and save on shipping costs.

Hot Artichoke Dip (EASY)

I grew up being a strange little child for the times. While every other kid I knew liked Hot Dogs and Mac and Cheese, I wanted a Margarita Pizza with Artichoke Hearts topped on it with fresh Feta Cheese. So naturally, I would love Artichoke Dip. Some things never change.

1 Package of Cream Cheese (one up me and make your own cream cheese)
14oz Organic Artichoke Hearts, Drained and Chopped
1/2 Cup of Mayo (Make it yourself, its easy)
1/2 Cup of Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Clove of Garlic
Pinch of Pepper
1 Teaspoon of Fresh Dried Dill

Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer on medium, until well blended. Scoop into a 9-inch pie pan and spread evenly.

Bake at 350° or until lightly browned

Serve with Pita Bread, Pita Chips or your favorite chip.

Strawberry Bon Bons

It took me forever to get this recipe. It was one that I grew up loving as a kid. You could imagine how I felt when I thought I lost it. Crummy! Thankfully its not lost…so I am gonna share it with you. My Grandmother used to make these. I don’t know if this was something she came up with modified from another recipe or where it originated from. Regardless, it was something I loved to indulge in. Its certainly been a while. Sorry, no pictures…I’m watching my girlie figure and delicious bite size food is like shooting myself in the foot.

1 -  Can (14oz) of Sweetened  Condensed Milk (NOT Evaporated Milk

2 – Packages (7oz each – 14oz total) Flaked Coconut

1 – Package (6oz) Strawberry Gelatin

1 – Cup Ground Blanched Almonds

1 – Teaspoon Almond Extract

In a large bowl combine Condensed Milk, Coconut and 1/3 of a cup of Gelatin and Almond Extract. Mix together. My grandmother’s recipe called to add red food coloring to it, but I don’t.

Chill for about an hour. Once cool enough that you can mold the mixture, mold 1/2 tablespoon scoops into strawberry shapes (kinda like a stubby cone). Sprinkle remaining gelatin on a piece of wax paper and roll the strawberries on the gelatin coated wax paper and then set aside on a fresh sheet of wax paper. Refrigerate.

Another alternative to sprinkling Gelatin on wax paper and rolling the balls on the wax paper, you could add the gelatin to a bowl and roll the bon bon in the gelatin in the bowl.

To Make Stems:

2 1/4 Cups of Confectioner’s Sugar
3 Tablespoons of Whipping Cream
Few drops of Green Food Coloring
(I don’t use food coloring, I will use a green jello and dump it into a fine mesh sifter and sift it around or add a few scoops to give it a green hue. doesn’t need to be dark green)

Mix until smooth

Add mix to a pastry piping bag and pipe on some stems or leaves.

40+ Quick & Easy or Freezer Meals

Lately I have been big on premade meals and easy cooking ideas. When I shop for food for planned meal ideas, I plan to make everything in atleast triplicate so that I have a meal for that night plus two more meals frozen for something quick and easy.  I know it sounds like its excessively costly, but after a few meals are put away for future meals and a few meals are pulled out, it all evens out in the end. Maybe even more towards your favor as buying in bulk tends to save you a little here and there.

Hopefully, You will find something here that will help make your meal planning a little easier.

When I premake some meals I will package them in Ziplock style bags to keep things separated (like my cooked meats separate from my veggies or rice because for some kids, the visual separation is important). I will take all items for a particular meal and either stuff them all together in a larger ziplock bag or in a foil baking pan. I wont use the foil pan to heat the meal, just more or a way to keep all the meal things together neatly and in a way I can easily identify a whole meal. I label everything. There is nothing more frustrating than thinking you have pulled out cooked ground beef to thaw and discover after its thawed that it is cooked brown/black rice with Quinoa. I label with Sharpie or by writing on Freezer tape with a Sharpie. I label before food is packed.

As a means to save money and eat healthier options, I have been doing alot of modern convenience things myself (like making my own Bisquick vs buying Bisquick) and making things from scratch.

I’ve included links to recipes for foods I’ve made or have enjoyed freezing. Others I still dilly dally around trying new things and some I don’t have recipes for because I just throw it together without one. If you have a fantastic recipe, please do share! We love trying delicious new recipes.

Some foods really should be Parboiled / Blanched before freezing. Its a good idea to get familiar with what should be parboiled before freezing. A quick list of foods that Need to be Blanched or Parboiled and the ‘how to’. Regardless of what any website has claimed in regards to potatoes, I’ve never had good results with blanched/parboiled potatoes.

Tamales (Freeze Uncooked-Meat is Fully cooked-Masa Uncooked) Steam when ready to cook. Some people thaw then steam. I go straight from freezer to tamale pot. To me, it makes zero sense to make tamales in a small quanity. When I make tamales, its a 2 day job and usually yeilds a few hundred tamales that last the whole year. I freeze them in packs of 12-15 per bag and freeze them according to their thickness so they all cook uniformly when they are steamed. I usually do a Pork or Pork/Beef Combo for my meat.
• Beef
• Pork
• Chicken
• Turkey
• Green Chile, Corn and Cheese

Lasagna (Freeze before baking-Pasta Cooked-Meat Cooked) Thaw first before cooking. I cook with it covered in foil but fluff the foil up so any cheese on top doesn’t stick to my foil. I then remove foil at the end of cooking cycle to brown/toast the tops of Lasagna. I prepare them in foil baking pans that I pick up at the dollar store and bake on a cookie sheet (because dollar store tins are cheap)
• Beef
• Spinach
• Cheese
• Lasagna Rolls

Enchiladas (Just like Lasagna)
• Cheese
• Chicken
• Spinach
• Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas

Two Under Two Blog
• Margarita Chicken
• Citrus Chicken
• Greek Chicken
• Sesame Chicken
• Pork Chops
• Marinated Pork
• London Broil
• Taco Soup

Honey Garlic Chicken Kabobs

Baked Cheesy Spinach Tortellini

Easy Calzones by the Pioneer Woman

Pizza Pockets

Easy Homemade Hot Pockets (from the same blogger as the Pizza Pockets)

Southern Stuffed Bell Peppers
Quick Freezer Stuffed Bell Peppers

Cheese Ravioli

Swedish Meatballs
Rachel Ray Swedish Meatballs
Paula Dean Swedish Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs
     I cook my meat and my sauces and freeze them. Thaw my sauce the night before and add my cooked, frozen meat to the sauce as its warming up and noodles are cooking. If I have meatballs I will freeze them in the sauce.

Hamburger Patties
     I freeze patties on a cookie sheet then stack them with freezer paper separating each patty once they are frozen solid.

Chicken Patties
     Same as beef patties. I run chicken thru a meat grinder instead up buying pre ground chicken.

Cooked Ground Beef:
I cook and separate cooled off ground beef into packs that are about 1 pound each. If I package frozen, uncooked ground beef, I pack it in packages of 1 pound and half of a pound and flatten the pack out so that its easily stored in the freezer and easy to thaw.
     Hamburger Mac N Cheese
     Homemade Hamburger Helper
     Sloppy Joes
     Quick Enchiladas

Incredible Cheeseburger Pie – I’m usually not big on sharing Betty Crocker or other branded recipes, but this one has been a favorite for years. You can make it with ground beef, turkey,  rabbit or any other ground meat you like. I make, bake, cut and freeze then package for quick easy meals that I can package and send with my husband to work for his lunches.

Homade Mac N Cheese

Potato Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup
     Freezes well. I use White Rice instead of noodles. I freeze in Gallon Size Ziploc bags, freeze flat on a cookie sheet and thaw in a bowl incase the bag leaks.

Crock Pot Cowboy Chili
     I use dried beans cook them and proceed as I normally would once the beans are cooked. I freeze in Ziplock bags and thaw in a bowl.

     Green Bean Casserole
     8 Easy Casserole Recipes


Mini (Kid) Pizzas from English Muffins

Pineapple Chicken over White Rice
Super easy. Boil chicken. Shredd. Pour a can of crushed pineapple into a skillet with the shredded chicken and add 3 or 4 tablespoons of brown sugar. Cook until hot and bubbly. Serve over cooked rice. Certainly not a low sugar meal but it is tasty and easy. This also freezes well.

Pineapple Mandarin Orange Chicken over Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing – Same concept as the Pineapple Chicken over White rice, just add mandarin orange slices (uncooked) to your Pineapple Chicken Mixture and serve over Salad with a little Poppy Seed Dressing.

Teryaki Chicken with Rice and Steamed Veggies

Sweet and Sour Grilled Chicken with White Rice and Steamed Veggies

Fried Chicken

Homemade Chicken Nuggets (Fried)
     -These are a great alternative to fast food joint chicken…and you know its actually CHICKEN!

Homemade Chicken Strips (Fried)
     -Another Real Chicken alternative to fast food that is a big hit with kids.

     These are easy to make, freese, thaw and reheat. I do wrap all tortilla foods that will be frozen in a parchment paper sheet and put a little piece of freezer tape on it to make sure it stays wrapped and doesn’t freezer burn before I bag them up for freezing. I store all frozen burritos or chimichangas in a hard plastic container with a lid. Otherwise, you will end up with a bunch of broken burritos.

     I store these like burritos too.

Taquitos (rolled, fried tacos).
     I store these like burritos.

Chicken Wraps (Fresh Tortilla/Meat was cooked then frozen and packaged for quick and easy wraps)
• Grilled
• Fried

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches
     I freeze the cooked meat/onions/bell peppers and the cheese (unmelted) and I thaw and heat meat to melt cheese and fill my bread. These are also a great option for a quick and easy lunch box meal for my husband because he can heat the meat and fill his bread at work without ending up with a soggy sandwich.

Lime Grilled Salmon and Wild Rice with Steamed Veggies

Apricot Glazed Chicken with Black Rice and Mixed Veggies

Grilled Salmon and Baked Sweet Potatoes and Rice – I fully cook everything and freeze. Makes for a great quick, healthy easy meal.

Meatloaf – I prepare my meatloaf in a dollar store bread pan and wrap in foil and freeze it uncooked. I fully thaw before cooking.

Cornish Hens, Stuffing and Veggies with with corn bread. Fully Cooked and frozen in a dollar store tin.

Cooked Frozen Meats for Quick Meals
Make, Cool, Package in Individual Bags and Freeze Flat for Quick and Easy meals. Just add sides and you have a instant homemade meal. 
     • Cube Steak
     • Chicken Fried Steak
     • Grilled Chicken
     • Baked Chicken
     • Grilled Salmon
     • Baked Salmon

Upcycling Used Wrapping Paper

In just a few hours the kids will be up and wanting to rip into the goods carefully packed in fancy wrapping paper. Kind of seems like a waste of paper to just wad it all up and throw it in the trash, especially when there is so much that can be done with the paper.

1.) Line Dresser Drawers or Shelves

2.) Save it for Card Making

3.) Make Paper Bows

4.) Reuse it or save it for next year

5.) Use Paper Punches to cut shapes or designs in the paper to be used to decorate other items/gifts.

6.) Decoupage a Photo Album to store your Printed Holiday Photos from this year in.

7.) Paper Balls from Christmas Cards and Gift Wrap

8.) Mini Gift Bags

9.) Gift Tags or Bookmarks

10.) Shred Wrap for package stuffing when mailing delicate or fragile items

11.) Snowflakes, Paper Dolls, Paper Flowers, Paper Beads, Origami or other Paper Folding Crafts

12.) Interior Book Liner (inside of cover) or Exterior Book Covers

13.) Wrap Jars or Tin Cans to decorate them (like covering a tin can to use it as a pencil holder…)

14.) Wall Collage or Wall Art (framed or unframed)

15.) Or when all else fails check to see if your local recycling program has resources to recycle wrapping paper (usually falls into the same grouping as your Big Box Store circular ads)

What did you do with your wrapping paper? Something awesome? I wanna see!

White Clay Ornament Recipe (Cornstarch)


This is a great clay recipe. It turns out a bright white. One of the only downfalls to this recipe that I’ve rarely seen published is that if your finished project is too thick, it will develop cracks as it hardens and dries (see picture below, bottom right hand disc hand print is approximately 1/2 inch thick and very badly cracked). It does however make fantastic cookie cutter ornaments if the thickness is kept between 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness. The texture is fantastic. Some can even be left unpainted because they are bright white and have a little sparkle.


Single Batch

2 Cups of Salt
2/3rds Cup of Water

1 Cup of Cornstarch
1/2 Cup of Cold Water

Double Batch

4 Cups of Salt
1 1/3rd Cups of Water

2 Cups of Cornstarch
1 Cup of Water

Heat your water (first water) and salt for about 4 minutes in a very clean pan (no burned on residue on the bottom of your pan).

Remove from heat and add your remaining ingredients of Cornstrach and water (second water) and stir together quickly.This will begin to look like a batch of instant mashed potatoes. (If its too soupy, you can return it to the burner and heat it a little more, but do it slowly so your mixture doesn’t burn to the bottom of your pan). Once its cooled enough where you can handle it, Knead your mixture on the counter until it begins to resemble clay. It will get denser in texture.

You can roll your clay out about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and use cookie cutters to cut out ornaments, foot prints or make Hand Prints of your children or pets.

Allow to air dry. I dried mine on a mesh screen that allowed air to pass thru the underside.

I have used low heat (170°) to help speed drying up, but only in short burst.  I did 5 minutes in the oven, 5 minutes out, etc 2 or 3 rounds. I’ve also layed cookie cutter ornaments on the drying racks of my dehydrator to help speed up dry time. If you over heat them in the oven, they will brown when burned.

These ornaments seem to be more fragile than the Standard Salt Dough or Cinnamon Salt Dough Recipe.

Chemical Free Potpourri / Air Freshener

I love a house that smells good. When I was a kid, we had this Eucalyptus Tree in the yard and I would collect leaves from it and throw them in a pot of water to simmer and freshen up the house. Not much has changed except that I have broader horizons now.

In the not so distance past I’ve learned that many, if not most air fresheners contain a level of toxic ingredients. I’ve come to the conclusion that my house will either be stinky or smell good naturally because we don’t need to add any additional toxins to our already toxin exposed lifestyle.

Source of information regarding Dangers of Air Fresheners

Since it is Christmas time, I’ve got an open dish of Orange Peels, Dried Orange Slices, Cinnamon Sticks, Rosemary Leaves, Clove Spears, Star Anise, Eucalyptus Leaves, Cinnamon Scented Pine Cones and Pine Leaves. And it smells FANTASTIC!

I peel oranges and rip the peels into smaller pieces so that when they naturally dry out, they will fit inside of a small jar, around the base of a candle or in a muslin/mesh bag. While the items are fresh, I leave them in an open air container (otherwise sealing them in a jar will cause mold to grow before the peels have a chance to dry out).  Once they are dried out and loose most of their aroma, I will stir in some essential oils with the dried goods to freshen it back up.

During the Christmas Holiday Season, my favorite mix of oils is Orange Oil, Clove Oil and Cinnamon Oil, but you could do whatever you like most.

The best part is that it contains no synthetic or harmful ingredients.

Air Freshener Toxicity – PDF

Toxins found in Air Freshener and the Associated Dangers – Via Natural News

Dried Orange Slices


I originally started this project to use these dried orange slices for one thing but ended up using them for another project instead.

I really loved the way they turned out, so much so that I did a second batch but dried them differently than the first batch.


The baked batch was sliced at about 1/4 inch thickness and places on a pizza tray and baked in the over for roughly 3 hours at 275°.

I went in an flipped the sliced over somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour because I had a feeling they might stick to the pizza tray (which is nothing more than a round cookie sheet with a few steam holes in it). They turned out fantastic.

The second batch was sliced at 1/4 inch and placed on the drying rack of the food dehydrator. It was set at 195° and let run for 48 hours. I also flipped the orange slices several times during the drying process because they also stuck to the drying rack. The end result was also fantastic.

Orange slices from both batches are in the above photo and labeled. As you can see, the baked slices have a darker appearance in the flesh of the fruit and in the peeling. Both processes were overall great at getting the job done. One was a faster process but it darkened the fruit and peel and the other took much longer but allowed the slices to retain a more rich saturation of color.

Upcycling Old Christmas Cards

Sorry, no picture to go along with this one. Ive got 3 small children (and a few cats) who are all enablers of destruction by means of giggling.

This is a super cute project for kids who are a little older. My 4.5 yr old daughter was very interested in helping with this project  but we used Hot Glue for this project and her skin is still too delicate for the typical hot glue burns I frequently give myself. So, she was my paper cutter. We used a paper punch for our circles (squeeze handle type with scalloped edges, because thats what I had) but you can use whatever is easiest for you. If you don’t have a paper puncher, you can trace around a jar lid and cut out the circles.

What you need:

•20 Paper Circles (Cardstock is best)
     You can even use old Christmas Cards!
•Paper Clips (if you are using white school glue or another slow drying glue)
•Ribbon or Yarn

Fold each circle into a triangle so that it has 3 flaps. Take 10 Circles and glue them together on the flap created when they were folded into triangles. One triangle pointing up, the next pointing down, the next up, etc. This will be the center loop.  Once you have a strip of 10, take the first circle and glue it to the flap of the last circle, so you have a loop/circle. Begin gluing circle flaps to the flaps of the circles on the center loop. Glue all flaps together so that there are no free flaps. Before securing the last set of flaps, tie your string or yarn in a circle and place half of it inside of the ball and the other half out of the ball. Close up the last flap.

If you are using white glue or another slow drying glue, paper clips will help keep it together while it dries.

Regardless of what glue you use, this ball will not stand up to being kicked like a soccer ball or viciously smacked around by the cat.  But it does look cute on the Christmas Tree and is a great way to put those old Christmas Cards to good use!

If you decide to make one of these, Id love to see it. Id show mine, but between the cat and kids playing kick ball with it, well…you get the idea.

Any Hummus Amoung Us?

I love Hummus. Maybe a little too much. I was first introduced to Hummus and Pita Chips when I was in my 20′s. Since then, I think I’ve had just about every type of Hummus there is. The best I think I’ve had was in a small restaurant in Tempe, Arizona called Sinbad’s. It was more of a traditional type restaurant. Shoes were removed, you sat on the floor on pillows, they passed Hookahs around and even had dancers. Truly a one of a kind experience. Unfortunately, the restaurant wasnt as popular as I would have expected it to be and is now long gone.

I’ve come across many recipes for Hummus, but this one is probably the closest to the Hummus served there. Its also easily dressed up too. This is a doubled recipe. Feel free to size it down or up. Lasts about 3 days in the fridge. I’ve never tried freezing left overs and don’t know how well that works out when thawed. If you have frozen/thawed, Id love to know how it thaws out.

2 Cans (15 oz) Chickpeas (Drained)
1/4 Cup of
Upto 1/4 Cup of Lemon Juice (I start with half of it and increase if needed)
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Cumin

Throw everything in the blender and give it a whirl until its smooth and creamy. Many recipes call for some of  the drained liquid from the Chickpeas to be added if its too thick but I’ve found that if a few teaspoons of Olive Oil are added instead of the chickpea water that its a much more flavorful taste. I have substituted peanut butter for Tahini before and didn’t notice a huge difference but truly prefer making a more authentic dish.

I have also enjoyed dressing it up with Homemade Basil Pesto or Chili Powder and a dash of Paprika. I just add as luttle or as much as I want. When preparing this as a side for a get together, I have spread a thin layer of Pesto on the bottom of a glass bowl then filled it with Hummus and then spread another thin layer of Hummus over the top.

Classic Basil Pesto

This summer I had a few abundant bushes of Basil. I really enjoyed cooking meals using the herbs that I grew. Since I am a ‘More is better’ person, when I say I had an abundant amount of Basil, It was coming out my ears.

I dried it, made some butter cubes, oil cubes and some water cubes out of it but still had alot. I decided to make some Pesto. My mom seems to be a fantastic source for all kinds of yummy stuff I used to eat as a kid (or refused to eat cause I thought it looked funny).

4 Cups Loose Fresh Picked Basil (washed)

1/4th of a Cup Pine Nuts
I ordered my Pine Nuts Here

4 Garlic Cloves

1/4 of a Cup of Olive Oil

1/2 of a Cup of Softened Butter

1 & 1/3rd of a Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese

Fresh Ground Pepper (I like mine with a coarse grind).

Add Basil, Pine Nuts and Garlic to the Blender and chop until its fine. Add Oil, Butter And Parmesan and season with Pepper as you see fit.

You can serve it over cooked pasta or slather it on a grilled cheese sandwich for a zesty treat Easy Homemade Pasta Recipe

Keeps in the fridge for 3 or 4 days. If I’ve made too much, I will jar it up and freeze some for a later date.

Homemade Pasta

Pasta is very easy to make. Essentially, its flour and eggs. Being that we are a family of 6, I can’t see logic in making this recipe in its original format. I triple it. I have a Pasta roller which also cuts my pasta into those nifty little strips. I have been making alot of pasta lately because it makes for an affordable and easy Zombie Apocalypse Prepping item. I also speed my drying time by placing my pasta on the drying racks of my food dehydrator. The only down side to making your own pasta is storing it. In order to keep it from becoming damaged or pasta crumbs, it ideally should be stored in a box or jar. How much pasta does it make? Well, never enough. 

Tripled Recipe

6 Cups of Flour
9 Small Eggs
3 Pinches of Salt

You can be adventurous and liven your pasta with spinach, a little spinach juice, carrot juice, Basil, tomato paste. I run my spinach thru the juicer so my pasta remains smooth.

Add Flour and Salt to a large bowl and mix. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs. Begin using your hands to mix the flour into the eggs. This process can be sped up by a food processor. 

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead about 4 or 5 minutes, until smooth. Form it into a soft ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes. (But keep it under an hour) This reduces the tearing of the dough.

Divide into 12 equal pieces and roll thru your pasta machine going down a notch until pasta is 1/8th inch thick. Dust with flour as needed. By hand, roll on a lightly floured surface until its a 1/8th inch thick.

Amazing Basil Pesto

If you plan to fill the pasta, do it immediately or it will begin to crack during handling. If you will make ribbons, strands or shapes you can let it sit on a clean dish towel for 30 minutes before cutting. You can get creative and use small cookie cutters for shaped pasta. Let dry at room temp for about 2 days

I use the dehydrator to dry my pasta.

Cook pasta by adding it to salted boiling water.

Typically you would cook 3 to 4 oz of pasta per person.



As parents we tend to do better for our children than we typically did for ourselves. Painstakingly researching every last thing we can about eat, sleep, health, play can be exhausting, and stressful. Then when you feel you might have (almost) gotten a routine, and a grasp on this parenting thing comes teething; it seems to be some cruel joke of humanity. We’ve learned plastic is not the greatest option for our little ones due to endless toxins, and the pours in plastic that harbors bacteria. Then there are the toys with paints made who knows where, at what cruel hourly wage often contain lead. Wood is often a much better alternative being more eco friendly, and health friendly.

I’ve enlisted an old friend from childhood who happens to be a carpenter to help with creating a natural teether for your little gummy babe. Untreated maple wood is used, and hand shaped into 3 inch rings for me to start crafting teethers. I hand sand any rough patches of the rings down, and finish them off with my homemade organic wood polish. Though maple wood does have a very fine grain structure, and is less likely to splinter, so polish is optional. The beeswax (certified organic from the US) and extra virgin olive oil polish finishes the wood off to seal it for extra protection from splintering. A prewashed fabric is used to create “bunny ears,” or a nice tight crochet sleeve around the wooden ring. The ears can be removed to be cleansed, and to be wet, and frozen for extra pain relief for the swollen gums.
These stylish Wooden Teethers are a wonderfully affordable Christmas gift, newborn gift, and perfect for baby showers, too.

You can find these teethers at Sasha’s Etsy shop, Crunchette Crafts.

Wooden Baby Teethers

Raw Baltic Amber

wpid-GosmsPhoto1377042972465-picsay.jpgRaw Baltic amber is fossil resin produced by pine trees which grew in Northern Europe that has been known to be used by Northern Europeans for centuries for pain-relieving, and anti-inflammatory component called succinic acid. Succinic acid is absorbed through the skin into the body. Research by Nobel-prize winner Robert Koch confirmed positive influences of succinic acid, and confirmed there is no risk of too much succinic acid in humans. Raw Amber contains the most succinic acid, more than that of polished amber, and can be found to strengthen the body by strengthening the immune system. Raw Amber accelerates our natural immunity to aid in healing wounds, reducing inflammation of throat, ears, teeth/gums, stomach, help with drooling, and even aid the respiratory system.
Amber necklaces are meant to be worn under clothing, against the skin, to absorb the succinic acid. Children should not be allowed to chew on the necklaces, and supervision is required when your child wears the necklace. Each bead is hand strung, and individually knotted, on a silk cord, and finished off with plastic screw clasps for safety. The knots insure that if the necklace breaks, the amber will not scatter, a single bead will fall. The plastic screw clasp will hold sturdy, however will break away if it needs to.
Your amber will last many lifetimes, and should be looked at as a keepsake. As for caring for your amber, only water should be used to clean it with a soft cloth, then be left to lay flat (in sun) for silk string to dry completely before retuning back to your child. The silk string will not do well with baths, or pools and should be removed prior to these activities. Baltic Amber was formed about 45 million years ago, its tremendous healing powers can be passed on from your children to your grandchildren, and cherished forever.

Raw Baltic Amber is available for purchase at Sasha’s Etsy Crunchette Crafts.

24 Christmas Freebies



As you will see, many of these come from other websites that often have lots of free or downloadable printable coloring sheets but you will notice I’ve selected certain ones and not others. Ive done this for a reason. Some printables don’t print in the greatest quality. I’ve selected printables that I have downloaded and/or printed and they printed well for me and hopefully will for you too. 

My Christmas Wish List (Pictured)

Christmas List (Book)

Christmas Activity Booklet (9 Pages)
1.7 MB File Game and Puzzle Answers

Printable Gift Tags (12 Styles)

Christmas Holly Bush by Crayola
Coloring Sheet

Gift of Giving by Crayola (Presents)
Coloring Sheet

Printable Coloring Box
Really Cute

Tree & Snowman Standing Card
Better printed on Cardstock Paper

Mary & Baby Jesus
Coloring Sheet

Traditional Santa
Coloring Sheet

Movable Santa (Part 1 of 2)
Movable Santa (Part 2 of 2)
Color, Cut Out and Assemble

Merry Christmas Sign by Crayola
Christmas Tree (Decorate it yourself) by Crayola
Coloring Sheet

Christmas Ornament Coloring Sheet
Pictured Above – Coloring Sheet

10 Free Printable Christmas Cards (PDF)

Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol
138 Page PDF File – eBook

Santa Coloring Sheet
Coloring Sheet

Ruldolph Coloring Page
Coloring Sheet

Christmas Wreath
Coloring Sheet

Christmas Elf with Toy Paint
Coloring Sheet

12 Days of Christmas
Coloring Sheets -Days are individually printable

Christmas Riddle Coloring Pages
9 Individually Printable Coloring Sheets

Coloring Sheet – Resembles My Little Pony, Sorta

Coloring Sheet

Rag Doll
Super Cute Coloring Sheet

I hope you’ve found something you enjoyed as much as we did. We’d love your feedback!

Easy Gingerbread Houses


These were kind of a spur of the moment idea after finding a few bags of candy burried in the bottom of the freezer. The candy was far too old to be considered edible.

We used:

Graham Crackers (7 squares and 2 trianges-a square sawed in half with a bread knife)

Sugar Cookie Icing (I already had some of this on hand from another project) but you can make your own icing (butter creme)

Gum Drops
Rock Hard Gummie Bears
Mini Chocolate Chips
White Chocolate Chips
Shredded Coconut Flakes

I pieced the house together using the icing as a glue. The house has a ‘floor’ which I used to have an extra surface to add icing to so that it would be stronger.

Each part of the house needed to be held together for a minute or two before the icing began to set. It began to ‘set’ right at that point where I started considering whipping out the glue gun.

The kids decorated their houses withing minutes of them being built, but had I known how hard the icing would be once it set overnight, I would have put the houses together out of the view of the little ones anxious to decorate them and saved the decorating for the following day. It would have saved them the upset of thinking they broke their house when the roof slid off.

After the houses were all put together and dried, the candy became a permanent part of the house. And I’m glad I refrained from using the glue gun since the following morning at breakfast someone took a bite out of every one of the houses on the table.

Easy, Cost Effective Handmade Cards


Anyone who knows me, knows I am a frugal spender. I dont want to pay more for something than I need to.

I did pay full price of a whooping $1 for each of the Stamp Sets (Studio G Cheapies) used to make these cards because I didn’t have these ones, I waited way too long to start thinking about Christmas Cards and figured if I didn’t do something now, it wasn’t going to happen this year. Ok, maybe I’m being a bit of a Scrooge…bah!

(If your looking for themed ideas or more indepth ideas…keep scrolling. I’ll get to it)

I typically buy all of my Holiday Themed Stamps and Paper after the Holiday has passed because I want to get it at a discounted price and tend to grab everything I can grab in such an indiscriminate manner that I tend to end up with duplicates. Because of this, my husband tends to call me a hoarder. But I’m okay with that. The way I see it is as long as you are not hoarding used cat litter, its actually more like ‘Prepping’ than actual Hoarding. 


Its not hard to turn a few stamps into a card. I tend to find the hardest part of making a card to be avoiding clutter or over doing it. For me, that tends to be hard because I am one of the worst kind of ‘More is Better’ people. Making a nice card can be done very frugally, under $5 even.

Alot of times I will take a blank piece of paper and draw a rectangle shape and stamp it the way I envisioned it in my head to see how it looks before stamping it on to my blank card.

Another great card idea is to stamp your image out on cardstock paper then cut the image out. This gives you the option to move the pieces around before deciding on placement, you can  mount the cut out over decorative paper cut outs or to elevate them off the card using foam dots (or pieces of craft foam glued to the card) giving your card a multidimensional look. I tend to do this quite a bit with my younger kids who always want to participate in making something but I don’t want using my expensive inks when I am not able to be on top of the kids and prevent “double dipping” in my more expensive inks.

16 hand decorated cards cost me a total of $3 ($3 for the stamps, the cards I already had on hand, glue and rhinestones I already had and ink I already had on hand) but for the sake of full disclosure, the cards were premade by Studio G and sold in packs of 8 cards/envelopes for $1 at Joann’s, the Rhinestone packs were bought at Walmart for $1.97 and the glue was mystery glue that no one knows where it came from.

When you think about it, you probably have more on hand to make a card with than you are aware of. Ribbon, glue glitter, stickers, stamps, paper punches, old cards that you can cut up and repurpose into new cards, gift wrap that you can cut images out of. 

And when I am done with this Holiday, I will hit the craft store (usually Joann’s) and buy up the remaining holiday related stamps in such an indiscriminate fashion I’ll surely end up with duplicates. Ill save them all for next year and do it all over again.

Okay, maybe this does kinda fit into the hoarding category, but atleast its not used cat litter, 30 year old Reader’s Digest Magazines and used Napkins. So…I think I’m ok?!?

So what if you have a bit bigger ideas for homemade Christmas Cards? And a bigger budget? And you have something like this in mind…



No problemo! You can order Themed Holiday Kits or Individual Stamp Sets and Accessories and find all the themed Card and Scrapbooking Ideas imaginable at Stampin Up. As I grow my Stamping and Scrapbooking Collection, I really enjoy StampinUp themed collections. Jill Fernan, my Stamp Lady, has me absolutely hooked…there is no looking back now.

I honestly, really prefer wood mounted rubber stamps over acrylic stamps such as Studio G. A true rubber stamp give you a crystal clear, high quality image, impression after impression and they last. Acrylic stamps, particularly low end stamps like Studio G and Studio 112 Stamps are a dollar for a reason and you really do get what you pay for. When you pay for a higher quality stamps, such as those you find thru StampinUp, you are going to pay a little more for it initially, but you will see the difference in the quality from your first impression and every impression beyond that for years to come. I would rather have quality that I have grown to love and expect from StampinUp over any other that I’ve encountered to date.

The possibilities are endless when you put you ideas into actions…

2014 Valentine’s Day 6th Grade Class Party… Yes, we’ve already started on this. What can I say? Mini Gift Bag Instructions

2013 Mini Gift Bag from 5th Grade with Mini Tag Bookmarks (the tags were all made by my daughter) The gift bag is constructed using the same Pattern that we are using this year, except 2013′s bags were constructed with textured cardstock paper and 2014′s bags are all being made using a roll of freakishly old brown craft paper.