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DIY Fireman Costume

Did you hear somebody yell, ‘Fire’ ?

DIY Fireman Costume 4

No worries. With the help of a little duct tape, an old t shirt, and a couple of iron on’s … an adorable little helper is on the way.

DIY Fireman Costume 3

Do your kids’ have Career Day at school? The sons’ elementary school hosts one every year, and you can literally be anything you want when you grow up. Well, besides a Ghost ‘Butter’, much to our honey nugget’s initial disappointment. The school does require they be legitimate ‘carrier’ choices, and since I haven’t heard that the cast of Ghost Adventures is looking to hand over the reigns anytime soon (or in the future), we went with the youngest son’s second choice.

DIY Fire man Costume 5

If he can’t be a hunter of wayward souls, he’s perfectly content spending his adult hood ‘saving people’. He couldn’t have pickled a nobler profession.

Whether it’s for Career Day, Halloween, or just creative play where we encourage them to ditch the batteries for a few and stretch their imaginations, this DIY costume is too easy not to make. The whole get up cost me less than $10 (it could be significantly less depending on what supplies you have on hand, too).

Directions

DIY Fireman Costume

yellow duct tape
smaller silver duct tape
American Flag iron on patch
iron-on letters that spell FIRE DEPT
over-sized, black long-sleeved t-shirt
fireman hat
black or yellow galoshes, optional

DIY Fireman Costume 2

1. We used a hand me down black t that had a graphic design on it and just turned it inside out. Take the standard size yellow duct tape and wrap it in a complete circle about 1/2 inch above the bottom of the t shirt. Do another under the armpits at ‘chest’ level. Then do two more yellow circles on the sleeves, one towards the bottom and one up towards the shoulder. Go over each yellow circle with a strip of the smaller silver tape creating another band right down the middle.
2. Have a heated iron ready. Follow the directions on the patches. Iron the flag patch above the upper band on the right sleeve of the outfit. Iron the letters for ‘Fire Dept’ above the top/chest band on the back of the outfit.
3. Complete your child’s fireman costume by wearing the shirt with black pants, a fireman hat, and rain galoshes for ‘boots’.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Birthday Party

The youngest son turned 6 a few weeks ago. And gone are the days of Mommy’s-pic, cute, cuddly party themes. We’ve finally graduated into picking our own, from last year’s Minecraft Party to this year’s choice of The TMNT.

Ninja Turtle Party 8Ninja Turtle Party 10

Cowabunga Dudes (and Dude-ettes) !

Let’s take a look at our totally radical Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Birthday Party theme.

First, the cornerstone of any good party: The Cake.

Ninja Turtle Party

We opted for an actual turtle to grace our cake, and the sons favorite it had to be. I thought our little Mikey (Michelangelo) turned out pretty well.

Ninja Turtle Party 3

I frosted it completely with green, left it in the freezer for a couple of hours, then used a toothpick to lightly draw the outlines of the face into the frosting. I recommend starting with the nose line. If you get that right, everything else is *ahem* a piece of cake. Then we piped in frosting of various colors to fill in the lines, and used a spatula to gently smooth them out. We finished it off by piping a line of orange rosettes around the bottom edge.

Ninja Turtle Party 4

The Turtles, Mikey especially, have a thing for pizza– so naturally we had to have some at the party. We picked up a few pizzas from Little Caesar’s for ‘eats’ and had pizza, and more pizza for dessert with these cute cookies. They’re sugar cookies I frosted red. The ‘cheese’ is finely grated white chocolate, with red M & M ‘pepperonis’. SOn # 2 works at a local pizzeria and snagged me a few pizza boxes for presentation, but I’m sure most local Mom & Pop joints wouldn’t mind giving you one or two upon request.

Ninja Party 5

We had Oreo cookie ‘Sewer Lids’ to munch on too. And in a nod to our anthropomorphic friends radio-active origins, we had some Toxic ‘Ooze’ to wash it all down with.

Ninja Turtle Party 6

We tend to keep the deocrations simple, using things we already have on hand. In this case? Nunchucks on the table (another nod to our beloved Mike) and talking turtle figurines. We used plastic bowls that happened to coordinate and red solo cups for untensil holders. I did splurge on coordinating plates and napkins ( each about $1 at Walmart) and a table cloth to keep clean up easy.

Ninja Turtle Party 7

Another thing we don’t do? Goody bags. You get cake and ice cream. Copious amounts of sugar are my gift/ thank you to you. On the other hand, we all know how much I love a good diy, or any kind of imaginitive play the keeps them away from outlets and batteries. When I saw an idea to make your own wearable turtle shells? Every kid was gonna get one! And they were adorable 🙂 I’ll have a how-to up next week so you can out fit your own Ninja Turtles in proper DIY-couture.

Ninja Turtle Party 9

And here’s my gorgeous sister so kindly modeling a shell for the birthday boy, and also using some of the photo props from a kit we found on clearance (again at Walmart) in the party planning section.

Simple. Straightforward. And the birthday boy and his friends thought it was all totally gnarly. Even the one boy who looked at my like I’d grown two heads when I asked him to eat over a plate as he was on his third bite of pizz-ookie, sprinkling my carpet with ‘cheese’.

Grill Master Card for Father’s Day

Still struggling to find the perfect card for Dad or Grandpa tomorrow? This card is perfect for the grill master in your life on Father’s Day. It would also make an adorable birthday card. Super simple, and how fun are those Mike & Ike ‘hot dogs’?

 fathers day card 2

black/orange/yellow marker
paper or card stock
glue
red Mike & Ike candies

To Assemble

1. Fold and/or cut your card stock into your preferred card size.
2. Draw a black circle on the paper and color in the middle with orange and yellow to make ‘fire’. After that color some charcoal dots over top the fire with the black marker.
3. Use a ruler, a book, or some other object with a firm straight edge and draw diagonal lines across the circle to make the grill rack. Draw three lines on top of each of the candies for grill marks. Glue them down on top of the grill.
4. Write ‘Dad … The Grill Master’ at the top of the card and then your message on the inside. Done!

Tired Toes Foot Scrub

You know what’s fun? Going to pull measuring spoons out of the drying rack only to have something jump out at you. Something small. Something insect. Then, after the heart palpitations stop, you’re finally able to get your stuff together to call for a son or two to come help you remove the offending cricket. And you’re all like what the fook just happened, while they’re all what’sthebigdeal AND laughing at you, and then you tell another son, and they’re just like oh, yeah … i knew there was a cricket … but when i looked again I didn’t see it and forgot about it. Glad you finally found him.

 Tired Toes Foot Scrub 4

This is something you tell me, little people!! This is not something I need lying in wait to surprise me with ninja like skills when I’m in the kitchen, in my zone, and couldn’t be less prepared for some life or death, instant reflex situation.

And to put the cherry on the top of my Tuesday cupcake, son # 3 then says offhandedly an hour later that if somebody really wanted me to have a bad day, they’d go buy a cheap-ass bag of crickets from the Pet Store and leave them somewhere for me to find, or wrap them up and put a bow on them.

Not cool, boys. Not. Cool. BUT, this does bring me around to the whole point of this post.

Tired Toes Foot Scrub 2

Being a parent is a full-time job, it cane be non-stop and there’s not always a lot of ‘down’ time. Most days we’ve always got something going on, and it’s go go go. Sometimes in multiple directions at once trying to get everyone where they need to go, keep em all entertained, their bellies filled up, and little heads and hearts full. One thing I don’t always have time for? Me. All this time spent doing for everyone else, and by the end of the day the thought of doing something for myself just seems to foreign to even wrap my head around. But it’s a shame really. Those few extra moments spent pampering myself? They should really be considered an investment. Especially when considering how much better my whole attitude is afterwards.

So for a busy parent, constantly on the go, what do you think the most neglected part , and the one most used and in need of a little extra TLC would be? The feet! And that’s why I love this easy scrub so much. It takes no time to whip up, or to use and it’s the perfect way to tickle and tantalize tired tootsies in need of a pick me up with.

Tired Toes Foot Scrub 3

If anybody saw, and tried, the Pinterest idea for a Listerine foot bath/soak, I’m truly sorry. I hope your feet weren’t stained blue for too long, and that no one mistook you for a smurf. Still, while a whole foot bath full of listerine may have been to much, a little bit does go a long way. Pair it with some Epsom salt and you’re in business. Epsom salts are well known for their all natural detox, and stress relieving ability, ie. helping you relax and gain energy! They’re also a great exfoliant, helping to easily remove dead skin along with any foot odor that may or may not be hanging around. (It was a long day, ok?) The little bit of Listerine this scrub uses will leave your toes feeling tingly clean (and germ free!) while leaving a light, fresh scent behind without tinting your skin. Be prepared to be amazed, and refreshed.

So if you have tired toes, have dry feet, and/or just enjoy a little bit of frugal, DIY pampering– then the Tired Toes Foot Scrub is for you.

Tired Toes Foot Scrub

Tired Toes Foot Scrub

2 cups Epsom salt
1/4 cup Listerine

Directions

1. Add the ingredients together in a bowl, stirring until evenly incorporated. Apply a generous amount to your feet and gently rub/massage into the skin. Rinse off and enjoy the pampered feel of your refreshed feet.
2. Use right away, or store until ready to use. The listerine won’t dissolve the epsom salts, but if storing it will settle to the bottom of the jar/storage container, so be sure to give everything a good stir together before using.

Re-purposing Coffee Grounds & A Homemade Exfoliating Scrub

Anybody else here live off of coffee? For the hubs and I, it’s just part of our morning routine, and as integral and necessary as say brushing our teeth or getting dressed. Don’t expect me to function if I haven’t had my coffee. But speaking of coffee, as you stumble your way into the kitchen, wiping the sleep from your eyes, how much thought have you given to the coffee grounds when you add them to your Keurig or coffee pot’s filter? If you’re like the hubs and I, of course you didn’t give them a second thought, before you used them OR after you threw them away. They’d served their only purpose in life, creating the lifeblood of our people. But if you’re also like us, one day you’re going to have a friend over and offer to make them coffee. Then you’re going to react with confusion and dismay when you toss the used coffee grounds out and they react like you’ve just thrown dollar bills down the disposal. And then you’ll be thanking the dear sweet Lord for the sweet sweet nectar of the gods while you’re lectured educated on the many, many, many used for coffee grounds. And then you’re not going to be able to forget. And then it’s going to click that you could be saving some money, and since you’re not above being cheap to do so, you’ll do some research and before you know it you’ll see coffee grounds floating down the drain as money washing away or it spilled on the counter as loose change to be scraped together. And pennies make dollars, people.

So yeah, coffee has A LOT of uses in a variety of applications beyond just being vital to starting our day off on the right, non violent, foot. Here’s a list of some of our favorites, with my personal favorite — a frugal exfoliating scrub — last, but not least.

1. Deodorizer – Did you know that coffee, much like the tried and true baking soda, is a deodorizer and can keep your fridge odor free? Place clean, unused coffee grounds in an open bowl or cup at the back of the refrigerator to eliminate food odor. They can even be used in the freezer. You can also make closet freshening pouches with coffee. Take cheesecloth or another breathable material (the hubs prefers using coffee filters because they’re cheaper) and wrap around a small amount of coffee grounds, secure the sachet closed, and hang or place it somewhere in the back of the closet. Got babies? Putting a packet of coffee grounds in the bottom of the Diaper Genie works wonders! Hate the way your hands smell after chopping onions or garlic, even after scrubbing them with soap? Keep some coffe grounds handy near or under the sink and rub a  handful of them on before washing and they’ll absorb any smelly, lingering odors.
2. Healthier Harvesting: When it comes to gardening, coffee grounds are an unsung hero. You may think of worms as just another pest problem, but in the garden they’re a welcome sight. They’re little unsung, unseen miracle workers. They enrich and turn your soil just with their own body processes. Guess what brings all the worms to the yard? Coffee grounds mixed in with your garden soil. Planning on planting carrots or radishes this year? Sprinkle some coffee grounds in with the seeds at planting to help keep bugs and pests away and to increase your yield. Composting? Don’t toss out those used grounds with the trash. Add them to the compost bin for a healthy boost of nitrogen.
4. Pest Control: Slugs won’t cross over a perimeter of the stuff, and Ants are sensitive to strong smells so sprinkle a little (used or unused) at their point of entry to encourage the little buggers to find food elsewhere. Do the neighborhood cats liked your yard, or maybe your garden beds in particular? Sprinkle coffee grounds mixed with orange peel where you don’t want them to go and sit back and wait until your neighbors come asking for your secret!
5. Touch up furniture scratches – Overtime, all furniture begins to show signs of wear and tear, especially wooden furniture, but before you go by an expensive can of finishing wax, get ready to strip it down to refinish, or consider throwing it away, find some instant coffee. If your wood has a darker stain, mix the coffee grounds with water to form a thick pasta and rub it into the scratches, repeating as necessary until the scratched area matches the rest of the wood.

And lastly, I love, love love, using coffee grounds as a cheap (yep, I said it!) and very effective exfoliant. Add clean coffee grounds to a body wash. Massage into skin and rinse. It’s a great remover of dry skin. You can also use them for a great facial. Mix a few tablespoons of grounds with enough water to make a paste. Pat it on skin and let stand for a few minutes and then massage in circles. Rinse thoroughly.

This particular recipe for our coffee sugar scrub helps nourish skin and lessen the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite.  The coffee itself acts as a temporary anti-inflammatory helping skin appear firmer. The almond oil and vitamin e will moisturize your skin leaving it silky smooth. If you’ve got oily or acne prone skin, opt for lemon or tea tree essential oil instead as both help control oil production. This works either applied to a specific area, like hands, feet, or face, or even used as an overall body scrub.

Homemade Coffee Brown Sugar Scrub

Coffee Sugar Scrub

1 cup ground coffee, used or unused
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4-1/3 cup almond oil
1/4 tsp vitamin e oil
10 drops orange essential oil (optional), or 10 drops lemon or tea tree essential oil for oily or acne prone skin

Directions

1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir together until everything’s evenly incorporated.
2. Before full use, apply a small (very small amount) to a small patch of skin and check for a reaction to make sure you aren’t allergic to anything in the scrub. Wet the desired area. Apple sugar scrub and gently massage into skin in circular motions.
3. Use a dry rag or paper towel to remove as much as you can.
4. Wash away the rest in the sink or the shower, depending on your application.
5. Store in an airtight container.

3 Ingredient Edible Peeps Playdough

Another Easter’s almost here, and you know what that means. PEEPS! Peeps here, Peeps there, Peeps are everywhere. The hubs and the sons go nuts for these things. The hubs prefers to slit open a package and let them sit for a couple of days as he finds them quite pleasing when stale. (YUCK!) The sons will badger me incessantly if they see a package in the pantry, even though if they just patiently wait until Easter the bunny always loads their baskets up with several packages.

The past few years, I’ve seen mroe and more ideas floating around with different ideas and suggested uses for them. Last year we made Peep kabobs for their baskets. I noticed they’re now selling them in stores this year. Well this year we took it above and beyond by making this simple, but awesome edible ‘playdough’ for Son # 4. Even the older sons wanted in on this action. Although I was forbidden from photo documenting the event. No evidence and plausible deniability… blah, blah, blah. Who knows, maybe this will find it’s way to the Peep market eventually. In the meantime, it doesn’t get any easier and it’s tons of simple, sugary fun for you and the little ones to gear up for the holiday.

 peeps playdough

3 Peeps
1 tbsp of coconut oil
3 tbsp of powdered sugar, plus more for dusting

peeps playdough 3

Put both the peeps and the oil in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for them for 10 seconds, just long enough to watch the peeps “grow” with the heat. Take the bowl out of the microwave and add in the powdered sugar and stir. As you stir the mixture in the bowl, the ‘dough’ should begin pulling away from the edges of the bowl. Lightly dust the lump with powdered sugar and work out any additional lumps in your dough with your hands.
If your dough is too sticky or too oily, add more powdered sugar, and alternatively if it is cracking, add a touch more oil. Use your hands to knead the dough until everything’s equally incorporated and it has reached a malleable consistency.

peeps playdough 2

Ok, so while we’re calling this playdough, it’s actually pretty much marshmallow fondant with some added pizzazz and Easter-y fun from the Peeps. The pink ball was with traditional peeps, but we went out on a limb and gave the party cake peeps a try, and it tasted even better! This edible marshmallow dough can be used and played with just like regular play dough, but it does not store well. So if you’re getting ready to make it, be sure to have the kiddos on hand to get the most play time in with it.

peeps playdough 4

Concerned this is too much sugar? Check out this version from Still Playing School that uses cornstarch instead of powdered sugar. Coincidentally, they also make a bigger batch so it’d be great for larger quantities for multiple little ones to enjoy.

Snowman Milk Bottles

So remember when we started this whole 12 Days of Christmas thing? Remember my little pre-apology just in case life got in the way of a post or two coming your way? Well, it was bound to happen and it finally did. (Although we did have a solid six day run before that. Yes!)

Long story short: Son # 4’s allergies got the best of him. Zyrtec kicked his allergies butt and dried up excessive amounts of mucus. And backed them right up into his ear which culminated in an ER visit narrowly avoiding a burst ear drum. Now that we’re all back to normal, we’re ready to resume our regularly scheduled programming. And back to the Christmas craftiness we are. In 3 … 2 … 1 …

I’m about to show you something really cute.

Like really, really cute.

And it’s so simple! Just a few supplies, and you can have an adorable Winter milk jug ready for the kids, for guests, or even for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Snowman Milk Bottle

Also, it’s Christmas time, and that means it’s also (unofficially) cookie season. And you can’t have cookies without milk. It’s just one of the unwritten laws of dessert. So whether you’re throwing a Christmas party, hosting the family baking day, or just enjoying some much needed qt with your cuties, having milk on-hand is a must, and what better way to serve it than this?!

Snowman Milk Bottles

milk bottles, I happen to own a set, but Starbucks Frappuccino bottles would work perfectly too
felt, I used red but any color would work
black buttons
straws
glue gun

Directions

1. Cut a strip of felt. Snip the ends of the strip of felt to resemble a scarf.
2. Tie the strip of felt around the neck of the bottle. Arrange the ends so they both lay flat. If needed apply some glue to the bottom strip and press the top down onto it to secure.
3. Glue two black buttons onto the midsection of the glass.
4. Fill with milk, insert a straw, and you’re ready to impress!

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