Friday, August 31, 2012

Recycled Shoeboxes

I've been trying to organize my girl's room forEVER! The cute patterned organizational boxes I've seen are so pricey though. I happened to have a few shoe boxes laying around so I turned them into suh-weeeet boxes for the girl's barbies, dress up jewelry and pony collection.

All you will need is cool patterned duct tape, a shoe box, diaper box or any other cardboard box you have on hand and a pair of scissors.

Cutting a slit in  the tape before you press it down will help it lay flat.
The finished top! (Contrasting colors work amazingly!)
Way cool finished product :p

Banana Bread

I really like this recipe. It's a little more crumbly than the recipes that call for a stick of butter but so much more healthy!

2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter softened
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3)
1/3 cup plain low fat yogurt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in bowl.

3. Beat sugar and butter together until well blended, add applesauce, then add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.
4. Mash banana, add in along with the yogurt and vanilla.
5. Add flour mixture, beat at low speed until just moistened.
6. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
7. Allow to cool 10 minutes or so before removing from pan.

Nom Nom Nom!

Monday, August 27, 2012

12 chores for Toddlers&Preschoolers

I think its very important to instill a good work ethic in our kids when they are young. My littles (2) and (4) help out around the house and they have since they could walk. I've found several good little chores for thier age.

1. Unload dishes. My toddler unloads the silverware, its a good matching game for her and promotes eye-hand coordination. My preschooler takes all the dishes out and puts them in the cabinets or on the counter if she can't reach.

2. Wash dishes. Fill the sink up with soap and water, kids will have fun playing in the bubbles.

3. Dust. Put socks on the thier hands and let them go at it.

4. Organize shoes. We have shoe rack by our door and I have the girls match the shoes up and put them neatly on the rack.

5. Set the table. Simple enough.

6. Clear table.

7. Water plants outside. Boys love to water plants with squirt guns!
7. Clean baseboards with wet rag.
8. Clean spots off the floor.
9. Fold laundry. My girls fold thier clothes and washcloths, because they are smaller and easier to handle.
10. Sort laundry. You can turn this into a color matching game.
11. If you have kid sized cleaning tools like a broom or mop, use them! 

12. Fill an empty spray bottle with vinager and water. Kids can spray cabinets, walls, doors, floors and then wipe them down. The vinager deodorizes and is safe for almost every surface. It's also nontoxic and won't hurt thier skin.

Don't forget to praise your kiddos and make a big deal over what a great job they are doing!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Super Smoothie

I have to rave about this smoothie recipe I got from marathon mom (see link). My 4 year old is very picky when it comes to veges and refuses to eat most of them. This recipe is great because you sneak the spinach in there and they never know! Today I replaced my lunch with this smoothie and the girls had some of it for "dessert".
Super Smoothie Recipe

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Granola Energy Balls (Pinterest Success!)

To help me power through this busy week, I made this recipe I found on pinterest for Energy Balls. It's pretty healthy and packed with protein. They taste pretty good too! I doubled the original recipe (teenagers and Marines eat a lot!) and spread mine out into bars instead of balls.

Here is the original recipe
(By the way I love her blog, so many great tips!)

Here is what mine looked like

Busy Week

Wow! Its been a busy, busy week and its not even over yet! Doctor appointments, orthopedic appointment, MRI's, work, school and everyday life with two little ones and a teenager. My two year old is in that stage where she thinks everything is hers to play with. She is into everything! Fingernail polish, sharpies, the name it she's gotten into it. Needless to say there is never ending amounts of cleaning to be done. And I've gone through more Mr. Clean Magic Erasers than I can count. It's such a big help when Mr. B does activites with the girls. I came home from work last night to my fridge looking like this
So cute! The girls were so excited to show me thier creations this morning.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Black Lace Heels

Ok I have to admit, I've been slightly obsessed with lace lately. Its a hot trend right now showing up on the runways and and in top designers work. I just think lace is so classy and elegant. Pair my love of lace with my love of stilettos, and lace heels just make me feel all warm and fuzzy. I went looking for a pair to buy and came across several I liked.
Black lace heels from one of my favorite designers Christian Louboutin. These go for around $800.

Dolce & Gabbana heels for $595.

Jimmy Choo heels for $900.

Obviously not in my price range haha! Undaunted, I knew I could find an affordable pair. So I went looking on ebay and found a pair by Pleaser. Guess how much I paid? $9!!! Score!! (of course I did snipe them at the last minute hehe!)

My Prize!

Black lace heels are very versatile. They are dressy enough for black tie events, and casual enough to wear with jeans.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Handmade Gift Tags and Cards

Since we are on a very tight budget, I always look for ways to reuse everything. Even free magazines we get in the mail! In another post (coming soon!) I'll give you 10 ways to reuse old magazines.

This is a fun, easy and cheap way to make gift tags and cards. You can make these to use as gift tags, give them as gifts, or write a note to someone.

You will need:
Glue stick
Construction paper or cardstock
Magazine pictures

1. Take your magazines and cut out pictures you think are cute. I like to use landscapes, animals, patterns.

2. Take a piece of construction paper and fold in half. Place picture on the folded paper and cut around it. Use paper colors that compliment the picture. Should look something like this.

3. Glue picture in the center of the cut out card. Gluesticks work best since magazine paper is thin and will bubble if liquid glue is used.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

"Healthy" Hamburger Helper

So I used to buy Hamburger Helper quite often. It was a quick, easy meal the hubs could make while I was working or at my night class. The past few years we have been trying to eat more healthy, and stay away from preservatives and additives. Have you ever read the ingredient list on a box of Hamburger Helper? Wow! Its packed with sodium, preservatives  and additives. Yuck! Taking inspiration from several similar recipes, I came up with my own healthy version of Hamburger Helper. It is easy to put together and refridgerate, so all Mr. Browning has to do is pop it in the oven.


1 box of elbow macaroni
1lb. ground beef
Half an onion
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
Grated cheese

1. Brown the ground beef. Chop the onion and add to the beef. (My onions are a bit big, our onion hater was over at his girlfriend's so I was rather liberal with them.) Drain.

2. Boil macaroni. Don't overcook, make sure they are a little firm. I also like to add a splash of olive oil to my boiling noodles to keep them from sticking. Drain.

3. Add tomato sauce, water and spices to beef mixture. Let simmer for 10 minutes or so.

4. Add macaroni to to beef mixture. You may want to use only 3/4 of the noodles, a whole box makes quite a lot! Stir together and then pour into cassarole dish.

5. Grate cheese over the top and cover with foil.

6. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Take foil off and cook another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy!

Grape Tomatoes

Serenity got a gardening kit from her Grandma Bede for her birthday last year. We planted the seeds on her birthday this year. We are now getting at least one grape tomato a day. There is usually some arguing amongst the girls as to who gets the tomato that day. Haley will eat hers right away, while Serenity prefers to name her tomato and talk to it for a while. Of course Haley usually manages to gobble it down when Serenity is not looking lol!
The day we first planted the seeds.

After sitting in tiny pots on our window sill we transferred them to larger pots on our porch. We put two seedlings in each pot.

Our first tomato!