Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas Traditions

Christmas time is upon us again! Shoeboxes that we save throughout the year come out for the toy and food drives.
We have the inside of our home all decorated (except the tree, that's getting chopped down on the 1st).
Every year we discuss traditions that each of our families do and what we want to keep going and traditions we want to start.
Traditions that we have continued are going out to a tree farm with my entire family and any friends that want to come along and chop down a tree. (They plant 4 trees for every one that gets cut) While we are there we roast marshmallows and hot dogs (only time I eat them) on the fire, sing Christmas carols and wear Santa hats.
My most favorite tradition is the night before Christmas we each open 1 present from mom and dad that usually contains pajamas or a housecoat that we sleep in that night.
Another tradition we have is everyone sleeps at our place the night before Christmas bed or no bed (the sleeping bags come out). We have breakfast together (generally pancakes or French toast) then open presents.
Oooo I almost forgot the night before Christmas the whole family comes over (to spend the night) but we have a very late dinner that consists of homemade buns a chicken soup with dumplings. Soooo good!
We also have an advent calendar that o made for our little cookie to see how many days until Christmas it is. Each little pocket has either a good deed to do for the day (like helping someone) or fun ideas (like going up the mountain sledding or making Christmas ornaments together). There is a little Santa that holds on to each pocket to show where we are in the month of December.

I would like to start collecting snow globes. Maybe purchase one a year!

What are your favorite family traditions?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monster Bookmark Tutorial

I LOVE BOOKMARKS! Especially fun ones!

Nice bookmarks are kinda expensive... well for a thirfty woman they are. I guess I could just tear a piece of paper and use that... Or paperclip... But I find they either fall off or fall through the book and I loose my spot! Hate that! My little cookie is reading books that have chapters! How did this happen?? I remember reading to her before bed, now she is reading to me :)

Anyways, she is now finding that her paper bookmarks are falling out the bottom of the books as well... Blast.

I found a picture with no link on Pinterest on how to make monster bookmarks. These are only genius because they hug the corner of the page/pages! No more bookmarks falling out the bottom! I'll show you how to make it. Piece of cake! I used scrapbooking paper but you can use any old paper that you can cut and fold. No pattern required!

First take a regular piece of paper (or as decorative paper as you want)
Measure out 3 squares beside each other in the shape below (I first made mine measure 4inches x 4inches for the bigger children books then smaller ones 2.5inches x 2.5inches.

 Draw a diagonal line crossing out the top and bottom square. Cut off that section.

You should have a shape just like this!

I traced this shape onto other scrapbooking paper a couple times to make a few of them :)

Next you want to fold the triangles along the lines you drew so you have 2 triangles sticking up and a square on the bottom

Lay one triangle on top of the other gluing them together with your good ol' elmers glue, forming a pocket

With the larger monsters I folded the bottom part of the square into the pocket making it more stable (this was flimsy paper) and left the other ones out. You can add eyes with extra paper and teeth (just make sure you glue the teeth to the front inside... I know from experience)
And there you have it fun bookmarks for everyone! Great for stocking stuffers or crafts to do with your children on a rainy day :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How to Get Rid of Pre-packaged Food

I have been working on changing my habits from buying cans and pre-ackaged foods to making homemade meals from as scratch. (as much as someone can)

This year was the first year we had a garden... unfortunately we started it too late and they died before they ripened. So next year we are starting early and going to reap all the benefits of garden life! Including canning, thrifty living and going into the backyard to pick pick pick.

First off I have to admit, I am no saint. Sometimes I still buy frozen pizza and other unmentionables...

Why not buy things in a can or jar pre-made? They are filled with preservatives and proven toxic and cancer causing chemicals and hormones that I am choosing to help myself and my family avoid. There is also unnecessary sugars, fats and salt in most pre-packaged food that I know for a fact is not healthy.

Want to know my secrets?

So far I think the first secret might be making double batches of everything and freezing the left overs!

The second secret is don't let yourself buy the pre-packaged things! I know, harder said then done... but if you stop buying the prepackaged food and are at home you either starve... or you start making things from scratch!

My final secret to getting rid of pre-packaged foods? Buy a crockpot! You don't need a brand new one. Someone gave us their old one and it works fine! Or I see them at garage sales all the time. We have made sooo many meals and snacks in our crock pot. My latest DIY homemade foodies is apple sauce! I could eat apple sauce all day straight from the jar... Gross? Maybe... I use it in almost all of my baking as well as a substitution to butter and its a great dessert! I like to leave it a little lumpy for extra texture :)

Here are some links that might help out:

26 Things to do with your crockpot
Things that can and cant be frozen
Recipes that you can freeze
Way too many crockpot recipes (they have made this process the easiest! People rate the meals and leave VERY helpful comments

We all have a choice to make and this just so happens to be mine. I'm not saying your going to die if you eat pre-packaged food, I am just trying to make a small change in my family's life that I believe in :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Homemade Natural Deodorizers

You know that spot under the sink that occasionally smells thanks to the garbage can and compost under your sink?

Sure you can go out and buy something that gets rid of the smell in strange places, but firstly, where is the fun in that, secondly, consider all the chemicals that go into those products that covers the smell and how they are affecting your body. Research perfume and secret chemicals... Sooooo gross!

I found a chemical-free, thrifty, all natural and DIY deodorizing disk that you can make with ingredients that you have at home!  Huzzah! 

Remember I was talking about the million benefits of baking soda? Well here is another one. It deodorizes the fridge, carpet and under the sink! 

This recipe makes 4 deodorizing disks.

1 1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup hot water (distilled or boiled for 10 min)
Oil of your choice (I chose Vanilla the first time and lavender oil my second time)

 Mix all the ingredients into a bowl ensuring a very thick consistency. Add extra baking soda if you need to! (This will help it dry out faster)

 Scoop the baking soda mixture into the cupcake lined muffin tins. Tap the whole thing on the counter to smooth out or dabble your finger gently on the surface. (both works fine)
 And there you have it!

Your very own homemade deodorizing disks! They can be used in lots of different areas! Diaper bins, mud rooms, behind the boys bathroom toilet, or in the same room the athlete in the house keeps their gear in

When they finally dried (took 4 days) I live in BC Canada and its all rain right now... I left them in the cupcake liners and placed them in boy areas around the house.

Enjoy your fresh smelling rooms!