We’re officially at the 2 week mark: meaning exactly 2 weeks
from today is Thanksgiving, already (can you believe it?). If you’re doing the
cooking this year that means you’re already getting revving up; stocking up
supplies, taking final head counts, and looking for any last minute add-ons. I’m
going to add a new recipe idea here and there to see if we can’t help inspire
and entice you to steal the show with a new flavor or two. Today I found a
fabulous new take on traditional dinner rolls: Brie and Chive biscuits.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your
oven to 375 degrees. Combine all of your dry ingredients in a bowl and stir
until blended. Add in your butter and using a pastry blender cut until your
mixture gets crumbly. Add in your brie pieces and chives, and then toss to
combine. Add in your buttermilk and stir until absorbed (don’t over mix).
Lightly flour your work surface and transfer your dough
to it. Knead it gently a few times to bring it together. Gently spread out your
dough until it’s about 1 inch thick. Use a floured 2 inch cookie cutter or small glass
to cut out 16 biscuits (reshaping your scrap dough and re-flouring as needed). Place
on your baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.
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Gearing up for Thanksgiving, it’s important to still have a
couple fall crafts to decorate your home, especially if you’re hosting this
year. It’s far to easy to skip from Halloween straight to Christmas:
Thanksgiving is becoming a forgotten holiday! To keep the spirit alive spend a
little time preparing with your little ones or loved ones. Here’s a great little
3D paper pumpkins project that works as a mantel decoration or
Start by cutting out 16 – 20 circles/ovals that you’ll be
using to create your pumpkin. Cut them all the same size (whatever size you’d
like your pumpkin to be). Fold your circle/ovals in half with the side you want
showing in the center. Glue one folded half to the next folded circle. Do the
same for all of your pieces until you glue the last halved circle to the first.
Push your stick gently down the middle for a stem.
So we’re officially beyond Halloween and on to November. I
get “little kid on Christmas” giddy just thinking about the Thanksgiving and
holiday prep to come! Yes, I know, I’m a holiday addict and I should probably
head to TRA (Turkey Roasters Anonymous) but I haven’t gotten to the “accepting
I have a problem” stage yet! Anyway, like we started, it’s November and holiday
preparations are likely already underway in your home (or at least in your head).
To help you along the way I figured I’ll post up some simple recipes and cheat
sheets to help keep your Thanksgiving Day and beyond as simple and peaceful as
possible! What better what to start out the thanksgiving countdown than with a
Turkey cheat sheet?
How big of a turkey do you need?
It is suggested that you figure 1 ¼ pounds of turkey per
guest. Of course, the majority of your guests aren’t going to eat a full 1 ¼ lbs.
of turkey, but after waste and bones that equals out to more than enough for
your guests and leftovers.
How long will it take your turkey to thaw in the refrigerator?
You’ll want to allow a full 24 hours to thaw per 5 lbs. of turkey.
So if you have a 15-16 lb. turkey, your best bet is to have it in the fridge
defrosting by Sunday night.
What if you want or need to thaw your turkey quicker?
You can use a sink with a stopped, lobster pot, or cooler to
defrost the turkey with cold water. You’ll fill until submerged and then change
the water every 30 minutes. This method is faster, but it’s still time consuming.
It still takes about 6 hours for a 12 pound turkey, so give yourself enough
Are you brining the turkey?
You can brine the turkey as it defrosts in the refrigerator,
½ cup kosher salt to 1 gallon of water. If you’re brining the thawed bird (for
24 hours or less) use 1 cup of salt per 1 gallon of water. The turkey must be
kept below 40 degrees, though! You can also add any other flavorings to taste:
cloves, rosemary, orange slices, bay leaves, garlic, onions, lemons, etc.
Dry curing or
You can also use a dry curing, or dry rub of sorts, the last
day or two before roasting. Use a ½ cup of kosher salt per pound of turkey, and
any other seasonings that you desire (salt and cracked pepper corns are a
simple and delicious option). Spread over the skin and into all crevices of the
bird. It’ll look like too much salt if you’ve never done it before, but it’s
not. Place the turkey uncovered on a cookie sheet back into the fridge for the
last one to two days. This also helps to dry out the skin so that it’ll crisp
in the oven.
Do you stuff or truss the bird?
If you’re going to the perfect, most moist turkey that
anyone has ever had…then no. With trussing the bird, you keep it together
picture perfect, but it will take longer to cook the legs thoroughly. With
stuffing the bird you really need to make sure to cook it long enough that the
stuffing has reached the safe, 165-170 degrees all the way through. Both may
cause your breast meat to dry out. Your best bet is to let the bird lie without
trussing and stuff it with aromatics (such as lemons, oranges, onions, garlic,
Roasting the actual turkey?
My favorite method is low and slow, starting at 450 degrees
for the first 30-45 minutes, and then turning the oven back to 325 for about
12-15 minutes per pound. You can also roast at a high 425 degrees for 1 ½ - 2 ½
hours (depending on the size of the bird). Either way, use a meat thermometer
to check multiple sections of the bird at the end of your time period to see if
it’s really done. You want at least 165 degrees to be safe, I usually aim for
To baste or not to baste?
Nope! All you’re really doing when you baste is letting heat
out and moistening the skin so it stays flabby, rather than crispy. Your
flavoring is in your dry rub, any herb mixture that you chose to run under the
skin before roasting, and your aromatic stuffing.
Must it rest?
Absolutely! Once your turkey is up to temperature, remove it
from the oven and allow it to rest, tented with tinfoil, for 20-30 minutes. This
will help it retain its juiciness.
Halloween isn't just a favorite holiday for kiddies. Adults
should be able to get a little spooky and enjoy Halloween, too (especially with
it falling on a Friday this year)! Whether you’re going out partying,
hosting a little soiree of your own, or just enjoying an evening of tricks and
treats at home, here are a couple ghoulishly fun Halloween cocktails to help
you keep in the “spirit” of things. ;-)
Start with a Ghostbuster. It is super simple, sweet and fruity, but it looks disgusting: what more could you want in a Halloween cocktail?! You'll need:
~ 1 ounce of peach schnapps
~ 1 ounce of melon liqueur
~ 3-5 drops of Irish cream
Shake the peach schnapps and melon liqueur in a cocktail
shaker with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail/martini glass. Add the drops of
Irish cream for effect.
What fun is Halloween without candy corn? Here’s a Candy Corn Martini that'll provide a yummy adult alternative. You'll need the
~ a chilled martini glass
~ 1 ½ ounces of coffee-flavored liqueur
~ 1 ½ ounces of white chocolate liqueur
~ 1 ounce of orange colored and flavored vodka (such as UV)
~ ½ ounce of triple sec
In your martini glass, pour your liqueurs in order over the
backside of a spoon.
Most of the “brains” drinks I find are questionable
concoctions that need to be shot quickly before they curdle…no thanks. Here’s a fun
one, Zombie Brains, that is tasty to drink and look at without, you know, all of
~ 2 ounces of UV Salty Watermelon vodka
~ 1 ounce of triple sec
~ 1 tablespoon of sugar
~ 1 splash of lime juice
~ 4 large ice cubes
Combine your of your ingredients but the 4 ice cubes in a blender full of ice.
Pour over the extra ice cubes in a glass and enjoy.
One last phantasmic concoction to try this Halloween is the
lovely Vampire’s Kiss.
~ 1 ½ ounces of Midori
~ 1 ounce of blood orange vodka
~ 2 ounces of pineapple juice
~ ½ ounce of cream
Combine all ingredients except the grenadine in a cocktail
shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass full of ice.
Drizzle grenadine around the glass for a bloody effect.
With just a couple days until the Halloween
holiday, I thought it was a great time for a quick list of safety tips to just
act as a reminder. I know, we all know how to keep our kids safe and sound, but
it’s good to just be refreshed once in a while! Here’s a quick should do be for
the big evening of door-to-door (if you trick-or-treat).
I found a super simple pumpkin idea that’ll not only add a
unique touch to your Halloween décor, but also last through a good portion of the
rest of your Fall! Instead of carving all of your pumpkins this year, why not
make a chalkboard pumpkin or two?! With a chalkboard pumpkin you can have
ever changing Jack-o-Lantern faces and welcome signs galore! Now, I would use
a real pumpkin (I also have many to spare since I work on a pumpkin farm), but
you can buy and repurpose plastic, craft store pumpkins, too! All you need are:
Cover your table/surfaces with newspaper to keep them safe, weighing it down with stones if you're painting outside (so that the paper doesn't move or blow
away). Make sure that your pumpkins are clean and dirt free. Allow to dry if
you're washing them right before painting. Place your pumpkin in the center of
the paper and paint the entire surface that you can reach. Allow the paint to
dry for 1-2 hours, and then roll the pumpkin on its side to paint any places
that were missed. After allowing that to dry another 1-2 hours apply touch up
paint to anywhere that has pumpkin showing through. Once complete you should
allow your pumpkin/pumpkins to dry thoroughly overnight before applying any
chalk decorations. When you want to change your decorations a damp cloth works great as an eraser so that you
can change your pumpkin’s look over and over again!
Halloween isn't just a favorite holiday for the kiddies
anymore. I still get just as excited for the season as I ever did, maybe even
more so now that I get a month of my favorite classic horror movies of regular
TV stations and awesome horror releases to help inspire the season! If you're a
Halloween fan, too, and love partaking in the spookier side of life, here are a
couple of Halloween Must-Reads to help get you into the festive mood!
Start with a couple classics. Although it may seem redundant
to have Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein on a “Halloween
Reading List,” it’s amazing how many of us haven’t ever read the real deal. I’m
just as guilty as the next, and can’t believe I need to add them to my own
Kindle this month. Both are very honestly enthralling reads that will pull you
in and keep you beyond “the sake of being a classic.”
Although the movies were a craze a couple of years back, if
you still haven’t actually read John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In I
highly recommend it. It is truly a unique tale settled in the Vampire genre and
will thoroughly creep you (if not skeeve you) out until the very end.
For something a little more unusual for Halloween Fare, I recommend
trying out Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s graphic novel, From Hell. It’s a tale of Jack the Ripper and the events
leading up to the Whitechapel killings (as well as the cover-up to follow).
Looking for something with a little more horror packed into
the punch? Stephen King is always a safe direction to turn. I've just recently
picked up both The Sleep Doctor and The Shining, and am planning a King-a-thon
like no other! We all know the story from the cult classic movie, but we all
know the book is always better. If you've already had your fill of Jack and his
family, try returning to the Overlook Hotel with new characters and plot twists
in the sequel Doctor Sleep.
Lastly is a twisted horror movie classic that was also a
novel that redefined the genre, Shirley Jackson’s The House on Haunted Hill. I
am a Vincent Price (or as I affectionately refer to him, “Vinny Price”) fiend
and adore anything that he was in. Even better, I loved the 1999 remake almost
as much as the original! Both delve into what happens when a group of strangers
are coaxed into a haunted house with the promise of a cash prize if they
survive the night. This Halloween I’m going to go back to where it all began
with Jackson’s 1959 classic. This is the twisted mind that brought us the short
story, “The Lottery,” so you know it has to be good!
It’s time for a super simple and fun fall recipe or two! I'm
all about keeping things seasonal and fresh: so I look for new tastes and treats
whenever I can! Here are two simple autumn recipes that you may want to add to
your own seasonal cookbook.
Pumpkin Quesadillas: now these are great for a quick
appetizer, or even a light meatless meal (especially is served with a side salad).
All you need are:
In a bowl combine and mix the pumpkin and cumin.
Spread the pumpkin out over 4 tortillas. Sprinkle with your cheese and nuts (adding
more of either, if you'd like). Cover with the remaining tortillas. Warm up 1
tablespoon of oil over a medium-low heat in a skillet or frying pan. Cook your quesadilla,
flipping it once, until both sides are browned (1.5 – 2 minutes per side). Add
more oil between batches. Cut your quesadilla into wedges however you'd like.
Butternut Pudding: this is a super simple and yummy dessert
that takes almost zero prep-time! It’s something unusual to
spice up your regular Sunday dinners or pot luck parties! All you need are:
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Blend all of your
ingredients together and pour them into an 8 inch baking dish. Place the baking
dish in a roasting pan and fill your pan half way up the baking dish with boiling
water. Bake for one hour. Best served warm with whipped cream on top!
It’s a spa pampering kind of night today. It’s been one of
those stressful months already, and it’s only the 7th! To help
combat the stress and the worry I’m going to work on a little self pampering. Here’s
a fresh fall face mask that'll keep me and my skin happy while I relax to a
Halloween inspired horror movies tonight. All you need are:
Combine your ingredients and gently apply all over your face
(avoiding your eyes). Allow to set for 15 minutes or so, and then rinse away
with a wash cloth and warm water. Follow up with your favorite moisturizer.
Not big on pumpkin? Here’s another refreshing fall mask I’m thinking
Combine your ingredients and mix them well. Apply to skin in gentle circular motions, again avoiding your eyes. Allow to sit for 15
minutes, and then rinse away with a wash cloth and warm water.
Looking for great new (and easy) fall project ideas I
happened upon a leaf bowl that I love. Its super simple, only
takes a little bit of time, and I think looks amazing when complete! Here’s
what you need:
Start by gently pulling the plastic stem and veins from your
faux leaves. Blow up your balloon to the diameter that you want your bowl.
Starting at the middle and working your way to the top, apply a thin layer of
mod podge to your balloon cap (again, the size you want the bowl). Wait for about 30 seconds to 1 minute to allow the mod podge to get sticky. Next, lay a leaf on
top of the mod podge, smooth with your finger and then apply a thin layer of mod
podge on top. Repeat until completely covered. Use smaller leaves to help cover
any gaps. Add a couple extra leaves across the bottom of the bowl for extra
support. Set aside (with the bare end of the balloon set in a mixing bowl
for support) to dry thoroughly. Once dry put a pin through the end of your balloon, by its tied, to let the air out slowly. If the leaves shrink down as
the balloon deflates don’t worry: it should return to its officinal shape after
a minute or two.
There are so many different sleeping tips that fly around
journals and newsletters that it’s hard to keep track of them all. What’s worse
is that so many of them can be counterproductive if not done properly or taken
out of context! Here are a couple “better sleep” suggestions and their
contradictions to help your make the most of your nighttime snooze!
Try to keep your current reading obsession out of the
bedroom. As much as reading can relax you, be wary of how involved you get
before bed. Books are all consuming at times: demanding an emotional connection
and intellectual attention, which can cause your mind to stay way too involved
long after you want to head to bed. I personally keep a “sleep book” read to
curl up with at night. A book I’ve already read, preferably a classic that
takes a little more focus to get through. Your mind will tire sooner and you
already know the ending so you don’t become too involved.
Exercising regularly will help you sleep better, but just
make sure to keep it away from bedtime. When you exercise you help
deplete excess energy levels. However, if you schedule in your workout right
before you go to bed you’ll find yourself awake for hours. The endorphins you
create will act as a stimulant to keep you alert and awake. Make sure your
workout is at least a couple hours before you plan on heading off to bed.
Keep your bedroom as quiet as possible, but not too silent.
Keep content noisemakers out of your room, such as ticking clocks and whirling
electronics. Your mind can focus too closely on the sounds and that will keep
you awake. On the flip side, having your room so silent that you can hear a pin
drop can cause the opposite: any sound, such as the heat turning on, may cause
you to be woken up.
Nap, but nap wisely. Naps can help boost your sleep total,
as well as refresh your mind and invigorate your body when you hit that midday
slump. Be careful of when you take your naps, however. If you nap too late and
too long it’s guaranteed to push off your bedtime routine. It’s suggested that
naps be kept to about 30 minutes in length.
I know we have a lot of summer fans on the boards, but, even with your dismay of summer being over, it’s hard to be upset for too long about the passing of the seasons: that’s what they're supposed to do! If you're just not in the frame of mind or mood for the fall yet, here are a couple sweet scents that may get you there. I love simmer pot recipes. They're so simple, heavenly, and chemical free! Here are two different early fall simmer pot ideas. All you need to do is put them in a pot with some water and simmer them on low while at home (keeping an eye on the pot to know when to add more water). You can do the same this with your crockpot, too. Just put the crockpot on low with water and your simmer pot ingredients, leaving the lid off to let the scents escape. Our first is an orange spice simmer recipe, just combine the following:- 1 or 2 Oranges Sliced- 3 Cinnamon Sticks- 1 tablespoon of Whole Cloves- Apple peelsFor a different twist, here’s a cinnamon clove simmer pot recipe:- 4 Cinnamon Sticks- 5 Anise Stars- 1 Tablespoon of Whole Cloves- 1 Sliced up AppleLet either one simmer and fill your home with their delicious scent. It'll be hard not getting into the fall time spirit!
With the new season it’s time to start thinking of
refreshing ourselves again along with the weather! I know I’m always looking to
try to improve my healthy habit and diminish the bad, but I always seem to get
in my own way. We’re too food oriented, and I’m too bad with self-control. I
found an article, though, with simple habits that we can use to help control unhealthy
eating tendencies. Here are the best tips that I walked away with (and am
instituting in my home).
Start by making the healthiest freshest foods your first
visual and option. Rearrange your cupboards and refrigerator. Put a bowl out on
the counter and/or table. Wherever you can make sure your fresh fruits and
vegetables are the first thing seen when you’re feeling hungry. You’re much more likely to grab or crave
something within your line of sight.
Hide the less healthy food, or at least make it inconvenient
to reach. The only out and visible foods should be your fruits and vegetable.
All other foods should be out of sight, out of mind. Hide them on the top shelf
or the far back of your fridge. The less convenient it is to grab the less you’re
going to subconsciously want to reach for it.
Serve food away from the table. When you’re sitting down to
breakfast or dinner, make sure to serve from bowls on the counter or on the
stove, rather than on the table itself. This will make you less likely to just
keep going back for more, increasing your serving size exponentially.
Eat and drink from smaller plate, utensils, and glasses. Serving sizes obviously can be monitored
better with smaller sized containers, but it’s more than just that. Just
because you’re using a smaller glass doesn’t mean you’re going to have to go
back for me. The larger the plate or glass to more apt you are to “fill it”
whether you need that much or not. Smaller vessels equal lesser amounts all
Lastly, when you’re eating a meal, be sure to focus on only
your meal. We’re too multitask-oriented, and when we eat and do an activity
(even as simply as watching TV) we have a tendency to over-eat. We end up
eating mechanically (on mindlessly) because our attention is split, and we’re
less likely to know when we’re actually full until it’s too late.
Ok, it’s officially hit! This cooler weather is making me
slap happy for fall and all I’m craving are pumpkin flavored and scented
everything. Of course, the top of my list is Pumpkin Spice Lattes: I'm
already getting a little too friendly with my favorite barista around the
corner! I went on the search and found another awesome homemade recipe that’s a
little healthier, a little easier and a whole lot more fun than waiting in line
at the local coffee shop!
In a small saucepan whisk together ½ cup of your milk and your
sugar, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract over a low heat.
Let it simmer for about 5 minutes (stirring occasionally), and then whisk in
your remaining ½ cup of milk. Next pour your milk through a fine mesh strainer
to remove the pumpkin pulp. Put the milk mixture back onto a low heat for about
2 minutes, simmering and whisking. Add your espresso and whisk until foamy.
I found an awesome and easy project that is a great sensory
play for the kids while also priming everyone for fall! It’s 4 ingredient Pumpkin
Pie play dough that’s also safe if they decide to take a chomp! All you need
Pour all your ingredients together in a big bowl, mix them together well and then
knead it into dough with your hands. That’s it! If not in use, keep your dough
wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge. Take it out and let it warm up for a
couple hours when they're getting ready to play! Use a side of cheerios and a
small cup of cinnamon as additional fun tools to use with the dough. Use
household items, such as popsicle sticks and plastic utensils, to shape and mold
with and to keep your playtime super simple.
I’m always looking to make my life a little easier with
simple and fast alternative to store-bought products. Here’s a great easy one. Make
your own nighttime eye cream/moisturizing makeup remover with just a few simple
ingredients. All you need are:
Start by melting about ½ a cup of coconut oil in the
microwave. Pour into your mason jar, filling to about ¾ full. Prick and squeeze
5-6 vitamin E capsules into the melted oil. Add 6-7 drops of lavender essential
oil and stir well. Stick in the refrigerator for about an hour, or until completely
hardened, and your makeup remover/eye cream is ready to use!
The kiddies are all back, if not heading back, to school this
week and I know it’s hard to let them go. If it’s the first time heading to
kindergarten or Pre-K I’m sure you’re having a hard transition, but we know it
can be the same for parents with children going into first, second, or third
grade and beyond! Not only do you miss your little ones, you also need to
readjust to a new year and calendar. This transition is tough on you, but can
be even tougher on kids. Here’s a little list to help them and their
immune system keep up with the new changes (and germs).
~ Be sure to start help boost your child’s metabolism and
immune system with a new healthy school year menu. Breakfasts and lunches of whole
healthy foods will help them trudge through the tough initial weeks (if not the
~ Establishing and enforcing a bed time is very, very
important. You probably were a little lax over the summer, but sleep is too
important to be lax during the school year. Limit activities after school that
cut into their wind down and relax time, as well.
~ Send in packed lunches as often as humanly possible, and
encourage your kids not to share their them. Also send your children in with
multiple reusable water bottles. You not only want them drinking throughout the
day, but you also don’t want them relying on water fountains.
~ Whenever it’s permitted, send in markers and crayons for
children to have their own, and not just the community pot. Often teachers have
community art supplies for all kids to work with. If you're able to, make
sure to have a private set available.
~ Start strict homework and reading routines immediately so
that they quickly become habit. This sounds more like tyrant than nurturing,
but a good routine keeps your children on track with all of their assignments
and cuts down on your stress, as well as theirs.
~ Try to keep extracurricular activities to a minimum per
season, as least for the early years. So many sports and after school
activities may be enticing to your little one, but try to limit it down to one
or two per season. Too much running around after school will not only affect
emotional health/stress levels, but physical health, too by wearing down
(One of my BFFs, lorich's Natie, on this first day of kindergarten!)
I have been seeing awesome designs all over the net, so I decided
to search out a simple tutorial for bleached clothing designs. (Design shirts, tank tops, pants,
jeans, etc. this works for all!) These work awesome for team/bachelorette party/family reunion tanks, saying t-shirts, or any other groovily designed items! All you need are:
To start you probably want to play with your bleach pen a
little to get a feel for how it flows and writes. You can either free-hand your
designs or use a stencil, both come out equally as impressive. Smooth out your
clothing item and insert cardboard to keep the bleach from
bleeding through. Draw on your designs and then let it set and dry, as long as your think it needs. Start your washing machine on cold and let it fill
about 4 inches while they're drying. Removed the cardboard from your items and drunk them one at a time into the cold water to soak. Let your washer run through a
gentle cycle without any detergent. Once done hang your shirt, tanks, or items
to dry or transfer them into the dryer.
I found a great list of allergy-friendly baking substitutes options! I've already made quite a few of these substitutes for “healthier”
versions and they work amazingly! Here’s a complete list in case you have allergies or intolerances in your family-friend circle: that way everyone can enjoy your yummy
Milk: if you're looking for a substitute for traditional
dairy milk, any of these can be substituted 1 cup for 1 cup.
~ Almond Milk
~ Soy Milk
~ Coconut Milk
~ Rice Milk
~ Oat Milk
Buttermilk: again, need a substitute for the dairy option? Combine
1 cup of your non-dairy milk of choice with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Use the
amount of the cup called for.
Yogurt: trade on of the below for a 1:1 substitution
~ Pureed silken tofu
~ Coconut cream (the cream skimmed off the top of a settled
can of full fat coconut milk)
~ Store-bought dairy-free yogurt (in most health food/whole
food stored, usually soy, almond, or coconut based)
Eggs: each of the bottom quantities can be used to replace 1
~ 1 tablespoon of flax or chia meal + 3 tablespoons of water
~ ½ a banana
~ ¼ cup of applesauce
~ ¼ cup of canned pumpkin
~ ¼ cup of pureed silken tofu
~ 1:1 store-bought egg substitute/replacer
Flour: you can buy store-bought gluten-free flour mix. If
you prefer, you can create your own, as well. Combine the below for 1 cup of
~ ½ cup of rice flour
~ ¼ cup of tapioca starch/flour
~ ¼ cup of corn or potato starch
Butter: there are always dairy-free butter sticks available,
but other natural butter substitutes also include:
~ Coconut oil
~ Canola oil
~ Olive Oil
~ Agave nectar
~ Maple syrup
It’s officially the weekend and I thought a little chocolate
was in order to celebrate! I’m over just grabbing a bar of chocolate and indulging, though! I found this super simple recipe to help you feel like fancy pants with your own homemade truffles, too (that you can then mangia down on)!
~ 1 pound of Oreos
~ 8 ounces of room temp cream cheese
~ 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract OR 1 teaspoon of mint
~ 1 pound of milk chocolate
~ 1/2 pound of white chocolate
Start by pulsing your Oreos in a food processor until they’re
a fine powder. Put your cookie powder into a mixer with your cream cheese and
extract, and then mix them until thoroughly blended and there aren't any white traces
left. Roll mixture up into little balls, place on a wax paper lined cookie
sheet, and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
In a double boiler melt your milk chocolate. Once melted,
dip and roll your cookie balls to coat thoroughly. Place back on your wax
paper. Melt your white chocolate in a separate double boiler (or carefully in
the microwave). Drizzle your white chocolate over the top of your truffles. Pop
your truffles back into the refrigerator to cool the rest of the way, and then enjoy!!
I don’t know about you, but this year so far has left me in
dire need of a vacation. The summer has been lovely, but 2014 has been just as
crazy and complicated as 2013 (if not worse)! I keep thinking one of these years
needs to get a little more laid back, but it doesn't look like it’s going to
happen anytime soon, so it’s officially time to take matters into our own hands!
I wanted to make an awesome little list of places in close proximity that you
can get away for a short vacation without spending the whole time driving!
Start with a quick hop, skip, and jump to Bear Mountain.
This is a state park and historic preserve situated in the mountains above the west
bank of the Hudson River. There’s enough hiking, biking, fishing, swimming and
adventuring to keep the whole family happy! Best part? It'll only take you
about 2 hours from the center of Suffolk County to get there (so give or take a
little from wherever you’re situated)!
Looking for a quick getaway up into New England? Jump on the
New London ferry… and go very little further! New London usually flies under
the radar for vacation seekers: they get off the ferry and keep on heading
north for further destinations. New London has its own charms and attraction
for a weekend of entertainment. Check out history building, mills, and
churches; art centers, state parks, and even take a short ferry ride to Block
Island. Including the New London ferry ride (which is an adventure of its own) this trip
should take you just about 2.5 hours, if you're starting from central Suffolk County.
Still not completely sold that there’s enough to keep everyone entertained?
Once you've completed New London, Mystic Seaport is just a short 15-20 minute
drive away with its own aquarium, shops, and much more!
Looking for a quiet coast to get away to and just absorb
what’s left of the summer? Head the short distance from Long Island to Sea
Girt, New Jersey. This quiet little borough of New Jersey offers stretches of
beautiful beach, along with small town charm and local history. It’s perfect
for family or romantic relaxation away from the usual “Jersey Shore” volume. This
trip will take you just under 3 hours to get there from central Suffolk County.
For more of what New York has to offer, head up to Phoenicia,
NY for a mixture of small town relaxation and mountain area activities. The town
has coffee shops, boutiques, and festivals for everyone to enjoy. Phoenicia is
also nestled in the shadow of Slide Mountain, also offering tubing,
kayaking, hiking, and more! It’ll take you just about 3 hours to get to
Phoenicia from central Suffolk County.
Always looking to keep life simple, I found a great recipe
for a gardeners hand scrub (or for a mechanic or anyone who gets their hands
really dirty). There are always Goo Be Gones or similar handy helpers that get
rid of the dirty, grease or grime at the end of the day, but this one can be
made quickly and at a moment’s notice! All you need are:
~ A 8oz mason jar
~ Granulated sugar
~ Dish soap of choice (especial something like Dawn, which
has known degreasing abilities!)
Just fill up your mason jar about 3/4 full with granulated
sugar. Then pour in your dish soap to the bottom of the mouth of your jar. If
you want, you can also at 4-5 drops of lemon essential oil to make your scrub
anti-bacterial and disinfecting. Stir up your mixture well and check the
consistency: you want a thick scrub so add more sugar and stir as needed. Once
you have your consistency keep your gardeners hand scrub close to your sink.
When you're in need just scoop out a small amount, scrub over your hands, and
Sometimes we are just out of time and have no choice but to grab something fast on the go. Now we all know the evils of fast food, but once in a while it seems like the lesser of two evils. I found a great cheat sheet that gave some healthier options for national chains. Here are some of the best for local options.
~ From Taco Bell, try the Chicken Fresco Burrito Supreme and Pintos ‘n’ Cheese. This is a great high protein and high fiber option for when you're rushing past a Taco Bell. Together this combo has 520 calories, 17 grams of fiber, and 28 grams of protein.
~ Head over to Subway for a soup and sandwich option! If you go for a 6” Veggie Delite, be sure to follow it up with a Tomato Orzo soup. Together the pairing has 360 calories, 7 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of protein to keep you full and going!
~ If you're brave enough to drive into a McDonald’s drive-thru be sure to test the Southwest Salad and the Fruit n Yogurt Parfait. Believe it or not, McDonald’s grilled chicken Southwest Salad actually stands out as having the highest fiber and lowest saturated fats among its competitors. Together your salad and yogurt will rack you up 480 calories, 7 grams of fiber, and a whopping 34 grams of protein!
~ Did you know Burger King had veggie burgers? I didn't know they had veggie burgers! It may be a little more select, depending on your area, but Burger King’s Veggie Burger (hold the mayo) is a tasty and vegetarian option. Combine it with a garden salad sans chicken with light Italian dressing and you have a delicious combination worth 450 calories, 10 grams of fiber, and 26 grams of protein.
~ Looking for a more outside the box option from Wendy’s? Order yourself a plain baked potato and then top if with a small chili. Your chili baked potato will be a warm and satisfying 460 calories, 12 grams of fiber, and 21 grams of protein!
~ Lastly, believe it or not, you can have your KFC and eat it too! Choose a 1-piece meal of a grilled chicken breast, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob. Even though KFC is notorious for setting you back a week’s worth of calories with just one meal, this lighter option will only cost you 430 calories, and give you 5 grams of fiber and 41 grams of protein!
I have some awesome news that I wanted share with you, our loyal fans! I just received an exclusive LIFamilies special from THREE14 Photography. Just for our users, they're offering a limited-space newborn mini session special for September-November! If you've ever had newborn photos taken before you know that mini sessions are something most photographers don't offer: it's a lot of extra work, love, and dedication! Here are the details that I've received!
Just when you started to think that it was safe to re-enter
the world of online finances, it seems that a whole new security breach of epic
proportions may have set us all back to square one. So what recently happened?
Well it was announced yesterday that a “Russian gang” stole over 1.2 BILLION
username and password combinations. What does this mean to you? It’s time to
start watching everything like a hawk again and to change your passwords! We
become too complacent with our passwords and tend to use what works for us or
that we can remember. We need to buff up that security, though, and here are
the top 3 expert tips to help keep your accounts safe online!
I just have to share! I am starting my day very late because I spent the morning with my delicious new nephew, Jace, at his newborn photoshoot with Amanda Saldarelli Photography. Now, I know that I get to check out scrumptious shoots all the time, and I know all of the hard work that goes into every single one of them, but it was truly amazing watching it action! Jace was putty in her hands, while Amanda had the patients of a saint trying to ensure every tiny little detail was just perfect! I could barely make it back to the office before checking for the teasers and there they were already! SOOO here's my shameless adorable teaser share post!!
I found this super simple recipe for dry shampoo and I just
had to share! I'm one of those people who just can't wash my hair every single day or it becomes one big brittle nest of
knots! So instead of having straw hair or store bought chemicals, here’s a third option: super simple dry shampoo!
All you need are:
Just combine all of your ingredients, quickly so that the
essential oil doesn't have a chance to make your powders clump. That’s really
Dry shampoo is great for if your hair misbehaves like mine,
if you head to the gym on your lunch break (to absorb sweat and oils from your
workout), or if you simply run out of time in the morning! Just shake a little
into your roots, let it sit a couple minutes to absorb the oils, and then comb or
brush it right out!
Our latest update on our past blog posts on the dangers associated with using Morcellation as an option for hysterectomies: Johnson & Johnson has officially requested that all medical practices utilizing their morcellators no longer do so, and they're suspending sales on all of the devices. This comes after the FDA finding that the procedure does in fact pose a serious risk of spreading unknown cancer cells.
Just as a brief catch up, the whole issue came to light this past February when Amy Reed, a Boston doctor who had a laparoscopic hysterectomy to end bleeding from fibroids (benign growths on her uterus). She had tested negative for cancer before the procedure, but the form that was residing in her uterus was rare and didn’t appear on the tests. The morcellation spread the cancer throughout her body and she now has stage 4 cancer, with an 85% chance of death within the next 5 years. About 1 in every 400 surgeries have had a similar outcome.
Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday it is conducting a worldwide withdrawal of all its morcellators still on the market. The company cited an FDA meeting earlier this month that reinforced "the complexity of this issue." The FDA itself is currently weighing regulatory actions to reduce the risk of cancer spread before ever condoning the use of the technique for similar procedures in the future.
I'm far from an "anti-pill" advocate. I take an occasional ibuprofen (or more) as needed, but I try to watch what I take because I know for every pro there's always a con. I'm especially leery when it comes to acetaminophen, which seems to be in every cough syrup and headache reliever known to man. Why? Because I learned long ago (after not knowing and putting myself at risk for years) that there are conditions that can turn it toxic in your body and quickly lead to severe liver damage. For example, anything over the recommended daily allowance (usually exceeding unknowingly because many cold/flu/allergy medications also contain acetaminophen) turns it toxic, as well as combining it with alcohol, even if taken 12 hours before consuming. Here are new findings suggesting that for at least back pain it may be doing you no good in the first place!
If you're taking acetaminophen (the main active pain reliever in Tylenol and Excedrin) for back pain it may be of no use. A new study was recently publish out of Australia putting acetaminophen up against mother nature to see which relieved the pain first: popping a couple pills or waiting for the pain to naturally subside.
For the study, researchers worked with a group of 1,643 patients who experience acute lower back pain. The subjects were broken up into three groups: 1 group took six 665mg tabs of acetaminophen and two placebos a day, 1 group took six placebo tabs and two 500mg tabs of acetaminophen a day, and 1 group took all placebos tabs.
The study authors found no difference in recovery time across all three groups, suggesting that acetaminophen absolutely no effect on lower back pain.
It just makes your think twice before grabbing over the counter medication for help. Consult with your doctor for the best pain management options for you (especially if you experience long, lasting back pains that you haven't discussed/disclosed to your doctor yet!).
I really wanted to share this flyer that I received from one of our awesome vendors, Behr's Baby & Kids Furniture. They're offering a FREE infant CPR workshop next week. If you are interested in attending, please contact
Behr's at (516) 541-2347, or email Behr's at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love trying new things in the kitchen, especially when it
involved anything sweet. I’m a total coward when it comes to canning, though. I
mean, I know it should be simple physics, and there are easy tutorials that
help you cheat. But still…I’m too scared to risk it! Since tis the season of
amazing fruit, I decided to look and see if I could find a no-can recipe for
jam. I happened upon this bad boy and knew I had to share! I’m not afraid to admit
that I’m horrible with fruit butters. If they make it into my house it’s a guarantee
that they won’t be there for long. This recipe includes not only the fresh
blueberry you can find easily this time of year, but no sugar, making in a
healthier breakfast, snack, or dessert option!
All you’ll need are:
2 ½ cups of blueberries (you can use thawed frozen ones,
too, for a year round recipe!)
1 tablespoon of water
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons of arrowroot powder (Bob’s Red Mill carries
it, so you should be able to find in most any whole food section, or order
online – you won’t regret it! It’s a natural thickening agent that lets you
exclude sugar or gelatin)
You’ll need a food processor or blender to start. You’ll begin
with either step A or B, and then follow the remaining steps for either.
A. If your using thawed blueberries, toss them in the
blender/processor to puree. Whisk together your water, lemon juice, and
arrowroot in a saucepan before adding your blueberry puree.
B. If you’re working with fresh blueberries, first combine
then in a saucepan with your other ingredients. Cook them for about 5 minutes
to soften the blueberries, and then food process them into a puree, before
returning it to your sauce pan.
Bring your mixture to a boil slowly over a medium heat,
stirring frequently. Next, simmer until it thickens: for roughly 25 minutes. You
will know it’s about done once you’re able to run a spoon through it, creating
a trench that doesn't immediately refill.
Once you've reached that thickness
return your mixture to your blender again and process it smooth once more.
Return it to the saucepan and allow it to cool.
The longer it cools the thicker
it will get. If it becomes too thick just stir in a little water. If it doesn't seem thick enough return it to heat for a while longer. Once done your butter
should fit perfectly into an 8oz mason jar, and should be stored in the
refrigerator at all times.
I’m obsessed with finding ways to “multi-purpose” the items
that are already regular household essential, especially anything that can be
added to my natural cleanser arsenal (case in point: my obsession with apple
cider vinegar). One such kitchen essential “power tool” is baking soda! Now we
already know that many toothpastes and detergents already boast that they have
baking soda as one of their main active ingredients, but you can skip the
middle man and use the real deal for many of your cleansing needs! Here are
some of my new favorite uses!
Stubborn, burnt on food in your pot? Sprinkle with a
generous amount of baking soda and cover with hot water. Let it sit for an hour
or so, and when you come back you should notice that the food has
loosen/relatively lifted for much easier cleaning. Got most of it off, but
there’s still a stubborn spot or two? Repeat the process rather than scrubbing
your night away!
Want to brighten your clothing and keep the colors? Add a ½ a
cup to your wash as you start it, along with ½ the recommended amount of laundry
detergent (meaning your also save on detergent!).
Stuck on stains in the kitchen or bathroom? Make a gentle
scrubbing paste with 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Scrub on, let it sit
and rinse away. Repeat as needed.
Want a gentle, chemical-free to clean and brighten your
toilet? Sprinkle straight into the bowl (as you would a soft scrub, such as
Comet) and scrub away your stains. Allow to set for about an hour (or until the
toilet is needed) before flushing to brighten and deodorize!
Your grandmother and mother were right about an open box in
the refrigerator! Keep a bowl full on one of your shelves, or sprinkle some at
the bottom of your garbage pail, to absorb the majority of odors.
I meant to post this as a heads up on Friday, but ran out of day! The FDA has been studying the effects of spray-on sunscreen use on children, and Consumer Reports came out with their final determination: they're officially recommending that spray-on sunscreens not be used on children (along with most, if not all, other aerosol products).
The studies show that spraying on sunscreen can add to the risk of asthma or allergy attacks if children inhale the mist. Consumer Reports has even removed one of it's recommended sunscreens from their list, Ocean Potion Kids Instant Dry Mist SPF 50, because it is marketed especially for children's use.
Of course they say if it's all that's available to go ahead and use it, but to spray onto your hands to apply on your child, and not to spray directly onto their face (which isn't recommended in the first place).
As with all things, this is just the recommendations of CR, and there are benefits and drawbacks that come along with everything. Spray-on is often preferred by parents because it sprays on evenly and dries more quickly. If your child has asthma, severe allergies, or is easily prone to respiratory issues, though, spray-on is not the best sunscreen option for your family.
It's been a long week (and it's only Wednesday) so to help perk myself up I decided it's a baking kind of night. Being that it is Wednesday, though, and I'm certainly not looking to have to head to the grocery store on the way home, I needed super simple ideas. Here are two awesome ones that I'm trying to choose between.
3 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies:
Line a couple cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream your butter and sugar together, and then add in your flour. Keep mixing until it turns into a soft doughy consistency (it'll fall apart at first, keep mixing). Once you've gotten to dough, roll it out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thick and cut out circles with a water glass. Place on your cookie sheets and bake for 16-18 minutes, until a light golden brown.
Dairy-Free Chocolate Mousse:
You need a hand mixer or stand mixer, with a whisk attachment for either. Scooping as much of the coconut cream off the top of your cans as possible without getting the milk. Put it into a mixing bowl. Add all of your other ingredients and beat together, starting at low and gradually getting higher, until it starts to get fluffy and peaks start to form. Divide into individual serving bowls and chill in the fridge until you're ready to enjoy it. It will thicken more as it chills.
Tis the season for fresh, local produce goodness! I know
that there’s something growing all year long (we’re especially excited when we’re
down to Brussels sprouts and potatoes… some sarcasm intended) but in the
summertime we really get it going, with all of the delicious sweet fruits and
vegetables coming into their own. We all need to get plenty of veggies in our
diet, and this is the most fun season to do so. We all know, though, that the
succulent fruits that are available are the real rock stars. If you’re feeling
me, here are the local sweets to head out and enjoy. There are still many
stands out east offering pick-your-own, as well, if that suits your fancy!
Blueberries: Oh how we love you, let me count
the ways! Blueberries are locally in season for just July and August, and are a
powerhouse when it comes to nutrients. They have the highest antioxidant
capacity of all fruits, and help neutralize free radicals to combat aging and illness.
To keep them the longest, keep them unwashed in their original container for up
to a week, or until you’re ready to devour them!
Cantaloupe and Honeydew Melons: Both melons are
basically the sugary snack equivalent of basically Coco Puffs in the processed
world. They’re amazingly sweet and juicy on their own without ever needing to
add anything to them (and little hands make them disappear in seconds)! They’re
found local grown in our hottest weather, usually mid to late July through the
end of September, sometimes into October. If you need your melon to last a
couple days before cutting it, don’t be afraid to grab a firm one. Leave it out
of the fridge for a couple days before use to allow it to finish ripening right
at home. Warning though, your mouth will be watering because the closer to ripe
the more your whole kitchen will smell like melon!
Cherries: Cherries are another health benefit
powerhouse, helping with everything from weight loss and memory boost to heart
health and anti-inflammatory properties. These sweet superheroes are only here
for a short time, however, and are only available locally usually the month of
July into the beginning of August. They’re best eaten within a couple days of
purchase. Again, kept unwashed in their original container until you’re ready
to do so!
Plums, Peaches, and Nectarines: all available
through our warmest months, and all fun for picking, these stone fruits just
about epitomize summer itself. They’re available from July through September,
and are picked off of trees just like apples. Like melons, they can be picked a
little firm and then left to ripen at room temperature. Once ripe they’re good
for 3-5 days in the fridge!
Looking for a fun little project for the holiday tomorrow?
How about paper sparklers: you’ll be able to wave them around to celebrate our
independence without having to worry about anyone getting burnt by the sparks!
They’re simple and a lot of fun for the little ones. All you’ll need are:
-Fun or festive straws, like these (I've bought them in the
Christmas Tree Shop in Riverhead before)
-Vellum paper in red, white, and blue. Silver and/or gold
would work great, too!
Start by cutting your paper into 3in x 4in rectangles. Next
cut the paper into thin fringe, leaving about 1/2in uncut at the bottom.
Next you're going to need to roll it up, tight enough to fit into the end of your straw. Once fit in you can add a little tape around the top if you're worried
it’s not tight enough. Lastly cut a skewer to the length of your straw and
stick it in the other end. Tape the bottom to keep it in. This will give the
sparkler a little extra stability for waving!
I know she shared them on the forums, but I just HAD to share the images here, too! This is our very own, gorgeous moonmist09 and her beautiful family. They had won a free family shoot with THREE14 Photography over the winter, and their images came out absolutely stunning!
I don't know about you, but this summer only started a week ago and it's already a crazy one! I need a second weekend to recover from my first. How am I making my manic Monday merry? By searching for fabulous photos of the little ones that make me squeal with delight! Check out these cheeky summer beauties and drool along with me! ;-)
(White Ink Photography)
(Christina Kneer Photography)
(Natasha Beccaria Photography)
(All Seasons Photography)
Don't you just want to be there now? My beach parking sticker is screaming for me to use her today! Check out all of the phenomenal photographers we have for more delicious summer shots!
It doesn't take the recent studies to show that we're
messing up a lot of our own tranquility and relaxation time. Stress levels are
skyrocketing, as are insomnia, obesity levels, and electronic device sales. Not
really related, though, are they? One of these things is not like the other…
but in reality it’s our ever growing dependence on up-to-date media and devices
that may be sabotaging us in the first place. Here are some common mistakes
that you may be making that are cutting into your unwind time.
Relaxing with your blue light emitting friend is the most
common. I’m beyond guilty of curling up in bed, all ready to go, and then
switching on my cellphone to check out the latest update on Instagram or Vine.
Even worse, I'm guilty of deciding, “Oh, I could really go for a little (insert
TV show title) catch-up!” and flipping open my iPad to Netflix. This constant
attachment is completely sabotaging your (and my) sleep cycle. The longer you’re
attached to the glowing screen, the less likely your brain is to turn off.
Another bad habit (which I'm also EXTREMELY guilty of) is
curling up to read for a while, but grabbing my tablet or ereader to do so instead of a
close-by paperback. Even with the “nighttime” font setting on your ereader,
the screen still emits a glow that reduces the melatonin levels that your system should naturally create, telling your body that it’s time to go to sleep. You
may be reading to help slow yourself down, but you're not doing yourself any
Instead, try keeping the electronic devices out of your
wind-down time. If you're going to catch-up on your favorite shows, do so on
your old-school TV and keep it out of your bedroom. This will limit the
blue-light inside your “quiet space” that’s keeping your mind going when the
rest of your body is craving sleep. Also, do rely on that literature to help
tired your brain and get you ready to sleep, but make it a paperback. I have
started this habit and have been known to be that freak that buys it in both
digital and paperback. That way you can pick up from where you were on your
e-reader without detriment to your sleep cycle. Conversely, reading actually
does slightly “over-work” an already tired mind, helping your eyelids get heavy
a little bit faster. Add a glass of warm milk and I guarantee you’ll be down
for the count in no time! Those two steps actually helped me completely break
an anxiety attack/insomnia stint in the matter of a few days. My own personal
suggestions would be a warm glass of 2% and a couple pages of Peter Pan. ;-)
Now that the summer is finally here, it’s time to make some
time to kick back with the family and enjoy the lovely weather! Let’s put
together two super important components so that you can enjoy some well-deserved,
pest-free outdoor time. First we’ve found a few mocktails that everyone can
enjoy (with instructions for an “adult” touch when needed), and then we’ll jump
into a little home-made pest protections.
Looking for something sweet to celebrate with? How about a
You'll need: a handful halved strawberries, ½ cup cranberry
juice, 1 cup raspberry flavored seltzer (or flavored ginger ale), and sprigs of
mint. (For the adult version add a splash of vodka to the grownups’ cups)
Combine liquids in a small pitcher, and then pour evenly
into champagne glasses. Top with half of a strawberry and a mint sprig.
How about a Cucumber Melon Agua Fresca?
You'll need: 1 8lb watermelon, 2 large cucumbers, 2-4
tablespoons of lime juice, 1-2 cups granulated sugar, 2 cups of water. (Add an
ounce or two of your favorite liquor)
Remove the rind and seeds from your watermelon and cut it up
into cubes. Peel and cut your cucumber into chunks. Puree both in a blender, in
batches if needed, and then mix in your water. Add lime juice and sugar to
taste. Chill your delicious concoction for up to 4 hours (or until very, very
cold) before serving over ice.
Lastly, here’s a perfect fruit punch to sit back and cool
You’ll need: 2 cups cranberry juice, 1 cup pineapple juice,
1 cup orange juice, ¼ cup grenadine, ¼ cup lime juice, 1 thinly sliced lemon, 1
thinly sliced lime, 3 ½ cups of cold club soda. (For an adult twist add 2
ounces of vodka or rum to 3 ounces of punch)
Mix all of your juices together in a big pitcher and chill
for an hour. Add your lemons, limes and club soda right before serving.
Once you've chosen your mocktail (or cocktail) of choice, next
you need to make sure that everyone will be relaxing in peace. Here’s a super
simple and natural insect repellent that will help you enjoy the outdoors.
You'll need the following:
List of oils that repel insects:
Combine your oil of choice and
witch hazel in bottle first. Mix in your preferred combination of essential
oils (you can choose 1, 2, 3, or all!) and shake well. Spray directly onto skin
or clothing every hour or so. Unused repellent can be kept in a dark, cool
place (even the refrigerator) until it’s needed again. It can be kept for a
long period of time, but shake before each use.
We have a minor victory in effect today for puppy-mill
battlers and pet advocates throughout Long Island. Today the “puppy mill” bill
will be in effect: Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is set to sign the
bill this afternoon, which bans the sale of puppy mill puppies. All sellers and
dealers will then be required to provide background information on all of the
puppies that they sell or face hefty fines for each animal that violates the
Retailers will not be able to obtain animal from any breeder
whom the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been issued violations, due mainly to
the health or condition of their animals, within the last 2 years. This bill
also mandates that all kittens and puppies remain in the care of their mothers
until at LEAST 8 weeks to be fully healthy and weaned.
Although this is far from an overall victory that will end
all puppy mills, it is a step in the right direction: a huge step for local
animal activists, showing that their representatives are listening and acting.
As always, when picking a pup, check out your local shelters
or breed specific rescues (if you have a particular breed in mind). If you are
looking to purchase a pet make sure to do all of your research to ensure that
you're selecting a reputable breeder.
I’m looking forward to another sun shiny Saturday coming up,
and also looking ahead to all of the special events I have approaching in a
very short period of time! I have at least one birthday a month for the next
four months for the special people in my life, Father’s Day, a baby shower for my sister and
long-awaited nephew (not to mention his literal birth-day in July or August!), birthday parties for baby cousins, and so much more! It’s all so eventful,
and exciting…and expensive! I was looking for something simple and beautiful
for the sunshine in my life (my glowing sister), and I've officially that decided
I’m going to make her a special present this year. I happened upon a favorite Etsy
find of painted mason jars are wedding favors or centerpieces. I decided I’m
going to try my hand at a similar idea to add a personal touch (and to
hopefully save a dollar or two while I’m at it).
To start we'll need to grab:
So this project is supposed to be so simple that I'll be mad
at myself for ever buying a set of jars (which you know I have, I’m an
etsy-aholic). Make sure that your jars are very clean and very dry. Flip them
so that the mouths of your jars are on the newspaper and its bottom is up, and
then spray them until your hearts content. Just FYI: this project is definitely
best performed outside, or at least in a very, very well ventilated area. Let
the jars stand to dry, at least 10 minutes, and you’re finished! If you’re
feeling fancy I’ve seen some instruct you to rub the paint off of the lettering
and chosen spots with a nail file for an “antiqued appeal.” Others suggest a
crystal clear topcoat to keep your paint from scratching. I think I’m going to
leave them as it. I am going to grab a bag of potting soil, though, and fill
them ¾ of the way full. I’m going to add a couple houseplants that don't need
a lot of attention, but you can add any variety of indoor flowers. Just
remember, with a plant in them (that will inevitably need watering) you’ll
likely see the paint start to ware after a while. Easy-peezy: transplant your
houseplant (if it’s still alive) into a temporary home and restart the simple
(Pictures are the jar I BOUGHT ;-) from this wonderful shop)
I love buying eyeshadow makeup palettes. At this point it's almost a sickness (especially considering how seldom I wear makeup), and we're not talking Wet n Wild: I'm probably single handedly keeping our local Sephora in business. I wouldn't have a problem...with my problem...if all of the colors were being well used and loved. Let's face it, though, there are always used colors in every palette, and just as many that sit by thoroughly neglected. For me, more often than not, it's because the colors are just too dark for my taste. What do you do with those colors, then? I found the perfect remedy for your otherwise wasted colors: expand your nailpolish collection, instead!
All you need is a short sharp blade (think razor blade, box cutter, exacto knife, etc), a toothpick, bottles of clear nail polish (one per color), a piece of paper, and your unused eyeshadows.
On the sheet of paper you're going to use your blade to scrape off, dig out, crunch up and crush your eyeshadow into as fine a powder as you can get it. You can also fold the paper in half over it and crush it that way, as well. You then fold the paper to funnel/slide the shadow dust into your clear nail polish. Use a toothpick to help thoroughly stir all of the powder into your polish, recover and shake it well. Vuala! You have a new nail polish. It should only take about the usual 2 coats to get it to it's true color. Remember to give your bottles a good shake before each use to ensure the pigment is completely dispersed!
I know that it’s getting harder and harder to just go out
and enjoy yourself at a restaurant, but I thought these new finders were too
important not to share (even if it pops that tiny remaining bubble of blissful
ignorance). We want to protect ourselves as much as possible, especially
against something as heinous as the norovirus (or stomach flu as we most often “fondly”
refer to it). When heading to a restaurant be careful what you’re choosing and
The CDC released a new report stating that at least 1 in 5
food service employees admits to having worked with the stomach flu/norovirus
still in their system last year. This means they reported to work with the
symptoms of either diarrhea or vomiting within the last day or so. The main
issue with this finding is the norovirus itself: it’s not enough to simply wash
your hands to stop it from spreading, it takes so few germs to get you sick
that washing your hands isn't effective enough on its own.
The norovirus lends itself particularly well to raw,
uncooked, and pre-prepared foods, such as fruits and vegetable. So when you're
choosing to eat healthy by picking the salad bar over a burger you could be putting
yourself at risk.
The rules and regulations that can be put in place to
protect consumers are really simple: wear glove and use plasti/blog/c/disposable utensils
when preparing food and always wait at least 48 hours after symptoms are gone
before returning to work. Most reputable establishments already do/will do
so/will continue to follow these simple regulations.
Okay, so you know me: I'm a big, big nerd and love creating
lists for the best summer reads each year. Yes, I posted a blog a couple weeks
ago of Amazon’s Top 100 Books to Read, but that was their list (not mine!) and
it was for a lifetime, not this summer on the beach. Here are some interesting
reads that I’ve found and am looking forward to. Have you found anything that
you’d want to add to the list? Let me know!
The Vacationers by Emma Staub is a contemporary piece of the
ups and downs of even a close-knit family, no matter the setting. The Post family in on a two
week vacation in Mallorca, Spain, but that certainly doesn’t stop their
problems from surfacing or dictate their story-plot in any way (in that this
isn’t some faked-happy, A-typical family vacation). As you’re riding the
emotional rollercoaster of their family dynamics you’ll be happy for the cool
drink you your hand and the slumbering SO by your side!
The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh is a compelling story (also
developing during a pleasant family vacation) that crosses controversial
boundaries from happily married to sorted Mrs. Robinson-esque affairs. When a happily married Jenn goes from
innocently flirting with her stepdaughter’s new beau to dangerously more during
their Majorca getaway the story definitely steams up! Walsh creates an alluring
and addictive read that may warrant an extra layer of sunscreen (since you won’t
want to put it down to reapply any time soon).
Tiphanie Yanique’s Land of Love and Drowning is another
great find that will keep you reading this summer. Whether you’re hopping on a
plane for some tropical destination or lounging by the pool in your own
backyard, Yanique's novel is going to transport you to the tropical Virgin Islands
for this historical fiction tale. It chronologically accounts for 60 years and
3 generations of love, magic, and life for the Bradshaw family as the Virgin
Islands transferred from Dutch to American rule and as the cultural shifts follow
And possibly the most intriguing on the list is Summer House
With Swimming Pool by Herman Koch. When a well-known actor dies all eyes turn
to the prescription-doling physician Marc Schlosser. The book follows the twists
and turns of their association and their family summer spent together the previous year: full of flirtation, deception, and tragedy. Although this is the
longest (and, supposedly, most long-winded) book on the list, it may be the one
that you find more difficult to pull yourself away from.
One of the bloggers I follow regularly (Delighted Momma) had
a bad scare a week back where her littlest had a “Secondary drowning” scare.
Never heard of secondary drowning? Yeah, neither had she (or I) and that’s
possibly the scariest part. Thanks to her sharing the story, though, it made
headlines in a lot of news outlets recently to raise awareness. I want to do
the same, just in case you hadn’t come across it already. Secondary drowning
happens after a drowning scare, when we’d normally be lulled into a false sense
of security about the event “being over.” Here’s a little information that you
need to be aware of and signs/symptoms to look out for.
When a child (or adult, for that matter) has a drowning
scare, we tend to become relieved once they’re safely on dry land and breathing
normal again. In reality, though, the water that they inhaled during the scare
can still do serious, if not fatal, damage. When a child has a near drowning
incident, the water they aspirate collects in the lungs and makes it difficult
to breath. The water can also cause chemical pneumonia if the incident happened
in a chemically-treated water source (pools or spas). A dry drowning can even occur,
where the larynx can close up to stop more water from entering the lung, but
also cutting off air.
All children who experience a near-drowning incident should
be brought to the hospital immediately to be checked out, and observed at home
for at least 24 hours. Here is a list, however, of signs and symptoms of
Now that our four legged family members are a little bit
safer, it’s time to make sure we keep you and your little ones safe when it
comes to outdoor play during the day. After a long, brutal winter we’re all
ready to get outside and soak up those rays. We need to be very careful,
though, to keep our families safe from sunburn and skin damage. Here are some
helpful tips to keep everyone happy and healthy this season.
~Start by always setting a good example for the rest of your
family. We’re all guilty of worrying about everyone else and then forgetting
ourselves. This summer, instead of waiting until the end (or forgetting) be
sure to get yourself slathered up and set before you even more ahead to the
kiddos. If mom/dad/aunt/uncle is all set with sunscreen and cover-up, they’re
much more receptive to do the same.
~Try to limit your outside playtime when the sun is at its
strongest. Between 10am and 4pm the summer sun is at its peak, as is the
outdoor temperatures. Try to keep everyone out of the sun as much as possible during
this time to limit the UV rays they’re absorbing.
~Apple sunscreen properly and often. For adults dermatologists
actually suggest wearing sunscreen of 15SPF daily for regular activity, so when
you’re going outside for the day be sure to up the ante. The level of SPF tells
you how much protection you’ll have for a length of time. To be safe keep you
and family members at at least a 30SPF, applied at least 30 minutes before
heading outside, and reapplied every 2 to 3 hours.
~Cover up with dark colored cotton cover-ups whenever
possible. I know we’re still of the sun tan mentality and automatically think “then
what’s the point?” but no amount of tan is worth permanent skin damage. Cover up
you children with long sleeves and pages in dark colors whenever possible
(whites and light colors let rays though), and wear sun hats and UV sunglasses.
~Remember that children under 6 months old are not
recommended to get any extra sun exposure.
~Treat all minor sun burns with aloe vera to help heal the
skin more wholly. If your children have severe
sunburn consider consulting their pediatrician, especially if there is any
blistering or a fever of 101 or greater. If a child less than 1 year gets sunburn
it is always recommended to consult your pediatrician, no matter the severity.
I saw this super simple cleaning tip and had to share it (it may be common knowledge, but it was new to me). If you're guilty of using sponges in your kitchen, and for way too long, here's a super simple tip for sanitizing them really quickly. All you need is water and lemon juice (either fresh squeezed or from a bottle). Pour some lemon juice in a bowl of water. Saturate your sponge with the lemony-fresh water, and then pop it in the microwave. Nuke it for 2 minutes, and then let it sit for 2 minutes more (because it's going to be really hot).
If you're feeling particularly inspired, you can also use your sanitized sponge and the steam it created to wipe out your microwave! The steam should have loosen up any grease and strains that have hardened on with time. If it's particularly nasty (or you're feeling counterproductive because your sponge is dirty again) you can always zap your sponge in the microwave one more time after rinsing it out! ;-)
As we’re starting to get into the warmer weather (especially
with Memorial Day weekend literally two days away) I figured there’s no time
like the present to start a small blog series on summer and sun safety.
Although it all may seem like common sense, it does help to just have a
friendly reminder. To jump right in today’s PSA will be for our furry, four-legged
~Remember that leaving your pet in the car is never a safe
option in the summertime. They may be desperate to go out and about with you,
but even in the shade with windows open your car becomes dangerously hot,
dangerously fast. No matter how much your fur friend loves the car; it’s time
to start staying home in the AC.
~Be careful with the pesticides and soil additives you
utilize since you're all spending extra quality time outdoors. Chemical plant
growers, fertilizers and pesticides can often be highly poisonous to pets if
ingested. Look into “green” pesticide and natural compost options to keep
everyone in your family safe.
~Remember that dogs and cats need sun protection, too. Just
like you, cats and dogs can get sun burned, too. Make sure that your pet has
plenty of shady options when hanging outdoors. There are even pet-safe
sunscreens for short and no haired varieties.
-Have plenty of fresh, cold water available. Whether for
drinking or taking a quick dunk in, having cool water available is on sure way
to keep heat stress at bay.
~Try to keep your walks and outdoor play time to the coolest
parts of the day. When the sun is at its highest the heat is at its worst. Try
to keep your furry friend in the house at these time, and save your play for when
the sun is still rising and setting.
~When you are outside, try to stick to grass and dirt
areas/paths. Streets and sideways can retain their heat and burn your pet’s
paws. Keep this in mind if you head to the beach, as well! If the sand is
burning your feet, it’s also burning theirs!
~Keep pets safe and secure during thunderstorms and
firework shows. Although this may seem obvious, too often we hear about pets
getting loose from panicking and getting themselves hurt. Keep your pets
indoors whenever possible during these events.
I saw this and thought it was so easy why should we ever by
apple cider vinegar again?! I can go through a ton of vinegar when the mood
strikes me: I make spray bottles of apple cider vinegar and water to clean the
counters, clean the bathrooms, clean up after my fur-baby, etc. I mop the
floors with it and even use it in recipes and condiments from time to time. ;-)
Since it is so useful and versatile, why not keep your own homemade batch on
hand? All you need are:
-apple scraps (peels and cores)
-white, granulated sugar
The easiest recipe I found suggests a ¼ cup of sugar to 1
quart of water. Load up a large jar with your apple scraps, and then fill it to
the top with water and sugar. The combination needs to breathe, so cover with a
clean cloth and secure it to your jar with a rubber band. Put it away in a dark
cupboard for 4-6 weeks, and then strain out your fresh vinegar. That’s it! If
it doesn't seem strong enough yet just add more sugar and put it back in the
cupboard for a couple more weeks.
You may not be a fan of white sugar, but it’s the best catalyst
for the bacteria that make your vinegar. If you must, you can substitute in your
preferred type of honey.
I have always been equal parts fascinated and intimidated by
yoga. I love the lithe moves, meditative properties, and the overall calming
effect it can have on the participant’s life and wellbeing. After my own
several attempts (albeit on probably the worst possible yoga level for an
extreme beginner) the intimidation set in heavy, with the overwhelming sense of “not being flexible enough” (an outright myth), "not being in shape enough" (why did I think I was trying yoga in the first place…to help get me in
shape!), and the perpetuating sentiment of “I’ll never be able to…” Well it’s
time for me to break the yoga mat back out and approach if from a totally
different mental standpoint. If you're with me, here are my current wonderful
reasons for loving yoga and why we should definitely stick with it.
1.Yoga relaxes your body and mind, helping you alleviate
and combat stress. I am incapable of traditional meditation: I just can’t turn
my brain off. By mastering your breathing and even just a couple simple poses,
you can utilize yoga to help calm yourself into a more “zen” state. This in turn
helps keep your health and happiness more in balance.
2.Yoga helps you lose weight, tone your body, and increase
your flexibility; all in one fell swoop. Now, as a beginner, you're not going
to be able to participate 100% in some of the more advanced power yoga classes
(which will make the pounds fly off), but working continuously and
moving ever forward will help tighten, strengthen and rejuvenate your body: helping you gradually get down to your “healthy” body weight. (Remember: health
and body weight don’t necessarily go hand in hand)
3.The more healthy and flexible yoga helps you
become now, the better your the fitness level and mobility will be later in
life. Often we're so here in the now that we don’t stop and think about 10, 20, or 50
years from now (unless we're frantic about finances). The truth though is this: the old saying is right, “if you don't use it, you lose it.” The more
your move, and continue moving, the happier and healthier you'll be once you've reached your
middle aged and senior years.
And it always helps to have a little daily inspiration. I
follow @laurasykora on Instagram, and watch her journey as she pushes her own
boundaries and meets new goals (even after 17 years of practicing). It also
helps that she involves her family for many an “aww” inspiring photo! Here a couple of my favorites.
Now that the holidays are over (leaving behind their mess) and
the lovely spring weather is FINALLY here, you may be ready to finally have
your house as bright and shiny as the world outside. Most of that house is
easily cleanable, except that tortuous dungeon that we call an oven. If you
have a self-cleaning oven, to run the cycle you need to be home for hours and
hours (making sure no little hands go need the burning inferno). If you want to
use a store bought cleaner you need to worry about ventilation for all of those
fumes (which you then put your face in to inspect the job its doing). Instead I
found a simple and more natural solution that won’t tie you up for hours or
fumigate your house!
All you need for ingredients are:
You’ll also need:
Start by removing the racks from your oven. Combine all of
your ingredients in a glass bowl and mix together well, until they create a
thick “paintable” paste. Paint your paste over the entire surface of your oven,
and allow it to sit for 6-8 hours (works great overnight or while you’re at
work). Fill a bowl with clean water, dip your scrubber into it, and wipe away
the paste and grime in your oven. You shouldn’t need to scrub, but you’ll need
to keep wiping away the combo until it’s all clean (likely refilling your bowl
with clean water a couple times, as well). Then start baking all over again
with an oven that’s as good as new!
Two tips: 1) Make sure that the oven is cold, because your
solution needs to be moist to work: heat will evaporate your liquids. 2) If you
have really stubborn stains, once rest of oven is cleaned, reapply solution and
let sit. Baking soda will continue to react with the baked on carbons, lifting
the stain more and more.
A new list was published by Amazon.com yesterday of the “100
Books To Read In a Lifetime,” and it’s pretty awesome to check out. I know
often when these lists come out there are dozens of amazing classical works
that educate your mind…if they don’t put you to sleep and you can make it through
them. I love this particular list because, while there are a ton of classics,
it also worked really hard at keeping the recommendations enjoyable and
engaging. While doing so, it also spans over 200 years of literature, connecting classic literature with modern cherished works, which I find astounding! Check it out and see if there’s anything that you
are adding to this year's reading list.
Amazon's 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime
I just added the following to my own library:
They should do the trick; keeping my mind engaged for a
while! In perfect timing, too, because I’m more than ready to sit outside all
next weekend in the 70+ degree weather (when and if it isn't raining) with a
good book or two!
(And I couldn't decide where I'd rather be so I'm including 2 inspirational images that I loved!)
I love this quick DIY technique and had to share. It’s for
DIY Dryer sheets that are super simple and can be used over and over before
ever needing to re-DIY(?) them again. If you're scent-free and totally
natural…than this isn't a project for you. It does utilize fabric softener, any
of your choice.
All you need are a stack of white dish rags, a jar to store
them in, a bowl, fabric softener, and a clothing line or rack to dry your dish rags on.
Start by pouring straight fabric softener into your bowl.
There’s no specific amount, and there won’t be any waste because the rest can
be poured right back into the bottle. Soak your dish rags in the fabric
softener, remove, and hang to dry outside. Allow them to dry THOROUGHLY. This will take a while. Once they are dry you
can fold them up and put them into your jar, leaving it in your laundry room
for easy access. You just grab a sheet and throw it in with your laundry when
you’re drying a load. You can use each upwards of 12 times before needing to
start the process over again.
If you want to try a simple DIY fabric softener for this project,
all you need is white vinegar and your favorite hair conditioner. Just thoroughly
mix 3 parts vinegar to 2 parts hair conditioner: stir it, do not shake it. If
you're throwing it into your washer, too, simply use ½ cup or so as you would
regular fabric softener.
Come support a good cause and say “Hi!” to LIF at Rolling
River Day Camp’s Spring Festival and Fundraiser! It’s going to be tomorrow, May 3rd
from 12pm-4pm. It sounds like it’s going to be a gorgeous day and this is a
great way to spend it outside!
The Rock-the-River Spring Festival is a fundraiser benefits
Rolling River’s Campmates Scholarship Program. The Campmates Program raises
funds to send local deserving children associated with Peninsula Counseling
Center to Rolling River Day Camp free of charge. The 2014 Rock-the-River
Festival celebrates the return of East Rockaway after Hurricane Sandy and will
feature extra activities and events sponsored by many local East Rockaway
We hope to see you there!
I’m more than ready for this foul weather to move out and
for a sunny, warm May to move in. It’s going to happen, I refuse to believe
otherwise. We’ll probably skip right over Spring and head straight into a hot
summer this year, and I’m actually ok with that! To get us started off right I found
an awesome recipe for homemade sunscreen bars. I prefer lotion of any form in
bars when possible: they’re just easier to handle, use, and store. Although you
may not feel 100% about making sunscreen for kids, these are definitely worth a
try for yourself if not your family!
To start you’ll need:
Start by melting the beeswax, Shea butter, and coconut oil
together; put the ingredients in a mason jar and place it in a pot of boiling
water until they’re melted completely. Removed from the heat and then stir in
your zinc oxide and tea tree oil. Pour into silicon molds or an ice cube tray
and allow to cool completely. Once done, store your sunscreen bars in the refrigerator
until you’re ready to use them! Once you’re heading out into the sun just grab
a bar, warm it up slightly between your hands, and the rub it over your skin.
These bars are roughly 20 SPF and waterproof. If you’re heading to the beach or
a picnic keep your sunscreen bar in a zip-lock baggy in your cooler just to
make sure it doesn’t melt on you.
I thought that this is an awesome follow-up. About a month
ago I wrote up a post about the dangers of using power morcellation as an
option for hysterectomies and included the link to an online petition to stop the procedure from being recommended. The FDA is actually agreeing
and is officially discouraging use of the procedure in these cases, as well as in the cases of fibroid surgeries.
Power morcellation is a technique that allows doctors to
literally pulverize organs and fibers into tiny pieces to be removed through
tiny incisions. The effect is a minimally invasive procedure for the patient,
but it can result in the spread of cancer cells at the same time. Although
cancer is screened for and doctors try rule it out ahead of time, 1 in every
350 cases the cancer is not detected and allowed to spread through the entire abdomen
due to the morcellation process.
From William Maisel, the deputy director for Science and
chief scientist for the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological health, “Patients
should know that the FDA is discouraging the use of laparoscopic power
morcellation for hysterectomy or (fibroid removal surgery), and they should
discuss the risks and benefits of the available treatment options with their
health care professionals."
This time of year can be literal torture for seasonal
allergy sufferers (heck, and year-round allergy sufferers). The trees and
flowers are back in bloom… and that means itchy eyes and congestions all
around! I know that most of you tough it out, not wanting to resort to
medications unless absolutely necessary, so here are a couple remedies that
will hopefully provide you with a little relief as you go.
Start by swapping some of your schedule, if you can. They
say the worst times for allergens and pollen are around sunrise and sunset:
while the weather is still palatable, try swapping your morning jog to midday
or late afternoon. This will hopefully help keep you out of the thick of it. Once
you get home leave your sneakers outside and head straight in to get
changed/shower. You bring a lot of pollen right indoors on you, so you’ll want
to remove it quickly to decrease the effects. Washing your hair right before
bed and changing your sheets more frequently will also help to ensure you a
better night’s sleep by removing the lingering allergens that would keep you
Use apple cider vinegar to your advantage. We already use it
to clean our homes and kill other health issues (such as heartburn). Use it to
help cleanse your system and break down mucus, as well. Mix 1 tablespoon with a
glass of water 3x daily to best affect.
Saline Nasal spray and Neti pots are your friend. Although
using a neti isn’t always recommended (because it can be “overly cleansing” if
used with too much regularity), cleansing your sinuses with nasal spray and/or
neti pots will help remove residual allergens from your sinus canal to keep
their effects to a minimum.
A teaspoon a day of local honey may keep the allergens away.
Honey already has beneficial qualities to help you feel better: soothing raw
throats and warding off a cough. It is believed that local honey may have an
additional effect: the honey cultivated in our local environment may help you
build up a barrier and tolerance for the allergens there. It may only be a chance,
but with already existing anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties it doesn’t
hurt to try.
Take as many breaks as you can. The more stressed you are
the more hyper-reactive your body is going to be to the allergy simulants. By
catching up on a little sleep and those yoga/meditative sessions you just haven’t
had time for you’ll be helping your body fight the battle with fewer
With the crazy winter finally finishing up and leading
straight into a week of holidays and festivities, the chances are good that you’re
more than ready for a relaxing spa day: I know that I am. My skin is crying out
for it just as intensely as my psyche is! If you’re in the same boat, and don’t
have the time or money to spend an entire afternoon at the spa (no matter how glorious
it may sound) here are a few recipes for you to have your own spa day at home!
Let’s start with the hair. If you’re ready for a good
conditioning treatment, here’s a simple and fast recipe! Pop 1 avocado (peeled
and cubed), 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, and 1 tablespoon of honey into your
blender and mix well. Wash your hair as usual, and then comb mixture through it.
Wrap in cellophane and cover with a shower cap. Let it sit for at least 15
minutes and then rinse out well! This will leave your hair soft and silky,
while helping to even out the pH of your scalp (leaving it not to dry and not
Next, we’ll work on healing those winter-chapped hands.
Start with a simple scrub of ½ cup of olive oil and ½ cup of sugar. Mix them
into a paste, massage over hands lightly, and then rinse off well. Next pop ¼ of
honey (if not a little more) into the microwave for about 20 second to liquefy
it (maybe a little more, maybe a little less depending on your microwave).
Apply the honey to your hands and have a helper wrap them up in cellophane. Sit
back and relax for about 30 minutes, allowing the honey to sooth and enrich
your freshly exfoliated skin. Rinse away with warm water when you’re done.
Lastly, let’s greet the world with a glowing smile! I tend
to post up face mask ideas often because they’re one of my favorite ways to
unwind. This time, though, I figured why not go for something a little fancier!
For this luscious mask you’ll start with 2 kiwis, 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt
(regular or greek), 1 tablespoon of OJ, and 1 tablespoon of your preferred oil
(almond, olive, sunflower, etc). Peel your kiwis and pop them in the blends. Puree
them well, and then add the rest of your ingredients and blend well. Your mask
should be creamy with just a touch of exfoliating properties (from your kiwi
seeds). Apply all over your face, avoiding your eyes. Sit back, relax, and
allow drying fully on your skin (usually about 10 to 15 minutes). Rinse off
with warm water, and put any remaining mask in the fridge because it’s good for
up to a week! (That means you can have a spa-mask-Monday if you’d like, too!)
I’m always looking for simple new health(ish) recipes,
especially for desserts. I have a sweet tooth and would much rather have it
over the dinner any day. Here’s a simple, fast recipe for a Paleo Banana Cream Pie that I will be
putting to the test this week. I wanted to share it so that you could, too.
All you really need (besides the
ingredients) are a food processor, pie tin, and room in your freezer! No baking
time and your recipe is all set up in about 15 minutes to pop in the freezer!
What could be easier? So here is the breakdown of your ingredients:
-2 cups of raw cashews that you soaked overnight
-2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut
-1/2 cup of dates
-1 teaspoon of cinnamon
-1 ½ cups of raw cashews, soaked overnight
-2 medium to large bananas + one extra for slices placed on
top of pie
-1/4 cup of honey
-1/3 cup of coconut oil
-1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-a dash of salt
Place all of the ingredients for your pie crust into the
food processor and blend until they clump and start to stick together. Place
into your pie tin and press it evenly around. Put all of your pie filling
ingredients into the food processor (except the extra banana for slicing) and
blend until smooth. Pour and smooth it out evenly in the crust. Place banana
slice all around the top and pop it into your freezer to harden (at least a
couple hours). Take it out, thaw a couple minutes if necessary, and enjoy!
Once again it’s contest time, and once again I’m jealous
that I can't participate! The awesomely talented Cookie Lady is hosting a contest
exclusively for you, our LIFamilies crew, for a chance to 25 free custom cookie
favors! Your prize will include the 25 personalized cookies and bags with
personalized tags! The prize will be redeemable after May 10, 2014!
To enter, all you need to do is head over to the official
contest thread and post a reply with the theme and type of the party you are/will
be planning! (birthday, christening, baby shower, etc) Multiple entries are
allowed if you're planning multiple parties, but please one entry per post!
The winner will be chosen at random, and the contest ends at
midnight on April 24th! Prize is non-transferable and cannot be
redeemed for cash!
Good luck! :-D
Here are some of The Cookie Lady's creations!!
I've always been a huge fan of buying fresh and buying local, but that can be easier said than done. In the warmer states their growing season is basically year round for a lot of produce. Here on the Island, though, once we get into cooler/cold weather, it's hard to figure out what could or may be in season, and what is available local. I found these awesome charts and figured I'd share it with you. (I was searching to see what's going to be in season next, now that spring seems to finally be here.) It'll help you keep an eye out for local items and make a viable shopping list for when you head to the farmers markets.
So, it’s almost April…and we had our April Fools a day
early. Really? March 31 and we have about 1.5” of snow on the ground? I choose
to ignore it and look forward to the warmer weather we are/were supposed to
have this week. With that said, I'm looking forward to all sorts of colorful
spring decorations and activities. One of my absolute favorites is the egg
hunt. They're all over the place; your local parks, schools, and farms. Our
favorites growing up, however, were done right at home. To add a new twist to a
favorite spin, I found this awesome idea for Glowing Eggs for night time egg
hunts. This is so simple, and looks so cool, it makes me wonder why I haven't
heard of it sooner!
All you'll need are:
-glow sticks of choice. Small sticks or Finger lights are
going to be the easiest, but you can also get the bracelets and twist them up
-empty plastic eggs.
-treats or prizes of choice.
Start by snapping and activating your glow
sticks. Stick one into each egg with a reward, and tape them closed. All you
have left to do is hide them! Either head out into the yard after sunset or
turn off the lights indoors. Either way these eggs add an extra stimulus to an already
Mark off next Thursday on your calendars, ladies and gents, because I found out about this pretty awesome event coming up! One of our wonder LIFamilies.com vendors, and soon to be LIWeddings.com vendor, is having her work exhibited in Bloomingdale’s Furniture Gallery in Roosevelt Field Mall! Debbie Viola is a custom finish and mural designer, and she has been commissioned by Bloomingdales to create 30 large abstract paintings, which they will be displaying during the event!
Head over from 6-9pm on April 3 for an art open reception, with live jazz music, gourmet wine and food. Bloomingdale's staff will also be on hand to explain their loyalty program to designers who attend. The art works are going to be displayed for a month, during which time 40% of Debbie’s sales will all go towards The Interfaith Nutrition Network and other charities.
So I just saw this on one of my favorite blogs and hope it
works for me, too! Did you know that it’s possible to “unshrink” your favorite
clothes?! I absolutely loath shrinking pants legs. I’m 5’10” to begin with, so
as my jeans and sweatpants start to shrink they almost instantly become way too
short to wear (I also absolutely loath “high-waters” as we always called). Here’s
hopefully a solution to help my wardrobe last a while longer.
Fill up your sink with lukewarm water and a capful of baby
shampoo. Allow your clothing item to soak for a while in the solution. Remove
the item and wring it out gently. **Don’t rinse it out.**
Next, lay the item out on a dry towel, and roll it up
(absorbing that excess water out of it). Get another dry towel and repeat that
step. Once you’ve done it a second time, unroll the cloth and towel, laying it
out to dry the rest of the way. As it’s drying, gently stretch the item out,
little by little, to its original size/length. Once it’s dry, try it on to see
how close to un-shrunk you’ve gotten it! If you need to unshrink it a little
more do the usual “rinse & repeat.”
I saw these indoor grass plants and thought they were
absolutely perfect for living Spring decorations! I know that the calendar says
that spring is literally 2 days away, but I think that the calendar is lying to
us all! It certainly doesn’t feel like it (feeling like 2 degrees yesterday,
and all). This quick and cute project is a great way to not only decorate for
the occasion, but to also help you brighten up for it, as well!
To start you’ll need:
-grass seed (choose shade mixes if not going to sunny area
of home: Rye and Wheat grass are great, with thicker blades.)
-containers (whether mason jars, antique bowls or mugs, old
Choose your container and then add a layer of about ½ inch
to 1 inch of pebbles at the bottom for drainage. Fill the rest of the container
about ¾ inch from the top with soil. Sprinkle grass seeds across the top, and
then press them gently into it. Mist the seeds until the soil is until soil is
slightly damp. Place in your desired location, and mist until slightly damp
every other day. Grass should start to sprout within a couple of days. Once it
has reached about an inch tall you can give it a little bit more of a watering
every few days to cut back on the maintenance. Once it starts to grow in
height, enjoy trimming it at will to desired effect!
Okay, friends and families, it’s time for another awesome
contest! This time our prize is from the very talented THREE14 Photography, and
they’re offering a contest for your chance to win a free newborn or family
photography session! If you’re the big winner,
your prize will include the photo session and a DVD of all of the edited
images! Here’s all you need to do to enter:
Head over to this contest post. Respond to that thread with
a photo showing how you and/or your family have been enjoying or coping with
this crazy winter season! The more creative your entry the better! The winner
will be chosen at random from all of the entries.
As an added bonus, to help THREE14 get their new Facebook
page going, the more Likes we get on their fan page the more prizes will be
If they reach 100 fans/likes, there will be a second winner,
and they’ll receive a $200 gift certificate!
If they reach 150 fans/likes, there will be a third winner,
who will also receive a $200 gift certificate!
Multiple entries are allowed, and only one photo/activity
should be shared per post! Contest ends 3/21/14 at 11:59pm. Session needs to be
held between 5/1/14-9/30/14, and on location (your home, park, etc) within 30
miles of Floral Park. Winner will be announced 3/24/14!
So, Graco is officially at it again. Shortly after the NHTSA started the
investigation against Graco, Graco recalled an extra 403,000 car seats. So who’s
on the chopping block now? Here are the newly recalled models:
2006-2014 Argos 70 Elite, Ready Ride, Step 2, My Ride 65
with Safety Surround, My Size 70, Head Wise 70 with Safety Surround, Nautilus
3-in-1, Nautilus Plus, and Smart Seat with Safety Surround.
Again, these car seats are being recalled do to their
buckles sticking when trying to get your child in and out. If you contact the
company they will send you replacement buckles, because the rest of the car
seat is still structurally sound.
Now the NHTSA is still not satisfied. They believe that an
additional 1.8 million infant seats should also be recalled, as they utilize
the same buckles. Graco has yet to recall them, saying that parents can remove
the whole carrier if need be, in case of emergency, so the buckles sticking
wouldn’t be a risk.
If the infant seats are recalled this will be the largest
car seat recall in history. Is it possible that that’s why they’re not playing
it safe and recalling them all?
Yikes! I saw this and thought it was interesting to share.
After the big Graco car seat recall last month, I know a lot of people were
very happy to find out that their car seats weren’t included on the list of
recalled models. Well, now Graco is feeling the heat again because federal
safety officials want to know exact HOW those other models made the slip.
The safety recall last month had to do with the buckles of
millions of car seats. Once they became gummed up with good and liquids (spilled
by our little ones, of course) they became more and more difficult to unlatch.
This could become especially hazardous in the case of accidents and fires, when
getting your little one out immediately is obviously prudent.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now wants
Graco to hand over every piece of information and research relating to both the
recalled and non-recalled models, proving that the other models do still meet
their necessary safety regulations. Graco of course says that they’re happy to
comply and confident in their decisions: that the remaining car seats were
tested vigorously and meet all safety regulations. Time will tell if that is
Remember, if you have one of the recalled
models, all you need to do is order your free replacement buckles online HERE.
The seats are still safe to use while waiting for the replacement buckles the
company claims. Here are the customer service contacts for Graco, as well:
(800) 345-4109 or email@example.com
I am one of those people that goes through far too many
clothing items, not because they’re old or don’t fit, but because I wear/spill/stain
everything! All of my favorite camis and tees have been through the torment of
store bought spot cleaners and oxi-detergents, but I am always looking for an
easier (and better) fix! Here are a couple awesome home treatments that I
found, thought I’d share, and hope save my current wardrobe!
I love this one! Spill some of your precious red vino? Blot
with a damp clean cloth. Dab with a little white wine (in between sipping it)
to break down more of the stain. For anything that is left, sprinkle baking
soda over it and allow it to absorb the residue for 20 minutes, and then remove
it with a cloth.
If you spill the grease from that pizza or cheese burger onto
your favorite shirt, that doesn't mean it’s done for anymore! As soon as
humanly possible break out your talcum powder or cornmeal. Sprinkle it
generously over your stain, and let it absorb the oils. Dust away with a dry
Get something gummy stuck in clothing or furniture? Freeze
the goo with an ice cube, and then scrape the mass majority off with butter
knife or comb. For the remainder, dab on a little clear dish soap. Rinse off
with a damp cloth.
Remove ink stains with a little bit of rubbing alcohol. Dip
a clean toothbrush into the alcohol, tap off any excess, and then gently scrub
your ink stain away.
For coffee or tea, first mix together 1 cup of water and 1
cup of white vinegar. Sprinkle or spray the stain, dab with a clean damp cloth,
and then with a clean dry cloth. Next, mix 1 tablespoon of clear ammonia and 1
cup of water, spray stain, dab with a clean damp cloth, and then with the dry.
Have you seen the news yet about the proposed new food
labeling that the FDA is working on requiring? The labels on the back of our
food packaging (listing serving size, calories, fats, etc.) have been in place
as status quo for over 20 years. The proposed face lift will hopefully help
consumers make increasingly healthy/educated decisions in the grocery store by
highlighting the positives and negatives in the foods they choose.
The FDA is putting up two different proposed labels for the
food community to contemplate and critique over the next 90 days. Once any
final decisions are made all food manufacturers will have to implement the new
labels within the next 2 years.
So what would be so different? Well here’s a sort of
checklist of updates:
-Serving sizes will be realistic! That can of iced tea that
is supposed to be 2.5 servings will now be reflected as one serving.
-Calorie counts will be in larger, more prominent prints
-All grams of sugar (no matter the form) will be shown as
-Calories from Fat will be removed and fat break downs
(saturated, trans, etc) will remain
-Vitamins that we’re commonly deficient in (vitamin D,
potassium, etc) will be shown over others.
Here are the proposed changes next to the current. Do you
think it will ultimately help? It will definitely be easy to read/understand,
but do you that the information ultimately changes individual food choices?
I am always looking for fun ideas and activities that are
super simple to share…and this one made me squeal a little bit. Okay, maybe it's
just my generation, but when I happened upon a “Flubber” recipe that I could
make in less than 10 minutes, I got down-right giddy! Here’s a fun idea to maybe try
this weekend if we end up stuck inside again. (Or you can always take it
outside, too, if it gets nice enough out!)
So you need to set this up in two parts. The first is
in one bowl combine and mix the following well; 2 cups of Elmer’s glue, ¼ cup
of warm water, and food coloring of your choice.
In a second bowl, combine and mix well; 3 teaspoons of Borax
and 1 cup of warm water.
Next, pour your first mixture into the second…and that’s it.
It’s supposed to do all of the rest of the work itself. Once it forms a big
glob with just a little bit of water on top pour the extra water off, and then
knead if for a minute or two. That’s it! You can enjoy your
flubber fun and store it in an airtight container when you’re done to save for
I just read an article on the dangers that can be associated
with a less invasive hysterectomy technique and thought that it was important
to share. Although there are pros and cons with all important decisions in
life, it’s still necessary to know the dangers that you can face either way.
At least 11% of the 500,000 hysterectomies performed every
year are now done through a tiny incision in the belly button. This cuts the
healing time down drastically, from 4 to 6 weeks to 5 days. For this less-intrusive
surgery, surgeons use a Morcellation technique, literally pulverizing the
uterus (or growths) to be able to remove the tissue through the small incision.
Although this surgery is a miracle for most women who need
the procedure done, for small percentage of others it can become a fatal
decision. How the surgery is currently performed, the morcellation also
pulverizes any cancerous growths and cells that may be in the area and allows
them to spread throughout the abdomen.
This is what happened to Amy Reed, a Boston doctor who had a
laparoscopic hysterectomy to end bleeding from fibroids (benign growths on her
uterus). She had tested negative for cancer before the procedure, but the form
that was residing in her uterus was rare and didn’t appear on the tests. The
morcellation spread the cancer throughout her body and she now has stage 4
cancer, with an 85% chance of death within the next 5 years. About 1 in every 400
surgeries have had a similar outcome.
Now, the point of the article and public awareness wasn’t to
turn women away from this form of surgery. The real point is that the medical
field can remove this risk by changing their techniques. A surgical bag can be
put in place, at the start of the surgery, so that all of the cells pulverized
in the morcellation process stay restricted within it, which is then removed
through the incision in the belly button.
The reason why there’s any hesitation in this small technique
alteration is that the hospital staff then needs more training and the procedure
then becomes more costly. Amy Reed and her husband have created Change.org
petition demanding that hospitals stop their current process until a better
method can be implemented.
Although we're not all always feeling it (some years more than others >.>), it is February 14, and there's no denying that love is in the air! There are fresh roses everywhere, bright pinks and reds adorn all of the seasonal displays/decorations in schools, homes, stores...everywhere! It's hard to not feel at least a little festive. Whether you're a Valentine's Day person or not, here's a little seasonal "Aw" that will put a smile on the most hesitant of faces. :-D (And trust me, before I found these cuties I was "hesitant" to say the least!)
The cuteness if overwhelming! (Image by Natasha Beccaria Photography)
(Images by Christina Kneer Photograph)
So sweet I can't even handle it!
(Images by Alexis Hardy Photography)
This Little Man is already a Romeo!
(Image by Amanda Saldarelli Photography)
And no Valentine's Day is complete without Candy AND Roses!!
(Images by Katie Burnett Photography)
So I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for fun
and easy recipe ideas… emphasis on the easy. I want to show off my culinary “skills”
without actually needing to have too many of them. My mother is impressed when I
make a meatloaf and my sister is impressed when I boil water… but sometimes you
need to show off a little more skill than that when you have company. I found
these beautiful and super simple, mini cherry heart pies and thought that they would
be perfect for this Valentine’s Day! You can try them for a simple something
All you need to get started are:
-a box of store bought pie crusts
-1 can cherry pie filling
-1 beaten egg white
-red or pink decorating sugar (if desired)
-a heart cookie cutter
-a little flour for dusting
-a parchment paper lines cookie sheet
Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Dust your
counter with flour and then unroll your pie crusts. Cut out as many hearts as
you can out of the two crusts (keep an even number). Place half of your hearts
on your parchment lined cookie sheet, spoon some of your filling in the middle
(keeping about ½ inch away from edges to prevent overflow), and place a
remaining heart on top of each. Crimp your edges with a fork (making sure that
they’re tightly sealed). Brush egg wash over the top of each and spring with
red or pink sugar if desired. Pop in the oven for 15 to 17 minutes (until they
are lightly golden brown) and you’re done!
In the difficult times that we’re still living in, one very
important responsibility that falls on a parent’s shoulders is the need to help
their children learn the importance of money and creating smart spending
habits. I know that it sounds very heavy and that your little ones may still be
small, but it’s never too early to start building a foundation for a good
knowledge base. Whether it’s putting those found pennies away in a piggy bank
or taking their birthday money to the bank, we all need to start somewhere.
Here are a couple simple tips for building a smart money sense in your child/children.
Start by giving your child/children the ability to earn
money/allowance, and then give them the independence to decide how to save and
spend that money. At first they will definitely spend above and beyond their
means, but as they start to realize that they want a little more to get items
more important to them you'll be able to go over saving and putting away for
later. It’s also never too soon to start discussing the benefits of putting at
least part of their money away towards important expenses, such as a car, a
trip, or college.
Have your little one get more involved with your wise money
spending decisions right from the jump. Once they've started understanding the concepts
of dollars and cents, hand them your wad of coupons. Allow them to help you
find the brand that’s on sale, and make sure that it’s still your best buy
(over the store brand, for example).
Next, try to help your children understand that everyone
needs to compromise when it comes to spending and that even you don't get
everything you want (when it comes to purchases). Show how you're making sacrifices
for the sake of saving, and then how those sacrifices give you more money to
spend at a later date (like with the money saved from the coupons above).
Let your children help you with the budgeting, planning and
big decisions when it pertains to them. If you son or daughter has a big
birthday coming up (10, 14, etc.) start your planning early and give them a
budget and say. If they want to have a “party place” birthday let them explore
the pricing and what’s included for different locations. Let them compare and
contrast what they would get that way versus a party at home or going to the
movies. They'll feel more involved and experience first-hand why you would choose
one investment over another.
Okay, I’m officially dreaming of spring. I'm a winter person
at heart. I love the snow. I love scarfs, gloves, and warm wool coats, but even
I am officially done. I’m looking forward to the snow going away permanently
and being able to head back outside for more than 10 minutes at a time. Because
of this, I'm already looking ahead to fun, springtime projects (or, more
appropriately, springtime antics). If you are too, here’s a fun and simple
bubble solution that we can make on the first warm day. Heck, if you're so
inclined, you can make it now and bubble away indoors to keep the little ones
entertained until they can escape. After all, can you really make your house
dirty with soap? I just don't suggest blowing bubbles on tile, linoleum, or
hardwood floors. I won't be held accountable for the slipping and sliding!
All you need are:
4 cups distilled water
1 cup dish soap of choice
½ cup glycerin or light corn syrup
Combine your ingredients in a jar or container, and then
shake them up good! Allow the mixture 24 hours or so to settle, and then your
bubbly mixture is ready to go!
Okay, ladies and gents, we have a new contest running for
you (and I’m super jealous over this one)! Deanna Bonilla - Origami Owl
Independent Designer is giving away a free personalized mini locket! This is
the perfect accent piece for any outfit (gents, your SO will love you for
winning one for her ;-D).
All you need to do to enter is head on over to our contest
post in the forum, reply with the best gift you have ever been given or
received, and then head over and “Like” Deanna’s Origami Owl Facebook page. The
contest winner will be chosen at random and will win one mini locket, one
charm, and one chain of their choice! Hurry over, the contest ends on February
12, 2014 at midnight! Good luck and enjoy your locket for me! ;-)
Click here to check out all of Origami Owl's awesome jewelry options!
Today’s blog was a toss-up between Super-Bowl goodies and a
healthy living idea, and I went for the healthy living idea. Sometimes it’s better to have a little healthy living
inspiration. I was looking around some of my favorite sites and found a great break
down for ideas for detoxifying and purifying with natural salts, and I had to
share. I’m a big advocate for Himalayan rock salt, and have been for years. I
used to sit with a bright and wonderful elderly woman years ago, as an aid, and
she taught me the benefits of having a salt lamp lit in your environment at all
times, and she only knew a few of the properties (that helped her daily).
use is as bath salt, a neti pot wash, a sole elixir, an ambient lamp, or even
the salt you use daily on your food.
As a bath salt: you can purchase Himalayan rock salt at most
grocery and health food stores as regular, coarse salt as you would sea salt. By
adding 2 cups of salt to your warm bath water, you create a rejuvenating and
detoxifying spa bath. The dissolved salt draws out toxins from your body, while
deep cleansing your skin and righting your energy.
As a neti pot salt: if you’re a neti pot user, you know that
it is one helpful way to alleviate some of your sinus pain and congestion. With a slightly salted wash, you can increase
the benefits of utilizing you neti pot. Adding Himalayan salt to your distilled
or boiled water helps to prevent and alleviate a sinus infection (as an
antimicrobial agent), reduce or eliminate seasonal allergies, and clear your
As a sole elixir: To start, you need to make your sole. You
need a plastic container or glass container with a plastic lid (no metal). Then
you just fill ¼ of your container with salt and filtered water the rest of the
way. Stir with a plastic utensil or shake well, and then let it sit overnight…that’s
it! There should always be undissolved salt at the bottom, that’s how you know
that the water is saturated. To use your sole, take one tablespoon a day, first
thing in the morning, in a full glass of water. Now for the crazy list of
-Detoxifies the body by balancing your pH
-Reduces muscle cramps by improving hydration and mineral
-A powerful antihistamine
-Supports weight loss by balancing hormones
-Assists in balancing blood sugar levels
-Improves sleeping habits
-Supports thyroid and adrenal function
-Helps balance blood pressure through unrefined,
mineral-rich salt in an ionic solution
As an ambient salt lamp: this is where my education started.
The woman that I learned from kept her lamp going because the negative ions that
it produced help keep her arthritis at bay, as well as helping her to breathe
easier. I now know that a lot of this is because the bad things in the air we
breathe (pollen, pollution, dirt, dust, etc.) have a positive energy charge. A
lit lamp acts as a natural air purifier (moisture in the air lands on the salt
lamp, creates a salt water mix, and then the moisture evaporates with the warmth
of the light bulb, putting the evaporated Himalayan salt into the air). The lamp
emits negative ions that attach themselves to the bad particles in the air,
turning them neutral, which causes them to no longer be airborne.
Lastly, as your everyday salt: you can pretty much gather
from the rest of the post the benefits of taking Himalayan salt into your
system. Possibly the easiest way of doing so is by replacing your regular salt
in your salt shaker with this rock salt and enjoy!
I’m always looking for new options for safely cleaning my
(and your) home. I don’t have little ones of my own, yet, but I do live with 2
(sometimes 3) four legged children who are into everything and always licking
everything. Because of this, I try to stick as natural as possible with my
cleaning products. And let’s face it, I also try to be as frugal as possible, and
usually home-made cleaners tend to be a lot easier on my pocket book than store
bought ones are, too! Especially the organic, healthier store bought cleaners.
Here are a couple new recipes I just found to try all around the house.
For your mirrors, in an empty spray bottle, just combine 1 ½
cups of water with ½ cup of vinegar. Add 5 to 10 drops of lemon essential oil
if you would like to add a fragrance, as well as extra cleansing/disinfecting
Keep your toilet clean and chemical free with straight vinegar.
When you want to sanitize and deodorize your toilet, pour a little (or a lot)
of scented or regular vinegar straight into the bowl. Keep additional vinegar
in a spray bottle to wipe down the seat. When you need an extra scrub, sprinkle
baking soda into the bowl and scrub it around with a sturdy brush.
For a great disinfectant for walls, door-knobs, toys, etc
(anything that hands and mouths may touch) make a diluted vinegar spray of equal
parts vinegar and water. To keep your home from smelling like a salad (as mine
often does) add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil to keep your home
smelling fresh and clean.
For your floors and countertops, a castile soap mixture
will do the trick. This also works great on your walls, too, when you just need
to brighten them up and not disinfect. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of castile soap
and 10 drops of lemon essential oil to a gallon of hot water. Stir well and you’re
ready to go. If your floors or countertops are greasy, add an additional 1/8
cup of vinegar to the mix, as well.
I know all of you parents (and non-parents, like me, who
just never grew up) are going to be looking for something simple and fun to
pass the time tomorrow if we end up with another snow day…and right now it’s
looking pretty darn likely. How about this fun, homemade snow-dough for indoor shenanigans
once everyone is cold-weathered out? (Which is going to be pretty quick,
playing in the snow isn't the same when it’s only 18 degrees out!) This easy
dough will be especially perfect for Dough-Men ((as opposed to snowmen))
because we're keeping it white and making it glittery!
You'll need the following to start:
-A medium-sized pot
-1 cup of flour
-1 cup of water
-2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
-1/4 cup salt
-1 tablespoon oil
In your pot, combine all of your ingredients (with glitter
being added last) and stir together thoroughly. Next, heat the mixture over a
medium heat, stirring continuously, until it turns into dough. Remove it from
the heat, allow it to cool until handle-able, and then knead until smooth. Your
play dough is now ready for snowy day enjoyment!
Do you ever get those unsurmountable cravings for delicious,
homemade baked treats? I do on the regular (doesn’t matter the “time of the
month”, though some are worse than others…) and I usually end up taking to Google
for searches like “3 ingredient desserts” or “easiest sugar cookie recipes.” I’ve
come up with some amazing results, as well as some attempts that have gone
horribly wrong! One popular Google search for me is “One minute Mug Cakes.”
Here is one that is super simple, and actually almost healthy (with its Paleo
This is a super-fast, 2 minute Paleo Chocolate Frosted Vanilla Mug Cake!
-1 heaping tablespoon coconut flour (or flour of choice)
-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
-a dash sea salt
-1 tablespoon honey
-1 tablespoon melted ghee (vegetable oil or clarified butter
work as substitute)
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
-1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 teaspoon honey
-1 teaspoon coconut oil
Start by just combining all of your cake ingredients in a
microwave safe mug or bowl. Stir them very thoroughly, and then pop it into the
microwave for 1:45.
Combine your frosting ingredients in separate bowl.
Microwave for 20 second, or until completely melted. Stir your mixture together
until its smooth, and then pour over your hot mug cake and enjoy! If you’d like
a more “frosting” like consistency to your chocolate, pop the iced cake into
the refrigerator for 5 minutes first and then enjoy!
We all want to look our very best at all times, but why not
start a new regiment with the new year that will not only help you look your
best, but help keep you looking younger longer? It’s never too late to start
giving your skin and body a helping hand, but I learned that hard way that you're
never too young to start, either! Here are a couple fabulous tips to help you
look and feel years younger!
Start with a fabulous pair of sunglasses and actually
wearing them! We're all guilty of forgetting our sunglasses exist, and then
just squinting and dealing with the sun instead. When you do not only is this
horrible for your eyes, but it also creates crow’s feet around your eyes and
wrinkles on your forehead. Remember those fabulous glasses to relax and smooth
away the wrinkles.
Be sure to get plenty of beauty sleep. We all have a
tendency of overbooking our days and then, more often than not, not allowing
our bodies to play catch-up! When we rely on less than the recommended 7 hours
of sleep, our skin, brains, and bodies don’t have the opportunity to completely
refresh. This not only leaves us with those dark bags under our eyes, but makes
our whole body age more rapidly. Try heading to bed a little earlier than usual
(if possible) to help your body and metabolism rejuvenate.
Ditch the liquid/matte cover up. In actuality, liquid foundation
and cover up have never been your friends, clogging your pores and aging your
skin, but as we get older it is particularly unkind. Liquid cover up has a habit
of filling in and emphasizing the cracks and imperfections that we're trying to
hide in the first place. Switch to mineral and powder cover ups and foundations
for a more flawless look that compliments your skins current state, and even
helps it repair and replenish.
Slather yourself in sunscreen and moisturizer all year
round. The best way to help your skin retain its youthful glow, and to help if
get some of that glow back, is to help keep if quenched and protected. Protected
skin is happy skin: it won’t have to be burned or wrinkled by the sun and it
won’t have to worry about drying out and trying to replenish itself.
Attention all Mommies-to-be! We have another fun contest
running just for you. Our good friends over at A Heavenly Delivery are hosting
a “Free Celebration Display or Baby Announcement Display” for you to be able to
tell the world about your little one’s arrival.
All you have to do to enter is reply to the contest thread
and tell us your due date and what you are looking forward to most about your
The contest will run until Midnight of January 14th. Only one entry per username.
For birth announcements, just give them a call after the baby has been born to
let them know when the new mother and child will be discharged. Before mom and
baby come home from the hospital, they will set up one of their "Super
Stork" or "Big Headed Baby" signs to greet them! Their 6 foot
tall signs are personalized with baby's information; first & middle name,
date of birth, weight and length and the best part is the new parents get to
keep the personalized keepsake!
Our winner will receive:
A free celebration display or 7 day baby announcement display.
Happy New Year all! I’m hoping that everyone had a happy and
a safe New Year, and that you're planning on having a happy and safe first
snow/blizzard of the year! While you’re homebound, why not try a super simple
DIY project or two?! I just saw this shared on a friend’s page, and had to
share here! It was a super simple and fast fabric softener crystals recipe!
You literally only need two items:
-Essential oils of choice
To create your softener crystals all you need do is mix 10+
drops of your favorite oil scents to 1 cup of Epsom salt. Mix your ingredients
together to distribute the oil and you’re done! Add about ¼ cup of the mixture
to your laundry right at the beginning of the cycle with your detergent. Not
only is this a great way to cut a cost, while also getting the exact scent that
you love, but it also cuts down on the chemicals in your family’s environment.
November - 2014
October - 2014
September - 2014
August - 2014
July - 2014
June - 2014
May - 2014
April - 2014
March - 2014
February - 2014
January - 2014