Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Scandinavian Paper Heart Baskets

She's Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic, and definitely looks the part. Today, she made her first paper heart basket, with (lots of) help from Mom.

After seeing a photo on the internet of a little girl dressed up for the feast of St. Lucia, she has big ideas about wearing a crown and serving us breakfast in bed. I have a feeling this will be more work for me than her, but it may be a fun thing to do, making her dream come true.

OK, and her mom's dream, too. I mean, how cute is that?

Via Flickr:
Instructions found here. I used cardstock and it worked fine.

I make my own laundry soap. Yep. Pretty sure I've gone off the deep end.

OK, I used to think this was crazy, but got really frustrated that everything I tried didn't work to get my clothes clean (with the added bonus of Allergic Reactions!!! Yippee!!!) So I figured, at 71 cents for 2 gallons, if it didn't work, it was worth the try. 

IT TOTALLY WORKS. My clothes are so much cleaner now, I don't spend time pretreating (if needed, I may just put the soap on the stain that was going in the whole load), and no big bottles to recycle. I use about a cup a load (it depends on your water hardness), and my clothes look better and feel softer and are much, much cleaner. (Especially hand towels that certain short people dry their hands with after "washing the paint off". You know where most of that paint goes, right? Also, crawler pants with brown knees that didn't come clean no matter how much I pretreated or soaked in Oxyclean--now, they look new again after one wash.) 

So, if you're crazy, too, give it a try. It really is worth 71 cents and the 10 minutes of your time.

Go here for the recipe. (Thanks, Crystal!)

Note: using my Microplane grater works best for the soap, it melts faster. 

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough in Dip Form (with no raw eggs!)

A friend made this, and I threatened her with bodily harm if she wouldn't give me the recipe. No, not really. But I would have if she didn't give it up easily. Seriously, it's good. Really good. Really, really good. And no salmonella!

You should make this.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup powdered (confectioner's) sugar
2 Tb. brown sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips (mini are a great size for this)

Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Beat in sugars until well blended, then stir in the chips. Serve with fruit, animal crackers, graham crackers, etc. for dipping. Stand back to avoid the stampede.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween 2011, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

"A cat. A cat, Mom!"

No matter what I did, I could not convince her to be something clever.

But I've learned. You don't argue with a kid about her costume. It's what she wants (as long as it's appropriate.) It's her night, after all.

I got lucky at Kid-to-Kid and found Anya a snuggly dog costume for less than the cost to make one, so we had a theme going.

I wore my raincoat and boots, and pinned as many small stuffed cats and dogs as I could find to my umbrella. Turned out, that was a good idea as it was drizzling during the official trick or treat hours in town. The kids didn't seem to notice, but having a costume on made it easier to "collect for Anya" (read: cash in on the whole free candy thing so mom and dad can raid it when they go to bed.)

A few friends joined us for sloppy joes before we braved the chill, and about an hour of walking around tired us enough, and weighed the bags down adequately to call it a night. Many neighbors and friends came by for treats here, too.

I love having a Halloween neighborhood, and I love having kids to take trick or treating. Simple pleasures.

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