Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Setting a routine for your toddler

{How To} Structure the Day for a Toddler | A Virtuous Woman

I came across this blog post by A Virtuous Woman that has an example of a schedule to follow to keep your toddler on a routine. I like the idea of having a structured day that your child becomes familiar with and knows what to expect at each time of the day. The blog also has some suggestions to keep your toddler busy while you have to take care of house cleaning, preparing supper and dealing with any younger kids you have.

Her schedule is only an example, you could add different activities and implement any other house rules or ideas into the schedule. I think its important to get your child involved in helping with house chores, so it may be a good idea to have some age appropriate chores that your toddler can do while you are working on your cleaning for the day. I found a good list here on

Not only is routine good for your children, but it makes life easier for you too. Having special activity bins assigned for certain times of the day or for when you have specific things to get done will save you time on trying to find something for your toddler to keep busy with. It also gives them something to look forward to each day, for example, when mom has to make supper, child gets the special coloring book. If the coloring book is only brought out while supper is being prepared, the child will be less likely to get bored with it and he or she will be occupied with it and stay out of trouble while you are busy in the kitchen.

Of course things will arise occasionally that are not part of the normal routine, doctors appointments, trips to the store when you run out of milk, etc, but having any form of structure is beneficial! If you are trying to set up a routine after living each day in chaos, have patience!! It will take time to fall into a steady routine that works for your family. Don't get frustrated if it doesn't happen right away. Hang in there and remember you can always try again the next day!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Crochet Rubber Boots

Spring season makes me think of rubber boots, and this crochet version would look darling on some chubby baby feet!

Unfortunately the start of spring for us is filled with blizzards and gusting winds! There won't be any puddle jumping for awhile!

On the plus side, we got to have a family day today since my husband couldn't make it to work. Roads were closed from drifts of snow up to 6 feet tall in some areas! We relaxed and stayed warm inside. So far from the look outside, tomorrow might be the same!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Homemade Coffee Creamer

My husband and I generally only drink coffee if there is flavored creamer in it. We've always bought the International Delight, usually French Vanilla flavor. Recently my friend shared with me a recipe she came across for making it yourself.

-1 can sweetened condensed milk
-equal amount whole milk (any milk will work but whole milk helps make it a bit thicker and creamier)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Mix everything together and store in the fridge. Shake well before pouring.

This is so simple and quick to make. It tastes good and is healthier then the store bought kind. Bonus!

If you like different flavors you could even swap out the vanilla extract for something different. Almond extract, peppermint extract...etc. I have only tried the vanilla but I'm sure experimenting would result in delicious results as well.

Now go make some and enjoy a steaming cup of vanilla coffee! Yum!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Window Shopping vs Browsing Fliers

Window shopping seems to be the thing to do when you don't want to spend any money, but I've come to find that even with the intentions of just browsing, we always end up buying something we really didn't need. Does any one agree?

I have replaced window shopping with browsing my local fliers! I love flier day! Each week I get a stack of fliers to peruse through, and I always find something that I want. But since I'm not actually at the store holding the item in my hand, there is no chance for me to buy it on impulse. I generally end up regretting every impulse buy I make. When I do see something in a flier that I think I want, my desire to have it is outweighed by the thought of getting ready to go up town, packing up my daughter, strapping her in the car seat, driving to the store, unloading my daughter and carrying her through the store, finding the item and buying it, then driving back home again. Once I've gone through the whole mental process of having to go make my purchase, the reasonable side of me kicks in telling me that I really don't need whatever it is. Its just a want, and ultimately not a good choice to put our limited finances towards.

I know it could seem like a huge waste of paper to receive fliers on a weekly basis, but there are many ways to reuse or recycle this paper once you're done looking through them. Here is a list of ideas to be ecofriendly:
 - Keep the paper to use for wrapping gifts instead of buying expensive wrapping paper.
 - Use it for safely packaging breakable items, such as Christmas decorations or during a move.
 - Use it for fire starter in your fireplace or for bonfires during the summer.
 - If you have cats, you can tear it into tiny strips and use it for kitty litter. (Its a little messier and has no odor protection, but it works when you're in a pinch!)
 - Use it for cleaning windows or glass for streak free results.
 - Make a weed barrier under mulch or soil in your flower gardens.
 - Wrap unripen fruit to help them ripen quicker.
 - Pack into damp or smelly luggage, stinky plastic containers or smelly fridge to absorb odors.
 - Make paper mache crafts with it. All you need is 1 part flour with 1 part water! 
Paper mache is not only a kids activity, check out this amazing website to see different projects made from paper mache. has different recipes and tips to create wonderful pieces of art!
 - Or just take it to your local paper recycle center.

Not only does looking through the fliers help me save money, it also gives me something to do for 15 minutes while I drink a nice cup of coffee. My daughter also loves to play in the pile of fliers afterwards (and while I'm trying to read them). She moves them and stacks them into a different pile and pretends to read them as well.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Turtle newborn photo prop!

I have been seeing this cute photo prop for awhile and decided I needed to make one! You could take some amazing newborn pictures with this set!

I decided to buy a baby doll to model my crochet pieces that I want to sell. I was a little worried it would look creepy but I actually think it turned out looking semi realistic and cute. My daughter also gets to play with a new doll, so we both win! Lol

You can make this by crocheting 6 pentagon shapes then attach them using a join as you go method like you would on a granny square blanket. Then crochet around the outer edge of the shell. Whip up a basic beanie hat to "top" it off!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Our date night!

Last night my husband and I had the chance to go to a movie together!

Our good friend (and daughters godmother) came over while we went out. I put little monkey to bed right before we left and thankfully she stayed sleeping so she was no trouble at all for our friend.

One of my favorite movies is The Wizard of Oz. My husband knows this and for our 5th wedding anniversary he surprised me with tickets to the play Wicked. Last night we went to see The Great and Powerful Oz in 3D at our local theater. It was a good movie, my only complaint being that some of the story line didn't follow inline with Wicked. But it was fun to watch and a nice chance to get out together by ourselves. (It doesn't happen very often)

By the time the movie was over I was missing my little girl terribly even though I knew she was sleeping and had no clue we were gone. It seems to be harder to be away from her when I know my spouse isn't with her either. If I miss her this bad after 2 hours I have no clue how I'm going to handle my first over night stay without her in a couple weeks! :S

Friday, March 8, 2013

More crochet booties!

I know I already showed these ribbed booties, but I made some girlie pairs with a few different appliqué options and I just think they are too cute not to post!

I made a little bow, heart and flowers.

I wish I learnt how to crochet before my daughter was born so I could have made her a variety of foot wear options! Lol

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Homemade Bread

In my household, when it comes to cooking, I do most of it. When it comes to baking homemade bread, that's my husbands department! A friend of ours (also male) was taught to make bread from his father-in-law, who then showed my husband how to make it. Hubby enjoys doing it, and lets face it, I enjoy not having another thing on my list that I have to get done! Not only that, I tried helping him make it once and my arms were NOT strong enough to knead all that dough!

This homemade bread is SOOOO much healthier then store bought. There is no added sugar in it! It is also very yummy!

This is a 12 or 9 grain bread depending what blend you buy.

3/4 cup warm water ( about 110 degrees)
1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp yeast
(Add yeast when water is warm and let stand 1 minutes)

4 cups hot water
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp salt
2 cups 12 or 9 grain
1 cup sunflower seeds (optional)
5 cups whole wheat flour
5 cups white flour

Measure hot water into large mixing bowl, add honey, oil, lemon juice, and sald. Add yeast mixture and mix well.
Stif in 12 or 9 grain and  flour to make a soft workable dough. Turn dough out on lightly floured surface, knead 10-15 mins until dough is smooth and elastic. Form dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.
Cover and let rise for 50 mins or until doubled. Punch down and shape into 4 round balls. Cover and let rise 20 mins. Form into loaves and place in greased bread pans.
Brush tops with oil. Cover and let rise 50-60 mins. Bake in 365F oven for 30 minutes or until bread tests done.

This recipe makes 4 loaves of bread. We freeze the extras until we are ready to eat them.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Crochet Ribbed Baby Booties

I just finished these booties a couple minutes ago and had to share!

I actually combined two patterns to make these booties. I bought the pattern from The Lovely Crow but I didn't like how the toe worked up. So I ended up following her other pattern for the toe and used the second pattern for the cuff part.

I think they would be so cute in girlie colors with a little crocheted flower in place of where the crocheted button is. There are so many possibilities for these booties between color combos and different appliques! So much fun!

*~* UPDATE *~*

Here is a picture of what the booties look like if you follow the actual directions for the pattern.

As you can see, there isn't a huge difference in the look of the toe. I just find the toe of the first bootie to look "fuller". I guess it's just personal preference. Both are very cute though! :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sweet Potato Fries

Every once in awhile I like to make sweet potato fries for my daughter. They are super tasty, healthier then regular flies and seem like a treat to have now and then. I also love to finish up all the left overs! ;)

They are really simple and easy to make.

Peel and cut the sweet potato into sticks. Put them on a baking pan. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over top. Sprinkle with a little seasoning salt and dried parsley flakes. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping once at the half way point.

Yum Yum!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Homemade Skor Bar

I came across a recipe on pinterest quite awhile ago. It was for homemade skor bars. Now, I love skor bars, but this recipe that I found didn't look very appetizing. There were saltine crackers in it!! But I decided to pin it just in case I was ever brave enough to try it.

Yesterday I was having a major craving for chocolate, but didn't want to make anything that needed a lot of ingredients or work. So I took another look at the skor bar recipe and since it only needed 4 ingredients, which I had, I decided to make it.

Skor bars recipe
1. Pre heat oven to 200 degrees.
2. Line baking tray with baking paper and cover with a layer of Premium/Saltine crackers.
3. Bring 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of brown sugar to the boil.
4. Pour butter/sugar mixture over crackers and bake in the oven for 5 minutes.
5. Once out of the oven, sprinkle 1 packet of chocolate chips over the biscuits and return to the oven until melted. Smooth chocolate with a metal spoon.
6. Refridgerate for 2 hours and cut.

They actually taste pretty good. I do find the butter/brown sugar combo is almost too strong for my liking. I don't think I let all the brown sugar dissolve completely which could have been my problem. Or possibly next time I'd cut it back to 3/4 and 3/4 instead of a full cup of each.

It did the trick to satisfy my chocolate craving!
You can find the original recipe source here.