I have seen things floating around Pinterest using Borax to make crystals, so I thought I’d try it myself. This activity was super easy and the results were great! The kids really enjoy looking at them hanging in the kitchen window. One word of caution, do the pouring of the Borax yourself, I’m not sure if it’s safe for the kids to touch!!
I started with 4 mason jars filled with very hot water, a box of borax, and some pipe cleaners. I had the twins “help” me form the pipe cleaners into heart shapes, then added a pipe cleaner so they would fit across the glass jars. I added 3 tbsp. of borax per cup of water (for this size jar it was 6 tbsp. total), and added the pipe cleaner heart. Make sure to stir it well so the borax dissolves.
Be careful not to let any part of the heart touch the side and make sure it is completely submerged in the water. I let mine sit overnight and it was plenty of time to really crystallize. I have read that you can re-dip them by reheating the water, but I found mine plenty crystallized.
This is how they turned out!
They look even better hanging in the window!
I found that disposing of the borax was the most difficult part, as I didn’t want to dump it down the sink. I dumped the water in a jug I was throwing away anyway, then pounded on the borax with a fork until the rest came out:)
You could really make any shape out of these, snowflakes, hearts, suns, etc. Have fun and enjoy!
Until our next adventure,
One of my favorite things that my grandmother used to make was her meatloaf. It was leaps and bounds better than any other meatloaf I have ever had, and still is. I’ve made a few adjustments to her original recipe in order to avoid heavily processed things, but it’s still almost the same. I hope that you enjoy it as much as my family does!!
- 2 lbs Ground Beef or Turkey (preferably grass-fed beef)
- 1 cup organic quick oats
- 1 medium onion- chopped
- 2 celery stalks- chopped
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 cup organic ketchup
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 tbsp. vinegar (I use apple cider, but plain white vinegar works as well)
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 2 tbsp. yellow mustard
- 2 tbsp. Worcestershire
- 1 tsp. horseradish
Preheat oven to 325*. Begin by mixing the oats, onion, egg, celery, salt, and pepper.
Make the sauce. Add 1/2 the sauce (approximately 3/4 cup) and the meat to the oat mixture and mix thoroughly.
Grease a bread pan and form the meat mixture into a loaf. Bake at 325* for 45 minutes. Remove and top with remainder of the sauce. Bake for another 45 minutes at 325* or until a meat thermometer reads 160 (beef) or 165 (turkey).
I have a very good friend who is pregnant right now with her first child. That had me thinking how completely clueless I was when I had Luke. I spent a fortune on things I didn’t need to, and didn’t have things that I now couldn’t imagine living without. So this post is for the new moms and expectant moms, maybe you’ll save a little money (and sanity)!
Diapers- Whatever you do, do not buy the regular size packs from Target or CVS. You’ll end up spending twice as much to diaper your one child as I did diapering twins. Consider using Luvs, they are seriously the best diapers on the market and are also cheaper. Buy them through Amazon’s subscribe and save and you’ll be able to diaper and wipe your baby for $20 per month. It cost us about $38 per month for the twins. They also sell the very large boxes at BJs for around the same price as Amazon, I’m sure Costco and Sam’s have similar deals.
Don’t be afraid of hand-me-downs- I registered for a brand new everything with Luke, it seemed like the right thing to do. As he grew, I realized that he only used all of those things for a few months at most and it was a giant waste of money! He had a brand new bouncer that he didn’t like and only used once. If people have baby stuff that they are willing to give you, take it!! Even if you plan on having more kids, the stuff will last just fine:)
Breastfeed- Not only is it so much better for your baby than chemical-laden formula, but it will save you $1500- $2500 in the first year, depending on the type of formula that you use. I realize it’s not for everyone and that it’s a very personal decision. I’m a huge supporter of breastfeeding, but that’s for another post.
Make your own baby food- Again, it’s much better for baby and all you really need is a blender and some small jars. They also make baby food processors, but I just used a blender and it was fine. There are tons of recipes and resources out there as well!
Coupon- I know, couponing can be time-consuming and annoying. It works though. I typically don’t use coupons every week because there aren’t many real food coupons out there, but I do still use them for our personal care stuff. Even Tom’s has coupons for their natural toothpaste and deodorant. I generally look for the sales on the things I use at CVS and buy a paper the week they are on sale. The sales are usually the same week that the coupons are in the paper and I can buy shampoo, toothpaste, body wash, etc. for little or no cost. If you have a BJ’s near you, consider a membership. They have high value store coupon books that are sent out every month, along with in-store weekly coupons. They are also the only warehouse club that takes manufacturers coupons.
Those are my top five tips, and how we survived financially with the twins! What are your favorite money-saving tips? Stay tuned for the next post “Things I Never Knew I Couldn’t Live Without… Until I Had Kids!”.
Until our next adventure,
A special thanks to Bobbie Jo over at Downside Up Mommy for having me as a co-host this month! It’s been a lot of fun!!!
WELCOME TO THE SOCIAL SCATTER!
This has been our BIGGEST and BESTEST (yes, bestest!) one yet! I have dedicated this month to SMALL BLOGGERS! Many bloggers forget where they came from! Don't you remember what it was like to have less than 1k likes/fans/followers/readers? Wouldn't it have meant the WORLD to you if a "bigger" blogger gave you a little shout out? Just a tiny one? Don't forget about us little guys!
*Disclaimer: I know that this is a hot button topic and I ask everyone to please be respectful of other people’s views in the comments. I am not writing this post to upset anyone, I am looking for honest opinions and advice*
Do you get your kids the flu shot? I have always been skeptical of it, and my kids have never had it. I am not anti-vaccine, all of my kids are vaccinated. I understand the risks of all types of vaccines and after a lot of research, we decided that the benefits outweigh the risks for us. Except for the flu shot. It seemed to me in the past that my kids are healthy and have healthy immune systems, so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they got the flu. This year I’m a little concerned, as it is at epidemic levels here in New Jersey and I read an article that 20 children have died this year from the flu.
The article didn’t give specifics, like the overall health of the children affected, but that’s scary folks. When the twins were babies, I asked my pediatrician about the vaccine when he offered it. He asked me if my kids went to daycare and I said no. He told me that honestly, none of his kids had the flu shot until they were old enough to have the nasal one. That pretty much sealed the deal for me, I mean if my doctor didn’t think it necessary than why would I inject something unnecessary into my child?? The nasal version does not contain Thimerosal (mercury), while the injection does. No other vaccine approved for children under 6 contains Thimerosal, and that has been my main reason for not getting it before. Toxic substances and my children’s blood stream just don’t mix. But now I’m concerned that maybe I’m not doing the right thing.
The twins have a doctor’s appointment next Monday and I have to make a decision before then. I’m not sure if they offer the nasal version at their office. If they do, I will probably get it. If not, I’m still unsure…
Any advice from my wonderful readers???
Hi everyone! I’m co-hosting the Social Scatter again this week! It has been amazing the last couple of weeks, and I hope you have all had a chance to link up. Thanks again to Bobbie Jo over at Downside Up Mommy for having me!
WELCOME TO THE SOCIAL SCATTER!
This has been our BIGGEST and BESTEST (yes, bestest!) one yet! I have dedicated this month to SMALL BLOGGERS! Many bloggers forget where they came from! Don’t you remember what it was like to have less than 1k likes/fans/followers/readers? Wouldn’t it have meant the WORLD to you if a “bigger” blogger gave you a little shout out? Just a tiny one? Don’t forget about us little guys!
A week or two ago I tried to do a juice detox. It didn’t go very well, but I’ll be trying again soon:) Something about not eating made me a little crazy and by dinner I couldn’t take it any more. What I did find was that I wasn’t exactly hungry, I just felt the need to eat. It probably has something to do with a sugar addiction or something. Anyhow, I did create some great juice recipes and continue to juice for breakfast to change things up from my typical smoothie. I find that juicing gives me an extra boost of energy in the morning! Drinking juice on an empty stomach means all of those vitamins and minerals are going straight to our bodies because they do not need to be heavily digested.
I would say this recipe is for “beginning juicers”, as it’s pretty sweet. The idea is to start with 2 or 3 sweet vegetables, and as you become accustomed to the taste cut them down to maybe 1. Even the twins love this one!!
Red Sunshine Juice- Yields one 16oz serving
- 1 cup of organic greens (I rotate the greens that I use each week; spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens, etc.)
- 1 beet
- 2 carrots or a handful of baby carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1/2 of a seedless cucumber
- 1 apple
I typically juice them in the above order, but I’m not sure that it really matters. I refrigerate it for about 30 minutes after juicing so that it is nice and cold! It will last about 12 hours before some of the enzymes start to die off, so drink up!
I don’t know about you, but I’m always searching for good books for my kids. Luke LOVES reading, and he flies through books like crazy. He started the Magic Tree House series a few months ago and has already read almost all 51 of them! We don’t have a library (I know, what town doesn’t have a library?? One with only a few thousand people I guess!), and at $5 per book we will soon be in the poor house! I came across KiteReaders awhile back and decided to become a Raise-A-Reader Ambassador.
KiteReaders is a publishing platform for authors and publishers to promote and distribute their children’s e-books. They have only been around for about 18 months and have already won numerous awards for their books. Basically, I choose a book to review and they send it to my Amazon account. Luke gets to read it for free, and in exchange I leave my review on Amazon or the blog (Don’t worry, I won’t be constantly writing book reviews!).
My first review is of the book Zombie Kids Go Green by Julia Dweck. Here is what I thought…
My kids really loved this book! The book rhymes, which is always a plus and keeps the kids entertained. It touches on environmental issues such as recycling, wasting energy, and composting. The illustrations are bright and colorful, very well done. The zombies are not frightening in any way and had my kids laughing the whole way through.
I would say the book falls at a first grade reading level. It is not a chapter book, but is more difficult than your typical short (20 page) book. Words like recycling keep it challenging, but my 7 year-old had no problems with it. He read it to my 3 year-old twins and they were all engaged and giggling the whole way through!
Zombie-Kids Go Green (KiteReaders Monster Series) You can purchase the book from Amazon through this link:)
Happy Friday everyone!
Overall, I think that 2013 was a good year for those of us in the “food movement”. People are becoming more educated, and are starting to make healthier choices for their families. There have also been some major setbacks, but that is to be expected. Change doesn’t happen overnight, or in a week, a month, or a year. It takes time and people spreading the message to accomplish great things. Thank you to all of you out there voting with your dollars, marching, or educating yourselves on our food system! Here are some of the highlights and low points of 2013.
1. Chipotle becomes first restaurant to voluntarily label GMOs, and is now trying to go GMO free. It’s nice to have a good choice out there while traveling! We had Chipotle at 6am at the airport last week:)
2. Kraft removes artificial dyes from some of its products. The regular mac and cheese still contains the dyes, but many of the ones geared specifically toward children will not (SpongeBob etc.).
3. Original Cheerios goes GMO free. I think this technically happened in the first few days of this year, but who’s counting? Sometime in the near future, original Cheerios will be GMO free. It’s probably the least difficult one for them to change, as corn starch and sugar are the only two things that would be GMO anyway, but it’s a start!
4. March Against Monsanto has 2 million marchers worldwide. 2 million is a lot of people!
5. Connecticut and Maine pass GMO labeling laws. Hopefully more will follow suit!
Now for the bad news…
1. Washington state GMO labeling bill fails. It’s hard for the food movement to keep up with the millions being thrown into advertising by Big Food!
2. 50% of chicken tested contains antibiotic resistant bacteria. Gross. And Scary. The EU has reduced their salmonella contamination to below 1%, ours is still hovering between 11-16% each year. I know this is less a food movement issue and more a public health concern, but it’s so alarming that I thought I’d address it. Eat antibiotic free chicken!
3. A bill has been introduced that would allow products that contain GMOs to be labeled ‘natural’ or ‘all natural’. Thankfully, it’s not law…yet.
4. The Obama administration appointed a former Monsanto lobbyist as the new head of food safety.
That’s all I can think of off the top of my head, but I’m sure I’ve missed some! It was a busy year for the foodies of the US, and hopefully 2014 will be as well. Is there anything that you noticed that I missed? Let me know in the comments!!!
If you are curious about my feelings on GMOs and all things food, read this post.
Until our next adventure,