Browsing Category: DIY

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Nursery

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Nursery theme

Nursery themes are always so much fun to put together! Preparing a special nursery space is my favorite way to contain all the anticipation I feel for welcoming the newest member of our family.

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Nursery theme

I am due in just 5.5 short weeks with our 3rd child, and his nursery is still a work in progress. Reusing the same furniture and wall color was a must (we hate painting!), but we’re changing out all the decor. I’ll share photos off his nautical themed nursery when it is done!

Meanwhile, here’s some pics of my last nursery theme, which proved to be quite difficult in executing. At the time I chose this theme, there was almost NO Hungry Caterpillar themed decor to be found anywhere. When I did find it, it was quite expensive. That resulted in several DIYWMH (do-it-yourself-with-Mom’s-help) projects. ūüėȬ†Zulily, Amazon, and an online fabric site were my bff’s!

Enjoy!

Hungry Caterpillar Nursery decor
Hungry caterpillar switchplate (DIY, just modge podge and a fabric scrap!), framed puzzle, bookends, etc that we found on Zulily.
Eric Carle shelf decor
On the shelf: I bought a cardboard “C” at Hobby Lobby and used Modge Podge to cover it with a strip of leftover fabric from the valance my Mom and I made. The blocks were special ordered from Etsy, and the wooden toy from Amazon. On the crib: My friend found a hungry caterpillar plush at a yard sale for $1. ūüôā
Eric Carle fabric made the cutest switch plate!
Close up of the switch plate I covered in a fabric scrap – it was a sticky project, and involved a learning curve, but still holding up after 2.5 years!
Hungry Caterpillar puzzle
We found some Hungry Caterpillar puzzles at a bargain store for $3 each. I picked up the frame on clearance at Michael’s and was delighted to find it fit the puzzle perfectly! So much cheaper than the licensed prints I found online, and I love the playful look of a puzzle in a child’s room!
Hungry Caterpillar bookshelf
We found an apple shaped bank on Zulily as well as a musical jewelry box. Score!
Hungry Caterpillar changing area
On the shelf to the right: Some wooden buckets from the Target Dollar spot (from a friend), a small wooden toy from Amazon and a music globe from Zulily. Diaper basket half off at Michael’s I believe…
Hungry Caterpillar nursery theme
The Very Hungry Caterpillar rug is actually a tummy time mat, but it made a perfect, plush rug.

So that was our second child’s nursery decor! It’s a little sad to dismantle the decor after all the love I put into it, but I feel like the new little guy should get his own nursery theme. Plus, how else am I supposed to keep the ants in my pants away in anticipation of his arrival? I need something to keep me busy besides an entire house to clean, meals to cook, a hubby and two kids…. ūüėČ

What was your child’s nursery theme? Did you DIY, or buy most of it?

 

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Nursery Theme!

Fun, Easy Water Play Ideas for Toddlers!

Fun, Easy Water Play Ideas for Toddlers!

Water play activities are a MUST in the Summer! Squeeze every ounce of fun you can out of the warm weather!

Fun, Easy Water Play Ideas for Toddlers!

 

This water play post is actually a companion to one I just wrote for Bree at Family As We Go. You can check it out on her blog, here, and find more easy water play activities! In that post, similarly entitled, “Easy & Fun Water Activities For Toddlers!” you will find:

Giant Ice Cube, Hidden Toys

Washing the (Little Tikes) Car

Washing the (real) Car

Sink or Float.

But don’t forget to read and pin this post before you head over! I’ll provide the link to Bree’s blog again before you go. ūüôā

The first water play idea I’m going to share with you today is:

“Painting” with Water

Water play activities - "painting" with water
This was actually my work of art right there. Even adults can join in on the fun!

This could not have been easier to set up. Grab a bucket of water and various size paintbrushes. Clean up is a breeze, too! Just dump whatever water is left over and put the bucket and paintbrushes away.

Water play activities for toddlers - painting with water!

My kids mostly just wanted to cover as much dry concrete with water as possible. And make very, very long lines all the way down to the street to run along like a giant rat race, lol!

For the next water play activity,¬†you’ll need to plan ahead a tad. Check the dollar store or yard sales for a cheap pool float. Have you seen the diy water blobs going around Pinterest? This is the same idea, but less likely to become your next “Pinstrosity”!

“Water Blob”

First, buy a pack of water balloons. Open it and use the thingamabob that screws onto your hose or faucet to fill your pool float full of water instead of air! Mind blown, right?? Keep in mind, the bigger the float, the heavier it gets! Fill it where you plan to leave it for awhile, lol.

Water Activities for kids - filling up a water blob!

Keep in mind, the bigger the float, the heavier it gets! Fill it where you plan to leave it for awhile, lol.

IMG_4540

Everyone enjoyed this, from the 4 year old to the 15 month old neighbor boy! It was so cute seeing him try to stand up on the wobbling float. He did surprisingly good for his age!

Make a water blob - easy, fun water play activity!

The water blob was like a water bed that you’re actually allowed to jump on! When we were done with it, hubby dragged the water blob to our walkway where I popped open the valves. After letting it sit overnight, most of the water had dripped out by itself. We draped it over something to continue to drain and dry, so I think we can still use it again!

Now that you bought a package of water balloon just for that little hose fixture, what in the world are you going to do with all those water balloons?? Hmmm….

Fill a wading pool with water balloons!

Water activities for toddlers - fill kiddie pool with water balloons!
Yes, my four year old is gnawing on a water balloon. We were constantly on the kids’ case for doing that, so please don’t judge me!

The 15 month old neighbor boy especially enjoyed this. He sat in the kiddy pool playing with water balloons almost the whole time he was over!! Hubby and I sat “poolside” filling the water balloons. In between balloons, the excess water flowed into the pool, filling that up, too. The great thing about this is, that it’s really hard to break water balloons in a pool full of water. Makes them last a lot longer!

When we were done filling the balloons (finally!) we did a…

Pop the Water Balloon Race

Water Activities for kids - water balloon race

On your mark, get set, go! The kids raced to smash the water balloons!

IMG_4539

The kids either stomped or sat on the balloons! Lots of fun to watch! Unfortunately, the freshly cut grass popped quite a few of the water balloons…I found the concrete driveway to be a superior option.

Before you head over to Family As We Go to see the rest of my fun water play activities, please plan to keep in touch!

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How to Make Gourmet Coffee at Home

how to make gourmet coffee at home

Today’s post is about how to make gourmet coffee in the comfort of your own home!

Now, when I call it ‘gourmet coffee’ I am stretching the term ever so slightly…I mean, we’re not talking sugary, whipped cream topped, caramel drizzled lattes…I am talking about a quick, easy way to make delicious, special¬†coffee.

Moms, if anyone, deserve special coffee! We need it to get through our day! Plus, buying caramel mochas every day gets expensive, and fattening.

So here’s how to treat yourself while exerting minimal effort-

How to Make Gourmet Coffee at Home:

how to make gourmet coffee at home

First of all,

Buy fresh beans.

Whether this really makes your coffee taste better, or it’s all in your head, do it anyway. Coffee experts say as soon as your coffee is ground, it begins to go stale.

 But if for no other reason, buy whole beans and a grinder, because you will save money in the long run! Whole beans are cheaper than pre-ground, and this #1 bestselling Krups Grinder is only $15! I have had this blade grinder for two years, and it is still going strong.

I have since upgraded to a Krups burr grinder (actually a $2 yard sale steal!). Now I use the other Krups blade grinder I had purchased for grinding spices, grains, or flax seeds, etc.

So what’s the¬†difference between burr and blade grinders? Why does it matter?

¬†A blade grinder is less expensive, but it doesn’t really grind¬†the coffee beans. It smashes them with two very fast moving blades. This results in un-uniform grounds, which matters if you are using a french press or espresso machines. Too powdery, and the grounds can cause clogging.

A burr grinder crushes the beans between two burred plates-hence the name, I guess! which increases their surface area. (Equaling more flavor per square millimeter, according to my theory!) Uniform grounds are key in maximizing flavor and avoiding clogs in your coffee/espresso maker or french press.

I read nearly a dozen articles before I discovered why uniform pieces are so important. Did you know that you can over-extract coffee? Over-extracting results in nasty bitter flavors. Read about it in the article here.

But remember! Any grinder is better than no grinder at all!

Next,

Buy organic.

Unless you like the taste of pesticides, buy organic beans. The great thing is, organic coffee isn’t outrageously expensive. I only pay a dollar more for my organic coffee!¬†I’m already saving money buying whole beans, so I don’t feel guilty about it in the least. ūüôā I buy my coffee online from Copper Moon Coffee. Shipping is free after you spend $50, so go in with a couple friends if you don’t want to spend that much at once.

gourmet coffee at homeOkay, so now that you have the basics (good beans, good grinder), choose your method of brewing.

I love my moka pot for making espresso-like coffee. It doesn’t create a true espresso, but for budget home brewing, it’s not too shabby!

(Check out my post to learn how to make relaxing Lavender Infused Coffee with a Moka Pot here)

My personal favorite brewing method is the Bartelli Paperless Pour Over. It is amazing. A life changer. Now, when I want a quick cup of coffee for one, it is as simple as spooning instant coffee into a mug- except the resulting flavor is a million times better!

Using a pour over is simple:

I push a button to grind my coffee (extra beans are conveniently stored in a reservoir on top of my burr grinder), put the Bartelli pour over on top of my mug, spoon out two tablespoons of ground coffee and boil some water. Slowly pour the hot water over the grounds in your pour over and let the coffee drip into the mug below. Voila!

how to make gourmet coffee at home
Isn’t this gorgeous? I love my glass mugs!

Now, if I want to be even fancier, I froth my own milk. My sister in law taught me this amazing trick, that doesn’t require any special equipment if you happen to already have an immersion blender.

All you need to do is heat some milk in the mug you plan to use. (The amount of milk is up to you, about 1/3 cup for me, I think.) Then stick your immersion blender right in the cup and use the low setting to whip up the milk. Done in 30-60 seconds!

How to froth milk

(I have this Cuisinart immersion blender, a #1 bestseller on Amazon!)

If you sweeten your coffee, add it into the milk before you froth. You can froth milk, cream, half n half…but don’t use skim milk, or even 1% milk if you can help it. You won’t get much froth without the fat. Adding unrefined coconut oil is an option, too! Buy unrefined, because it should actually taste like coconut. I like this¬†brand.) Add a¬†tablespoon¬†or less of coconut oil into your warmed milk. It is tasty, helps¬†you feel full, and will help your 1% milk froth up better!

how to make gourmet coffee at home

I’ve included affiliate links in this post for your convenience. If you buy something I suggest, I might get a small percentage of proceeds from your purchase. So that would be cool!

Now go make some coffee!

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Natural Easter Egg Dyes

Natural Egg Dyes

You guys! I did it! I actually did made my own, natural, homemade Easter egg dyes from fresh (orrrr, maybe not so fresh) produce I had in my fridge as well as spices from my cabinet. I was shocked¬†it actually worked!! So I guess that’s it, I’m changing the name of this blog. “DO Call Me Supermom”.¬†Haha!

Natural Egg Dyes

Have you¬†noticed that those Paas dyes you buy at the supermarket often leak through the shell to the egg itself? It just doesn’t feel right to me. So this year, I looked up ways to make your own safe and natural dyes from food items you may have around the house.¬†If you’re like me, you have great intentions at the grocery store every week. You buy all this great, fresh produce intending to make tons of healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and then you let it all rot in your crisper drawer. Well, down with Mommy guilt!¬†When life gives¬†you rotting produce, dye some eggs, that’s what I always say! (Okay, actually, I don’t. Because that would be pretty obtuse.)

All joking aside, you should try this! I was actually more entertained than my four year old, and that never happens in the #momlife.

Here’s what I did:Dying Eggs Naturally

 

I roughly chopped produce and simmered my chosen spices in water on the stovetop with a splash of vinegar. The longer you simmer, the deeper the color. 10-15 minutes seemed like plenty.

Let cool slightly (I did this for about one minute, then decided to heck with that, and added an ice cube to each cup of hot dye I ladled out.).

Add hard boiled eggs to cooled dye and let sit anywhere from several hours to overnight.

 

 

Here’s what¬†ingredients worked:

  • 3 TBS. Turmeric = made a great mustard yellow!
  • 3 TBS. Paprika = a rusty orange
  • Not even half of a small red cabbage = amazing robins egg blue
  • One very small Beet = a half hearted pink (just needed more I think!)

 

Naturally dyed easter eggsAlso, fun tip- everyone knows that yellow and blue make green, right? (Well, I didn’t. I always forget and I had to google it.)¬†A ladle of turmeric dye and a ladle of red cabbage dye made a beautiful green egg!! Perfect since I made a LOT of both those colors!

Here’s what didn’t work:

  • Swiss Chard
  • Cilantro
  • Green Tea

 

I had read that the chlorophyl in spinach makes a green dye, but I didn’t want to waste my fresh, organic spinach, so I tried some wilted swiss chard…but that was a miserable failure. It didn’t really make any color at all. So I tried cilantro and green tea. It made the shade known as Ugly Brown. Green tea was supposed to work, the internet told me so! :-/

Some of my eggs were brown and didn’t take to the dye as well, of course. I expected that, but they were even just oddly splotchy instead of one synchronous color. But that’s okay-they just have a more earthy look. ūüôā

 

Warning: Be very careful with these dyes. If you splash on counter, wipe immediately. Cover¬†your table. Wear an old shirt. Any kind of food coloring or even regular Easter egg dyes will stain, so remember, these are no different. Except that they’re safer and not toxic to your health!

 

Have you ever tried any natural dyes? If so, tell me what worked and what didn’t!

Happy Easter!