Archive | February, 2012

The Pretreat-enator

26 Feb

Ok, so that’s a lame title.  Sounds a little Phineas and Ferbish.  I’ll work on that.  🙂  So this is a simple, 2 ingredient laundry pre-treater.  My mother in law (she’s a smart lady) has been using this recipe for years and swears by it.  So for as long as we’ve been married, we’ve used this concoction.  Now I’ve used it on set in stains and sometimes it comes out, sometimes it leaves behind a lighter stain.  So I think by using this as soon as possible on a fresh stain, you’ll have a higher success rate.

Homemade Pretreater


– Large spray bottle (I believe we got a pack of 5 at Sam’s Club once upon a time)

– Jug of ammonia

– Era detergent and only Era


– Mark your spray bottle in 1/3’s, one mark at 1/3 and the other as a fill to mark with the remaining 2/3’s – use a Sharpie to do this.

– Fill the first 1/3 with Era and top it off with ammonia

**Make sure you make and use this pre-treater in a well ventilated area!**

– Shake it up and it’s ready to use!  Simple, right?


– Spray bottle: $2 (give or take)

– Era Detergent: $4 (probably less on sale)

– Ammonia: $2 or so

Total Per 32 oz. spray bottle: About $1.50 as there will be a lot more Era left after the ammonia is gone along with the re-usability of the spray bottle.

A little research:

I’m sure when my MIL starting using this remedy, the internet was in it’s infancy or this could even have been handed down to her.  So I wanted to see if the feeling that Era was a great detergent still stood true.  Check out what others have said about Era:  One woman even posted a similar pre-treatment recipe!  Very cool!  So it’s great by itself, it’s inexpensive and couple it with plain ole ammonia and get a great stain fighter.

So give it a whirl!  Not a huge investment for something that works as well as all the name brand pre-treaters on the market.


The downside of being mom

20 Feb

Just say a little prayer for us this week.  We made the decision a few weeks ago to get the little one’s tonsils out after having strep throat 7 times in the last 13 months.  She’s a happy, princess loving, bright eyed, crafty little girl and the thought of putting her through surgery is weighing on this momma’s mind.  I know it’s very routine and she’ll be much better off without these things but neither me or the hubs have had surgery nor been under anesthesia before so it’s all a bit new and nerve-racking to us.  So prayers for calmness for all of us and a quick recovery!

I know it’s fuzzy, but it’s our most recent.  🙂

I Heart You – A Valentines Craft

19 Feb

I saw this Valentines craft via Martha Stewart way before Pinterest and even before I attempted to be like Pinterest on Evernote.  This was discovered when I used to print out ideas and put them in binders.  Anyone do that anymore?  Or is that a thing of the past?  Either way, I still have my binders.  Not near as full as I’ve weeded out the “what did I like about this” pages but this ideas has always resurfaced.

Anyway, now that I have a kids, a whole new world of crafting has come to life.  It may end up being about the process and materials than what we actually make but I’m ok with that.  The girls (well Miss Banana more so) enjoy it and I like to channel my inner child.  So we busted out the crayons and wax paper and went to town.  Now Martha’s Crayon Hearts are the perfect transparency and shades of Valentines pinks, purples and oranges.  Very lovely and in my perfect crafting world, would be what I wanted to achieve.  But realistically, I have a 4 year old ready to dive in with saturated color.  So here’s our spin on crayon hearts.

Crayon Heart Valentine Craft:


– Crayons in Valentine shades (or not for any other time of year!)

– Sharpener (probably not of the electric kind)

– Iron

– String

– Scissors

– Paper Bag

– Hole punch

Not shown: Sharpie and heart shaped cookie cutter

Get Craftin’:

1.  I chose crayons in different purples, reds, pinks and a few non-traditional colors of yellow and orange.  Most of them still had paper on them but you can certainly us broken crayons for this project!  Start peeling the paper and sharpening them over a plate (insert pretty pictures of crayon shavings and a little helper).

2.  Rip a piece of wax paper to about 18″ and fold in half.  Keep the shavings to one side of the paper.

3.  Fold the empty side of the paper over your pretty sprinkles.  Carefully transport to your ironing board.

4.  For me, I put down a bath towel on the dining room table to iron on.  Then layered the brown paper bag, folded wax paper and paper bag.  Set the temp on the iron to low/medium.  Once the iron is ready, run the iron over the bag a little and check how the crayons are melting.  Repeat this process until you get your desired look.  On one I melted it a little more than I wanted but it’s crafting after all!

5.  I initially was going to freehand hearts for us to cut, then I thought, nahh…. Lets make this more uniform this time.  I was channeling my left brain I suppose.  I busted out a couple heart cookies cutters and a black sharpie and started tracing.

6.  Gave the wee one a scissors and we got to cutting.  Once they were all cut out, I punched holes in the top and strung them with red bakers twine I had on hand.

7.  I had plans to make a string for each of our front windows, but this project was a bit intensive and decided to do it for just one window.  I think they turned out great and had so many compliments on them!  Make a banner for a holiday or any day or change it up all together and cut out your kids name.  This can be anything you want it to be.

Don’t forget, it could just be about the process or using the materials.  The kids can peel the paper off the crayons, make shavings, feel the shavings, work on their cutting skills and stringing the shapes.  All great things for the kiddos.  So have fun and enjoy!


From the living room couch…

7 Feb

It’s been a strange winter here in West Michigan, a very mild and snowless winter as compared to our 100+ inches of snow and wind chills of 5 degrees.  I’m not really sure if it’s the weather that really throws us into sick mode, maybe it’s being cooped up most of the time but we’ve been struck with sick for the last 2 weeks.  The short story is my oldest has had strep twice in the last 10 days and 7 times total in the last 13 months along with me having the flu and my youngest has had an ear infection.  My husband has escaped it all!  Whew.

Anywho, that brings me to my observations from the living room couch.  Movies.  Kids movies.  Over and over again.  Luckily we have a lot of kids movies with adult humor so repeated watching is tolerable.  So one of the movies our girls love is Princess and the Frog.  Now before I get to what I noticed is the fact that this movie (and all Disney movies for that matter) have quite the sinister side, which isn’t really necessary.  Princess and the Frog adds voodoo and magic around every corner.  It takes away from a couple really cool messages that this movie illustrates, so here’s one I thought worth mentioning despite all the fluff.

I, by no means, am a theologian but the song that Mama Odie sang “Dig a little deeper” talks about how all the material things in life don’t matter (Don’t matter what you wear
How many rings you got on your finger… Money ain’t got no soul, Money ain’t got no heart…), how much money you have, you need to dig a little deeper to find what really matters.  I’m not sure if my 3 and 4 year olds get that at all, but it’s one of their favorite songs and if they walk around singing that, maybe one day it’ll click.  I hope each day we can show that to them in little ways that mommy and daddy try to run our house that way, how God provides for all our needs and gives us the ability dig deeper in ourselves to realize what really matters.  In the meantime, I love that song, I love the visuals, the colors and we’ll watch it a hundred more times.

Winter Watercoloring

4 Feb

I would love to say that I have a great plan each for the girlies and I to craft together every week, but I don’t.  Crazy, huh?  Ha!  But this day a craft needed to be made.  I’ve seen this idea of taping off our intials, coloring around it and pulling off the tape to reveal our art!  Well I pinned this idea a couple times here and here, one using fingerpaints and the other using markers.  Both very cute!  I also put it out on Facebook and a friend said to do this type of art using watercolors.  Perfect!

The girls got new watercolors for Christmas, a few sheets of watercolor paper left in the pad and off we went!

Blue Tape Letter Painting


– Watercolor paints

– Large bristle kid paint brushes (holds a lot more water and paint than the little ones)

– Watercolor paper (or thicker drawing paper)

– Paper towel

– Blue painters tape

– Cup of water

– 2 willing little people

– and of course Disney radio on Pandora

Get Craftin’:

1.  Decide if you’re going to initials, shapes, random lines, etc on the paper.  Grab a scissors (or tearing for those brave enough….) and start laying the tape out on the paper.

2.  Give the littles their own paper, a paint brush, a cup of water, paper towel to dry their brush or not and a set of paints.

3.  Let them go to town on their painting!  My 3 year old loves to have a lot of water to move the paint around and my 4 year old prefers the bright color with a dryer brush.  Very distinguished artists, these 2 are.  Ha!  Actually the younger one got frustrated with the order of putting water on the brush then paint instead she kept putting the paint on, adding water to the brush then painting.  It was fun teaching them the process even if it was over and over again and see them really get into painting.

4.  After you’re finished, let the paper dry, remove the tape (it will remove really easy as it’s painters tape, not more adhesive tape like masking) and wa-la!

So fun, so easy and what a colorful piece of art!