Monthly Archives: November 2011

Christmas in Pictures

The stockings are hung…

…my “artwork” displayed…

…the candles are lit…

…the wreath is in place…

…and my gift has arrived 🙂


Ahh Christmas.  I love everything about it and for some reason this year is starting out better than ever.  I think it’s because I’ve decided to keep it as simple as possible, starting with the decorations.  I didn’t buy any new decorations for this year and instead am using what I have and making some new things.  We also decided to go simple with gifts which takes so much of the stress and pressure off.  We’re making an effort to enjoy time together as a family and make the most with what we have.

Here is a recipe for some homemade salt-dough ornaments that are hanging on my tree courtesy of I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas.

  • Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup sugar.
  • Add 1 cup water and mix until no traces of flour remain.
  • Knead well (8-10 minutes).
  • On a floured surface roll dough out to about a 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Use a toothpick to prick holes in the ornaments to thread with string or yarn after they are done baking.
  • Bake at 250 degrees for 2 hours.
  • Once the ornaments are completely cooled thread the yarn through and tie a knot.
  • I painted some of them with acrylic paints but you could leave them plain.


More than a Box

I’m always trying to think of things that are new and exciting for Dieter.  It’s not such an easy thing when you have an incredibly spirited, active, demanding toddler.  I’ve also been trying to teach Dieter how to use crayons but he gets bored with them pretty quickly especially when he can only color on paper.  We had a box sitting around that I was getting ready to put in the recycling when I thought, “Aha!  This might keep him busy for a few minutes!”  I pulled out his crayons from the top drawer of his dresser, way out of his reach, and started coloring on the box.  He joined in and I’d say we had a good ten minutes of activity.  Such a simple thing.

And when he was done being interested in his box we burned it in the firepit.  Another fun activity!

Spiced Applesauce

I was tired of buying individually packaged applesauce for Dieter. Although it’s super convenient it really is wasteful and more expensive than making your own. At Aldi this week they had bags of apples for $2.49, now usually I don’t like their fruit but this year they’ve had Haralson apples that are really tasty. I decided to find a recipe online and tweak it a bit. This is what I did:

  • Peeled and sliced apples (enough for 12 cups)
  • Put the apples in a pot with 2 1/4 cups water, 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. cloves, 1/2 tsp. allspice, and a 1/4 honey.
  • Simmer, covered for about 30 minutes or however long it takes for the apples to become soft and easy to mash.
  • Mash and enjoy!
  • I would also encourage you to alter the ingredients to your taste…add a little more honey or spices if need be.

The smell of the applesauce while it’s cooking really reminds me of a cozy fall day.

Update: Dieter didn’t like the “spice” part so much, or maybe it was the texture, so next time I might scale it back a bit and use the blender to get the bigger chunks out.

Laundry Detergent

I really had no interest in making my own laundry detergent but I just bought some new cloth diapers and didn’t realize until now that it really matters what you wash them with. Using the right type and amount of detergent with cloth diapers helps them stay absorbent and extends their life. I knew I could make a special detergent cheaper than buying it so I hopped online and started searching for the perfect recipe. Another blogger had done even more research than me and I decided to give her recipe a try. I just made the diaper detergent but bought the extra ingredients to use for our regular laundry so I’ll be making it very soon and hoping for great results. Until then, let’s hope that Dieter’s diapers come out fresh, clean, and hold back the Niagra Falls that seems to always want to escape his britches.

I found the borax at Target but they didn’t have it on the floor just in the stock room so hopefully it will be easy to find in the next few weeks when they start stocking it.  I bought the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, Fels-Naptha Soap and Oxyclean at Walmart.  I actually bought the Walmart brand of Oxyclean.  They also have borax there too so you could really get all of the ingredients there I just prefer Target so much more that I started there.

The real question is…how the heck am I going to manage TWO kids in cloth diapers?