Saturday, March 24, 2012

Elephant Toothpaste!

One of the great things I’ve discovered in Pinterest is a wealth of things to do with Leah.  When we don’t know what to do, we typically take a walk or run around the backyard or watch TV or maybe paint, but there are so many great things out there that people have come up with and that my friends pin.  My friend Michelle is a Montessori instructor and always puts up lots of fun things for kids to do, and I’m always intrigued by what she comes up with.  One of my favorite pins of hers was one for Elephant Toothpaste, which I enthusiastically repinned.

Elephant Toothpaste comes from Preschool Powol Packets, a blog run by a homeschooling mom who runs her own day care.  I was so excited when I read about this and saw the picture, but had a hard time finding the peroxide required.  I finally ordered it off and this week on a bright and sunny day, we decided to make a big mess in the back yard.  Leah absolutely adored this project.  We made 4 bottles of elephant toothpaste and she smeared it happily all over her little table and our back porch.  We tried different colors and she demanded to be the one to pour the ingredients together, so she got to do a lot of hands on stuff as well, which was great.  It really appealed to her tactile demands—my girl LOVES to get messy and sticky and put her hands into everything.

Thanks, Michelle, for a great pin!

The ingredients:  Dish soap, warm water, yeast, food coloring, hydrogen peroxide (we used 8 percent)
Watching the yeast bubble
Pour in the peroxide
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At first, she really didn’t know what to make of it…

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Then she started touching it.  She liked that it was warm and soft and bubbly.  When the reaction ended, we immediately made blue.

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For the last bottle, she loved squeezing it out onto the table and making as much of a mess as she could!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Tale of Two Chickens


My inaugural “I did it!” post is a two for one deal!  This week, my husband and I decided to get back on the weight loss train, which typically comes with eating a pile of chicken.  We’ve both had good success losing weight in the past, and used Weight Watchers to do it.  We are doing the WW Online Program, because frankly, after a couple years of meetings, I was not learning anything new and was bored.  My sister has also turned me on to Spark People, which I am going to use for the motivation component of the thing.  Anyway, so we’re eating a lot of chicken. 

I made two recipes this week, both of which are spreading around my friends’ boards like wild fire.  Monday, we had Key Lime Chicken, and with it, I made the Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe that is supposed to be a knock off from Chipotle.

This chicken from Grocery Budget 101, a website that I guess is meant to help you maximize your grocery dollar, and the rice came from Chef In You, which helps people learn vegetarian and vegan recipes. I haven’t spent much time on it.  Anyway, we’ve had amazing weather in the greater Washington DC area lately, so I decided to spark up the grill.  Unfortunately, apparently the remnants of last season’s “stuff” was in there, because I am not exagerrating in the least when I say flames at least 3 feet tall leapt out of the grill.  I managed to turn off the gas, and let it burn itself out, finally removing the pan from underneath, scraping it out, and turning the hose on my burning lawn.  Once that was done, the grill worked just fine.

The rice came out a little gummy and I thought it was a bit bitter—unfortunately I neglected to take a picture of it finished, but here it is mid-cooking:

P1000481I would reduce the lime juice by a teaspoon or two and the water by about a quarter cup, and then it would probably be perfect!

As for the chicken, it came out looking as good as the sample:

P1000482 And I can say with authority that this is going to be my new go-to grilling recipe.  I LOVED this.  It was so good.  It had tons of flavor and very low WWP+ (only 8).  My husband and daughter both enjoyed it!! YUM! 

Last night, I decided to try the other chicken recipe that’s been going around like crazy, dubbed THE BEST WHITE CHICKEN ENCHILADA RECIPE EVER.



The recipe comes from Joyful Momma's Kitchen, whose tag line is “Cooking, Baking, and Mess Making”.  WW used to have a really good enchilada recipe that we liked a lot, but I’m not sure what I did with that recipe, so I decided to try this one.  I think my version came out looking pretty true to the originial.

P1000523I used low fat cheese and sour cream to lighten it up.  I had bought a rotisserie chicken a few days ago to have with salad for lunch and used that for my chicken.

So was it THE BEST WHITE CHICKEN ENCHILADA RECIPE EVER? Honestly, I thought it was OK, but definitely not the best I’d ever eaten. 

For one thing, with only 2 cups of chicken and 1 cup of cheese in the tortillas, there isn’t much filling.  The sauce was OK—good thing there were chiles in there because it was otherwise pretty bland.  I gussied mine up with salsa to give it a little more something.  My husband thought they were good.  I don’t think I will make these again.  But that’s just us!  With everything lightened up, they are 7 WWP+ per.

So there you have it, our inaugural post.  Nothing to sell, but some reviews.  And while I set the grill on fire, thankfully I didn’t set the oven on fire! hehe

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcome to the Latest of My Crazy Ideas!


So, like many people, I have developed an unholy adoration for Pinterest.  It’s to the point now that I make notes to myself of things to Google just so I can figure out what I can pin later.  (If you don’t yet have a Pinterest account, feel free to get in touch and I will give you an invitation.)  I have pins for things that I don’t have any capacity to do, such as sewing.  I have never mastered the art of sewing, but I have a board called “Learning to Sew” just in case.  When I pin things, I anxiously wait to see if my pins will be re-pinned.  It’s insanity, but if I have a pin that’s repinned more than 50 times, I feel like I won the lottery!


So I’ve decided not to let pinning be the end of the story.  I’m going to actually do the stuff I’m pinning and not just sit at my computer and pin pictures of other people’s accomplishments.  After all, the point is not only to be inspired, but to be inspired enough to do stuff.


I can’t say I’m going to make something every day—I have an active pre-schooler here at home, but at least once a week you can count on the results of a pin and whether or not the stuff comes out as well as it looks on these beautiful pictures I’ve been pinning.

And then what?  Well, let me introduce you to the world’s most beautiful almost-3-year-old.


This is our gorgeous girl, Leah.  We adopted her nearly 3 years ago, and I’m getting the itch.  People all around me continue to have babies and I’m feeling the draw.  I love other people’s babies, and I’m so excited for my friend Amber, who lives here in town and recently found out she’s expecting in September—that baby is going to be in my arms A LOT!!!!  Especially since Lisa’s Fred just turned 1—boo hoo!  They grow up so fast!  I am no longer employed like I was pre-Leah.  My family is no longer in a position to help me out financially to adopt again.  But I know there is a kid out there who belongs with us.

So wherever possible, I plan to sell my creations on Etsy.  I’m learning about opening an Etsy shop, and hopefully I can sell things and make some of the money we need to put towards our adoption fund.  We have some other sources of income, mostly loans, that we could use if we had to, but every little bit that we don’t have to repay helps.

So my plan is to have each post include the original pin, a link to the original website that was pinned and pictures of what I did, along with observations of what we learned.  I may also throw in some things about the benefits of creativity, the joys of pre-schoolers and being a mom, and life stuff in general.

So stay tuned!  I’m excited to try some things out and learn some things along the way!  We’ll see what happens and where this takes me!