Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DIY Bird Bath~ Under $20

Ever Since I got a bird feeder, I have been wanting to buy a bird bath.
We have been working really hard on the deck and landscaping since the weather has gotten nicer. I thought a bird bath would be a great piece of art to the outdoor decor along with serving a purpose to our neighborhood birds. I have shopped around for bird baths and they are NOT cheap!! I decided to search the internet for DIY bird bath ideas! I was so surprised to see that it is actually very easy to make your own AND considerably less expensive!
There were so many ideas!!!! Some people used flower pots to make theirs. 
Click on the photo to be taken to the post!
   
Some people used old lamp stands for the base of their bird bath and my favorite was someone who just used birch sticks for their base! 
Really you can use just about anything! 
   
 I wanted to have kind of a "Mad Hatter" look to my Bird Bath. I feel like I lucked out on my trip to the Thrift Store! I got all of these miscellaneous items for around 10 dollars!!! The large pitcher and Asian tea pot are my favorite! 
 The trick to this whole project is simply Gorilla Glue! 
I have never used it before this project so I was pretty skeptical that it would actually hold all of these pieces together. 
First thing I did before glueing anything was fill the large pitcher with rocks to give my bird bath a heavy base. Then I glued my first 3 pieces together. 
I lightly wiped the area I was going to glue with a wet paper towel and then added my glue. It literally only takes about an hour for a strong bond to form! 
The only thing I will watch next time is that the glue foams and expands. You can see the white foam between the mug and red vase. I would be more careful how much glue I use and in wiping it up as it forms because when you spray paint over top of it it really shows up!
   
 I looked through my leftover spray paint cans and found this lavender color. 
   
 I also wanted to add a cute accent to the top plate which I was leaving white. I found this little trinket at the thrift store. I let my little son Garren hold it, and the next thing I knew the birds were broken off of it! LOL 
   
 It was a blessing in disguise because I ended up spray painting the birds and gluing them to the side of the plate.
 I am thrilled with the finished product! I think next time I might make it just a little bit shorter but I think it is a great usable sculpture to add to our landscape. For now it is resting on our deck until my husband lays landscaping bricks around the side of the house!
   

 This picture shows where I hung my little bird feeder. I can't wait to get the bird bath in the landscaping below. It is so fun to watch the birds at all hours from my kitchen window! It makes washing dishes at little more tolerable! =)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Paleo Blueberry Waffles~ Grain free & Dairy Free

 OK, let me tell you, I don't exclusively eat a Paleo diet but with recipes like these I don't think it would be hard to! We eat a ton of waffles in our home and these waffles are my families new FAVORITE! I have said this before, my husband actually doesn't like waffles but THESE he will gobble up!!! I am telling you they are THAT good!!!

Since this is my blog, I will give you my 2 cents on the whole issue of diet. I think that you need a verity of healthy whole foods in your diet! This is why I would probably never go completely Paleo. If you do research on where your grains are coming from, to make sure they aren't genetically modified, etc. I think it is good to have some whole grains! I am all for using quinoa, buckwheat, oats and many others. The only thing that should totally keep you away from some of these healthy whole grains/seeds would be food allergies! If you are having issues with food, I recommend going on the Paleo diet for at least a month or two to detox your system and then slowly introduce a few whole grains back in to see how it effects you! With that being said, I LOVE Paleo recipes because they are a great option for clean cooking and they give healthy alternatives to using refined sugar and flour.

Since I don't eat exclusively Paleo, I will tell you how I came across this recipe. My sister and niece  came to visit us for a week and my sister is on this diet so I began to research some recipes so she would be comfortable staying in my home. My sister sent me a cookbook by Danielle Walker from Against All Grain. Let me tell you, EVERY RECIPE I have tried in her book is delicious, VERY worth having! 
This is Danielle's waffle recipe from her first cookbook! I originally made a batch of these waffles just to freeze so my sister would have an easy to fix breakfast. Then my family "tried" them (more like devoured) and they immediately became the new favorite. My kids now complain when they have to eat the other waffles I made before which were already in the freezer. 

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raw cashews or macadamia nuts
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • about 1/2 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
All you have to do is simply blend all ingredients, except blueberries, together in GOOD blender or food processor until completely smooth. 
Spoon batter into waffle iron then sprinkle blueberries over the batter.
Cook according to your waffle maker.

*Tip: if you have a mini waffle maker then I would blend the blueberries into the batter also because the berries will be to big and the waffles don't hold together as well.

I usually end up doubling this recipe because I have a large Belgian waffle maker. This recipe would only make about 3 to 4 large Belgian waffles. Anyways, it's always good to have leftovers to freeze for a quick and healthy breakfast!

This is also a great take along breakfast idea to share with others! I go to a moms group at my church and they are all striving to eat healthy. I decided to surprise them and bring these to our morning meeting! I made a double batch the night before, put them on a cookie sheet, covered them, and threw them in the freezer. In the morning I pulled them out of the freezer and when I got to the church, I threw them in a 350 degrees oven for about 10 minutes and they came out of the oven PERFECT!!!
Most of the moms in my group we asking for the recipe and couldn't believe they were grain free! =)

This is a picture of a double batch on a cookie sheet, minus a few… because my family had to try some!! =) The waffles are about an inch thick.

Toddler APPROVED and with a HUGE smile!!!
A lot of my friends were also asking about a grain and dairy free bread recipe. I haven't tried this yet but I can tell by the ingredients that it is pretty close to the waffle recipe.  This bread looks AMAZING, it is also one of Danielle's recipes!!! It's the next thing I'm going to bake with Kiki during Garr's nap time! I can't wait to try it! Click on the picture below to get the recipe!
I can't thank Danielle Walker enough for her great recipes!

Here is one of my older posts on how I add veggies to my waffles! It's only a matter of time until I change the above recipe to add a little more nutrition to it! =)
Click on the picture below to see the post!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Simple Two Ingredient Frozen Yogurt

I don't know about you but I can eat Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt no matter what the temperature is outside! Maybe that is why we just purchased our first Ice Cream maker in the dead of Winter!!!

My husband was skeptical about buying it! He thought we would hardly use it and it would just take up space. I have to admit, when we first got it home and tried out a few recipes, I thought it would just be so much easier to buy Ice Cream. However, I was determined that I wanted to be in control of what goes into my Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt! The MAIN reason was to make it with a natural sweetener rather than white sugar!

 I remembered that I pinned this recipe for a 4 Ingredient Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt. I could finally try it out since I now had an Ice Cream Maker!!! The recipe is simply 1 cup vanilla yogurt, 1 cup canned pumpkin, 1 Tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. If you want to see the recipe yourself click on the picture below!
I tried making this Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt! The only thing I changed was that I substituted the sugar for maple syrup. I mixed all the ingredients together in a bowl and threw them into my Ice Cream maker!
   
 After about 15 minutes it was ready!  I gave it to my kids and they didn't really like it and I could say the pumpkin taste was even TOO much for me!!! The one thing I loved was that the texture was so creamy…. I ended up modifying the recipe to be 1/2 cup of pumpkin to 1 cup of yogurt to take away the STRONG pumpkin flavor and to make it taste more like yogurt!
It ended up being so much better! 
This got me thinking…. Why not try out other fruits with yogurt to make different flavors!?!
Basically, to every cup of yogurt, you use 1/2 cup of any fruit! You don't need to add any extra sweetener. Just blend your favorite fruit and yogurt together and add to your Ice Cream Maker and you have a yummy sweet treat in 15-20 minutes!!!
Another idea, if you are dairy free, simply use coconut yogurt. However, if you use unsweetened yogurt just think about adding a tablespoon or two of maple syrup to the mixture to sweeten it up a little.

Here are a few ideas. 
We used 1/2 cup Dark Morello Cherries from Trader Joes. I like them because they don't used red 40 dye in them like maraschino cherries. Then I used 1/2 cup of greek cherry yogurt and 1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt.
I blended it together in my food processor and added to the Ice Cream Maker!
   
SO DELICIOUS
We also made it with pineapple. You can use fresh or canned but just make sure, if you use canned, that you get pineapple in 100% juice because if it's in syrup it just basically means "sugar water".
I love eating my frozen yogurt with graham crackers.
Here is my baby boy enjoying his pineapple frozen yogurt!
He's getting it all over himself but having fun in the process!
If we have any Frozen Yogurt left over then I just add it to our pop cycle mold!
*Another tip, if you want it to be just a little bit sweeter simply add a handful of white or milk chocolate chips to the food processor with your fruit and yogurt! 
Our favorite flavor so far is Cherry White Chocolate!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Homemade Doll Bed~Using Stuff Around The House

One evening I was hanging out at the mall with my family! We happened to go into Build A Bear to just look around. My daughter Kiki saw a cute doll bed that she really wanted. I asked her to think about it a few minutes before she decided to spend her money. She normally doesn't want too many things when we go out so when she said she really wanted it I was about to give her her wallet. However, when I looked at the bed I just couldn't let her spend her hard earned money!!! I told her, "We could MAKE a bed for your dolls out of stuff that we have at home and I think we can make it cooler than this one! But, after we try and make one, if you still want to spend your money on this bed, you can!" 
Below are the two beds, large and small, they are selling at Build A Bear and their prices!

First thing you must do to make your bed is find empty boxes for the main foundation. I found these two boxes in my recycle trash. We used the Fish Nuggets box for the bottom of the bed and the Brown Rice box to cut out a head & foot board! You can choose any boxes you have around the house. If you are making a bed for a larger doll, I would use a cereal box!
 Here is what the boxes look like with the head and foot boards cut out!
You can cut the cardboard however you want for the head and foot boards, you don't have to follow my design exactly.
This next step, you will need fabric. I simply found an old long sleeve pink shirt that didn't fit my girl anymore. You will also need duct tape and Fiberfill or cotton balls!
The first thing I did was cut a piece of fabric from the shirt that would cover the top of the box and overlap a bit!
 
Lay your cotton balls or fiberfill on top of the box and as you stretch your fabric over top, duct tape it down to the sides!
Here is my box with the fabric fully duct taped down. The top of the bed is nice and soft!
The next step is great fun for your child because they can do it by themselves. Have them rip up piece of paper, plain color or fun scrapbook patterned. Then have your child simply Mod Podge the pieces of paper to the cardboard that you are sung for the head and foot boards. Remember to paint a coat of Mod Podge over everything to seal all the paper down!
Sorry about the poor pictures…..the second photo shows the finished Mod Podged head and foot boards!
  
This next step you can leave out if you want to! I decided that I was going to have a blanket attached to the bed so I cut more fabric from the old shirt. I cut right along the seam so I wouldn't have to deal with sewing anything! The only rough edge is the bottom. 
Next, lay your fabric over the bed.
   
Then, hot glue it to your bed at one end.
This is such a poor quality picture but it shows how I folded the edges of the fabric in and hot glued them.
Now, Hot glue your head and foot boards to the ends of the bed!
After the head and foot boards are hot glued on, you are going to put one more strip of duct tape all around the bottom edge of the bed. I am using yellow tape because I was out of the pink. you can use two different colors of tape or all the same color. Really, it's whatever you and your child want to do.
The second picture is showing how I cut the edges of the tape so it will lay down smooth!
   
Here is my girl showing off the progress of the bed so far.
We also wanted to make a pillow. 
What I did was cut the sleeve off of the old shirt. Then I got more fiberfill (you could also use cotton here again) and stuffed the sleeve and tied each end closed with string.
   
Here is the pillow!
There you have it, a cute little bed for any of your child's stuffed animals…..Using stuff you already have around the house!
Shhhh, penguin is taking a nap! =)

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