Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Best Play-Doh Recipe & Other Uses for Alum Powder

Recently my mom sent me some Alum. It is a white powder that you normally find in the spice section. In the previous century Alum was used in food preparation, especially in pickling. It would help keep pickles crisp and crunchy! It was also a common component of baking powder which helped baked goods rise. It is not commonly used in foods today because they found that consuming large amounts of the spice isn't good for you. 
First, I want to explain why my mom sent me some Alum. We use it to help take away the pain and heal Canker sores of the mouth! All you do is wet your finger, dab it into the Alum powder, and then touch the sore area in your mouth. At first the Alum will taste sweet and then it quickly turns sour. Just immediately spit in the sink once you dabbed it on your sore! Then rinse your mouth with water and spit out to get extra residue of alum out of your mouth! It works by drying out the sore which helps it heal quickly! I'm telling you it REALLY works! 
As I researched Alum to do this blog post I found out a few other interesting uses for it!
  • I found that if you mix Alum powder with water to create a paste, you can put it on furniture or other things your dog/cat are chewing in your home and it will deter them from that spot. It will leave a white residue while you are trying to keep your animal away from chewing area. However, after a few weeks your animal will not want to chew the area and the white residue will wash away!
  • Alum can also can help you out with Acne!!! A mixture of 1/4 cup of witch hazel and a pinch of Alum can be applied as a paste on acne/pimples! The powder can also be mixed with hot water, rosewater, or egg white and applied on the face as a mask for 15 minutes. This will close the pores and remove acne.
  • It is also an ingredient in Play-Doh. Below you will find The BEST Homemade Play-Doh Recipe! It is so soft and will last for MONTHS if you seal in an airtight container!

What you need to make Homemade Play-Doh
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon Alum
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 3/4 cup boiling water
  • food coloring
Boil some water and then measure out what you need into a glass measuring cup. Then stir in Alum, Oil, and food coloring.
In a separate mixing bowl stir together your flour and salt.
Pour your warm liquid into your flour mixture. Once all ingredients are mixed together, knead well. Add flour if sticking to your hands.
Then, have fun playing and creating with this soft dough!
I suggest cutting this recipe in half if you are only making it with one child!

**Tip** If you can't find Alum in the spice section of your grocery store you can always go to the pharmacy and they will special order it for you. My mom got hers ordered from the Target pharmacy. It's very inexpensive for a large quantity.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Healthy Birthday School Treat Idea

I feel like I haven't blogged in a LONG time! I have been pretty busy with life recently. My Big boy Brenden just turned 7 years old! We had a great time celebrating! I wanted to share with you a little about what we did for his birthday but most of all, I wanted to share the treat we brought into his class for his special day!
Every mom knows that with Birthday's come birthday treats for class. I always hear of the treats that my boy gets because of another birthday. I don't know about you but I don't want to fill up little tummies with more artificial dyes and Sugar! However, I don't want my son to bring something that all the kids wont eat and/or like! After searching the internet I found a cute idea of butterfly snacks! 
I thought it would be fun to put fruit in the wings of the butterfly to make this a cute AND healthy treat! Also, I wanted to keep the cost down so instead of buying clothespins I simply tied the bags together with a pipe cleaner!

What I did was divide the fruit somewhat equally on each side of a snack bag. The fruit I used was grapes, blueberries, and mandarin oranges but you can do any mixture of what you have on hand or what's in season. 
Then you simply fold a pipe cleaner in half twist it and then bend it back up.
 Twist the pipe cleaner at the top of the bag and bend like ears.
 Next, I drew butterfly bodies on a plain sheet of scrapbook paper and Brenden drew a different face on each of them. Brenden was very excited to bring the butterflies to school to show off all of the different faces he made up! 
After you cut out the bodies, you just hot glue the paper bodies to the pipe cleaners. 
I also wrote "Happy B-day Brenden" on every body.
There you have it! A healthy snack for your child's class that their teacher will thank you for bringing in! And for what it's worth, my son told me his first grade class loved the treat!
I also wanted to show you what Kiki and I made for Brenden. I got out my trusty large roll of paper and we made a fun poster size sign to surprise Brenden when he woke up on his birthday. I looked up some of his favorite characters and printed out coloring pages of them. Kiki colored them and I cut them out. Then we glued them into a large city scene with a billboard the said "Brenden Dean is seven years old!" We also added a cake because Kiki LOVES to color cakes!!!
Instead of planning a party, we stayed the weekend at a hotel in the area with an indoor swimming pool! My kids LOVE hotels and pools so this was the perfect thing to do to make Brenden's birthday special. What was even better was that the hotel didn't mind us inviting guests to swim with us!
Below is a picture of Brenden, holding up seven fingers, in the pool area. This was an awesome pool because it was half indoor and half outdoor! You could swim under the wall and be outside! It did make the water a little colder than we would have wanted but it was so much fun!
 Another milestone we hit while staying in the hotel was our little Garren turned seven months. 
Here is a picture of my seven year old holding my seven month old.
 Lastly, I am so proud of Brenden. On his actual birthday he accomplished a goal he had been working on for a while now. At Gymnastics class he climbed the rope ALL THE WAY to the top and rang the bell. Before this he would always stop halfway at the knot. I wish I knew exactly how high this rope goes... if you can't tell in the video below, it's pretty high!
Here's to new years and accomplishing goals!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hidden Name Ink Drawings

I went searching for one of my old sketchbooks from 99/00, thanks to my friend Kalen!
I thought that I would open it up and show all of you some of my drawings. These black ink drawings all have a similar theme. I love lettering and I loved trying to hide words into pictures. 
Basically, what I would do is come up with a main theme or picture that I was going to draw. Then after coming up with a picture I would try to work the name into what I was going to draw. A lot of times I would try to work with the letter in the middle of the name I was drawing.
For Example, This one is of my old cat's name Kayla. I first incorporated the Y in the middle of the cats face and as the nose. Then, after getting most of the face drawn, I would incorporate the rest of the name to the picture. 
The awesome thing about lettering is that they can be transformed to fit into any shape!
In this next example, I started with the A, in the name Suzanne, as the bottom part of the butterfly's body. Then after drawing the main outline shape of the butterfly, I worked the rest of the name in!
My friend Adrian loves cars and especially BMW's!!! So what I did for his name was used the BMW symbol as the dot in the i of his name!
My friend Aaron is Irish so I used a clover to draw his name around!
This one I drew of, My man, Jason's name....At the time he had a 1963 Bug so I drew his name in the shape of one. I love how the O in his name is one of the wheels of the bug!
This one says Ali in the "lava"part of the lamp. Can you see it?
One of my friends named Randy was always skateboarding...
This flower says Nicole.
This one was from when Christina Aguilera came out with "Genie in a Bottle".  I love how I used the C in her name as the handle on the bottle. Then I simply worked the rest of her name into the bottle shape.
 Pokemon was really big when I was doing a lot of these sketches! I had kids asking me if I could do their names in a specific character.... Sorry I don't remember the Pokemon characters names... maybe you do!?
This first character had 9 tails and I drew the name in says Weston! Can you see it?
As you can see, the sky is the limit with this type of art! 
This one says Eric... you can see it in the wings! 

 One of the greatest things I have gotten to do with my art was design a tattoo for Tyrone Wells. I used to sketch with my friend Dar at some of the places that Tyrone's old band Skypark used to play at. He is now a solo artist!
Here is a drawing I did of his name using his face as the O!
He liked my style of hiding things in a simple way and asked if I could come up with an armband tattoo that represented the three most important things to him, at the time. The three things were God, People, and Music! After a few sketches and playing around with ideas, I came up with this!
If you can see the word GOD is at the center. Then the O in God is the head of two people going out both to the left and to the right. Lastly, between the legs of the people are music notes which also form the heads of more people!
Here is an old picture I took of Tyrone after he got the tattoo! Sorry, it doesn't really do it justice!
Tyrone is a great song writer and he has a BEAUTIFUL voice! You might have heard some of his music walking through a store or on tv/movies without even knowing it. You have to check him out!

I also wanted to add these pictures from a concert we took Brenden to when he was 16 months old, 2007! Leah Nash, from Sixpence None The Richer, was playing with Tyrone!
I will leave you with one of his music videos, also click HERE if you want to check out his website and tour dates! I was lucky to meet and know him before he got BIG! =)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Squinkie Case Necklace

 Squinkies have been around for a while and if you have kids over 4 years old you probably have some of these fun little figures in your home. A normal package comes with about 12 Squinkies and they all come with a plastic ball case. They have figures for boys and girls so both of my big kids love them! My kids love to play with the figures but, most of the time, I find the plastic cases all over the house! 
The cases are so cool that I couldn't bring myself to throwing them all away.
I knew I could come up with some kind of craft using them.

The ball shape and size reminds me of a bead so I thought that I would try and make necklaces out of them. This is what I came up with.

The idea is simple, you just close the case over a piece of cool ribbon.
 Here are the steps to make a Squinkie Bead Necklace.

Open up the cases and lay them on a paper plate. Give your kids some acrylic paint in the colors of their choice and let them get creative.
 Now, here is where you have to make the choice if you want to be able to open your beads or permanently seal them to your ribbon. My son wanted to be able to store a squinkie in his necklace and take it off whenever he wants. So after his painted cases dried, I left them open and painted Mod Podge  on to seal them. I also used sparkle Mod Podge so it would give them a glittery finish!
 Once the Mod Podge was dry, we simply closed them on a piece of ribbon with a squinkie in it.
 Here is what my sons finished necklace looked like!
He was so excited about it that he brought it to school. All of his friends thought it was cool and wanted one.
 Here he is taking off one of his beads and getting out his Spiderman Squinkie.
For Kiki's necklace we simply made the cases into beads that would stay on the ribbon and NOT open up! Which also means she didn't store any Squinkies inside them. Since she had some unpainted area on the outside of her beads, we chose a color and painted the inside to give it a fun look. Once everything was dry, I painted the whole bead with Sparkle Mod Podge and while it was still wet I closed it on her ribbon. The Mod Podge sealed the case shut and gave a glittery finish to her bead!
Here's her finished necklace!
Do you have any other craft ideas for squinkie cases? I would love to hear them! Leave me a comment.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Celebrate with Sparkling Jello

Happy 2013 EVERYONE!!! I hope you all had fun celebrating and ringing in the New Year!
We had a low key hang out with friends, which is always the best when kids are involved! 
I wanted to make something special for both the kids and adults to enjoy, so I experimented by making Sparkling Jello! 
I used a bunch of different ingredients and made many batches, some with a Jello box and some without! I have blogged on Homemade Jello before and most of you know that I don't like to make the box Jello because of the artificial dyes. It's SIMPLE to substitute the box Jello mix with Gelatine. I'll tell you how to make it both ways!
First of all, I taste tested ginger ale, sparkling water, and sparkling juice to see which one had the most carbonation. You want a highly carbonated drink to make this! The more carbonation the better because some is lost in the process of making it! I tried making it with sparkling juice and in the process of making it most of the carbonation is lost. Ginger ale was ok, some of the carbonation came through in the Jello. I did like the taste it gave the Jello so I would say use Ginger ale for its flavor! The sparkling water was, hands down, the best thing to use to make sure the carbonation comes through in your jello! It give a fun ZING to this old time favorite snack!

What you need~ With Jello Box:
  • 6oz. box of any flavor Jello
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of plain or flavored sparkling water (COLD)
When making Jello with a box, the flavor is already there so you simply want to use regular sparkling water. I used cranberry lime sparkling seltzer water, picture below, but the flavor doesn't come through.

Simply boil your 1 1/2 cups of water. Pull away from heat and stir in your Jello box contents. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Slowly add your 2 cups of COLD sparkling water. Carefully pour into containers that you will serve the jello in. You want to be careful because it will foam up due to the carbonation. Refrigerate for a few hours till firm.

 What you need~ With Gelatine:
  • 1 1/2 cups of juice 
  • 2 packages of Knox Gelatine (there are 4 packs in one box)
  • 2 cups of plain or flavored sparkling water or ginger ale (COLD)
Now, when you are making the homemade jello, without a box, you have to decide what color you want to make it. I wanted ours to look like champagne so I used white grape juice. The juice will also be most of the flavor of the jello, so pick one that your family likes! 

Simply boil 1 cup of juice. In the other half cup of juice, stir in your 2 gelatine packs. Then stir in your boiling juice. Once mixed well, refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Next, slowly stir in your 2 cups of COLD sparkling water or ginger ale. You have to make your choice here.... Ginger ale will give it better flavor but sparkling water will give it more of a ZING! 
I chose sparkling water because I don't need it to be as sweet!
If you were planning on making these for adults, you can substitute a little bit of the 2 cups of cold liquid for alcohol and make them into Sparkling Jello shots!!! 
 Pour into glasses and refrigerate till firm!
It was such a beautiful snowy day here, I had to take a picture outside!
 For our New Years gathering, I used plastic champagne flutes to pour the jello in! This was a HIT all around! The kids loved eating jello out of them!

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