May 22, 2015

From Cookies to Muddy Boots - DIY Drying Rack

My "About Me" page claims that I re-cycle, 
up-cycle and repurpose for the sheer joy of it. 

Here's my latest joy...

We've all seen the boot drying racks with 
pretty stones, rocks or pebbles in a pan on 
Pinterest, right?

So pretty, yes, however, every time you want 
to clean out all the accumulated mud & dirt you 
have to dump out all the stones, wash them and 
let them dry a bit before putting them back in the pan.

Not very practical for this country girl.

Recycle Baking Sheets, DIY Boot Drying Rack

I needed something I could rinse off  easily 
with my hose and put back in place before 
the muddy boots started arriving again!

So here's my solution; old cookie sheet, 
cooling rack and pretty spray paint.

The cooling rack is easy to rinse & dry and 
allows maximum air flow for muddy/wet boots.

Honestly, I did not over think this too much, 
so it was a really quick project. 
I did not "prepare" the baking sheets in any way 
prior to painting. We've been using them now for 
over two months. Works perfectly! 

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Have you used the pebble/stone drying racks?
Do they work for your family?

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May 18, 2015

The Five Days of Spring - DIY Cleaners

Did I miss spring cleaning time? (I hope, I hope, I hope)
We just cleaned out the last of the ashes from our wood-burning stove. 
And, after this past weekend, my shoulders are sun-scorched. 
I'm sooo confused!

The definition of Spring

Spring: n.noun,the five days 
between the bone-chilling cold 
of winter and the sweltering heat 
of summer.

Got it!

Easy Household Cleaning Recipes

Here are the recipes I use to make my own household cleaners.

For my everyday cleaner, I purchased a heavy duty spray bottle from a local restaurant store. The others are from the Dollar Store.

This has been my only glass cleaner since 1989! 
Works perfectly!

DIY glass cleaner ~

2 Tbsp ammonia
1 tsp. dish detergent
1 pint rubbing alcohol
4 drops of blue food coloring (optional)
1 gallon hot water

Combine ingredients.
Fill a spray bottle & label.

However, if you would rather not use ammonia, here's an alternative that works just fine.

Combine 1 cup water with ¼ cup white distilled vinegar, 
add a few drops of blue food coloring to distinguish it as
a glass cleaner, if you wish. Fill a spray bottle & label.

DIY disinfectant cleaner ~

½ cup white distilled vinegar

2  cups hot water
10 drops tea tree oil (melaleuca oil)
1 teaspoon washing soda (optional)

Combine ingredients.
Fill spray bottle & label.

DIY degreaser ~

2 cups water

¼ cup oil based soap (Murphy's Oil Soap)
10 drops of your favorite essential oil

Mix well, fill a spray bottle & label.

to use: Shake, Spray and wipe with 
a damp cloth. 

Concerned about the safety of  Murphy's Oil Soap, 
check the Good Guide.

And finally, my everyday cleaner...

DIY all-purpose cleaner ~

2 cups water

2 Tablespoons dish-washing liquid

Combine, fill spray bottle & label.

Use whichever dish-washing liquid 
you normally use for hand washing
your dishes. 

Using my Cricut & the free Cricut Craft Room software, I made these cute labels but in the end, I just popped the letters on instead. 

Do you make your own
household cleaning products?

Do you have a great recipe 
you would like to share?

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Mar 23, 2015

DIY felt coasters - spring flowers

Happy Spring!
I wanted to be ready for the upcoming picnic season with a 
few hostess gifts. This is a super simple project.

DIY felt coaster supplies

I found a roll of thin cork at Goodwill for 97¢ and was inspired!
I ran it through my Cuttlebug along with some felt and created these fun flowers. I tried two different methods; cutting out the centers to fit into the flowers and just cutting out separate centers to adhere atop the solid flowers. Personally, I preferred the look of the latter.  All was adhered with spray adhesive.


easy DIY felt coaster

I'm hoping they'll bring a little smile to those who receive them.
Have a blessed day!

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DIY spring flower felt coasters

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Mar 5, 2015

Safety Education series - Poisoning

March 5, 2015
Safety education: Poisoning

National Poison Prevention week is March 15-21, 2015. 
Today we're going to learn some important poison prevention tips along with some life applications.

Homeschool Safety Education series: Poison Prevention tips

HRSA has a wonderful site called Poison Help. 

*Visit Poison Help's, "What Can You Do?" section and read through the various pages on the left side bar. 
*Read over the articles together or have older students navigate through at their own pace, taking notes along the way. 
*On the Emergency Checklist page:

1. Within the first sentence of the article, we are given the 1-800- number to call. Have your students put this number in their mobile phones under "Poison Help" right now. Parents/teachers too! 

2. As we read over the article, I found the need to emphasize to the children the time stated to rinse the skin or eyes was longer than they thought.  15-20 minutes is a long time!!  
If you have time, let them "rinse" each other's hand 
under the water without looking at a clock and stop 
when they think 15 minutes have passed.
~ They thought 7 minutes was an eternity!
(quite an eye-opener!)

3. At the end of the article it asks us to be ready to talk to the expert on the phone. Use the questions to review important family information. 
Do your children know how old you/parents are?
Do they know if anyone in the family has special medical conditions?

Sometimes we assume the children pick up this information automatically, just by being a family member. An emergency is not the time to find out they didn't know! 

Could your child give adequate directions to your home?

If not, have them Google your address, print out the directions, and keep them near the phone.

*After reading through the section, "Poison Proof your Home" have students create their own checklist to refer to as they walk through their home or a family member's home.

*Finally, with all the information learned, have the students prepare a display or presentation to be given to fellow homeschoolers, family or friends for the upcoming National Poison Prevention week, March 15-21. Also, check with your local library or fire company to see if you can present your findings to a public group.

Poison Help, Safety Education series, Homeschool, Preparedness

Thank you for joining us this week.

Additional note: Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 2:00 am. The clock is set to go forward 1 hour at that time. It's also a good time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors

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useful, please consider leaving a
comment. Thank you.

disclaimer: I am not a doctor or safety expert. This article is only intended 
to serve as an encouragement to discuss safety basics and give safety class 
ideas to homeschoolers. 

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Feb 21, 2015

Baking with Brookside Chocolates (Goji with Raspberry) - easy brownies - printable recipe

Baking with Brookside Chocolates Goji with Raspberry, brownies

Are you a Brookside chocolate lover?
They are SO good!
But to avoid eating them all myself, I decided to have a little play in the kitchen then share the love.

Using my favorite home-made brownie recipe, I scooped the batter into a paper lined mini muffin pan and placed a little Brookside gem atop each one.

baking brownies with Brookside Chocolates and Hershey's Cocoa

I got a thumbs up from everyone and will definitely be making these again!

Baking with Brookside Chocolates - Easy Fudge Brownies

Here's my go to brownie easy!!

Easy Fudge Brownies

½  cup butter, plus 2 Tablespoons (set aside)
6  Tablespoons cocoa powder
1  cup white sugar
2  eggs
1  teaspoon vanilla
¾  cup all-purpose flour
½  cup chopped nuts (optional; walnuts, pecans,etc)
confectioner's sugar for garnish or your favorite frosting

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease an 8x8 inch square baking pan.

In a saucepan, melt the ½ cup butter over medium low heat.  
Once melted, stir in the cocoa and additional 2 Tablespoons of butter.


Immediately add the sugar; mix well. 
Stir in the eggs, one at a time. 
Add the vanilla, flour and nuts (if using)

Spread brownie batter evenly in greased pan.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack. 
Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar or frost.

I used the above recipe to create my 
Brookside Chocolate, Goji with Raspberry 
cupcake brownies. 
- Maria @ 

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Have you experimented in the
kitchen lately?
Any new recipes to share??

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