26 May 2015

DIY Laundry Soap!

Hey all, I'm back with yet another homemade laundry soap recipe. After fine tuning my previously used powder recipe (found here) I've come up with something super simple & quite possibly the easiest & most effective soap blend we've used to date!

What you'll need:
-Washing Soda
-Baking Soda
-Zote Soap Flakes
-(OPTIONAL) Scent Boosters (Purex is the favorite around here)!
You can also swap out the scent boosters for essential oils as well! ;)

Recipe? Just mix 1 cup each of the Borax, Washing Soda, Baking Soda, & Soap Flakes together with one cap of the Scent Boosters. Seriously, SUPER easy!
If you're like us & do a lot of laundry on a weekly basis, mix 2 cups each of the Borax, Washing Soda, & Baking Soda with the entire box of Soap Flakes & 2 caps of the Scent Boosters.
To measure out I use a Scent Booster cap for my measuring cup. Typically 1 cap for small loads, 2 for large will do the trick! For a little extra cleaning punch (especially for those whites!) I add in 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar to keep out clothes nice & clean.

For starters a box of Borax, Washing Soda, & Baking Soda will run you about $10. A box of Zote Soap Flakes is slightly less than $3. Scent Boosters run from $5-8, depending on brand.
On average, our family of 5 (7, if you count the pups!) racks up about $15/month in laundry soap costs. In comparison, we were running at nearly $10 per WEEK for free/clear liquid laundry soap! Needless to say our wallets are slightly happier now with this new arrangement. If you still prefer liquid detergent to powder, check out my awesome homemade liquid detergent recipe on the blog!

Have a favorite DIY laundry soap recipe? Feel free to post below...I'd love to check it out!

13 February 2015

DIY Scented Play Dough

So x3 has been on a HUGE play dough kick for the last month or so. Problem is I found myself continuously piking up dry crumbs and having to dump after only a use or two of the store bought stuff, which is an all around waste of money and product. So I decided to go back to a tried & true homemade play dough recipe I found when x1 & x2 were littler & added some scented oils in for a fun twist!

What you'll need:
3 cups flour
1.5 cups salt
6 tsp. cream of tarter
3 tbsp. oil (I just used vegetable oil)
3 cups water
20-25 drops essential oils of your choice
food coloring (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a large pot over medium heat, or closely monitor your little monsters doing so. :)
Consider CAREFULLY when it comes to oils, as some scents are more powerful than others & need to be used with a greater amount of caution around littles (peppermint, anyone?), so please make sure you do your homework here!
For this batch x3 chose a berry blend. Some suggestions are lavender, if you want the dough to have a "calming" effect, or even eucalyptus for those suffering from stuffy noses!
Continuously stir. Dough will start to form a ball/pull away from sides of the pot after a few minutes.
Flip dough ball onto smooth surface & knead when cool enough to handle until you get that play dough texture! I prefer wax paper for this part, as sometimes the dough will stick at first to a counter or cutting board!
Yields 4 "servings" of play dough (I added in the cream of tartar container for a size reference!). Store sealed when cool & not in use. I used some plastic dollar tupperware we had laying around. When stored properly (cool/dry place), I've had batches last up to 3 months before it began to dry out or crumble!
Optionally, if you'd like colored dough, you can add in the food coloring of your choice during the kneading process. I take each dough ball & quarter it, adding 2-3 drops of color per section, & then kneed it all back again whole.
And, yes, I use gloves. I hate having stain on my hands. :p
And there you have it! Quick & easy, the whole process took me less than 30 minutes for x3 & I to do, & over a week later we're still enjoying the play dough on a daily basis!

03 December 2014

Little Monsters

Happy Holidays everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving & are enjoying the countdown til 2015! :)

I'm happy to announce that "Little Monsters" is once again in full swing on Etsy!
In need of some natural lip balms? We've got NINE different flavors to choose from!

Looking for some crochet accessories to keep you warm this winter? Got those too AND all patterns are available for customs in a variety of color schemes including military branches, Disney Princesses, Harry Potter, & Game of Thrones houses!

Last but not least, nursing necklaces and pads are restocked & awaiting homes!

Be sure to swing by the shop & check out all of the current products offered!
As always, my wonderful fans get the best discounts. Currently FREESHIP will get you free shipping on ALL orders $25+! All you have to do is head over to mommyx3monsters & give me a like before you purchase!

Wishing you the best this winter!
<3 Maddie & the monsters

06 November 2014

DIY Shower Soothers

I don't know about you all, but it's definitely cold season in our house! Which means lots of stuffy noses & congested children.

One of my favorite homemade remedies for these sickies are our homemade shower soothers! Quick & easy to make, & super affordable, especially when compared to their OTC counterparts!

For starters, you'll need some baking soda, water, baking molds, & essential oils.

Mix 2 cups of baking soda with 1 cup water until the mixture starts to ball up/stick together.

Grab your baking mold & fill each mold half way with the baking soda/water mix. While muffin tins w/liners will work in a pinch, I much prefer my silicone molds, as it's easier to pop the shower soothers out when done!

Time for oils! Add in approximately 10-12 drops total per soother. Typically I'll do 3-4 per oil.
The best essential oils for the job are rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender, to ensure the soothers are family friendly & safe for all ages. I do add camphor oil to mine occasionally, but never for the monsters.

After the oils are added, use the remaining baking soda/water mixture to fill in your molds.

When everything is full, bake in the over for about 15-20 minutes at 350*.

When done & cool, pop out & store immediately in a sealed contained or Ziploc bag.

Usually will stay for a good 6-8 weeks as is, or, if you want to add additional scent before use, up to 6 months total.

To use simply place in the shower, out of the direct stream of water, but close enough that the steam activates the scent.

Just remember, while there are tons of variations online as far as amounts, times, quantities, this is what works best for us. Poke & tweak at the recipe if needed til it fits your family's needs just right!

01 November 2014

DIY Custom Bathroom Cups

First & foremost, a huge HELLO from Idaho! PCS #3 went sorta smoothly & all 5 of us (& the pups!) are now safe & sound at our new home out west & absolutely loving life.
Between the deployment & move, this year seems like such a blur. I can't believe we're only 2 months away from 2015 already! o.O

Seeing as the holidays are right around the corner, the monsters & I decided to channel our craftiness this afternoon & make some easy DIY gifts!

I give you customized bathroom cups!

Of course, there's got to be one that doesn't cooperate & that just happened to be x3's this time, as her stickers (gwen) wouldn't all fit on one face of the tumbler. lol

*The materials? Plastic tumblers (don't recommend glass/mason jars for littles!) & wall art alphabet stickers. Extra wall art stickers could be used to decorate around the tumbler if desired!
*Why wall art stickers? Because, if you're like me, you're going to reposition something a time or two (...or ten) in order to line them up just the way you want it WITHOUT the image losing it's ability to stick!
*The cost? I got 8 tumblers (4 in each color) & 1 pack of wall art ABCs for just $5. That's 3 tumblers for the monsters, one for DH & I, & 4 to give away as gifts for the holidays!
*Use? Anything really. For us I'm using them as individual toothbrush/paste holders (we're in the "don't touch my stuff!" / "quit breathing my air!" stage. -sigh-). For gifts, the possibilities are endless. They can hold tooth brushing essentials, or serve as a hair brush/pony/comb holder, or even as a pen/pencil cup for say a teacher or coworker. Anything but an -actual- cup really, as I don't think the stickers would be up for that kind of wear & tear. ;)

Note - Not necessary, but brushing a coat or two of Modge Podge over the stickers always helps!

Hope you all enjoyed! Have a favorite holiday DIY? Pass this one & share yours here! :)

07 June 2014

Backyard Summer Fun!

Around here we're always looking to add a new twist to our favorite games!
Because of the heat, the monsters have been all about water balloons the past few weeks. We've done toss contests, filled them up with different liquids to see what pops first, a shaving cream balloon fight, & finally, their favorite, target practice!
The game itself is easy enough. Grab a few different chalk colors & make a target board (sidewalk or fence both work great!) with different sized targets. The larger the target, the smaller the point value!

We decided to use smaller numbers this round since x3 is starting to get the hang of simple addition. Previous rounds have included skip counting by 3s, 5s, & a money round (1c, 5c, 10c, 25c)! Anything to keep those math skills sharp, right?
We'll also do a small "scoreboard" off to the side to tally up points after the game is over.

Now, the fun part. Grab a water balloon, take aim, & FIRE!

To add a twist, some rounds we stand on one leg for, use our opposite hand, close of eyes, or even toss backwards over our heads! Anything to shake it up a bit!
Water balloons & chalk...such a simple combination, but they love it! Personally I love the fact that they're playing outdoors while working on sharing/taking turns, math, balance, aim, & coordination, but hey, it's all in the name of fun so who am I to spoil that? lol
What are some of your favorite backyard summer games? I'd love to see some links/ideas below! :)

15 May 2014

"Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"

As mentioned previously, x2 turned 7 back on May 4th. :)
We're still caught up in the madness of all things "Frozen" so it was no surprise to me when my own little Anna asked for that to be her theme this year.

After scouring Pinterest with her (& finding some extremely awesome ideas!), we decided on doing our version of the Arendelle banner &, of course, we had to add Olaf in there along with the paper snowflakes & streamers.

& while I love to craft & bake, I stink at cakes. Anything above the very most basic of marshmallow fondant designs & I'm way out of my league. x2 had spotted her dream cake, a multi-tiered "North Mountain" masterpiece with Elsa, Anna, & the gang placed all around to celebrate.
Solution? Powdered donuts!

Okay, so not the most elegant of creations, but it worked! The kids loved it & it was so much easier to just pull apart the donuts & serve vs cutting into & messing up a beautiful cake.

Now, the tricky part of a "Frozen" party in May, especially in Georgia, is the frozen aspect itself. It was 80*+ at party time, so we set up sprinklers, squirt guns, & water balloons for a "melted snowball fight". The biggest hit, I think, was a DIY snow recipe I found over at Growing a Jeweled Rose. We took 2 big boxes of Baking Soda (the jumbo size, found in the laundry aisle!) & mixed it with 3 cans of shaving cream. After a few minutes of working the 2 ingredients together we had moldable snow! & it was COLD! A nice contrast to a hot & sunny day.

The little kids had a BLAST & honestly I think the adults enjoyed playing with it just as much. I will admit I was surprised to find that the "snow" stayed cold as long as 24 hours later! Definitely a keeper for the summer!

As for "Frozen" itself, I don't see our house jumping off the bandwagon anytime soon. Both x2 & x3 have asked to dress up as the sisters this year for Halloween, which means costumes are now in the works!

Stay tuned to see how they turn out!

07 May 2014

Spring Happenings

Honestly, most days I feel that my computer hates me. After yet ANOTHER temporary lock out (new browser, new settings >.<), I'm back & have lots to share on what's been going on these past few months! Several crafts, DIYs, lots of garden goodies...so much to post in the coming days!
Biggest event around here lately happened last weekend, as x2 turned 7! She had an awesome time with her friends, playing in the snow (both powdered & melted!) out back at her Frozen party before blowing out the candle on her "North Mountain" cake.
I know some of you have asked about the picture a day we started back in January & wanted to answer that while we -are- continuing the pictures, we're posting them solely on my private Facebook, as it's easiest to access for both DH & I while he's on deployment.

Which, speaking of, we've got just over a month now under our belt & while we're anxiously counting down to the fall, I'm also trying to keep the kids busy & have them enjoy the summer. We found out last week that it's to be out last in Georgia, as the Air Force has other location plans in mind for us. So if anyone has the scoop on Idaho, fill me in please! :D

02 February 2014

All Natural

The other day a friend of mine tagged me in an experimental "body positivity" project on Facebook.
In the day & age we live in, one can hardly turn around without having some bombardment of "beauty" in our face, showing us flawless bodies in perfect clothes & goddess like features. Something us every day people feel like we will never achieve, so we hide our insecurities behind clothes, jewelry, & makeup, burying the true beauty inside deep within. & never, I mean EVER, post the real you on social media outlooks, because that will never live up to another's unrealistic expectations.
So the point of this project is simple. Just post a picture of YOU, no hair or make up done, no fancy clothes or blinged out accessories, & share it for the world to see that beauty cannot be defined by one common image. Natural beauty, rather, is as diverse as the individual it belongs to & should be celebrated, not hidden away.
So, without further ado & looking past all the flaws I see, here I am for all the world to see. Anyone else up to the challenge?

Speaking of pictures, I know a few of you had asked about the Monsters daily photo challenge. It's going well, however Daddy has been home the past few weeks, so there's really nothing to share on here. Never fear though, I'm sure they'll be wanting to do more entries soon! ;)

27 January 2014

DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner

I've gotten quite a few questions about green cleaning products & how to make your own while on a budget, so I decided to share one of my favorite recipes today!

Super simple (only 2 ingredients!) & cost effective, this little mixture works on practically anything I need disinfecting in both the kitchen & the bathroom with no harsh chemicals or residue! Awesome, right?
First, gather up some of your favorite citrus & start peeling!

The Monsters are addicted to "halos" (mini oranges) at the moment, so I usually buy the big 5lb bag & divide the peels between 2 glass jars. Peeling all the fruit at once isn't exactly necessary, but it helps ensure that all the peels are equally fresh when it comes time to add the vinegar!
Once everything is peeled, fill the jars to the neck (leaving about an inch or so under the lid) with white vinegar, screw on the lid, & store in a pantry or cabinet for at LEAST 2 weeks (no more than a month). After 2-3 days I'll usually check on my jars & see if the peels have settled & add more white vinegar if necessary.

After time is up, put a strainer in a bowl & pour our the jar's contents so that the peels are separated from the citrus-infused vinegar.

Toss the peels (or use them to freshen up the garbage disposal!) & pour the citrus vinegar into a spray bottle.

If necessary, add just a bit more white vinegar to the bottle to help mix & fill it up!

Now you're all set to start spraying & scrubbing away! Seriously, one of the best things I've every used as far as tub stains & greasy stoves are concerned.
Have another favorite green cleaning recipe? Feel free to link it in the comments! :)