Bubble Station

I saw this post here on It’s Always Craft Time where she took one of those lemonade-ish pitchers that have the little spout on them and turned it into a bubble refill station.  I thought the idea was super cute and something that the kids would love.  She said how she only spent five bucks on the container so I was sure I had to make one of these.

The very next day there were village wide sales in a village very close to mine and I happened to find this baby.  For THREE BUCKS!!!  Score!

  

The base is separate and has a little bowl area to put ice if you were to use it for drinks too.  And..no .. I did not get salad dressing at the sale… I put it there to show the scale of this thing!  HUGE!

So…. I had a few smaller bottles of dish soap that I had stashed away from couponing= FREE, some Karo syrup leftover from holiday peanut brittle making= essentially FREE, and water= FREE to make our own bubbles (this is a recipe I found online somewhere and I guess the karo syrup can be substituted with glycerin so I think it is to hold the bubbles shape for longer once in the air.)  The kids love helping with this step too, of course.  I ended up using an entire small bottle of dish soap and some of another and almost an entire bottle of karo syrup trying to get the rope bubbles to work better.  I ended up not filling the container with water because I was trying to concentrate the bubble solution more for the rope bubbles.

I had also come across an idea to make rope bubbles at one point.  You put bubbles in some sort of try and then use a rope tied into a loop to make huge bubbles.  So…

I found one of those aluminum foil toss out pans that I had leftover and a piece of rope.  The rope bubbles were a bit harder for the kids to do.  You have to hold the rope just right… leaving your fingers out of the way enough that the bubble won’t pop hitting your fingers when it is releasing from the rope.  My son was still really good at it, though.

I also just gave the kids those bubble wands that you get at the dollar store.  These are great.  You just twirl around or let the wind blow it and don’t have to hyperventilate to get some real bubbles going.

Helping make the bubbles….

Bubbles in progress…  This pitcher also has a great top that just pulls off.  When the kids are playing… if they let a ton of bubbles into the pan and they didn’t get all dirty… I just pour it back in to use next time.

Bubble wands…

He is making a rope bubble here….  (and yes that is a pile of clam shells… we had a cookout the same weekend and the kids were playing with the shells taking them in and out of the water table aka “the sea”… 😛  )

So… while we can still use this to refill smaller bottles of bubbles… my smaller kids are loving the big pan of bubbles and wands at the moment.  I am so glad that I found the original post and got the great deal on the pitcher.

I finally got some black vinyl the other day and want to make time this weekend to cut out “Bubble Station” on my cricut.  I will update with a pic when I finally do so.

*Update—  Here is the pic of the pitcher with more water and the vinyl!  I think it came out pretty good.  I am really new at the whole vinyl thing.  This was the first time I tried to put vinyl on anything using the transfer paper.

Are your kids into bubbles???   Any great bubbles recipes?  or unique ideas for fun with bubbles???

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DIY Japanese Zen Wall Art

I recently realized that my whole house basically has a different area of the world as it’s main decor theme.  I didn’t really know what the bathroom theme was until I found some examples of Japanese Zen decor and decided that I already basically had that going on.

I wanted to change up the wall art in there and I am still not sure what I wanted on the walls.  I am thinking foliage, greens, grasses….

So… for the time being at least…. I found some faux fern and leaves that I had in my craft stuff and framed them in some white dollar store frames on top of some scrapbooking paper that came in a big pack from the dollar store.  This is what I came up with… for now at least.

I wanted to include the widened out picture to show that the white frames were to bring everything together with the white appliances, fixtures, and cabinets in my bathroom.

I bought these white frames and used the same brown paper previously to frame out sepia toned photos of my kids playing in the tub.

Spring Wreath Turned Summer Wreath?

I picked up a few bunches of flowers from the Dollar General in white and purple to coordinate with the hurricane vases that I did.  They were a buck a bunch and I ended up only using one bunch of white and one of purple here.

I wanted to add something to this wreath to be able to use it all through summer too and get my moneys worth out of the pretty yellow wreath.  I used some wire snips and clipped each bunch of flowers from the main bunch and just spaced them evenly around the wreath doing the purple first and then putting the white in between each purple bunch.

My orange butterfly has been fading from the sun… so I am wondering if I should remove it.

I only stuck the flowers in for now and plan to attach them with floral wire once I decide that they will stay for a while.

So… what do ya think?

Before- (spring wreath version)

After-

*Update-  I didn’t like the butterfly on there still… both due to the fading and because the orange seemed out of place so I removed it and the hummingbird.  Now do I leave it like this… with just these flowers?  Do I add a few.. say three bigger flowers of either purple or white?  Do they have to be the same type of flower .. though…?  Do I add some sort of ribbon… bow… other embellishment instead???  hmmm….

    

 

 

Aunt Rae’s Catchy Clam Chowder

We had family over this past weekend and bought a bushel (300) clams to steam on the cooker outside with corn on the cob, hot dogs, relish tray stuff, potato salad, chips, pretzels, etc…. and ice cream cake.  With only six adults actually eating the clams we ended up with quite a few leftover clams.

I couldn’t let them go to waste… so my lovely mother did me the favor of plucking all of the leftover clams out of the shells and popping them in the fridge for me.

I heard that my husband’s Aunt Rae makes the best clam chowder so I got a hold of the recipe and made some up today.

I had to make a few minor changes to use what I had, but followed the recipe pretty closely.  It turned out super yummy and I will definitely make it again!!!

 

Here is the recipe!

Aunt Rae’s Catchy Clam Chowder—

 

1/4 lb bacon cut into small pieces

1 lg onion chopped

1/2 sliced carrots

1/2 head chopped celery

3 to 4 medium size Idaho baking potatoes, skinned and cubed

2 tbsp butter

1 c. dry sherry

salt and pepper

2 (24 oz.) cans clams in juice

1/2 qt. light cream

1/2 qt. half & half

1 qt. milk

1 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

 

Melt butter in heavy, large kettle.  Add bacon.  Layer on top of bacon: onion, carrots, celery and potatoes.  Cover and simmer for about 1/2 hour.  Stir and continue to cook until tender, then add sherry, salt, pepper, clams, light cream, half & half, and milk.  Simmer about 20 minutes.  Add Old Bay.  Increase heat to medium.  Thicken with butter/flour paste (1/4 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup flour, blended).

 

* I used fresh clams chopped with a super sharp knife and heated in a saucepan with a bit of unsalted butter instead of the canned clams in juice.  I used some white cooking wine that I had in the fridge instead of the dry sherry.  I also didn’t have cream or half & half so I just used the 2 qts of milk.  I am sure it would be a bit nicer and creamier with the cream, but it came out just delicious the way I made it. (just in case you are thinking you have to run out and get cream just to make this…)

 

Enjoy!!!

Do you steam clams over the summer?  Or don’t you do shellfish?

5 Cheese Mac n Cheese Yumminess!

It finally cooled down enough for me to want to cook this on the stove today.  We have been having some super warm unusual northern NY weather the last few days.  I am not complaining… but I certainly wasn’t about to stand over a hot stove when it was 90 something outside.

Anyway… I first came across this original recipe online somewhere (sorry… hand wrote it down.. and have no idea where it originally came from) after I threw a wine and cheese pairing party and had a bunch of yummy more expensive cheeses to use up.  So…. I took this recipe but used different main cheeses.  The first few times I made this I used Jarlsberg, Gouda, extreme sharp aged NY cheddar, Camembert, and Parmesan I believe.  It was soooooo creamy and delicious!!!

This is the original recipe—

 

1- 16 oz. elbow macaroni

1/4 lb. bacon

1 med onion diced

5 tbsp unsalted butter

6 tbsp flour

1 tbsp dijon

2 1/2 c milk

2 c heavy cream (I didn’t have heavy cream and don’t today either…. I just used about four c milk total and it came out great still.)

1 sprig thyme

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 c grated fontina

1/2 c crumbled blue cheese

3/4 c gruyere

3/4 c parmesan

3/4 c white cheddar

3 tbsp parsley

1/4 c bread crumbs

 

450 F oven and butter a 9×13 glass pan

boil mac with salt

In dutch oven- saute bacon- remove and reserve

saute onion in bacon drippings

add 5 tbsp butter to onion and melt

stir with wooden spoon

 

using whisk- add flour and stir consistently with fat to make a roux

whisk mustard in

gradually add milk and cream

 

add thyme, bay leaf, and salt

let come to simmer and stir frequently for 15 min

 

strain the hot milk mix into metal bowl and discard solids

 

work quick and mix 1 c fontina and blue and 1/2 c gruyere, 1/2 c cheddar and 1/2 c parm into milk mixture with bacon and parsley

continue to stir until cheese is melted

 

add cooked noodles to cheese

mix to coat

add mix to glass dish

mix remaining cheese and bread crumbs together and sprinkle on top

 

bake for 15-20 min or until bubbling and golden brown

rest for 5 min

 

ENJOY!!!

28 Muffin Recipes

My kids absolutely LOVE muffins… of all sorts… I make the little mini ones and they gobble them up like crazy.  So… I had to share this link to Eat At Home Cooks where they list 28 muffin recipes.  They go from Snickerdoodle to Poppy Seed to White Chocolate Pineapple.  I can’t wait to try a few of these babies!!!

 

Snickerdoodle Muffin from Eat At Home Cooks

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Poppy Seed Muffin from Eat At Home Cooks

 

White Chocolate Pineapple Muffins from Mommy Hates Cooking

 

Summer Bucket List

So… I have been talking to my friend and my sister in law lately about how the summer goes by so fast.  Having young kids we always want to do so much with them, but with my husband working full time and doing all of the work on the huge addition we rarely actually get much of our quality family time in.

I saw a few different posts this morning on a couple blogs about actually creating lists so that you can actually check things off.  It seems to be so much easier… for me at least… to actually do things if I make a list or.. even better… schedule it out on the calendar.  I would give credit to the blog posts that I saw this morning…. if my blog surfing hadn’t gone off on a total tangent to where I cannot retrace my steps and find them again!!! urgh….  I will update this with the two posts if I find them.

(*update- this is not one of the ones I found before… but here is a cute one with printables!!! Positively Splendid

family summer bucket list)

Anyway….  one of the posts had a cute display where she wrote out the different things on these little luggage tag shaped scrapbooking embellishments and then used cute push pins to attach them to a bulletin board.  I would like to eventually make some cute display so that we can somehow check the things off with the kids.

I will share that when I come up with it.  For now… this is the list that I am coming up with and I am sure that I will add to it and do many other things with the kids that aren’t on the list.

Summer Bucket List-

  • Go to a parade
  • Watch fireworks
  • Go to a fair or festival
  • Camp in our backyard
  • Camp at my brother’s house with their cousin
  • Have a bonfire and make S’mores
  • Go fishing at least ten times
  • Go to the beach as a family
  • Have a park picnic day and fly kites
  • Paint rocks for our Garden and Grandma’s garden
  • Plant another tree
  • Find at least one community service that we can do as a whole family
  • Take a trip to Enchanted Forest (a semi close water park)
  • Make bird treats to hang in the trees
  • Make liquid cornstarch sidewalk chalk
  • Make shaped crayons with old crayons
  • Go to the cemetery and feed the ducks
  • Catch lightning bugs
  • Go to the drive ins as a family at least five times
  • Go to the ZOO once a week (bought a membership)
So….. I think this will be good to have things written out and check in throughout the weeks of summer to be sure we are checking some family time off.  I know the addition needs to get done and there are chore type things that have to be done, but I do not want to regret anything about parenting my children.  We need to make time for the little fun things in life… even if I have to make lists and schedule.
What is on your Summer Bucket List???