On Generous Fun (or Holiday Gifts Kids Can Make!)

Disclosure: This is a post in a series of sponsored posts as a Brand Ambassador for the ARKANSAS BETTER BEGINNINGS program.  I believe in their mission and everything expressed will be my own honest opinion! #ARBB

How many times have you heard “I’m bored!” during a school vacation or even just a weekend?

Keeping kids entertained doesn’t have to be exhausting, and can be beneficial to everyone!

Here are some fun things for the kids that will help them cooperate to make holiday gifts and even learn while doing it!  (Don’t tell them!)

I let the kids choose a few homemade recipes for gifts that they wanted to make for teachers and friends.  (They had to cooperate with each other to make these, read and measure, and had fun! A great way to teach generosity as well.)

My children wanted to make Snow-Ball Bath Bombs and Play Dough.

These activities are a great way to get the kids using their science, math, and reading skills as well as cooperation and sensory fun!     

To make the bath bombs…
(This activity is safe as long as children are supervised.  I recommend it for preschool ages and up.)


*The citric acid is the hardest to find in this recipe.  I found  mine online, but you can get it at hobby stores or you can substitute a lemon, lime, or orange powder OR can use the canning preservative that says it’s main ingredient is Citric Acid.  


This play dough recipe is the best one I’ve ever found.  It takes time to make and I only let my children measure and put ingredients into the pan as it is very tedious and takes some strength.  It’s a great gift or just fun to have on hand and lasts a long time!  Wonderful for sensory play, learning letters by shaping, and much more!  Also, it’s non-toxic and safe for toddlers and up to play with.

*Put some dough in an airtight container with a couple of cookie cutters for a great holiday gift! 


Having children help make gifts is a great way to play together as a family!



On Gettin’ Clean

Yesterday I tried a new recipe for laundry detergent.
I usually make a liquid detergent because I just think it dissolves better
when it’s colder weather (especially if you use mainly cold water to wash.)
I love my recipe and it’s so inexpensive to make.   The liquid recipe makes
equivalent to about 9 bottles of the HE detergent (medium bottles) or probably
one of the giant ones from Sam’s Club. 
Since it’s getting warmer I wanted to try a powdered detergent recipe and 
see how it compares. 
Powdered Laundry Detergent
1 bar of soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s Citrus) 
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of Washing Soda
*if desired a few drops of essential oils- I use tea tree oil for antibacterial properties and a drop of bergamot because it smells nice 

What you need

Put borax, washing soda, and essential oils (if using) in bowl and stir. 
Grate bar of soap into bowl.

I used my blender to mix it all into a fine powder
Finished Product
So far it’s working great.  
I like that it takes up less space in my cabinet.
I’ll let you know if it lasts as long as the other recipe. 
(Especially since it costs a little more to make.)
the never-ending battle.
Are you here? 
Guess I have to get cleaning then…

With Ten Minutes and $1

What can you do with a ten minutes and about $1 (or so?) 
Make 12 quarts of laundry detergent
1 quart of *tub scrub
*Today I deviated from my “Rub a Dub 3 Men in the Tub Scrub” recipe and added Citric Acid instead of True Lemon (because that’s what I had) and added Bergamot essential oil drops (about 4) to make a nice citrusy smell.  Smells lovely! 
So easy I didn’t even have to get out of my PJ’s!

Oh…. Tannenbaum

Christmas Tree?
Christmas Tree!
My strong boys and their tree
The kids did all but the lights this year!
We finally managed to make it to the tree farm on Sunday.  
They did mention that was their last day to be open, so we just squeaked in!
The kids talked us into two trees since the big ones were all gone.  
I just got the boxes back up today so it doesn’t look so much like a disaster area 
(at least in the rooms that company will see.)
I’ve been feeling grinchy. 
(“Bah, humbug” says Mama Scrooge.) 
Trying to get in the spirit, so tomorrow we are getting together with friends
  to make care packages 
for men in a Sober Living facility.  
Birthday cake to make for J.  
He’s requested:
3 tiers,
fondant covered with cookie crumb dirt,
and cookies and cream filling,
with (guess who) Indiana Jones running down the hill and a 
giant ball rolling down after him.
Someone’s been watching too much Cake Boss on Netfllix.
Speaking of yummy cakes,
My mom made this beauty for me for my birthday!

Doggie Risotto

I like to make my own doggy food. 

  My dog is quite large due to his bad habit of swiping the kids food when they aren’t looking,
  food for fat pups is quite expensive.
  I know what is in it and can modify it according to his needs (ie Low-Fat)

What I end up doing when I can is something like the recipe below…
(You can use whatever you have in your fridge or freezer, or meat that you get on sale at the grocery store also and it works great.)

 Doggie Risotto

  1. Cook 2-3 cups of rice according to directions.  (I normally use brown rice but had some risotto/arborio that needed to be gone from my cupboards.) 
  2. Brown meat in large pot.  (I used 5 lbs of turkey meat that I got on sale.  Also added some cutlets that I had in the freezer that had slight freezer burn.)
  3. To cooked meat add a bag or so of frozen veggies or odds and ends of veggies from fridge you need to get rid of.  (I like to use the pea/carrot/bean/corn mix that comes frozen in a bag when it’s on sale for about $1.)
  4. Mix the cooked rice to the meat mixture and stir.  
  5. At this point if you need to add a little water to make it sticky do so, or you can add broth.  (I actually used a jar of turkey gravy that I didn’t want to eat.) 
  6. Stir and cool.  
  7. Store in fridge and serve OR make into patties and freeze.  

My dog LOVES this recipe and it’s much healthier than the dog food I normally buy.  (Have you READ the labels on the dog food cans and bags?)

Tub Scrub & Laundry Detergent

Rub-a-Dub Tub Scrub 
(or “Because I have 3 men in my tub scrub”?)

  1. In a mixing bowl pour about equal amounts of baking soda and Borax.  (What I do is take 2 jars, fill one almost full of Borax and the other almost full of baking soda.  Then I pour them both into a bowl.)
  2. Pour in some True Lemon powder (you can use True Orange or Lime also, or citric acid if you can get it) just enough to scent the mix, about 2-4 Tablespoons more or less.
  3. Mix and put back in your jars! 

 To use:  Wet bathtub or sink.  Sprinkle tub scrub in tub.  Watch the fun!  It bubbles when it gets wet!
Scrub and watch the sparkles!  This smells yummy too.

Liquid Laundry Detergent
1 cup Washing Soda (you can get this at most grocery stores now)
1/2 cup Borax
7-10 drops of tea tree oil (disinfectant and antibacterial)
*You can add other essential oil drops if you want a scent but I don’t
1/4 cup or so of Dr. Bronner’s Baby Castile liquid soap
4 quarts hot water (first) then added about 8 more quarts
Mix it in a bowl with a whisk because the washing soda (soda ash) gets hot when it gets wet. (Luckily I knew this from my pool or I’d have probably burned my hands trying to get the clumps out.) Let sit for about 20 minutes to cool off, then put in containers.  I use old detergent bottles and glass bottles.
Very inexpensive and effective!