Fluffy animals to love on-diversions we need now!

My dog, Elsa, has always been a great comfort, cuddle puppy. A few years ago when a hurricane was passing through FL, my friend realized how great Elsa was at helping to calm her nerves. The pic below I took right after I just got back from Siesta Key beach in March, a week later the beaches closed. Living 10 min from an awesome beach and not getting to go is torture!

My teen daughter begged me for another hamster, I said no to another one a couple years ago when I was having to clean the cage and feed it. But, I’m a push over and she did have to promise to get off her phone and move 20 min a day and give me a daily hug so it was worth it!

Keeping sane in a pandemic-orchid obsession!

I lost my job as a long-term substitute teacher this March because of Coronavirus. I’m crossing my fingers school resumes as normal this Fall and I can get back to the classroom. Watching my orchids bloom every morning is a fun diversion. After years of my black thumb killing them indoors, my grandma told me the easy way to grow them. Take the blooming orchid out of the material it’s sold in, they are air plants so they don’t need soil. Place them in a cedar hanger and place under a tree. Thats it! The tree filters water and shade. You can also tie the orchids to a tree trunk for a natural, tropic look. Let me know if you try!

Don’t be surprised if you get addicted to orchids too! Read the book “The Orchid Thief”, it’s so interesting. A movie was made from it with Nick Cage and Meryl Streep, “Adaptation”.

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Fumpkins, anyone?

Fumpkin (faux pumpkin) they are a great idea for Halloween and Fall. Although, I’ll still carve a ‘real’ pumpkin with my kiddos (we love roasting the seeds, I’ll post on that when we do) but if you love a design and want to keep it for awhile, then use a fumpkin.

Fumpkins come in all sizes and I’ve seen them in traditional orange, black and white. My husband loves a video game called ‘Bioshock’ and he loves to make things. He has a wonderful electric heated xacto knife or hot knife with interchangeable blades/tools which is highly recommended to use.

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He found templates online he printed and taped on as his guide. He used those small battery operated lights inside. The Bioshock theme isn’t my style, but he did a great job. It’s easy to find a design you like to make your own.

Yummy (easy) Apple and Pumpkin Cake Donuts

I am a daughter of a German baker so my life growing up was all baked goods all the time. My dad made great yeast and cake donuts from scratch every morning at 3 am! I love baking but I do not have the patience or time to make donuts from scratch nor do I have a huge fryer (and it’s just too fattening to do often).

So, I took the easy but very yummy route, I used cake mix! I grabbed a box of spice cake mix and pre-made tub of vanilla icing. I divided the mix and added fresh cooked apples in butter and cinnamon and caramel. I added pumpkin and cinnamon sugar to the other half of batter.

I bought a 6 count donut baking pan at Target and it’s super non-stick which is great. I warmed up some vanilla icing in the microwave-I added caramel to the apple icing and cinnamon sugar to the pumpkin icing and drizzled over.

They were both good but my family and I voted pumpkin our fave. Here my daughter is grabbing her pumpkin donut after she drizzled the icing.

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Have fun, enjoy!

 

Bread Pudding-Perfect for Fall

I used to make bread pudding regularly years ago but haven’t lately. My son asked for it the other day. I made a yummy apple, walnut and caramel dish but forgot to take pictures as it was gone as soon as it was out of the oven! I’ll make another one soon as it has been requested at home!

If you shop at Walmart, their bakery offers loaves of either Italian or French bread for only $1! My family loves the bread and I grab it every time I go. I made the sweet pudding with the French loaf and today I made a savory one with the Italian loaf.

If you never made bread pudding, it is very easy. Here’s all you need:

Loaf of Bread (fresh or stale, thicker loaf better than sandwich slices)

Milk-1 1/2 cups

Butter-1/2 stick

Eggs-3 eggs

Seasonings, Cheese, Veggies, Whatever you like!

Here’s what you do: sauté any fruit (apples) or veggies you need to (I love caramelized onion)

Cube the bread into 1″ pieces and place in buttered or Pam spray bake dish.

Heat the milk (about 1 1/2 cups) until almost boiling. Pour the milk on top of bread cubes and stir until all covered.

Beat the eggs and mix in with the bread/milk mixture.

Add cheese, seasonings, fruit or veggies and stir.

Bake at 350 for 30 mins. Enjoy!

 

Kids eating in car, ok or not ok?

This morning my daughter was still eating her breakfast sandwich when her carpool ride got here. I knew my friend’s husband doesn’t allow eating in his car, so I wasn’t sure if she had the same rule. “Get outta here” she exclaimed, “I let kids eat in my car, have to!” Exactly my sentiments.

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For 16 years since I’ve been a mom, my kids eat in my car every day. It’s how I keep sane running them around! Kids are always hungry, why make them suffer (or myself, for that matter!).

So, is my car a mess? Yes, of course! I joke I could be trapped in there for a week and find enough food to eat! Gross, I know, it’s not thaaat bad. I remember one day at elementary school, I was caught brushing cracker crumbs off the seat onto the ground by another parent. “Feeding the birds”, I told her!

Do you let your kids eat in your car? Share your opinion.

$%&! Homework!

We all know homework sucks, but its a necessary evil. If you have a child in 5th grade or older, you’ll feel my pain! Not only did we have to endure years of our own homework, but now we have to endure our kids’ and its even worse.

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My son has HATED homework since 4th grade. He threw fits, actually on the floor-crying! It’s not much better now that he’s in 10th grade. He still procrastinates and gets upset.

So, here’s where I’m stuck as a parent: I want my kids to get good grades and to do so, homework must be done and done well. I have to help my children on a nightly basis-wish I didn’t have to but I feel stuck.

Am I helping or hurting? Please share your thoughts, feelings and experiences.

Kids + Internet = ?

We can’t stop it, internet access is everywhere. Although it’s handy for our kids to have ways to stay in contact with us, use as resources for school and keep distracted when necessary, when is it too much?

During school, my children can not use their phones but the minute they can, my 11 year old girls are on their phones. Mostly, they are catching up with friends or playing Minecraft. But, what is scary is how easy an internet search of a word or phrase can turn into seeing/reading something inappropriate.

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Let’s also mention the increase in cyber bullying and increasing chances in child predators reaching your kid. Long-term, how are their brains developing from constantly being on electronics? When they are adults and we find out, it will be too late.

Please share your thoughts.

DIY Coastal Bathroom Makeover

Our new home had a plain Jane downstairs hall bath. I was inspired by a magazine article to do a bold, dark blue. Usually, I’m afraid of color-love beige and tan! But, I decided to go for it and try something new.

We chose Behr ‘Calligraphy’ for the wall color. I spray painted the outlet covers and light fixture with Oil Rubbed Bronze. We replaced the faucet. I wanted to switch out the old, plain mirror but it was really stuck to the wall. So, to keep it easy and save money, my husband made a wood frame out of trim and painted it white.

I finished the bathroom with coral color and coral the sea creature décor.

Share your DIY bathroom makeover and/or coastal décor.

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DIY Kitchen Cabinet Stain

We just moved into a new home and my first big remodel/update was to stain the old ‘builder’s grade’ honey oak kitchen cabinets to a color we prefer.

I have stained in the past, but it took a lot of prep. Our kitchen had many cabinets and I wanted an easier way to stain them.

I searched online and found an easy way. Using a couple old socks and a $9 can of stain, I did the whole kitchen in 3 days! Tell us about your proudest, DIY home renovation/update.

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