Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sugar-Free Chocolate Silk Pie

We recently made this pie for a friend who has diabetes. 

After I took the picture I did sprinkle a little bit of chocolate shavings on top which had a tiny bit of sugar in it but it was still super low sugar. Here is how I made it!


  • Sugar-free chocolate pudding
  • Milk
  • Sugar-free Cool Whip
  • Sugar-free graham cracker crust

I followed the directions for the pudding for a pie. I let it set in the bowl for about an hour and I mixed 2/3 of the whipped cream in with the pie filling and put it into the crust. I let it set up for a couple hours and used a cookie scoop to make the dollops on top.

This pie was a little pricey because of the crust but it ended up only being around $7.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What Works for Me: 5 Cleaning Tips

So since I've become a Stay At Home Mom, I've had to figure out my cleaning schedule. Here are some things that have helped me

1. Figuring out why I clean. I actually wrote it out:

When my home is neat and orderly, I feel more at ease and happier. It is easier to enjoy others. It is a welcoming place. It is safer. My husband is happier. I have a sense of accomplishment. A clean home is like salt, it enhances everything. I am the HOME maker. I make our house a home. I create the atmosphere 

2. Creating a cleaning schedule. I figured mine out through trial and error. 

Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Downstairs (bathroom, kitchen, tidy and vacuum living room)

Tuesday/Thursday: Upstairs (bathroom, tidy and vacuum bedrooms)

Laundry on Tuesdays

If you need a little encouragement, make a pretty chart for yourself! Here are three I liked:

3. Cleaning doesn't take that long. Seriously, I timed myself and saw just how long it takes. I was surprised. I kept putting off chores thinking I didn't have time, but I was surprised what I achieved in just 15 minutes!

4. Cleaning, happily, teaches my daughter that house work (or work in general) isn't a bad thing. I clean throughout the day and I try to sing while I do it. It entertains my baby and makes us both happier. And I make up songs about what I'm doing--it's something I got from my dad, an excellent singer and avid song-writer-on-the-fly. Cleaning doesn't have to be doom and gloom!

5. I clean for me. This is my mantra. I got it from Gretchen Rubin in the Happiness Project. She explains that she wanted "gold stars" for her hard work, like teachers used to give. If she didn't receive recognition from her husband and family about what she had done to clean then she felt disappointed. So she resolved to clean for herself. I did too and now I don't worry about praise for a job well done, because I can find happiness in my accomplishment for me. I deserve it!

What are your best tips for cleaning? Share below!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mother's day round up!

Mother's Day is coming up! Here are a few crafts for kids to make for Mother's Day that we've shared over the years:

Mother's Day Stacker & and Book-style card kids can make
This craft is one of the most popular on our blog!
To date, it's received hundreds of pins and over 50,000 views!

And more gifts of chocolate (that's what I want!)

Also, we have several Father's Day ideas that could work for Mom, too:

Father's Day Coupon Books, a play on Mom's stacker card

What do you want for Mother's Day?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Mantle

My grandma is the ultimate holiday decorator (see here and here). She recently handed-down some Easter decorations to me and I incorporated them into what I already had.

I'm loving how my mantle turned out for Easter.

My grandma gave me the little ornaments I used to make the garland and the figurines as well as the eggs inside the mason jars. I love decorating for holidays especially with things that have meaning.

Are you excited for Easter? I went shopping yesterday for an Easter dress or skirt and they are rare and hard to find! Any tips for finding an Easter-worthy dress?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Birthday Candles Card

My friend's birthday was this past week and I made her a quick and easy card to go with some cookies. I got the idea from this card and remembered I had purchased these candles for this same friend's birthday last year. I rummaged them out of the back of our silverware drawer to find the candles and then broke out my glue gun.  This card came together in 15 minutes!

I liked the asymmetry with the candles. The ribbon hides the glue!

Next time I would use more glue, since some of the candles came loose on the way there! 

(I snapped these pictures on the way to my friend's birthday lunch--while stopped at a red light!! Say hello to my car, leg, and foot)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fast gluten-free, butter-free apple pie!

When my husband stopped eating dairy, gluten and eggs at the beginning of the year, we assumed the allergy trial would last two weeks. Sadly, those two weeks fell right over his birthday. (Three months later, he's just barely begun to try these foods again.)

Each month at work, they have a birthday party for that month's honorees, and they weren't going to run out and buy a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free cake for one poor person. He was okay with being left out, but I wasn't. So I decided to make him a surprise:

It's a gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free apple pie!

The biggest challenge to eating around gluten, eggs & dairy is how they sneak into things. Obviously there's gluten in pie crust, and maybe butter (I'm a shortening crust girl myself). But the egg wash on a pie? The butter cubes in the filling?

So I went simple. My husband had already picked up refrigerated gluten-free pie dough which happened to also be egg- and dairy-free. (I joke that it's not made from real food.) I chopped up some apples we had around and tossed them with sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. You could use a dairy-free butter substitute, of course. (You still have to bake the pie almost as long.)

I also got to use my mini-pie pans, since it seemed ridiculous to bake a whole pie just for one person to eat. I brought it to him at work and surprised him . . . once I found him, avoiding the party.

This is less of a recipe and more of a technique, learning to substitute out allergenic foods. Instead of an egg wash, for example, I used almond milk (because real milk is another type of wash, right?) and raw sugar. That experiment didn't work as well, and the applies could have used a little longer to bake, but all in all, it was much better than foregoing cake.

Especially since my daughters and I got ice cream out of the deal.

What's your favorite way to surprise someone?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cleaning a Top-Loader Washer

As we were washing clothes the other day, we noticed a rather nasty odor coming from the washer. Yuck-o, right? So I looked up some ways to clean our top-loader washing machine. Most recipes called for bleach and vinegar. Well, I only had vinegar on hand and beside, bleach is stinky! After trying out what I found I think next time I would tweak it a bit.

2-4 cups White Vinegar
1/2-1 cup Baking Soda
Toothbrush that no one's using or will use ever again

That's it!

Step 1: Fill up your washer with the hottest setting temperature on the largest load. (My washer says HOT COLD on EX SUPER. I don't know why it says hot and cold but it was indeed super hot while filling it up.) After it fills and before it agitates stop the cycle.
Step 2: Now pour in the vinegar and the baking soda. Turn back on the cycle for about 3 minutes and let it agitate. Turn off the cycle again. Now we're going to let it soak for 1 hour with the lid open.

While this soaks, pop off the liquid bleach spout thingy and clean that out. WARNING: this may be really dirty and disgusting. I also cleaned the lid, the hinge behind the lid, and the softener component. Fun fact: liquid softner is bad for you clothes and machine. It can create build up on both. I pulled off the softener dispenser and got to work. There was so much grime on it I still couldn't get it all the way clean after scrubbing and scrubbing. I popped it back on and poured some vinegar down there and let it all soak. I also scrubbed the agitator a little bit which helped since I don't think our machine had ever been washed and probably needed more care than usual.

Step 3:  After the 1 hour of soaking turn back on the cycle and let the machine do the work. An extra rinse may be a good idea. I just wiped everything down after the cycle was over. Keep the lid open.

So pretty! I didn't even know the letters on the bleach and fabric softener dispensers weren't black...Gross huh?

A handy trick in making sure you don't have a stinky washing machine as quickly is to leave the lid open after you are done washing clothes. This allows the machine to dry out before mildew can start to grow. Also, clean your machine regularly. A cleaning trick is to use vinegar as a fabric softener instead of actual fabric softener.
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