Monday, September 30, 2013

Lavender Play Dough

One of the first blogs I ever started following was The Imagination Tree. She has hundreds of activities for little learning minds to help with letters, numbers, motor skills, creative play and all kinds of things they need to learn for school. Her fairy garden and mini child's garden are two of my absolute favs. I would say her specialty is creating the most amazing play dough recipes you will ever find. Like so awesome, you might just want to play with your kids. Orange and Lemon play dough, Basil play dough, Mint Choc Chip play dough, Cinnamon play dough, Raspberry Jelly play dough.....yeah the only problem with her play doughs is that they smell and look so darn yummy, you might have a hard time keeping your kids from eating it. It only took Princess one taste though before she found out it was not edible! I don't make play dough (or buy any for that matter) nearly enough for Princess. I feel she is slightly play dough deprived. Its just one of those things. Its so messy! Its like cleaning up after another meal, so its not something I like to encourage that often. But she has so much fun with it and it is a really great tool for learning motor skills and creativity. So I decided I needed to make her some and be a good mommy for once.

You can find Anna's (The Imagination Tree blog) recipe for Lavender Play Dough here. And here is how mine turned out.

Notes: Allow the dough to cool slightly after pouring the boiling hot water in and stirring. Sounds obvious but you'd be surprised. I would also advise wearing disposable gloves for mixing in the dye. Unless you're into Smurf hands. I added a few drops of Lavender essential oil to make it smell nice. Aromatherapy play dough anyone? Kneading the dough is a great stress reliever too! I may have just found out why this woman makes so much play dough! 

Princess was pretty excited about it.
 But first things first. Gotta take those pieces of lavender off. Geez Mom!

I asked her if she was making cookies and she said, "No. It's a tiny beebee!"

So precious.
In play dough heaven. I think I'll try the chocolate play dough recipe next......Oo! Or see if there's a pumpkin one! Yum! I!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Almond Milk / Almond Flour / Date Shake

The other day I made almond milk, almond flour and an almond date shake. I felt like a healthy, green, homemaking, money saving goddess! It was awesome. If any of you have never made almond milk before and you actually drink almond milk, you should make it. Because its really fun! Its so easy too! 2 ingredients? Yes. Low in calories and high in protein and antioxidants? Yes. I love almond milk. I have never had a problem drinking regular milk but for whatever reason I tried it back in my barista days and fell in love. I didn't know at the time how healthy it was, only that it was lower in calories than regular milk and that it was yummy. I bought the Costco sized packs of almond milk for awhile, but still its an expensive thing to be buying all the time. Especially when you don't need it for a dietary restriction. I didn't know until recently that you can MAKE it. For super cheap! My husband picked up a pound of almonds for $5 and I maybe used 1/4 of it. So for $1.20 I was able to make 32 ounces or 4 cups of almond milk. That's way cheaper than buying it at the store and plenty to last me for awhile. Today I am going to show you, A. How to make it, B. How to make flour out of the leftover almond meal and C. What to make with your almond milk. Pretty cool huh?

Almond Milk

1 Cup Raw (Organic if possible) Almonds
Pinch of Salt

Soak 1 cup of almonds in water for 6 hours or overnight. Easy. Just cover the almonds with water in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, then go to bed. No need to measure the water, just enough to cover the almonds. In the morning, add a pinch of salt to the bowl, then drain and rinse the almonds in a strainer. Then put almonds in a blender or other high powered blending machine (I'm sure a food processor would work as well) and add 4 cups of filtered water. Then this is the fun part. Blend for 2-3 mins. I don't know why, but for whatever reason I found watching the almonds and water turn that milky white color was really cool. Line your strainer with cheesecloth (see that stuff comes in handy!) and strain through back into a bowl. You will need to wrap up the ends of the cheesecloth and squeeze out all the excess liquid. I thought that was kind of fun too. Save the pulp for another use, or the next recipe! Pour the almond milk into a (sterilized) mason jar and keep in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Note: Its important to sterilize the jar so that bacteria doesn't get in there causing it to go bad. To sterilize a glass jar, all you do is put it (and the lid) in a pot of boiling water for about 5-10 mins.

Now what to do with that leftover pulp from all the almonds? Well let me show you.....

Almond Flour

Leftover Almond Pulp from making Almond Milk

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set your oven to the 170 degrees or the lowest setting possible. Bake 3-4 hours or until almond meal is all dehydrated. After this, run it through the food processor to make it powdery. You can use this flour in baking, cooking (one idea is to use it as the flour for onion rings, yum!) or throw it in your morning shake. Love that you don't waste it!

Now what else can you do with the Almond Milk and Almond Flour you just made?

Make a Date Shake!!

Date Shake (not, date like this will get you a date......Date as in, the edible prune-y kind)

1 Banana
4 Dates (Try to find the naked, unprocessed dates and make sure to take the pit out)
1/2 Cup Almond Milk
1 Tsp. Vanilla extract
Handful of Almond Flour or a handful of almonds

Directions: Place ingredients in the blender and blend for 1 minute. Drink up and enjoy! You can play around with ingredients to make this in hundreds of ways. The possibilities are endless. You can add yogurt, cinnamon, cocoa powder or ice. You can take out the almonds also if you don't like the grainy-ness. Make it how you like it!

This recipe is great because it is super healthy, high in protein and vitamins and can be used as a great meal substitute. It keeps you full for hours!

Have fun making these almond recipes and if you have any special almond recipes that you like to make please share! Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fall Bucket List

Finally! Its Fall! Its really here! My hands and feet have been cold at least twice this week and I can pack up the fans in our bedrooms. I can unpack my sweaters and start thinking about Halloween costumes. I'm so excited! Since there are so many fun things to do in the Fall and so many that I want to make sure we get to do, I decided my husband and I needed to come up with a Fall Bucket List of all the fun "Fall things" we wanted to do this season. I thought I would share it with you to give ideas for fun Fall activities to do with your families. Here is the Shephard family Fall Bucket List:

1. Go to Remlinger Farms and pick out pumpkins for Halloween. This is now a tradition we do every year. It can't be missed!
2. Make Halloween costumes for myself and the girls. I wasn't planning on dressing up this year, but we have already been invited to a party, so I guess skipping out of that whole stressful thing won't work this year. Oh well, maybe next year?
3. Halloween night, make pumpkin soup and trick or treat with the girls. I will be making their costumes and showing them on PPD soon!
4. Take a family nature walk and collect colored leaves.
5. Make pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin cake cookies. Yum!
6. Make leaf prints and Fall decorations with the girls.
7. Make hand print "turkeys" for Thanksgiving.
8. Make a "Give Thanks" banner or Thankful Tree for Thanksgiving.
9. Go to a high school football game. Hot cocoa required.
10. Go apple picking. Stock up on Honeycrisps!
11. Brew beer. I gave my husband a brew kit for our anniversary and we have yet to do it. Sounds like a Fall thing right?
12. Make cinnamon spice pumpkin play dough for the girls. Make sure Peanut does not eat.
13. Carve pumpkins.
14. Devise a plan for deterring pumpkin smashers on Halloween. A scary recording? A sign saying, "Cop lives here."? Yes Princess's pumpkin got smashed last year and we were crushed. No pun intended.
15. Roast pumpkin seeds. 3 Flavors at least. Recipe will be posted.
16. Go to the driving range. Ok, not exactly Fall themed, but we have been wanting to do this for awhile.
17. Make Apple Cider.
18. Make Caramel Apples.
19. Have a themed family movie night such as, "Italian night". Italian dinner, Italian movie, gelato for dessert. A perfect family movie for a "French night" would be Ratatoille.
20. Ride the train in Snoqualmie. We have been wanting to take the girls forever.
21. Visit the Seattle Science Center.
22. Take Fall family photos.
23. Bundled up Zoo or Aquarium day.
24. Make a Fall wreath.

I am sure there are tons more I will come up with, but for now, thats all I can think of!
 What are some of your Fall to-dos? Leave a comment with your ideas for fun Fall activities!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fuzzy Toddler Slippers

Good Morning! Today I am going to show you all how to make the Fuzzy Toddler Slippers featured in the Wee People Look Alike #1 from Monday. I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with myself for making these. I didn't think they would turn out so good. Or at all! They are great little house slippers for Fall and Winter and they slip on and off like socks! Perfect for the age where they start wanting to do everything by themselves! Which is exactly where Princess is at right now. Plus they have fur. Cozy! I would definitely just keep these as indoor slippers, but if you wanted to make them more of an indoor/outdoor shoe, just switch out the gold fabric for something a little sturdier, like real leather.

For this project you will need:
White fur trim (I just bought a strip of fur "trim" that was 4 inches wide. I think I just got 1/4 yard and had plenty extra.)
Gold pleather or leather
$1 mittens from the $1 bins in a matching color
Sewing materials

1. Measure your child's foot. I just placed her foot on a piece of paper and traced around it. This way I could see how long and wide it was. Her measurements were 7X4 (You may need to adjust how much you cut depending on your child's size).

2. Cut 2, 5X4inch pieces of fur for the top and 2, 7 1/2X4 1/2 inch pieces of gold fabric for the bottom. Pin pretty sides together and sew around 3 sides using a zig-zag stitch. Make sure you sew the corners rounded. That way the slippers won't look like squares on your little one's feet. There will be 2 inches extra of the gold fabric on one end. This will be for the heel of the slipper. Don't sew this side.

Here you can see one slipper inside out and one right side out after sewing.

3. Cut the fingers off both mittens. Save for another use. Finger puppets maybe? The wrists of the mittens will become the ankles or tops of the slippers. Sew, using a zig-zag stitch around where you cut the mittens, so that they don't unravel.

4. Now pin together the openings of the cut mittens with the opening of the bottoms of the slippers and sew, still using the zig-zag stitch. This is the tough part, because you really need to fiddle with it to figure out what side gets pinned where. Just remember pretty sides always go together.  

Once again make sure that you are turning the fabric as you go so that it is rounded around the heel. You don't want square heels.

This is what the slippers should look like completely inside out. Cut the squared corners by the toes so that it doesn't bug your child's toes.

5. Flip right side out. Make sure that everything is sewn closed around the ankles of the slippers and sew again if necessary. If not, you're finished! Try on your little one to see if any adjustments need to be made.

 Wish I had a pair!

So cozy! Like always, if anyone has any questions, let me know and I would love to see your finished products!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Gold Toddler Purse

For those of you who want to know how I made the Gold Toddler Purse from the Wee People Look Alike #1 post from yesterday, your dreams are coming true. This purse is really simple to make and would make a great dress-up or holiday accessory for a special little girl in your life. Christmas will be here before you know it! I think I should really start making Princess carry around a purse. She always has like a million toys with her when we are running errands and it would really be nice to put them somewhere so I wouldn't be worried about losing them and then suffering the wrath and tears of a 3 year old child.

You will need:
Gold fabric 2, 9X11inch pieces (mine was a gold pleather suiting fabric)
Gold trim or tassels 9 inches (I couldn't find any gold faux leather tassels, so I used trim)
Sewing machine and materials (I used white thread)

 1. Cut 2 pieces of 9X11 inch gold fabric and 9 inches of your gold trim or tassels.

2. Pretty sides in, pin together the bottom sides of your gold fabric with the trim upside down in between. So that when it is all flipped right side out again, the pretty sides are out and the trim hangs out the bottom. Sew long the 2 sides and the bottom, leaving the top open, as it will be the opening of the purse.

Here is what it should look like after you have sewn the 3 sides and flipped it right side out again.
3. Now cut 1 or 2 (I made 2, but ended up using 1. Your preference) long 1 inch strips of the gold fabric, then fold in half and sew down to make long 1/2 inch wide ribbons. These will be the purse ties.

4. Using a measuring tape to make sure they are all even and line up. Punch 6 symmetrical holes in the purse for the ties to go through. The fabric should be heavy duty enough to not fray or rip where it is cut. 
5. String the ties through the holes. I made a loop in one side so that the ties could just slide through easily. But you could also make it into a bow.
6. Tie how you like and you're finished!

A little purse to carry around for adventures and errands. How cute would this be as a Christmas dress accessory?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Wee People Look Alike #1

In the Fall of 2010 Free People's holiday catalog came out, introducing a line which they called, "Wee People". A line for little girls modeled after the main brand. I was in LOVE! No. No. You don't understand. I had a baby who was a few months old and wouldn't be old enough to wear the clothes for 3 years, but I still calculated how much money I would need to buy the entire line. Yes. The entire line. I wanted it all. Princess ended up getting a pair of Wee People pants that year from her uncle. Which I was super ecstatic about. But other than that, I never really pulled together any money to buy her any more of the adorble-ness. Skip forward to the next catalog and the next.....and the next and NO MORE WEE PEOPLE was to be found! I felt robbed! I felt cheated! I thought, surely they would bring it back again the following Christmas. Every product they sold, either sold out of was back ordered. But no. It never came back again and I was utterly heartbroken. How could they tease me like that!? I kept a copy of that catalog, maybe so that it could never really disappear from my life. But also hoping that one day I could pull together outfits like that for my Princess. Well, I decided to do it once and for all. I am going to do a series of Wee People Look Alikes and re-create the outfits so that my daughter can wear them. She is my little flower child. My mini me. She has to HAVE these outfits. So, I am going to do my best, to either make the pieces in the outfits or find them in whatever random kids boutiques I can. And as I go, I will show you the outfit it was made after and then my finished product. So here is outfit #1. Or as I like to call it, The White Fairy.

And here is what I created.

So precious.

I made her slippers, purse and skirt. She already had the shirt and leggings. I would like to eventually find a shirt and leggings that are more like the ones in the picture. But no one had anything like them! Imagine that right? Only Wee People! I did think about making the leggings, but that seemed a little daunting for my skill level at the moment. Overall I am excited that I was able to make something at least similar to the Wee People one. I guess beauty like that just can't quite be replicated. Except for the child. Mine's cuter. There are about 11 more outfits that I want to do, so I will just keep trying on the next few ones. Hope you enjoyed Wee People Look Alike #1!

Friday, September 20, 2013


I found this flannel Yo Gabba Gabba fabric at a fabric store and I knew I had to get it. My oldest daughter has been obsessed with YGG practically since she was born. She has started to get into other things, like Sophia the 1st and Disney princesses, but Yo Gabba has always had a special place in her heart and ours. I will never forget how cute it was when she started doing the dances and singing the songs along with the show. I decided a pillowcase would be the perfect thing to make with the fabric. Princess has been in a "big" girl bed since her birthday in July and I still haven't gotten her her own set of new sheets. So I thought this was perfect. Pillowcases to go with her old sheets (which is just a fitted crib sheet). And flannel is perfect for Fall starting because it is so cozy and warm. If I really get adventurous maybe I will make her a matching top sheet to go with it. But for now, pillowcases are all I can manage.

I used a pattern from the book "French General Home Sewn", which is a great book with lots of fun sewing projects. She makes all her projects with vintage French fabrics. But I am sure there are many patterns (all pretty much the same I would assume) that you can find for making pillowcases on the Internet. How have I never thought of making my own pillowcases before? For whatever reason, my husband and I have always had unmatching pillowcases. Or they are huge (king size) pillowcases that are way too big, because I refuse to switch to a king size pillow. I know I will be doing this a lot. The great thing is that you can personalize them (you can take them to get monogrammed or diy) for a wonderful and unique wedding or Christmas present.

I got some Disney Princess fabric as well, so that my Princess could have 2 different pillowcases to switch out. I will be doing the tutorial with the Princess fabric because I already made the Yo Gabba one. :)

You will need:
One yard of fabric per pillowcase (So if you are making a set of 2 pillows, get 2 yards)
Sewing machine

1. Cut a 32X43 inch wide rectangle. Fold in half, pretty sides together and then sew down the bottom and side. Leaving the top open.

2. Flip the top edge down 1/2 inch and iron. Then flip down again 4 inches and iron.

1/2 inch fold.

4 inch fold.
See how the 1/2 inch fold is now under the 4 inch fold?
3. Sew along the inner edge of the piece you just flipped down. Just be sure not to sew the pillowcase closed.

4. Flip right side out and you have a pillowcase. See! Super easy.
Option 1. Disney Princess.

Option 2. Yo Gabba Gabba.

I love how easy this is. It is literally 2 stitches through the machine. I am excited to finally get some matching pillowcases made for the master bedroom. Oh, the little things in life.

We are off to a wedding in Oregon this weekend so I've gotta go get packing. Life just never stops being busy! Have a great weekend everyone!