Homemade Stovetop Popcorn

Welcome back friends! Who wants some fresh stovetop popcorn to enjoy on one (or more) of these beautiful autumn nights? Maybe cuddled under a blanket, while watching a good movie? I know I do, so let’s pop some!

HOMEMADE STOVETOP POPCORN
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3/4 cup of popcorn kernels
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoon of popcorn salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. To create popcorn salt, grind it into a fine powder with a mortar and pestle or run 1/2 cup of salt in the food processor until fine.
  2. Place the olive oil and popcorn kernels in a large lightweight pot, then gently shake the pot to distribute the kernels over the bottom of the pan and evenly coat the kernels with oil.
  3. Place the pot on medium heat (or slightly lower depending on the power of your stovetop) and put the the lid on. The kernels will begin popping in about a minute or so and you may need to hold the lid on using the safety handle.
  4. Shake the pot briefly every 30 seconds or so. When the popping stops, immediately pour the popcorn in to a large bowl. You may want to have a bowl set aside to pour excess popcorn into as you go if your pot turns out to be too small.
  5. Melt the butter in a saucepan or microwave, then pour it over the popcorn and sprinkle the salt, shaking well to toss and disperse.
  6. Enjoy!

*This popcorn may look a little dark, but the kernels were toasted in the pan before popping, I did not taste any burnt flavor.

Homemade Play Dough Recipe

Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that delight her; I want to create fun, educational crafts for her that are made with love and will be loved! I see much play dough in our future, and while buying it is always a viable option, how fun and cost effective is it to make some on your own?

So let’s make some homemade play dough!

SUPPLIES
  • Large saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Wax paper
  • Gloves
  • Sandwich bags
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of salt
  • 4 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Food coloring
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place the cream of tartar, flour, and salt in a large saucepan and stir to combine.
  2. Slowly add the oil and water, stirring until well incorporated.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring consistently, until the mixture thickens into a dough.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the dough to cool slightly until it can be handled comfortably.
  5. Divide the dough into equal portions based on how many colors you would like, and roll into balls.
  6. Put on gloves and press an indentation into each ball of dough, then add 15 drops of food coloring to the indentation of each ball to start, you can always add more later. 
  7. Knead each ball of dough until the color is well incorporated. If the color is not as bright as you want, you can add more food coloring and knead again.
  8. Enjoy!

*This can be stored in sandwich bags, one for each color. Just be sure to remove all the excess air for longevity of the dough!

Family Friendly Autumnal Activity Ideas

Welcome back Autumn! Every year I look forward to the Autumn and the warmth it generates inside my home and soul. Where I live, September and October are still rather warm on some days, and turn wet and cold as the months progress toward Winter.  I cannot get enough of the rain this time of year. The cold, wet weather begins to take over outside, driving us all inside to be together and warm. There’s nothing like cuddling up with people you love, reading a good book, watching a movie or playing a video game while the weather misbehaves outside.

I intend to spend a lot of time with my family this year and came up with some family friendly ideas I’d like to experience with Zoey! Follow along and try some of these activities for yourself, this is a time we should all enjoy!

We intend to:

  • Bake bread.
  • Bake cookies for family and/or friends.
  • Collect acorns and make art.
  • Collect leaves and make art.
  • Collect rocks and make art.
  • Make nature pressings or rubbings.
  • Donate to a food bank.
  • Go on a hayride.
  • Go puddling in the rain.
  • Have an indoor picnic on a stormy day.
  • Make a bird feeder.
  • Make Halloween decorations.
  • Go trick or treating!
  • Make fresh tortillas.
  • Make homemade play dough.
  • Make stovetop popcorn.
  • Pick apples.
  • Bake apple pie.
  • Drink apple cider.
  • Make caramel apples.
  • Pick out pumpkins at a pumpkin patch.
  • Give pumpkins a bath.
  • Carve, decorate and/or paint pumpkins.
  • Bake pumpkin bread. 
  • Roast pumpkin seeds.
  • Roast s’mores.

30 Day Arm Challenge for Beginners

I don’t know about you, but I would like to feel better inside and out. I have been far too inactive for far too long, and it’s time to take my life back! 

Now I know (because I’m feeling it) that this can be intimidating for several reasons, but what if we just started small? What if we created a step-by-step stairway, instead of running into a wall and trying to scale it with zero momentum?

We began with a 30 day walking challenge to get our legs moving and to open up our heart and lungs! We followed that with a 30 day squat challenge and a 30 day plank challenge to strengthen our muscles! Now let’s continue strengthening our muscles by starting a 30 day arm challenge that begins with 4 each of the three exercises on the first day, and by end of the 30 days we will able to perform 40 of each exercise!

I recommend breaking the exercises up into sets as the numbers climb higher, please do not try to do them all at once!

Here we go!

30 Day Plank Challenge for Beginners

I don’t know about you, but I would like to feel better inside and out. I have been far too inactive for far too long, and it’s time to take my life back! 

Now I know (because I’m feeling it) that this can be intimidating for several reasons, but what if we just started small? What if we created a step-by-step stairway, instead of running into a wall and trying to scale it with zero momentum?

We began with a 30 day walking challenge to get our legs moving and to open up our heart and lungs! We followed that with a 30 day squat challenge to strengthen our muscles! Now let’s continue strengthening our muscles by starting a 30 day plank challenge that begins with holding the plank position for just 10 seconds on the first day, and by end of the 30 days we will able to hold it for 2 minutes!

Here we go!

Healthy Homemade Snack – Baked Zucchini Chips

I love a good snack, snacks are delicious! Are they good for you? Ehhh it’s always up for debate, but if you are going to eat something between meals, perhaps while you’re cozying up to watch a movie or play a game, why not make it a healthier choice?

I think most nutritionists agree that anything deep-fried should be consumed in moderation or not at all, but chips are sooooo good! The solution? Let’s create our own oven-baked chips! And not just potato chips, let’s create some delicious vegetable chips too! This way we are regulating exactly what is going into and/or on to our chips with no deep-frying to be found!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 large zucchini
  • Salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 240 F.
  2. Wash the zucchini, then use a mandolin to uniformly slice them into thin chips.
  3. Place the zucchini slices on a clean dish towel or paper towels. Cover them with another dish towel or paper towels and set a baking sheet on them, pressing own slightly to remove excess moisture.
  4. After drying, place the zucchini slices into a bowl and toss them with olive oil and a few pinches of salt (how much depends on your preference).
  5. Coat a large baking sheet (or more) with cooking spray or cover with parchment paper.
  6. Place the zucchini slices on the baking sheets in a single layer.
  7. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until crisp and golden.
  8. Allow the chips to cool completely. 
  9. Enjoy!

30 Day Squat Challenge for Beginners

I don’t know about you, but I would like to feel better inside and out. I have been far too inactive for far too long, and it’s time to take my life back! 

Now I know (because I’m feeling it) that this can be intimidating for several reasons, but what if we just started small? What if we created a step-by-step stairway, instead of running into a wall and trying to scale it with zero momentum?

We began with a 30 day walking challenge to get our legs moving and to open up our heart and lungs! Now let’s take the next step and strengthen our muscles! Let’s start a 30 day squat challenge that begins with just 5 squats on the first day, but by the end of the 30 days we will able to do 100 squats in a day!

I recommend breaking the squats up into sets as the numbers climb higher, please do not try to do them all at once!

Here we go!

DIY – Sensory Slime

Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that delight her; I want to create fun, educational activities for her that are made with love and will be loved!

I don’t believe I ever played with slime as a child, but it is super fascinating and fun to play with even as an adult! Adults should mix the slime, or supervise while a child over the age of 6 mixes. This recipe is safer for children to handle, but if they are younger than the age of 6 please supervise and please do not let them eat any!

Let’s make some slime!

SUPPLIES
  • 8 oz of washable school glue (i.e. Elmer’s)
  • 1 to 2 drops of liquid food coloring (optional)
  • 1/4 cup glitter (optional)
  • 1 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of saline solution (contact lens solution)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Squeeze the glue into a medium bowl, then stir in the food coloring and glitter if desired.
  2. Add the baking soda to the glue mixture and stir until smooth.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the saline solution and stir slowly until the mixture forms into a blob and becomes stringy.
  4. Pick up the slime and work it between your hands, until smooth.
  5. Enjoy and store in an airtight container so you can enjoy again!

Simple Shaken Homemade Ice Cream Recipe

You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!

It’s summertime, and many of us think about cold and refreshing treats for the hot days ahead. When I was a little girl, my grandpa would bring out a hand-cranked ice cream maker during family barbecues and my job was to sit on it to hold it steady. It may sound silly, but I loved that job, and felt super important doing it.

I’m not sure if that old ice cream maker fell apart, or it’s stored away somewhere and I can’t find it. I would love to buy or make another one some day, but for now we’ll get Zoey involved in making ice cream another way, that will admittedly burn off more energy!

Let’s make some homemade ice cream in bags!

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • Ice
  • 1/4 cup of salt
  • 2 plastic sandwich bags
  • 1 plastic gallon bag
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pour the half and half, sugar and vanilla extract into a small bowl, then whisk to combine.
  2. Pour the half and half mixture into one of the plastic sandwich bags and seal, then place it into the other sandwich bag and seal.
  3. Fill half of the gallon bag with ice and the salt.
  4. Place the smaller bag into the larger bag and cover the rest of it with ice, then seal the larger bag.
  5. The salt will make the ice colder than comfortable so wear oven mitts to protect your hands and shake the bag for about 6-12 minutes.
  6. Remove the small bag from the larger bag and rinse it well to remove any salt residue.
  7. Carefully open the bag and empty the ice cream into a bowl, stirring a bit to smooth.
  8. Enjoy!

Water Table Accessory and Activity Ideas

Water Table Activities

Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that delight her; I want to create fun, educational activities for her that are made with love and will be loved!

With how much young ones love water, water tables are perfection during the hot summer months! Set them up in a comfortable location with some shade, and watch them play to their hearts content! They can play with the table as is, or you can add accessories to make the play even more engaging and fun! 

Here to inspire you, I’ve created a list of water table accessory/activity ideas to keep the kiddos entertained for hours!

**If you live in California or any other location where wasting water may be an issue, no worries! Bypass adding any food coloring to the play water and once you’re done, you can use it to water your plants!