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!

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3/4 cup of popcorn kernels
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoon of popcorn salt
  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!

  • Large saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Wax paper
  • Gloves
  • Sandwich bags
  • 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
  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.

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!

  • 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)
  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!

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!

Be Prepared – First Aid Kit Checklist

Do you have a first aid kit in your home? In your car? I didn’t until just recently, when I realized it’s better to have it around and not need it, than need it and not have it around!

As a starter, I purchased this one, and I will be purchasing another one for my car. If I need anything that isn’t included in this kit I can always purchase it to fill in the blanks, but what does a first aid kit ultimately need and why?

The Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits for a family of four include the following:

P.S. I did not create this infographic. If the creator contacts me I can credit them properly!
  • Emergency First Aid guide 
  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approx. 1 gram each)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 breathing barrier
  • 1 emergency blanket
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of non-latex gloves
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approx. 1 gram each) 
  • 1 gauze roll bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide) 
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)  
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers

You can increase the numbers of each item if you have a family of larger than 4 or as you see the need. It is also recommended to include any personal items such as medications and emergency phone numbers or other items your health-care provider may suggest.

As I educate myself more on being prepared, I will update or redo this post with any updates!

Transformed Power Wheels – Barbie to Jurassic Park Jeep

Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that delight her; I want to create fun, educational toys for her that are made with love and will be loved! I loved dinosaurs as a child and quite honestly I still do! I see that interest piquing in Zoey too and of course I’m going to encourage it!

I was always fascinated by power wheels as a child and envious of any of my friends who owned one! When my parents found this one at a thrift store, I jumped at the chance to get one for Zoey, but it needed a little work! As you can see it started out as Barbie themed, and while I loved Barbies too this was the opportunity to try something new!

Let’s create a Jurassic Park themed power wheels! Please feel free to use this information to breathe new life into an old toy and, if you have any new tips, please feel free to share!

  1. Using a screwdriver, dismantle the toy as much as possible without breaking anything. If a piece is not coming off and you’re worried it will break if you force it, don’t force it, and don’t worry! Painter’s tape and paper are your friends!
  2. Remove any old stickers and completely wash/clean the plastic toy and it’s pieces, then allow to dry.
  3. Wipe the toy down with rubbing alcohol to prepare the surfaces before painting, then allow to dry.
  4. Spread flattened cardboard (or something similar) in a well ventilated space to protect the floor.
  5. Paint the removed items first, taking care not to pile the paint on too thickly, instead try misting it on and applying multiple layers.
  6. Tape and paper the wheels surrounding the hubcaps, then paint the hubcaps red in layers.
  7. Once you’re satisfied with the hubcaps, and they are fully dried, you can cover each whole wheel with a disposable bag.
  8. Flip the car over and paint the undercarriage first with whichever color you choose.
  9. Once you’re satisfied with the undercarriage and it is fully dried, you can flip the car back over and place it on the cardboard directly or place it on a couple of sawhorses.
  10. Tape up anything you do not want painted, i.e. the pedal and shifter.
  11. Paint the base layers first (where any surrounding paint can be covered with top layers) and allow to dry completely. This may take a few layers so be patient and wait for each coat to dry a bit before painting another. I started with the red of the dashboard/windshield piece, then the gray of the front bumper.
  12. Using painter’s tape, bags and/or paper, cover the painted items that cannot be removed once they are completely dried. I covered the dashboard/windshield piece, but left the steering wheel exposed. I also covered the front bumper.
  13. Once these layers are covered, paint the next layer up and allow to dry completely. This may take a few layers so be patient and wait for each coat to dry a bit before painting another. For me, this was painting the steering wheel gray.
  14. Using painter’s tape, bags and/or paper, cover everything painted that cannot be removed. In addition to the previously covered items, I also covered the steering wheel with a disposable bag after it was completely dry.
  15. Once everything is covered, paint the body of the toy and allow it to dry completely. This may take a few layers so be patient and wait for each coat to dry a bit before painting another.
  16. Gently remove all of the coverings and reassemble the Power Wheels Ride On Jeep.
  17. Carefully peel and stick the Jurassic Park Jeep Wrangler decals to your Jeep.
  18. Let’s go find some Dinosaurs!

DIY – Dinosaur Eggs with Toy Dinosaurs inside

Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that delight her; I want to create fun, educational toys for her that are made with love and will be loved! I loved dinosaurs as a child and quite honestly I still do! I see that interest piquing in Zoey too and of course I’m going to encourage it!

Let’s create some dinosaur eggs! We can hide them for the kids to find, and then they can excavate them for a small dinosaur toy inside!

  1. Add the cornstarch and sand to a mixing bowl and stir until incorporated.
  2. Stir in a little water at a time until the “dough” forms.
  3. Take a small  handful of the “dough”, place a toy dinosaur inside, then add some more “dough” over the dinosaur to cover it.
  4. Work the sand mixture (with the dinosaur inside) in your hands to form an egg shape, then place it on a clean surface to dry.
  5. Repeat this process until all of the “dough” has been utilized. 
  6. Place the dinosaur eggs outside to dry for about 2 days, or until completely hardened.
  7. Hide, discover and excavate! Enjoy!

These eggs can be opened with small tools, hands or dissolved in water.

Find the Time to do What you Love!

Does anyone else find it harder to carve out some game time now that you have a child? It’s ok, I’m right there with you!

It is challenging to balance providing all the love, support and attention our little ones need with mommy time and/or daddy time, but both are important. So here is my hot take: We all need a time to do what makes us happy to ensure our perpetual happiness around our children. If we are happy and treat them as such, then they will grow in the sunshine of our happiness rather than the cloudiness of our grump. Caring for our children is important, self-care is important.

Playing video games brings me joy and eventually I would love to share that joy with my daughter. Currently she shows some interest, but she’s not quite there yet, so I mostly carve out time to play while she’s sleeping. I wake up early, I utilize her nap time and/or I stay up after her bedtime. There are other things I need to get done too, but If I have the time I will play. I finish games at a much slower pace now, but that’s alright! It all sparks joy!

What brings you joy? When do you find the time to do what you love?

Our New Christmas Family Tradition

Charlie Brown Chrismas Tradition

Have you ever intentionally created a family tradition? I haven’t, until now!

My family and I grew up watching the Charlie Brown/Peanuts holiday specials around this time every year with our parents; they all have a special place in my heart, but none more than It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas!

Continuing on with these good feelings and memories, embellishing it to make it our own, here is our new Christmas tradition:

The Friday before Christmas we will make our own marshmallows and hot chocolate, then sip it while we watch A Charlie Brown Christmas!

It’s simple, yet fun and heartfelt like any family tradition should be! Create happy feelings and the happy memories will follow! Feel free to use this idea for your own family tradition, or take it and change it to make it your own!