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!

SUPPLIES
INSTRUCTIONS
  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.

Traditional and Modern Anniversary Gift Ideas by Year

My husband and I just celebrated 10 years of marriage, 10 years! It’s hard to wrap our minds around it because it really feels like hardly any time has passed; we are happy!

The concept of anniversary gift themes by year is super fun and engaging! We’ve gotten a bit distracted the past few years and forgot to follow the list, but what a perfect anniversary to pick it back up again!

If you aren’t familiar with the anniversary gift themes, I’ve created a handy dandy list of traditional and modern anniversary gifts by year, along with a bonus of flowers by year too! Happy anniversary and happy gifting!

Merlin’s Soft Ginger Cookie Recipe (The Sword in the Stone)

INTRODUCTION

Welcome back friends! This week we’ll be baking Merlin’s soft ginger cookies from Disney’s The Sword in the Stone.

This recipe is featured when Arthur drops in on Merlin for the first time. Of course Merlin is expecting him, with tea and these large delicious-looking cookies waiting for him!

I am a fan of chewy cookies and these are perfect! All the taste of a gingersnap or gingerbread, but with more bounce! They pair well with black tea, but I’m sure you could experiment with other types of beverages too!

MERLIN’S SOFT GINGER COOKIES
  • 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1/4 cup of molasses
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt, then set this bowl aside.
  2. In another large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the butter and the 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and then the molasses and water to the creamed butter, and mix again thoroughly.
  4. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky when ready.
  5. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour or more, then remove the dough from the refrigerator.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper. 
  7. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar to a small mixing bowl and set it aside.
  8. Scoop out portions of 1 to 2 tablespoons of dough, rolling them into balls bout an inch to an inch and a half in diameter. Toss each cookie dough ball in the bowl of sugar to coat, then place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  9. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes (this varies per oven so keep an eye on them) or until the top of the cookie begins to crinkle and the bottom sides turn golden brown.
  10. Let cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes. Then transfer them to a wire cooking rack to cool completely.
  11. Enjoy!

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?

Let’s Bring Positivity Back into Gaming

I am a positive gamer and this is a safe space for us all to express our love for games without negativity!

I play games to enjoy and relax. I lose myself in whatever a particular game has to offer, whether that be the plot, the characters, the creativity, the graphics; I appreciate all video games and their creators. If a game does not pique my own personal interests, I don’t attack it, I move on to one that does.

If it’s necessary to review a game, I provide constructive feedback and information, supported by specific examples to help improvement. This feedback should always be offered in a friendly manner with good intentions and that’s exactly what I do! 

Reviewing games is useful, but one of my favorite things to do is create unconventional guides for the games I enjoy! I’ve created guides for the animal locations in Okami, the stray bead locations in Okami, the alchemy recipes in Ni No Kuni, and more! I love helping people find what they’re looking for and I intend to make more guides this year so stay tuned!

Are you a positive gamer? Please introduce yourself, I would love to hear from you! What’s your favorite game?

2022 New Year Resolutions

Happy New Year Friends! I wish you all the best and sincerely hope all your hopes and dreams for 2022 will come to fruition. These last few years have been rocky, to say the least, but its a time for fresh starts and new beginnings, so let’s make the most of it!

I believe in making resolutions; they give you the focus to complete certain tasks. Resolutions can be made any time of the year, and should be in some cases, but it’s traditional to make them for the fresh start of a new year and it’s all in good fun!

I’ve set 22 resolutions for 2022, check them out!

  1. Buy a sketchbook & fill it.
  2. Celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.
  3. Celebrate Zoey’s 3rd birthday.
  4. Expand our kitchen garden.
  5. Finish my tattoo half-sleeve.
  6. Finish the Spanish lessons in Duolingo.
  7. Meditate 5 times a week (or more).
  8. Paint 3 Bob Ross paintings.
  9. Pay off my Navient loan.
  10. Plant 3 fruit bearing trees.
  11. Play & complete 22 video games.
  12. Practice yoga 5 times a week (or more).
  13. Reach my earnings goal by December.
  14. Reach my goal weight.
  15. Read & complete 22 books.
  16. Refurbish the play car & give it to Zoey.
  17. Refurbish the playhouse & give it to Zoey.
  18. Research & create a haircare regimen for myself.
  19. Research & create a nail care regimen for myself.
  20. Research & create a skin care regimen for myself.
  21. Take Zoey to Disneyland.
  22. Watch & complete 22 movies I’ve never seen.

I’m going to do my best to fulfill each and every one of them so if you’re looking for ideas, inspiration or just to follow along in some good fun follow me here and on my instagram for updates!

Classic, Fluffy Sugar Cookie Recipe

Classic Fluffy Sugar Cookies

Have you tried a classic, fluffy sugar cookie? They are so cozy and delicious, and would pair perfectly with any warm beverage of your choice. Share them with family, friends, even leave them out with some milk for Santa Claus!

Classic Fluffy Sugar Cookies
CLASSIC FLUFFY SUGAR COOKIES
  • 2 3/4 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, then set this bowl aside.
  2. In another large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the butter and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and the vanilla extract to the creamed butter, and thoroughly mix again.
  4. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated (you may need to use your hands). The dough will be soft and slightly dewy when ready.
  5. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour or more.
  6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator when ready and pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  7. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar into a small mixing bowl and set it aside.
  8. Line a large baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper.
  9. Scoop out portions of 1 to 2 tablespoons of dough, rolling them into balls about an inch to an inch and a half in diameter. Roll each cookie dough ball in the bowl of sugar to coat, then place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  10. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes (this varies per oven so keep an eye on them) or until the top of the cookie begins to crinkle and the bottom sides turn golden brown.
  11. Let cookies rest on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Then transfer them to a wire cooking rack to finish cooling completely.
  12. Enjoy!
Classic Fluffy Sugar Cookies
Classic Fluffy Sugar Cookies
Classic Fluffy Sugar Cookies

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!

DIY Red and White Striped Christmas Box

Christmas is nearly here and we love celebrating every moment!

What better way to celebrate than having a Christmas box! Now when I first heard of these, they were and are referred to as Christmas Eve boxes and presented on Christmas Eve for the family to enjoy, but then some of the items can only be enjoyed for one to two nights before Christmas is technically over, so I’ve decided to just call it a Christmas box and we can present it a week before Christmas to really enjoy its contents!

SUPPLIES
  • Wood crate
  • White acrylic paint
  • Red acrylic paint
  • Foam paint brushes
  • Painter’s tape
  • Matte varnish
  • Embellishments (optional)
  • Hot glue (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Paint every other beam of the crate (outside and inside) with white paint and then allow it to dry.
  2. Repeat step 1 until the desired brightness of the paint is reached.
  3. Once the paint is dry, use painters tape to tape up and protect the edges of the white beams or anywhere else where the red paint may drip or bleed.
  4. Paint the remaining beams and the sides of the crate (outside and inside) with red paint and then allow it to dry.
  5. Repeat step 4 until the desired brightness of the paint is reached.
  6. Carefully peel off the painter’s tape and coat the whole crate with varnish, this may take two coats to reach the desired coverage.
  7. If you have any embellishments like an ornament or two, carefully glue them on with a hot glue gun and allow it to dry.
  8. Fill it up and enjoy!

If you’re looking for ideas to fill your new Christmas box with here are a few to spark your imagination!

  • Candy
  • Cookie mix
  • Festive hat(s)
  • Festive pajamas
  • Festive plushies
  • Festive socks or slippers
  • Gingerbread kit
  • Holiday-themed books
  • Holiday-themed movies
  • Hot Apple Cider mix
  • Hot Cocoa mix
  • Mug(s)
  • Ornament(s)
  • Savory snacks
  • Sweet snacks

Family Friendly Christmas Children’s Books – Ages 5 and Under

Family Friendly Christmas Children's Books - Ages 0 to 5

Welcome to the cozy and magical month of December my friends!

To inspire you and your little ones into the Holiday mood, I’ve curated a list of Christmas-themed books for ages five and under! These selections are simple and festive, while remaining short and sweet for the younger audience.

There are a handful of books on this list with a reading age that start under the age of five and peak at the age of 7 or 8.

If you have a favorite Children’s book for children ages 5 and under that you do not see here, please let me know! I would love to add it to this list!