diy: car air fresheners

It’s summer time and it seems like every time we plan a road trip with the kids, life gets in the way and we have a project or another matter to tend to. We have one we have been making some plans for and Andy and I are determined to make it happen before the end of the month. Any amount of time with all three of the munchkins doesn’t go without a few hiccups. Our little ones are actually great road warriors, but I was already mentally checking off in my head what oils I would be bringing for needed stress relief.

Lightbulb!

Diffusing is a major go to for mood in our house. While I don’t have a car diffuser (YET!) I had seen a few really cute ideas about making your own vent diffusers. Plus, who doesn’t love getting into a car that smells good?! It definitely distracts me from what is possibly living in my backseat that was left behind from my children. All you need is a few small craft supplies and you’re on your way to a better smelling car.

– felt

– small clothespins

– leather cord

– small poms

-hot glue gun

– scissors

– essential oils

I decided to go classic and used a basic tree cookie cutter to trace my shape on the felt, while it was folded in half, in order to give me two identical pieces. Cut a small piece of leather cord, and glue it inside the top before glueing the two pieces together.

So easy! These would make adorable gifts for people! Cut any shape you like and use 5-10 Ā drops of essential oils on the felt before placing in the car. I love that it’s reusable and just a cute way to add personality to my car. I found that placing it on my dash vent while my car warmed up made for a smelly treat when we were ready to take off! (This will obviously yield better results when it’s cold, and your warm defrost is on.)

Next up was the vent diffusers. I glued a single pom on a clothespin (making sure it was one that fit well on my vents) and made enough to have a few up front and then a few to place on the vents above the kids’ seats. While they work great while we have the air on, I realize in the summer with the windows open or driving without air going, they won’t be as effective. A USB diffuser would definitely be better suited for that.

But this a simple idea for our upcoming road trip. Place a few drops of your favorite essential oils on the poms and clip them onto your vents, and away you go! I’m definitely thinking of using the blend Peace and Calming for the vents by the kids. šŸ™‚

sweet potato brownies

I really love being in the kitchen. Cooking and creating and trying new recipes are my way of relaxing. Plus, the end result pays off with something tasty.

Who doesn’t love brownies?!?! Two of my favorite brownie recipes involve black beans and zucchini. They help with that sweet tooth but cut down on the “bad stuff” and it’s fun to make people guess the secret ingredient.

So today’s brownie fix is going to be with sweet potatoes. I started by roasting a few in the oven this morning. I put mine in a 375 degree oven and went on my way with my morning coffee and 63 loads of laundry. It will take at least an hour depending on how big they are, so you can even do this part the day before.

I let mine roast just under an hour and half, let them cool and scooped out the goodness.

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I got about 2 cups from them, which for the recipe you’ll only need 1 1/2 cups. Reid loves sweet potato mash so looks like dinner is already ready for him.

Now you just need a few more ingredients.

I measured out my cashew butter and warmed it a bit so it was easier to blend. My favorite part of recipes like this are the fact that they come together so easily. No flour to sift or exact measurements needed. Brownies are forgiving.

Pour your batter in a greased 8×8 pan and bake for 20-25 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. I added some dark chocolate chunks to mine right at the end as well. That’s optional, but I mean, why wouldn’t you?!

The hardest part of this will be letting them cool long enough. And not sticking your finger in them, woops.

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They turned out moist and fudgy and incredibly delicious. I mean just look at them…

Now excuse me while I hide from my children in the closet. With this plate.

diy: moon sand

Since having baby number two, it’s been a balancing act dividing my time between both kids. The perk of having a baby during the summer was that Hayden could go outside during the day and entertain herself. Now that the weather is getting colder, most activities are done inside. Despite my best efforts, after nursing and changing diapers, laundry and dishes, attempting a shower and eating a meal, Hayden often gets ignored. Thanks to Pinterest though I’ve pinned lots of fun projects for her. That way she gets something fun to do and it requires little assistance from me. It’s a win win for everyone. I don’t feel as guilty for not getting to spend as much time with her for the time being and she gets to be independent and creative.

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The highlight of this project is that it didn’t require I make an extra trip to the store for supplies. Flour and baby oil are really common products and I happened to have several empty totes on hand. I used one with a lid so that when she was done it could be easily stored until next time.
Measurements don’t have to be exact for this. I mixed roughly 8 cups of flour and 1 cup of oil. I opted to mix in a large kitchen bowl and dump into the tote but if you want you can certainly mix it in the same container your storing it in. It will only take a couple minutes to completely mix and it works best if you get your hands in there to mix it up. Plus you get to play a little bit yourself.

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Hayden has a large sandbox outside so we grabbed a couple tools from there and gave them a quick wash for the “inside sandbox” and she found all sorts of cups and Tupperware to build her castles with. She was busy with it for a good solid hour. An hour without asking me for fruit snacks 37 times. An hour that she didn’t ask to change the channel every 5 minutes. My living room stayed clean and I got to drink a cup of coffee in one sitting. She built and demolished over and over and when she was ready to be done, it was simply a quick washing of her hands and an easy sweep job around the kitchen table. There was no residue anywhere and her clothes weren’t destroyed. We threw the lid back on and set aside for another day of building!
For those of you that want to really go all out, you can change up the consistency and colors. Whatever suits your little ones sand box needs!

diy: chocolate mint ice cream

I have an almighty sweet tooth. Like diabetes inducing, colossal, no resisting it, craving for sweets. And with my second pregnancy, all I want is chocolate. Well, that’s not all I want but normally I’m not a big chocolate eater, so this time around it’s a doosy.

The remedy for that? Homemade chocolate mint ice cream.

Here’s all you need:

Whole milk, heavy cream, sugar, peppermint extract, chocolate syrup, and chocolate mint candies of your choosing.

Oh yeah, and your ice cream machine…

ingrediants

I personally love York peppermint patties and wanted something more in my ice cream than chunks of just chocolate. All those patties got chopped up and set aside for later. Simply mix all your other ingredients in a bowl, until combined, about 2-3 minutes.

stir

If you follow the recipe exactly, your ice cream will be pretty minty. I wanted a more chocolate flavor to mine so I upped my chocolate measurement by another 1/4 cup or so.

Pour that immediately into your ice cream machine, and turn on.

(Disclaimer: Be sure to follow proper instructions with your machine. Ours for instance, requires that the insert be frozen solid before mixing. Or else you’ll just have chocolate milk and you don’t need a machine to make that. Hopefully.)

machine

(Little people hands may not necessarily be included in your process)

This will churn in your machine for 25-30 minutes. I’ve found it works best to incorporate your add ins after it’s completely done. In the past when I’ve added it in the mixer it only really mixes into the top half of the ice cream. I turned my machine off, added my peppermint candies and divided into freezer worthy containers.

mint

Right out of the machine it will be in soft serve form, which is still delicious. But IĀ think it tastesĀ bestĀ when you’veĀ let sit itĀ in the freezer overnight.

The next step is to scoop yourself up a tasty treat and kick back and pretend it’s already summer!

cone

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

Ā 1 1/2 cups whole milk

3/4 cup chocolate syrup ( I used about 1 cup)

3 tbsp. sugar

3 cups heavy cream

1 tsp. peppermint extract

I cup chopped chocolate mint candies

In medium bowl, mix all ingredients except candy. Mix together milk, chocolate syrup and sugar for a few minutes until sugar is dissolved. Then add in heavy cream and extract, stir.Pour into freezer bowl of ice cream machine and churn for approx. 25-30 minutes. Mix in candies, and serve immediately, or freeze overnight for a firmer texture.