Home Remedy for Head Lice

Our school has had a serious problem with head lice. I don’t blame any one kid, nor do I even blame the parents. Head lice is just not something you check for, unless someone has alerted you to the problem. The last note from school was months ago, despite the fact it’s still a huge problem around town. Plus, keep in mind, we are a very small town. All the kids, regardless of age, play together. Without half the parents even knowing about it, it’s a major problem.

Thankfully my best friend gave me several tips on home remedys for head lice, but also to prevent it from coming back.

Natural Head Lice Shampoo

This is so rediculously simple, you probably will never buy a head lice treatment from the store ever again. It works much better than anything on the store shelves, and is a whole lot cheaper. All you need is the following to make your own:

Dishsoap
Apple Cider Vinegar
Tea Tree Oil

Mix up about half vinegar and half dishsoap, then add several drops of tea tree oil. We use regular shampoo sometimes to start, since it’s easier mixing it up in a shampoo bottle. I will warn you – it stinks. Badly. But it works like a charm, and you can shampoo/condition regularly after treating it with the special shampoo.

WARNING – DO NOT USE ON PETS.
While tea tree is safe for humans, it is toxic to pets. DO NOT use anything with tea tree oil directly on pets, or in places where they could possibly ingest it.

Killing Eggs

After you watch dead lice fall out of their hair (and it will – it’s actually quite disgusting, but you feel victorious at the same time), you will have to work to get the nits (eggs) out. My friend has suggested vasoline and baby oil, although we personally prefer to use olive oil with a bit of tea tree oil. I personally believe it prevents them from hatching, or if they do, kills them immediately. If you have some sort of leave in conditioner, mixing this with olive oil and tea tree oil works pretty well, too. It does tend to make the hair a tad greasy, though, so do watch for that.

Head Lice Prevention

Now that you’ve gotten rid of them, you’ll need to keep them away. The best way to do this is with an all purpose spray that can be used on bedding and people. Luckily it doesn’t stink near as bad as the shampoo does. You will need the following:

Orange Juice or Lime Juice (anything acidic)
Coconut Conditioner (coconut is a repellent)
Tea Tree Oil
Water
Spray Bottle

Mix 1 part juice, 1 part conditioner, and 1 part water. Add several drops of tea tree oil. Spray on bedding, couches, and hair. Again, DO NOT use on pets due to the tea tree oil.

That’s it! Pretty simple, right? If you have any more tips or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment!

Easy Ideas for Breakfast

Mornings are hectic. There never seems to be enough time to make a good breakfast, nor enough motivation. However, there are several simple options you can use, which are both easy and high on nutrition.

This list should give you a few basic ideas for breakfast, and help cut down on the stress of morning.

1. English Muffins
Just a few seconds in the toaster can provide a hot and tasty treat. Add toppings such as butter, cinnamon, peanut butter, or jelly.

2. Frozen Waffles
Ever since the kids were little, they’ve had a taste for frozen waffles. You wouldn’t think something from the freezer would be that nutritious, but they have more vitamins and minerals than you think. Plus they are filling, so it avoids that mid-morning hunger problem. The right type, like chocolate chip waffles, does not even need messy syrup to taste great.

3. Cereal
As clique as this may sound, cereal is a fantastically easy and nutritious breakfast choice. Try to avoid name brand with “prize inside” and look for organic instead. If you want to add extra flavor, try chocolate skim milk instead of regular milk.

4. Omelets
If you have an omelet maker, you can easily make a quick and tasty breakfast with little prep time. Be warned, though, it does take a good 10 to 15 minutes to cook, so allow yourself that little extra time in the morning. If you start cooking before you get dressed, your omelet should be finished by the time you sit down to eat.

5. Other Frozen Foods
Have you taken a walk down the frozen breakfast food aisle lately? There are lots of choices for delicious, easy, and nutritious breakfast meals. Sausage sandwiches, toaster strudels, pancakes, and other frozen foods can be perfect if you are short on time and ambition.

These are just a few ideas for breakfast. Depending on the type of kitchen toys you have in your home, you can create easy meals any time of day, or make the day before to have for breakfast.

Enjoy!

Easter Bread Recipes

Our family has always done “pot luck” style dinners. We aren’t a huge family, but big enough that one person just can’t do it all alone. Thus why we all plan to bring certain items – usually side dishes and desserts. For this gathering, I claimed bread and dips.

I realize this post is a little late since Easter is tomorrow, but I thought I would share a few suggestions for Easter bread recipes and side dishes, along with the goodies I’ve been making most the day.

Butter Braids
While I didn’t tackle this one today, I have made it in the past. It’s a YUMMY dessert bread for any family gathering, and just seems perfect for Easter. For instructions and variations, be sure to see our butter braids recipe post.


Homemade Bread

If you’ve been a long time reader, you know I’m in love with my bread machine. I use it on a VERY regular basis. Everything from breads to rolls to pizza crust gets made in our bread machine. Today it’s been used for three items – Herb Bread, French Bread, and Tabi’s Awesome Rolls (recipe below).

Tabi’s Awesome Rolls
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup butter – softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp yeast

Add all ingredients in order to the bread machine, and set on dough. Shape into rolls and set on pan. Allow to rise an additional 30-45 mins. Bake at 350* until golden brown.

Homemade Dips
I have yet to share with my family the dip I make on occassion, so decided this would be a perfect compliment to my bread. I don’t make it often, because I WILL eat it all if I do. This particular recipe is extremely fattening, with real mayo and real sour cream. I made two of them today – Spinach dip from a mix I got from Tastefully Simple awhile back, and Chipolet from a mix I got at the store. Dip is so insainely simple to make, and you can pretty much add any spices or herbs you want. In fact, I’m thinking about making another dip with dill or garlic. I tend to eye-ball the mix since I’ve made it quite a bit. But to start, mix up 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup mayo, and 2 Tablespoons of herbs/spices you’ll have a delicious homemade dip.

Any other suggestions for Easter bread recipes are welcome!

3 Ideas for Roasted Red Bell Peppers

I absolutely love red bell peppers in any form. Unfortunately, no one else in my family shares the love of the vegetable with me. I have, however, figured out ways to slip the delightful flavor into my portions, which I plan to share with you today.

Stir Fry
This meal idea is the most difficult to work in the roasted red bell peppers on the side, but it can still be done. All you need to do is make 2 separate dishes, one at a time, in the same pan. Fry up your families choice of vegetables (or lack of), and add your pasta. Set aside in a bowl, then fry up your choice of vegetables (bell peppers included) and add your pasta.

Pizza
This is my favorite use for roasted red bell peppers, and also happens to be my favorite pizza topping. Since everyone’s taste in pizza seems to be sprouting off into different directions, we’ve made a point to do personalized pizzas more often. If you make your own dough, this isn’t really extra work at all.

Bruschetta
While roasted red bell peppers aren’t a normal topping for bruschetta, it can still be done. It’s also the easiest use, since traditional bruschetta is individual servings.

I hope this helps those of you who love roasted red bell peppers as much as I do!

Kid’s Craft Idea: Jeweled Treasure Box

Keep Your Favorite Treasures Safe In A Jeweled Treasure Box

If you have treasures that you would like to keep safe, you can make a pretty jeweled box to keep them in. This is a really easy project, and your child can do it all by herself. All you need are a few materials (most you can get at a craft store), and you’ll have a sparkling box that is fit for the finest of treasures.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Cigar box (or a similar box with a hinged lid)
  • Felt, any color, enough to line bottom and sides of box
  • White glue
  • Contact cement
  • Poster paint, any color (it can match the lining, or even use multi colors for a really fun and funky look)
  • Glitter, any color you like
  • Lots of faux rhinestones with flat backs, all colors, shapes and sizes
  • Oval Mirror, smaller than the lid
  • A marble, any color

Instructions (for kids):

Cut the felt so that it will fit on the bottom and sides of the box. Glue in place.

Paint the inside of the lid with poster paint. Allow to dry (this doesn’t take very long.) Using the contact cement, glue the mirror onto the center (Diagram 1). Allow the lid to remain open. Place a book or a pair of socks under it so that it doesn’t lean, making the mirror slide off before the glue is dry. This will take about 12 hours. You might want to do this part just before you go to bed at night, so your project will be ready to work on when you get up, or after school.

Diagram 1

Once the mirror is firmly in place, cover the sides and top of the box with a thin layer of glue, and sprinkle glitter all over. If you want, you can make designs with different colors of glitter. Glue the marble on the lid of the box, near the front and in the center (Diagram 2). This will be your knob for opening the lid. Set it aside for a few hours to dry. While you’re waiting, why not go outside and play for a while to make the time go faster!

Diagram 2

Now it’s time for the fun part: decorating your treasure box! Take the rhinestones and start gluing them all over the top and sides of the box. The rhinestones may be too heavy, and they may slide off the sides of your box. If you have this happen, all you have to do is place one side face up, decorate it and let it dry, before moving to the next. It may take a little longer this way, but you will end up with a beautiful treasure box.

Variations

You don’t have to just use rhinestones to decorate your treasure box. Some of the things you can use to decorate your treasure box include seashells, small silk flowers, beads, pebbles and mirror tiles. If you really want a “treasure” box, glue coins all over it . You can use faux coins if you want, and save your real coins to buy stuff to make more crafts!

Contributed by Chris Molnar, a work-at-home-Dad of two little girls. He edits a party theme website with articles and resources on activities, foods, crafts and games, such as a recent one on Yo Gabba Gabba party ideas. He also has a blog filled with entertaining tips, holiday ideas and party recipes.

Teddy Bear Paperweight

Make a Teddy Bear Paperweight From Dough

If you are looking for a fun and easy craft project that you can do on a rainy day, look no further than this adorable teddy bear paperweight. It is really easy to make, and you just need to make sure that you get Mom to help you with the oven. Here’s what you will need:

Dough:

  • 2 Cups of flour
  • 1/2 Cup of salt
  • 3/4 Cup water

Craft Supplies:

  • Egg yolk
  • Toothpicks
  • Teddy bear googly eyes
  • Poster paints and brushes
  • Glass of water to clean brushes
  • Stick-on rhinestones, buttons and other decorations
  • Black felt-tipped marker for drawing details

Make The Dough:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • This part might get a bit messy, so make sure Mom doesn’t mind. Mix all of the dough ingredients, and knead (squeeze, press, roll and push) for about five to ten minutes, until it has a nice smooth texture.
  • Break dough apart into chunks for the head, body, arms and legs. To keep the dough from sticking to your hands, coat your hands with flour.
  • Roll the chunks into balls – one large one for the body, a smaller one for the head, and four little ones for the arms and legs. Make sure that the backs of each ball is flat, so that the teddy bear paperweight will rest nicely on a flat surface. For the head, squeeze a couple of bits of dough on the top to form small rounded ears. If you want, you can make a well in the belly, which can hold paperclips, thumb tacks and other small items.
  • Insert toothpicks into the body where you plan to put the head, arms and legs, leaving a little bit of each toothpick sticking out of the body (diagram 1). Using a paint brush, spread some of the egg yolk at each place where you have a toothpick (this acts as a sort of glue to help hold the pieces together better).

Diagram 1

  • Stick the head and four smaller dough balls onto the toothpicks (diagram 2).

Diagram 2

  • Place your teddy bear on a cookie sheet, and ask your Mom to put it in the oven to bake for about a half an hour. Make sure you use a timer so you don’t forget to take your paperweight out of the oven.
  • Remove the paperweight from oven, and allow it to cool before you start decorating it.

Decorating Your Teddy Bear Paperweight

Now you are ready to decorate your paperweight! There are all kinds of things you can do to personalize your teddy bear and make it your own. Start by painting it whatever color you want it to be with your poster paints. You can also use texturized paints to make your teddy bear look like it has fur. Make sure that you paint the facial area, ears and paws a lighter color than the rest of the body.

If you want, you can paint on some colorful clothing, like a bright vest or a cool t-shirt with a fun saying. Draw in the facial details (nose and mouth) with the felt-tipped marker, and any other details you would like to highlight. You can also add glitter, rhinestones, buttons and other decorations to make your bear uniquely yours.

By Chris Molnar, a writer and work at home Dad. He has two un”bear”ably cute daughters – the youngest just turned one and would eat her sister’s bear paperweight if given the chance. Chris edits a website full of theme party decorations, ideas and tips. Check out some great Elmo birthday ideas, his youngest’s favorite character.

Breakfast for Dinner Ideas

Rarely is there enough time in the morning for a home-cooked breakfast that doesn’t involve the microwave. Yet nowhere in the rules of life does it say we can’t have these same items for supper. This list includes our top five favorite “breakfast for dinner” ideas we’ve used on several occasions.

1. French Toast
Dip slices of bread in a milk and egg mixture, then fry in pan on medium heat for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with syrup. Delicious!

2. Omelets
Making individual omelets for everyone in the morning can be a real chore. It’s best to make these for dinner, since you can make personalized omelets for everyone based on their tastes. Just a few suggestions for ingredients include cheese, ham, green peppers, mushrooms, or onions.

3. Pancakes from Scratch
It may be easy to grab a box of pancake mix and whip it up fast, but when was the last time you made pancakes from scratch? Or better yet, make special types like pumpkin, blueberry, or chocolate chip.

4. Sausage and Bacon
If you need a side, pull out the sausage and bacon! There’s nothing that goes better with pancakes, eggs, or toast than a few slices of bacon or sausage links. Normally in the morning you don’t have time to properly cook items such as this, so they made a perfect side for a “breakfast night”.

5. Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups
This gem of a recipe we latched on to some time ago, and fell in love with. Due to the amount of time it takes to prepare them, though, it’s became a dinner item instead of for breakfast. All you need is a muffin tin, toast, eggs, and bacon. Seasoning is optional, but we always use a pinch of salt and pepper. (Full recipe here)

Need additional ideas? Just think of the best breakfast you’ve ever eaten, yet never had time to make for your family in the morning. Can you make it on a weeknight? How about a weekend? Try it out!

Our Incredible Night at Incredible Pizza

On a random Tuesday night, the family and I visited Incredible Pizza for the first time. We didn’t even know this awesome kid’s restaurant existed until the other half and I ate at the restaurant next door, and just happened to see it. It looked interesting, so we had to give it a shot.

It’s hard to impress all of us at once, but Incredible Pizza did an awesome job at this near-impossible task. I can’t remember a time we’ve had this much fun as a family for such a low price. Four buffets and $30 worth of game credits costs only $40 (plus tax), and we stayed a good 2 or 3 hours.

The first united delight was the choice of dining areas, along with the overall “50s” theme throughout the entire restaurant. There was “Route 66 Diner”, “High school gym”, “Family diner”, and the “Drive-In Theater”. We decided to dine in the dark at the drive-in, with an almost private showing of iCarly (since there was no movie that night, they had the movie theater sized screen tuned in to Nick). A minor set-back more than made up for with a large screen viewing of one of the kids’ favorite TV shows.

A family-style buffet was available in the “main room” outside of all the dining areas, and everyone was impressed by the food. The quality of the salad, pizza, pasta, potatoes, and desserts were more than you would expect from a buffet, and absolutely delicious.

After our meal, it was play time. This is where fantastic escaladed to incredible, and where we vowed to come back as often as we could.

Just a few of our activities that evening included:

Family go-kart race
Dance-off competition
Skeet ball
Miniature bowling
Old-fashion bumper cars
Shooting gallery

Miniature “glow in the dark” golf and countless other games and activities were also available, but the ones listed above are just some of what we accomplished in the hour or two we spent playing.

The four of us (two kids and two adults) had only $7.25 each our game cards, and a few of us went home with a few dollars left for the next time we visit. These cards were all labeled when we got home, and registered on the Incredible Pizza website, so they can be used and replaced if needed.

Overall, this restaurant comes highly recommended for any family wanting an inexpensive night out together. Big thumbs up!

15 Ways to Be a Kid Again

Sometimes we get caught up in our adult lives, and let stress take over. A great way to de-stress ourselves is to act like a kid again. Who cares if it’s silly, immature, or a waste of time? If everyone took even a few hours a month to act like a kid, there would be less stress in the world.

Here are 15 activities you can do with your kids, or all by yourself.

Cloud Watching
Lay on the grass, and just watch the clouds roll by. Play the game you did as a kid, where you tried to guess what each shape was floating by.

Go to a Playground
Slide down the slides, swing on the swings, climb the forts.

Tree Climbing
Have you seen a tree lately you wouldn’t be able to resist climbing if you were still a child? Go climb it!

Skip Rocks
Take a trip to a local pond or lake, and skip rocks for the afternoon. Try to beat your high score once you get the hang of it again.

Dive
Visit the local swimming pool, and dare yourself to jump off the highest diving board.

Cartwheels
It doesn’t matter if you are outside or in your own living room – if you have the space, do a few cartwheels.

Write a Poem
Think of the things that made you happy when you were a child, then write a silly poem about it.

Pick Dandelions
Go outside and create a dandelion bouquet. If you spot other colorful “weeds”, pick those too. Put them in a plastic cup of water and set them on your desk as a reminder of the simple things in life.

Go Barefoot
Take off your shoes and walk in the grass. Remember how nice that felt when you were a kid?

Sing
Outside or inside, just start singing your favorite song. Pretend you’re on a stage performing if you’d like.

Jump Rope
How long has it been since you’ve tried to jump rope? If you have a few kids and a long enough rope or two, you can have a jump rope competition.

Draw with Chalk
Pick up a package of sidewalk chalk, and spend the afternoon drawing.

Ride a Bike
Lots of adults ride bikes, but mostly for leisure and exercise. If you have older children, try riding your bike with them. Keeping up with a 10-yr-old is harder than you think.

Blow Bubbles
Sit outside and blow bubbles. Little ones, big ones, funny shaped ones… whatever you like the most.

Play in the Rain
If you can’t enjoy any of the above outdoor activities because of rain, then go outside anyway and just dance. Feel the rain on your face and arms, and the squishy earth under your feet.

Do you have other activities you did when you were a kid that you miss? Don’t mind what others think, or if you think you’re too old. Do them anyway!