Archives for category: homemade


Coconut oil is the star of this recipe! Add in some blueberries, form into cute shapes with a silicone mold, and voila. You’ll have a bag full of one-a-day doggie deliciousness. (Obviously, check with your veterinarian before starting any health regimens or new foods with your own dogs.) Our little chihuahua-mix nibbles ever so delicately at these, while our 60 lb. vizsla chomps them up in one bite.  🙂


  • Frozen blueberries (enough for 1 or 2 in each treat)
  • Coconut Oil, in solid form (I started with 1/2 c. and kept melting a little more at a time as I went, I probably used a little less than 2 c. altogether)
  • Silicone treat mold (I used a 24 bite-size flower mold)


Place one or two frozen blueberries into each serving of the silicone mold. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat coconut oil over medium heat until it melts.

Pour liquified oil into the mold.

Place entire mold in fridge and let it solidify.

After treats are solid, remove from the mold.

Label a freezer-safe bag or container and store in the freezer.

recipe inspired by


Oh slow cooker recipes. How I love thee. Here’s a healthy meal that’s low-carb, low-fat, and high-flavor. It’s also Whole30 compliant. And super easy! Just make a homemade sauce out of a bell pepper, onion, tomato paste, garlic, and herbs in a food processor. Then pour it over chicken in the slow cooker, set it, and forget it! (Then shred it, and sprinkle with delicious fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro.)


Healthy Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken · · 


  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and rough chopped
  • 1 onion, rough chopped
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 4 lbs. uncooked, boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro


In a food processor, combine bell pepper, onion, tomato paste, garlic, parsley flakes, cumin, salt, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and lime zest. Mix until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. (I added a teaspoon or two of water to thin it out slightly.)

Line slow cooker (optional). Place chicken in slow cooker then pour the sauce over the top. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or low for 4-6 hours, until chicken is tender and thoroughly cooked.

Before serving, shred with two forks. Sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro.

Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Slow CookerSlow Cooker liners for Crock Pot recipes

recipe adapted from The 150 Healthiest Slow Cooker Recipes on Earth by Jonny Bowden

Two-Ingredient Homemade Egg Pasta Recipe

Two Ingredient Homemade Pasta Recipe - Just eggs and flour - I will never buy the boxed stuff again.

Here’s a fun and easy recipe: homemade egg pasta. It’s just two basic ingredients: flour and eggs. You can use this to roll out in flat sheets for cutting into fettuccine noodles or tagliatelle. It’s also perfect for filled pastas such as ravioli or tortellini.

The fun part is you don’t even need a mixing bowl – just make a “bowl” out of flour right on your work surface and place the eggs in the middle.

We used a hand-crank pasta machine to roll out the dough. Our kids thought this was great. It was like a PlayDoh Fun Factory – except we got to eat our work.

I cut some of the pasta dough into fettuccine and spaghetti noodles, and used a hand stamper tool to make ravioli another time.

Of course there are tons of flavors and liquids you can add to this basic pasta dough: try 6-10 oz. of spinach, or a teaspoon of grated lemon zest and 6 oz. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or even ½ cup dry white wine to your dough while mixing. Herbs and spices (basil, parsley, etc) or even vegetable purees can be great additions.

And if you’re making ravioli or tortellini, there are so many delicious options for the filling besides the usual ricotta: for example butternut squash, mushrooms, blue cheese, etc.

I made the batch in the photos with just plain old, boring, flour, since we have a bunch of it. I do want to try switching up the flour, though, and experiment with cornmeal, rice, semolina, whole wheat, and/or buckwheat.

Anyway, here’s the basic recipe. It makes approximately the same amount as 1 pound of store-bought dried boxed pasta.


  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 ½ cups (14 oz.) all-purpose flour


MIX: Mound the flour in the center of your work surface. Using your hands, make a well in the middle that will be wide enough and deep enough to hold the eggs. Add eggs, and any optional liquids or flavoring. Using a fork, beat the eggs (and any liquids/flavors). Gradually incorporate small amounts of flour from the sides of the well as you go, until all the flour is mixed in. This will be a lumpy mess, but do not worry. The next step will take care of that.

KNEAD: Knead for 3 minutes or so. If the dough is really sticky, add a little more flour. The dough should be slightly springy and just a tiny bit sticky. Knead for 10 additional minutes until the dough becomes smooth. Wrap ball-shaped dough in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature, for 30 to 60 minutes.

ROLL OUT (<– said in my best Transformers voice): Using a rolling pin (and extra flour for dusting) or pasta machine to turn the dough into sheets. Cut into desired shapes, or add filling if you’re making stuffed pasta.

Tip: I sprinkled a tiny bit of cornmeal on the dough before I put it through the roller the first time to keep it from sticking, and I put a tiny amount of cornmeal on the plate for the finished pasta and tossed the noodles around to keep them from sticking. To keep noodles from drying out, cover with a damp towel as you go.

COOK: Bring 6 to 8 quarts of salted water to a rapid boil. Add pasta, and boil until firm but not mushy (depending on the thickness of your pasta, anywhere from 30 seconds-2 minutes or so). Drain and serve.

adapted from The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food by Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Two Ingredient Homemade Pasta - just flour and eggs - I will never buy the boxed stuff again


Here’s a craft the kids and I worked on for Valentine’s Day: glass jar candle holders. You can customize these with any colors or patterns of tissue paper to match any holiday or décor. They would make perfect gifts for holidays or teacher appreciation. Many of the supplies can also be found at the dollar store – woo hoo!

DIY Upcycled Jar Candle Holders - just tissue paper and Mod Podge - customize for any theme, colors, or decor.



Tear pieces of tissue paper to use as your first layer, and stick to the outside of the jar using Mod Podge.

Add a second layer with shapes (trace shapes onto tissue paper using cookie cutters then cut out – or freehand cut out your shapes).

After your candle holder has its final design, coat all tissue paper with a layer of Mod Podge and let dry.

Place a flameless tea light inside the jar, and enjoy!

DIY Jar Candle Holders - tissue paper and ModPodge - easy kids craft!

DIY Jar Candle Holders - tissue paper and ModPodge - easy kids craft - use different colors and patterns of tissue paper for your theme.



DIY Jar Candle Holders - tissue paper and ModPodge -  use different colors and patterns of tissue paper for your theme.


Turn plain old jars into candle holders with just tissue paper and Mod Podge - DIY Tutorial

Turn old jars into candle holders with just tissue paper and Mod Podge - DIY Tutorial

flameless tea lights

Our little guy used the tissue paper shapes to make his own Valentine’s Day artwork by gluing hearts on paper…

Tissue Paper Valentines Day Craft - Toddler Art



Here’s a project I worked on with leftover materials from some felt bird ornaments I made last year: DOG ORNAMENTS. Woof! 🙂 You could also hot glue a magnet to the back instead of attaching a loop, if you wanted to make a magnetic pooch. If you have a strong enough magnet, you could even stuff it inside before stitching the ornament closed.

Just customize with your favorite colors of wool felt, button eyes, and embroidery thread. I used both ribbon, and black elastic, for hanging loops. The possibilities are endless!

DIY Felt Dog Ornaments - free pattern and tutorial


Here’s the free pattern and tutorial, for personal and non-profit use! felt dog ornament – free pattern and instructions

So start some Christmas music, and some slow cooker hot chocolate (tee hee), make ornaments while it simmers, and enjoy!



Assemble the Minions!!! Here are a couple of DIY ideas for birthday parties: personalized water bottle labels, and healthy Minion bananas.

DIY minion bananas and personalized water bottle labels

DIY personalized water bottles


Our daughter celebrated the big #4 with a gymnastics party, and a Despicable Me theme: minions and unicorns. I made some personalized water bottle labels, with just printer paper and packaging tape. And banana minions with printed overalls and goggles. Here’s what I did….

In Microsoft Word I made some rectangles sized to the water bottle labels, and added some images to go with our theme. I printed them out, and attached them to the water bottles with packaging tape.

DIY personalized water bottles

DIY personalized water bottle labels - perfect for parties, picnics, or birthdays - just printer and packaging tape


DIY personalized water bottle labels - customize with your theme - birthday parties - picnics - graduation

DIY personalized water bottle labels - perfect for birthdays, graduation, parties, etc

I printed some Minion overalls and goggles, then taped them on to bananas. We ended up with a lot of leftover bananas after the party, so I made some chocolate chip banana bread AND dried some banana slices in our dehydrator.

DIY minion bananas and personalized water bottle labels

Here are some gift jars I put together over Christmas, to give as teacher gifts. The kids and I filled them with trail mix and attached a gift card to the twine. Of course, you could switch up the fabric and string for an anytime of the year gift.

DIY Jar Gifts. Switch up the fabric and twine for anytime of the year. Teacher gifts, etc!


  • Jars with lids
  • Jar labels
  • Fabric
  • Coordinating twine or string
  • Contents for the jar (trail mix, baking mixes, little trinkets, office supplies, school supplies, etc).


Place a lid/ring on the fabric and cut a circle around it so that enough sticks out over the jar.

Fill jar and label.

Attach fabric between the lid and the ring then put the lid on the jar.

Add string or twine.

Canning jars + fabric tied up with string. This is just one of my favorite things. For teacher gifts, holidays, etc. Fill with trail mix, office supplies, etc, and switch up the fabric/string.

Canning jars + fabric tied up with string. This is just one of my favorite things. For teacher gifts, holidays, etc. Fill with trail mix, office supplies, etc, and switch up the fabric/string.

Canning jars + fabric tied up with string. This is just one of my favorite things. For teacher gifts, holidays, etc. Fill with trail mix, office supplies, etc, and switch up the fabric/string.

Canning jars + fabric tied up with string. This is just one of my favorite things. For teacher gifts, holidays, etc. Fill with trail mix, office supplies, etc, and switch up the fabric/string.

Our garden veggies are finally starting to grow – hurrah! Here are some sweet banana peppers that grew in some of my container pots.

Use garden banana peppers in an easy delicious jarred pickled recipe - perfect for salads, nachos, sandwiches, and  more.

I love eating the jarred, pickled kind for tons of different stuff especially sandwiches, nachos, and salads. So I decided to try my own, using a recipe I adapted from This is what I ended up with (I halved the recipe below since I used just a few peppers in a 8 oz jelly jar)…

Easy Refrigerated Pickled Banana Peppers - fresh from the garden. Simple easy ingredients, keeps in fridge for 3 mos. No canning needed!

Easy Refrigerator Banana Peppers (lasts for up to 3 months in the fridge).


  • 2 mason jars (approx 1 qt. ea.)
  • 1 lb. banana peppers (or enough to fill the jars)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 c. white vinegar
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 Tbs. Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. sugar


  • Slice banana peppers into rings. Remove ribs and seeds (I left a few seeds in).
  • Fill each jar full of banana peppers. Add 1 clove of minced garlic to each jar.
  • Make a brine: in a small saucepan, mix the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Heat and stir until the completely dissolved. There is no need to bring to a full boil,  just enough to dissolve the sugar and salt. Cool the brine completely.
  • When cooled, fill each jar with pickling brine, seal, and store in the refrigerator.
  • Let the peppers sit and “pickle” for at least 24 hrs before eating.

Garden Banana Peppers - cut into rings, throw in a jar with some garlic, vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Keeps in fridge for up to 3 mos.

Easy Pickled Banana Peppers - no canning needed, just put in a jar with a few simple ingredients and store in the fridge for up to 3 mos.

Refrigerated banana pepper rings - just throw in a jar with some simple ingredients and keep in the fridge for up to 3 mos!

Fresh from the garden pickled banana peppers. Just slice and throw in a jar with some garlic, vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Keeps in fridge for up to 3 mos.

Nachos with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and deliciously topped with pickled banana peppers fresh from the garden.

Here are some of my other recipes to check out if you liked this one:

Salt & Vinegar Cucumbers with Fresh Dill

Wasabi Sesame Soy Cucumber Salad

Banana Peppers on a Pork Chop-Topped Salad

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Spinach & Feta Stuffed Portabellos

Fresh & Easy Guacamole

Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Salad

Delicious Lemon Feta ‘Shroom-Fest

Our house has a beautiful front door. But guess how often we use it? Basically never. Instead, we park our cars in the garage, and enter the house through our laundry room and into the kitchen. So, I decided to spruce up the door and stairs in the garage since we see it all the time.

This door was plain white, and the stairs were gray, though scuffed and missing lots of paint. We also had an old almond-colored light switch plate cover. Here’s what I did…

easy DIY garage makeover


I added a few coats of black paint to the stairs. I also bought some black vinyl tiles, which will be a project for later. I plan on attaching them on top of the stairs with some floor adhesive.

Our oldest son helped paint the door a khaki color, and then I added a vinyl “Welcome” decal that I bought on Amazon (have I mentioned how much I love Amazon Prime?!?).

I also added an over-the-door wreath hanger and attached a wreath.

little helper {}


Below is the light switch cover plate that was next to our door. It was an old plastic thing and I considered buying a new, oil-rubbed bronze plate to match the doorknob, but decided to take a cheap thrifty/creative approach, and used Mod Podge and scrapbook paper to add a custom look. I just followed the directions of a tutorial at

use ModPodge and scrapbook paper to make a custom-designed light switch plate cover

just 2 supplies needed to transform an old plastic lightswitch cover to a custom plate

garage into house - needs some TLC - added custom paint colors for the door and steps, then added a vinyl 'Welcome' decal and a wreath

garage - entry door - after

DIY garage makeover - custom colors for the steps and door, add a wreath and a vinyl decal


Here’s a quick project the kids and I worked on (last year, and I’m finally posting it!).

It’s an easy DIY bird feeder, with just pipe cleaners and Cheerios! Well, they were supposed to be bird feeders, but eventually the squirrels got to them after they saw the birds enjoying them. They even untwisted them from the branches with their sneaky little squirrel paws and enjoyed them as “to-go” snacks. Anyway, here’s what we did…


  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Cheerios


  • Twist the end of a pipe cleaner into a hook shape that you can attach to a tree branch. Thread the pipe cleaner with Cheerios, then twist again on the bottom to keep them from sliding off.
  • Attach to a branch outside, and sit back and watch!

Easy DIY Bird Feeders - fun kids craft, only need two supplies!

Easy DIY Backyard Bird Feeders