Thursday, March 31, 2016

10 Easy And Harmless April Fools Day Pranks

Get ready for it...tomorrow is April Fools Day! Don't let everyone else get the first laugh, or the last one for that matter. Try these simple pranks to trick your friends, co-workers & family. Have some fun and Happy April Fools!

1. Cover the mouse laser with a post it note! 

Need I say more?

2. Bug in a Lamp

I'll be very serious here, this might be a funny joke for some but I think I would actually faint if someone did this to me.

3. Mirror on the Stairs.

Oh I like this one. ALOT!!

4. Googly Eyes in the Fridge.

This one is great for kids. It's not scary or traumatizing but sure to get a giggle from them.

5. Cheese Please!

6. Beware this one may cause angry friends so use with caution.

7. Meatloaf Cupcakes with Potato Frosting. 

Mmmmm, Cupcakes! Apparently they actual do taste pretty good though.

8. This one is just creepy. Seriously.

9. Place a Helium Balloon in the Toilet. 

This one is pretty harmless and could be played on kids.

10. Paint a Bar of Soap with Clear Nail Polish. 

The soap won't lather.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

4 Things Nobody Tells You About Pregnancy

Here are some things I learned throughout my first and second pregnancies that nobody explained to me when I got pregnant. Everyone is so busy being happy for you that they forget to tell you the big important stuff. Or maybe they don't tell you because they are worried about scaring you. Pregnancy has it's ups and downs but is still well worth it in the end.

1. Labor hurts, and so does post labor!

The birth of a baby is a beautiful thing don't get me wrong, but the truth is labor hurts! Most women will tell you that yes it's painful but don't worry, once you see that little baby you will forget all about it.

When I had my first daughter and she was placed in my arms for a split second I forgot about the pain and nothing else existed then except for her and I but once that moment was over I can't say that I had forgotten all about the pain.

After you've given birth you still have to deal with the pain of not being able to sit properly for weeks especially if you've torn during delivery. Would I do it again? Of course and I can say that since I am 8 months pregnant with my second child as I write this, but this time I know what to expect.

2. It's OKAY to have an epidural. 

This one is a follow up from the first point I posted. The big thing lately is that epidurals come with risks and you should do everything possible to avoid them and have a natural birth. The fact that epidurals have risks is not shocking. Everything we do has risks...taking medication, driving a car, crossing the street etc. The idea is to weigh how severe the risks are before you go ahead.

When I was pregnant with my first I decided I didn't want an epidural. I told my husband that no matter what I said do not let me get one. I was convinced that if I couldn't handle the pain of labor without drugs then in some way that meant I was weak.

I went through a 26 hour labor almost entirely without pain relief. Finally it was my husband that convinced me to get the epidural. I gave in after 23 hours of no sleep and constant contractions. After the pain subsided I was finally able to get some rest while waiting for my cervix to dilate enough to start delivery. Nothing bad happened, my daughter did not have any issues or birth defects and I actually believe that without the epidural I would not have had the energy to push her out myself, which would definitely have result in a cesarean.

Moral of the story, if you feel you need it there is nothing embarrassing or shameful about asking for pain relief.

If you want to learn more about epidurals you can read more about it on Baby Centre. This is a website that I frequently visit and find their advise is very practical and well written.

3. Morning sickness doesn't just happen in the morning.

Don't let the name morning sickness fool you! Morning sickness can happen at anytime of day or night and for some of us unlucky Mama-to-Be's it can last all day.

I had morning sickness all day long with my first pregnancy up until 8 weeks. With my second I had it all day and all night right up to almost 16 weeks. During my second pregnancy I was prescribed a medication call Diclectin to help alleviate the symptoms since I was not able to eat or do anything except lay on the couch which is not conducive to having a 2 year old toddler running around. On the other hand some women experience none to very little morning sickness.

4. The big "Gush" of your water breaking mostly just happens in the movies.

Only 1 in 10 women experience their waters breaking before contractions and labor begins. Most of the time your waters will break towards the end of the first stage of labor.

It is also normal to have to have your waters broken manually by the doctor in the delivery room. This is something that happened to me during my first pregnancy. You may not feel that "gushing" feeling that is often shown in the movies, it might just be a slow trickling feeling.

If you think that your waters may have broken before labor begins there are steps to take. Baby Centre has a great post explaining what happens if your waters break and what to do if they break early.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

6 Home Organizing Ideas I Have Tried Myself And Love

Here are 6 organizing ideas that are popular on Pinterest right now. I have tried these myself and still use them. They work for me and so hopefully will work for you too.

1. Keep Brown Sugar Fresh with Marshmallows. 

I store my brown sugar in a recycled sealed margarine container but after time it still gets hard. I added 2 large marshmallows to my last freshly opened bag and it has stayed fresh ever since. See The Pin  

2. Store Cupcake Liners in a Mason Jar. 

I wouldn't have it any other way. They are always together in one place they don't get crushed or lost in the cupboard. Why didn't I do this sooner? See The Pin.

3. Pin Sandwich Bag Boxes to Inside of Your Pantry Door.

I did this one almost 2 years ago and they have never moved from the inside of my pantry door. Even my husband loves this one. I rip the tops of the boxes off before pinning them up to save myself space but either way you will appreciate doing this the next time you need a sandwich bag. See The Pin.

From The Chic

4. Use a Magazine Rack to Store Tinfoil and Plastic Wrap Boxes.

Usually I only post things that I have actually tried myself so that I know it works, but I figured since # 3 worked so well for me this one should work just as well. See The Pin.

From Listotic

5. Use Shower Hooks to Hang Tank Tops and Save Closet Space.

This one is great. When I had my own closet I used to keep all my tank tops on separate hangers. Now that we are having our second child I turned my dressing room into the nursery and of course now have to share a closet with my husband. There wasn't nearly enough room. I didn't want to fold them and put them in a drawer since my dresser is already full, so this little trick did wonders for saving space and I still get to hang up my tank tops! I also hang my extra purses and scarves this way. See The Pin.

6. Hang Baskets in The Bathroom For Extra Storage.

This one adds extra storage which is great for a small bathroom and it looks really nice too! I hung two wicker baskets. I stored rolled up face cloths in one and toilet paper in the other. Bonus is that you can store things on top of the baskets too. I put hand towels on one and my toddlers face cloths on top of the other. It looks clean, put together and saves space under my sink. See The Pin.

Best Homemade Foot Soak For Dry Rough Feet

How many foot treatments, diy remedies and scrubs have we all tried to get those perfect sandal feet for summer? The internet has a plethora of diy "recipes" for soaks, scrubs and treatments for us to try.

If I had more time to spare I would probably treat my feet to the amount of pampering they deserve. Since time is not a luxury for me between housework, cooking, kids, and the pets I needed something that would work quickly that I could do once in a while when I had time.

After trying several different soaks that I found while surfing on Pinterest I finally came across this one. 3 simple ingredients that most of us have in our homes all the time anyway and it worked! It really actually worked....the first time I tried it. This isn't something that needs to be used on a regular basis before you see results, the results are clear after the first time. I admit using it more often would probably make more of a difference but I'm happy with the one time results.

1/2 Cup Listerine
1/2 Cup Vinegar
1 Cup Warm/Hot Water

Just mix the ingredients in a large basin or bowl and soak your feet for about 15 - 20 minutes. The actually soaking of my feet didn't feel much different than anything else but afterwards my feet felt so amazingly clean and soft. Most times I just towel my feet off which removes the dead skin and that is more than enough but when they are particularly rough I use a lava stone to help remove some of the extra dead skin midway through my foot bath.

This is now my go to foot treatment and since summer is creeping up on us I will be using it a little more often now to get ready for barefoot weather. If you give this a try come back and leave a comment to let us all know how it worked for you.

Monday, March 28, 2016

How To Make The Most Amazing Caramel Candy EVER!

Pinterest is full of wonderful looking recipes but one thing I have learned that just because the picture looks delicious does not mean that the recipe actually tastes good. I've tried a lot of bad recipes that looked fantastic and turned out to be tasteless. 

That being said I've also tried many recipes that have made it into my family's recipe book as favorites.

This recipe for caramel is one that has made it into my top favorite recipes. It has been a hit with everyone each time I have made it. I usually cook the caramel so it sets a bit harder but if you like softer caramel you can cook it a few degrees less. 

At the harder consistency it tastes almost identical to Mackintosh Toffee, just a little creamier.

Some things I learned while making this recipe:

1. If you cook the caramel too long it will set really hard and will     be impossible to cut. You could just break it into pieces if you wanted but I find by doing that you end up with sharp edges.

What I do after it's set is put it back in the oven for about 1 min in its tinfoil lined pan. That will usually soften it just enough to be able to cut. You will have to do this quickly though because the caramel will cool down fast. If that happens just pop it back in the oven for a few seconds to re-soften. 

Just remember to watch it carefully it doesn't take long to melt caramel too much in the oven and then you will have to wait for it to set again.

2. Another thing that has happened to me is not cooking the caramel enough. At this point you just have a pan of caramel syrupy mess. It's a delicious mess but not good for making candy. I have actually just taken the caramel put it back in the pot and reboiled it to get the proper temperature. 

3. A good candy thermometer is definitely a must for this recipe but if you don't have one there are other ways to judge whether or not your caramel is at the proper temperature. 

Other Tips : 

The cold water test is one really good way to test for readiness if you don't have a candy thermometer. 

For this recipe you want your caramel to be at about 250 degrees F. If you want a harder candy you will need to heat to about 255 degrees. 

If you are using the cold water test you are looking for your caramel to meet the description for the firm ball or hard ball stage.

You can also find the written recipe and video tutorial here 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did and I would love to hear from you about how yours turned out and if you have any extra tips to share that you learned while making this recipe. 

Sign Up to receive updates on more recipes, free resources, tutorials and tips.