Homemade Christmas Gak Recipe (Scented With Thieves Oil)

Homemade Christmas Gak

Christmas will soon be here but until then, there is a lot of time to fill!  Kids who are out for the holidays plus parents who have a lot to do to get ready for the big day means that we have to pull a few tricks out of our hats.  Here is a fabulous DIY for something the kids love and can spend hours creating with!  Homemade Christmas gak is perfect for preschoolers (who aren't tempted to eat stuff) all the way through adults who love to play with squishy gak.  And, it can be scented to smell like Christmas with thieves oil or cinnamon spice.  

Ingredients:

  • two 4 oz bottles of Elmer's school glue
  • one tsp Borax
  • food coloring (we used green and red, but the red only turned out pink so I abandoned it)
  • warm water
  • 3-4 drops of Thieves oil (I use Eden's Garden) or a few dashes of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Pour both bottles of glue into a bowl.
  2. Fill each empty bottle with warm water, shake them up to get the rest of the glue off, and then pour into the bowl with glue.
  3. Add food coloring.  (It took a LOT of green food coloring to get the color in my picture, and like I said the red was just pink forever, so I gave up on that.)
  4. Fill a cup with 1/2 cup of warm water.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of Borax to the warm water (not the glue mix yet) and mix well until it is dissolved. 
  6. Pour the Borax/water mixture to the bowl of glue/water mixture and stir with a wooden spoon.  Then ditch the wooden spoon and mix with your hands.  Keep at it until it is all mixed well and it is all the same color.
  7. Let the kids have at it!  Bring out cookie cutters, pizza cutters, rollers, anything to make it more fun!
  8. Store in a jar when done.

Notes:  *The thieves oil might make it harder to mix well, but keep at it and it will turn out fine.  *Remind kids to not put the Gak in their mouths and to wash their hands after playing with it.  *If the kids get it on their clothes like mine did, (because doesn't everyone love to SIT on their Gak? Ugh!) just immediately pick off any that you can and rub with warm water and then wash.  It came out well and didn't stain, but with the food coloring and oil, it made me a little nervous.

Homemade Christmas Gak is a great way to pass the time during snow days and would make a great, inexpensive gift or stocking stuffer!

Gifts For The Kid Who Has Everything: Kiwi Crate and Koala Crate Subscription Boxes

This post has been brought to you by Kiwi Crate.  All opinions are mine

Since becoming a homeschooling mom, I have found that I struggle to come up with engaging, educational crafts for the boys.  Pinterest is my frenemy!  I find the perfect activities on Pinterest, but then the busy side of me sets in and I cannot get everything together.  I am not organized enough to gather all the materials and get a craft done in any appropriate amount of time.  I've come to grips with that.  With that said, you will understand my sheer excitement when the boys each received a box with their name on it containing instructions, craft materials, and extra activities that were age appropriate and meaningful.  It was like someone came and led an afternoon long educational arts and crafts lesson that the boys loved.  

The Captain opened his Wild West Kiwi Crate, which is geared for kids ages 4-8, while D and Baby Brother were taking a nap.  (No little brothers with sticky fingers makes for a better experience, you know.)  The Captain read something about a hobby horse.  I admit, I was left thinking I was going to have to scour the house to find a stick or something that we could use because there was NO way that Kiwi Crate fit one in their box.  Except they did!  The oh so wise company included a paper roll, about the size of a paper towel roll and inside was a slightly smaller roll.  All we had to do was pull it out and put a cute bandanna sticker to hold it in place and instantly we had a "stick" long enough!  The Captain was able to read the directions and all I had to do was help him to remove the backing on some of the stickers.  His hobby horse had eyes, a mane, ears…and he absolutely loved it.  The whole Wild West theme, crafts, and more were right up his alley.  He also was able to create bean bags by threading a piece of yarn through holes (hello fine motor skills!) in precut material.  Brilliant.  

Wild West Kiwi Crate Box

After D woke from his nap, I showed him his Koala Crate and he was so excited!  Usually he has to team up with his older brother for craft projects, but not with Koala Crate.  It was geared for his age and he was able to do everything without being frustrated or needing lots of extra help.  His Koala Crate was all about learning colors and included crayons, watercolor paints, a soft color dice toy, transparency sheets for exploring colors and color mixing, and a garland to paint!  He loved the scavenger hunt game and painting the garland.  So much fun!

koala crate

Kiwi Crate is an award-winning, monthly subscription service that provides all the hands-on materials to inspire creative, educational fun. With themes like Music, Color, Robots, and Safari, these crates deliver everything needed for unique activities that you and your kids can enjoy together. We know parents are pressed for time, so Kiwi Crate makes it easy to engage your children in creative activities that are both fun and educational.  Monthly crates include all the materials & inspiration for 2-3 hands-on projects, delivered to your door! Plus, a 16-page magazine with activities to extend the learning & fun. Subscribers receive a bonus welcome kit + FREE shipping. Available to the US & Canada.

There are different crates for different age levels and interests:

  • Koala Crate:  ages 3-4
  • Kiwi Crate: ages 4-8
  • Tinker Crate: ages 9-14+
  • Doodle Crate: ages 9-16+

These monthly subscription boxes would make a great, year-round Christmas gift for a kid or teen who has everything.  There are new surprises every month, creativity to be explored, and lots of fun to be had!  Visit Kiwi Crate and use code "LWCF5off" to save $5 off of your first crate with a subscription to any crate!

Connect with Kiwi Crate:

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest

 

 

Feel Good About the Juice Your Children Drink!

Our boys are huge drinkers. While they love water, they – of course – love juice and beverages with sugar. The Captain is very picky with his juice and many times I have introduced a drink to him and he just turns his nose up and refuses to drink it. I was afraid that would happen when I gave him a Mott’s for Tots juice box, but to my surprise, he L-O-V-E-S it!

I am not one to restrict my kids of the sweet things, but I do have my reservations about a lot of things – candy, sodas, and junk food. I don’t like the feeling of having to feel bad about something like juice. And sometimes there are so many additives and extra sugar in juice that it really does become unhealthy. But I am thrilled with Mott’s for Tots and their juice, which contains 40% less sugar than 100% apple juice*. It also contains vitamins A, C, & E so it provides all the nutrition and goodness of apple juice without sacrificing flavor. Mott’s for Tots was developed with toddlers and preschoolers’ unique nutritional needs in mind.

The Captain really enjoyed his “juice break” while helping me take out the recycling one evening:

Both the Captain and D couldn’t get enough of the Mott’s for Tots fruit punch juice boxes. They are the perfect size for taking on backyard adventures, trips in the car, lunch boxes, soccer games, or even just as a simple, delicious drink with a snack at home. The juice boxes are also great for portion control, so I can regulate how much they have had and help them realize when they have had plenty of juice for the day. Their dentist told them to only have one juice per day and they are good about following his rule. But, you can bet they ask for their “juice of the day” soon after they wake up!

The Mott’s for Tots is also their favorite brand of apple juice. It’s a great treat for them and I’m happy because it has 40% less sugar than 100% apple juice*!

Learn more about Mott’s for Tots on their website, Facebook, and Twitter. Check out all of the delicious, low sugar flavor options available, and feel better about the juice your children are drinking!

*Mott’s Fruit Punch Rush and Wild Grape Surge have 15g sugar and the market average of 100% fruit juices and blends have 25g sugar.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Motts for Tots via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

Welcome Summer with a Grilled Pizza Party and Backyard Water Fun!

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This #SummerGoodies shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser.

summerparty

I have always wanted a grilled pizza, but have never been brave enough to try it.  After a very busy week, I just wanted to relax, but of course the boys wanted to play in the water and do "something special."  I quickly sold them on the idea of having a "Backyard Pizza Party" and I went to Walmart to pick up some food.  I saw that Jack's frozen pizza has grilling directions right on the package – that's right, you can grill it!  Sold!

grilled pizza

I bought two Jack's pizzas from the frozen foods aisle – pepperoni and also pepperoni and sausage..our favorites!  And on the same aisle, I picked up some Nestlé Drumstick cones in the new Peanut Butter Variety for after dinner.

walmart

Preparation for our party was pretty easy, which is just what I was hoping for.  All we had to do was turn on the gas grill and get to grilling our pizzas.  Okay, Daddy did all of the grilling while I sat inside and took care of Baby Brother, but I got the plates ready.  smiley

grilled pizza

I LOVE how the grilled pizza turned out!  Hubby is an awesome griller, but the grilling instructions were so simple, so you really don't have to be a professional to grill a mean pizza, but I am thankful that he does have mad grilling skills, anyway.  The Jack's pizza turned out to be perfection.  The crust was crispy, the cheese and meats were the perfect temperature, and of course the pizza had nice looking grill marks, too:

summerWe all enjoyed the pizza and after dinner, we enjoyed the Nestlé Drumstick Cones.  They were a huge hit!  I bought the peanut butter variety, which included vanilla, vanilla with peanut butter, and my favorite, peanut butter!

Peanut Butter Drumstick Cones

The Captain's absolute favorite part is the unique chocolate nugget at the bottom of each Drumstick cone.  He's like me, we like our chocolate!

And don't forget the backyard water fun!  The boys were able to burn off all their energy with our DIY backyard splash pad, making our Summer Grilled Pizza party extra fun!  I hope to make this a tradition in our house because it was so easy and fun to share each other's company!

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Celebrate Earth Day and Learn All About the Earth!

This Earth Day post was brought to you by Oriental Trading.  All opinions are mine.  This post contains affiliate links.

Earth Day Education

Earth Day is April 22nd and we are prepared to learn!  Oriental Trading provided us with complimentary educational materials to facilitate plenty of lessons about the Earth, how to take care of it, and the fabulous things the Earth does.  The boys have really enjoyed using this awesome stuff to have fun and learn.

I always thought that Oriental Trading Company was just for parties and Vacational Bible School, but it's so, so much more.  I went to check out their recommended products for Earth Day and came up with so much stuff.

We started our Earth Day fun by planting DIY seed pots and the Watch It Grow Plant Viewer:

Earth Day Grow

The boys and I loved watching the seeds sprout and roots go down into the soil.  We love our garden, and this brought so many more teachable moments concerning the life cycle of a plant!

roots

Earth Day pots

There is just SO much STUFF that parents and teachers can use to teach.  Educational products are always so expensive, but I was impressed with the cost at Oriental Trading.  A four pack of life cycle posters was only $5.99.  Huge, full color posters like this one:

life cycle butterflyWe used each of the posters and created a fun lesson about the life cycles of the butterfly, frog, chicken, and plants!  The visual really helped the boys understand it all.

Then we began talking about how it is our responsibility to take care of this Earth that God gave us.  The Captain loved coloring these Earth Day magnets for our fridge, to help remind us to recycle and go green!

magnetsGlobes are cool.  Every kid loves globes.  But an inflatable globe?  SO MUCH FUN!  We can search for countries and continents on the globe and talk about the oceans, then take a break to toss it in the air.  This was the boys' favorite part of our Earth Day study:

inflatable globe

We also found an awesome sorting game that really got us thinking about recycling.  The Learn to Recycle Activity Boxes was tricky, but so much fun.  We divided up the items to be recycled and talked about each piece and what it was made of.  

recycling game

Lightbulbs, cans, and even worms were part of this fun game!

recycling game

Each box has a "Fun Fact" on the side to help you decide what to put where:

Earth Day recycling

I am so thrilled that I discovered all the great, well priced teaching tools at Oriental Trading.  Check it out for all of your supplies needed for teaching, homeschooling, Sunday school, holidays, VBS, and more!

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day bible verse

 

 

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Make a Healthier, Toxic-Free Home with Mommy’s Club

This post was brought to you by Mommy's Club.  All opinions are mine.  I received complimentary products in order to facilitate this review.

For the past few years, I've been on a mission to find the best products for our family.  It's very time consuming to read all product labels, ingredients lists, etc on all of the products our family uses.  It's also time consuming to go to Store A to get this product, Store B to buy this one, etc.  What I really wanted, as a busy mom of three, was to have a one stop shop for all of our bath and body care, vitamins, and household products.  Then I was approached about reviewing Mommy's Club products and I have been nothing but impressed.  My one stop shop is here!

Mommy's Club offers numerous products that are:

  • toxic free
  • BPA free
  • GMO free
  • Vegan
  • cruelty free
  • made in the USA

‚ÄčMommy's Club

Here's a list of the quality products that Mommy's Club currently offers:

  • Baby Shampoo
  • Rash & Remedy Skin Relief
  • Baby Lotion
  • Perfect Touch Sanitizer
  • Baby Foaming Wash
  • Daily Cleansing Foam
  • Cherry Chewable Multivitamin for children, with daily probiotic
  • Advance Omega 3/6/9 – lemon flavored and delicious!
  • Pre-Natal Plus
  • Total Body Health with Multivitamin
  • Total Body Health with Multivitamin for Children

I can say that all of these products are high quality and our family has enjoyed using them all.  I want to share with you what I love about our top three Mommy's Club products!

chewable vitamin

  1. Cherry Chewable Multivitamin for children, with daily probiotic – The Captain is very…well….fussy about his vitamins.  I have bought many different kinds of vitamins in hopes of him liking them.  The minute we opened the package from Mommy's Club, I spotted the vitamins, quickly read the back, and handed both of the boys two multivitamins to take.  They instantly declared them the best vitamins they had ever had and I was thrilled!  Take a look at the label:

mommy's club

2.  Total Body Health with Multivitamin for adults – This is a liquid, 100% vegetarian natural source of over 150 vitamins, minerals, super foods, and enzymes.  It's an all-in-one product that also contains a prebiotic fiber complex with special enzymes to help with digestion.  Also included are unique ingredients for liver and kidney functions, vision and youth, circulatory health, amino acids, and concentrated fruits and veggies.  Why do I like it?  Because it's 1 oz a day of pure goodness for the hubby and me.  In all honesty, he thinks it tastes gross but is still willing to take it.  I personally don't mind the taste and actually think it's pretty tasty for something with so much goodness in it!

3.  Lavender Body Lotion – I love to slather this on Baby Brother because it is smooth and smells delicious!  It is a blend of vanilla and lavender that is absolutely amazing.  And knowing it's toxic-free and soothing makes it perfect for all of us.

Those are my top 3 but really, all of the products are simply amazing and I would recommend them to anyone.  And Mommy's Club offers bundles of products, as well as detailed descriptions to make it super easy on us when ordering.  

Visit Mommy's Club to sign up for a yearly membership or buy products.  You can purchase a Mommy's Club starter kit for only $39, which includes a year membership, 4 oz Perfect Touch Hand Sanitizer, talking points, compensation plan, product catalog, and get member prices on all of these amazing products.  OR you can select any of the bundles, starting at $99 and a Mommy's Club membership is included.  See, also, how you can sell Mommy's Club products yourself and make supplemental income!

Mommy's Club on Twitter       Mommy's Club on Facebook

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Kids Go FREE to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Grapevine, Texas

This post was brought to you by LEGOLAND Discovery Center and US Family Guide.  All opinions are mine.

legoland

The boys have always been intrigued by Legos and while we haven't made it to LEGOLAND Discovery Center yet, we are going soon!  They are going to have an absolute blast, I just know.  LEGOLAND Grapevine has fifteen different attractions, like Merlin's Apprentice LEGO Ride, DUPLO village, and much more.

4-24-12 --- Legoland Discovery Center, Grapevine, Texas

 

LEGOLAND Discovery Center is the ultimate indoor playground for kids who are the biggest fans of LEGO! LEGOLAND Discovery Center Grapevine is one of DFW's best attractions for kids.  Reach out and touch the stars in the 4D cinema, build the fastest car in LEGO Racers: Build & Test, zap the bad guys in Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, or have the ultimate LEGO birthday party. Plan your family visit and jump into the biggest box of LEGO bricks!

4-24-12 --- Legoland Discovery Center, Grapevine, Texas

4-24-12 --- Legoland Discovery Center, Grapevine, Texas

Right now, kids go free with purchase of adult admission.  Visit DFW Kids Guide for the coupon.  Limit four free kids tickets with four paying adults.  Offer expires 12/31/2014.

 

 

Start your Garden Indoors with DIY Seed Pots! Great Earth Day Craft, too!

This DIY seed pots post has been brought to you by Oriental Trading.  All opinions are mine.  This post contains affiliate links.

Earth Day is April 22nd and a great day to teach about recycling, gardening, and just being kind to the Earth we all live on.  Now is the time to start thinking about our Spring Garden, however, and I wanted to start some seeds indoors with the boys, so they will be ready to plant by Earth Day, or sooner.  

craft

I received these seed pots from Oriental Trading and we were excited to decorate them.  I gave the boys some markers, eco-friendly glue, googly eyes, tissue paper, eggshells, and old cooked spaghetti noodles, just for fun.  I was curious as to what they would come up with.  (The googly eyes and other items that aren't biodegradable should be removed before planting.)

IMG_0134water

We had a blast decorating the biodegradable seed pots.   The Captain tried to make a pot that looked like Daddy.  We made a smiley face out of eggshells that we had put in the compost bucket.  We used the cooked spaghetti noodles to spell "BP" for bell pepper.  D made a four-eyed monster that he was quite proud of:

IMG_0139

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After we were done decorating, we filled the pots with potting soil and planted a few seeds in each.  We planted herbs, tomatoes, and bell peppers, then wrote on the back of the seed pots the name of the type of seed that was planted in them, so we wouldn't forget.IMG_0142

Our seed pots have sprouted and will be all ready to transfer to our garden when Spring comes!  The boys are excited and I am, too!  We love gardening!  Most of the googly eyes have fallen off with water, and watering does change the appearance of the pots over time.  

diy seed pots

These DIY Watch It Grow Medium Seed Pots can be purchased at Oriental Trading  for only $8.25 for 24.  They are made of biodegradable peat fiber, so you can plant them right into the garden without worrying about disrupting the roots.  As I noted before, however, you should remove all plastic decorations before planting them, although most fall off with watering.

 

Happy Spring and Happy Earth Day, too!

 

Wake Up, Parents!

Nights are crazy around here, thanks to sleep disturbances, phases, and newborn babies.  I made this meme for Daddy to help add humor to our exhaustion.

wake up our parents

How are you sleeping these nights??

Light Up The Night with Pajanimals Under the Lights Projector

This post about Pajanimals Under the Lights Projector was brought to you by TOMY.  All opinions are mine.

Under the Lights Projector

Bedtime is always an experience.  We have finally settled into a semi-routine after the boys moved in to the same room together and again after the time change.  Sometimes the boys need a distraction to keep them in their room AND not talking to each other.  Most of the time it's D trying to talk to the Captain, but the Pajanimals Under the Lights Projector we were sent to review has been a great distraction for both of them.

The projector features Apollo from the Jim Henson show "Pajanimals."  It has the option of playing the theme song along with the light show that changes colors to lull your child to sleep.  Or, you can turn the music off at the bottom of the projector:

under the lights projector

The boys really like that the lights change colors and love looking at the stars, planets, and rockets projected on the ceiling:

Under the Lights Projector

The projector has been a great addition to our bedtime routine.  It seems quite stimulating, but the music is very soothing, as are the lights.  One thing I wish is that it was a bit quieter, but as I've said before, a quick piece of tape over the speaker makes it quiet enough to be soothing.  I love that there is a button on top that the kids can press to turn it on or off.  It automatically shuts off after 12 minutes, but if the child wants to turn it off, he can.  Or if he needs for it to cycle again, all he has to do is press the button again.

The Pajanimals Under the Lights Projector is available for $26 on Amazon and Walmart.com, which is a great deal since the suggested retail price is $38.99.  FInd out more about this and other Pajanimals products at the TOMY website and connect on Twitter and Facebook, as well. 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.