Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lion & Lamb Preschool Math Mat

Hello! Hello!  It feels like it has been forever since I posted.  I have been up to my elbows and then some with extra kids.  I cared for a dear friend's 4 children (11 months to 6 years old) for three days so she could drive to two different states with her husband for job interviews. 

Anyway, we learned about the letter L this week in preschool.  I created a math mat that could be used for addition or subtraction.  It is very simple.  You spin the dials and place the correct amount of objects (we used cheerios, because the kids love to eat things) then add the total up.  Or, you could subtract.  I have two variations of this.  The first one (pictured above) has the numbers 1-4.  The more difficult one has 1-8.  You can download your own copy on my website

The bottom picture is the instructions to draw the lion I used for our game.  It comes from an old Usborne book titled I Can Draw Animals. I don't know if it is still in print, but I took a picture of it so you can use it for your own personal needs.  Our art activity for Tuesday was drawing lions.  I was quite impressed.  Three and four year olds did this quite well.  Here is a picture of my princess and her masterpiece:

Hope you have a great week!  I am planning on it.  We are leaving for California in two days.  I can't wait.  Thanks for visiting. -Dari

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Work In Progress: KC's toe socks

I am currently working on knitting a pair of 100% cotton toe socks for my sweetheart.  This project is coming really slow, but it is also really relaxing for me so I am not minding.  And, since I don't have to worry about him outgrowing them before they are done, I have no added stress to complete them asap!

I am currently reading The Heart of Goodness by Jo Ann Larsen.  Definitely not a sit down and read right through kind of book.  Lots of food for thought.  Today I have had lots of extra kids and a thought that I read last night from this book has stayed with me.  She discussed a concept written by Stephen Covey about clocks and compasses.  "The clock" is our commitments, appointments, schedules, goals, everything on our to-do lists.  "The compass" is our vision, values, principles, mission, what is really important to us.  Jo Ann said, "Most of us run by the clock.... rather than by the compass."   

This has helped me a lot today. I have been amazed that many of the clock tasks have still managed to get done, and yet I am not as stressed as I anticipated.

Hope you have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping. -Dari 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Total Dance Fitness

Hello! It's a brand new day.  Yesterday was a great one.  I needed that.  I haven't had a motivated productive feel good day in awhile.  Despite my need to plan the preschool curriculum for this week, I decided to focus a little bit more on me.  I go through spurts in all aspects of my life.  How to balance it all is still an educational course for me.  The last little while I have neglected my exercise, which for me, is really important.  I feel it when I am not consistently exercising.

My Princess was watching her daily movie.  I was hoping that we could postpone that one for awhile, but Tuesdays are crazy since I spend the morning planning and preparing preschool for the week.  Needless to say, she was using the TV and DVD player (my first go to for exercise when it is freezing cold outside).  And since I was actually motivated to exercise, I got onto YouTube and found a fitness dance video.  The name of it is Total Dance Fitness.

I almost turned it off before it began, because the instructor began talking about losing your baby fat.  Fortunately, I am not in that predicament.  The Princess is almost 5 years old, and I worked hard during and after all my pregnancies to get rid of that as soon as possible.  Anyways, I thought, "It can't hurt.  At least I will go through the warmup."  Before I knew it, I was sweating, and we were doing the cool down.  It was quite enjoyable.  It is definitely a workout you can cater to your own fitness level.  What you put into it is what you will get out of it.  I recommend it.

Hope you have a fabulous day! -Dari

Monday, March 17, 2014

Remove Yellow Armpit Stains

I really wanted to share with you another finished project, but I haven't finished one yet!  I have been working on trying to catch up in some areas of my life.  Today I used a homemade stain remover for the nasty yellow armpits of my white dress.  I don't know how they got there, because I don't do anything physical in that dress, but nonetheless, they are there. I left it out for over a week, because I know myself really well.  If I had put that dress away, I would have forgotten about the stains until the next time I put it on. 

So, as I was saying, I am in a mood today.  I love those days.  I wish I had more of them.  You know.  The ones where there is no nonsense.  No distractions. You're a person on a mission and nothing is going to stop you.  I even cleaned out my fridge today!  I think I should go fold my laundry- I'm on a roll!

Enough of my rambling.  The recipe for my ARMPIT STAIN REMOVER is as follows:

4 T. baking soda
1/4 C. water

Simply mix this into a runny paste.  Scrub stain.  I use an old toothbrush.  Let sit for 1 hour.  Scrub more if needed. Wash normally, dry low heat.

Really simple, huh?  Hope you enjoy!  Hope your day is as productive as mine. -Dari

Friday, March 14, 2014

Finished Project: Crochet V-Stitch Newborn Hat

I finished it!  Yea me!  I am really excited with how it turned out. Someday I may get ambitious and write up the pattern. It will have to be soon, though, while I can still remember it and before I give the hat to my new little neice (lol)!  I found the little flower pattern at  Lauren posted the instructions for this cute little thing on March 11th.  I thought it would be the perfect finishing touch to my hat. 

Thanks for stopping!  Hope you have a great weekend. -Dari

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Floral Invite

Hello! Hello!  I LOVE Pinterest and justify my addiction to it, because I find so many inspiring things out there!  Two days ago, someone pinned a fabulous card by Nadine at As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to use her amazing layout.  

Today my Princess and I made these invites for a "Mommy and Me" Mary Kay Party we are hosting next week.  She helped me pick the papers out, run the paper through my Cricut and Cuttlebug to emboss and even did the inking on the butterflies.  I'm pretty impressed yes I am.  

Then she proceeded to use my Cuttlebug inserts as skates.  When I told her not to, she pulled out some ziploc baggies from the drawer, cut a triangle off of them both and then inserted her feet into them.  She had quickly invented her new set of skates.  Now I'm really impressed.  She was slipping all over the floor!

I had to experiment with this layout- diagonal or vertical, rhinestones or glitter.  Although I like them both a lot, I think I like the vertical one more.  How about you? It has been way too long since I did any papercrafting.  This was wonderful.  I must do it again soon.

Thanks for stopping. -Dari

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Work In Progress: Dainty Crochet Newborn Hat

It has been way too long since I posted any crafts.  I love to see everyone else's finished creations.  There isn't anything amazing about the photo you see above, and I'm sure no one else is going to "pin" it or share it anywhere, but I have been working on this for over a week!  That's right.  This little piece of work has been quite the unintended project.  

My sister had her baby last Monday, and I love to make hats.  I think every baby should have a hat (or 12).  I chose this purple skein from my stash, because my sister's favorite color happens to be purple.  Anyway, a newborn baby hat should only take an hour or so to make, right?  That's what I thought; however, I had decided on a lacy pattern that got lost in the variegated colors.  So, I ripped it out and started with another stitch.  This time a shell pattern.  The same thing happened.  I just wasn't pleased with the way it looked.  I have ripped this hat apart at least 6 times.  

Finally, I have settled on a stitch that looks dainty and yet doesn't get lost in the changing colors of the yarn.  What? You ask.  A simple V-stitch using Double Crochet. Now that I am finally settled on a stitch pattern, I may actually finish it soon!  Look for the finished project soon! Thanks for stopping by. -Dari

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Let's Fly A Kite: ABC Preschool Game

Happy Tuesday!  This week in preschool we are learning about the letter K.  I am sure we have not done this letter yet!  Last week my Princess informed me that we had already learned about the letter S.  I don't know how that slipped my mind.  Oh well.  It was a good unit and the kids enjoyed it.

Today I would like to share with you my latest preschool creation!  This game is pretty self explanatory.  The capital letter is written on the kite body.  The lowercase letters are on the side.  The child uses a clothespin, a place marker, or even a dry erase marker to identify the correct match.  I would definitely recommend laminating these cards to increase their durability and versatility.

You are free to download your own copy from my website.

Hope you have a great day! -Dari

Monday, March 10, 2014

Gluten Free Dairy Free Chocolate Cake

Yesterday we celebrated my father-in-law's 68th birthday.  I was in charge of the cake.  How I wish I had a picture for you, but alas, my phone died, and so I couldn't take a picture.  The really funny thing is that before we even went up to his house for the party, I had the thought, "You should take a picture of the cake before you go."  I should have listened.  Didn't.  It's not the end of the world, and the decorating job wasn't all that great!  My princess helped me with it.  I figured that he is old enough that he would have appreciated her decorating more than a professional one anyway (sentimental feelings).  Everyone loved the cake, and not all of them are on special diets. So, here is my recipe:


(Makes two 9 in. rounds or 1 9x13 cake)

1 C. brown sugar (or sweetener of choice)
1 3/4 Gluten Free Flour mix (see below for details)
3/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 eggs
1 C. soy milk or rice milk
1/2 C. olive oil
2 t. vanilla extract
1 C. boiling water

Preheat oven to 350F (175 degrees C).  Grease pan(s) of choice.  
In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  Add the eggs, milk of choice, oil and vanilla.  Mix well.  Stir in the boiling water last.  The batter should be thin.  Pour into pans.  
Bake for 30-35 minutes until nothing sticks on toothpick or cake tester when inserted into the middle.  Remove from oven.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
Frost as desired.

*Notes:  I make my own gluten free flour mix.  Here's how I do it: I pour 5 cups sweet brown rice and 3 cups hulled millet into my grinder.  To this I add 2 1/2 C. tapioca starch.  I mix this well using my Kitchen Aid, handheld mixer or a long handled spoon.  Then I measure the flour out and ADD 1 t. Xanthan gum per 2 cups flour.  I place the flour mixture into a large old Tupperware container and it is ready to use just as you would regular flour.  If you don't have my mix on hand you can use any gluten free flour mix you'd like.  If you don't have a mix, but just bags of individual flours, use the following proportions: 1/2 of needed amount of rice, sorghum, or another that is not really starchy, and then 1/4 of needed amount of two others.  One of these should be starchy ie: tapioca starch or potato starch in order to achieve the same consistency and texture.

This is the only cake I am allowed to make at my house, because everyone always requests it.  Which, I think that is a good thing.  There was only piece left of it last night, but I am told that it got polished off soon after I left.

Hope you are inspired to create something wonderful in the kitchen! -Dari

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Spring Fever!

I couldn't bring myself to stay inside yesterday!  It was gorgeous weather.  We cleaned up the yard, picked up all the garbage that has collected along the front of our property due to a winter's worth of traffic passing by, set up the trampoline, played basketball, and I planted my greenhouse!  I LOVE my greenhouse. I planted peas, spinach, lettuce, radishes, green onions, beets, swiss chard, calendula and marigolds. After I was done, my Princess and I sat inside on our chairs for awhile.  We took our shoes off and basked in the warmth!  

She enjoyed it so much that this morning she insisted that we go sit out there for a little while before we had to go to church. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Barbie High Chair

Wow! Yesterday was a killer for me.  I had 4 extra kids making 7 in all.  It seems that everything hits with a vengeance.  My kids had a half day of school.  We had Parent Teacher Conferences.  My oldest son had a Jazz Festival, which was at his school, so I went and watched.  They did fabulous!  We went for a walk to take my four year old to preschool, because I couldn't possibly put 7 kids (4 of whom were in car seats) in my car, and because we all needed some fresh air.  We looked like quite the caravan!  One stroller, one wagon, 2 bikes, 1 scooter, a grandma and a mom.  I am so GRATEFUL for my mother-in-law who gave of herself for several hours to be my extra set of hands.  She is an amazing lady.  I love her!  Needless to say, I couldn't get away to post yesterday.  I tried.  I thought about it throughout the day, but it just didn't pan out.

My Princess and I made this Barbie High Chair a few weeks ago.  It is made out of cardboard and covered with white contact paper.  The tray slides out.  She, being very creative, said, "Mommy.  Look, it is the high chair table, but it is also a bed tray so you can have breakfast in bed, and a little stool so the baby can reach..."  On and on she went.  I was quite impressed. 

I am not sure if I can describe the construction easily enough so you, the reader, will know what I am saying, but I will try.  We cut 2 pieces of cardboard for the back (equal sizes) and hot glued them together. We cut 2 so there would be more strength. Then, we cut 2 smaller pieces for the sides.  At this point, we glued the two sides to the back and covered it with white contact paper.  For the seat, I cut a piece of cardboard the width of the inside (between the two sides) and 2 1/2 times longer than the desired depth.  I measured the desired depth for the seat, marked it on one end of the cardboard and repeated on the other end.  We scored these two lines and folded the two ends in.  We unfolded it and covered the seat with contact paper before gluing it in place with hot glue.  This gave a lot of stability to the chair and seat.  Next, we cut 2 pieces for the tray that were equal in size, hot glued them together and covered them with contact paper.  To make the tray slide, we cut 2 pieces of cardboard that were 2 times the depth of the tray +1/4 in. more.  We measured and marked the depth from both ends of each piece, scored the lines, covered with contact paper, bent the pieces, and then hot glued them in place on the bottom of the tray in the spot needed to sit over the side of the high chair.  To finish our creation off, we cut out hearts from construction paper and glued them in place.  Wah Lah!  If you have any questions, leave me a message.

Hope you have a great day and find some time to create something of your own! -Dari

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Coconut Cloud Cream Moisturizer

Good afternoon!  I just got back from my first run of the season.  It felt so good outside today.  My life is a little crazy right now.  I had four kids 4 and under today.  The four year old was my own.  Needless to say, I haven't had a lot of time to do extra things, but my face told me I had to make more moisturizer!  I ran out about 2 weeks ago, and I have just put it off.  The sad thing is that it doesn't take very long to make.  Deciding to just do it is more than half the battle!

Anyway, I decided to take pics while I was making it so I could share it with you.  I LOVE this recipe.  I have been making it for years now.  The original recipe comes from my favorite DIY beauty book, Natural Beauty at Home by Janice Cox (2nd Ed.).  I bought mine on Amazon many years ago and it is my go to.

Her recipe  is as follows:
2 T. stearic acid powder
1/4 C. coconut oil
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 C. distilled water
A few drops coconut fragrance (opt.)

Here is my version of it:
1 T. beeswax
1/4 C. coconut oil
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 C. distilled water
5 drops essential oil of choice
(Today I used 1 drop Rosemary, 3 drops Lemongrass & 4 drops Bergamot)
(Another favorite of mine is 3 drops Geranium & 2 drops Lavender)

Oops! I forgot to put the essential oils out, too (lol).

The first step is to grate the beeswax.  I just use my hand kitchen grater.  Place the beeswax and the coconut oil into a double boiler (or if you don't have one you can place a smaller saucepan inside a larger pan.  Fill the larger pan with about 1 inch of water.  If you have a canning lid, place it in the bottom and then the smaller saucepan on top).  Heat the water to boiling over medium heat.  Just stir the mixture occasionally until it is completely melted.

Meanwhile, place the distilled water and the baking soda in a microwave safe dish and "nuke" it for 1 minute.

Here you can see the coconut oil and beeswax melted.

Here is my high end blender!  Funny thing is that I have had some really nice ones, but somehow they haven't lasted.  Yet, this blender that some wonderful person gave us for our wedding 15 years ago is still up and running!

Place the melted oil mixture in the blender.   With the blender running, slowly pour the water mixture in.  Add the essential oils and blend them in as well.

And here is the finished product!  Oh.  A little tip: pour/scrape the lotion into the container you plan on using while it is still warm.  The lotion will continue to thicken as it cools.  

I love this so much that I use it for my everyday lotion.  I use it on my face, hands, feet, etc.  This lasts about 2 months.

Hope you enjoy! -Dari

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Snowy Day Math Activities

Hello! I have preschool on my mind.  Actually, I have preschool overload!  Tuesdays are always really crazy for me.  That's the day I plan and prepare the curriculum for the entire week.  Today I have a headache, and I don't think it is all due to preschool.  Just one of those days.  Oh well. 

I wanted to share with you two of the activities we are doing this week.  This week we are learning about the letter S, and we are reading the story The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.  This is a classic.  Anyway, I created a versatile mat to use for this unit (the orange one above).  The number squares can be adapted to the level of the child.  She can simply place a number on the mat and count out the corresponding amount of footprints, place two numbers and their correct amounts and then add them up, or sort different shapes starting with the "S" sound (square, star, circle) into different piles on the mat.  I will share my shapes activities another day.  If you laminate your mat, you could use it to roll out playdough "S"'s on.

The top mat is for patterns.  I purposely made the footprint blocks a little more challenging.  The feet go in opposite directions.  There are four lines for the patterns.  They increase in difficulty as you go down the page.  If you find that the footprints are too difficult for your child, simply use shapes or another object you have.

You are free to download these from my website.  Hope you have a great day! -Dari

Monday, March 3, 2014

Barbie Bathroom

OK, please look past the Planes poster in the background. My Princess has this hanging on the wall behind her Barbie House. 

 I found awesome tutorials on how to make a Barbie bathroom on You Tube.  I would recommend viewing this.  The creators are MyFroggyStuff.  Of course, we had to make them ours and so modified them a bit.

I used matte board for all the bathroom furniture, my hot glue gun, white sucker sticks for the toilet handle, seat rod and toilet paper holder.  I flipped the matte board upside down to achieve the white counter top and door fronts.  Then I inked the edges with a pink ink pad.  We used some printed scrapbook paper to create the tiles, hearts and rug.  I glued the printed paper onto white cardstock and then laminated it for the rug.  For the tub, we inserted an empty Bolthouse Drink Bottle inside after we cut out one entire side and glued it in place.  We actually covered the outside of the tub with clear packaging tape just in case it got wet.

If you have any questions, just ask.  Hope you enjoy! -Dari

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Gingerbread Baby Preschool Games

Good morning. This week in preschool we did a unit study centered around one of my favorite books The Gingergread Baby written by Jan Brett.  I want to share two math games we did.  The first one is a simple counting/match game.  The kids simply count the chocolate chips on the cookie and match it to the correct numeral on the cookie sheet.  I know that gingerbread cookies don't usually have chocolate chips on them, but I bet they'd be delicious!

My princess is farther ahead and so I created a simple addition game for her to work on.  I let her choose the numeral tile she wanted and place it on the first square.  She then counted out the correct number of pennies and placed them on the gingerbread man.  I had totally intended to give her something yummy to place on the board, but I didn't want the other kids to feel left out. Then she chose another numeral tile and placed it on the second square and repeated the process of placing the correct amount of pennies on it.  Finally, she had to count the total amount on both gingerbread men and place the corresponding numeral tile on the last square.  She did really well and enjoyed this activity!  I think it was just the right level for her.  Stretched her thinking, kept her engaged, and yet was very doable. 

You can download your own copy of both of these games for your noncommercial use at my website.  Hope you have a great day! -Dari