Wednesday, February 24, 2016

#sketchadaycafe March 2016

I'm hosting another sketch challenge over on Instagram.   I’ve been struggling with doing a daily challenge, so I decided it was time I got back to hosting one!  Welcome to the #sketchadaycafe challenge.  March 2016 has a theme of COFFEE!  (mmmm coffee).  You don’t have to be some master artist to join in - just grab a sketchbook and start doodling on the daily prompt.   Tag a friend who you think might be interested (if you want) or repost this image to your own account to help spread the word.  I’m looking forward to a fun, coffee filled March!  I hope you’ll join me!

Here is a printable version of the prompts.

Have fun!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

DIY Mom: Homemade Laundry Soap

In our house, I always thought I was the one with the skin allergies until I had my girls.  Specifically, Buggie.   Every liquid soap we tried set her off.  Almost every powder did too.  That poor kid needs the most gentle soap possible and for the longest time, we just stuck with what I had used on the girls cloth diapers - Country Save.  It was both inexpensive and didn't give her any issues.   There is nothing more miserable than watching your toddler scratch away for a week at a rash that covers every inch that clothing has touched.

About a year ago, though, Country Save started to be harder to find.  Really - I had only ever been able to get it at London Drugs and then Target for that brief moment in time that they were in Canada.  I decided I wanted to take a stab at making our own laundry soap.  I figured if I knew what was in the soap, I'd feel much better about having it on her clothes.

Even better - she has never had a reaction to my soap.   I don't know if I am saving much money over what I'd pay for commercially prepared soap, but I usually make such a large batch that it lasts forever so I MUST be saving money.


Here's the washing soda box in case you have trouble finding it on the shelves like I usually do.  I live in Canada so your packaging may vary (or not)

1 Bar Gentle Soap - I really love Dr Bonners because the almond hemp one smells so good in this mix, but recently tried this with Ivory bar soap and it still works great, costs less and is much easier to find in most stores.
1 Bar Sunlight Soap
2 Cups Washing Soda (You can substitute with baking soda if you can't find washing soda.  It just makes it much more powdery.  I've had to use this substitution a few times)
2 Cups Borax

Grate the bar soap.  I prefer to do this in my food processor.  It's just faster.  You can use a hand grater if you want but a food processor will make your fingertips happier.

Put the regular blade back into the food processor and pulse it until the soap grates are tiny.

Important - before you add the powder, you want to make sure the little blocker is in the chute of your processor.  unless you happen to like huffing Borax.  GAG!  Not recommended.

Add the Washing soda/Baking soda

and pulse until mixed then do the same with the borax.

Voila.  Homemade laundry soap.    I repeat the process until my laundry room jars are full and I always keep the supplies on hand so I can make more at a moments notice.

You only need 1-2 tablespoons per load.  I used a coffee scoop in ours.  It does not foam up like a commercial soap would, but my clothes are clean and don't smell like chemical fragrance.  The lack of sudsing should mean it is fine for a front loader.

I got my apothocary jars at Wallyworld

A note about food processor cleanup:

As for concerns about using your food processor to do this and then being able to use it for food after...don't worry.  But don't toss the parts into the dishwasher straight away.  You will want to soak it and then hand wash it first.  Then run it through the dishwasher to get any last soap residue off.  If you put it into the dishwasher first - it will coat everything in wax-like soap residue.   So take the extra step because you'll only end up handwashing everything that was in the dishwasher all over again if you don't.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My Running 2016

Did y'all know I used to be a running blogger?

Like seriously.  I was.

I ran and ran and then wrote and wrote.  It's how this blog got it's name.  But then I broke my leg after a really struggly year and I didn't want to just sit here and bitch and moan and be all anxious and shit about my leg.   So I didn't write as much anymore.

Well - guess what.  I'm turning forty this year.  Eeek!  Unsubscribe now - this bitch be OLD!   and I miss running.  I left my job a year ago to stay home with my girls and you'ld think that would have meant more time to eake out for my health and fitness.  It hasn't worked out that way.  Much of this year has been finding my footing with being a stay at home mom with a side business and contracting obligations.

But in 2016, I will return to running.  I ran a half marathon just 4 months ago. It's not like I'm completely out of shape.  I walk 4k a day just dropping off and picking up my kids from school!   But it's not running.  Not even close.

Right before the new year, I saw one of the people I follow had posted this:

and I decided it was perfect.  I don't have to commit to running more than 5k at a time.  I have no intentions of racing this year (though I may do a couple shorties).  I have a new puppy to train to be my running partner.   This could be perfect.

So I put it on my Instagram.   And I got 60 likes for it.

60 likes x 5k = 300 km in 2016

Totally do-able.

Early January left me battling the flu, so I got a late start as I waited for my lungs to normalize again.  But yesterday I kick started my return to the world of running.
and an interesting thing happened.   When I tagged the person I dedicated the run to...they later tagged me back to say they had done a 5k solidarity walk!
I don't know if it will happen every time, but it was pretty cool to have it happen even once.

So I'm running again.  Not fast, yet.  and not far, yet.  But for 2016 it is about turning 40 with a healthier mindset and healthier body.  I have alot of weight to lose from a year spent on the couch bitching and moaning about a broken leg...but more importantly - running is a mental health thing for me.  The thing that turns off the naysayers echoing in my skull...and I need that more than anything else in life.  

Happy Homemade: Easy No Bake Energy Bites for the Kiddos

This year, I am trying to improve our eating around here...mostly because we've been really bad about it of late but also because I have the big 4-0 hitting this year and I want to feel better before I get there.  My kids are ravenous when they get home from school so I decided that instead of having them hit the pantry for some carb filled empty snack, I would make them something a little more satisfying yet every bit as much fun.

Enter the Easy Energy Bite

Toss all of this into your mixing bowl:

1 cup Peanut Butter (or other favourite nut butter or nut substitute butter)\
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup oats

You could also toss in things like coconut, flax seed, hemp hearts, chocolate chips or whatever else you happen to like in cookies...but I keep it simple.

Mix it all together until well mixed and roll it into 1 inch balls with your hands.  Voila - you're done...These should keep at least a week in the fridge...if they last that long.  They totally taste just like munching on cookie dough.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Making Your Elf Poseable

I am really amazed that the Elf on the Shelf people don't do this in the factory, but this year, I took a few minutes out of one evening and it has made a huge difference in our elf flexibility.

What did I do?  I wired my elf.

What you need:

  • Wire - I used 20 gauge
  • Wire cutters
  • Scissors
  • Red thread
  • Needle

What I wish I'd used:

  • a dab of glue gun glue on the ends of the wire
There are tons of posts on Pinterest on how to do this, but here is the readers digest of what I did.
  1. Make tiny snips in the back of the elfs armpits and at the top of the legs near the crotch.
  2. Cut the wire to match the full length of the limbs
  3. Carefully insert the wire into the slits and thread it through tot he end of the limb.  This is delicate work.  These Elves are made of felt and the wire can and will punch through if you are not careful.  I wish I had taken the time to heat up my glue gun and drop a dab of hot glue onto the ends of the wire because ours did poke through within a couple of weeks of posing.  In the off season, I'll be remedying this on ours.
  4. Once the wire is threaded - sew up the slits
Voila - poseable elf.   Sorry for the lack of photos.   I realized after the fact that I should have taken some but I forgot.  Maybe if I end up helping someone wire theirs - I'll shoot some.

For a simple craft that takes only minutes - this really took Libby to the next level this year.  It is so much easier to make her cooperate now that she can sit independently and have posed gestures.

If you really need pics and want to see other ways people have done this - here are some links I got off my pinterest.

Elf on the Shelf 2015 - More Ideas

I'm a little late posting the elf shenanigans this week...ah well.  Tis the season to be busy....

Every Elf mom needs a list of lazy or late ideas....

I have to admit - I'm a little surprised more people didn't get this one. Just me and a friend of mine who is a pinup model. We laughed our asses off...

Once an elf craft, always an elf craft...saving things you made in past years can make for fun reuse opportunities.

Raiding the recycle bin for elf crafts can be super fun...and all you need is some washi and a glue gun to pull this one off.
A photo posted by Cori Nicholls (@khourianya) on

Piggy bank robbery in progress...

The girls had a playdate the day Libby did this...and I heard a chorus of "Darn it. Why does our elf have to be a boy! He never does pretty things like this!"

Another easy one that looks harder than it is...just cover the front of a framed picture and voila!

I have to offer a word of warning to anyone who wants to attempt "Crying over melted snowman" Use a piece of acetate to put the glue on...I started with waxed paper thinking I could peel the dried glue off and as the glue dried, it crinkled the paper and ripped it. Ruined the melted snowman. So I ended up doing a 5am rescue on acetate and the glue was still wet when the girls saw it. But when it dried, it looked amazing...just like a puddle of water. Even better - make it in advance instead of fling by the seat of your pants like I did.

I knew we were going to have a tooth out before Christmas so this one was on the list - I just didn't know when it would be played...well, Buggie lost that tooth last night and voila...she felt special because the elf was in her room especially for something that happened to her. If you've got wiggly teeth in the house, it's a good one to keep in your pocket.

SO there is another week or so of creep-free elf ideas.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Elf on the Shelf 2015 - Week One

It's that time of year again and I'm still sharing our Elf adventures on Instagram everyday.  But if you aren't on there, here they all are in one easy place.  Just a few ideas to get you through the month.  Especially if you're pantsing it (ie: flying by the seat of your pants for those non-nano folk)

Stay tuned next week for another week's worth of non-creepy elf fun. Or follow me on Instagram to see the daily shenanigans.