Thursday, November 5, 2015

Making Your Own Scent Booster and Wool Dryer Balls

A few months ago I decided to try making my own fabric softener.  I had seen it on Pinterest of course and it seemed simple enough.    All you need is some Epson salt and some nice smelling essential oils.  I went with Aura Cacia brand in Lavendar and Sweet Orange scents.  You can pick them up at several stores, like Mom's Organic, or just do what I did and grab them from Amazon:

Aura Cacia Lavender

Dolly Is Cooking has easy to follow instructions on exactly how to make the fabric softener. I recently purchased some Vanilla scent that I plan to use with my next batch.  I really like how it softens and scents the laundry and its so easy to make, it literally just takes a few minutes.

I also ordered some Wool Dryer Balls (Amazon again) and I have been scenting those with the essential oils as well. I am normally sensitive to scented laundry detergents and dryer sheets but I find that with the essential oils I do not seem to have any issue.  I do occasionally have a problem with static cling when using the dryer balls but its not with every load, just those items that are more prone to static.  And usually hanging them for a bit allows it to dissipate. Worst case scenario, Ill throw it in the dryer with a Bounce dryer sheet but I have rarely had to do that.  

Overall I really like using both the fabric softener and the dryer balls and plan to continue.  The scents are less harsh to sensitive skin, you only need to use a small amount and I do not have to buy dryer sheets every month.  The balls are still going strong after many, many uses and I just re-scent them about once a week.  I also leave two balls unscented for loads where I prefer no scent. 

More information on the dryer balls can be found here at the Paleo Mama , including how to make your own wool dryer balls. 

And here is a photo of my laundry tools... the fabric softener and dryer balls are in the middle ( I haven't labeled them yet but you know I will). 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Baked Bloomin Apple Recipe

If your a Facebook user, you have probably seen this video recipe from Tip Hero in your newsfeed several times in the last few weeks:


I love the recipes that include short videos that show you exactly how its done.  Of course, they always make it look so darn easy while I struggle and end up with something that doesn't even look close to what they created.  This recipe had my middle child's name all over it because he loves Outback and Apples so I decided to give it a try.   It looks like the original recipe came from The Gunny Sack, so if you don't think you need the video tutorial, you can check it out there as well. 

My alterations: I used Honeycrisp apples, dairy free butter and coconut flour and then topped it with dairy free ice cream.

Here is a photo of what I ended up with:


Not quite as visually impressive as what they have over at The Gunny Sack, but when I took my first bite, I actually said "OMG".  It was that good.  And thankfully, the recipe only makes two apples because if there had been six, I would have eaten six.  Its perfect for a Saturday night treat and you won't be stuck eating it for 3 days like most dessert recipes that are made to feed an army.  My apple and Outback loving child has decided it would be better with Granny Smith apples so we will be trying that next time. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

Since my youngest and I have gone gluten and dairy free, one my favorite recipe blogs is Danielle Walker's Against All Grain .   We have tried several of her recipes and most of them have been huge hits with the entire family, and these Hawaiian Turkey Burgers are definitely one of our favorites so far.  Even my pickiest eater ate two.   You can find her recipe here:
Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

I didn't make any alterations to the recipe (another reason I love her site so much).  I used canned pineapple juice and marinated for about 30-40 minutes.  The burgers were very soft so we started out grilling them on some aluminum foil before moving them to the grill once they had binded well enough.  Here is the final result:

You can see I went a little overboard with the Ninja while I pulsed my salsa, hers is so much chunkier and pretty.  I was honestly a little undecided about the salsa initially... I think next time I may add less fresh basil, but the salsa really did finish off the burger nicely and I don't recommend skipping it.

I served mine on top of some Jasmine rice, but if your not gluten free, then go for a a big ole gluten filled burger bun.   I think the Hubs even slapped some pepperjack cheese on his.  

Paleo, Whole 30 and Vegan recipes are also featured on her website, and she has multiple cookbooks available on Amazon.  Check her out and keep an eye out because I will be featuring more of her recipes in upcoming posts. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Miracle Cleaner for Baking Pans?

I am a bit of a Pinterest addict.  Its my go-to source for household tips and information.   During a recent visit, I came across a pin about cleaning your baking pans and it included some pretty impressive before and after pictures which immediately sucked me in.  My pans looked just like that (okay maybe worse) and I had just been getting ready to order some new ones from Pampered Chef because we use them almost everyday.  They are small and perfect for heating up individual portions of chicken or bread for the kids.  So I figured cleaning was worth a try before I spent $$ on new ones.  According to the article, combining peroxide and baking soda creates a miracle cleaner and makes it much easier to clean off all that baked on crud.  There are a lot of posts on this topic at Pinterest, but you can read the one I followed at onegoodthingbyjille

So here is my before photo (don't judge):

And here is my after:

I cannot lie, this took a whole lot of elbow grease and some serious steel wool and even then, I could not get the corners clean, which was mentioned in the article as well.  So overall a major improvement for sure but I wonder how much was steel wool and elbow grease and how much was  the miracle cleaner.  Certainly something I would try again though, especially since it didn't involve using any nasty chemicals.  What do you think?

10/18/15 Update:  My pan is already getting gross again, so I gave it a quick scrub with the steel wool.  No improvement whatsoever.  So I revise my earlier statement, it is pretty close to a miracle cleaner and definitely softens up the grime and make its easier to scrub, even though it still does take some elbow grease to clean it up.  Let me know if you try it, how it works out for you.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Where Did the Time go?

I honestly cannot believe its been more than a year since my last post.  Sometimes life goes by entirely too fast.  My oldest son is turning 18 this month and I would have sworn it was just last year that I was changing his diapers.  Wouldn't it be nice to have a speed control for life?  So during those moments that you wish would last, you could slow things down a bit.  And than on those days when you can't wait for the day to end, you could speed things up?  Although I guess Adam Sandler showed why that is not a good idea in the Click movie.  But a girl can dream....

The last year, like most years in a house with 3 boys, has been crazy.  My youngest fell ill earlier in the year and was diagnosed with Lyme.  The older boys both relapsed this year as well.  Its heartbreaking to watch the boys deal with it day after day and to know that it could very well be a lifetime issue for them.  I am that "Crazy Lyme Lady" who warns everyone I encounter on the dangers of ticks and all the bacteria they spread.  I cannot stress enough how devastating it can be.  My advice to everyone - anytime you have blood work done, ask for a Lyme test to be included.  The sooner you catch it, the better your chance of controlling it.  And although the test is not good, if you test for it regularly, you can see the increase in antibodies and hopefully you will test positive at some point and insurance will cover your treatment. (For more on our Lyme struggles, click on the Lyme section above). 

On a brighter note, I have continued to cook, bake and organize whenever I can.  Due to the medications my youngest is taking as part of his treatment, he is now Gluten and Dairy Free so I have been experimenting with a lot of new recipes.  There are so many tasty options in the gluten free world now that I have gone "mostly" gluten and dairy free as well.  I can't wait to share some of the delicious recipes I've discovered with you.  I am sure a lot of you are making the "yeah right" face right now, but trust me.... gluten free does not =cardboard.  I love gluten free pizza now and actually prefer gluten free bread.  Its all about finding the right brand or recipe though because I have definately tried some which went right in the trash.  Ill give you all the scoop in future blog posts, including which restaurants offer the best gluten free options.

So when will my next post be???   My goal is to post at least once a week.  Now that everyone is back in school, and I've started a new job, were settling into a routine and I am dedicating some time each weekend to spend on Peace, Love and Labels.  So get ready for recipes, crafts, organization and general rants. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Cake Pops - Hello Kitty

I think I've mentioned before that our house is full of cake pop addicts.  I got hooked on making them when I was home on maternity with baby #3.  If you have never had a handmade cake pop, you are truly missing out.  Lil balls of moist goodness.  When I say handmade, I mean Bakerella style, not one of those cake pop bakers.  I don't have anything against the bakers, they are a quick and easy way to make the cake balls, but they DO NOT have the same taste as the hand rolled do.  Trust me on this. 

For some great ideas and beginner instructions, check out   She is the queen of cake pops. 

I love trying to create fun designs for family and friends and May and June always seem to be busy months for me.  I've recently done Baseballs and Hello Kitty and still have a baby shower and graduation order to fill.  Here's a picture of the Hello Kitty pops I did for a special 6yr old.

You can see more of my cake pops at my Shutterfly Site -


I'm so far behind.  I apologize.  I have had 3 sick kids and this house has been complete chaos.  I gave up on new recipes and resorted to our regular rotations.  I was able to find some time to work on a few craft projects - I'm currently obsessed with heat transfer vinyl.  My first project didn't end well so Im trying new supplies and techniques, determined to perfect the process.   As soon as I do, Ill post on what I've learned.   And hopefully, now that everyone seems relatively healthy, Ill get back into routine.