Thursday, July 31, 2014

Doc McStuffins Costume Felt Doctor Bag

 The costume my daughter is wearing in this post was provided by Anytime Costumes, the project and tutorial are my own.


We love Doc McStuffins in our house. My daughter loves Disney's Adorable Doctor and I love that the show is something I don't mind listening to in the background while I work. My daughter has been working hard this summer to earn points that she can exchange for small things. Instead of exchanging them for anything she has been saving them all summer because she wanted a Doc McStuffins Costume. She finally earned enough this last week and has been wearing the costume non-stop since it came in the mail.

The costume is absolutely adorable and came with leggings, shirt, doctor coat, stethoscope and headband. I whipped up this easy felt bag to complete the ensemble. This project is perfect for a beginning sewer and could even be hand sewed if you don't have access to a sewing machine.
 You will need:

  • two dark purple sheets of felt
  • one glitter pink sheet of felt
  • hot pink ribbon
  • small piece of tan felt
  • tan embroidery thread
  • Velcro
  • scissors
  • a way to sew

Lay the purple felt directly on top of each other. Take a pair of scissors and round the corners on the top of the bag. Flip the bag with wrong sides together and sew around the edge. Flip back out. Take the ribbon and tuck in just on the inside of each side of the bag. Sew it to the edges.
 Cut a section of pink glitter felt. The felt doesn't need to go all the way edge to edge, as it doesn't in Doc McStuffins bag on the show. Top stitch the felt down in the back, leaving enough room for it to fold over the top. Add a small piece of Velcro to the back of the pink piece. If you use the scratchy side of the Velcro, you won't need to add another piece to the purple side as the scratchy side will stick to felt.
 Cut a small heart from the leftover glitter felt. Cut a strip of tan felt and then round the edges. Stitch to the front of the back with two straight lines down the front of the bandage to make it look more like a bandage. Stitch the heart onto the bandage.
 This bag is so easy to make, that I pulled it together in about 15 minutes. My daughter loves it and it was a fun way to complete the costume. It opens large so that it can be easily stuffed full of bandages and what ever else your little doctor needs.
 We have been thrilled with the costume. My daughter is either dressed like Doc McStuffins or Elsa 90% of the time and the 10% she has to be in normal clothes, she is wishing she was dressed up. The shirt and skirt part of the costume are sewn together, so they stay down which I like. The leggings and doctor coat are separate pieces.
 My daughter's favorite part is the pink stethoscope that looks just like Docs. I love the pink headband that she wears even when she isn't wearing the costume.
Who do your kids love to dress up like?
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Review: The Burning



A serial killer is on the lose. He has already beaten four women beyond recognition before lighting the bodies on fire, earning him the nickname, The Burning Man. Detective Maeve Kerrigan is on the task force that is working to bring him to justice, when a fifth body, Rebecca Haworth, is discovered. As Kerrigan digs deeper into the fifth victim's life she starts to realize that The Burning Man might not be responsible after all and a second killer is on the loose.

I wasn't sure what I was expecting in this detective but I ended up liking Maeve Kerrigan a lot more than I thought I would. She is definitely a woman in a man's world, fighting for her place on the task force by working hard.  Maeve is extremely likable as a character, and while the book moves slowly to end the conclusion, it doesn't feel slow. I love that while she is smart and focused, she doesn't seem omniscient. She is the narrator of the book as well as Louise, Rebecca's best friend, to give more perspective into Rebecca's life. A life that seems idyllic and wonderful on the outside, but under the surface is dark and desperate.

I loved that the book was two murder mysteries in one. You gained answers to all five murders as you learned the back story of one girl. Surprisingly enough, the murder's confession at the very end of the book was the least compelling part of the entire story. It was plain and straightforward and completely unlike the rest of the book.

Overall, I enjoyed the first book in the Maeve Kerrigan series. It was my first experience with a British Procedural and I have to say I will be going back for more.
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Campfire Banana Boats

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Wet-Nap but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #showusyourmess  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
Growing up, my parents took us camping every year. We would drive away from all of the distractions of life and set up camp for a few days, just the 7 of us. It was always my favorite trip of the year because there wasn't any chance my dad would be called into the hospital.

My mom would bring all sorts of delicious things to make over the fire, but my favorite was always Campfire Banana Boats.  These delicious and messy fireside treats are easy to whip up, don't take a lot of preparation and the kids will love being able to toss them straight onto the fire.
You probably have almost everything you need for these banana boats on hand, if not a quick trip to the store will get you all of the ingredients. 

You will need:

  • bananas
  • a knife
  • chocolate chips
  • small marshmallows 
  • tinfoil 
  • Wet Nap (for clean up, these are messy!You can find a .55 cent off coupon here, while supplies last. )
Slice your bananas long wise down the center without peeling. Stuff the middles with chocolate chips. I recommend the small chocolate chips. I bought bigger ones this time and it didn't work as well.
Top your chocolate chips with little marshmallows. Push everything as far into the banana as you can.
Wrap the entire banana up in tin foil. Make sure that none of the edges of the banana are expose. When you are wrapping your banana, you want to wrap as much of the foil as you can on the peel and not on the chocolate or marshmallows. If the foil is straight on these, they will melt onto the foil instead of the banana.
Throw the bananas onto the campfire. I like to throw them at the base of the fire versus right on top. All the bananas to roast for about 10 minutes. Pull them out and check the insides, the bananas are done when the insides are warm and melted. Then dig in. 
As with most campfire foods, these banana boats are seriously messy but delicious, so right before we headed up the canyon, I ran into Walmart to grab more tinfoil and a container of Wet-Nap. We love Wet-Nap for camping especially since they have made them stronger and softer than before and I love that they moisturize with aloe. Wet-Nap is found on the napkin isle because unlike a lot of other wipes, it is meant to be gentle on skin. My 5-year-old seriously loves them. I have never met someone who wanted to clean up their hands so much! 
Campfire Banana Boats bring back some wonderful memories for me, they are delicious, nostaligc and thanks to Wet-Nap, not nearly as messy as I remember them being.
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Harry Potter Baby Pictures Ideas


When I met Marissa from Rae Gun Ramblings a couple of years ago and we bonded over our love of Young Adult Literature, Crafting and all things Harry Potter. I mean, anybody who has a Moaning Myrtle picture in her bathroom has to be pretty awesome, right? 

Ever since she told me she was pregnant, I knew there had to be a Harry Potter baby photo shoot in this little boy's future. This shoot is absolutely one of my favorites I have ever taken and I can't wait to share it with you. In this post I will share where I got all of the props and we posed this little man to capture these photographs. 
 Teddy is about five months old in these photos and not sitting up yet, so all of these photos are set up to be safe for an uneasy sitter. Teddy is already Harry Potter lucky because his mom sells the cute outfit he is wearing in her Rae Gun Shop. You can find his outfit here. The glasses are apart of this costume set found here. The Scarf, Wand and Hogwarts Letter come from the Pieces By Polly Etsy Shop found here. I couldn't find the exact suitcase set I used in these pictures but this set here would work too.
 For this photo, we wanted Teddy to sit up so we could get a better glimpse of the glasses and scarf. The easiest way to do this was to put a pillow in the corner of the room, drape the backdrop over top of it and prop him up, with the security of his mom only a step away.
 This is absolutely one of my favorite picture. He is just so excited that he finally got his Hogwarts Letter.
 These next few pictures are perfect for people who might not want to spend a lot of money on props. You just need a copy of the books for these ones. The above picture is perfect if you have a sleepy baby but want to take a few more picture. Swaddle them in a white blanket and when they are asleep lay them down with the props.
For this picture, the books are not stacked in order, but set to make more even piles. After a couple of times of trial and error, we found that the second book, Chamber of Secrets, was the perfect height for the baby to lay on.
 The picture below is one of my favorites. For safety reasons, it is a composite image, or an image that is made up of two images. There are a few steps you can take when shooting to make putting together a composite image a snap. Have your parent hold the baby securely with a hand. Take pictures until you have one you love, then have the parent move their hand to a completely different spot and take a few more pictures. This way you will have two picture that combine easily for a cute, and parent free picture. The cute bird cage in the photo was purchased at Tai Pan Trading, which doesn't have an online store, but you can find a similar one here.

For more of my pictures you can check out Joyous Moments Photography and my Joyous Moments Photography Facebook Page. Do you love the images from this photo shoot and want to take some of your own? One lucky reader will win the makings of a fabulous Harry Potter Photo Shoot including: 
  • One Rae Gun Harry Potter outfit. Your choice size, Hogwarts house colors and style. Either the Harry Potter girly swing top set or the Hogwarts Tie onesie set (this can be done with or without ruffles on the bum)
  • One 3 Piece Gift Set from Pieces by Polly. This includes one Wand, a Scarf to the Hogwarts house of choice, one personalized Hogwarts Acceptance Letter, School Packing List, and Hogwarts Express Ticket
  • Make Love Not Horcruxes bag to carry all your photoprops (or favorite books) to your photo shoot!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review: Dangerous Creatures

What would you bet if you knew you couldn't lose? Ridley is so sure of her persuasion powers that she posses as a Dark Caster Siren, that she puts it all on the table in a game of cards. A game that she loses, now she owes someone even more powerful than herself anything he wants.

We are back in Gaitlin for the newest Beautiful Creatures book, but this time instead of following Lena and Ethan around, we are following Ridley and Link on Link's journey to become a musician in the Big Apple. Ridley has found Link a band, but what she doesn't tell him is that she using him to pay her gambling debts.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Ridley was my absolute favorite part of the Beautiful Creatures series, so I was thrilled to see a spin-off starring her. I loved getting in her head, even with hearing her insecurities and such, I felt her character stayed really true to what she was in the first series. Link was his fun, odd ball self. My only character problems came with one of the other main characters who seemed to flip his entire personality, and stance on life for no reason at all.

I felt like the pacing on this book was a little off. It took forever to get into and then the last thirty percent of the book absolutely flew by. Even though the middle was a little slow it was a fun read, that anybody who liked the Beautiful Creatures series would enjoy, especially if there was a small part of you who was always cheering for Ridley in you head.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Best New York Street Food You Can Make At Home- Halal Guys Copycat


Last year, I went to New York City for a week with my husband and my mom. It was an amazing trip — what can I say, I love New York!

Even though we saw a ton of cool things, we were a little bummed by most the food we tried. We love to eat out and knew New York was a food paradise, but we must have chosen the wrong places. But there was one place that stood out above the rest and was the best food we had while we were there. No, it wasn't a fancy restaurant, it was from a food cart.

At 11, one night, my husband and I were starving after a day of running around the city. We stepped out of our hotel, the Midtown Hilton, and saw a couple food carts across the street. The lines were pretty long, even that late at night, so we figured they had to be good. We chose one of the carts and ended up getting a chicken and rice plate for about $6. There was so much food on the plate that both of us ate and couldn't finish. And it was amazing!

After we came home from the trip we both craved it. We read up about the cart and learned it's actually quite a popular food cart. Was it just coincidence we ate at the best food cart in the city? I don't know, but I knew we had to make it ourselves.

So we did.

Even if you've never had street cart food before, you've got to give this a try!

INGREDIENTS

Chicken Marinade:


  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed (6 to 8 thighs)
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Rice:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 1/2 Cups long-grain rice
  • 2 1/2 Cups chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper


Sauce Prep:


  • 1/4 Cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 Cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 Cup chopped, fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste


PREPARATION

Chicken Prep: Place the lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, coriander and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth. Put half the marinade and chicken in a gallon bag and refrigerate. Spread the marinade well to make sure the chicken is coated. Refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours.

Remove the chicken and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (don't skimp on the pepper!). Heat oil in an electric skillet at medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for 4 minutes. Flip the chicken, and reduce the heat to medium and cook until the chicken is cooked through (about 6 minutes). Remove chicken from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes for juices to redistribute.

Chop the chicken into 1/4-inch chunks and place in a large bowl. Add the other half of the marinade that you didn't use to marinate the chicken originally.

Rice Prep: Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the cumin and turmeric and cook about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir until rice is coated a nice yellow color. Lightly toasted the rice, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Cover the rice and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes without disturbing. Remove from heat and let the rice absorb the rest of the liquid until tender, which takes about 15 minutes.

Sauce Prep: Combine the sour cream, mayo, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, and 2 teaspoons black pepper. Whisk together well. Season to taste with salt.

Serve: Place the chicken and the marinade back in the heated electric skillet and cook over medium-high heat until heated through.

Serve by placing a bed of rice on a plate and top with the chicken. Serve with chopped lettuce, diced tomato, and toasted pita bread. The sauce is on the side (or on top if you love that much sauce, but be careful because it's kind of tangy). Hot sauce is also good with it.

This dish takes a bit of preparation, but it's super yummy. The pita bread is amazing with this. Use it to scoop up the rice and chicken instead of a spoon.
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Monday, July 21, 2014

Easy Custom Pinboards for Doctor Who Fans

Hi again! Lorene here, the blogger formerly known as just Lu. (The blog is still there, but the blogger isn't as often :)) If you've been reading Housewife Eclectic for many moons, you might remember me from my Wednesdays on the Web posts back in the day. But this time, I'm here to share some fun projects with you to give Debra a little break and some time to snuggle that sweet baby girl!

Up today: super easy, customizable pinboards. Yup, real-life pinboards, not the Pinterest kind. Make them for whoever -- I highly recommend your favorite Whovian :)


How to Make Custom Mini Pinboards

Supplies:
  • cork tiles -- I used coasters that had a decorative paper on the back, or you can pick up cork trivets, tiles, or sheets of cork at most craft/home stores or on Amazon 
  • vinyl -- I used glossy outdoor vinyl since the adhesive is stronger 
  • electronic cutting machine (optional) 
These are so easy and customizable! Just cut the designs you want out of the vinyl and stick it on! If you don’t have a cutting machine, you can cut simple shapes by hand easily with an x-acto knife. I used glossy outdoor vinyl since it has a stronger adhesive, but any kind of vinyl, or even contact paper, should work.

I used some of my favorite Doctor Who designs and sayings, traced in Silhouette Studio. I also customized some simple white thumbtacks with teeny tiny Cybermen, Adipose, Daleks and of course, a TARDIS! When you’re looking for images that you want to hand cut or trace digitally, try searching for coloring pages and stencils -- they’re generally simpler and easy to trace.


Have fun and I'd love to see what you create!

Go and be awesome,
Lorene

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of 3 kids and wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She happily shows up here at Housewife Eclectic whenever Debra allows, and occasionally blogs on whatever topic comes up over at her blog, just Lu, when she has time in between projects and her awesome job as a virtual assistant. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

12 Summer Cupcakes

Nothing says summer like a fun cupcake. Here are 12 fabulous summer cupcakes to make this summer! 
Crawling Crab Cupcakes by Celebrations.
Bonfire Cupcakes by Crissy's Crafts.
 Octopus Cupcakes from Parents.
 Teddy at the Beach Cupcakes by Betty Crocker.
Beach Cupcakes from A Pumpkin and A Princess.
Day At The Beach Cupcakes by The Decorated Cookie.
Corn on the Cob Cupcakes by Hostess with the Mostess.
Burgers and Hot Dog Cupcakes by Spoonful.
Lemonade Cupcakes from The Celebration Shoppe.
 Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes from Six Sisters' Stuff.
Shark Cupcakes from Martha Stewart.
Snow Cone Cupcakes by Celebrations.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

7 Tips for a Summer Trip The Kids Will Always Remember


It's summer and with the warmer weather, surely the kids will want to get outdoors and play, right? Wrong. Left to their own devices, kids these days will waste away and entire summer playing on a mobile device or watching endless episodes on Netflix.

I don't know about you, but when I think back on my summers growing up, they're full of adventure and family time. Don't get me wrong, these aren't necessarily all happy memories (though most are), but they are definitely memorable and contributed to who I am today.

RVing is one of the best ways to get kids to unplug, because, let's face it, they are away from all of the devices. Sure, it can be work, but it's well worth it and you never know what type of adventures you'll have.
But camping is more than just selecting a camp site and traveling in an RV. It's what you do that makes the RVing experience something the kids will remember and treasure. With that in mind, here are 7 activities to do with your family while RVing to promote a closer family.

Cook Together

It's amazing how many kids leave home for college or career and don't even know how to prepare a box of macaroni and cheese. For something as essential to life as eating, if kids don't know how to cook they can develop unhealthy eating habits. RVing is a great time to teach kids basic cooking principles. In particular, teach kids how to properly prepare different types of foods, food safety tips and how to get creative when you're missing an ingredient (which inevitably seems to happen when you're camping). Often, camping meals are simple enough for kids and teens to lend a hand and learn a quick fix.


Play Games

It sounds so simple, but it's so easy to forget the power of game night. Playing games together promotes family unity and teaches children how to handle winning and losing. It also provides time to talk and keeps their mind off the Facebook posts and texts they're missing while they're away from it all. Great RVing games include card games like golf, Egyptian ratscrew and Phase 10.

Share Stories

Too often, we assume our lives are mundane and our kids don't want to hear stories about when we were younger. But wouldn't you like to know more about what your parents were like at your age? Skip the "I walked 12 miles uphill in the snow both ways" talks – they've already got those memorized – and tell stories of your youth. What did you love to do as a kid? What type of trouble did you get into? What did you learn from it? What would you do differently? And, if you're going to share, be open to listening to stories your children want to share with you. A listening ear is something kids will always remember.

Explore Nature

Your kids can probably tell you the name of every pop music icon, but what about the names of flower, trees or animals? There's so much to explore in nature. Kids are used to the idea of exploring (at least in the digital world). Teach them how to safely explore the real world and share the excitement of discovering simple things like caves, interesting rock formations, beehives and footprints. Bringing a camera along to document the experience can help them share what they find later when they get back to their digital world.

Teach conservation values and respect for nature

You don't have to be an environmentalist to know the value of preserving the great outdoors. Take the time to teach your children the value of no trace camping (leaving a campsite as good or better than you found it), and to value both plant and animal life. That respect for nature will pay dividends in other areas of their lives.

Teach a Skill

Camping is a perfect time to teach a new skill. Do crafts together. Teach kids how to whittle, tie knots, light a fire, dig a latrine, cut firewood or a number of other skills. Even though most of these skills have no practical application in day to day city living, there is value in establishing work ethic and in the process of how to gain and develop a skill. Once you gain one skills, it's easier to gain others, and many skills are transferrable.

Reinforce science (astronomy, rock cycle, water cycle, etc)

Finally, just because it's summer doesn't mean kids can check out from schooling and forget everything they learned. RVing is a great opportunity to teach or reinforce many things kids learn in school, particularly science. Stay up late and look at the stars to learn more about astronomy. See the rock cycle or water cycle all around you. Talk about ecosystems work and how each plant and animal plays a key role in an ecosystem.

This may be well and good, but if you're like me, tent camping can still be, well, uncomfortable. If you feel the same way, RV camping may be the way to go. It provides many modern luxuries like a kitchen, bathroom, beds and electricity so you can rough it without getting roughed up. RV camping isn't just for mom either. It's great for families with little kids, or if you want to bring grandma and grandpa along. My mom's health isn't great and so taking an RV is the perfect way to be able to bring grandma without worrying.
However you Go RVing, be sure to make it a family experience your kids will cherish. What's your favorite camping memory?

Tell us what you love most about RVing or if you've ever wanted to try it!

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

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