10 Colorful Uses for Kool Aid

Were you a Kool Aid kid? I sure was, back in the day.

You gotta love those 10 cent packages!

Today I am sharing some other uses for good ole’ Kool Aid.

What a cute little gift these would make! Check out Meet the Dubiens for instructions on how to make your own Kool Aid flavored lip gloss.

Get ready to bust out some straws and little paper umbrellas to go with these Kool Aid Slurpees. An easy recipe is shown for this on My World Made by Hand.

These would be a great treat to make for any type of party, or just for a family movie night at home. Tasty Kitchen shows you how!

Here’s a nifty and practical tip for you, courtesy of Krazy Coupon Lady–use lemonade Kool Aid as an easy dishwasher cleaner. The citric acid in the lemonade variety gives your dishwasher a cleaning boost.

Can’t get enough cool treats this summer? Well, here’s a recipe for Kool Aid sherbert.  (Looks yummy, doesn’t it?)

If your kids are getting bored, then this blog has a fun recipe for Kool Aid Play-Doh to help them get un-bored (at least for a little while).

This idea makes my crafty heart go all aflutter. Did you know that you can use Kool Aid to dye wool? Yup, you can. This post gives you the specifics on how to dye wool yarn. Oh, and I also just read a tip in The Tightwad Gazette (one of my favorite books) that you can use it to dye old wool sweaters.

Though it’s not anywhere near Easter, I still had to include this one. Kool Aid Easter eggs! Click here to see the instructions.

These twisty straws with cute Kool Aid packages attached would be a great summer party favor or treat to give classmates. I love this idea! Check out Fakin’ It for the easy directions.

Give your frosting a color and flavor boost using Kool Aid! Chocolate Chocolate shows you how. I can’t wait to try this one out as I am a total frosting girl.

There are more ideas I could have included, but I’ll stop at 10. Who knew Kool Aid was so versatile?

Hope you’re having a Kool summer 🙂

Rachel

Lithuanian Cold Beet Soup

I don’t know about you, but this summer I’ve been trying to get away from serving hot meals as much as possible. I love soups of all kinds, but just can’t enjoy them as much when it’s sweltering outside.

Anybody else with me on that one?

However, last weekend the kids and I (and my Mom!) attended a global missions fair and tried out some different ethnic foods. Near the “Europe” area, we saw from afar a sign for some kind of food for $1 and sent one of my older boys to go buy one for us to try. Well, my Andrew brings us back a cup full of something that resembles Pepto Bismol with stuff floating in it.

I’m sure I said something like, “What is that??”

“Oh, it’s some kind of soup,” he said.

Really?

I tried a bite, and to my surprise, it was really good!

So, when I came home I looked up what it was and discovered that it was from Lithuania and called Saltibarsciai. Other countries in that region of the world seem to have a version of this as well.

I made this yesterday for my clan and it actually went over kind of well. A couple kids actually asked me to make it again, so I guess it wasn’t a failure. I know I really enjoyed it as I had some for lunch and dinner.

Besides the fact that it’s refreshingly cold and pink, I love this for the mix of flavors in it–beets, cucumbers, and buttermilk. Ooh, and sour cream on top.  That makes it extra good too.

Here’s the basic recipe that I used. You can make a lot of this ahead and just pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

8 cups buttermilk

3 medium beets, cooked, chilled, and diced

2 diced cucumbers

2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Garnish with dill and/or chives,  sour cream

Homemade Washi Tape

I finally had time to do something creative this past weekend. Hooray!

This is why I love lazy Sunday afternoons with nothing on our schedule.

Homemade Washi Tape.

To be completely transparent with you, I’ve never ever used washi tape in my life. I probably had never even heard of it until last year when I started seeing all these cute projects made using washi tape. From what I hear, it can be a little pricey, so I had the time (finally) and inclination to try making my own.

It really didn’t take a whole lot of time or effort, and I used materials that I had on hand already.

Here’s the process I followed to make my own washi tape:

To start, I chose some patterned scrapbooking papers and cut strips of it out. I was planning to use painters tape, so I made the strips the width of the blue tape. Lay down lengths of the tape onto a sheet of wax paper, adhesive side down.

Next, I used a paint brush to put a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the back side of my tape. Once I had it evenly coated, I laid each strip of printed paper onto the tape and smoothed it out. For this project you could also use double-sided tape and just lay your paper strips down, eliminating the need for Mod Podge.

Once this was nice and dry, I cut the strips out of the wax paper, leaving wax paper on the back of the strips. To use these, I just need to peel off the back and they should be good to go.

To store my new tape, I wrapped the strips around some old wooden thread spools and tied it off with yarn or a ribbon.

This One’s for the Girls

I have stumbled across this quote several times within the past couple of months and it has really stuck with me. I believe it can be applicable to all ladies, no matter how old or young you are.

Actually, it reminds me of the Proverbs 31 woman. Though I am nowhere near the standards listed in that chapter of the Bible, I believe it’s something to strive for. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be someone who is kind rather than coarse, a lady who is virtuous rather than vain, and good rather than greedy.  Also, I would like my daughter to grow up as refined rather than rude, treats others with tenderness than with toughness,  and chooses purity over popularity.

What kind of woman will you be?

Greek Salad

It seems like I’ve had such a busy summer so far. I’m hoping for at least a little reprieve before the back-to school busyness sets in. Anyway, since I’ve been a busy bee, I really have not had time (or energy, to be honest with you) to tackle any new projects. Sooooo, I’m going to put on a “re-run” for you today of a recipe I posted last summer. It’s a good one!

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Since I made this for a brunch with some of my favorite ladies the other day, I thought I would share the recipe. Also, since some of these ingredients are still in season where I live, now’s the perfect time to enjoy this colorful and delicious Greek salad. The best part about it? If you don’t like certain ingredients, they can easily be subbed by something else and it still turns out good. For example, I didn’t have any feta cheese or kalamata olives the other day, so I substituted small chunks of mozzarella and black olives (see? I’m really not that with the program). In my humble opinion, it was still yummy. I originally got the recipe from a Penzey’s Spice catalog and make it every summer, sometimes for picnics or events, other times just for us to feast on for dinner.

Recipe for Greek Salad
10 large ripe tomatoes
1 large cucumber
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1 large onion
15 small pickled peppers
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 TB fresh parsley
Dressing:
2 TB Greek Seasoning
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar

Tips for Clothes Shopping at Thrift Stores

I love putting together outfits from thrift stores.

Seriously.

Thrift shopping makes my heart go pitter patter and is actually stress relieving for me.

Oh, and scouring the clearance rack at a regular store and finding something cute for a really good deal–that makes me smile too.

It’s like the fun of shopping without emptying your wallet in the process.

Today I am sharing some of my personal favorite thrifted and/or clearance outfits, along with some tips for clothes shopping at a thrift store.

This is one of my favorite thrifted outfits. A great pair of jeans (Calvin Klein on a rack with $1 items? Yes please.), a $2 Target clearance tank, a $2 Goodwill Bargain Room jacket, and a 50 cent scarf.

A close-up of all the pieces shows how I tied the colors together, along with the polka dots.

An outfit for this summer. I couldn’t resist this pink ruffled tank top when I spotted it at Goodwill. The dark denim shorts were actually a $3 pair of jeans that fit me well, but had only a 29″ inseam. That length does NOT work for this tall mama, so I bought the jeans, took them home, and cut and hemmed them into shorts that are a good length for me. I’ve worn them paired up with lots of other things since then.

This is also an outfit I’ve been wearing this summer. The skirt was yet another Goodwill find (I think about $5) and the white tank was on clearance from llbean.com for something like $2.

This picture is from last year, but it’s a handmade dress I discovered at Goodwill for $5. The red band around the waist area is actually a pretty eyelet lace that I think makes the outfit.

I usually pair the dress up with this $1 earring/necklace set I happened upon at a yard sale. They’re a little bit lighter red in person, so they set off the red in the dress well.

Speaking of accessories, this bangle was a recent $1 find.

These earrings have been worn by me scores of times already this summer. I love them because they match a lot of things I already have. They were found at Kohl’s on clearance.

So, now that I’ve shared a few of my favorite outfits, I compiled a list of shopping tips if you’re headed out to a thrift store to look for clothing.

-Go often. The merchandise is literally always changing and the store and racks will look slightly different every time you go. When my little guys were in preschool this past year, I would often stop at Goodwill while I was out running errands. Which leads me to the next tip…..

-Don’t take kids. Sure, you can, and I know some of you don’t get that opportunity very often (especially since it’s summertime!). However, all of us Moms know you can actually look at stuff and think about it when you don’t have little people clamoring around you.

-Know what you already have. Take a mental inventory of what’s in your wardrobe and think of what will work with what you have already own. Also, you don’t need to buy another pink sweater if you have one sitting in a drawer at home.

-Have a plan in mind. I usually have something sort of specific in mind when I go. For example, the day that I bought the blue and white skirt pictured previously? I went into the store with the intention of finding a swishy, summery skirt, preferably in the blue and white color scheme. I can name many other times I’ve went in with a specific piece in mind and found what I was looking for. Most thrift stores I’ve encountered have their clothing organized by type and color. For example, all green short-sleeved shirts on one rack, pink on another, and so on.

-Try things on. I know I’ve been guilty of grabbing something and think to myself that if it doesn’t fit, I’ll just donate it back. After all, it’s a really good deal, right? But I’d rather go home with something that I can actually wear.

-Look at washing instructions. I’ve rarely ever been to a dry cleaner and don’t really plan to much in the future. Therefore, if it’s definitely a “dry clean only” piece, I usually put it back on the rack.

-Don’t buy just because it’s a bargain. Buy it because it’s something you really love and will wear. If you don’t love it, it will most likely just be taking up real estate in your closet or dresser–even if it was only $2.

-Look over everything fully before buying. There’s lots of stuff that gets donated that has broken zippers, is stained, or has other quality issues. If you’re willing to do the work to fix the problem, then go ahead. Otherwise put it back.

-Keep an open mind. If you or someone you know has some sewing skills, then think of how something can be altered if need be. For example, the dark denim shorts that I fashioned out of too-short pants. I would have never bought those pants if I hadn’t known ahead that I could change the length.

-One in, one out. I’m extremely bad at this, so really I’m preaching to myself here. If you buy something new to you, you need to get rid of something. We don’t want to end up as hoarders, now do we? No? I didn’t think do.

-Have fun. Thrift shopping may be the last thing you want to do. It’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea! I know lots of people that love it though. It really is like a little treasure hunt and you never know what you will come across. Sure, you may see lots of stuff that you know why no one wants anymore. (I’ve had some good laughs at some of the clothing I’ve found.) However, there’s tons of good stuff mixed in with the bad.

A Virginia Vacation

We normally don’t go on two vacations in one summer, but this year was different. A couple of weeks ago we went to Raystown Lake for a few days with my parents, which you can read about here. Then, this past week, my husband, kids, and I went to the Luray area of Virginia for a few more days away. We had a good time and it was so pretty that I took tons of pictures. I won’t share them all, but here’s a brief recap of all we did.

On the way down, we stopped at Belle Grove Plantation. Unfortunately it was like a million degrees outside, we were all roasting, and we were ready to get to our cabin– therefore we didn’t stay too long.
The plantation house at Belle Grove.
On our first full day there we explored Luray Caverns. I would highly recommend visiting the caverns. It was absolutely spectacular. I didn’t get many great pictures down there due to the lighting.
So many amazing formations!
Outside of Luray Caverns there is a museum and outdoor historical site.
I especially liked seeing the one room schoolhouse and how it was set up. One thing I didn’t get a picture of was the old Mennonite meeting house/church. That was interesting as well, especially since I also attend a Mennonite church.
My kids’ favorite activity was panning for gemstones. I think they could have done this all day!

Our cabin was just about a stone’s throw from the Shenandoah River. The kids spent several afternoons wading and playing in it.

Yours truly enjoyed spending time at the river as well.
Our kids had their first hot tub experience at the cabin. Is soaking in a hot tub with 5 kids relaxing? Not so much.
Two of my babes after a long hike at Lake Arrowhead State Park.
On the way home we traveled through Skyline Drive. Such amazing scenery!!
Josh checking out the view with his brother’s binoculars.

Easy Breezy Lemon Ice Cream

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you all today.

In the summertime I am an ice cream  junkie and this one totally gave me my fix for the day.

That is, until the day after that, when I remembered how darn good it was and wanted to make more.

This is a sweet, rich, tasty ice cream that’s a snap to make.

Oh, and you don’t need a fancy ice cream maker to whip it up either. Sweet!

I got the recipe from Taste of Home magazine, which called for it to be made into popsicles. I tried that and they didn’t freeze hard enough in my popsicle molds, so I just scooped it out and put it in bowls.

Works for me! We savored every bite of this dessert until it was all gone.

These are all the ingredients you need to make some for yourself:

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp grated lemon peel

Place all ingredients into a bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Spoon into smaller bowls and freeze for 6-8 hours. Enjoy!

Hope you’re having a sweet summer,

Rachel

Homemade Tub & Shower Cleaner

Do you have a least favorite household job? Or maybe several?

My least favorite, hands down, is cleaning the tub and showers in our house.

I have always pretty much hated this part of keeping house. We have two bathrooms, each with a tub/shower, one of which is heavily used by all of us. I have never seemed to find the right cleaning product to whisk away the soap scum that builds up–until now. Yes! Finally!

I wish I had found this little recipe more than a decade ago. Seriously, it’s that good.

Homemade tub and shower cleaner.

You only need 3 items in order to make your own too.

I used equal parts Dawn dish soap (the blue kind), hot vinegar, and an empty spray bottle.

I heated a bit of vinegar up separately, poured it into my spray bottle, then added what looked to be an equal amount of Dawn.

Spray liberally all over your tub and shower walls and let sit. I saw a site that recommended 2 hours, but I gave it a test swipe after 20 minutes and it cleaned it pretty well.

Scrub well and rinse.

Just a little heads up–this does not smell great. In fact, I ran my bathroom fan for awhile to help with the odor. It does go away, so don’t freak out.

I now have a sparkling clean tub and shower. Hooray!

Maybe this won’t be my least favorite job anymore. 🙂