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Wednesday Wants: Back to School Apps via Parents.com

I thought this was a really cool article by Parents.com.  Apps are becoming a major part of our lives and are not just for our phones, but for personal computers, tablets, notebooks, and laptops (I’m sure a few more could be named).

I thought Easy Reader was a cool one, which allows your to browse through ebooks from libraries.

There are a number of really good suggestions from recipe finders, schedule helpers, brain boosters… make sure you check them out.

Parents.com even has one that is perfect for me a jax, Playgrounds, that allows users to look through, rate, and enter playground information so others can learn about them.

Do you have any apps you love using that help you and/or your family?



DIY from the Blog World: Dying Easter Eggs

As a child one of my most favorite memories for Easter Sunday was dying the eggs the week before and then hunting for them in the house on Easter morning.  Our mom was always so creative when it came to the holidays and had the BEST Easter baskets, made fabulous oven baked french toast, and hid our Easter eggs in the most secretive of places (I remember finding one in our pool table pockets!).  So I decided that this weekend I’d post some DIY eggs from the blog world to reeve the kiddies up for a great and creative holiday.

Make Easter eggs using all natural ingredients.

Tutorial using nylon stockings and suggestions for small flat leaves to use at Family Fun. Photo from KurtFML’s Flickr Photostream.  To get the colors in this photo use all natural dyes.

Japanese paper Washi Eggs

French inspired decoupage eggs from Martha Stewart

These two egg decorating methods employ the same technique found at Martha Stewart but just different papers!  Or cut little pieces from paper that inspires you and don’t cover the entire egg.

No-dye easter eggs with double-sided tape and glitter!

Do the polka dots above or cool stripes like these!

Try out some of these no-dye egg decorating ideas from Better Homes I like the double-sided adhesive strips cut into pretty designs and then dipped in glitter!

Glitter eggs from Martha for decoration

Speaking of glitter – make these pretty decorative eggs from Martha Stewarts again.

Crayon art eggs!


These pretty as can be eggs also use similar techniques through creating designs with wax and then dying or leaving.  The top uses simple crayons on hot eggs to produce pretty colors on eggs (remember you can use a white crayon to draw pictures and also words on eggs before dying as well).  The bottom picture is an old Ukranian method using hot candle wax to draw designs before dying the egg.

Hand paint your already dyed eggs.

Chalkboard paint eggs

Hand paint eggs after dying with water-based acrylic colors special for eggs – I love the polka dot one!  Or redecorate again and again with  chalkboard paint eggs (use colored chalk too!).  You could also use these as place settings at an Easter party.

And the biggest trend to hit easter egg dying this year . . . silk tie-dye eggs. So pretty!

If you’ve been on pinterest at all you’ve probably seen these beauties around.  Silk tie -dying.  What a good way to reuse unwanted ties.

Real chocolate eggs!

And last but not least . . . why not make real chocolate filled eggs by following Martha’s directions?

Now that the creativity is flowing go and visit our pinterest Easter board for even more ideas on egg decorating!


Also if you haven’t already  . . . go enter our Etsy Easter Basket Giveaway

Monday Meals: PART 2 of Beef Stew & French Dip Sandwiches

PART 2- French Dip Sandwiches

from last week’s dual meal

Last week I blogged about making beef stew and french dip sandwiches.  I showed you how to finish making the stew, but you should have held out part of the broth and meat for the french dip sandwiches (of course you should make these closer together rather than a week apart).  So here’s how i make the second part:

Pull out the beef broth (au jus) and beef that we set aside from the stew/french dip base.  If you need a reminder on how to make the base, here is the recipe.

This portion serves about 2-4 people, but i made a smaller batch for 2 people.

Here are the ingredients i used for the sandwicches:

  • beef & au jus
  • sub rolls
  • onion
  • bell pepper
  • provolone cheese

Take the beef out of the au jus and slice the beef.  Heat the Au jus in either a pot or microwave.  Slice up the bell pepper and onion.  Heat a skillet with some oil and saute the onion and bell pepper.

Once the bell pepper and onion are cooked to your liking, add a little water (about a tablespoon) and the beef, then cover and steam for a few minutes till the beef is warm.

Slice your sub rolls (I don’t slice all the way through, leave the back open like a hot dog bun), place the provolone, bell peppers, onion, and beef inside.  Place on a baking sheet and broil on low till cheese is melted and the roll is a little toasted.

Serve with the au jus sauce and your done!

Hope you like it! ash

Monday Meals: Beef Stew & French Dip Sandwiches

Beef Stew: Serves 2-4

& French Dip Sandwiches Next week

So today’s meal(s)- i’m trying to do two meals in one.  We’re making the meat and base for the french dip sandwishes that i will share with you next Monday.  With the meat and base, you will be making the stew meat and base at the same time.

This meal is for two people and one small person :) .  So if you have a larger family you will need to adjust the amount of ingredients.  Here are the base ingredients:

  • 1 lb of beef chuck roast (divided)
  • 4 carrots-chopped
  • 2 celery-chopped
  • 1-white onion – diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 10oz can of French Onion Soup
  • 1 10oz can of Beef Broth Soup
  • 1 Cup of Water

i used my crock pot, meat usually comes out pretty soft when cooked slow.  i turned the crock pot on high, added about two tablespoons of butter and the garlic, carrots, onion, celery, and the divided beef.  i cut the beef in parts, enough to make two french dip sandwiches, and the remaining I cubed for the stew.  Spice to taste.  Here are the spices I used (about 1/2 teaspon each):

  • salt & pepper- to taste
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • paprika
  • all spice
  • 1 tsp of worchestire sauce

Put it all in the bottom and stir.

Let it brown and sweat for about an hour, stirring occasionally.  This is about how long i felt was good based on my crock pot, but you may need to adjust the time depending on yours.

Once the meats are browned and veggies soft, add the beef broth, french onion soup, cup of water, and let it cook for another hour.

After the tastes have combined for an hour take out the large piece of beef that was not cubed, some broth (about a 1/3 of the broth) and set it in a glass dish to the side to cool and refrigerate for the french dips.

Mix 2 tablespoons of corn starch and 2 tablespoons of water together til combined then add to the crockpot and stir.  Chop 2-3 medium size potatoes and add to the crock pot with the stew and let it cook for another hour.

Taste before serving and season more if needed.  i dished out about 1/2 a cup for Jax and put in the blender with a little extra water (to water down the spices and cool it off a bit).  i also served ours with a roll.

Join us next week to see what we did to make the french dips.  What you’ll need:

  • 2 rolls
  • sliced provolone
  • the beef and aus jus from this post that was set aside.
  • onions, green peppers, or any other toppings you like with your french dips.

Hope you like it! ash

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