DIY: Chocolate Flavored Spoons

This past week has been draining to say the least. We cancelled our trip to Disney and my brother’s wedding (!) because Axel caught a nasty bug the very day before we had to fly. Perhaps more on that later…

I haven’t spent that much time with Zoey so when it was just me and her yesterday, I thought it would be fun (& yummy) for her to make some chocolate dipped spoons. Zoey has a serious sweet tooth. Secretly, it was more for me because I needed something to lift my spirits. Chocolate just make everything better and life a little sweeter.

We made five different flavors. They are the perfect additions to hot chocolate. Just a few swirls in your drink to instantly add any flavor of choice.

Chocolate Flavored Spoon by Le Zoe Musings_2Zoey’s killing these chocolate spoons like they’re lollipops!

Chocolate Flavored Spoon by Le Zoe Musings_StepsA note on melting chocolate: Melting chocolate with a double boiler intimidates me…

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How to starch a doily with, well, cornstarch.

Our 4 bathrooms need some decorating. I managed to pull something off in the little en suite bathroom in the master bedroom, but the rest of the house was SOL. I’m not useless at making halfway pretty things so I crocheted a doily. The problem, and it was a big problem, was that the pattern sucked. It was poorly written, confusing and left a lot of room for interpretation. Overall I think I did pretty well but the end result was a very bunched up doily. And a note written on the pattern to never use it again.

finished doily, bunched up

finished doily, bunched up

I used a homemade mixture of 1.5 cups filtered water (Brita) and 2 tbsp. cornstarch. Stir well. I had to soak the doily a little bit because it’s made of acrylic yarn that doesn’t readily absorb water. Then I laid it out flat on a tea towel, put another over top and added a heavy textbook. I left it that way overnight.

Pressing between 2 towels after being dipped in starch mixture.

Pressing between 2 towels after being dipped in starch mixture.

In the morning I took off the top layer of pressing material so the doily could dry properly and not smell like a wet towel.

final drying stage

final drying stage

I’d say that my cornstarch mixture produced a lightly starched doily. If you want something stiffer just add another tbsp. or two of cornstarch.

I'm holding it up and it's holding it's flat shape!

I’m holding it up and it’s holding it’s flat shape!

This is where the doily went.  The wipes are for the kids to wipe their faces without drenching the floor.

This is where the doily went. The wipes are for the kids to wipe their faces without drenching the floor.

DIY Dove body wash from Dove soap bar

Dove Body Wash

Dove Body Wash

My favourite soaps are the Dove soaps: bar for handwashing, liquid body wash in the shower. I need the moisturizing soaps or my skin would fall apart. The downside of a moisturizing bar soap is that it cracks and breaks apart while there is still 25% of the bar left. I hate to fiddle with little shards of soap so as soon as that happens I replace the bar.

Not wanting to waste perfectly good soap, I break the pieces as small as I can get them, pop them into an empty pump bottle that I have and just barely cover them with water. Leave this on a window sill for a few days, shake and voilà! Dove Body Wash. Just keep adding more shards as they become available.

Organize the spice cupboard

Taking inspiration from I decided to do our spice cupboard too.

I threw out all the expired spices.

I put all the bagged spices into jars (reused spice jars, jam jars, etc).

Top Shelf:
I put labels at the top of tall jars so I could line up medium sized jars in front of them and still see the labels on all the jars.

Middle Shelf:
I taped an empty soup mix box shut and put it at the back of the shelf to lift up some of the jars then put more jars in front.

Bottom Shelf:
I inverted a $0.99 slender basket for the pencils in the junk drawer and lined up the smaller spice jars on an angle so I could read the labels from the stove.

organize spice cupboard

organize spice cupboard

Spice Mixes
Hubby likes spice rubs and such for his meats so I put all those packets and jars in a very sturdy cardboard box that one of the kids’ tablets came in. I put it beside the stove so he’d see all the mixes he got as gifts and use them.

spice mixes in a reused box bottom beside the stove

spice mixes in a reused box bottom beside the stove

Christmas gifts 2013

I sing Christmas carols all year long, but I will wait until December to start with the tinsel. Although we had our fist snowfall yesterday so maybe I can start early this year… Still, I’ll wait until after Remembrance Day to give our veterans and soldiers the respect they deserve.

support your own community

support your own community

I love the Christmas season and as far as I’m concerned, winter should be over after that. I’ve got Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus for my Nativity and I plan on knitting the three Wise Men (I have a pattern for some very colourful Kings) some time this decade. The Shepherds are on their own for a while.

Giving Local for Christmas

-gift certificate to hair cut salon

-gift certificate to have car detailed

-hire a student for a month of driveway shoveling or lawn mowing

-hire a cleaning lady for a week

-gift certificate for car oil change

-buy treats at the local bakery to give to neighbours and teachers

-Leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip (this is when the Avon lady can come in handy, get 10 chap sticks or shower gels for $10 and give them to every secretary you can think of).

This is a poem on a tea towel in a store where I worked 12 years ago

God bless these dirty dishes, they have a tale to tell
While other folks go hungry, they prove that we are eating well.
With home, health, and happiness,
I shouldn’t want to fuss;
By the stack of evidence,
God’s been very good to us.

So, Dear Lord, thank you for our wonderful, blessed life and send patience to sustain me. Please hurry. Amen

DIY raisin boxes to save money and trick your kids into eating

My son has developed a penchant for raisins. Not raisins out of a bulk baking bag and into a bowl, no, only Sunmaid raisins in the little box. We believe it’s the box that makes the raisins.

the little white strip on the red box is the only place that needs glue

the little white strip on the red box is the only place that needs glue

diy raisin boxes template

So I undid one (only glued on one side) and traced it 4X on an 8.5×11 piece of paper. Using this template I will print out and assemble coloured cardstock boxes that we will fill with raisins ourselves. Or print Thomas the Train or Dora the Explorer on lighter cardstock and stuff the boxes with any other manner of little food.

Score the cardstock along the dotted lines and cut along the solid lines. Double sided tape will work better than glue to hold the thing together.

Make your own mint tea

I’m assuming you have a mint plant, otherwise, skip this post.

hardy.  Grows indoors or out.

hardy. Grows indoors or out.

I had the absolutely brilliant idea to check the gardening book on how to harvest mint leaves for tea. Turns out you cut the stem wherever you feel like it and let it dry. When it’s dry, crumble the leaves off the stem, throw out the stem and let the leaves dry some more.

Store in airtight container or freeze.

In my case, I’ll be putting the little crumbles in my tea infuser and making mint tea.

Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer free recipe easy as 1-2-3

Save an empty milk carton or jug. Just rinse it out and keep it in the fridge until you make your coffee creamer. The store bought varieties have all kinds of unpronounceable ingredients so I like my natural version better.

make your own creamer with sugar, 10 % cream, milk and vanilla.

make your own creamer with sugar, 10 % cream, milk and vanilla.

Vanilla Coffee Creamer Recipe 1:2:3

Place funnel inside empty milk jug. Pour in:

1 cup white sugar
2 cups 10% cream
3 cups milk
3 capfuls vanilla extract
(I use the cap so I don’t dirty a measuring spoon, but if you need to know, it’s 3 tbsp)

The ratio of ingredients will always be 1 white sugar to 2 10% cream to 3 milk to vanilla in tbsp equivalents to the milk measurement.

Put cap on jug and shake. Label jug as “coffee creamer” so your visiting brother doesn’t pour himself a big glass of “milk” and then make funny faces. Although, that is kind of funny.

DIY compost bin liners

If you live on a farm in the middle of nowhere and just feed all your kitchen waste to the dog or put it in a giant pile half an acre away, then congrats! You’re composting for free.

If you live in/near a town, you have a little green bin inside your house which you fill with kitchen waste then cart outside and dump in the giant green bin (which contains all the other yard waste) and the waste collection truck empties your big bin into their even bigger bin. Then it goes to a local farm to help grow the food you eat.

The part that costs money is the bag you put inside your little green bin (or you don’t and just wash the muck out every couple of weeks, congrats, free). To make the bags for free you need your weekly flyers or newpaper, an empty stamp booklet and your pile of left socks.

diy compost bin liner

diy compost bin liner

Make a little bag by following the instructions in the link of My Newspaper Subscription and My Compost.

Use the sticky part that surrounded the stamps as tape to hold the flap down. Put a sock in the bottom of the bin to absorb miscellaneous goo and put the bag on top. There you go, free!

Line flyers on the counter when you’re peeling potatoes, carrots or eggs to catch all the peelings. When you’re done just toss the whole mess into the compost bin and you won’t have to pick wee little carrot shavings out of the grimy sink.

Natural weed removal: it’s a screwdriver. You can eat the dandelions.

Weed Removal

weed removal tool

weed removal tool

It’s labour intensive, but take a screwdriver (the pointier, the better), stab it down in the ground right beside the weed, wiggle it around to loosen the roots so you can pull out the weed, root and all. I’ve got thistles all over this lawn so I do this once a week.

You can eat dandelions; the leaves in salad, rich in iron and fiber; the heads in wine (google it), or steeped in tea to clear your complexion (or so I read in my herb book, I haven’t tried it), you can roast the roots and they’ll taste nutty (google it); just make sure you don’t use the dandelions that grew near a road (exhaust, dog pee or worse) or any that may have pesticide on them.