Cloud Dough (Homemade Moon Sand)

For those of you who have wanted to try Moon Sand, but maybe have wondered about the mess and have sat on the fence about it, this is a great way to try it out at home. I got this idea from Juggling with Kids.

Here is all you need:

4 cups of flour

1/2 cup of baby oil

That is IT, my friend. It makes a pretty good-sized batch, so you could even halve it if you don’t have a big container for your kids to play in.

Just mix them together in a large bowl, and you are good to go!

I was really impressed at how well this held up – when it was formed together, it stayed together really well, but it still held a good “powder” form when it was broken apart. My 5-year old actually wanted to make it all into balls at the very end when we went to store it in a gallon ziploc, and none of them broke on the way into the cabinet OR on the way out when he wanted to play again, until he was ready to break them apart.

Super fun! I will warn you, though, it can make a bit of a mess, so either have a sufficiently large container (mine was not deep enough t0 contain some of the overspill) OR just be ready to sweep up a bit at the end. To me, the idea of an “indoor dry sand” is totally worth having a bit of a mess at the end – my kids will play for a long time and love it, and that is awesome.


Finger Paint in a BAG

I decided that I wanted to try to find a good fingerpaint recipe. I was only able to find essentially two recipes (here and here), and I was not terribly impressed with either of them. They were both waaaaaaaay too sticky. The kids tried playing with the finger paint and ended up washing their hands within a minute of getting it on their papers. So, I am still in the search for a good recipe – when I find it, I will happily share it. If you have tried either of these with success, I’m happy to try them again because there is a chance that there was some human error. OR, if you have a different recipe, I would love to have it to try! :)

BUT, in the meantime I remembered seeing this idea from Amy @ Let’s Explore. She took finger paint and put it in a gallon-sized baggie so her toddler could work on writing letters. I love that it also means NO MESS. Best idea ever. I took the finger paint from the first recipe (the one with corn starch) and plopped it all in the bag and this is what I got:

Pretty good! I think it would be even easier to use with better finger paint in the bag – or tempura paint, as Amy suggested as an alternative. I think either way, my 2-year old definitely likes to not have gloppy fingers, so this is a good solution for her. The older boys are easily entertained either way.

**Note: I hot glued the top shut too. After the bag was zipped, I just glued the very top pieces together. It has stayed put nicely, even when kids were chucking it around the house and using it as a hat.


My Cookie Sheet is CLEAN :)

Yes. It is finally clean. (Cue heavenly chorus.)

When I was cleaning the drip pans from my stove, I remembered that I had read a comment somewhere in the middle of my many cookie sheet cleaning tips that had mentioned using ammonia to clean out her oven. My oven, oddly enough, is not very dirty. I gave it a wipe down with a wet sponge (no other chemicals) and it got most of what was in there cleaned out. I couldn’t remember if the commenter decided to stick her cookie sheet in her oven with ammonia, but decided it was worth a go.

I put my cookie sheet in the cold oven on the bottom rack, put some ammonia in a bowl on the top rack, and let it sit overnight.

Here is what it looked like before (after my 11 different ways to try and get it clean):

And here is what it looks like now:

Clean! Hooray! That used some steel wool and elbow grease too after I took it from the oven, but I had tried steel wool over and over again with many different products and I couldn’t get it all off. The ammonia worked great. It also took off some of the oil splatters on the glass on the inside of the oven that I couldn’t get off earlier with just the wet sponge.

Hooray! :)

Clean Your Stove Drip Pans

For those of you who are fortunate like me to have a non-flat top stove, here is an easy $1 solution to get the drip pans CLEAN. I didn’t realize that was possible. But it is. :)

I found this from Jill @ One Good Thing by Jillee. Hers worked a little more easily than mine did – I’m guessing that is because hers look like they have some kind of teflon coating on them? Some of the stuff came off easily, but I still had to give mine a fair amount of elbow grease with steel wool. But it was worth it.


Apparently we use the stove a lottle bit over here.


I could cry. Seriously. I love when things are clean, and I get frustrated when I can’t figure out how to get them that way.

And how do you do this?

All you need are four gallon-sized ziploc bags, some ammonia, and your drip pans. And, if you have the old school non-coated drip pans like I do, you may need some steel wool and elbow grease too.

Step 1: Put your drip pans in your ziploc bags.

Step 2: Splash some ammonia in there. You don’t need to cover the drip pans – the ammonia vapor is what does the trick. The vapors act to bind to the oil and fat in your drip pan grime and break it down. Pretty cool.

Step 3: Wait overnight (or, if you are doing this during the day, think 9-12 hours). The longer you let it stay in the bags, the longer the ammonia has to do its work.

Step 4: Get the rest of your stove top clean. Take some time to use toothpicks and Q-tips and get things cleaned out. I cleaned around everything with toothpicks and it looked MUCH better.

Step 5: Open the bag. This seems like a silly step to have alone, but I will tell you – AMMONIA IS VERY PUNGENT. It will make you want to curl up and cry to stand over that bag and get a nice waft of ammonia in your face. So here is how I found it to work best – get water running in your sink, open your ziploc bag a bit (enough for the water to get in), and fill the bag up part way with water. This will not destroy the handy work of your ammonia vapors – it WILL keep your eyes and nose from burning.

Step 6: Wipe the grime off with a sponge (if you are lucky), or give it some elbow grease. This got ALMOST everything off of my drip pans. What was left over may just be the pans aging and changing color or something (with the larger ones). They looked muuuuch better.


Ammonia can work very well with other things too – I tried it on something else and was SHOCKED at how well it worked. I’ll post those pictures tomorrow.

Happy cleaning! :)

We Give Books

I just had to share this website because it is pretty cool – are a bunch of books for kids that they can read online in their “print” format. I love that. A lot of these are the ones that you can find on the ever-popular book orders (especially the non-fiction), so you can even “test drive” some of the books before you buy. Or just enjoy them for free.

This is not only a great resource, but you actually GIVE a book each time you (or your child) reads one online – as in, Penguin Books and the Pearson Foundation will donate a book for each book read online. See? Super cool! There is no limit to your book-giving from your book reading, and if your child has a favorite that they read over and over again, each time they finish it counts as a new book to give away. (Here is a link to the FAQ.) They have given away almost 1,000,000 books since April 2010.

They have ongoing “campaigns” that you can support with your reading (here is a list of the campaigns, current and completed), so you can choose your “cause”, and you are free to switch at any time.

If you’re looking for a fun book to start out with, I would recommend Goodnight iPad. We just checked it out from the library and all got a good laugh over it. That grandma is great. The cultural references are hilarious too.

So – go read a book! And GIVE one too by doing it. It’s a win-win. :)

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