Tubs of colorful molding clays and doughs are definitely one of those things for a busy mom to keep in her arsenal of craft supplies. They keep children entertained, plus they are a terrific multi-sensory way for a child to play, learn and refine their motor skills. These hot summer days, while fun and action-packed, can certainly seem to linger on. If the kids are getting bored or you’re looking for something to do with them on a rainy day, this homemade play-dough is a great craft activity to do together.
Combine all ingredients except the food coloring in a non-stick pot.
Over low heat, cook the mixture, stirring well to incorporate.
As the mixture cooks, it will begin to solidify and get lumpy.
Continue to move the mixture around the pot, preferably with a silicone spoon.
The mixture will begin to pull away from the sides of the pot. Gently smooth out any lumps.
When it appears to be solidified, turn off the heat and begin to add the food coloring. If you prefer to make more than one color, take some of the dough out of the pot, place in a bowl and add the coloring. You want to add the coloring while the dough is still hot.
Work with coloring into the dough using the spoon. Then knead with your hands.
Cover the dough in plastic wrap and allow to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container so it stays moist. Have fun!
Spaghetti with Garlic & Oil, called Spaghetti Aglio Et Olio in Italian, is a light, simple pasta dish with big flavor. With just a few ingredients, it’s perfect for an easy, yet comforting, dinner (and it tastes great reheated the next day for lunch!). In Italy, it’s traditional to eat spaghetti with garlic and oil after midnight, usually after a night out on the town. My great grandmother always made this dish on New Year’s Eve; as soon as the clock struck midnight and the Times Square ball dropped, she started boiling the water for the pasta. It’s the perfect family-style pasta dish — mangia!
1 lb. of egg spaghetti (or any type of spaghetti that you prefer)
5-6 garlic cloves, sliced and roughly chopped
Italian parsley, chopped
¼ Tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Good quality olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of a saute pan, plus extra for finishing the pasta
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Boil the water for the spaghetti; cook until al dente.
While the spaghetti is cooking, pour the olive oil in the saute pan. I used a 3.5 quart saute pan for this dish.
Heat the oil over low heat and add the garlic. Saute until fragrant.
Add the red pepper flakes to the oil and garlic. Continue to saute.
Season the oil mixture with a good pinch of kosher salt; add in the parsley, stir and shut the flame.
Instead of draining the pasta and discarding the water, use tongs to lift the pasta from the pot and add it to the hot oil in the saute pan. You want the pasta to be wet, but not soaked with the hot cooking water. This will help the pasta to stay loose.
Toss in the saute pan so that the pasta is coated with the garlic and oil mixture. If it seems too dry, add small amounts of the cooking water.
Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and add in a few good size handfuls of grated cheese. Toss well.
The heat and humidity of the summer season begs for a cool, refreshing salad to get you through the day. I love this one because it combines salty, sweet and bright flavors into one dish, making it perfect for lunch, dinner, even brunch. It’s a summer feast for the eyes that’s bursting with vibrant colors and textures. And like most of the recipes that I share with you, it feeds a crowd and is simple to put together. Beat the heat with this ‘cool’ summer sizzler!
There’s nothing quite like a salad of fresh mozzarella and ripe, summer tomatoes. Add in creamy dollops of burrata cheese and some Italian basil, and well… it’s absolutely divine! Quick, easy and oh-so-fresh; this is definitely one to make before we call a wrap on summer!
In my house, we like our cherries sweet and crisp. We like to hear that slight crunch from biting into a ripe, but firm, summer cherry. So when the bowl of cherries begins to get a tad bit too soft for us, I pit and soak them in one of my favorite Italian liquors, Disaronno Amaretto. It’s absolutely divine served over ice cream or a piece of pound cake. Although sometimes, I’ll bake them into a tasty bread brimming with slivered almonds. A warm slice of this sweet bread is the perfect breakfast treat or afternoon snack with a cup of coffee.
During the summer months when veggies are at their peak, I try to add them to just about every dish that I make. Browsing the local farmers markets delivers culinary inspiration that’s a dream come true for a foodie like me. Last week, I found “8-Ball Zucchini,” which is basically a round, softball-size squash with a short stem, fewer seeds and a slightly sweeter flavor than regular zucchini. I bought a few of them, some of which I sliced into thick rounds and grilled on the BBQ with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I used the third one to add color, texture and a summer flair to traditional white pizza. The results? Summer on a pizza!
During my college days, I worked part-time in a little, local place called Yogi’s Café. It was a cute place to sit and have cappuccino and dessert, an ice cream sundae, or even a gourmet sandwich or pasta dish. The food was fresh, the money was great and the people were fun to work with. This chicken salad was one of their most popular items on the sandwich menu; I’ve been thinking about it for years (the café has since closed its doors) and decided to recreate its flavors. It’s perfect for lunch or brunch; sandwich it in between fresh bread or a pita pocket, scoop it on top of a green salad or serve it as an appetizer piled on a cracker. This recipe is a great way to use leftover chicken and also works perfectly with a store-bought rotisserie chicken, too. However you choose to eat it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Last week, I spent time poking around my local farmers market. If you’ve never been to one, I encourage you to get to one before the summer is over. It’s such a feast for the eyes; vibrant colors and a variety of textures that are not only visually appealing, but pleasing to the palate, too. As I browsed through the weekly selection of fresh fruits and veggies, I gathered inspiration for farm-to-table fare that my family would enjoy. This trip, I found a dainty eggplant called Fairy Tale. This petite vegetable is sweet with tender skin and very few seeds. For a simple side dish or appetizer, just season with salt, pepper and olive oil and grill whole until lightly charred!
My friend and neighbor, Allison, shared this adorable craft with me. These sweet little flower holders are a pretty way to embellish something that sits in every bathroom — toilet tissue! In many newer bathrooms, homeowners opt to use a free-standing toilet tissue holder on the floor rather than mounting a holder into the wall. This simple and affordable craft is a good way to add visual interest to the boring white toilet tissue rolls that are sitting on the holder. And, it’s fun to color code the holders to coordinate with your bathroom color scheme. Read on for more clever ways to display these pretty holders and for the how-to!
Here are some other great ways to put this cute creation to use:
Bridal shower bathroom basket
New home bathroom basket gift
Selling your home? Add a pretty little touch to the bathrooms for potential home buyers to see.
Company coming? Set a few of these in the guest bathroom!
Flowers of your choice, preferably on a clip (Michaels, AC Moore or any craft store carry these)
Wrap the twine around the toilet tissue roll twice.
Clip the flower in the center of the twine. If the flower does not have a clip, either tie the twine around the flower of very carefully add a drop of hot glue to adhere it to the twine.
It’s summer, and that means lots of time spent outside! My three kids just love to be outdoors; running, swinging, playing, jumping in rain puddles on the driveway, even watching the birds, squirrels and chipmunks frolic in our yard. We get such a vibrant assortment of birds in our garden, it’s like a rainbow of color every morning — Blue jay, Cardinal, Hummingbird, American Goldfinch — the kids watch them fly through the yard and land on the birdfeeder hanging in our maple tree. The birds get to enjoy the warm summer weather and I get to enjoy my morning coffee while watching the kids play and listening to the birds chirp!
When International Delight approached me and other bloggers about forming a social collaboration this year, I immediately knew that one of my projects would be to create a birdhouse. I know, you’re probably thinking “what does coffee creamer have to do with birdhouses”? Well, in a previous post, I wrote about the upcycling trend and shared my DIY succulent garden, which I created using an empty International Delight coffee creamer bottle. Now, I’ve used the empty bottle to create a birdhouse to add to my garden of summer delight. Read on to learn how to create one of your own — and don’t forget to follow International Delight on Pinterest to see more summer ID moments!
Empty International Delight coffee creamer bottle, 32-ounce size
1 8-inch wood dowel, 1/8-inch in diameter
Needle nose pliers
Spray paint in three different colors (I used Rustoleum brand for interior/exterior use on wood, metal, plastic)
Wood letter, 1 1/2-inch size (I used an “A” for our last name; this gives it a personal touch!)
Ruler or tape measure
Handheld razor saw
Hot glue / glue gun
Remove the blue cap from the empty bottle; set aside.
Remove the colored label/packaging around bottle; discard.
On the flat side of the bottle (the side without the indented ribs), use your ruler to make a straight line across the top of the flat, rounded section.
Using a sharp scissor or, cut along the shape of the flat section. This will be the opening of the birdhouse. Cut away or smooth out any rough pieces of the plastic.
In a well-ventilated area like an open garage, or outside, spray the bottle with the body color that you’ve chosen (I used Fire Orange).
Using the trim color that you’ve chosen, spray paint the blue cap (I used Hunt Club Green). Allow to dry completely.
Next, you’ll need to spray paint the wood letter. I suggest a third color, in this case, I thought white would be a nice contrast to the bright orange and dark green. Allow to dry completely.
Using a sharp knife, very carefully make an “X” in the center of the cap. This will be where you insert the jute twine from which to hang the birdhouse.
Spray paint a wood dowel the same color as the wood initial/letter. About 1-inch to 1 1/2-inches from the bottom of the birdhouse opening, make a hole through both the front and back of the bottle for the dowel to sit. The dowel will be the perch for the bird to sit on. Insert the dowel through the front of the birdhouse, into the opening in the back. Push it through so there’s an even amount of dowel on both sides.
Using a hot glue gun, glue the letter onto the front of the bottle, centered in between the top of the cap and the top of the birdhouse opening. Allow to dry.
Open bottle cap and insert both ends of the twine through the larger pour spout, up through the top of the cap. Needle nose pliers will help you grab the ends of the twine and pull it through. The length of the twine will depend on where you’ll be hanging the birdhouse and how long you want it to be. Working with jute is not easy because it tends to fray easily. To ensure that the ends don’t fray, wet them with water and twist them tightly.
Tie a tight knot under the cap so the twine does not come through the top of the cap. Close the cap. Tie another knot with the two ends of the twine. This will be how you’ll hang your birdhouse. Ensure that the knots are secured tightly so the house won’t fall out of the tree!
Finally, using the hot glue gun, secure a strip of the jute twine around the opening of the birdhouse. This is an optional step, but it gives an extra decorative touch to the project and ties in nicely with the twine used to hang the house.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.
Hello! My name is Danielle, aka The Crafty Hostess. Welome to my blog! I am a food fanatic and stay-at-home mom of three young kids. My plate is always full (in every sense!), but I always find time to cook delicious food for my family and friends. Come, pour a cup of coffee and join me in my kitchen!