Posted in DIY/Guides

DIY: Homemade Playdough

Hey guys, so I decided to create this recipe because my son is always drying out his playdough and I really don’t want to keep buying it.  The ingredients for this recipe are extremely simple and most people will have them at all times in there kitchen. So let’s get started!

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What you will need for four colors:

4 cups of flour

1 1/2 cups of salt

1 cup of water

2 tbsp oil (vegetable or olive)

food coloring of your choice

4 bowls

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Now you want to split the recipe into four separate bowls.

In each bowl you should have,

1 cup of flour

1/8 cup of salt

0.5 teaspoon of oil

Don’t add the water to all four bowls at the same time

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In the first bowl, add 1/4 cup of water and then add the food coloring and mix it together.

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Once it is flaky and mixed as possible put it on your cutting board and knead it.

Adding water if necessary and more food coloring.

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If it looks like this, add more water and food coloring and keep mixing until you can make a ball.

Each color should be placed in a bag and stored in the fridge for 3 hours before first use to make sure it firms up.

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This babies are ready for the fridges 🙂

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My son absolutely loves this playdough,  it works just as well as regular playdough but I find you can

mix the colors really well so you can also use this recipe to teach your little one how to make different colors.

Red + Yellow = Orange, for example.

Also for longer keep of this playdough, you can store it in the fridge after using it.

Hope you have some fun.

Cheers,

JMaxwell

Posted in My thoughts

Tips for college students and how to make it through alive

I will be going back to college for my last year in  Journalism but I have already completed college prior to that (culinary management at George Brown College.)  I have some tips for the people who are about to start college for the first time. Most of the tips can be applied to any college student but the helpful links I will be providing are mostly Canadian based because that is where I am but it will give you an idea of what to look for where you are.  So let’s get started!

 Don’t buy your textbooks at your school!  Overpriced books are not fun, $130 for a book you probably open twice, no thank you.  Look for used books from other students on, kijiji or a website likehttp://www.bookmob.ca : this website provides a service where you can rent the textbook for a cheaper price for the semester, when you are done send it back, you can also buy it for a cheap price too.  The best function of this website is you can sell the book back when you are done with it. You can also look on Facebook for a textbook swap group associated with your college.

Buy smart:  When it comes to backpacks, I say get a good one. Back support is important but when it comes to lined paper- go to the dollar store!  200 sheets is a $1.00 compared to other stores where it is $5.99. Paper is paper, get what’s cheapest.  You can do the same thing for binders, pencil cases, paperclips, the little things.  I’d suggest getting pens elsewhere but the pencils at the dollar store are good.  You don’t need to break the bank when buying school supplies and honestly half the stuff you buy will stay in your locker all year.

Get proper sleep: I know, its impossible and I failed hard at this one when I was in college. You spend all day at school and at night when you should be sleeping, you are doing all the things that you want to do. Catching up on shows, homework, going to parties, etc.  Sleep is very important for brain function and health and you should try to get some sleep. It will help you improve your memory which will come in handy for exam week!

Friends and school:  When you start school you want to have the right kind of friends at your side. Though friends who are “cool” will be fun to be around, if they aren’t serious about school. Don’t bother. As much as you say you will stay on track, you won’t. I made that mistake too.  It sucks to get half way through a semester at George Brown College with the wrong crowd and then I had to work my butt off the rest of the semester just to catch up/  It’s not worth it because at the end of school, most of them aren’t going to be there.

Teachers:  When it comes to the teachers you either absolutely love them or you hate them to your core.  If you don’t like your teacher, suck it up.  Get your work done, get it over with.  You don’t want to fail just because you don’t like someone.  Teachers that you love, make sure you fill out the surveys they send out at the end of courses and praise them because usually teachers that are miserable are teachers that aren’t appreciated. Plaster a smile on your face and be nice.

Make a budget:  I know you think you don’t need one. You will be careful.  That morning coffee you buy every day before school, it’s just two dollars but that’s about $140 per semester and that’s just one coffee a day.  Most students I know have two with a sandwich or a muffin.  Plus a daily amount of junk food, lunch, other drinks.   You will waste a lot of money frivolously without even thinking twice because its only 2 dollars. Make a budget of how much you will spend on food/drinks at school for the week.  Stick to it.  Trust me.

Working while at school: Be careful, don’t spread yourself to thin. You need time to rest too.  I know that some people have to work while in school to pay for it which is understandable, school isn’t cheap but don’t sacrifice too much of your spare time to work because you will burn yourself out quickly.

Get involved: Join clubs, sports teams, etc.  Its nice to be a part of something in the school and it helps you make contacts for the future.

Grants/Bursaries/Scholarships:  Apply for them all, even if you think you won’t qualify apply! You can  apply through your school and there are also websites outside of school that offer some such as http://www.studentawards.com.  Every little thing helps!

Other tips: Take notes, study often, use your agenda, make friends, make use of all the college has to offer. Use the college gym, Get to know all the people in your classes so that when group projects come up, you know who to choose. Find your favorite study spot on campus. Try not to miss any classes but if you have to, let the teacher know in advance.

The last tip I have for you is HAVE FUN!  It’s college, it will probably be one of the best times in your young life so make the most of it.

Cheers,

Jessica

 

Posted in Recipes

RECIPE: Delicious Berry Salad

It’s starting to get warm out so I am starting to get into creative salad ideas that are refreshing and filling on days I want to avoid using the oven.

This is a delicious salad that is quick and easy to make.

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What you will need:

1/2 cup blueberries and raspberries

5 or 6 strawberries

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

1 cup of spinach

1 tablespoon of lime juice and honey

2 teaspoons of olive oil

 

Let’s get started:

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So first you want to slice up your strawberries, cut of the tops and slice in half.

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Then take the halves and stand them up and slice them into little wedges.

At this point it is just placing on the plate.

Lay your spinach across your plate, sprinkle strawberries, blueberries, raspberries

and goat cheese.

Then you can mix up the dressing. Lime juice, honey and olive oil, stir well and

lightly pour over your salad.

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You are done, a delicious filling salad in under 10 minutes.

Such a delicious salad that is so simple and cheap to make, I really urge you to try it.  The bite of the goat cheese mixed with the sweetness of the strawberries is absolutely divine. The bonus of this salad is that it is healthy!

Happy eating,

Cheers,

JMaxwell

 

Posted in DIY/Guides

Knitting: how to get started.

About a year ago, I decided to teach myself how to knit. I love working with my hands and I figure I can make some neat things for family and friends!  I was thinking maybe there are some people out there that what to learn to so I am complying a list of helpful tips for anyone who wants to learn! Well here we go!

1. Knitting tools:  I recommend this website because it is fast, cheap and great quality. Check them out!   http://www.knitting-warehouse.com/   or you can get it from an actual store such as Walmart or Michaels.

2. Knitting How To’s:  I found this useful playlist on youtube, she explains well and gives lots of helpful instruction. Check it out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9hv44QwQ-A&list=PLAFF7A7C5973AA173

3. Knitting Patterns:  You can find free knitting patterns every where, Pinterest, Facebook, any where!  Here’s a website to make it easier 😉  http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/directory.php

4. Extra Information:  With all the research I have done, every one recommends a size 8 knitting needle for starting out as it is not too large which will make things awkward with learning the stitches and not to small as to lose control while learning.

When it comes to yarn make sure that the specifications are correct as shown in this picture:

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 The symbol that looks like an “X” is showing you what the yarn specifications are for knitting. Where it says U.S 7 means that you want a size 7 needle and a 4.5mm diameter.  The 10x10cm or 4in x 4in shows that is how big of a square you can make with the yarn.

The small hook means all the same things as above but applies to crocheting.

The picture where it states Medium 4 means that it is of medium weight.  It let’s you know what type of material you are working with so you can decide what to make with your yarn.

The rest of the information is instructions on washing, drying, etcetera.

Followed by the company and location of the company.

Now you are ready to start.  Just a warning when you first start out, you hands will get tired quickly.

I recommend starting a youtube video like I provided above and following the steps, pausing the video to practise and continue on.

Good luck and happy knitting.

Cheers,

Jessica

 

Posted in My thoughts

Five ways to relax after a long stressful day

Too much stress can cause a lot of serious health conditions and can make you feel really crappy.

I attempt to stay as stress-free as I can but sometimes you can’t avoid it. Life gets tough and you need to do what you need to do.

With that being said here are my top five ways to relax after a stressful day.

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#1 Epsom salt is my favorite ingredient for my bath.

The reason why epsom salt is used as an anti-stress tool is because when your body is stressed it drains your body of magnesium.

Soaking in a bath with epsom salt allows it to absorb into your skin and replenish your magnesium levels.  Epsom salt also raises your serotonin levels which help relax and calm you down.

It is also good for releasing toxins from your body, muscle cramps and help your nerves function properly.

Just one cup of epsom salt into your bath, add some bubbles and soak for 20 minutes (or longer if you are like me and love long baths.)

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#2:  Tea can be a very relaxing treat.  Specially chamomile tea.

This type of tea helps with nausea and indigestion as well as its calming properties.

It is recommended for people who live hyper-active lifestyles and need the calm.

Also for people with high stress jobs.

Ginseng tea is right up there with chamomile.

This tea is excellent for relieving mental exhaustion as well as calm your nerves.

It is also recommended for people who have trouble sleeping.

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#3: Candles are great for when you are stressed.

Fire is a great way to keep your mind relaxed and thought-free.  Like when you have a campfire and you just stare into the flames, day-dreaming.

The scent is important too, aromatherapy is a great way to relieve stress.

Lavender is used for stress-relief as it enhances your mood and reduces cortisol (the stress hormone.)

Peppermint is used to increase memory and alertness so it can be used to relieve stress and keep you going to get your stuff done.

Lemon/citrus is used because studies have found it acts as an anti-depressant and relieves stress.

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#4: Reading is another way that I relieve stress.

There isn’t a lot of factual information behind why reading is good for stress relief, this one is just one that I like.

Reading distracts my mind and keeps me from over thinking things or focusing on what is stressing me out.

The University of Sussex did a study that showed reading reduced heart rate and eased tension in muscles after only six minutes of reading.

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#5: A soft, large and warm blanket.

I finally picked up this queen-sized throw because all the other throws I got were too small.

This one is a medium weight, fluffy and the most comfy blanket I have ever had.

Soft blankets are said to help with stress because they are soothing and don’t frustrate you with scratchy textures.

Weighted blankets help because they give off the sense of a warm hug which will reduce the stress hormone Cortisol, as well as let you relax comfortably.

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That’s it, five ways to relieve stress! Now you can do each of these individually or if you are like me,

combine them all into one.  Well minus the blanket of course, that comes after the bath when I cuddle up in bed with my book.

I hope you enjoyed and wishing you a stress-free day.

Cheers,

JMaxwell

Posted in Influenster

Influenster Canadian Voxbox unboxing! (and testing!)

voxbox-blogimage-popup2 ***I received this voxbox for free through influenster.***

 

I was one of the lucky Canadian’s that received a imPress Manicure voxbox!  I am super excited and the product looks fantastic!

Let’s get to the unboxing!

I received a small box in the mail with an influenster sticker on it and that always brings a smile to my face, I mean who doesn’t love free products to test out.

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I opened up the box to find two different sets of imPress Manicure stick on nails.  These product requires no glue which is excellent because I hate using the glue on my nails.

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This one is the Disney Villains, Evil Queen set, it’s a beautiful shade and it changes colors a bit when you move them.

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This one is called Hottie and it’s a purple-pink nail with bright firework style streaks on it.  It is very colorful and I can’t wait to try these ones.

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Each set comes with 24 nails and 12 different sizes. They say that they last up to a week but I assume it really depends on how rough you are on your nails.

Now for the fun part, let’s test it out.  I think I am going to try out the Hottie one because it suits my mood today.

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This is what it looks like when you open it and this part is resealable and stores the rest of the nails underneath the showcase of five different nails.

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Now to pick out the nails that fit your finger!  These come with little numbers on the inside tip so that you can ensure that you have the same for each hand. This product comes with a total of 12 sizes to try out.

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Now it’s time to apply,  I couldn’t take a picture of the process because I needed both hands but it is incredibly simple. First you want to prep your nails with the alcohol wipe provided.

Next you want to peel off the plastic that is covering the adhesive (see the plastic tab on nails in picture above.)

Now you want to line it up and still it on your nail pressing firmly for about a minute to make sure it sticks.

I recommend starting at your pinky and doing your thumbs last because you will need your thumbs to pull the tabs off of the nails.

That’s it, repeat these steps for each nail and you are good to go!

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I have had these nails on for about an hour and I love them.  They are comfy, a great length and seem to be very strong.

I am so impressed by this product and I would definitely purchase it in the future.

 

*Influenster is an invite only online community where you can review products, share on social networks and receive badges. The higher your social score, the more chance there is for being eligible for free samples, voxboxes, etc.  If you would like to be a part of it, you can ask me for a referral or you can log onto the influenster website and request to join which will give you the chance to join when a spot becomes available*

Cheers,

JMaxwell

 

Posted in Recipes

RECIPE: Easy and delicious pasta sauce

I created this recipe because I constantly forget to check if we have canned spaghetti sauce before defrosting ground beef for dinner. I have developed this over a period of time and it’s definitely a family favorite here. Let’s get started!

What you will need for 4 servings:

1 pound ground beef

3 cups of penne pasta (you can use whatever pasta you want)

1 can of crushed tomatoes

1 cup of spinach 5 mushrooms and two ripe tomatoes

1 pepper( any color) and a medium zucchini

1 tablespoon dry basil

1 tsp cayenne pepper, paprika, cinnamon and soya sauce

2 tsp garlic powder and onion powder

Now on to the fun part!

Start off by opening your can of crushed tomatoes and put them into a medium sized bowl. IMG_20140507_163027

Next you want to add 1 tablespoon dry basil, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, paprika, cinnamon and soya sauce, 2 tsp garlic powder and onion powder as well as the two ripe tomatoes cut as shown below.  The addition of ripe tomatoes will give it a fresh taste while adding liquid to make it more saucy.

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Now we need to add the vegetables chop up the pepper, zucchini, mushrooms and spinach as shown below.

We can leave the spinach the way it is because it will wilt when added to the sauce later.

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Now we need to add all the vegetables except the spinach into the tomato mixture.

Into a pot it goes to boil for 10 minutes on high heat.

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While we wait for the pasta sauce to get delicious, lets move on to the ground beef.  It’s relatively simple.

Get out a frying pan, put in the ground beef and add some of the spices you used for the pasta sauce.

I used onion, garlic and cayenne pepper. Then fry until the ground beef is crumbled and nicely browned.

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Let’s check on the sauce and add the spinach and ground beef.

While were at it start cooking the pasta, read the package to see how long to cook it for.

You can add salt to the water to enhance the taste of the pasta.

 

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Let the sauce cook for another 5 minutes on medium-high heat and strain your pasta after it is done cooking.

Combine the the sauce and pasta together and serve.

 

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Such a delicious homemade sauce and can be made in less than 30 minutes. It is also really good served cold so if you make a bit extra you can take it to work/school the next day.

Enjoy,

JMaxwell