Saturday, January 8, 2011

Super Easy, No Cook, Homemade Play Dough

I discovered this super easy, cheap to make, no cook, homemade play dough recipe on a website called I had made homemade play dough in the past, but the recipe I had required cooking and then cooling of the dough. This recipe is SO much better because it's super fast to make and requires no cooking! I'll never make it any other way again! This is a great recipe also because it's incredibly cheap to make. It's much more affordable than store bought, and you can control the colors you want by how much food coloring you add. I used the new NEON food coloring and my daughter just loved the bright colors! This is a great rainy-day project!

1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
food dye (any color)

This will make one batch of dough. Make as many additional batches of dough for each color you desire.

STEP ONE-- Add ingredients:
Measure out 1 cup of four, and pour it into the bowl.
Then, measure out 1/2 cup of salt, and add that to the bowl, too.
Fill the measuring cup with 1/2 cup of water and pour it into the mixing bowl.

STEP TWO-- Mix ingredients
Using a spoon, mix up the ingredients. Mix it until it's not too watery or flour-y.

STEP THREE- Add food coloring

Add a few drops of food dye to the mush. Then pick it up and start kneading it. You can add more food dye to improve color if desired.
My daughter loved the bright colors of the neon food coloring!

STEP FOUR-- You're Done!
If the dough is a little sticky, knead a little bit of flour into it.



Wear gloves when kneading the food coloring into the dough. The food coloring will stain your hands.

I made one batch and left out the food coloring. My daughter made her creations and then I baked them on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees for 1 hour. After they cooled, she painted them. This was a fun way to keep her creations forever!

I made a batch of play dough but left out the food coloring. My daughter made this adorable octopus and I baked it in the oven at 200 degrees for one hour. I let it cool completely and then she painted it.

Here's the finished painted project! Now you can keep your kids cute creations forever!

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Own "State of the Union"

If you read my previous post on Setting Goals for 2011, you know one important trait successful people have is they WRITE down the goals they want to achieve. There is something about putting pen to paper that helps to solidify information in our brains and gives the information more value. I saw this principle played out time and time again when I was in college: the most successful students weren't necessarily the brightest students, but they were amazing at taking notes in class!

I think the best example of effective goal setting is the President's yearly State of the Union Address. First, a review of the previous year, both the successes as well as the failures helps to define the current state of the union. Before we set our new goals, we should do the same and take time to honestly review the prior year. What worked and what didn't? Next, a well written list of goals for the upcoming year is created, highlighting all the President and his team want to accomplish. Second, the President shares those goals with those who will hold him accountable, in this case the Congress. And lastly, he must take action in order to move his agenda forward and reach those goals.  Obviously, there is great benefit in writing down your goals, sharing those goals with others (for accountability) and then taking action on those goals. In other words: WRITE IT, SHARE IT, GET TO IT!!!!

I spent some time after everyone went to bed and the house was quiet to write out my goals for the upcoming year. Being a person of faith, I spent some time in prayer, seeking wisdom and guidance before I wrote even a single word. I believe we each have a purpose, and I want my goals to align with that greater purpose. Then I spent time thinking about the person I want to be. I want to be a good example to my girls. I want to be a loving and supportive wife. I want to be a reliable and trusted friend. I want to be a charitable and giving person. I want to work on certain areas of my life with greater discipline, such as my health and finances. Then I included some really ambitious goals, ones that even I think are going to be really tough to attain, but these are GOALS and if I make them all easy to attain, what's the point?

I wrote them out with a Sharpie: no erasing, no going back....permanent marker, permanent changes. I ended up with 14 Goals for 2011. I know most goal-setting experts would say no more than 10 is ideal, but I want to be ambitious, to stretch myself. After all, if I aim for the stars and hit the moon, that's going to be quite an achievement! Then, I stuck the list up on the fridge for all my family to see. I want their accountability, I need their accountability and I want them to know they are reason I'm striving to reach these goals in the first place.

I hope you'll write out your goals for 2011, share them with your family and take action! Momma's are amazing people! Create your own "State of the Union". Set some goals, achieve them and amaze yourself!

There is joy in the journey!

Thanks friends!

(a.k.a. NW Momma)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Where Do You Want To Go in 2011?

I'm EXCITED for the new year! As an avid believer in goal-setting, I love the feeling the new year brings, a chance to reflect on the past year and start planning for a fresh, new one. As we turn the page on the new year, the first question you and I must ask ourselves is:

Where do I want to go in 2011?

If you haven't thought about this, then I can assure you, you won't reach your goals. How can you navigate the ship of your life if you don't know where you're going? The old adage says, "Most people don't plan to fail, they fail to plan"... and it's really true! As moms, we are the LEADERS in our family. As such, we need to think about where are we leading ourselves and our families in this new year. Good leaders, whether in business, politics, or any endeavour all share some basic common traits:

1) An effective leader HAS A CLEAR VISION of what they want to accomplish.

Do you have a clear vision of want you want to accomplish both individually and as a family in 2011? Do you want to volunteer more? Help out at your child's school more? Save more? Get out of debt? Get your health, finances, relationships in order? Do you want to work on strengthening your marriage, increase your time with the family, learn something new? You need to spend some time thinking about your goals and have a CLEAR VISION of what you want to accomplish.

2) An effective leader listens to INPUT FROM OTHERS.

Talk about these goals with your spouse and kids! Getting input from the whole family helps to define a shared vision and common goals you can all work toward. Imagine the lessons learned while striving toward a shared family goal and the wonderful sense of accomplishment you'll all share when you all reach that goal!

3) Effective leaders WRITE IT DOWN.

Whether you write your goals in a journal, on a piece of paper stuck to the fridge, or create a family poster highlighting the goals for 2011, all effective leaders record their goals by writing them down. Keep them where you can be reminded of them easily. This provides daily encouragement, keeps your goals out in front of you and keeps you thinking about them on a daily basis. It also provides some accountability as you share your goals with others by making them visible, (which makes them more concrete) and gives others the opportunity to ask you about them and how you're progressing!

4) Effective leaders DON'T GIVE UP. There are going to be challenges ahead as you work toward your goals, but effective leaders don't give up. They are successful because they push through when others would just give up and say it's too hard. Anything worth having is worth working hard for! All the best things in life require hard work and dedication: a good marriage, happy, well-adjusted kids, financial independence and security, etc. And here's the hidden benefit: we appreciate things more when we have to work for them. If it's just handed to us, we rarely attach much value to it.

I hope you'll look at yourself in a little different way in 2011. I hope you'll see yourself as a LEADER in your family. I hope you'll use some of these techniques of effective leadership to move yourself and your family toward important and meaningful goals. I hope 2011 is your best year yet!

There is joy in the journey!

Thanks friends!

(a.k.a. NW MOMMA)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Turkey Leftovers? Try Yummy & Super Easy Turkey Noodle Casserole

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! Mine was full of family, friends, laughter and joy! So many blessings and I'm so thankful!

I'm looking forward to the New Year with some new goals and some hints to help us all stay more organized so we can spend more time with the ones we love! Stay connected to NW Momma for some real life inspiration, encouragement and helpful hints to make your life a little bit easier in 2011!

My first after-Christmas post is a SUPER EASY and YUMMY Turkey Noodle Casserole recipe to use up those turkey leftovers! I know after cooking and baking all week, the last thing I want to do is spend more time in the kitchen, so this tried and true recipe takes mere minutes to make. Ahhh, more time to relax on this Christmas vacation and enjoy the family!

There is joy in the journey!

Thanks friends!

(a.k.a. NW Momma)



Easy Turkey Noodle Casserole


(Serves 8)

    • 2 can Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2 cup frozen peas
    • 2 cup turkey
    • 4 cup egg noodles
    • 2 tablespoon bread crumbs
    • 1 tablespoon butter


Stir the soup, milk, peas, turkey and noodles in a 3-quart casserole.  Stir the bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl.
Bake the turkey mixture at 400°F. for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbling.  Stir the turkey mixture.  Sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture.
Bake for 5 minutes or until the bread crumb mixture is golden brown.

*Note: The great thing about this recipe is that you can modify it with whatever you have on hand. Some popular modifications are:

- add broccoli instead of the peas
- add a small bag of frozen mixed veggies instead of the peas (make sure to defrost first).
- use cream of chicken soup instead of the cream of mushroom.
- top with cheddar cheese or your favorite cheese.
- for a little extra kick add 1/4 tsp. of cayenne pepper to the soup mixture.

Make it easy on yourself! Use what you have on hand! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

TOGETHER IN THE KITCHEN -Easy and Delicious Peppermint Bark

I'm always on the look-out for easy recipes that can serve as a thoughtful gift for teachers, neighbors and co-workers. And as usual, it seems I'm always pressed for time! Here's a tried-and-true, easy and delicious peppermint bark recipe. Put it in a pretty tin and you have a great last minute gift that anyone would love!  Make sure you make an extra batch for's addictive!

Holiday Peppermint Bark


  • 1 (12 ounce) package NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Premier White Morsels
  • 24 hard peppermint candies


  1. LINE baking sheet with waxed paper.
  2. MICROWAVE morsels in medium, microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM-HIGH (70 percent) power for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth.*
  3. PLACE peppermint candies in heavy-duty plastic bag. Crush candies using rolling pin or other heavy object. While holding strainer over melted morsels, pour crushed candy into strainer. Shake to release all small candy pieces; reserve larger candy pieces. Stir morsel-peppermint mixture.
  4. SPREAD mixture to desired thickness on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with reserved candy pieces; press in lightly. Let stand for about 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Store in airtight container at room temperature. 
  5. *If you really like mint flavor, you can stir in a tsp. of peppermint extract to the morsels when melted.

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    NW Momma Featured Business- Leanne Kuhlman of WATERLAND WELLNESS MASSAGE

    Doesn't a relaxing massage sound wonderful right about now? Ahhhh.......absolutely! I don't know of any hard-working NW Momma who couldn't use and deserve a relaxing massage, especially during the hectic and stressful holiday season! If you could use a little "mommy time", I highly recommend Leanne Kuhlman of Waterland Wellness Massage, in Des Moines, WA. Leanne is a Licensed Massage Therapist, with many happy (and relaxed) clients! I'm very excited to highlight Leanne Kuhlman of Waterland Wellness Massage as a NW Momma Featured Business!

    As an added bonus, Leanne is giving NW Momma followers an amazing BOGO offer! Buy one regular massage at the regular price and get another massage for FREE! (see full details of offer below). Wouldn't this make an excellent gift for a friend or family member? You can enjoy a relaxing massage and get a gift certificate for a massage for a friend or loved one, and the best part is you only pay for one massage! Thanks, Leanne...that's an amazing offer!

    Want to know more about Leanne and Waterland Wellness Massage? Check out the following interview I recently did with Leanne. If you're looking for a caring, professional massage therapist, look no further, Leanne Kuhlman is just that!

    NW Momma: "What brought you to massage therapy?"
    Leanne Kuhlman: "I want to help others and contribute to our collective well being."

    NW Momma: "What are your specialties?"
    Leanne Kuhlman: " I love spa work (Swedish massage, aromatherapy, hot stone therapy), but I also do treatment therapy (deep tissue, hot stone therapy for injury treatment and myofascial release)."

    NW Momma: "Why should clients choose you?"
    Leanne Kuhlman: "I know what it's like to be a massage client, I know what its like to seek healthful relief from debilitating pain, and I know what works for me so that I can translate it to my clients well being."

    NW Momma: "How can people benefit from massage therapy?"
    Leanne Kuhlman: "Massage therapy is just now being studied and understood for its many benefits in the modern world of healthcare. To name a few, massage increases circulation, eliminates toxins by stimulating the lymphatic system, decreases sympathetic nervous system response (i.e. "fight or flight", stress, cortisol production, adrenal response), helps to flush lactic acid from muscle tissue (lactic acid buildup is what makes our muscles sore after working them hard). How's that for a few benefits?" (she smiles)

    NW Momma: "Any new products or services we should know about?"
    Leanne Kuhlman: "Waterland Wellness Massage features handmade salt and sugar scrubs along with custom aromatherapy products such as massage oils and spritzers, utilizing only natural ingredients and botanical essential oils."

    NW Momma: "What sets your business apart from the rest?"
    Leanne Kuhlman: "Waterland Wellness Massage is a cozy, comfortable place to come and rejuvenate. My goal is to make my clients feel at ease from the moment they walk in the door."

    If you're in the Seattle area, I hope you'll consider Leanne Kuhlman at Waterland Wellness Massage for your next massage experience! Check out her page below for even more info about Leanne and the fabulous services she offers at Waterland Wellness Massage!

    About Leanne Kuhlman, LMP
    WaterlandWellness Massage
    22014 7th Avenue South

    Suite 106
    Des Moines, WA 98198
    (206) 824-1441
    Honoring the Great Circle through the healing arts
    I am a licensed massage practitioner in the State of Washington. I graduated from Massage Connection- School of Natural Healing in Tacoma and have also completed Reiki I and II training.
    Massage therapy is my second career and it is my true calling. My first career is landscape architecture which I also love and have been practicing for 12 years. I have been asked why I chose massage therapy, since at first blush it seems so unrelated to landscape architecture. My answer is that massage therapy and landscape architecture are not so very different at all when viewed through the lens of my philosophy. I believe in the sacredness of all life and the interconnectedness we all have to our environment, to ourselves and to every living thing. I have simply added my positive energies to promoting the health of my fellow human being as well as the health of the landscaped environment. Massage therapy is my true calling because of the sense of fulfillment I receive when I know I have assisted in the improvement of my client's well being. It is my belief that when we take responsibility for our own well being, and when we promote our own good health,  we satisfy a deep core desire that in turn buoys our sense of self worth, endorphin production, and mental outlook. It becomes a positive repetitive cycle that leads to improved vitality. As your therapist,  I am committed to assisting my clients along their wellness journey through the benefits of physical and energetic touch therapies. 

    Spa Type Treatments:
    Gone Fishin’ massage:  (30 min - $35)
    Unwind with an upper body massage focused entirely on the back, neck, shoulders, arms and hands.
    Shoalwater massage: (60 minutes - $65)
    A relaxing Swedish massage using long, soothing strokes to unwind the mind, body and spirit.
    Beachcomber massage: (90 min - $125)
    Find a fabulous treasure of relaxation with a hot stone massage using smooth hygienically purified stones placed on the body to treat aching tissues at a deeper level. Intensely relaxing!
    Aromatherapy Sessions:
    Aromatherapy Session (Initial session): (Allow up to 60 min - $45)
    Your health and well being is often influenced by factors beyond the physical. In an initial aromatherapy session, your background and symptoms are explored to prepare a regime to assist you in improving your overall well being.
    Calm Seas Aromatherapy massage: (45 min - $65)
    Enjoy a calming session of relaxation for the back, neck and shoulders. The upper body is massaged with a custom blended aromatherapy lotion created just for you. The back is then wrapped in a heated therapy pack, and the session closes with deep tissue therapy for the back, neck and shoulders. Recommended for chronic stress and back pain.

    *Fee includes massage and custom blended essential oils aromatherapy lotion. An aromatherapy session may be required prior to this service so that the client has the right blend prepared in advance of the scheduled massage.

    Dead Sea Salt Scrub massage: (65 min - $75)
    Do you know the difference between a salt scrub and a sugar scrub? The answer is dry skin! For a greater exfoliating effect on more thick and dry areas of skin, a salt scrub is just the ticket. Salt is slightly more abrasive than sugar. Sugar is great for areas of thinner, less dry skin and has a gentler exfoliating property than salt. Pamper the hands and feet with a Dead Sea Salt Scrub handmade by Waterland Wellness from all natural ingredients. The salt scrub is massaged into the hands and feet while you sit back and relax with a soothing eye pillow. Next, the scrub is rinsed off and both hands and feet are wrapped in warm moist towels while you enjoy a Swedish relaxation massage for the arms, legs, back and neck.
    Sailing Away Sugar Scrub massage: (65 min - $75)
    Relax with an aromatic arm and leg massage using an Organic Cane Sugar handmade by Waterland Wellness from all natural ingredients. The sugar scrub is massaged into the arms and legs while you sit back and relax with a soothing eye pillow. Next, the scrub is rinsed off and both legs are wrapped in warm moist towels while you enjoy a Swedish relaxation massage for the arms, back, neck and feet.
    Signature Shoalwater massage: (90 min - $95)
    Indulge in complete relaxation with a full body massage featuring warm herbal packs and soothing aromatherapy massage lotion of your choice, along with foot reflexology and a hydrating hand & foot treatment.
    Pregnancy Massage:
    Marvelous Mama massage: (65 min - $85)
    Specifically designed for the mother-to-be, this prenatal massage is received in the side-lying position with plenty of pillow support. Features full body massage with concentration on low back, hips and feet to ease the pressures placed on mama with the growing baby. Deeply relaxing and extremely helpful for the aches and pains common in pregnancy. For second and third trimesters only.
    Deep Tissue Massage:
    Orca massage: (90 min - $95)
    Deep tissue massage specifically designed to treat soft tissue injury and to promote oxygenation of the area and stimulate the body’s own healing process.
    Medically Necessary Massage:
    Injury treatment billed at $65 / hr.
    This work involves extra time for a pre-evaluation and post-evaluation of stride, range of motion, and postural stance for each session. Therapist will report patient’s progress to referring physician, at an occurrence as requested by the physician, or every 3rd session. Hydrotherapy may also be incorporated as necessary.
    Energy Work:
    Level II Reiki session: (60 min - $65, 90 min - $90)
    Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.
    My Room

    BOGO  details:
    Terms- One bogo per client. $65.00 for a one hour massage to be paid at completion of first massage. Gift certificate issued at that time for the free one hour massage valued at $65.00. Gift certificate is good for one year beyond date of initial massage. Mention NW Momma BOGO when booking appointment by phone. May pay for initial massage with credit card over the phone or in person after initial massage. I can accept Visa and Mastercard, but cannot accept AmEx or Discover at this time. BOGO cannot be used in conjunction with any other special or coupon. One hour massage can focus on relaxation or injury treatment per clients wish.

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Welcome Laura! The First NW MOMMA Guest Blogger!

    I'm so excited to welcome Laura Cameron as the first ever NW Momma Guest Blogger! Laura is a mom, high school foreign language teacher, amazing cook and world traveler! She's smart, strong, kind, and creative....definitely a true NW Momma! Thanks Laura for your contribution to NW Momma and I encourage all the NW Mommas out there to share your talent here and be a Guest Blogger, too!

    I'm Dreaming of a Blue Christmas
    By Laura Cameron
    My grandmother almost always had blue lights on her Christmas tree.  Blue is not a color traditionally associated with Christmas decorations, but I thought her tree was spectacularly beautiful and wondered why more people didn’t use blue instead of red and green.  The lights she used were large, and the bulbs were hot to the touch (no stay cool LED lights or tiny twinkles were to be had in the 1970s).  My aunt and I used to spread a blanket on the floor and slide ourselves as far under the tree as we could.

    Flat on our backs, we’d stare up at the branches and whisper about the tree, with its cool azure light, fresh smell of fir needles, silvery threads of tinsel, shiny ornaments.  It was a secret place of wonder : a fairy land where we could disappear (even though our feet were sticking out from under the tree) and lose ourselves in the magic anticipation of the lovely things to come: presents, sweets, stockings, family dinners and Santa. Blue is the color of peace and childhood dreams.