habitatathome, howto, crafts, diy, kids

A take away from the Japanese Breakfast

Typically, in Japan, a breakfast might consist of an egg over rice, vegetables, a broth soup and perhaps some fish.  Warm, wonderful and full of nutrients.  This is a quicker take on that concept.  It just takes minutes to wilt down a few dark greens, fry some mushrooms and poach an egg.  This breakfast is light and yet fills you with a great energy to start your day.  

A fresh take on the Bibimbap

Here, I have a fresh take on the traditional Bibimbap.  The traditional Bibimbap is a Korean dish, typically served with rice, vegetables, chili pepper or soybean paste and a raw egg or sliced meat on top.  The hot dish is mixed together thoroughly before eating.  It is delicious!  I have had it at restaurants, and it is quite a wonderful indulgence. 

Making it at home, I decided to take a slightly lighter approach to the dish.  Aside from leaving out egg and meat, one of the bigger fresh factors was leaving the zucchini raw to really add an extra brightness and texture.  It was delicious and felt very clean and healthy.  For some color interest, I used purple cauliflower.  I would suggest carrot too.  

Broccoli leaf, Pear and Lentil Salad

My first time vegetable gardening was a summer of much learning.  Plenty of misses, but a few surprises too!  The growing season is now over ... or so I thought.  Just when it seemed the broccoli didn't work out, it is now displaying huge plants with very impressive leaves; in November!  We have been nibbling away at the broccoli heads as they come in, but I just had to try those leaves as well.  It turns out, they taste great!  How very underrated they are.  A quick sauté, and not tough at all.  Just right, actually.  Better, I dare say, than the ever so popular kale.  Yes, it's true.  It's not quite as bitter as kale.  Why this isn't all over the supermarket shelves, I don't know.  But, certainly use them if you grow them!!! 

 broccoli leaf, pear and lentil salad

Wax-Stamped Thank You Cards

 wax resist watercolor thank you cards

Thank you cards are so often the forgotten chore.  We love to receive them, but sending them is easily neglected.  Not to fret, it is never too late to send a Thank you card!  In fact, this is the prime opportunity to create something with a little more personal charm.  There are usually far fewer cards to write, so why not make some fun out of them.  

For me, watercolors, are my go-to for this sort of project.  The medium is quick, mistake-friendly and usually charming.  I am always looking for ways to keep my kids entertained as well.  So, I thought dipping cookie cutters in wax would be fun for them.  This process was inspired both by Batik fabric dying (also a project I long to do), and easter egg dying.  Simple and fun!  

If you are artistically inclined, you could make these more interesting by using free-hand brush-strokes to create an image, with a broader variety of color.  If I hadn't had kids with me to watch over, I would've have given it a try!  For next time; these are some inspirations I would use for a more sophisticated wax resist watercolor project.

1. 2 cups soy wax flakes
2. Watercolors
3. Cookie Cutters
4. Watercolor paper or cards
5. Washi tape to hold down the paper

Christmas Candy Garlands

 candy garlands

I love candy garlands for Christmas.  It really brings to life the spirit of children, during this festive time.  Making them, is a part of the wonderful experience.  You really need to slow down and take your time with these.  So, gather the kids, put on the Christmas music, and enjoy a fun and productive afternoon of  Christmas in the making!  What a delight for the kids, to gobble up a couple of sweets, when the parents aren't looking!!  Their eyes light up with mischief and excitement!  

The process is straight forward. There are a few tips to be aware of, to help you avoid problems, which I will lay out here.  

Kids Crafty Christmas Tree

kids cardboard christmas tree

We did it!  
We built our very own cardboard Christmas tree!  It was totally fun, totally messy, and totally worth it!!  Taking the kids outside to play was not happening today.  It's gotten way too cold for my liking.  So, I got my creative thinking cap on, and thought, let's build a Christmas tree!!  I knew it could go completely wrong, but I wanted to try anyway; and I'm glad we did!  We love it.  
It looks like a risky idea for those with littler ones, I know.   But the moments when they're just walking around the tree a million times with yarn; or sticking a million bobbles or stickers on, one-by-one, it's really pretty manageable; as those steps take so long.  Clearly, there is no exact science to this, but I'll show you how we went about doing it.   It's more simple than you might think.  

Intensely Moisturizing, Honey Butter Bath Melts

These DIY honey butter bath melts are luxurious, intensely hydrating, and easy to make.  I recommend them highly for those who suffer from very dry skin, and for those who have seasonally dry skin.  They are made from 4 beneficial ingredients.  The shea butter is a very powerful moisturizer, known to have exceptional wound healing properties for the skin.  It is known to help with skin allergies, insect bites, eczema, sunburns and even frostbite!  Cocoa butter not only provides a deep hydration, but also contains antioxidants.  It is recommended for the prevention of stretch marks, and as a treatment for chapped, burned or itchy skin.   Honey also has antioxidants and is known to be a great healer.  It is believed to protect the skin from the elements and give the skin elasticity, helping to prevent premature wrinkling.   The soy wax is added, primarily to hold the melts in shape.  It is also rich in vitamin E, and can help with skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, cracked skin, heels and cuticles.  

DIY 'Peppermint Pattie' Lip Balm

After a little experimenting, I'm proud to say that this cool and refreshing lip balm turned out perfectly!   Creating DIY oils and balms is like baking.  The amounts of each ingredient, and how you blend them, really matters.  I tried a few different combinations, and came up with the ideal DIY 'Peppermint Pattie' lip balm for winter.  It really smells like a York Peppermint Pattie!      

The good, the bad, and the ugly of beard oils, creams and waxes.

 DIY beard oil

It's 'Movember'!   A wonderful new effort to promote men's health.  The idea, is that men take on the challenge to grow a fabulous moustache during the month of November, to spark conversation and awareness for men's health.  "Knowledge is power. Prevention is everything. Early detection is key". Check out the official Movember site for, great grooming tips, the history of the 'stash, and more about the many great men's health programs and initiatives.    

Some men are taking the opportunity to go for the full beard.  My very own husband decided to take the bearded plunge as well!  He's gotten a good head start.  So, I've started experimenting with finding the best DIY solution to keep the beard soft, tame; and the skin beneath, healthy and happy.