Life in Lape Haven

Category - Tried It Tuesday

Tried It Tuesday: How to Get Grass Stains Out of Clothes

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Get Grass Stains Out of Clothes. Two active little boys and spring mean that grass stains are showing up on lots of the clothes in my laundry. I have found a fairly easy way to get grass stains out of their jeans and clothing, without soaking the grass stained garments for hours.

Less than a month ago, I posted about finding a solution for getting grease stains out of my boys’ clothes, and at the end of the blog, since I’ve also shared how I get dry erase marker out of my kindergartener’s jeans and how I found a simple way to remove silly putty from fabric, I said, “I wonder what new stain my little boys will find for me to become an expert on next…”

Well, it didn’t take long. In fact, I actually should have seen this one coming. I mean, I’m a mom of two active, energetic, outdoors-loving little boys.

With spring’s arrival, I should have known it was inevitable.

Bring on the grass stains.

Yep, no sooner had our grass turned from yucky dead brown to bright, newly-sprouted green, than those infamous streaks of green showed up on clothes all through my laundry baskets.

A couple of days after we set up the boys’ new-to-us wooden swing set, I had 5 pairs of grass-stained jeans to tackle.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Get Grass Stains Out of Clothes. Two active little boys and spring mean that grass stains are showing up on lots of the clothes in my laundry. I have found a fairly easy way to get grass stains out of their jeans and clothing, without soaking the grass stained garments for hours.

Knowing that I was staring at my summer laundry nemesis that day, I went straight to two sources as I searched for help in heading off this stain epidemic:

Pinterest and my mother.

While I knew Pinterest holds all kinds of solutions for pretty much every household problem ever, I also knew that my mom had dealt with her share of grass stains, thanks to my two busy, athletic brothers, both of whom played football.

Pinterest’s solutions included using rubbing alcohol or hair spray as a solvent on the stain, and a lot of pre-treating, scrubbing, soaking, and rewashing. Hmmm.

Mom’s answer: “For the boys’ football pants, I just used laundry detergent to pre-treat, then scrubbed it well, and washed the clothes in cold water. If it didn’t come out, I washed it again. If it’s white, you can bleach it, also.”

(I imagine that if the clothing were white, you could also set it out in the sun, and let the sun help you bleach it out, too, if you wanted, like you do with cloth diapers.)

Thankfully, I don’t have boys ruining football pants, yet. I just have tumble-bumble boys sliding around the grass on the knees of their jeans. 🙂

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Get Grass Stains Out of Clothes. Two active little boys and spring mean that grass stains are showing up on lots of the clothes in my laundry. I have found a fairly easy way to get grass stains out of their jeans and clothing, without soaking the grass stained garments for hours.

So, I combined the answers and tried it out on those five pair of jeans, one of which had a grass stain that had *gasp & sigh* ALREADY GONE THROUGH THE DRYER! Ugh.  Like all stains, grass stains are best taken care of as soon as possible!

I didn’t hold out much hope for that rogue pair of pants, but the other four, I could fix them, right?

Step 1

I started out with my new standby solvent – hand sanitizer. It works for the dry erase marker & the silly putty, and some of the solutions I found for grass stains mentioned using alcohol, so I applied some of the gel and rather than scour it with my “cleaning toothbrush,” I used my fingernails to kind of scratch at the stain. I had read that you wanted to lift the stain out. Okay.

Step 2

I sprayed each stain with Spray’N’Wash Pre-treater (you can use try whatever stain treater you have on hand) and scrubbed it in, lightly, with my cleaning toothbrush.

Step 3

Each stain then also received a good dollop of laundry detergent. In my researching, it said to use detergent with enzymes. My detergent doesn’t have enzymes, but I used it anyway. I scrubbed that in.

Step 4

I waited about 30 minutes or so before I washed the garments in cold water. I had some other jeans that needed stain treated for those lovely dry erase marker stains, so that’s what I spent some of my “waiting” time doing. Then I threw all the jeans into the washer.

Step 5

DON’T PUT THEM IN THE DRYER!!!! I looked over the clothing to see if the stains were gone. I let them all air dry until I could really tell if there was any staining left. While they did look better, I wanted them completely stain-free.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Get Grass Stains Out of Clothes. Two active little boys and spring mean that grass stains are showing up on lots of the clothes in my laundry. I have found a fairly easy way to get grass stains out of their jeans and clothing, without soaking the grass stained garments for hours.

Step 6

If they aren’t clean enough, you can repeat all the steps over again. Or not. I just used a little more pre-treater and scrubbing, let it sit a few minutes, and washed them again in cold water. This time when they came out, I was happy. All of the pants, except the ones that I had put through the dryer accidentally, came out free of staining. The dried-in pair didn’t come out all the way, but it was much, much better.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Get Grass Stains Out of Clothes. Two active little boys and spring mean that grass stains are showing up on lots of the clothes in my laundry. I have found a fairly easy way to get grass stains out of their jeans and clothing, without soaking the grass stained garments for hours.

So, there you go – my not-too-difficult way to get grass stains out of clothing.

Since my laundry stain repertoire seems to keep growing, stay tuned. I’m sure I’ll be adding to it soon.

How to Get Grease Stains (even set-in ones) Out of Clothing

A Ridiculously Simple Way to Get Silly Putty Out of Fabric

How to Get Dry Erase Marker Out of Clothing


Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Chocolate Syrup. An easy, inexpensive, healthier, and delicious homemade chocolate syrup that will guarantee you'll never need store-bought again. Great for chocolate milk & as an ice cream topping! Yummy.

With spring now in full bloom, my boys want to be outside as much as they can. When I meet Elijah at school at the end of the day, the first words out of his mouth now are, “Can we go to the park?” If that gets turned down for some reason, the next question is, “Can we play outside?”

Knowing those boys have plenty of energy to burn off, I’m more than willing to comply as often as possible. When we come back inside, I have to be ready for their next favorite question, “Can we have a snack?”

Today, the boys are in for a surprise because with their snack they’ll be getting to mix up some chocolate milk with homemade chocolate syrup, which they LOVE.

Life in Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Chocolate Syrup. An easy, inexpensive, healthier, and delicious homemade chocolate syrup that will guarantee you'll never need store-bought again. Great for chocolate milk & as an ice cream topping! Yummy.

I only make chocolate syrup every so often, not because it’s difficult or expensive (it’s neither), but because if I kept our refrigerator stocked with the syrup, chocolate milk would be all my boys (and husband) would drink. 🙂 When we have it on hand, we also go through a lot more milk, of course!

Besides that, during the colder months of the year, my crew is more about hot chocolate and hot tea. Spring and summer are the months that really call for chocolate milk –  or ice cream with chocolate syrup (Yep, it’s great for that, too.).

I first started making chocolate syrup a few years ago when I saw a recipe for chocolate syrup posted on One Good Thing by Jillee. It looked easy enough, and you know – CHOCOLATE, so I made some.

My husband, who isn’t a huge fan of chocolate but is chocolate milk’s number one fan, was so impressed with how good it was that my first batch was gone really, really, really quickly.

Life in Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Chocolate Syrup. An easy, inexpensive, healthier, and delicious homemade chocolate syrup that will guarantee you'll never need store-bought again. Great for chocolate milk & as an ice cream topping! Yummy.

I did tweak the recipe, just a bit. Since I love dark chocolate, I always buy both regular cocoa and dark chocolate cocoa. This way I can “darken” any chocolate recipe, even a little bit – brownies, no bakes, chocolate syrup. I do a mix of both varieties of cocoa so that it’s not too strong for the guys, but it’s a bit more chocolatey for me. 🙂

This homemade chocolate syrup is so easy, quick, and inexpensive, not to mention healthier than store-bought syrup, I haven’t actually bought chocolate syrup since!

Instead, I break out this recipe whenever we need a little treat on a warm day.

Here’s how I make Homemade Chocolate Syrup:
Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Category: Recipes, Tried It Tuesday

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Chocolate Syrup. An easy, inexpensive, healthier, and delicious homemade chocolate syrup that will guarantee you'll never need store-bought again. Great for chocolate milk & as an ice cream topping! Yummy.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups Sugar
  • ½ cup Hershey’s Cocoa
  • ¼ cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
  • 1 cup Water
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cocoas, and salt.
  2. Slowly add the water and stir.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once the syrup starts boiling, reduce the heat and cook about 1 minute. The syrup may still boil up a bit, which is why I use a slightly larger-than-necessary saucepan.
  5. Remove your pan from the heat, and stir in the vanilla.
  6. Allow the syrup to cool, and then transfer to a sealed container (Mason jar, condiment bottle, etc).
  7. Store in the refrigerator.
  8. Note: You may end up with a little syrup left in the saucepan. I just pour in a little milk, stir it up, and make the first cup of chocolate milk with that! Can’t let any of that chocolate goodness go to waste. 🙂
https://lifeinlapehaven.com/2016/04/19/tried-tuesday-homemade-chocolate-syrup/
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Tried It Tuesday: Easy, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

Life In Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Easy, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. A simple and simply delicious peanut butter cookie recipe for crunchy, yet chewy cookies.

I have a pretty great husband. I do. Not only is he a Godly man who loves me and the boys and works diligently to take care of us, he is my number one fan in everything I do. He helps cover my slack around the house when I’m working on projects, even cleaning the bathroom, and he stays up with me on those late nights when my blogging inspiration is a little delayed, so that he can proofread for me and just be with me.  (It’s okay to say, “Awww.” He’s totally a sweetheart.)

So the other day when I was itching to bake something sweet, I thought of him and his recent comment about craving some good peanut butter cookies.

I don’t think I’ve made peanut butter cookies since we’ve been married, so I had to do some online searching to find a recipe that sounded like a winner.

After reading through a couple of recipes and their comments, I decided on this one, Thick and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies from Dessert Now Dinner Later, mainly because I know Brad likes chewy cookies, and she also mentioned that you can just scoop and bake these cookies rather than rolling them and pressing them with a fork.

Josiah was on-hand to be my assistant, which usually means it takes me way longer to make something than it would if I were doing it all myself, but I know that he gets such joy in being my “big helper boy,” that it’s worth the extra time, mess, and occasional frustrations that come with little ones helping in the kitchen.

Life In Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Easy, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. A simple and simply delicious peanut butter cookie recipe for crunchy, yet chewy cookies.

These cookies are super easy. It’s just a matter of creaming your butter and sugars, mixing in your peanut butter, egg, and vanilla, and then adding your dry ingredients. From there, you scoop your cookie dough out onto the baking sheet, bake, and enjoy.

The first time I made these, I let them bake a little too long. The scooper I used was larger (#20) than the one the author used for hers (#30), so I adjusted the time…but a bit too much. On the plus side, the cookies were huge! 🙂


However, the cookies were still really good. Brad was pleasantly surprised to come home to homemade peanut butter cookies, and the boys loved them, too.

Life In Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Easy, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. A simple and simply delicious peanut butter cookie recipe for crunchy, yet chewy cookies.

Since I knew the cookies could have been better, I had to do a second batch a few days later with the intent of getting the right cooking time. No one in my house complained about more cookies. This time I pulled them a couple minutes sooner, and they were even better than the first ones.

So now I have a tasty, easy go-to recipe for peanut butter cookies on the days that I want to do something a little special for my hard-working, giving hubby. (Awww – yes, I’m a sweetheart, too. Hahaha)


By the way, even though I haven’t tried it – yet – I’m pretty sure you could create a variation on this cookie by subbing out the peanut butter for hazelnut spread. Mmmm. I considered doing that, but Brad is not a fan of hazelnut spread. Or you could mix in some chocolate chips with the peanut butter cookies because chocolate + peanut butter = yumminess. I have also seen people put marshmallow creme and melted chocolate between two peanut butter cookies to make a fun cookie sandwich.

Life In Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Easy, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. A simple and simply delicious peanut butter cookie recipe for crunchy, yet chewy cookies.

 

Okay, now that you’re hungry for delicious, chewy peanut butter cookies, here’s the recipe. Enjoy!!!
Easy, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

Category: Recipes, Tried It Tuesday

Life In Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Easy, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. A simple and simply delicious peanut butter cookie recipe for crunchy, yet chewy cookies.

A simple, and simply delicious, chewy peanut butter cookie recipe.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Butter (1 stick), softened (If you use unsalted butter, add 1/2 tsp. Salt)
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ½ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1½ cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. in a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and both sugars.
  3. To the butter mixture, add the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Combine flour and baking soda (and salt, if using unsalted butter). Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture, mixing until just combined.
  5. Scoop out dough by spoonfuls or using a disher, placing onto parchment- or silicone-lined baking sheet. (A #30 disher holds about 2 Tbsp, while a #20 holds about 3-1/3 Tbsp.)
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are just set (Bake slightly more if making larger cookies).
  7. Allow cookies to cool slightly before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely. (Or enjoy them warm!)
https://lifeinlapehaven.com/2016/04/12/peanut-butter-cookies/
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Tried It Tuesday: My Kids’ New Favorite Board Game

Life in Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: My Kids' New Favorite Board Game. With all the gifts my son received for his birthday, I didn't expect this simple, but cute, board game to be his new favorite game to play. Our whole family enjoys this award-winning game.

This post contains an affiliate link, which means at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you make a purchase through the link.

With Josiah’s recent birthday, he has had an influx of new toys, clothes, and games to enjoy.

Of all the things he received for his birthday, there is one thing that both he and Elijah have been playing with more than any other: The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game.

I could claim all kinds of “awesome parent” points for this since it was from Mommy & Daddy, and I picked out the game… except that with Easter and birthday party prep, I kind of overlooked getting him a present until a couple days before his birthday.  (Brad and I have been considering getting the boys a swing set or playset for our yard, but we hadn’t found one yet, so we kept putting off getting Josiah’s birthday gifts, just in case we came across a swing set before his birthday.)

Thankfully, my instincts were good on this one. I knew I had seen comments about how much families liked this award-winning game, so I figured it would be worth a try. Besides, we (read: Mommy) can only play so many games of Candyland.

Life in Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: My Kids' New Favorite Board Game. With all the gifts my son received for his birthday, I didn't expect this simple, but cute, board game to be his new favorite game to play. Our whole family enjoys this award-winning game.

The boys even played this game in their blanket fort.

From the minute we opened the box, the boys were intrigued (and fighting over the adorable “squirrel squeezer”). With their little tree trunks in front of them, they barely let me read over the very easy directions before they started trying to play.

It’s a really simple game with a spinner, acorns in five different colors, tree trunks for “stashing” your acorns, and the aforementioned cute little squirrel squeezer that you use to pick up the acorns. The object of the game is to collect all 5 colors of acorns before anyone else, but you have to watch out for obstacles on the spinner that slow you down: the Sad Squirrel that causes you to lose your turn and the wind storm that blows all your acorns back to the main tree.

Life in Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: My Kids' New Favorite Board Game. With all the gifts my son received for his birthday, I didn't expect this simple, but cute, board game to be his new favorite game to play. Our whole family enjoys this award-winning game.

Without a doubt, our boys’ favorite thing to land on is the Sneaky Squirrel because then they get to steal an acorn from someone else. They are positively delighted to get to be so mischievous. Of course, they don’t really enjoy it when someone else steals their acorn, so it’s been a great game for teaching them to be a good sport.

Life in Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: My Kids' New Favorite Board Game. With all the gifts my son received for his birthday, I didn't expect this simple, but cute, board game to be his new favorite game to play. Our whole family enjoys this award-winning game.

That first day we played several rounds of the game, and we’ve played it nearly every day since. They played it with their grandparents, and Josiah even took it over to his cousins’ house this past week to introduce them to the fun. Watching the four boys play it together was hilarious and precious. They all loved the sense of accomplishment when they managed to collect all their acorns and win a game.

As a parent, I appreciate the simplicity of the game, which makes it easy for my 3-year-old to play without help, while not being too young for my 5-year-old (or  Brad and I) to have fun. The game is designed to help encourage color identification, as well as matching, sorting, strategic thinking, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and pre-handwriting skills, and I can already see improvement for Josiah in some of those areas.

So even if it was more of a last-minute gift, it has turned out to be a great one, one that our entire family enjoys playing, and one that has easily become our boys’ new favorite board game.


Josiah’s Star Wars Birthday Party

Life in Lape Haven: Josiah's Star Wars Birthday Party. Our littlest boy just turned three, and we celebrated with a fun Star Wars birthday party. Here is the scoop on our costumes, decorations, cake, and more with links to all the printables and recipes I used.

This post contains a couple of affiliate links, which means, at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you use the links. 

Three years ago we welcomed our little daredevil, Josiah, into our family, and this past weekend, in addition to all the Easter festivities, we celebrated his third birthday, Star Wars style.

Now before I get too far into this, I just want to say that we do birthdays the way that we do because our family enjoys it. Before I was a stay-at-home mom, most of the jobs on my resume had event planning as part of my job description. I have fun planning, creating, and setting up our parties and putting my own DIY touches on them. Of course, even though I love doing parties, I also love not spending a ton of money on them because after all, it’s just a kid’s party. So, I try to do a fun party frugally.

In addition, my boys have inherited their mother’s love of playing dress-up, and ever since Elijah attended a cousin’s pirate-themed costume birthday party when he was two, he has wanted to do costumes for his birthday. Since we can usually throw together fun costumes really inexpensively, and we try to pick themes that lend themselves to easy, simple costumes, this has become our family’s tradition.

If you see parties as just a bunch of fuss and bother, that’s fine. Celebrate your way. Even though I scroll through Pinterest for ideas and inspiration, I NEVER feel as though I HAVE to throw a perfect party such as you see on there. We just take the things that will be fun for us and forget the rest.

I also ALWAYS ask my boys what they want to do for their birthday. They are free to say they don’t want to dress up, or we can go to the park or out to dinner, or whatever they’d enjoy (within reason and budget). So far, they have always wanted a party at home with family and costumes. I also let them help decide on the theme.

When Josiah chose Star Wars for his party this year, I was surprised, and I wasn’t.  They’ve only seen parts of the original Star Wars movie (you know, the REAL Star Wars), so I didn’t think they were that into it. However, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Star Wars stuff is kind of EVERYWHERE this year. So, yeah.

 

THE INVITE

With every party we do, I always start with a plan: a theme, color scheme, costume ideas, menu, and an invitation, which I always create in Photoshop. (You could probably use PicMonkey, too, although I never have.) I generally make my invites as a 4×6 or 5×7 because then I can just have them printed like photos if I need to have actual copies to hand out or mail. I also create an event on Facebook, which works well for most of our family. Since we have about 25 people when both sides of our families – Great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins – all come, we usually only have family at these parties.

Here is the invite I created for Josiah:

Life in Lape Haven: Josiah's Star Wars Birthday Party. Our littlest boy just turned three, and we celebrated with a fun Star Wars birthday party. Here is the scoop on our costumes, decorations, cake, and more with links to all the printables and recipes I used.

I found the characters on a free print-out that I downloaded, and I cropped each character out in Photoshop. The font I used is the free font, Star Jedi.

 

THE COSTUMES

When Josiah picked his theme, I knew I was going to be Princess Leia because she’s really the only girl character from Star Wars that my boys know. However, wearing a white long-sleeved, long gown when hosting a 3-year-old’s birthday party is not the most practical idea. Thankfully, Leia had some better options in the other movies, and with white pants, a white turtleneck, and a white puffy vest, plus my snow boots and an updo of Heidi braids, I was able to recreate her look on the ice planet of Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back.

Life in Lape Haven: Josiah's Star Wars Birthday Party. Our littlest boy just turned three, and we celebrated with a fun Star Wars birthday party. Here is the scoop on our costumes, decorations, cake, and more with links to all the printables and recipes I used.

Of course, my hubby had to be Han Solo to my Leia, and he had the easiest costume of all: jeans with red masking tape, cream-colored shirt, black vest, and a silver-spray-painted, cardboard cut-out belt buckle on his gun holster.

The boys went back and forth about who they wanted to be, but thankfully Josiah decided on Luke Skywalker (tan pants, a cream tunic, brown belt, and a too-big brown hoodie) over Darth Vader, and Elijah lucked out when I found a Finn costume (from the newest movie & who he really wanted to be) on clearance! Most of the pieces for our costumes were either stuff we already had (I always save our costume items) or things I picked up at the thrift store. Our guns came from the Dollar Tree.

Our Labradoodle, Vinny, was our Chewbacca. I just cut off a piece of brown shelf liner that we had and looped it over him to create a super simplified bandolier. I don’t think he truly appreciated the honor it was to be the coolest Wookie ever.

 

THE DECORATIONS

For parties I usually decorate rather minimally. I make sure that we have a backdrop or decorations at the food table, and then I come up with a background for pictures in the living room.

In the kitchen, I used a black plastic tablecloth hung behind the food table to create an outer space feel. I bought a pack of white paper star cut-outs, spray painted some of them gold and silver, and then taped them to fishing line that was thumb-tacked to our ceiling in front of the background.

Life in Lape Haven: Josiah's Star Wars Birthday Party. Our littlest boy just turned three, and we celebrated with a fun Star Wars birthday party. Here is the scoop on our costumes, decorations, cake, and more with links to all the printables and recipes I used.

A gray paper lantern with a couple of tweaks became our “Death Star” looming over all the goodies. I found a diagram of the Death Star online and printed it out so that the circle for the laser beam was the right size to be proportional to my paper lantern. I also took a black Sharpie and made an equator around its middle.

The addition of a Star Wars movie poster on another wall in the kitchen completed that room.

Our picture backdrop was again made from black plastic tablecloths. Since I’ve used these kinds of tablecloths before for backgrounds, I’ve discovered that the easiest, most secure way to hang them is to fold it over to the length that you need it and tape a hem on one end. You basically create a curtain out of the plastic. I then run a piece of string through the hems and tie it up over our living room pocket doors.

A few more strands of fishing line with stars tacked in front of the plastic curtains, and our picture area was done. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was better than just a plain wall.

 

THE FOOD

We always hold our parties in the afternoons, which means we don’t need to feed everyone a full meal. However, we always have fruits, veggies, and cheese and crackers to snack on before the cake and ice cream are served, plus tea and lemonade to drink. To carry the Star Wars theme through the goodies, I printed out these super fun food labels that were full of great ideas and delightful puns. My favorites were Han’s Rolos and Luke Skywater. I totally bought Rolos just so we could use that. 🙂

We also made our version of “Wookie Cookies,” decorating my regular recipe for No-Bake Cookies with a chocolate candy melt bandolier and white chocolate chips as the ammo. I let my boys add the “ammo,” which they thoroughly enjoyed.

 

THE CAKE

I have made every birthday cake for my boys since Elijah’s very first one, and this year was no exception. I’m not a great cake decorator, but I try to do something fun with them.

For Josiah’s cake, I made a classic white cake and filled it with strawberry jelly and one of my favorite icings, Cloud Frosting. Made with cream cheese, cream, and powdered sugar, this easy, yummy icing is always a hit, plus I knew that it would go well with the strawberry jelly filling.

Life in Lape Haven: Josiah's Star Wars Birthday Party. Our littlest boy just turned three, and we celebrated with a fun Star Wars birthday party. Here is the scoop on our costumes, decorations, cake, and more with links to all the printables and recipes I used.

To make the strawberry filling, I heat a few cups of an all-natural strawberry jelly in the microwave and then stirred in a little over half a package of unflavored gelatin to help it set up better and not make the cake soggy. I had never tried that before, but it worked really well and tasted delicious.

To decorate the cake, I looked everywhere for a simple star decoration or candy. Finding none that would work, I decided to try my hand at homemade marshmallow fondant, using a recipe I found on Pinterest. It worked really well and was actually a lot easier than I anticipated. The worst part was all the powder-sugar fingerprints I left around my kitchen. I only made about ¼ of the recipe, initially thinking I’d just try it out before I made my stars, but when it came together so easily, I went ahead and cut out my stars ahead of time. Once they dried out a bit, I brushed them with a gold icing and let them set up.

Through my Pinterest searching for Star Wars ideas, I came across these free printable Star Wars cupcake toppers, which gave me the perfect toppers for the cake. I cut out the characters and taped them to some bamboo skewers, and with my stars surrounding them, it made a perfectly fun cake for Josiah’s day.

 

ATMOSPHERE, FAVORS, & FUN

One thing that I always try to have ready for our parties is a playlist that matches the theme, and a Star Wars party is nothing without an epic soundtrack in the background. I loved being able to use our Amazon Prime access to their music library and create a playlist with all the songs we needed. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

Technology also helped us create a memorable encounter for Josiah with Darth Vader. My oldest nephew, Jericho, who is a big Star Wars fan, is in the Airforce and stationed in South Carolina. Knowing that he had a Darth Vader costume from last Halloween, I asked him if he would be so kind as to call us on Skype during Josiah’s party while in his Vader costume.

Life in Lape Haven: Josiah's Star Wars Birthday Party. Our littlest boy just turned three, and we celebrated with a fun Star Wars birthday party. Here is the scoop on our costumes, decorations, cake, and more with links to all the printables and recipes I used.

Josiah’s reaction was priceless. While we were all talking to my niece-in-law over Skype, she played a sound bite of Darth Vader’s breathing as Jericho walked into the frame in costume. Josiah ran from where he’d been standing in the middle of the room to the couch along the wall, squeezing in between my sister-in-law and my grandpa. After the initial surprise wore off, though, our little guy had fun getting birthday wishes from one of his favorite characters.

While I had planned to play a game of “Find the Droid” with the kids, one of the Star Wars party games we found, they were all too busy just having fun together to focus, so after Josiah opened his presents and thanks his guests, we handed out the favors for the kids so that they could just keep playing.

Favors are always a maybe-maybe not thing for us at parties. As a parent, I’m not thrilled when my child brings home little trinkets and extra stuff that they didn’t really need. However, as the hostess, if I can find something that is fun token, I try to give the children something. Plus, I think this also encourages my birthday boy not to be as selfish about his day, since I generally have the boys hand them out.

For Josiah’s favors, we gave out Star Wars tote bags (from the Dollar Tree) and bubble wand “light sabers.”

Life in Lape Haven: Josiah's Star Wars Birthday Party. Our littlest boy just turned three, and we celebrated with a fun Star Wars birthday party. Here is the scoop on our costumes, decorations, cake, and more with links to all the printables and recipes I used.

Then just like that, our boys were outside enjoying a beautifully sunny day with their cousins, blowing bubbles and fighting off imaginary Storm Troopers.

I’m pretty certain that the Force was strong with this party, or at least our little Jedi thought so. 🙂


Tried It Tuesday: How to Get Grease Stains (Even Set-In Ones) Out of Clothing

Life in Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: How to Get Grease Stains (Even Set-In Ones) Out of Clothing - After finding grease and oil spots on my son's shirts, ones that had already been washed and dried, I decided to find a simple way to get the grease and oil stains out of his clothing.

My children are really doing wonders for improving my laundry skills and stain-treating know-how lately. First it was the hunt to figure out how to get rid of dry erase marker on my 5-year-old’s pants. Then, thanks to my 2-year-old, I learned how easy it is to remove silly putty from fabric.

This week, Elijah’s sloppy eating habits have sent me on a new quest: How to get grease stains – set-in ones, too – out of clothing.

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Last week my son wore a brand-new yellow polo shirt to church and at lunch spilled pasta sauce on it. My hubby used cold water to sponge it off, and I thought we might have dodged a stain bullet. I even pretreated it before washing it, just to be safe. However, I was disappointed when I went to fold the laundry and saw three very obvious oily, grease splotches on Elijah’s only-worn-once new shirt. Ugh.

Then that night as I was pulling clothes out of his dresser for him to wear to school in the morning, I picked out a long-sleeved dark blue shirt, only to toss it back down in defeat when I noticed that it had some mysterious greasy-looking stains on it, too.

Determined to salvage these two shirts, I looked for solutions online for how to remove grease or oil stains from clothing. Having tried the chalk idea in the past with little success, I skipped that, and we didn’t have any WD-40 on hand, so that knocked out a good number of Pinterest search results for removing grease spots.

Then I found one that promised that I could get the grease out, even if the item had been through the dryer, using only items that I had in my house!

It required Spray ‘N’ Wash stain treater, baking soda, dish detergent, and an old toothbrush. Check, check, check, and check!

I was ready to treat, scrub, and wash, and hopefully save two shirts.

Following the directions I had found, I treated the shirts with Spray ‘N’ Wash and used the toothbrush to scrub it in. Then I heavily dusted the treated areas with baking soda and scrub some more. (Actually, Josiah came in and wanted to help, so I let him do some scrubbing). After that I added some dish detergent, scrubbed a final time, and then let the shirts set about 10-20 minutes.  (The instructions online said you could leave it anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes.)

After washing and drying the shirts as usual, I laid them out on the table for inspection.

Sadly, the yellow shirt still had some visible staining, even though it was much less than before. The blue shirt actually looked completely stain-free, however, which made me very happy. It wasn’t until I took a picture of the blue shirt, using my flash, that I could even see even a hint of a small stain or two that I must have missed treating the first time through.

Having evidence that the solution would help, I put the yellow shirt through a second complete stain treating and scrubbing, then washed and dried it again.

This time, the stains were pretty much gone. Again, it only shows up vaguely when I took a picture with my flash on. To the naked eye, it looks like a stain-free shirt again!

Tried It Tuesday: How to Get Grease Stains (Even Set-In Ones) Out of Clothing - After finding grease and oil spots on my son's shirts, ones that had already been washed and dried, I decided to find a simple way to get the grease and oil stains out of his clothing.

So, now I know that Spray ‘N’ Wash, baking soda, and dish detergent are a great combination for getting grease and oil stains out of our clothing.

I wonder what new stain my little boys will find for me to become an expert on next…

Here’s a hint: It’s grass stains! 🙂