“Tranquil” and “home” have never been in the same sentence together in my house. I think that’s why so many moms prefer to have a spa experience outside of their home. So they can:

A. Get out of the house alone.

That’s it.

What makes the spa experience wonderful are the extra touches I don’t have to do myself. So, why would I want to engage in at-home Spa-ing? Because I don’t have a babysitter. Here are some spa treatments I tried that left my husband hungry and me sticky:

The Scent of Relaxation
As a mom, my space is already scented, usually with an aroma not of my choosing. If I’m looking for a smell that takes me to a happier place, chances are I’m not going find it in between newborn spit up and my toddler’s afternoon poop. So, aromatherapy candles can help, if they are injected directly up my nose. Because the scent of a candle doesn’t offer much relaxation while I’m scrubbing dried spit up off carpet.

Face Food
You can make moisturizing face mask out of food you have laying around the house, like a tablespoon of honey mixed with an egg white. Rub it on your face and after ten minutes, rinse it off to reveal that your skin looks exactly the same as it did before. Remember to set the timer though. If you’re anything like me, you’ll get distracted by the cat puking up a pile of grass on your carpet, forget you have it on, and become human fly paper when you take your kids to the park.

Just Breathe. But, not like that
Spa experts say there’s a correct way to breathe and none of us is doing it right. I say if you’re alive then you’re doing a pretty good job of breathing correctly, but what do I know? In order to feel more peaceful and clearheaded, without the aid of alcohol, you should practice deep breathing. This is breathing in through your nose and out of your mouth, as opposed to breathing in through your eyes and out of your ears. Breathing out of my mouth isn’t natural. That’s only reserved for exercise so I can hold enough air in to keep my lungs from coming out.

Sole Sloughing
I buffed my feet with a pumice stone before soaking them in water because, like flaky people, flaky skin often doesn’t stick around for a commitment of any kind. Then, dunked my sole sisters for at least 20 minutes in a fruit mixture made up of papaya, hot milk, and whatever other fruit we had in the fridge. My feet still look and feel like a rough-skinned newt, and my husband has been looking for the papaya for the last two days. On a good note, I’ll be able to sand down our deck rails this spring with my feet.

Next time, I’ll leave the relaxation techniques to the experts. For now, I need to go to the grocery store because we’re all out of milk and fruit. I’ll try and remember to breathe out of my mouth while I’m there. That is if I can force apart the dried face mask of honey that’s keeping my mouth sealed shut.

Photo via

Okay. So you can’t pack a crock pot in your picnic basket. That doesn’t mean you can’t whip up some heavenly perfect-for-the-outdoors eats before heading out for a special feast. Outdoor dining doesn’t mean you have to settle for drab dishes! Here are 10 highly recommended recipes for the perfect crock pot picnic lunch. Several are from my Gram’s Recipe Tin:

Crock Pot Garlic Dill Pickles

This one doesn’t even require that you turn on the crock pot! But it does take 144 hours for them to “cook.” Check out these divine Crock Pot Garlic Dill Pickles!

Crock Pot Turkey and Dressing Sandwiches

Savor a little Thanksgiving while dining outdoors! These Crock Pot Turkey and Dressing Sandwiches can be made ahead of time on crispy rolls or packed in a warming dish before heading out the door.

Crock Pot Chipotle Pork with Pineapple Coleslaw

This dish can be eaten hot or cold. The pineapple coleslaw takes no time to whip together (especially if you can find a pre-shredded coleslaw package).

Pesto Chicken Crock Pot Pitas

You can’t go wrong with these Pesto Chicken Crock Pot Pitas! Cook the pesto chicken in the crock pot the day before, refrigerate, and toss it into your picnic basket along with some deli pitas (or your choice of bread).

Crock Pot Bacon Ranch Potato Salad

Although the recipe suggests serving hot, I’ve tried this one cooled and it’s awesome!

Crock Pot Baked Potatoes

This is an easy way to make baked potatoes. Plus, they’re already wrapped in tin foil and good to go when you want to head out the door!

Easy Peasy Crock Pot Dinner Rolls

This recipe for Easy Peasy Crock Pot Dinner Rolls takes minutes to prepare and produces the most mouthwatering rolls ever!

Strawberry Crock Pot Scoop Cake

Combine strawberry pie filling and cake mix in a slow cooker, cover, and cook for a simple cake that practically cooks itself!

Crock Pot Triple Chocolate Brownies

Uncover the sweet side of your crock pot with these mouth-pleasing triple chocolate brownies. They make the perfect dessert for a picnic!

Crock Pot Dark Chocolate Pudding

This is a heavy, cream-infused treat that will leave you full, but longing for more. It’s been kid tested and husband approved, so grab your crock pot and get busy!

This post was originally featured on Crystal’s blog, Mommifried

The kids here LOVE to play with anything sticky, gooey, and a tad messy. Add some smells to it and it’s all the more fun. So, we made Christmas slime….


Slime Recipe:

1 bottle of glue (I use school glue because it washed out of clothing and hair the easiest)
1 cup of liquid starch

Add in food coloring and any scents, or “smells” as the kids say, you want. For the green we used peppermint extract and for the red we used cinnamon. Mix together with your hands and instant slime. You may need to work it a bit for the wetness feel from the liquid starch to go away. Keep stored in plastic baggies or a container with an air tight lid. I find that it’s great stored up to a week. Anything more than that the slime gets too tough. Please note, that this WILL stick to clothes, hair, carpet, and such. Soak in cold water (or a cold, wet cloth on the carpet) and you’ll be able to peel it off. If it is stuck on clothes, DO NOT try to wash the article of clothing before peeling the slime off. It will ruin the shirt…….I will not confirm nor deny I’m speaking from experience.

This is a very simple recipe that can be made for any season, holiday, or special occasion. I would not recommend it for children younger than 3 years old unless completely supervised.

Have an icky sticky gooey good time with your Christmas Slime!

This post was originally featured on Ashlen’s blog, Kidspert.

This post brought to you by BIC®. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Team What The Flicka.

The holidays have been stressing me out. I hadn’t felt inspired to make anything crafty. My evites were piling up and I was avoiding parties. I had nothing to bring. Instead, I found myself horizontal on the couch watching reruns of The Golden Girls. Then, the doorbell rang. The mail carrier looked at me like I was wearing an adult onesie – which I was – then handed me a box about the size of a shoebox. After I opened it, I realized it was addressed to our very own Felicity Huffman. I also realized it was full of BIC Mark-It™ permanent markers in a rainbow display of vibrant colors.

I thought to myself, score! I kept the markers. Besides, I wanted to test them out for myself! These BIC Mark-It™ permanent markers were going to save my Christmas…. and Hannukah and all my kids’ birthdays and teachers’ gifts and grown-up holiday parties and all the miscellaneous celebrations that happen to fall within this crazy two month period.

I rolled up the sleeves of my onesie and pulled out a box of gold pinecones I’d been trying to figure out how to use for months. And now I knew— They needed labels! Beautiful, festive, merry and bright labels. Good thing for my new BIC Mark-It™ permanent markers!

In a few hours I had to attend a dinner birthday party for three women I’d been friends with since baby group. We’d probably be friends till…. I looked up at the television screen, still playing out the adventures of 4 seniors in their prime. Inspired by the #BICMerryMarking idea, I took the #YellowGold and the #ForestGreen and wrote out “Thank You for Being a Friend” on white cardstock.

And then I wrote it like 30 more times. Because I have a lot of pinecones. And thankfully, a lot of friends.

These will be my grab-and-go labels for every gift this season. It’s all about simplifying this madness.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a white elephant party to go to and I need to wrap up this adult onesie.

But before I do, I’d like to challenge Felicity Huffman (wink!), Lindsay Kavet, director of Expressing Motherhood, and the ladies of Mommytonk to make their own holiday craft using BIC Mark-It™ permanent markers. In between episodes of The Golden Girls, of course.

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Make sure to get the booklet of merry marking and a coupon to start marking and create your own project for the Merry Month of Marking challenge.

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We love our DIY around here at What The Flicka, but more often than not, it ends up in a complete pintrocity or us yelling “ain’t nobody got time for that.” So when given the opportunity to test out a fresh on the scene DIY skincare products by Handcrafted Honey Bee, we jumped so high we needed extra support for the twins if ya know what I mean.

Handcrafted Honey Bee, a mom and pop e-comm shop based in sunny CA, “was founded with the goal of helping you to create healthy, handcrafted skin care products with ease in the comfort of your own home.” With easy to do DIY kits ranging from lip balm to deodorant, these would make the perfect stocking stuffers, birthday presents, or a special treat for a special someone.

How it works:


Here is what our lucky testers thought:

Julia Arnold
Sometimes even taking a bath sounds exhausting. However, duty calls, and when I received the Handcrafted Honey Bee “GET SALTY WITH YOUR SWEETNESS” bath salt kit in the mail, I went to work. Picture your high school chemistry class, only switch out the sulfuric acid for lovely, all-natural, spa-quality fragrances, oils, salts, and botanicals, and you’ll get the idea. Follow the enclosed instructions on mixing the salts and add-ins; then divide the mixture into the 6 pretty pouches. My favorite part was giving the satchels to well deserving mommy friends, but I made sure to keep one for myself (for work, of course). Heavenly! I have sensitive skin and experienced ZERO itchiness. Was it worth the mixing, the measuring, and the pouring? Yes! I plan to order more for Christmas presents.


Rachel Schinderman
I had just come from the dermatologist where I joked about making me look 25 again. I half expected him to guffaw and say, “Don’t be ridiculous!” But instead he quite seriously started talking about lasers and age spot reduction treatment. I sighed and took his pamphlets and took my 40plus year old skin home. I admit I am not the best with my skin care. Often I can fall asleep on the couch after a long day with the kids and then slip into bed with just enough energy to brush my teeth, usually not washing my face. So my face could use a little tender care. So I broke open Handcrafted Honey Bee’s Do it Yourself Spa Clay Mask Kit. It comes with a variety of clays all clearly marked in little bags and little jars to make beautifying concoctions. I liked the idea of taking the time to build and mix something, to then place on my skin and make me feel like I was worth taking the time. There were instructions for a weekly mask, spot treatment and a monthly detox mask. I may need that one daily. The directions were easy to follow, but I did wish the jars were marked for each mask. It took me a minute to make sure I had the right one for each mix and I wished the jars had markings on the sides of them. When I was instructed to fill about 1/4 of the way I was unsure if I had done it right just by eyeing it. And then later when I mixed it into a paste with water, I put too much water in and it was a little soupy. I also had to eye the water amount. But that didn’t matter, even the soupy mask dried and left my skin feeling tight and smooth. I couldn’t stop touching my skin. The labels and the bags had the feeling of being prepared by a long time girlfriend, a girlfriend who clearly knows that those aren’t age spots, they are adorable freckles and one who tells you don’t need expensive treatments from a dermatologist, as long as you actually get up from the couch and take care of your skin.


Ashlen Kidspert
I recently tried out Handcrafted Honey Bee’s Nightly Facial Kit. These kits are cool because they’re DIY: they send you all of the ingredients and you mix them yourself. There’s no more wondering what the heck is in your facial cleanser. I loved it! I haven’t tried facial cleansers in a while because I have sensitive skin, but all of the ingredients in this Facial are completely natural! My face hasn’t felt this clean and refreshed in a long time. I love Handcrafted Honey Bee’s product so much that I’ve ordered the Lava Lip Balm kit for my kids for Christmas.


Gwen Morrison
I brought Handcrafted Honey Bee’s Lava Lamp Lip Gloss Kit with me so that the girls could make lip gloss for their friends, but I have to admit, I really enjoyed doing it with them. Watching their faces light up when they tipped the lip gloss tube over and the lava slowly cascaded to the bottom was pure joy. And the look of accomplishment on their faces was priceless. With this kit, you can make up to eight lip glosses so each of the girls were able to make four. They were fascinated with the science of it – meticulously measuring out the castor oil and glycerin, and then adding the mica for color.

See the rest of Gwen’s review here.


A fun filled 2014 is nearing the end. Our little family of five has a lot to be thankful for. We had an excellent year filled with fun, vacations, road trips, friends, and lots of laughs. As all kids do, my minis tend to get wrapped up in the whole Christmas commercialization. Halloween is over and instantly it’s Christmas. They’re young kids so it’s completely understandable why they get so wrapped up in ‘what’s Santa bringing for Christmas???!!??”
As a mom who’s favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, I try and try with all my might to get them to focus on the importance of Thanksgiving. This year we made a Wall of Thanks.

I went over with the minis what Thanksgiving was all about, some things I was thankful for, and why I was thankful for them. I then asked them to list out things they were thankful for. Some of them were beyond hilarious.

I don’t expect my kids to jump for joy at the Thanksgiving season just yet. I love to see how excited they get for seeing Santa at the mall, singing Christmas carols, Christmas lights hanging from houses, and everything else that comes with the Christmas season. I do, however, expect as they get older they see the importance of being thankful for what they have and even for what they don’t have. The Wall of Thanks was the best visual representation I could think of for my young minis to actually see all there is to be thankful for in their lives. So far, this has worked out great. The minis will walk by and read (or look at) the leaves on our Wall of Thanks and quickly think of more to be thankful for. My hope is that this wall will be full of leaves by the time Thanksgiving arrives!

Just when I think they are embracing Thanksgiving and everything we have to be thankful for, I hear “I’m thankful for Christmas and all of the presents Santa’s going to bring me….right after we eat lots of turkey on Thanksgiving.”

Want to create your own Wall of Thanks? Do an image search on Google of the image you’d like to use (we used leaf cut outs, but also considered using pumpkins or turkeys) and print it out. Have the kids color them. Write what each person is thankful for in the middle. We taped our’s directly to the wall so they can be easily removed after the holiday (although I do plan on keeping these gems for the memory books). A Tree of Thanks is equally as easy to do: head to Michael’s craft store for a small fake tree (these range in price from lower than $10 to over $50, depending upon size) and use string to tie your leaves.

This post was originally featured on Ashlen’s blog, Kidspert.