<![CDATA[NonperfectParenting - Blog ]]>Sun, 22 Oct 2017 23:19:54 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Random Act of Kindness Week ]]>Mon, 13 Feb 2017 19:47:46 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2017/02/random-act-of-kindness-week.html     In our family we teach that each day every person you meet should be treated with kindness. It is a simple concept that we often don't think about and sometimes it slips our mind when we have a bad day. On February 17, National Random Acts of Kindness Day is being observed. This amazing day has been growing in popularity since it originated in New Zealand. Our family is going to be celebrating this beautiful day and here are some ways you can too!  
     Being kind isn't about spending money or grand gestures. You can brighten someone's day just by smiling and saying hello as you pass by them, share compliments with your friends, or help a neighbor out with something they may be struggling with. Random Acts of Kindness Day is all about practicing kindness and paying it forward. Need some inspiration on ways to help others? Here is a random kindness generator that you can use! 
     While you are practicing these incredible acts, spread the word on social media by using the hashtag #RAKWEEK2017. Once this week is a distant memory, don't forget to carry the spirit of it in your heart and continue to do good all year long! 
<![CDATA[T-Shirt Rug DIY ]]>Mon, 14 Nov 2016 23:37:08 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2016/11/t-shirt-rug-diy.html
     With three kids who grow like weeds we always have a ton of clothes in the house that they are continually outgrowing. The boys are incredibly hard on theirs and they always have holes in them, so we can't always donate or use them as hand me downs. Instead, I love to repurpose them! This little project is a great way to use old t-shirts and it is a simple project so kids can help or older kiddos can even do it on their own! 
     First, gather everything you need: a simple rug, hot glue gun, glue sticks, and a pile of old t-shirts. 
     Next start cutting up the shirts into small strips and knot them in the center. These will be what makes up your rug! 
     Take your t-shirt strips and glue them onto the rug. You will want to keep them close together and not have any gaps. 
Fill up the entire rug and enjoy! 
<![CDATA[Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread Easy DIY ]]>Sat, 12 Nov 2016 23:47:54 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2016/11/cinnamon-roll-monkey-bread-easy-diy.html
     This super recipe is one of our family favorites. It is incrediblly easy to make and kids love to help with it. Most of the time, we have all of the ingredients in our fridge, so it is nice and easy to throw together for dessert or brunch.  
What You Need:
3 pkgs Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls with frosting
1c. sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 stick butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
     Preheat oven to 400 deg. Divide each of the premade cinamon rolls into two and roll each half into a ball. Toss the dough balls into a gallon plastic bag as you make them. When you are finished, pour 1 cup of sugar mixed with 1 Tbsp. of cinnamon into the bag, close it and shake it up to coat the dough. 
     Place the coated dough balls into a greased bundt pan. In a bowl, microwave 1 stick of butter, 1/2 c brown sugar, and 2 Tbsp of maple syrup for one minute. Stir until melted and pour over the dough mixture. 
     Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the inner dough is baked through and the outside is a deep golden brown. Allow to cool five minutes before inverting onto a plate and topping with frosting. 
<![CDATA[Super Easy Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce DIY]]>Fri, 04 Nov 2016 18:19:10 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2016/11/super-easy-slow-cooker-marinara-sauce-diy.html
     This is one of the yummiest sauces you will ever taste, but it is also one of the simplest. Just toss everything into your slow cooker and you are ready to go! I typically make four batches at a time so I can can them. If you follow the recipe, you have a single batch good for 6 cups of sauce. Don't forget to add what you want and make the recipe your own! 
What You Need: 

2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes 
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste 
3 large yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 whole bay leaves
2 Tbsp dried basil 
2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper 
     Cut the onion into a small dice and mince the garlic. Place both in the slow cooker. Add all ingredients except for the tomatoes. 
     Now add the crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste. Stir well to combine. If your slow cooker tends to lose moisture and dry things out, add ½ to 1 cup of water as well. Secure the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hrs. Remove the bay leaves before serving! 
<![CDATA[Welcome Fall With This Easy Pumpkin Cake! ]]>Mon, 31 Oct 2016 21:21:26 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2016/10/welcome-fall-with-this-easy-pumpkin-cake.html
     Every fall, the one thing I most look forward to is pumpkin everything! I absolutely love the taste and smell of pumpkin and I can't wait to make my favorite pumpkin desserts. This one is one of my best! It takes only a few minutes to make and it tastes AMAZING!! This recipe makes 12 servings and is perfect by itself or served with ice cream. 
What You Need: 
1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (18.25 ounce) package spice cake mix
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup melted butter
     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Grease a 9x13 inch pan. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, white sugar and milk. Stir in cinnamon and salt. Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin filling. Sprinkle pecans over the cake mix. Drizzle melted butter over all. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool.
<![CDATA[Dessert DIY!  Banana Upside Down Cake]]>Wed, 26 Oct 2016 20:58:48 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2016/10/dessert-diy-banana-upside-down-cake.html
     My kiddos absolutely love bananas so I was looking for a way to use them in a dessert. This super yummy cake is quick to make and awesome for those yellow fruit lovers! Whip it up and serve it with whipped cream on the side. 
What You Need: 

2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
3 medium bananas, sliced
1 tbsp spiced rum 

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons spiced rum 
     For this recipe, do not use overly ripe bananas, or they will just melt into the cake. Instead, use just yellowed bananas. Also, for the rum, if you do not have any on hand you can purchase the tiny "airline" size bottles which gives you enough for the recipe! 
     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter just the sides of a 9-inch round cake pan.
     For the caramel topping: Stir the sugar, rum, and 1/3 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring, and gently swirl the saucepan occasionally until the mixture is the color of deep amber, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and carefully whisk in the butter  Pour the caramel into the prepared cake pan, tilting the pan to cover most of the bottom (be careful: the pan will be very hot from the caramel). Arrange the bananas in a single, tight layer, then cover any gaps with the remaining slices.
     For the cake: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together the milk and sour cream in a small bowl.
Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down the side of the bowl as needed, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk-sour cream mixture, mixing until just incorporated.
     Pour the batter over the bananas in the cake pan, and spread evenly. Bake the cake until it is golden brown and bounces back when pressed and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the center, 50 to 60 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to separate it from the pan. Poke the cake all over with a skewer, and brush the cake with the rum. Let cool in the pan on a rack until just cool enough to handle, 20 to 30 minutes. Invert a serving platter over the cake pan and, while holding them together, quickly flip them over so the cake unmolds, banana-side up. Let cool completely. Cut into wedges, and serve.

<![CDATA[Spooky Haunts In and Around Pittsburgh]]>Wed, 19 Oct 2016 23:58:53 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2016/10/spooky-haunts-in-and-around-pittsburgh.html     Fall is officially here, and you know what that means...Halloween! it is time for the ghosts and ghouls to come out and frolic. Want to know where you have the best chance of finding something spooky in Pittsburgh? Keep reading and bundle up while you are out searching for your next haunt. 
 University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning Oakland, PA 
     If you are in Oakland, a must stop (besides The O) is Pitt's Cathedral of Learning. Anyone wanting to catch a glimpse of the ghost needs to book a tour since the Early American Room isn't open to the general public. 
     The Early American Room is actually one of two rooms that are said to be haunted, but the second is completely closed to the public. It is said to be haunted by Martha Jane Poe a distant relative to Edgar Allan Poe. 
     Martha dies in 1936, but her spirit is said to hang out in the Early America Room where her wedding quilt is proudly displayed on the bed. There are reports of coverlets flying off the bed, objects falling from their places, photographs mysteriously cracking and a rocking chair moving on its own. 
The Congelier House North Side, Pittsburgh
     This stately home was built by Charles Congelier in the 1860's on Ridge Avenue in Pittsburgh's Manchester neighborhood. Prior to it being demolished in an explosion in 1927, it had quite the haunted history. Today, people still say the spirits roam the ruins looking for the peace they never found in their lifetimes. 
     Congelier lived in the house with his wife, Lyda and their maid Essie. But when Lyda discovered an affair between her husband and their maid, she went mad and killed them with a knife and meat cleaver. It was said that when Lyda was found days later, she was humming lullabies to Essie's severed head. Nothing is known of what became of Lydia. The house; however, took in quite the interesting occupant following the murders. 
     After being converted into apartments, the house was abandoned because of mysterious sounds and noises. In 1900, however, Dr.Adolph C. Brunricter purchased Congelier House. Dr. Brunrichter's reclusive nature meant that he never left the house. But just a year after he bought the house, screaming could be heard followed by an explosion from the house. When police arrived, Dr. Brunrichter disappeared leaving behind decapitated heads. Like many serial killers,  Brunrichter was quiet, friendly to neighbors and kept to himself. 
     Find the remnants of the home, and maybe some spirits, at 1129 Ridge Ave. on the North Side in Pittsburgh. 

Carnegie Library Munhall, PA 
     When it was built in 1898, this beautiful library only cost $250,000 to construct. This library was Carnegie's gift to the workers and families of the nearby Homestead Steel Works. The Homestead Strike of 1892 had left many townspeople angry with Carnegie and they did not want to accept the gift. In the end, the amazing building ended up being well used and loved. It is home to a library, pool, gym, and music hall. 
     Shortly after the building opened, November 28th, 1899, the first tragedy occurred. Robert Peebles "was found dead in eight feet of water" in the pool under mysterious circumstances. 
     Books fly off the stacks and switch positions on the library shelves for no apparent reason, and doors open and close without any human intervention. Loud disembodied voices have been reported. The ghosts of old steel hands, still dressed in their sooty mill outfits, wander about the structure.
     Outside of the library, strange things also occur. The housekeeper claimed to have seen a shadow moving in the back steps of the old music hall in the library; shadow figures of both sexes are regularly sighted in the building. Syfy Channel's "Ghost Hunters" toured the library and also caught the voices of ladies giggling in the basement locker room.
     Head over to Munhall to check out a book and maybe check out a ghost! Don't forget to verify library hours before you go. 
Dead Man’s Hollow McKeesport, PA 
      Giant snakes, apparitions, suicides, murders and mysterious disappearances are all part of this beautiful, but frightening, 400 acre nature preserve's tainted history. 
     Throughout the years, many visitors have reported strange experiences while visiting the Dead Man's Hollow area. Some of the most common occurrences involve unusual noises and  unexplained movement.  Visitors often find themselves baffled by tree branches that begin to shake when there is no wind or wildlife to cause the disturbance.  Others have felt as if they were being watched by an unseen presence while hiking on the trails.
     Dead Man's Hollow has many mysteries and lore associated with it. Some passed down from generation to generation. To read each story, check out the Dead Man's Hollow website here before you embark on a fall hike in the woods! 
Broughton School South Park, Pa 
     Although this building is off limits to the public, it is home to many haunted tales. Previously, is was open to paranormal investigations and they said it was lit up with activity. Now, the building is closed off, but the spirits are still inside. 
     The school is said to have been built on the same grounds where people died during the Whiskey Rebellion. The 1929 school was not the original school on the grounds. The first school dated back to the 1800s, but according to South Park resident Nicole Weisbrod of Allegheny County Paranormal Investigators, because of a miners’ strike, the original school was shot up and torn down and another built there.
     Besides the Whiskey Rebellion deaths, Weisbrod says, “There are several other deaths that are reported to have taken place on the grounds after the school was built, but there are no reports of any deaths having actually occurred in the school.” Many who have investigated reported hearing children’s voices inside.
     The elementary school has been vacated by the living for over a decade, but the spirits of children and teachers alike are said to roam the building, running, shouting and moving objects around. Paranormal investigators who visited the building report capturing chilling voice recordings telling them, alternatively, to “get out of here,” and “don’t leave.” 
     Since the Broughton School is closed off to the public, there is no official access to the building. No trespassing! 
Green Man’s Tunnel South Park, PA 
     The legend states that the spirit of Charlie No-Face wanders this road and tunnel, along Piney Fork Road in South Park, PA. He is bathed in a green light. This legend, like most other urban legends, is rooted in some truth. The story of Green Man’s Tunnel has a solid basis in fact: a boy named Raymond Robinson was climbing power lines as a boy when he suffered an electrical injury, giving him the appearance of a person without a face.  There are conflicting stories about where the “green skin” idea came from. Some accounts say he always wore his favorite green plaid shirt or other green clothes that reflected the color onto his pale skin while others say his skin was a pale shade of green.      As old age slowly crept up on him, Ray ventured out for his walks less and less. By the 1980s, he moved into the Beaver County Geriatric Center (now called Friendship Ridge Nursing Nome) in Beaver, Pennsylvania. It was there where Ray passed away on June 11, 1985, at the age of 74. He was buried back in Beaver Falls at Grandview Cemetery, just a short distance from the location of the bridge where he met with his tragic fate as a child. 
     Today, people say Ray's spirit walks along that lonely stretch of road looking for someone to talk to. Take a drive out and see if he will chat with you. 
<![CDATA[Pickle Your Own Pickles The Easy Way DIY ]]>Sun, 16 Oct 2016 04:02:11 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2016/10/pickle-your-own-pickles-the-easy-way-diy.html This post contains affiliate links. These links help me bring you free content. Thank you. 
     Today was flea market day in our house. I absolutely love when we find awesome deals and today was no exception. We ran into our favorite veggie vendors at the market and they gave me an amazing deal on some baby cucumbers. So, I had to make a batch of pickles! I have three little pickle monsters here at home and making my own is so much better than buying them in the store. I know what is in them and it is much more budget friendly. All together, it was just under three hours work and a ton of fun! So, if you are a huge pickle family like we are, then this is a DIY project for you! 
     For canning, I use a Ball kit like this. It has everything you need except the jars, lids, rims, and labels. I highly recommend it. It works more than just for pickles, so if you want to start canning, this is the set for you. 
What you will need to make Dill Pickles. 
Cucumbers (small, do not use regular size)
Fresh Dill
Pickling Spice*

*You can either make your own pickling spice or buy the pre-made. I use the Ball brand. 

      First, make your brine. To do this, combine:
1 1/4 c. sugar
4 1/4 c. vinegar
1/2 c. canning salt
4 c. water 
Set aside the solution. 
     To begin, your jars need to be washed and sterilized. I use a mix of pint and quart jars. This way, I can make chips and whole pickles. It is up to you which jars you use. 
     Next, slice up all of your pickles and set them aside. You do want to chop off the blossom end of the cucumber because it will make your cucumbers soft otherwise. So, just cut it off and discard. 
     Now, it is time to prepare your jars. Add 1/2 tsp pickling spice to each pint jar. Then add one stem of dill. Into each jar, slice up a small onion and one clove of garlic and they are ready to go! 
     Heat your vinegar/sugar solution on the stove until it boils and all the sugar is melted. While it is heating, pack your jars with pickles. Then, fill each jar with the pickling brine. The brine should cover the pickles. Place the lid on the jars and tightly cover. 
      Next, put the filled jars into a water bath and bring the water to a full, rolling boil. Turn off heat and let the jars sit in the hot water for five minutes, then remove. The jars will seal as they cool.  
     I use Ball Dissolvable Labels on my jars. I love that after the jars are used, the labels easily come off in the dishwasher. 
     This is a super easy recipe and can be tweaked to fit your tastes! After you make them, wait about four weeks before you enjoy them. You want to give them some time to get their flavor! 
<![CDATA[DIY Dishwasher Detergent ]]>Thu, 13 Oct 2016 21:24:03 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2016/10/diy-dishwasher-detergent.html     This is probably one of my favorite DIY home hacks. It is super easy to make and it works awesome. This is a great detergent for your dishwasher that is made with everything you should have in your home already, and it is chemical free! The best part is if you mix up three or four batches at once, you won't need to worry about making it for quite a while. You can check out the huge container I use below to store it all in. Another handy tip is to throw a baby sock filled with rice (tie it with a rubber band) into the detergent to keep out any moisture and stop it from hardening. 
Here is everything you will need:

1 Cup Washing Soda 
4 packages unsweetened lemonade drink mix 
1 Cup Baking Soda
1 Cup of Kosher Salt 
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. When they are well mixed, add them to your covered jar. Enjoy! 
<![CDATA[NYCWFF Virtual Food Tour Recipe               Make It Tonight!]]>Thu, 13 Oct 2016 19:19:21 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2016/10/nycwff-virtual-food-tour-recipe-make-it-tonight.htmlThis is a sponsored post written on behalf of ShopRite, all opinions are my own. 
     This is stop #7 on the ShopRite #NYCWFF Virtual Food Tour! All week long, different bloggers are recreating recipes that will be featured at the New York City Wine and Food Festival Grand Tasting Presented by ShopRite.
     Today, I am featuring Bruchetta with Roasted Red Peppers and Burrata. It is a super simple recipe that works well as an appetizer or a wonderful lunch. Keep reading to see how we made it! 
Here is what you will need:
1 loaf rustic bread, sliced into 1/2 in. slices
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
2 garlic cloves
1 jar (16 oz.) Mezzetta Roasted Red Peppers
3-4 heirloom tomatoes, sliced and seasoned with salt and pepper
6 fresh basil leaves
1 Burrata Cheese
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. brown sugar
salt and pepper 
     Gather all of your ingredients and slice your bread. Prepare your tomatoes by slicing and sprinkling with salt and pepper. 
     Begin by heating grill to high heat. Drizzle bread with olive oil and grill both sides of bread until charred and crispy. (You can also toast the bread in the oven). Rub whole garlic cloves over toast and season bread with a little salt immediately after being grilled/toasted.
      To make the balsamic glaze: add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to a small saucepan and simmer over medium high heat until it becomes syrupy, about 5-10 minutes.
     Top grilled bread with a layer of Roasted Red Peppers, tomato, tear fresh basil and sprinkle on top of tomatoes. Top tomatoes with burrata cheese, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with flakey salt. Drizzle balsamic glaze over top and serve.
     Check out Striped Spatula's blog tomorrow for the next recipe on the ShopRite #NYCWFF Virtual Food Tour - Crepes with Nutella and Berries. Celebrate the spirit of the festival at home, and find everything you need at your local ShopRite.
As a NYCWFF blogger, I was provided with ShopRite Gift Cards and product in compensation for this post. All opinions in the post are my own.