Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Homemade Wreath Birdbath Craft

  • 3/8-inch manila rope
  • 15-inch grapevine wreath
  • 10-inch terra-cotta saucer
  • Artificial grape leaves (optional; available at craft stores)

    Cut three (5-foot) lengths of rope and knot them together at both ends. Nestle the wreath inside the ropes, as shown.
  1. Easy Wreath Birdbath  - Step 1 Place the saucer inside the wreath. If you like, tuck grape leaves into the wreath and wind them around the ropes.
  2. Use more rope for hanging the birdbath, if needed.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk Paint

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • Food coloring
  • Paintbrush

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and cold water. Stir in as many drops of food coloring as you need to get your desired color. Repeat this process for each paint color. Use a paintbrush to make fun designs on the sidewalk or driveway. To wash the paint off, simply spray the area with water.

    TIP: Super Sidewalk Paint isn't just for sidewalks. Put it in spray bottles and use it to color sand castles and snow sculptures.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - Community Scrapbook

Have your child decorate a plain 3-ring binder or even a composition book or plain notebook to use as a tool to help them learn about different places and people in their community along with history and special events and community celebrations.

Materials Needed:

  • 3-Ring Binder
  • Cardstock
  • Markers
  • Magazines
  • Glue Stick
  • Hole Puncher
  • Scissors
Have your child decorate the 3-ring binder however they want. One idea is to cover it with photos from around your neighborhood or town and then personalizing it with markers.
You should use cardstock because it will hold up better to glue! You can make the cardstock pages fit in your book by punching 3 holes in the side of each piece where the binder rings will fit through.

Now, your child can start to make their book! Talk about different community workers such as police officers, fire fighters, mail carriers, doctors, and anyone else who serves the people in their community. Page through a variety of magazines and find pictures related to different community workers and cut them out. Make a page for each job and make a collage using the pictures you found.

You can also plan a visit to places such as a fire station, a police station, post office, restaurant, and so on. Have your child take pictures or make drawings related to what they see. Add these to the 3-ring binder.
Another ideas well suited for older kids is to interview different neighbors and include pictures of them and perhaps their home to include in your book.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday Wellness - Frozen Chocolate Banana


-7 Small Bananas
-4 Tbsp Peanut Butter
-14 Popsicle Sticks
-2 tsp Cocoa

Peel and cut bananas it half. Put a Popsicle Stick in each half.
Melt 4 tbsp of Peanut Butter in the Microwave for 1 minute, on half power.
Mix in cocoa with the Peanut Butter.

Get a brush (I use a silicon one) and brush on the mixture on all sides of each banana. Place on parchment paper. You can put them in the freezer just like that, but I put them in a fridge for a few to harden them a bit, then wrap each pop in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer.
Freeze for at least an hour.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Plantable Note Card - Recycle

  • 1-1/2 cups of 1-inch scraps made from newspaper, construction paper, or used printer paper
  • Large bowl of warm water
  • Masking tape
  • 6- by 10-inch piece of window screen
  • Blender
  • 9- by 13-inch baking pan
  • Packet of wildflower seeds
  • Bath towels
  • Markers

  1. Plantable Greeting Card Step 1 Place the scraps in the bowl of warm water and soak overnight.
  2. Fold strips of tape over the edges of the screen to make it easier to handle.
  3. Place the soaked paper into the blender, then fill the blender halfway with fresh water. Blend until the mixture looks like a thick, creamy soup.
  4. Plantable Greeting Card Step 4 Add water to the baking pan until it's a quarter full, then pour in the blended pulp. Add the packet of wildflower seeds and mix well with your hands.
  5. Plantable Greeting Card Step 5 Slip the screen into the pan so that it slides beneath the pulp and seeds. Lift it gently, catching the pulp mixture in an even layer on top and allowing the water to drain off.
  6. Lay the screen on a bath towel, moving it to a dry area when the fabric below is saturated. Let the paper dry for at least 24 hours.
  7. When the paper has dried completely, gently remove it from the screen. Add a message with the markers.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Make Your Own Chia Pet Head

  • 2 tablespoons grass seed
  • Nylon stocking foot
  • 1 cup potting soil
  • Plastic yogurt container
  • Water
  • 2 googly eyes
  • Permanent marker
  • Double-sided tape
  • Card stock, craft foam, and so on, for clothing

  1. Spoon the grass seed into the stocking foot, and the potting soil on top of the seed. Tie a knot in the stocking, leaving the excess fabric hanging. Fill a yogurt container halfway with water and place the stocking head on top with the nylon tail in the water to serve as a wick. Attach googly eyes to the head and draw on a mouth with permanent marker. To decorate the yogurt container, tape on clothing made from card stock or other materials.
Be sure to check the water level in the yogurt container every day, keeping it at least half full.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Memorial Day Craft - Paper Poppies

What You'll Need:

Red crepe paper
Green chenille stems
Large needle

In the spring, red poppies bloom on European battlefields where thousands of soldiers died.

Many veteran's organizations sell poppies to earn money for disabled vets. You can make your own crepe paper poppies.

To make each poppy, cut out three 4-inch circles of red crepe paper.

Lay the circles on top of each other, and ask an adult to help you use a needle to make two holes next to each other in the center (go through all the circles).

Put the end of a chenille stem through one hole, bend the chenille stem, and bring the end down through the other hole.

Twist the end around the long part of the chenille stem to secure it.

Pull the crepe paper petals slightly away from each other to form the poppy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - Garden Markers

Materials Needed:

  • Wooden Spoons
  • Paint
  • Seed Packets or Catalogs/Magazines
  • White Glue or Decoupage Medium
  • Permanent Markers
  • Clear Acrylic Spray
  • Paint Brush or Foam Brush
  • Scissors
Paint the entire wooden spoon whatever color or colors you desire. Let the paint dry.
Cut out pictures of the produce or flowers that you will plant or have already planted in your garden. The packets from the seeds you planted are perfect for this project or you can use catalogs from nurseries. Trim these pictures so they fit in the 'bowl' of the spoon.

Glue the pictures onto the 'bowl' part of the wooden spoons. Glue them so that when the handle of the spoon is poked into the ground the picture is not upside down. Let the glue dry and then coat the 'bowl' area with a few more thin layers of glue or decoupage medium, letting each layer dry.

Use the permanent marker and write the name of the plant running down the handle, starting near the edge of the spoon's bowl. Seal with several light coats of the clear acrylic spray.

Once the spray is dry, take your new garden markers outside and poke the handle of the spoon into the ground.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday Wellness - Rainbow Fruit Snack


Organize the fruit in a rainbow pattern and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Plastic Bottle Herb Planter - Recycling

  • Marker
  • Sturdy 1-liter plastic bottles with caps
  • Utility knife
  • Scissors
  • Label remover or vegetable oil
  • Potting soil
  • Herb seedlings (often found in supermarkets' produce sections) 
  1. For each planter, mark a line 5 inches from the bottle's base. Use the utility knife to puncture the bottle at the mark (an adult's job), then use scissors to cut all the way around the bottle at the mark. Remove the label, using the label remover or vegetable oil to get rid of any extra adhesive.
  2. With the cap in place, invert the bottle's top portion and insert it into the base. Fill it partway with soil. Transplant a seedling, adding soil and pressing it gently until the seedling is secured in the planter.
  3. Lift out the soil-filled top portion and remove the cap. Add about an inch of water to the planter's base, enough to cover the lip of the inverted bottle top when you replace it. Give the seedling some more water to help it get established, then place it in a sunny spot. Following the care instructions that came with the herb, add water as needed to the planter's base.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Homemade Terrarium In A Jar

  • Wide, clear, lidded container (we got ours at Walmart)
  • Pebbles
  • Activated carbon (sold at pet stores)
  • Soil
  • Stones, moss, and small plants

  1. Cover the bottom of the container with an inch of pebbles.
  2. Add a layer of activated carbon to curb any earthy odors, top it with 3 inches of soil, and create your garden from the stones, moss, and small plants you've unearthed — no rare species, please!
  3. Mist the terrarium until the soil is moist but not wet. Add decorations, if you like, then close the lid. If the container becomes cloudy, remove the top to let excess moisture evaporate. Mist the terrarium lightly if the soil starts to dry out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday Wellness - Zucchini & Corn (Gluten Free)

(Yield: 4 side servings)
kernels from two ears of sweet corn (or 1 1/2 c. corn kernels, if using canned or frozen)
2 medium zucchini, cut into half moons
feta cheese
1. First stand the ear of corn upright and hold it with one hand. Then use a sharp serrated knife to cut the kernels from the cob. Start from the top and cut straight down to the bottom. Rotate the ear and repeat. Be careful not to cut so far in that you cut part of the cob off too.
2. Slice the zucchini lengthwise and then slice each section so that you have little half-moons of zucchini. If your zucchini is on the large side, you can cut it into fourths before you slice it.
3. Sauté the zucchini and corn in a skillet over medium-low to medium heat. Add a little water to the skillet if needed. The corn and zucchini will give off their own water so you won’t need much. Season to tasted with salt and pepper. Cook until you can easily stick a fork through the zucchini; 10 – 15 minutes maybe? I forgot to watch the clock =) Top with feta cheese and serve.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Grow Your Own Name

  • Wheat berry seeds (available at natural food stores)
  • Bowl of water
  • Shallow, rimmed tray or baking pan
  • Potting soil, moistened
  • Letter cookie cutters (optional)

  1. Soak the wheat berry seeds in the bowl of water overnight.
  2. Fill the tray with about an inch of moist potting soil. Help your child arrange the seeds in the shape of her name, then have her gently press them into the soil with her fingertip (we set alphabet cookie cutters on the soil to use as a guide, then removed them after the seeds were pressed in place).
  3. Mist the soil around the seeds to keep them moist, but don't pour water directly on them until the roots are established. Place the tray in a sunny window, and the seeds should sprout within a few days.
Fiskar's Pre-School Spring Action Scissors are great for beginners because the springs open the scissors after every cut. Fiskars, $3.50 Ages 3 and up.
Grass Letters Instead of growing your child's name in a tray, you can use cookie cutters to create a letter-shaped topiary with visible roots. Set the cookie cutters in a tray, fill them almost to the top with potting soil, then cover the surface with wheat berry seeds that have been soaked in water overnight. Gently push the seeds into the soil. Pour a thin puddle of water into the tray to keep the soil moist, and set the tray in a sunny window. Once the seeds have sprouted and the roots are established, pick up the cookie cutters and gently pop out the letters.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rainforest In A Jar

  • Glass container with a top and an opening wide enough to fit your hand into
  • Pea gravel or aquarium gravel
  • Activated charcoal (available at gardening stores)
  • Potting soil mix
  • Selection of small houseplants (ours included a prayer plant, a button fern, a Persian shield, an aluminum plant, and a miniature African violet)
  • Spray bottle

  1. Place a 1- to 2-inch layer of the gravel in the container, then sprinkle on a thin layer of the activated charcoal. Top this with a layer (from 2 inches to as much as one fourth of the height of the terrarium) of potting soil.
  2. To add the plants, first scoop out holes for planting, then take the plants from their pots and carefully remove any excess soil from their roots. Set the plants in their holes, then gently pack the soil around each one. Lightly mist the plants with a spray bottle.
  3. Replace the jar's lid and set the rain forest in a bright spot away from direct sunlight. Your indoor garden may never need watering, but check it every few weeks and add more water by lightly spritzing the plants with the spray bottle if the soil feels dry. If heavy condensation forms inside the glass, temporarily lift the cover to let some of the moisture escape.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - Mother's Day Flower Craft

This cute Mother's Day flower inside of the vase craft is fun and easy!  Print out the template for the flowers here.  Cut out the flowers and use a pipe cleaner for the stem.  Surround a toilet paper roll with decorative paper to make the vase.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday Wellness - Gluten Free Chex Krispies

Rice Chex Krispies
1 stick butter
1 package (10 oz.) miniature marshmallows*
6 cups Rice Chex

1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium low heat.
2. Add the marshmallows and stir frequently until they have melted.
3. Add the Rice Chex and stir until all of the Chex are throughly coated.
4. Spread the Rice Chex mixture into a greased
9 x 13 casserole dish and set aside to cool.
5. To serve, cut into squares or just let everybody grab a handful.
*make sure the marshmallows are gluten free

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hanging Garden Seed Starter - Family Fun

  • Scissors
  • 9-pocket trading-card sleeve
  • Hole punch
  • Seed-starting mix or potting soil
  • Spoon
  • Chopstick or pencil
  • Seeds (we used peas and scarlet runner beans)
  • 2 small suction cups with hooks (available in hardware stores)
  • Turkey baster

  1. Cut the binder edge off the left-hand side of the trading-card sleeve. Punch a hole in each top corner.
  2. Moisten six cups of soil and spoon some into each pocket until it's two-thirds full.
  3. To plant each pocket, first poke a hole in the soil with the chopstick or pencil. Drop in two or three seeds. Gently cover the hole with a spoonful of damp soil.
  4. Hook the suction cups through the holes in the top, then affi x the planter to the window. Use the turkey baster to water the seeds, keeping the soil evenly moist and following the care instructions on the seed package. Depending on the seed variety, the seeds should sprout in 3 to 14 days.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ivy Plant Craft - Leafy Letter

  • 12-gauge covered floral wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Pebbles
  • 1 or 2 ivy plants
  • A pot or window box with drainage hole
  • Potting soil
  • Twine

  1. Leafy Letter Topiary - March 2011 - Step 1 To make the topiary support, double a length of floral wire and twist the strands, except for the bottom 6 inches. Shape the twisted piece into a letter, hooking ends together as needed at intersections, and leaving a straight portion at the letter's base. (To create a 1-foot-tall E, we used 4 feet of wire. For M, with two base points, we used wire cutters to cut two 4-foot-lengths, then twisted and hooked them together at the center.)
  2. null Bend the support's untwisted bottom portions into prongs, as shown. Twist more floral wire around the base to create a second pair of prongs. Bend the prongs into a rough claw shape.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Peanut Butter & Jelly Flower Sandwich

  • Bread
  • Peanut butter or cream cheese
  • Jelly or jam
  • Water bottle cap
  1. For each sandwich, cut two slices of bread into flower shapes with a cookie cutter.
  2. Cut a hole in one of the slices by pressing a water bottle cap into the center.
  3. Spread the peanut butter and jelly on the whole piece and place the slice with the hole on top.