Monday, September 30, 2013


This video above is a trailer from the documentary Midway. It has been heavy on my heart since I first came across it a few weeks ago. This is the reason I am feeling compelled to share it on my normally very lighthearted blog. 

Here is a little bit about the journey of this film:

Midway Atoll, one of the most remote islands on earth, is a kaleidoscope of geography, culture, human history, and natural wonder. It also serves as a lens into one of the most profound and symbolic environmental tragedies of our time: the deaths by starvation of thousands of albatrosses who mistake floating plastic trash for food.
The images are iconic. The horror, absolute. Our goal, however, is to look beyond the grief and the tragedy. It is here, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, that we have the opportunity to see our world in context. On Midway, we can not deny the impact we have on the planet. Yet at the same time, we are struck by beauty of the land and the soundscape of wildlife around us, and it is here that we can see the miracle that is life on this earth. So it is with the knowledge of our impact here that we must find a way forward.

The devastating truth in this video has impacted me in so many ways. My stroll in the market has changed as I feel like I am about to enter a confrontation with each and every piece of plastic waste in the store. And what do you do? What do I do? One person in this very large world. I debated showing this video to my 6-year-old. This is not my usual parenting ways. I never want to burden my children with the aches of the world before they have the tools to change the world, but this topic I felt was different. This wastefulness that our world has come accustomed to can be changed by our children. That is where I found hope.

I never showed my innocent wee ones this video, I didn't want to break their little hearts, but I am taking a stand to not only lead by example, but also educate  my children on what exactly is happening in this world and how they can make a change. It's small steps, but hopefully many small steps will lead us to many big changes.

Please take a moment to check out Midway and their incredible journey.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

No-Cook Treat: Dates and Walnut Balls

Oh yes, fall has arrived and for some reason it made me think of these yummy date balls that my friend filled me in on last fall. She is my whole food loving, partner in crime and like me is always looking for a healthy treat to give the little ones.

Best thing about this-- what you see above is all that is in these sweet fall treats! You need about 1 cup each of dry pitted dates and shelled walnuts.
First, measure out a cup each of the walnuts and dates. Emma and I have been talking a lot about measurements as we cook. This recipe was a good chance for her to get some more hands-on practice.

 Next, with adult supervision, let your child toss all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Emma took her time while sneaking bites of each and telling me how sticky the dates felt. We talked a lot about dates since this was a new food we haven't used much. Emma was interested in where and how they grow. (I needed some help from Google on that one!)

 Once everything is in the blender, it's your turn to take over for a minute. Get the walnuts and dates processed down to a paste-like texture. It takes a few minutes and a few scrapes with a spoon to get it all fully incorporated.

 Use a spatula to get the mix out of the blender and let those little clean hands get to work on rolling the mix into balls. Easy-peasy, right? If you have any treats left after your little ones have been eating and rolling, the balls can be stored in the refrigerator.

I can't tell you how good these are. No need for sugar to have a special treat after dinner this fall! Enjoy!

I shared this recipe over at Kiwi Crate.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Easy No-Sew Halloween Costumes!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love pulling out my glue gun and fabric scraps and getting crafty. The other night I actually lost sleep as I brainstormed on how I would make the kids their requested pirate and pirate princess costumes this year--only to wake and be told they changed their minds and now want to be Spider-man (yuck, how to I get crafty with Spider-man? Red sequins and blue velvet perhaps??) and a black cat. This has happened about 23 times now. 

I wanted to share with you a few easy costumes I have made over the years. Some of these were before I became a crafty blogger, so unfortunately I do not have step-by-step photos. I will do my best to give instructions, but feel free to email any questions.

 This sweet little bluebird is my all-time favorite. The costume is just blue tights, yellow shoes and a blue onesie. I cut a blue feather boa in half and hot glued one half to the front and the other half to the back in a snake like pattern to get good coverage. I saved a few inches of the boa to add some feathers on the wrist of the onesie and I also made a little hat using a surgical mask (see top photo.)

 When Emma was two we went to a little Halloween party and had to have coordinating costumes! She was a flower garden and I was Mother Nature, of course. I pulled out that trusty glue gun again and on a plain brown t-shirt I added all sorts of artificial flowers, leaves, butterflies and some sweet little bees.
 Paired with a "grass" green tutu she was the sweetest little flower garden ever! Oh and a butterfly glued to a hair clip was a fun touch, too.

 For my very simple costume I just wore some neutral colored tights and long earthy top. I used a few of the leaves from Emma's garden and pined them to my shoulders. I think I might have even had a little bird on my shoulder. A braided headband with some more glued on leaves was perfect. So very easy!

 Sushi, anyone? This fun costume is just felt cut-out to look like a salmon roll and yes, once again hot glued to a onesie. This could be sewn as well, but with two little ones this was the best I could do. When using hot glue on clothing, the secret is to keep breaks in the front and back to allow the clothing to still stretch. If you glue all the way around it won't be able to move in order to get on.

 Cute little sushi rolls!

 My sweet little nephew chick! This was made just like the bluebird along with a red feather in a baby hat. We also used some white baby leg warmers to complete the look. How adorable is he??

 My little world changer! I cut out a felt cape and used iron-on letters and earth for the back.

 I ironed on a peace sign to the front of a blue t-shirt and used green fabric paint and glitter to create a peaceful world. Hehe!

 This tutu is so very easy to make and can become any sort of little girls costume by just changing the colors and adding a few details. This is the hair band style tutu. You tie long strips of tulle through the band until you get the desired fullness. You can then add ribbon and flowers to finish it off.

 This one became a witch costume. I have also used this technique to make a lady bug, bee, rainbow, sunshine and princess costume.

Halloween is a great time to get creative and also show children that with our imaginations and a few art materials we can dream up anything (and much better than what they might be asking for at the store.) I encourage you to make your own costumes this year and do so with your children. It's a great tradition to have and much better for our minds and world!
Happy Halloween crafting!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Glove Puppets

Making up stories is a favorite in our house. I love telling the kids stories in bed at night and adding little sneaky lessons to learn or including a challenge we had that day. It is a way they will listen and learn without pushing the idea away. 
Emma has become quite the little story teller herself. I love to see her imagination endlessly create and watch her confidence grow. We made a fun hand puppet to add to her story telling fun. She really enjoyed making her puppets and she especially enjoys using it while telling stories. The puppet also seems to get the attention of Grayson and really engage him in the story.
 Emma's teacher recently said he uses a puppet to talk to the class and that the kids really listen to this puppet. It made me giggle (mostly because I would love to see him chatting to the kids in a "puppet voice,") but also because it is amazing what a silly puppet or even just a silly voice can do when you are dealing with children. I think it is a genius idea and I may start walking around my house with an assortment of puppets to parent my children. Just imagine the things we would accomplish in this house!

 On to the hand puppet instructions.

foam sheets
new kitchen sponges
googly eyes
tacky glue
child size glove

 Emma decided on going with a theme. You could do anything really, but she wanted--The Three Little Pigs. We cut the sponges into round faces for the pigs and wolf and even made a little house.

 Next, we cut foam pieces to be our details on our puppet faces. We added them onto each sponge with a little glue.

 You could use foam for eyes as well, but we went with googly eyes.

 The faces are added to each finger of the glove with tacky glue, but be sure to have something in the fingers of the glove to prevent them from sticking together. We used the foam sheet scraps, paper would work, too.
Once each finger puppet was in place I set a heavy book on top of the glove to be sure our puppets dried in place.

The next day we were ready for some story telling puppet theater! This has been such a good tool for both my kids to build confidence and spark those beautiful imaginations.

For more details, I shared this over on Kiwi Crate.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Healthy Plate

 I truly believe you can set a path for your children to create healthy eating habits as soon as they can take down the mush. Being a healthy role model is of course the most important, but I also like to educate my children about nutrition. By making this healthy plate craft, my kids really got involved in decisions about their food choices. Here's a fun way to teach your kiddos how to eat healthy, balanced meals!

 I first drew a diagram on a few paper plates. Half of the plate was for fruits and veggies and the other half was split for proteins and grains. We talked about these groups of food and gave a few examples of what kind of food might fit into each one.

 Next, they got to personalize their plates by drawing a few of their favorite foods into the correct spot on the plate.

 This eventually turned into a fun game for them. I would name a food and they would decide which group the food would fit into. What a fun way to learn about nutrition!

We keep our "healthy plates" in the kitchen and the kids like to build their meals just like the diagram. They are making healthy choices and learning how to balance a meal to fit their growing bodies. And this makes my heart smile.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Flying Saucer

 So, you probably know that in our house we make a lot of girlie accessories, fairy attire and unicorn paintings. Emma has always ran the show in our art room, but lately my little Grayson as been showing more and more interest in creating and although he is totally cool with beads and tutu's--I wanted to create something special with him.
Emma and I knew he would be very excited to make any sort of flying device and we did have some leftover paper plates on hand, so a flying saucer it was!

 We started by gluing two plates together and painting them silver. Tacky glue works best (I think I say this for every project, but it is true!)

 While the paint was still wet we sprinkled on the glitter. It was looking pretty "out of this world!"

 OK, so I must be honest, this is Emma doing all the work. We lost the little guy at step win some you lose some, right? And Emma had to have gems all around the edge of the saucer. I actually loved this special touch of hers.

 We used googly eyes and large pom-poms for our aliens. Are they cute or what?

When we were finished with our very awesome flying saucer you better believe our little "too busy to craft" guy was back in action wanting to fly our saucer all over the yard. I guess it was a success after all.
I shared this over at Kiwi Crate, join me there for this craft and much more.

Monday, September 9, 2013

No-Cook Oatmeal

Is it just me or can school mornings feel like herding sheep in all different directions? It's chaotic and rushed and the morning always ends with not enough breakfast eaten, hair never brushed to my satisfaction and something always left behind. Last year, I found a few things to be very helpful in making the morning run more smoothly and one of them was healthy breakfast recipes that could be made on Sundays for the entire week.
Refrigerator Oatmeal is fun to make with the kids and is a very healthy option to grab easily for the whole family each morning.

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup milk (we like almond milk in ours)
1 tbs chia seed
1 tbs greek yogurt

 We use wide mouth mason jars for our oatmeal. Any container will work, but I suggest using glass. Emma helps me make about 6 of these jars each Sunday, that way we have them ready for the week. She adds all of our ingredients to a jar.

 Once everything is in it's time for the fun--shake away!! She loves this step!

 We place our jars in the refrigerator and in the morning we have breakfast ready to go. Once you have this basic recipe down it is easy to change up to fit each family member. You can add fresh fruit to it when you are ready to eat and this can be eaten hot or cold.

I like being able to grab a jar and head to the park with Grayson. Emma likes hers warmed with a little honey. This is such a great way to be sure we are eating a healthy breakfast each day and leaves more time for hugs, kisses and hair brushing!

If you like this simple "made ahead" breakfast, check out my Easy Eggs for the Week recipe.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The "With Me All Day" Pendant

 Summer is officially over for us. Tomorrow is the first day back to school. While the excitement is running high, I noticed today there is a bit of nervous bugs biting, as well. I didn't want to stomp on the happy parade and talk way too much, so instead I asked Em to make me a necklace to wear while she was at school. I told her I might be a little sad after spending all summer together (complete truth!) and that a little reminder of her would help me. Before she even got started with mine she asked if I would make her one, too. Of course I will, my sweet girl, of course.

This is the one she made for me. I love it. We used oven dry clay and our hands! Before we popped them into the oven we added a small hole using a toothpick. They baked at 275 degrees for about 15 minutes. When cooled we just threaded onto a piece of twine and had our sweet pendants ready for tomorrow.
I think this will definitely help me get through those first few days.