May 20, 2015
by sarah
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Edible Gifts and Whimsical Decor

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As the school year winds to an end the teacher thank you gifts are on the top of my to do list. This year, inspired by my vegetable garden, I have been making edible potted plants for teachers (SHHHH don’t tell Mrs. T). I have had great fun searching the local nursery for different color and textured herbs and leafy greens.

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After we put together the pots. I had the girls make garden ornaments to add their touch to the gift. Here is how we put them togehter:

Whimsical Garden Decor

Supplies

  • metal wire dry cleaning shirt hanger
  • beads (pony beads work great)
  • needle nosed pliers (with cutting capacity)
  • pipe cleaners (optional)

Directions

  1. Cut up the shirt hanger into several six inch pieces. I avoided the twisted end because it made threading the beads too difficult. plant decor 2
  2. With the pliers twist one end into a loop.
  3. Have the kids start placing beads on the metal piece. Stop 1/2 way down the wire and bend the wire into a little zigzag this will prevent the beads from falling down. plant decor 1
  4. Stop there if you would like. Or put pipe cleaner “wings” on by twisting the pipe cleaner into two loops and then twisting it between two beads.
  5. Poke into potted plant.

 

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May 19, 2015
by sarah
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Upcycling with zippers

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This post about making storage containers with soda bottles and zippers sent me strait to the fabric store in search of 10 inch zippers.  We also had a ton of fizzy water bottles laying around the recycling bin. I get a little too excited about projects some times.

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These fun containers took a little practice with the glue gun to make a smooth seal and not melt the plastic bottle. A success in the end. The kids love their special place to put treasures.

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May 16, 2015
by jenny
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Crepes

Last weekend my son asked for pancakes.  I did not want to stand at the stove flipping pancakes. I remembered seeing a recipe for a baked pancake, which in the picture I saw looked something like coffee cake. I set myself to the internet to find it. And before I knew what was happening my daughter and I had made a dutch baby (baked) pancake instead of the style of baked pancake I was looking for. Feeling adventurous, and having an interested 9 year old sous chef on hand, I declared it an International Breakfast and thought we’d try our hand at crepes. I’ve never been much impressed by crepes, but thought maybe my kids would enjoy them.

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(That’s the dutch baby, I can’t find the recipe, but it was titled baked pancake.)

If you like crepes, and have never made them at home, they are SUPER easy. It was my first time, and having worked a couple stints at kitchen supply stores, I thought they’d be hard knowing there were special tools available (of which we have none). But, no, they were super easy. We used this recipe for Basic Crepes.

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If you have never had crepes before I guess maybe the filling is the exciting part. What we had on hand this time was Nutella, raspberries with whipped cream, and breakfast sausage/spinach/cheese.  IMG_4065

My middle daughter, who helped make them, captured the taste, flavor and texture of crepes the best. My son didn’t really want to try them (he had eaten the majority of the dutch baby), and my daughter tried to coerce him into it by saying “Come on, try it, it’s just tastes like a cold thin breakfast noodle.”

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All of the crepes had just one small crater/dimple like this when cooking. I didn’t see a pattern to where/why it appeared. Anyone crepe makers have incite?

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May 13, 2015
by jenny
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Trellises & Jenny’s Garden Update

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And a few days ago, Sarah asked me about my new trellises.

The plan for these are to support my snap peas. I’m planning to tie garden twine around  for more climbing surfaces, but haven’t gotten to it yet.

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This is the time of season my mind goes crazy watching things grow. I’m still amazed and awed every single time I shove a seed into the ground, walk away and it has grown into something a week later.

Even the perennials can impress – two days ago this was just green, now I don’t even understand why there are that many flowers packed into that small of a space on one plant.  Crazy. Amazing.

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May 8, 2015
by sarah
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Craft Stick Dolls

craft stick 3One of my youngest daughters buds is having her fourth birthday this week. She is very into imaginative play. I’m getting the please no gift vibe from mom. After I saw this post about Craft Stick Dolls, I thought they were the perfect little “gift”. All my the kids (plus one cousin) got into making their own version. Some needed help with faces, others just liked to tape.  craft stick 2

The big boy found a stick with a knot and added arms for a zombie.  craft stick 1

Then if you are like me and figure that 500 craft sticks is the cheapest option. Here are other things to do with them.

 

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April 30, 2015
by jenny
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Credit Report for Kids

We get a bunch of junk mail to our house regularly that isn’t quite right. Some we very regularly get are my father’s first name and middle initial (though my husband shares my dad’s first name but not middle initial), with our last name and a Jr. tacked on the end (neither my dad nor husband are Jr.’s), my brother-in-law’s name, my in-law’s names, and my name spelled with one N and a different middle initial. Some we can kind of figure out – my brother-in-law gifted a magazine subscription to us once with billing in his name and some of those are subscription offers, and I probably processed a donation my in-laws made for my kids and used my address since most of those letters are fundraiser solicitations.

But for the past 6 years my now 10 year old daughter has been getting regular Miracle Ear and other hearing aid advertisements and tourism brochures targeted to senior citizens, and a few times she has received credit card applications. Sometimes I’ll call the hearing aid people, it’s often local private offices, and ask where they got their marketing list from, they almost always claim it is their personal list of costumers and not a purchased list. They act shocked that they are mailing to an 8 year old!

You can imagine I have worried about her information being part of an identity theft scheme. Every few months we (along with everyone else) receive information that our personal information has been compromised through some account. Recently, I read through all of the information sent and protection programs offered and decided to check my credit score which I hadn’t done in a few years. I had heard it was a giant pain to check a minor’s score, a cost was involved and it was not worth it since likely there was nothing or it might cause flags or something else, so I never did it. I have also been a little scared the results may show tens of thousands owed by my daughter.

But it turns out none of the rumors I heard or fears I had hold any truth. Aside from postage (the application cannot be processed online like adults), the process was free, wasn’t difficult and allegedly will put no flags or additional risk for the kids. I had to print out and copy a few forms (utility bill, birth certificate, my driver’s license sort of thing). I mailed in the forms for all three of my children in one envelope to Experian and got a letter back a couple weeks later saying (thankfully) there are no credit records for any of the kids. Easy.

It’s probably best to check with a credit or financial professional before doing anything with your child’s name, but if you were thinking the process was scary, difficult or involved, it wasn’t.

My daughter does have what some call an “old fashioned” name. Maybe this is what got her on an old deaf world traveler targeted mailing lists? I don’t think we’ll ever know.

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April 27, 2015
by jenny
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Fabric Stash Project: Southern Fabric Rainbow Baby Quilt

This quilt pattern has been stuck in my head since Southern Fabric Blog posted it 5 months ago.  I really love the way it looks – simple, clean, colorful and happy.

I have forced myself into a fabric buying hiatus in order to work through my fabric stash. It can be difficult and is very un-inspiring, but the Rainbow Baby Quilt was inspirating. A family baby shower invitation also provided some inspiration. My first pass looking for colors forced me to sort and straighten up the fabric stash as I picked out and cut out colored squares (slightly inspiring touching and thinking about my collection, as any crafter knows). I wasn’t sure my stash would hold rainbow-y enough colors. I cut up an old sheet from my mother-in-law for all of white.

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After I thought I had all of the squares cut, my older daughter agreed to help me.

It was great fun for me to share this with her and we seemed to get a ton done. We sewed, cut and ironed. But I didn’t stress the care and precision needed in quilt squares enough, and I ended up ripping out, re-ironing, re-sewing and trimming every square later. Un-inspiring. I put the project away for a few weeks, when I got it out again to piece together, I found out that I’d somehow only made about 2/3rds of the necessary squares. Un-inspiring. I put it away for another couple weeks and again wasn’t entirely fulfilled by my stash selection of colors when I got it back out. Finally, with the  shower date approaching, I pulled it out one last time and buckled down.

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And in the end I was really very happy with the finished product (and that I had big enough backing fabric and batting in my stash!) It’s pretty, no? I kind of want to make another.

This really is a great beginner quilt pattern, and does go together quickly and easily (once inspired). It’s also small enough to easily machine quilt on a standard machine. I machine quilted in the ditch in straight white lines following the white triangle path (horizontal, vertical and on one diagonal), which went very quickly and easily.

I originally was going to use the backing material for binding due to stash limitations, but went with piecing oranges together and think that was a good choice. I machine bound it. I’m not very good at machine binding, but did pretty well this time.

I used the quilt (and the leftover length of the binding) to wrap up the rest of the shower gift (something from the registry), and a family favorite board book as directed in the invitation for the card, and mailed it off to the shower.

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Thank you Southern Fabric Blog (of which I am only a fan and have no other affiliation) for the inspiration!

 

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