Waste less – get crafty with kids

Posted 12-20-2012 at 12:11 PM by whitneywalters

My kids love doing crafts. In an effort to waste less we have been doing a lot of recycling in our crafts. It has been a lot of fun and is saving us money on craft supplies.

1. Toilet paper roll kaleidoscopes

  • Empty Toilet Paper Roll
  • Tape
  • 4,5″ x 4″ Cardboard Piece
  • 6″ x 6″ Shiny Gift wrap or Aluminum Foil
  • 1 Colored Construction Paper
  • Shiny Sticker Tape
  • Transparent Beads or Shine Colorful Sequence
  • 4″ x 4″ Clear Plastic Gift wrap
  • Stickers (lots of stickers)

Wrap the Cardboard piece with shiny gift wrap using tape. Fold it in three pieces making a long triangle. Insert the triangle into the toilet paper roll. Cover one end with clear wrap and attach it to the roll using tape. From the construction paper cut-out 3″ circle. Punch a hole in the middle of it and attach it to the other side of the toilet paper roll. Before you attach it put a spoonful of beads into the shiny triangle inside the roll.Cut out 3,5″ wide strip from the construction paper and cover the roll. Use shiny sticker tape/border to secure both tops/lids onto the roll. Decorate.
2. Toilet paper roll dolls
– These are so easy to do. Last time we made them we made clowns. We got fuzzy balls, markers and jiggly eyes and made our dolls. You can made them into anything you want. I have seen turkeys, cowboys and robots also.


3. Paper bag puppets

Materials Needed:

  • Glue
  • Regular or Decorative Edging Scissors


1. Create the Beak: Using scissors and pattern cut top and bottom of beak from yellow or orange paper and cut tongue from red paper.
2. Make the Eyes & Rosy Cheeks:  Cut two 1-1/4” circles from a bright color for circles around eyes. Glue two 15mm Wiggly Eyes to the center of the circles. Cut two 2” circles from a different bright color for cheeks.
3. Accent: Using a black marker, draw nostrils on top of beak and outline beak pieces.
4. Create the Bird: The bottom of the bag is the bird’s head. Glue bottom of beak to bag under flap. Glue tongue to bottom beak. Glue cheek circles to sides of head. Glue top of beak to head, placed above lower beak. Glue eyes in place, as shown.


4. Recycled egg carton critters


Paper egg carton
Acrylic paint and brushes
Assorted embellishments – googly eyes, beads, buttons, pipe cleaner, glitter glue


Check the picture below of the egg carton used for these critters.


It has large “towers” in the center that protect the eggs. This designis found in cartons that sell 18 eggs or more. If you don’t have this in your carton you can still make the short alien above and make your own legs from craft sticks.


Note: Adult assistance may be needed to cut the egg carton. This one is pressed and molded paper and very thick.
For the aliens with the legs, you will use the center cups. Cut out the cup including the sides of the towers as the “legs.” In the picture below, I colored in the area that you are cutting out.


5. Jean Pocket Magnets
– My daughter loves making these. We cut off the pockets from old blue jeans because I can make all kinds of things with them. One of the things we do are these magnets.

All you need it the jean pocket, a strong magnet and whatever you want to decorate the pocket with. My daughter likes fake flowers, with my help we glued the magnet on the back and the flower on the front. This magnet stays on the fridge and we have used it to hold coupons, pens, change, keys and so much more.


Diaper Swapers

Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays

Posted 12-20-2012 at 12:09 PM by HollyRay

It’s that time of year again, the time when my e-mail, facebook, and even my postal box is brimming with messages like “Keep the Christ in Christmas” and “Don’t say happy holidays! Say Merry Christmas!” There are two reasons this bothers me. First is that my graduate studies were in history and the “tradition” of Christian Christmas that I grew up with is not nearly as old as the holiday traditions of other cultures, but that discussion is for another blog. The second reason,the one I want to address, is simply because it makes the sender look bad, and leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

I really don’t care what anyone wishes me, as long as it is genuine, whether that wish is for Christmas or Kwanzaa. Whatever you believe this season to be about, the long and the short of it is love right? The message one sends when they choose to make a big deal over a greeting is not one of love, it is one of iggnorance and self-righteousness.  It is like saying my holiday is better than your holiday, which can sometimes boil down to my god is better than your god, and frankly those discussions get us no where and ultimately drag this festive season down. I’m not saying it is better to say Happy Holidays, but I am saying if you only say Merry Christmas because you want to prove a point you are missing the meaning for the reason you said Merry Christmas to begin with.

There is something else here though, the anger over the “politically correct” statement, it seems that people have the wrong idea about this. So often I hear “Happy Holidays is just a way of pushing Christ out of our society” maybe that is not the intent at all though. As I previously stated I don’t care what someone wishes me, but I have had a wonderful experience where I felt the wishing was genuine.

Heaven Has More Angels

Posted 12-20-2012 at 12:08 PM by Krista
Of course,  by now everyone has heard about the shooting that took place in an elementary school in Connecticut on Friday. When I heard, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. It is awful news no matter who you are, but as a mother–as a mother, the pain is so unique. The horror comes just a little closer to home. I have a four year old, a little girl who is almost in kindergarten. This story touched my heart, and at the same time I have empathy for each and every mother that sends their child to school now with the terror of the unknown pulling at her heart.
How do you come out of something like this? What is your recovery strategy? The world is such a terrifying, cruel place, created by the people who are in it. It’s hard to know who to trust. On the one hand, you don’t want to teach your kids to hide from life out of the sheer terror of what could happen. At the same time, what do you teach your five or six year old child? How do you prepare them for the possibility of death when their thoughts should center around hot cocoa and wishing for snow?
This shooting has been declared the second deadliest in the United States. It is stunning, and if it touches a mom who is nowhere near the shooting–as I am sure it grieved all of you–then I cannot imagine the pain the families are feeling. It is my prayer that we can all seek healing for our own hearts and especially for the families affected by this tremendous loss.

New Food

Posted 12-19-2012 at 02:14 PM by whitneywalters

I have written in the past about the new food battle we have in the house. The kids seem to go in stages when it comes to be their willingness to try something new. I try hard to make food I know everyone in this house will like. For awhile they were doing pretty good about eating whatever I made but my five year old daughter decided recently that she no longer wanted to eat if it was something she thought she wouldn’t like.

I made a ham and bean soup, nothing in it they had not had before and did not like. Destiny took one look at it, said yuck and refused to eat it. She had a fit for about fifteen minuets, refusing to even try it, telling me over and over again that she wanted a sandwich instead and that she did not like it what I made. We are the type of family that does not make something else, you eat what is made. Destiny knows this but she still likes to push to see if she can break that rule. When her fit finally ended, she decided to try the food after all and she ended up really liking it.

This was not the first time she has done this over a new good either. She refused to take a bite of her mashed potatoes because there was spices in it. I made ranch potatoes, I knew she would like them but she just flat out refused to take a bite. She ate everything else on her plate and then sat there pushing the potatoes back and fourth. I told her she had to at least try them before I would let her be done and after awhile she finally did. She ended up liking them so much she had a second helping.

No Poo Shampoo

Posted 12-19-2012 at 02:11 PM by brewanothercup

Let me start by saying that I have been an every day shampooer almost my entire life. I thrive on clean hair. I live for it. I don’t even hate drying my hair. I’d have a different shampoo for each day of the week if I could (and this is part of the reason we have always divided our bathrooms into his/hers in our homes – too many shampoo and conditioner bottles!).

My wedding stylist suggested I try going a week without shampooing before the wedding to get my hair style to “stay”. I didn’t even last 24 hours and she cursed me every minute she styled my hair (I kid you not). Daily shampooing is just my thing.

But…then I had a baby via c-section after an epic induction and hospital stay and I couldn’t stand, let alone shower, and before I knew it three days had passed without shampooing. Baths were out of the question, and I was honestly too busy to notice. Looking back in the pictures, my hair was actually pretty rockin’ despite being so filthy in my book.

As a mom, showering has become a relaxing luxury. It’s quiet and peaceful, relaxing and tranquil. When else do I have that kind of time? I couldn’t fathom passing it up…even when the “no ‘poo” idea sounded so tempting.

No ‘poo is the idea that you forgo regular shampoo for more natural alternatives – baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and maybe an essential oil or two. Sounded awesome, but I couldn’t imagine the smell or going more than 24 hours without shampooing. I decided to give it a go-ahead anyway and made some important discoveries:

Hoping for Baby Dust

Posted 12-19-2012 at 02:11 PM by Krista

As some of you may remember from my previous articles, my husband and I have been actively trying to conceive. I experienced a miscarriage last December, and while we have not been trying to conceive since that time, we have been off birth control and with a mindset of “whatever happens, happens.” Nothing has happened, and I have been charting my BBT and my ovulation for the last five months. If I don’t get pregnant this month, which I don’t expect to, I have an appointment with my OBGYN.

This is the same track we were on when we were trying to start a family. Those scared feelings are coming back in an eerie feeling of déjà vu. Infertility is definitely not something I want to relive. I have enough self esteem issues without feeling like I am the reason my husband and I can’t conceive. But that has to be the answer; it was the first time around (I wasn’t ovulating) so it makes sense that it would be this time, too.

I know that things are different this time around. At the end of the day, no matter what’s wrong, regardless of whether or not we can have another child, we have two beautiful daughters that we adore. If we can’t conceive this time, at least we know that we have our girls. At times it feels almost selfish to worry about it, but I do. Part of me doesn’t even want to know what’s wrong if it can’t be overcome.

Eating Better

Posted 12-18-2012 at 11:05 AM by Krista

My husband and I have for the last decade treated Primed as our primary doctor. Getting physicals and waiting for appointments just didn’t seem to fit into our busy schedules. (I know, I know! My girls have a pediatrician, though, and always make their appointments.) However, as my husband is closing in on his thirtieth birthday which will be next year he is getting more health conscious, and feels the need to bring me along for the ride. After his first physical his results reveled that he has elevated cholesterol levels.

Now, they are only slightly elevated and they can be fixed. We are just having to make changes to make sure that we do address the issue. For example –and this is largely my fault—the foods we eat need to have less butter and cream in them, and he needs to consume less fat. It’s funny how you don’t think about certain things until faced with needing to change you’re eating habits. For example, one of my favorite things to make is pot roast. I never realized, until the need arose to watch our cholesterol intake, how much fat there is in a pot roast.

Mommy Reading

Posted 12-18-2012 at 08:58 AM by brewanothercup

For as long as I can remember I have been a voracious reader – I read anything and everything I can get my eyes on. And since having my son, I sort of abandoned my reading ways for more fuctional things to do while nursing or rocking him to sleep: surfing facebook, looking around mommy forums, and the likes.  I still needed the escape, but the Kindle and books didn’t have the same type of portability my iPhone had (and reading on the iPhone is sort of painful).

I suddenly missed reading so much. I wanted to read my son long stories outloud like I had read my younger students. I wanted to find a book that I didn’t want to put down again…but I couldn’t carve out the time. And then it hit me: reading wasn’t just for me but a way to show him how important I thought it was. I needed to model reading, too, because even though he adores it, he’ll need to see we adore it, too.

I started by ordering one of my favorite childhood books that people rarely have heard of:The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodlesby Julie Andrews. I couldn’t put it down and read right through storytime while my husband read to our son. Griffin didn’t want me to read him a story that night – “Momma’s reading her book, you read me mine” he kept saying to my husband.


Posted 12-18-2012 at 08:56 AM by HollyRay

What is it about the term “hippie”? It seems to be such a derogatory statement, in so much that if you are a “hippie” you probably self label as “crunchy.”

I will be honest, I’m a bit crunchy, and grew up in a homesteading/hobby farm type environment. I wear my babies, ec, cloth diaper, exclusively breast feed for a year or more, make nearly everything we need myself, and if I could afford it I would buy everything fair trade, sustainable, and organic. I also enjoy art and culture, music, dance, and the theater. I love opera, and believe that if you are going to take part in that culture you should be dressed accordingly, I wear formal attire. I  just bought my daughter a tablet, own a smartphone, shop at Target, and GASP eat fast food once a week. Some of the things I do make me more crunchy then others, and I don’t mind that, but it does make me wonder why some people label me “hippie” as if it’s a bad thing.

Here are my examples:

Getting Healthy

Posted 12-18-2012 at 08:55 AM by Krista

I was born ten weeks premature, and as a result, I have always had bad eyes. At five years old I was wearing glasses before it was common for little kids to wear them. My eyesight is so bad that they always have been big, huge rims until I was paying for them myself! I’ve had four eye surgeries to tighten the muscles, though I was only old enough at the last one to remember it. (I cried blood when it was over and done with—Creepy!)

Recently my husband decided we should start going to a regular doctor because continuing to go to Primed was difficult since you see a new doctor each time. We needed to get a regular doctor who would be more familiar with our medical history, and who we could call in case of emergency (did you know that without a family doctor the emergency room will not answer any questions? You just have to come on in and wait your turn.). Doctors freak me out, I’m not even going to lie. As a woman easily fifty pounds overweight—thank you, PCOS!—I am always afraid they are going to tell me I am on the verge of heart failure and diabetes and all the rest.