August 27, 2011

Milk Carton Blocks Tutorial

When I was a kid, I can remember my mom buying milk in glass bottles, in bags, and then in cartons.  It wasn't until I was older that she switched to buying jugs of milk, probably because my brothers and I LOVED drinking milk.  I still love it.  Now that I have my own family, we also enjoy drinking milk, and usually go through two 4L jugs in a week and a half (is that average??).  On occasion though, we do buy milk products (like cream, buttermilk, whipping cream, eggnog...) in cartons.  But what to do with those lovely cartons when you've emptied them?  They're not really recyclable, unfortunately.  
We make BLOCKS.  
My mom did this when I was a kid, and we used them for absolutely EVERYTHING!  They could be food for our kitchen, we could use them to build towers or houses, do bowling with them, make birdhouses...
Here's a quick how-to on making your own milk carton blocks.
 After you've finished using your carton, rinse it thoroughly and stash it somewhere until you have enough to make a couple blocks.  Each block requires TWO cartons.
Then open up the tops...
 Cut off the tops... you won't need them.
 Then take two cartons that are the same size.  Squish one slightly to insert it into the other, and PUSH until they form a block!
 Voila!  Your own milk carton blocks!  They are super durable for both indoor and outdoor play (although my dog has chewed them apart on occasion!)

For more great ideas on what to do with leftover milk cartons check out Frugal Family Fun Blog

August 25, 2011

Blessing Bags

I stumbled upon the Kids with a Vision blog somehow... probably through a link off of Pinterest, as that seems to be where I like to spend time lately... But it is chalk-full of FABULOUS ideas to help change you and your children's perspectives of the people around them. I was so blessed and challenged as I read what this group of moms and a grandma are doing to change the hearts and minds of little ones to see others through the eyes of Jesus and to step outside of themselves and SERVE others in practical and loving ways. YES! Children can serve others! I can't wait to do some of these things with my kids... in fact, I may run to the dollar store today so that we can build some of our own blessing bags!
Photo: KWAV

Check out the link below...

KWAVs: Blessing Bags How To: Have you ever come across a homeless individual and felt totally uncomfortable? You see them and you know they are in need, but you are no...

August 12, 2011

When the Husband's Away, the Mom gets CREATIVE

My husband was away with work last week, so it was me ALONE with my children for three and a half days!  Yikes!  Not only that but it was HOT and we were all a tad bit grumpy... to say the least.
So, I put my thinking cap on to come up with some outdoor activities (inspired by one of my most FAVORITE blogs, Frugal Family Fun Blog) that involved WATER (because my kids decided they were tired of their pool - in 30 degree weather - whatever!) and SHADE to help fill our days and chase the grumpies away!
So, I mixed up a bunch of water in different containers with different food colouring in each container.  Dug out some old infant medicine droppers that I had kept, and away the kids went!  They MIXED and BLENDED and EXPERIMENTED with colours to their hearts content.  And the CLEAN-UP (once the colours had all been mixed to make a lovely murky black-brown colour?) involved dumping the water over the side of the deck onto the grass below!

 After the novelty had worn off from mixing colours, onto the next activity!  While the kids were busy, I quickly looked up instructions for folding paper boats, made some sails with toothpicks and construction paper and down to the pool we went for some SAILING races!

 YES!  It even enticed them into the water!
 Next was supper.  Aria wanted spaghetti, and I remembered something that I saw on Pinterest.  
Source: Spaghetti via Carmen on Pinterest
I thought it looked disgusting, but I knew the kids would LOVE it, and they would be able to help make it.  All that's required for this child-pleasing recipe is dry spaghetti and hotdogs.
 Simply poke the noodles through the chopped up, uncooked hotdogs (be careful, the noodles do break quite easily).

 BEFORE: kind of looks like porcupines...

 AFTER: looks more like a limp spider or jellyfish!
Needless to say, I made my own spaghetti (sans hotdogs) but the kids really enjoyed making their own supper, and thought it was great fun to eat!

August 5, 2011

Summer Outdoor Art

Its been so hot out lately, and the kids have just wanted to stay indoors to avoid the heat.
Aria was asking for some sort of painting to do, and I remembered a blog I had seen at Frugal Family Fun Blog about outdoor painting methods that I wanted to try.  So, we mixed up some tempera paint...
 I had bought the spray bottles at the dollar store, knowing that we were going to try "spray-painting" sometime soon.  Both kids LOVED spraying the paper, but because we were using newsprint, I suggested they not SOAK just one spot (or else it tears)

 It created a very nice "watercolor" effect backdrop to the paint strokes of the brushes.  To finish the whole thing off Aria used a great splatter technique of flicking her paintbrushes at the paper.  And since we were outside, and I was out of splatter-range, I let her splatter to her heart's delight.  (I was not as impressed later when she decided to paint her legs with the leftover paint... luckily it was bath night!)

Aria was of course, much more interested in the painting for longer than Roscoe, and the wind often threatened to steal the painting away, but it was a fun, easy to clean up outdoor craft activity!

August 4, 2011

You Say Tomato, I Say YUMMY!

It has been exciting days in my garden of late, as the tomatoes are starting to ripen up and turn RED.  
I have been snacking off the DELISHIOUSNESS that are my little cherry tomatoes, 
but this evening I harvested my first big tomato... and it was a MUTANT!  
But, I used it for my supper anyways and 
it. was. yum.
 My husband cannot eat tomatoes (his loss, my gain...) so tonight I enjoyed some Fasta Pasta a recipe taken from a Best of Bridge cookbook, I believe, where tomatoes are the STAR!

2 cups of halved cherry tomatoes (or any tomatoes, really)
1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil or 1/2 Tbsp dried (I enjoyed some lovely basil from my kitchen garden)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and let sit.

Make enough pasta for two (I used egg noodles tonight)
Add 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
Toss everything together, cover and set aside until cheese melts.
(I also added in some leftover roasted chicken from last night's supper)