Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Light Storage Idea

Christmas joy...

Holiday lights are always a tough item to put away because people don't know what to do with them. Such an easy way to put your lights away for next year, wrap them around a piece of cardboard. There is always cardboard laying around, you don't need to buy anything special. The cardboard keeps them tangle free till next year.

Merry Christmas

Where did the month go? I wanted to make more decorations, get a newer tree and so much more. Just no time at all. It seemed like the holidays just flew by. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. So many ideas and plans for next year, so I guess I need to start planning sometime in June so that I'm ready for November in 2012.

Here is a great idea from the handy Martha Stewart, I love it because it is a no cost way to store and keep your ornaments safe. Check it out here.

Hope to post some holiday photos soon. If anyone has some wonderful holiday storage ideas, send them my way.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fun quick project to do with the kids. Older kids could do this on their own y

Fun quick project to do with the kids. Older kids could do this on their own younger kids will need help. Some cardboard, holiday ribbon, scissors, glue & glitter. Cut out any shape you want from the cardboard then spread glue all over the cut out cardboard. Have the kids sprinkle glitter all over the glue. Mix it up if you want, we used red and green. After it has dried punch a hole at the top and attach a piece of ribbon. These look wonderful.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Gift From The Kids

As you know, I love working on crafts with kids. And I always adjust a craft with a child’s age. My nephew has been getting excited about turkeys and while he is still learning about Thanksgiving, I thought why not create a craft that would let me teach him about colors and the turkey.

I let him pick which hand he wanted to rub into black paint. Then with my help he left an imprint on white paper. So his hand is the turkey’s body. Then because he is 2 1/2 and his sister is a little over a year old I wanted to make the feathers out of something they both could do. So I laid out 3 coffee filters and let them use washable markers to decorate the coffee filters. And I only put out fall colors, such as red, orange, yellow and brown. They did this for about 30 minutes, they had so much fun. Then you wet the coffee filter and squeeze it out. The washable markers run and color the entire coffee filter. I then lay it out to dry. I usually stretch these projects out over a few days with the kids. The next day I laid out some white printer paper and let my nephew paint with washable watercolors on the paper. He was having a blast, and what he painted would become the background for his turkey. This is such a fun project, the coffee filter became the turkey’s feathers, and I just glued it on to the back of the turkey. And to make it a little more special I bought a frame at the dollar store. Very cute, and the kids had fun.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween 2011, now on to Thanksgiving

Another Arizona Halloween has passed, it was warm but something we are all used to. What would the kids do if they had to trick or treat in the weather I grew up in during Halloween?
There were a lot of kids out considering Halloween was on a school night again, it's been a few years since Halloween was on a regular weeknight. Hope everyone had a wonderfully spooky Halloween, now it's time for Christmas. It's funny I am such a fan of Christmas, and I really look forward to the stores and decorations, but this year it seemed that the holiday music stated the day after Halloween and now a neighbor across the street just put their Christmas lights up, I enjoy the arrival of the holiday decorations but I think it might be a little too early even for me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halloween Salt Dough Project

When I was little we made so many crafts out of salt dough. It really is the best, simple craft projects you can make. And the variety of things you can make are endless. Growing up we had a light fixture in the dining room that hung from a chain over our dining room table. We hung salt dough bats, pumpkins and witches from it. Depending on the moisture or heat in your home these decorations can last years. But even if they only last one season, the best part is you can make them all over again next year.

This year I decided to make some with my nephew Tristan. He is 2 1/2 years old and I'm proud that he is such a lover of arts and crafts. I cut the recipe into a quarter of it and that worked fine for him. When only using a 1/4 of the recipe below it gave him 7 items to paint. If you have any dough over, place it into a zip lock bag and save for a few days.

1 Cup of Salt
1 Cup of Flour
1/2 Cup of Warm Water

Mix all the ingredients together. I place some flour on a cookie sheet and put the dough on the cookie sheet. Mix the dough together with some flour so its easier to handle. Roll it out to about a 1/4 of an inch thickness. We used some cookie cutters, and my wife Michelle designed her own ghost with a steak knife. I used a cookie sheet because once you have used up all your dough, you can just bake them right there on the cookie sheet. For some of my nephews ghosts I poked a hole in the top of the ghost so I can attach yarn to it for a necklace for him. I used a push pin, however you can also use a straw. Cook the Salt Dough creations at 300 Degrees for about 20 minutes. They will be done when they are had to the touch.

After they have cooled, paint them and hang for some spooky fun. Such a fun and yes, CHEAP family craft project.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween Light Switch Plates

My dad is such a creative person, and I love these light switch covers he designed. So I had to share them. He made these for us not long after my daughter was born and we still have them. It's not exactly a simple project to do with the kids, but still thought I would share it. He has made us a turkey one for Thanksgiving and a snowman for Christmas. It's a thin piece of plywood, a jigsaw and some creative hands. While my dad designed them, my mom painted them. Of course if you want an easier project to do with the kids, buy plain wooden switch plate covers from your local home imporvement store and let the kids (or yourself) paint them with their own fun holiday scenes. Such a great decoration item for your home.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Backyard Haunted House

Halloween in my family has always been huge, I still remember the salt dough decorations we would make and hang from our dining room lamp with yard (that project will be posted next week). My mom and dad being the crazy creative people they are let us create a neighborhood haunted house in our backyard one year. That one time, then turned into a yearly event.

This photo includes me at age 14 and my grandma as a "bag lady".

My mom and dad would go to garage sales all the time, and throughout the year would find old costumes and decorations, anything great that could be used for Halloween. I mean we had a small room in our house filled with holiday boxes. So we would use these old decoration to decorate our back yard. We would use old sheets and hang them from the patio to create "rooms" that visitors to our haunted house would walk through. And as you know I love to post things that don't really cost you anything. So ask around, maybe family members have some old decorations, lights or
sheets. Even old clothing is great to stuff with newspaper to make lifelike people out of. I think the only thing we would buy at the store was the candy and those webs that come in a bag. Each room would be made up of a scene and one of our friends would hide out in the room to scare visitors. We used colored floodlights and black lights to set the scene. At the end of the haunted house tour we would pass candy out to the visitors. We never charged and admission, it was just so much fun for people to enjoy our haunted house. This is such a great project for kids and adults to work on together. And it's never too late, there is still time to scare your neighbors with a haunted house before Halloween. If you have any questions, send me an email. Happy Haunting.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Ghost In The Yard....

This is a great idea for a front yard decoration. And some people will have these items already in their homes. You can substitute the white bed sheet for the cheesecloth if you don't have any cheesecloth sitting around. Remember I love ideas that are free or inexpensive and this is one of them. Bed sheets are really awesome because so many people just throw them out but you can make mini ghosts as well and give them to friends, family or a favorite teacher...cute Halloween gift.

Thanks to HGTV for this idea with some great step by step pictures.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Locate A Real Haunted House

Ok everyone wants to visit on, especially now that there are so many ghost shows on television, even the kids love it. There is a really great site online that tells you where there are haunted houses across the country. And these are not well produced haunted houses where you pay $20.00 to get in. These are actual old buildings or sites that have been reported "haunted". Very interesting site.
Real Haunts - For real old homes and sites that are haunted, mostly free.

And here you can find constructed haunted houses, hayrides and more.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


It's really hard to believe that today is the 1st of October. Really where has the year gone? And trust me I am not complaining, I love the next three months. Martha Stewart is a fun obsession, while most of her crafts are not items you can do without running out to the craft store. Every now and then I share something that she has come up with that is perfect to do with the kids, and this Halloween decoration is just that.

Mice Silhouettes
I got this idea from the Martha Stewart site. This is such a fun project to do because it's possible to do this at home without buying anything. What you will need is some black construction paper, scissors and tape. You can get a rat or mouse pattern here:

Cut them out and place them on stair risers, baseboards, or any spot where it could spook someone. They are wonderful and the kids will have fun placing them around the house.

You can get the entire project here at Martha's site. Enjoy. And look for some more Halloween ideas all month long.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Move over summer, fall is coming

I will tell you, it's always great when Labor Day approaches. While we continue to see 100 degree days for a while, it's a great sign that soon fall / winter will be here. Every week, I love to clean the house, a simple cleaning but effective. About once a season I do a great scrub cleaning. I really make sure I do it in March and again in September. One of the hardest spots for me is the bathroom.

When cleaning your bathroom, fixtures are the hardest so take time to give your fixtures a little TLC.

Vinegar is a miracle cleaner and one of the most inexpensive you can buy. I mean a small bottle of vinegar will run you $1.00, and it has so many uses.

Get rid of calcium deposits on faucets by soaking a cloth or paper towel in white distilled vinegar and wrapping the area tightly. Let this sit for a couple of hours or overnight.

Remove soap buildup from faucets by scrubbing them with a solution of 1 part salt to 4 parts white distilled vinegar. While I have not tried the salt part, I did mix 1/2 cup hot water and 1/4 cup of vinegar and scrubbed my faucet with a towel. It did work. So good luck. Faucets are hard, and it's the one item in your bathroom that is used the most.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Back To School

Summer his finally come to and end, almost. We here in Arizona continue to see summer temperatures till Halloween or later, but it's always a good sign because that means fall and winter are right around the corner.

The end of august also is the end of a very busy birthday season for our family. Pretty much from April - August we have almost a dozen birthdays and holidays such as Father's Day and Mother's Day. I wanted to share a video we made for my mother in laws birthday. We made one with Dora, because she looks a little like Dora. The little ones in the family liked it because Dora is very popular with them. So enjoy, and welcome back to school.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stain Chart

Saw this posted this week, and thought it was a great thing to have posted in your laundry room. It's nice to know that you can use items just hanging around your house instead of that $5.00 bottle of name brand stain remover.
This is from marthastewart.com. The site has some great tips.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer 2011

It's hard to believe August is right around the corner. Kids will be returning to school and it won't be long before the summer heat is gone.

Here are some fun and FREE projects to keep the kids busy with their last few days of summer vacation:

1. Make and decorate a kite. $1.00 at the local dollar store.

2. Get an old pair of sunglasses and let the kids decorate it by Painting them, maybe a little glitter or beads.

3. Make a bug catcher. Use an old spaghetti sauce jar, the kids can decorate it and try and catch some summer bugs. Examine them, research them online and then let them go. The kids will love it.

4. Find some garden rocks and paint them. Maybe one can become a dog and one a bird. It's a fun project for kids (and adults) of all ages.

5. For a fun neighborhood event check this out.
6. Or, just play outside.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Mothers Love or Pork Chops?

In a zoo in California , a mother tiger gave birth to a rare set of triplet tiger cubs. Unfortunately, Due to complications in the pregnancy, the cubs were born prematurely and due to their tiny size, they died shortly after birth. The mother tiger after recovering from the delivery, suddenly started to decline in health. Although physically she was fine. The veterinarians felt that the loss of her litter had caused the tigress to fall into a depression. The doctors decided that if the tigress could surrogate another mother's cubs, perhaps she would improve. After checking with many other zoos across the country,the depressing news was that there were no tiger cubs of the right age to introduce to the mourning mother.. The veterinarians decided to try something that had never been tried in a zoo environment. Sometimes a mother of one species will take on the care of a different species. The only orphans' that could be found quickly, were a litter of weanling pigs. The zookeepers and vets wrapped the piglets in tiger skin and placed the babies around the mother tiger...

Would they become cubs or pork chops?

Take a look...you won't believe your eyes

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer Butterfly Craft For Kids

This is a great project I just did with my Nephew. He turned 2 in April, and simple projects like this are a great way to get little ones excited about crafts. He loves to get creative and this little project is fun for the preschool set.

Egg Carton Butterfly Craft:

* 1 Egg Carton (Cut three slots for each butterfly you are making. So one egg carton could make 4 butterflies)
* Paint & paint brush.
* Coffee filer
* Markers
* Any type of glue (hot glue is better but whatever you have around is fine)
* Optional - Magnet

Give your child a coffee filter and tell them to color the filter with the marker any way they want. It doesn't have to be fully colored either. And when I mean color, even lines will work. Trust me, the magic will happen in a minute. Kids will love this craft because there is plenty you can do with coffee filters during the fall months. After they are finished, wet your kitchen sink and place the coffee filter in the sink. The coffee filter absorbs the water and you will notice the colors are blending together. Have your child watch you do this. Then squeeze it out and place it on a paper towel to dry.

While the coffee filter is drying let the child paint the egg carton that you have cut. If you have a little one you are working with like I did. Just let them paint somewhere safe, like the kitchen floor. Guide them but don't help them. Just make sure they stay on the egg carton. My nephew loved it, and each craft I do with him he gets better at using the art tools.

Make sure both items, the coffee filter and the egg carton are in a sunny place to dry. Should take about 30 minutes to dry. The last part is fun to do maybe while your child naps, then when they get up they try to find their butterfly "hanging" around the house.

Put glue all around the bottom of the egg carton. Then place the egg carton onto the colored coffee filter. After the glue has dried cut the coffee filter to resemble the letter "B". This will become the butterflies wings.

Then add a magnet (if you have one) to the back of the butterfly. It's a nice touch. You can have it hanging from a lamp, window frame or the refrigerator. Have your child look for their butterfly that they created.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Is Extreme Couponing Affecting How Stores Accept Coupons?

You knew it wouldn't be long before stores had to make changes to their current coupon policy. I have always been a coupon user but never to the
extent that the people on the popular TV show Extreme Couponing go to. I admire the people on TLC's popular reality show, where they are spending 40 hours a week cutting coupons to get $1000.00 worth of groceries for dollars, but this practice might be causing more harm than good in the real world. Here is an example of extreme couponing from a post I did earlier in the month.

On the retail front, some big retailers -- wary of couponing copycats -- are pushing back on former coupon allowances for ordinary shoppers. The problem, stores are coming across people who are not playing fair, those people who are trying to get $600.00 of groceries for $1.00 are really going to extremes. Stores are finding that people are copying coupons, which is not valid. And people across the country have been reporting that their Sunday paper that is delivered to them is missing the coupon inserts. And thefts at the corner coin operated newspaper racks are up.

• At Rite Aid, shoppers can no longer combine buy-one-get-one-free coupons or promotions -- a strategy that, in the past, allowed customers to get two free items. The chain is also limiting the number of coupons a shopper can use per item to four, as long as there is enough stock. Before, the store accepted "multiple identical coupons for multiple qualifying items."

• Target now forbids "stacking," the act of combining manufacturer and store buy-one-get-one-free coupons, in order to receive both items for free.

Across the country Frys / Kroger stores have a great policy on accepting all competitor coupons. This really is a great deal, you can present those $5.00 or $10.00 off your order from other stores and use multiple coupons. That savings is huge, but to be honest I have been worried that soon that policy would vanish because of the increased use of coupons. Everytime I go shopping I always double check the Frys policy to make sure nothing has changed since my last visit.

Below are some major grocery stores, and links to their coupon policy.

Remember always check the coupon policy before shopping at a store, and to be safe, print it out and bring it with you.

Costco. While I am not a member of Costco I was curious as to what their policy is on coupons. Since there is no information anywhere on their website about coupon use, I wanted to get a response directly from Costco. And here it is:

Dear Joe,

We appreciate you taking the time to email Costco Wholesale.

Costco Wholesale does not accept general manufacturer coupons. We have our own coupons and promotional offers, which are distributed to members in the mail and at our locations at various times throughout the year.
We are able to offer consistently low prices because our buyers negotiate the best deals with our vendors. Manufacturers often will simply ‘load’ the cost of a coupon program into the original pricing of their product. We will not permit our vendors or buyers to do this since there is no advantage to the member.

Thank you for your interest and please let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.

Thank you,

Costco Wholesale Corporation

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What to do? Maybe a talent show or movie night...

Summer is here and kids are already enjoying their summer break. So they have probably already come to you saying they are bored. I grew up in California and summers were nice, maybe on a hot day it was 90, but the evenings were cool. Here is a great idea for kids and families to enjoy the nice summer evenings (unless of course you live in Arizona like we do).

Backyard Movie or Talent Show

The idea is the same. You set up rows or chairs with an aisle down the center, just like in the movie theaters. Or if you have a nice lawn lay

out some old blankets. Set up a card table or even some boxes and make that your snack table. Maybe bake cookies or serve popcorn and lemonade.

If you are showing a backyard movie its pretty easy. Check with your friends or family have a projector you can borrow. They hook right up to DVD players. Hang a white bed sheet in the backyard, the sheet becomes your movie screen.

You could keep the white sheet up and use as a backdrop for the talent show. You would be surprised as to who would participate in a talent show. Maybe the kids, your 80 year old neighbor and even the dog. I grew up holding talent shows on my street and they were so much fun (and yes I can laugh at the pictures that exist of me in the talent shows, even this one in all pink).

What we would do is go door to door and leave a flyer at each house in our neighborhood. The flyer would state we were having a talent show and anyone who would like to watch or participate could do so on a particular date and time. It was so much fun, and talent shows turned into lip sync and actual plays. There is always something to do during the summer, help your kids bring out their creative side.

More fun summer ideas all summer, check back often and follow our twitter feed to stay up to date.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Father's Day Gift

This is the gift my daughter made me for Father's Day! This hobby she loves is called Decoden. It's a complicated but really beautiful way to craft. You can go into your local craft store or check online for info on decoden.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Make a Bee Catcher...For Free!

It's bee season. They are everywhere. Most people will buy sprays, which are not great to have around if you have children in your household. Or the other alternative is to run from them like a crazy person. I have a great suggestion that my grandma told me about when my daughter was first born and we had a huge bee problem in our backyard. In fact my grandma still uses this method to keep the bees away.

Items you will need:

1 Empty 2 Liter Soda Bottle
About 12-16 inches of rope or chain
1 Pair of scissors
Dish Soap
Meat (more about that later)

First remove any labels from the 2 Liter Soda Bottle. Take the scissors and cut a hole about 3 inches by 3 inches right in the middle of the bottle. Then on the other side of the bottle but another hole 3 inches by 3 inches. Now remove the cap from the two liter bottle. A good pair of scissors will work just fine, but if you have a drill around the house you can use that as well. If you are using scissors press down right in the middle of the lid with the scissors till a small hole appears. The caps are not that strong and a pair of scissors will work just fine. You don't want a huge hole, just big enough to pull the rope or chain through.

You can use whatever you have around the house for the next part, I used a small chain (they can be purchased at your local home improvement store for about $1.00) I pulled the chain through the cap and brought it down to where the two hole are in the two liter bottle. See the picture.

Use a pair of pliers and open the last chain that is hanging in front of the hole, open it enough so that it resembles a hook. The cap should screw back on just fine. The rest of the chain is what you will use to hang from a tree or your house. If the chain feels like it is moving a lot from the bottle cap (because of the hold you created to get the chain to go through) take the bottle cap off and either tie a piece of string to the chain inside the cap so that the chain can't move.

Next add 2-4 drops of dish soap to the bottom of the 2 liter bottle. Then fill it up with a 1/2 cup of water. Next you want to hang a piece of meat to that hook you created. The meat will hang right in the middle of the two holes that you cut out. You can use any kind of meat. Leftovers from dinner, piece of hot dog, etc. The bees are attracted to the meat, but once they fly into the container to get to the meat, they become trapped in the soapy water.

A good rule is, when you have about a dozen bees empty the soapy water in the trash and start over with a new piece of meat and fresh soapy water. Yes, this does kill the bees. But think about how much safer it is for

the family. No more dead bees on the lawn or patio so that people step on them. And you don't have to worry about the toxic spray around the children in your family. This is a great free way to get rid of bees in your backyard.

If you have any questions on how to put this together, email me joe7807@gmail.com or @greetingstogo.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Great Chore Chart For The Kids

Chores are not always fun, but why not make it a little more exciting. The chart they use to keep track of the chores they have completed should be fun and easy to use. You can set up a weekly reward if they complete all the tasks, that is up to you. Maybe an allowance or a trip to the movies. The chart I made has the instructions on it. The best way to print it is on magent paper (can be found at Target, Walmart and even some dollar stores). Magnet paper is inexpensive and can be used later on for other projects or gifts. Like my post for Father's Day.

Click on the picture, save it (right click and save as) and print it. If you have a problem email me and I will send you a PDF file of it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fun Father's Day Craft

This is a great fun and free project you can do with items you have around the home. And it's a perfect gift any age child can make for their father.

I did this project with my 2 year old nephew. I think that crafts are a fun way for kids to improve on the eye hand coordination.

What you will need:
At least 3 to 4 popsicle sticks
Any color paint you have around the house
Newspaper to cover the floor
Paint brush, if you don't have one your child can finger paint
Photograph or print a picture with your color printer and paper
Regular glue will work but a hot glue gun is better
Glitter (Optional)
Magnet (Optional)

For this project I laid out old newspaper on the kitchen floor, gave him a paint brush and squirted out some paint onto the newspaper. I let him paint the popsicle sticks the best he could. I also put the some cardboard down because if he got paint on that I could use that as the backing to the picture frame. When he had covered enough of the popsicle
sticks with paint, we both held the bottle of glitter and he sprinkled it wherever he wanted on the popsicle sticks. Whatever glitter he got on the paint will dry once the paint drys. After a few hours, I glued the popsicle sticks together using hot glue (we had started with 4 popsicle sticks but he really got into painting and somehow cracked one of the

popsicle sticks while painting them) so instead of a square frame, we made a triangle. Kids love glitter, he loved to look at it while it was hanging up in the kitchen. I actually printed a picture online and printed it with regular printer paper. I cut the picture and a piece of cardboard the same shape as the picture frame. I glue them to the frame and then used the hot glue and stuck a magnet onto the back of the frame.

It's a perfect gift any child can make. Maybe instead of a picture your child would like to include something they painted or colored.

Have fun, and Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No Talking At Movie Theater!

Alamo Drafthouse, a local chain of dine-and-screen movie theaters in Austin, Texas, has long waged a war against impolite moviegoers. And the latest customer to object to their firm rules against talking and texting during an evening out has become the unwitting star of a PSA released by the company on Monday.

According to Tim League, the Drafthouse's founder, the woman in question was warned twice about texting during a screening, and then, in accordance with company policy, was escorted out without a refund. "I don't think people realize that it is distracting," League told The Lookout. "It seems like nothing, but if you spend as much time as I do at the movies, you realize the entire theater sees it and it pulls you out of the movie experience. It's every bit as intrusive as talking." What this lady did not consider when she left this nasty voicemail that it would create more buzz for the theater and free publicity.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Consumer Vs. Bank

Saw this story about a couple in Florida, who received a foreclosure notice from Bank of America. The twist is the couple paid cash for thier home and did not have a mortgage.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Great Coupon Newsletter Site

While checking my Email this morning I came across a newsletter I get on coupons, and thought I should share it.

We all love a great deal, and I have always loved coupons. However I have not mastered the way to use them like the people do on the hit TLC show:

But there is a really helpful website out there that all you really have to do is sign up. The form is just asking for your email, a password and state you live in. You will receive Email's from them listing deals and specials in the weekly ad's from stores in your area. It's very organized and if you are looking for the best deals in your local supermarket or drug store this site is for you. If you have coupons already cut out, it tells you where you can purchase those items and save even more, sometimes get the items for FREE. One of the things I love is supermarkets that use loyalty cards let you load coupons directly onto those cards. And you don't even have to purchase your Sunday paper to get coupons. Don't forget those same coupons are mailed once a week between Tuesday and Thursday right to your mailbox.

Don't get confused by their main page, it looks really busy, however once you sign up the emails they send out are clear and easy to ready. It's a great FREE helpful tool for people to save money.

Visit Coupon Mom

Here is a video of Coupon Mom showing you how to use her site:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Polymer Clay?

For the past few months my daughter has turned into quite a gifted sculpture artist. She has been crafting Polymer items.

Polymer clay is a man-made material that will not dry out when exposed to air for a long period of time, but bakes in your home oven at a fairly low temperature to a hard, often pliable surface that can be painted and decorated.

It's such a cute way for kids to show a very creative side of themselves. And the clay and other items (such as paint) are very inexpensive. My daughter started just making figurines. Now she turns them into jewelry, pencil toppers, ornaments and cell phone charms. Her sculpting is awesome, and I can see her doing this same type of sculpting as a career, whether in a bakery or crafting her own art pieces.

I'm really impressed with her, because she studied all about it and has been practicing and perfecting her pieces all on her own. One of the coolest things she has shown me is how you can use regular white silicone (yes the type you use in home repairs) to decorate your clay pieces.

If the kids are looking for something fun to do this summer, why not try polymer clay projects. Polymer clay can be used by kids ages 5 and up. The younger set can start with sculpting their pieces and then you can bake them for them. As they get older ages 12 and up, they can then add items such as paint and silicone decorations. Packs of clay can be found anywhere, such as Michaels, Hobby Lobby and Walmart for about $1.29 a pack.

Check out Family Fun for polymer clay ideas

More clay ideas

Research clay lines here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Last Day of School

The end of May means the arrival of 110 degree days and the end of another school year.

While the kids are usually excited that summer break has arrived, I can't tell you how excited I am. When my daughter was getting ready to start the 6th grade, we made the decision as a family to let her enroll in a home school program. With larger classrooms and low test scores within our local school district a home school program was a better option. And while I think the program my daughter is enrolled in offers a great program, this was a tough year as a parent. The 7th grade was hard, for both parent and student. Math is a hard subject to teach in a traditional classroom, can you imagine what it's like for a home school program. And of course when your child is enrolled in a home school program, the first source of help with their questions comes right to mom and dad (the learning coaches). So this will be a nice few months of no school and it gives us time to recover from all the stress that math brought into our lives this year.

So until we meet up again in August, thank you math for a very memorable year.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Banner. Any Thoughts?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Looking for a Mother's Day gift from the heart. Buy a small pot and your mom'

Looking for a Mother's Day gift from the heart. Buy a small pot and your mom's favorite flower from your local home improvement store. If your child is making it for their mom have them paint the pot. On my example we used the kids hand and feet prints. What a great gift for only about $2.00.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tin-Can Desk Organizer

During a week your family most likely would use a few different Tin-Cans, whether you are eating soup or serving corn with your dinner.  This is a great project for the kids that cost very little money.  And it's an item where each room in your house could use one of these handy items.

Step 1: Take and wash a tin can and let dry thoroughly.

Step 2: Cover the Tin-Can in decorative tape, like we did.  Or you can even paint your can with paint you might just have laying around.
Step 3: Purchase cork wall tiles(picture above).  They are very easy to come across most office stores and Walmart carry them.  When we bought ours we paid $6.00 for a pack of 4.  A pack of four allowed us to make 10 of these tin can holders and still have some left over.

Step 4: cut a strip of the cork board to fit around the can.  Then hot glue the cork board onto the can.  The cork board is very flexible and wraps easily around the can.

Step 5: As an added touch, place some pushpins into the cork board so that the recipient can attach notes or pictures to their new Tin-Can Desk Organizer.

This is a great gift for your child to make anyone in the family, a friend or even teacher.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Borders Gift Cards

I have seen Twitter messages and some Facebook posts saying that Borders gift cards expire on April 3, 2011.  I called Borders customer service and after speaking with them she sent me this email response.  They do not expire, since not all stores are closing.  In addition if a store in your area is closing, you can still shop online 24 hours a day or locate another store in your area.

Dear Joe,

Thank you for contacting Borders.

Thank you for sending your inquiry to Borders Customer Care. We would like to apologize for the delayed response. We aim to answer all email inquires in less than 48 hours and we will ensure the necessary steps are taken to improve the timeliness of future responses.

Please be informed that our Borders Rewards programs, including Borders Rewards Plus, remain in effect. Customers can continue to earn and redeem their Rewards in stores and on Borders.com http://www.borders.com/ and they'll also continue receiving coupons. As always, we are honoring gift cards and will not expire on April 4, which can be redeemed in stores and online at Borders.com

I hope this information is helpful. If we can be of further help, please don't hesitate to contact us at our Customer care at 800.770.7811. A Customer care representative will be glad to address any concern.



Thursday, March 31, 2011

Make Your Own Easter Basket

Easter is right around the corner and here is a fun project for the kids to work on on evening or during the weekend.  I used to make my own Easter baskets out of old cool whip containers.  I would make enough for everyone in my family I would do some chores around the house and take the money I earned to buy grass and candy for my baskets.  Then on Easter I would pass out (or hide) my special gifts to my family.

What you will need:
*Cool Whip (or plastic container), washed and cleaned out.
*Easter basket grass or a free item white paper or green construction paper cut into strips.
*Markers or paint
*Piece of yarn or string

Extra Items*Glue, Glitter and Easter Candy

1.  Of course your kids can decorate the outside of their "basket" with markers or paint.  Picking the pastel colors will make the basket feel more like spring, but remember this is a project for the kids, so let them pick the colors they want to use.  If you are feeling really creative and you have glitter somewhere around the house, pour some glue into a paper cup and let your kids "paint" the basket with glue.  When the basket is covered in glue, sprinkle glitter all over the outside of the basket.

Hint:  Dollar stores have packs of glitter for $1.00.  This is always great to have around the house for special projects.

2.  Allow the basket to dry for 8 hours, but overnight would be best. 

3.  If you are using traditional Easter grass then you don't have to do the next step, however kids might think it's more fun to make their own grass.  Cut into strips some green construction paper or plain while paper.  If they don't like the look of plain white paper, before you cut the paper have them color the paper green with their markers.  The paper grass works better than traditional Easter grass because it is safer for smaller children and pets, and the kids will have a blast making their own grass.

4.  If you want have your children do some chores around the house to earn some money to buy some Easter candy or other fun spring items, like chalk to put in the Easter baskets.  Or they can get really crafty and make little gifts for people in the family. 

Our next post will include some fun crafty gift ideas.

Hoppy Spring!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tip for clean carpets. Spray foam shaving cream on carpet stains, let stand 30 min, then rub with a sponge & vacuum.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crafting Teens. The Washington Post reports teens are crafting as a way to get creative. Easter ideas from Family Circle http://bit.ly/fgFDgJ
Great Tip: Fill votive candle holders w 1/2 inch of water before inserting candles; the liquid prevents wax from adhering to the vessel.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Good news that bad behavior will get you in trouble....Warner Bros. "terminated Charlie Sheen's services on 'Two and a Half Men' " http://on.cnn.com/fPqWUV
Why does it feel like summer? March is here and yet the weather feels like summer. Instead of these 80 degree temps, lets see some rain and temps in the 60's.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Birthday banner I made for Julia's birthday.

Birthday banner I made for my daughters birthday. 13 years old, where does the time go? So easy and free...unless you add some balloons. Total cost $1.00.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fun weekend project. Water Bottle Bird Feeder. Paint a water bottle with any

Fun weekend project. Water Bottle Bird Feeder. Paint a water bottle with any craft paint. After it has dried cut an opening about 5 inches up from the bottom. Attach either string or a chain to the water bottle lid after you add some bird seed you will have a beautiful and free project your child will be proud of.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kids Chore Chart. Every child wants to earn money for chores around the house

Kids Chore Chart. Every child wants to earn money for chores around the house, I came up with a great weekly chart that allows the parent to pick the activity and the reward for completing it. Change out the tasks each week.