Thursday, January 28, 2010

Frost Paint

So, now that you have made our wonderful bath salts, you are probably wondering what else you can do with the rest of your Epsom Salts. Well, here is a fun craft for you and the kids.
Frost Paint! Give winter pictures a frosty, icy effect!
What you need:
  • boiling water
  • Epsom Salts
  • colored paper

Mix equal parts of boiling water and Epsom Salts in a glass (1/4 cup of each should be plenty). Stir until the salts are dissolved and let cool.

Now have your child draw a winter picture on colored paper. The crystals show up better on darker paper. We also found that colored computer paper worked better that construction paper, but both had interesting effects. Use crayons, colored pencils or permanent markers.

Now liberally paint the picture with your frost paint. It works best when the paper is a little puddly

If possible, don't paint all the way to the edge of the paper. It will help keep your paper from curling as it drys.

Let your picture dry. Have the kids check on it periodically. Crystals will quickly start to form. Soon your picture will have an icy and frosty look that Jack Frost himself would love!

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Love & Kisses Jar

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, we wanted to find a little project for the kids to make and give. We found this idea for the Love & Kisses Jar, and thought it would make a perfect gift. It would not only be fun for the kids to make, but would also help them to think about all the wonderful people in their lives and why they love them. Here's how you can make one!

First we cut out several hearts and strips out of construction paper. Then, we asked our boys what they loved about the various members of our family that we are planning on giving these to. If your child is old enough, you can have them write these on the hearts themselves. Otherwise, you can write out their responses. Our boys did write "xoxo" and the recipients' names on the strips of paper themselves, though.

We then made a label and glued it on top of an empty jar. We found that Nutella jars were the perfect size for us...but then again, is there anything not perfect about Nutella?

Finally, we put our paper strips and hearts into our jars along with Hershey Kisses! We tied a ribbon, attached a tag, and we were finished! The hard part will now be waiting for Valentine's Day to deliver our gifts!

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Homemade Bath Salts

We Mamas love to find simple and inexpensive ways to replicate expensive beauty products. This recipe has got to be one of the simplest and yet makes you feel so pampered!

All you need is Epsom Salts and your favorite essential oils. We used lavender which is so relaxing. Epsom Salts are supposed to be so good for your you. They help heal sore muscles, flush toxins out of your body and relieve stress according to the Epsom Salt Council.

Pour two cups of Epsom Salts in a bowl and add 10 drops of lavender oil. Stir thoroughly with a spoon. You can add a few drops of food coloring if you like. Store in a pretty jar. Makes a wonderful gift.

Add 1/2 cup of bath salts to a foot soak and 1-2 cups to your bath.
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Recycled Wall Art

Maggie and her husband Jeff have a large, blank wall in their house that has been taunting them since they moved in. With both of them having strong creative opinions, it has been hard to agree on what to hang there. That is until they saw this post from Tali at Growing Up Creative. They made it this weekend, put their own spin on it, and are thrilled with the results! Here is how you can do it too:

Start with some cardboard tubes from rolls of paper towels, toilet paper, and wrapping paper. We should mention that it took way more tubes than we thought it would (about 5 paper towel rolls, 6 toilet paper rolls, and 2 wrapping paper rolls), so it's always a good idea to have more on hand than you think you will need.

Next, flatten them out, measure, mark and cut them into equal sections.

Once your pieces are cut out, play around with them! Move them around, step back, then move them around some more until you are happy with the shape and pattern. Glue your pieces together and put paperclips on to hold them in place while the glue dries.

Next, send your husband outside in the ice and snow to spray paint your creation!

Once your paint dries, you are ready to hang your masterpiece on the wall! Once Maggie and Jeff hung theirs up, they decided that they didn't like it as much as they thought they would. So they took parts of it down and rearranged the pieces. They also spray painted an old mirror the same paprika color that they used on the cardboard. And now they love it (although they plan on adding on to it as soon as they have more cardboard tubes)!

The great part of this project is that there is no wrong way to do it, and there is no real way to mess it up. So give it a try and have fun with it!
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tic Tac Bud Vase

This is one of those projects that seems a little goofy at first, but ends up looking really cute! We were trying to think of something quick and easy to post today using materials we already had on hand. While searching the Internet for inspiration, we came across this idea from Paper n Stitch. We thought it was just the fun and easy project we were looking for!

All you need is an empty tic tac container and some magazines, catalogues, scrap paper - anything (we'd also like to try this with fabric scraps)!

First, peel the wrapper off your tic tac box. then find the image in your magazine or catalogue you'd like on your finished bud vase, and cut a strip of paper to the right length. Then wrap you paper around the box and adhere with glue!

At this point you can fill your vase with a little water and add your favorite flower, but we think it might be a good idea to put a coat of clear poly on your vase to make it resistant to the water as you fill it. Of course, getting it wet is always a good excuse to make another one!
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Ben's Fossil Cookies

Rebecca's seven year old, Ben came up with this cute cookie idea. After seeing knife marks in some baked scones we had made he thought we should figure out how to make fossil cookies. We decided that a shortbread cookie dough would work well since it doesn't puff or flatten.
We used a very simple recipe from our better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. This recipe is so easy that Ben made the dough himself.

What you need:
  • plastic dinosaurs
  • 1 1/4 cup of flour
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Gather up all your dinosaurs. We used all different kinds and sizes.

Next we gave those dinos a bath. Ours often end up in playdough or paint.

We placed the flour and sugar in our food processor and gave it a quick pulse to stir. Then we added the butter and blended until it looked like cornmeal. You could do this all by hand, but the food processor worked great and was so fast. Next we poured out the dough onto our counter. The dough will be very powdery. Ben didn't believe it would become cookie dough. We kneaded the dough until it was smooth.

We formed the dough into a 2 inch log and sliced it into 1/2 inch slices.

Then we pressed the different dino parts into the rounds of dough to make an impression.

We then placed them on ungreased cookie sheets. This dough won't really spread much so you can get a lot on one sheet.

The boys used all different parts of the dinos to make the impressions - skin, feet, teeth, tails horns and faces. The cookies were placed in a 325 degree oven for 25 - 30 minutes just until the bottoms just started to turn golden.

We let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets and then decided that they would taste even better with melted chocolate chips spread on the bottom. We were right!! The boys had so much fun and the cookies were so easy, we immediately made another batch.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Frozen Cranberry Wreath

Now that the holidays are over, you probably have that stray bag of cranberries hanging out in your freezer or fridge. One way to use it is to make an icy, frozen wreath!

We found this idea here, and the instructions couldn't be easier. All you need is a bag of cranberries and a bundt pan. Arrange the cranberries in the pan and fill it with water. When we made this the cranberries kept floating to the top, so we found it helpful to fill the pan part way with water, freeze, and then add more water to cover. Then place the pan in the freezer again and leave it there until it is frozen solid. Once it is ready, remove your new wreath from the pan (try dipping the pan in warm water to help release it) and tie a ribbon around it. Then hang it outside!

If your weather is anything like ours here in Chicago, your wreath should stay pretty and frozen for a looooong time! But when it starts to melt, the berries will make a tasty treat for any of the little animals in you neighborhood. Next time, we may try adding birdseed to the wreath as well!
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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Soothing Dry Winter Skin and Hair

This time of year our family suffers from super dry hair and skin. Chicago's freezing temps and dry indoor air does so much damage to our already parched skin. We have found a lot of relief from our homemade orange sugar scrub made from olive oil and sugar. We like to use it just before getting out of the shower or on dry chapped hands. We have also found that adding a spoonful to a facial cleanser makes a great moisturizing and exfoliating scrub.

Olive oil is so soothing and full of so many nutrients, that we have found other beauty uses for it. Before going outside rub a small amount of olive oil (we like to use light olive oil for beauty products because it has almost no smell) on your hands before putting on your gloves. Olive oil is a little greasy at first, but it is absorbed quickly. You can add essential oils like orange or lavender to add some fragrance to it. It is also nice to put on your hands and face before going to bed.

For dry hair, stir 1/4 cup of olive oil into 1 cup of your favorite conditioner. Keep it in a jar or other container with a tight fitting lid. You might have to give it a stir periodically if the oil starts to separate. Let it sit on your hair for 3 - 5 min. for deep conditioning. Rinse with cool water.

You can even use olive oil to shave your legs. You get a really close shave and your legs will be so soft and moisturized when you are done. Don't worry your husband will get used to seeing olive oil in your shower.

*** Make sure you wash your tub out when you are done using olive oil so the next person doesn't slip!!
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