Thursday, June 30, 2011

Simple Strawberry Foot Scrub

With sandal season in full swing, your feet may need a little sprucing up. We have used strawberries to make facials in the past. They are loaded with alpha hydroxy acids - great for exfoliating dry, rough skin. So we played around with a few recipes and came up with this soothing (and delicious!) foot treatment.

What You Need:

  • 3-4 small strawberries

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar

  • large bowl of water

  • an old towel

First, puree the strawberries and olive oil. Wait to add the brown sugar until you are about to put the scrub on your feet or it will dissolve to soon.

Soak your feet in warm water for at least 10 minutes to start softening the skin.

Spread your towel out in the kitchen or bathroom. It can get a little sticky! Have another bowl of water ready for rinsing your feet. Stir in the brown sugar and massage the mixture the mixture all over your feet. Let the scrub sit for 15 - 20 minutes. Then rinse well. Your feet will look and feel wonderful. Our only complaint with this scrub was that we couldn't keep Rocky the dog out of it!

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Monday, June 27, 2011

The Great Pouf Challenge!

We sometimes get emails from readers asking various questions, including asking about how we might craft with various materials. Recently, we received the following email from reader Alaina:

I have followed you on facebook and your website and adore all of your great ideas. I'm in a bind and hoping you can help. My mom unravelled one of those mesh bath sponges, leaving a long mesh tube. She gave it to me and said "Here, make something with this!" I am crafty, but haven't come up with anything and have not found any ideas online either. Is there anything you can suggest to me and maybe your legion of readers?? I don't want to throw in the towel - or sponge in this case! Any contributions would be greatly appreciated and I would be honored to be able to use your idea.

We were thrilled with the challenge of coming up with something to do with the bath pouf's meshy material....until we realized that we had NO ideas! We even asked the husbands for ideas! But nothing came to us. Rebecca then had a great idea: why not have a contest? So that's what we've decided to do!

Here, dear readers, is where you come in! Starting today until Thursday July 7th, you can leave a comment on this post giving us your idea with what to do with the material from a bath pouf. We will be looking for the most creative, yet easily doable idea. The winner will be announced/featured on Monday July 11th (yep! We will make your project idea into a reality!) ! We will also have a small thank you gift for the winner, so make sure you leave your email address with your submission!

So enter your awesome ideas - and enter as many as you'd like! We can't wait to see what you come up with!! Let The Great Pouf Challenge begin!!
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bleach Pen Painting

We love this cute idea for painting negative images on t-shirts using bleach pens. You can quickly transform plain shirts into works of art. Our 6 and 9 year old both enjoyed the project and could do most of it themselves with a little help from mom.

What you need:

  • shirt

  • bleach pen

  • chalk

  • cutting board, cardboard or other item to place in shirt to keep bleach from bleeding through

Using the chalk, sketch out design on your shirt.
Shake bleach pen well. Make sure it is flowing well by testing it on a scrap of paper. Then trace your chalk drawing. Jonah made a dragon.
Let the bleach sit until you can see the shirt changing color. This should take from 10 min to 2 hours depending on the shirt. We found that shirts that were older and had been washed many times only took about 10 min. The new shirt we tried took a lot longer.Mom or Dad should carefully take out the cutting board and rinse the bleach out very well (try not to let the bleach sit too long on other parts of the shirt). Wash and dry as usual.

Ben designed a Lego shirt. Mom had a shirt that already had a big bleach stain on it. She made a zinnia with a few leaves to cover it up.
You don't even notice the stain anymore! We all love our new shirts!

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Sandy Candle Holders

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend! Today we have a fun kid craft that we actually made as a gift for Father's Day: Sandy Candle Holders! We saw this candle holder made out of beans and glue (thanks to Craft Gossip), and while we liked the idea, we didn't think beans were the right medium for us. But we did have a big bag of sand, so we wondered if we could mix it with glue and create a fun gift for dad Turns out we could...and you can too!

What You Need:
  • Sand
  • School glue
  • Plastic cup (or other object to use as a mold)
  • Tea light
  • Ribbon or other decorative materials
In a bowl, mix together you sand with glue. We used about a cup of sand for our two candle holders, and slowly added glue until the sand took on the consistancy of the kind of wet sand you'd use to make a sand castle with.

Once you are happy with the way it feels, press your sand into your container. Make sure you press it nice and tight - we found that pressing another cup into the sand helped to make it nice and firm.

Then press your tea light into the wet sand to make the right sized indentation.

Remove your tealight and tip out your wet candle holder. Let it dry at least 24 hours (depending on how big your candle holder is and how much glue you used), checking on it every so often to see if it's ready (ours took a few days to dry).

Once it's dry, you can decorate it. Our boys wanted to use ribbon, which they picked out themselves.

Then just pop in a tea light! This was a fun project, especially since the kids could pretty much do it themselves!
And Dad loved it!
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Coffee Bag Sandwich Wrap!

We decided to give Dad a green gift this year. This easy to make reusable sandwich wrapper is made from coffee bags. They can be used over and over again and are easy to wash with warm soapy water. We had a stash of coffee bags that we had been saving for months, not sure what we could do with them. In a matter of minutes we had made a whole stack of these handy wraps.

We found this great idea on FamilyFun. They have lots and lots of really cute ideas for Father's Day. Check it out!

All you need are coffee bags (one 12 0z bag makes one wrapper) and Velcro tape or circles.

First we cut the bottom of the bag at the bottom seam.

Next we cut up the back seam to make a flat square.

We trimmed the edges to make a 10 x 10 inch square.

You could use either side for the front or back of the wrapper. If your bag has a freshness valve like this one, keep it facing out so you don't dent your sandwich.

Add your Velcro to two opposite corners. One part on the inside and the other on the outside so you can close it like an envelope.

Now Dad's sandwich will stay fresh, protected and best of all - no waste!

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Rejuvenating Pumpkin Mask

We know that dry skin is a problem in the winter months, but did you know that summer activities can dry your skin out as well? Spending lots of time in water, especially chlorinated pools and the salty ocean water, can break down the lipid barriers of our skin, leaving it dry. Water also evaporates from our skin, taking our natural moisturizers with it. What can we do to fight it? Whip up a fast and easy Pumpkin Mask, of course! Not only will this mask (which was adapted from this recipe) help with your dry skin, but pumpkin also contains loads of anti-oxidants and natural exfoliating acids!

What You Need:
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. honey

Puree your pumpkin into a thick paste. Then add your egg and honey and mix well. Apply the mask to your clean, dry face. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how sensitive your skin is. Rinse with lukewarm water and moisturize as you normally would.
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Summer To Remember

The last day of school is next Monday for our boys, and then it's on to a long-awaited summer break! They are so excited for all the fun things the summer holds. While we love summer too, it can be hard to keep the kids entertained all day, everyday for three months while still encouraging them to learn new things Then we had the idea to create "Summer Adventure Journals"! We hope that these fun little books will not only get the kids excited by the various activities this summer, but also encourage us to come up with more creative things for them to do. Plus, it will also get the boys to continue practice writing!

What You Need:
  • 2 Pieces of Cardboard (we cut up fruit snack boxes)
  • Glue
  • Hole punch
  • Construction paper
  • White paper
  • Markers
  • Contact paper
  • Binder rings (This will allow you to add more pages as you go)
First, glue and cover your cardboard with the construction paper. We chose smaller-sized cardboard so that we can easily toss the journals into our bags.

Do this with the second so that you have a front and back cover for your journal.

With another piece of paper, we made a fun title for the journal and glued it onto the cover.

Then cover your colorful front and back covers with contact paper. Summer adventures are fun but can be messy and this will protect the journal.

Grab your hole punch and put a couple holes through both of your covers. Then you will be able to attach your binder rings.

Now it's time to fill your journals. You can just put plain paper (with holes punched in the sides) in if you'd like, but we decided to make a "10 Things I Want To Do This Summer" as our first page, as well as a few pages with the header "Where:" and "Date:" with a large blank space for the kids to write about their adventure, draw a picture, or even glue mementos to the page!

We also plan on using the journals to hold other fun activities, such as games, scavenger hunts and Bingo!

Not only do we think the kids will enjoy writing about our adventures this summer, but we think this will be a great way to look back on all the fun we have.
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Pooch Paint!

Who made this beautiful piece of modern artwork? Well, it was our little shit-tzu Rocky! We're so proud of our little artist. Today Rebecca and her family went to the neighborhood dog park for Woofstock. An event for dogs and their owners. There, Rocky made this painting. It turned out so cute and easy, we thought it would be fun to try with our other dog friends. This would make a great gift for a doggy grandparent or a father's day present for a doggy dad.

We wish we had taken more pictures while rocky was painting it was so adorable!

What you need:

  • a calm, willing dog

  • nontoxic paints they used acrylic, but we thought tempera paints would be better

  • paper

  • foam paint brush

  • matting

  • frame - optional

  • An Extra person to lend a hand

Take your furry friend outside. You may want to have some wet washcloths handy, or maybe even a kiddie pool ready. An extra set of hands is also really helpful! This could get messy!Squeeze small blobs of paint on a plate (3 colors worked well). Using the foam brush, dab paint on your pup's paw and dab the paw on the paper.
Add a much or as little paint as you like.

Let your artwork dry and now it is ready to matte and frame.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

$1 Yard Sale Wreath Re-Vamp

One of our favorite things about summer - yard sales! It's always fun to find a great bargain and turn something from blah to ta-dah! With a few supplies already on hand at home and $1 later - a brand new spring/summer wreath for the front door!


$1 yard sale wreath

Grapevine Wreath - on hand (but you can find for under $5 at most craft stores)

Floral Wire - on hand

Curling Ribbon - on hand

We really got lucky with this flower wreath - all we had to do was remove the blue flowers (didn't really match our decor)!

Using floral wire, the yard sale wreath was wired to the grapevine wreath to hold secure.

Still missing something but not sure what - curling ribbon! A few strands curled on the side and the punch of color was just what we were looking for!

What can you buy for $1 these days? That's the perfect price for this summer wreath!
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