Monday, December 24, 2012

Homemade Christmas 2012: part 1

Well here goes... this is the first of two posts I am going to do on our homemade gifts this year. Most of the people have opened their gifts and those who haven't will be in the second post. So without further ado....  here it is.
 This is a fleece tie comforter cover. I made this for Bug's new room for Christmas.
This is a Dinosaur Train clock I made for Bug's new room.
 These are geeky ornaments I made for my hubby. They are Spiderman, Dr. Who, Star Trek, Captain America, Star Wars, Ironman, Batman.
 These were assorted glitter vases for friends and family.
 Our handmade Elf on a Shelf
 Cloth rosettes for the vases
 Salt dough ornaments
 Handprint salt dough ornaments.
 Snowflake Christmas hat I made for a coworker.
 Purple fuzzy crochet owl I made for a coworker.
 Wine glass scented candles for friends and family.
 Bath tea made for me by my hubby.
 Hand crochet Weeping Angel and Ood. The Angel has a secret scary face and snap eyes and hands.
 Dinosaur train framed pictures for Bug's room.
 Bug's handmade Christmas trees.
 Our recycling and toothpick manger. Bug helped me make it.
 Handprint Santa Ornament
 Assorted candle I made for people.
 Cinnamon Ornaments

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The First Ever Gentle Parenting Coloring Book

Today Joni Rae, better known as The Kitchen Witch, introduced her newest work of art, a 15 page coloring book filled with beautifully drawn pictures of mothers giving birth in water tubs or on beds, being cared for by midwives, breastfeeding, tandem nursing, bonding with their kids, sharing birth with older children, sharing breastfeeding with older children, bedsharing, baby wearing, organic gardening, composting etc. I had to buy it.. after getting AF today I was feeling pretty low. I needed something happy to keep my spirits up and the front cover and first page had a picture that did just that. It was a picture of a mom who looked just like me with her 3-4 yr old son hugging her very pregnant belly. It gave me hope. I love love this book. I printed out all the pics and Bug and I sat down with crayons and colored all evening. I just can not express enough the joy of coloring pictures depicting our life. Parents who do the same things everyday that we did or do. I think the only thing missing was babies in cloth dipes... though maybe I just missed it. Actually no the picture of the family bedsharing has a visible cloth dipe on the baby. So even that is covered. I just absolutely LOVE this book. Can you tell? LOL. Anyhow if you would like one too go here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

DIY Elf on a Shelf

Elf on a Shelf, Elf on a Shelf.... right around this time of year that is all I hear. There are pictures all over friend's fb timelines and all over pinterest. Before last year I had never heard of it... now it is everywhere. Last year I decided Bug was still too young. He was 25 months old last Thanksgiving and I thought he would not really understand it too well. I said "Next year I will think more on this...".
Well now next year is here and with only three days to Thanksgiving, I decided I needed to get on this quick! Bug is 37 months this year (3 yrs one month) and completely excited about the idea of Santa. So I talked to Hubby about the elf on a Shelf tradition that all the parents our age have started with their kids. He loved the idea and so I went to order the book. I looked at several stores and quickly realized it was going to cost about 35$.
So I figured well we used to have vintage style elves that looked just like that elf, before our then puppy ate them in what we still refer to as the Elf Massacre of 2008. So I thought I will check eBay. On eBay they were all more expensive than the Elf on a Shelf ones were because of the vintageness of them.
So I thought about it.. realized I had very little time to do all of this anyway because the Elves are supposed to join their families the morning after Thanksgiving. So I decided to just make one. Almost no one I know actually has the book, most people I know either found a vintage elf or bought just the elf part or else found a different elf somewhere else. There are also loads of sites where you can find letters from Santa to include with your Elf when it arrives at your house. So I figured we could have all the fun of it with none of the cost and have a completely one of a kind Elf as well.
Now I had the idea... how to go about it. I scanned pinterest and DIY blogs for ideas... and though I found some truly adorable ones... none were quite what I had in mind. Then I remembered Happy Hannah!
Happy Hannah was a doll I found in my Freshman year of college. She was originally called Yasmine Yellow and was one of the "Color Me Cuties" dolls Fisher Price made in 2000. My friends and I thought she was adorable and I just had to buy her. Happy Hannah became a mini icon for my friends and me and stayed one of my most beloved things until Bug was born. He found her one day and claimed her as his own. I knew she would make the perfect elf but I didn't know how to get her away from Bug. So when I went to find her in his room and sneak her away he asked me where I was taking her. DARN!
So I thought quickly.... "Hannah was selected by Santa to become an Elf. She is going to go to the North Pole and Santa will help her become an Elf and then she will come home to us after Thanksgiving and stay with us until Santa takes her back on Christmas Eve." He seemed excited about this and accepted it easily. I was super happy for having come up with that on the spot. I showed him pictures of other elves from other homes and how they all report back to Santa each night. He was really excited by the idea.
So I started turning Hannah into an Elf. (Away from Bug of course... he watched a movie in our bedroom while I made Hannah in the office). First I took off all her clothes. Then I cut off her hands and feet which as you can see in the picture are kind of huge and very unelflike. That  left her with a soft tummy and openings to extend her arms and legs with pipe cleaners. Once her legs and arms were extended I covered them with a thin forming tape.

Now with longer legs and arms she looked more elflike. Now all I had to do was cover her body in red felt. I used hot glue to do this part. After that I made her clothes, a hat, fixed her hair and made her mitten hands and pointy curled elf shoes.

And here she is! Finished product! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Long Fought Green Battle...Won!

So we all as Green Mommies have that one thing.. that totally ungreen thing that we still haven't stopped doing, be it a gas guzzling car we haven't upgraded or those paper towels we can't give up.
In my life it was bottled water.
Now you may be shocked, could a woman who even makes her own cloth maxi pads really still buy bottled water. The answer is yes and here is why....
A few years ago before I was the Green Mommy (before I was a Mommy at all), and was just a very green newlywed, my hubby was addicted to and I mean had a serious issue with coke.
Now I am not talking about the powdery white drug... I am talking about the brown sugary soda drink of death. He used to buy a 2 liter bottle every day and drink the whole thing. Now as a kid I never drank soda.... at all. It was not allowed and as an adult I so rarely drank it. I was the kid who in college would drink milk or soy milk instead of soda even though it cost more. So as a newlywed I was shocked to realize just HOW MUCH soda my husband was drinking. So I slowly got him to cut down by allowing us to buy bottled water. Slowly over 2-3 years I got him down from 2 liters a day to none at all. Hubby now drinks soda very rarely on special occasions.
But now I had a new issue. By now we were parents and I had started this blog and was on a path to make our lives greener and greener everyday. Bottled water became a thorn in my side on so many levels. First were the bottles all over the house. They were everywhere. Once a week I would bring them all to the recycling bin but they kept piling up everywhere. Second was the green side... of all that plastic. We always bought the greenest bottles we could and of course recycled them but still.... so much added plastic. Third was the dioxins in the bottles. Forth was of course the cost. I begged to switch to brita but it never seemed to work out. Hubby needed ready access to a bottle of filtered water.
Then we found these:

We love them. The water tastes just like bottled but without the long waits for a pitcher to pour through or buying store bought bottled water. You just fill and drink. the filters last 2 months or 256 fills. So this Green Mommy finally finally has done away with the last big ungreen thing in my life. I finally won the battle. We are a bottled water free house!
So what ungreen things do you still battle with? I would love to hear from my readers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Recycling: Taking Old to Make New

So last night me and my hubby finally jumped on the scentsy train. I have wanted one for lord knows how long but I never could bring myself to order through the actual company Scentsy because their prices were insane. So after a few years I had forgotten about them until I was at my MIL house and she had a really pretty one. So I started keeping an eye out again for knock off ones. Turns out most discount stores now carry knock off versions. We found ours at Walmart  Yes I know... I should have bought it some place else but honestly it wasn't a matter of just a few dollars... this one was 15$ whereas the actual scentsy ones are 37-45$. Every dollar counts.

So I decided, harking back to something I found on pinterest awhile ago, to make my own scentsy inserts.

By melting down all our scented candles (of which we had a ton) in a water bath. This part smelled wonderful depending on which scents you were melting down at which time.

Then pour the wax into icecube trays to make perfectly sized scentsy scent cubes. This part was  a bit hard to do and can get messy. Once they are solid, wait a few hours or stick them in the refrigerator  then you can make more.

All in all it turned out rather well. I ended up with close to if I had to estimate the equivilant of 30-40 scentsy refill kits which even at the Walmart price of 2.00$ each saved us 80$.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Ongoing Saga That Is Bug's Dinosaur Room

So I have decided that I am going to not only tell you guys about this monumental project (that we have not undertaken since he was inside me and we were designing his nursery). That I would blog about it as we go. So the first step is I created too shopping carts, one on (I know I know but where else will i find this stuff), one at and then I am also working with Rogue Decals for any of the wall art to see how much of it they can do. If I can I would like to get the stuff locally made from good people. I have selected only a few key items that I know I can not make myself such as, wall decals, a clock, curtains (yes I know I could make these but it would cost more than the curtains do) etc. I found some really adorable things! What I am going to make is things like framed wall art, a comforter cover, the plants, and all the painting and stenciling. So I already have blogged about the chair, the bed set and the pillow... now I am going to lay out a schedule of tasks to be done week by week. I will do an update post with pictures to show you how it's going after each one is done.
Week 1/2 Oct 14th-27th: Empty Bug's room of everything but clothes and furniture, put everything in trash bags and set in storage for now. (leave out a few key toy items which will be kept  in the livingroom in a basket)
Week 3/4 Oct 28th-Nov 10th: Paint room lt green, paint dresser darker green paint bed darker green.
Week 5/6 Nov 11th-24th: Do stencil work, Paint main toy box remove other old toyboxes.
Week 7/8 Nov 25th-Dec 8th: Sort through all the bags, give away to daycares or charity all but what he actually really plays with. put toys back in his room
Week 9/10 Dec 4th-22nd: finish prepping any of the handmade items, make sure all the store bought ones have arrived, wrap and put under tree.
After Christmas: after he has unwrapped all the gift items for his room, I will put them all up where they go and we will finish the last of the room together. Then I will take lots of pictures of the finished result.

Halloween Countdown

I thought I would share this since it is so cute.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Biggest Handmade Christmas Project Yet

When I was five years old, my parents decided to give me for my birthday a whole new bedroom. We had just moved into a new town and a new apartment and the room that was mine had the most amazing pink carpet in it already. So since I literally LOOOOOOOOVED pink they ran with it. On my birthday I finally got to see the room which now had a brand new queen sized comforter, a twin sized bed, a pink end table with a white ruffle and pink lamp, white bookshelves, a white toy box, a pink bedskirt, pink sheets, a pink comforter cover, pink bookends, etc. I still to this day remember the feeling of opening that door and seeing that fairy wonderland for the first time. It was amazing. 

It was from what I remember similar to this room I found online. This isn't exact but similar.. mine was even more pink if you can imagine it.. with a plush pink carpet.
So we decided that this year we were going to redecorate Bug's room for him for Christmas. He chose a dino room. We offered Pirates, Dinos, or Space. I found a few rooms online to use as inspiration. I liked this one the best.
So when he selected a dino room I started to list all the things we could do to decorate his room and I realized that he already has quite a bit of dino themed things which I can use, as well as having an almost full can of light green paint. 
So I have started gathering some of the projects I already have done that will work for his dino room.
Last Christmas I made him a dinosaur pillow that was a fleece tie together. It is adorable and really would work well for his dino room.

For his first birthday he got a dino sheet set and blanket that also will work well for his dino room, though I would like to make a comforter cover for his big comforter (which is the same one in fact that I received on my 5th birthday.. it came with me everywhere I ever went and now is my Bug's.

For this last birthday I redid my childhood rocking chair for him with matching dino fabric. 

All in all I think between thee things, some new paint, some dino decals, some wall art and a new rug.... Bug will have an awesome dino room for Christmas.

ABC Mouse

A few months ago I was watching early morning PBS kids shows with my Bug. He is only allowed to watch one or two non PBS shows and even then they have to be educational. I grew up on PBS and whole heartedly love and support it. So when I saw a commercial promoting something called I was intrigued. The commercial said it was an online learning academy for children ages 2 to 6. So I decided that it would not hurt to check it out. When I checked out the site we were offered a free trial month. I figured if Bug didn't like it we hadn't lost anything. So I let him set up an account. You select and design an avatar to look like your child.
Then you set them up on a starting level based on age and ability. I started Bug on Toddler Time because when we began it a month ago he was still 2 and he had never played with a computer much. You child's start page looks like this. From here they can also go to the farm, the zoo, or visit their fish or hamsters.
The hamsters look like this.
You buy their cages and tubes with tickets. You can have three hamsters in the maze at a time. The fish are also really fun. Here is the aquarium.
They have a classroom also that looks like this. 
The classroom is a jumping off point for all their lessons and shows their progress on their current grade level. It also allows them to get to their lesson path which looks like this.
Each lesson path has 3-5 different lessons which are split into four to 6 activities. Each activity is connected to the topic of that lesson. After each lesson is completed the child gets 20 bonus tickets (they get 1-4 tickets at the end of each activity as well) as well as selecting a prize. At the end of the lesson path the child moves to a new environment lesson path. You will see the progression meter fill up as well. When it reaches 100% the child has mastered that grade level. Bug graduated from Toddler Time today and moved onto Preschool level 1. 

At the end of each grade level the child gets a graduation ceremony as well as a printed certificate. We are going to print out all of Bug's as he progresses and frame them to hang in either his room or our hallway where my framed college degree is hanging.
All in all we are sold! I am just loving this program and so is Bug. Well worth the 80$ a yr.

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