March Break - Inspiring Recycling Projects

Posted on March 11, 2015 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

March Break is next week here in Ottawa and I've put together links to my all-time favourite kids' projects which will appeal to both kids and parents (I hope). All of the sites shown here have tons of projects and enough ideas to keep you and the kids busy all week long and are worthwhile exploring. I haven't noted any age categories although some are easier to make than others. I think kids any age would enjoy these (even me!!). 

Most call for material that you no doubt already have around the house: i.e., newspapers, plain paper (if I run out, I use the plain side of gift wrap), clothespins, popsicle sticks, cardboard, etc.

For the Architect

Source: Paper Houses

Source: The link to this project seems to have been discontinued but it's easy enough to replicate. Waxed milk or juice cartons are difficult to paint over and need several coats. It's best to glue on plain paper over the carton and, when dry, kids can paint and decorate.

For the Airplane Pilot

Source: Come Fly With Me

For the Gardener

Source: Garden Plot

For the Musician

Source: Harmonica

Source: Drum

For the Mad Scientist

Source: Science Fun 

Source: Balloon Fun

For the Rocket Scientist

Source: Zoom, zoom 

NOTE: Both the above sites have projects that both girls and boys can enjoy. 

For the Structural Engineer

Source: Instructions for this bridge can be found at the following link:

For the Sailor

Source: A'sailing We Will Go

Source: Spanish Galleon

Recycling - Cardboard City Inspiraton

Posted on March 3, 2015 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

If you're gobsmacked by this little cardboard city as much as I am, I'm not surprised. It's the creation of Evgeny Kudryavtsev (aka Cardboard Dad) an architect and the father of a little girl, Ira, for whom he invent toys made from recycled cardboard and scrap materials. He crafted this mouse-sized cardboard city as part of a commission for German publisher Fordevind. The bright colours and graphic details that he added to his city makes it irresistable to any mouse or child (even a few adults). It just shows you what you can do with something as common as cardboard. 

Take a wander through his blog (it's in Russian) and you’ll be tempted to break out the cardboard and create a city with, and for, your little ones. To view Evgeny's blog and his mouse-sized city landscape, click here

Evgeny has an online shop selling his own designs. His current DIY kits include a cardboard house and a rocket, both customizable. To check out his wares, go here.

March Break Eco-Friendly Craft Supply Recipes

Posted on February 28, 2015 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

March Break is just a couple of weeks away here and some parents have nowhere to send their kids (not there, silly!) and take time off to spend with them. If you've decided to forego the trip to Disneyland or Cuba, and, if you're in a tizzy and too busy to look up some ideas to keep the kids occupied, I'm here to help.

First up are a few links that give you easy-peasie instructions to make your own (MYI) glue, paint, play doh, even Mod Podge (so easy, you'll fall off your chair in surprise!). All the 'recipes' are environmentally friendly that you can make at home. No need to head for craft or dollar stores: most call for ingredients you've already have in your kitchen cupboard and are easy enough for kids to make under your supervision. So, here we go!

Homemade Craft Glue

This craft glue recipe comes from Moms over at Paging Fun Mums and is very simple to make. When I made mine, I never thought to use vinegar as the preservative. Good idea. For the how-tos, click here.

Mod Podge

Great recipe for decoupage crafts. Mod Podge can get expensive so these two handy MYI recipes come in handy. They're from the wife and husband team over at Painted Furniture Ideas. I tried the simple solution one and found that it worked beautifully. For both recipes, click here.

Homemade Playdoh

Almost everyone I know has a recipe for playdoh. But the two offered by Instructables are by far the best I've tried. There's one recipe for cooked which they say has a better texture and another one for uncooked playdoh. The choice is yours. Cooked or uncooked?

Homemade Finger Paint

I found oodles of recipes for finger paint and choose the following because the recipes included ingredients I already have in the cupboard (and a neighbour kindly took down for me as I'm still pretty much unable to stretch!). Anyway ...

The first finger paint recipe is via Stacey from The vG Huis blog. It includes sugar as an ingredient so don't tell the kids. They may want to eat it! Just tell them that it's a secret ingredient that you can't divulge. Kids love secret ingredients. For the instructions, go here.

Melissa from the Fireflies and Mud Pies blog claims to have a taste-safe recipe for finger paint. It doesn't include sugar but uses Kool-Aid instead of food colouring to colour the paints. I didn't attempt to try tasting but I do admit it came out nicely and really worked well. The recipe is here.

Homemade Water Colours

Your older kids might like to use brushes instead of their fingers to create their masterpieces. Here's an easy recipe for water colours from Amy, a blogger over at All Parenting. If you don't want to (or don't have an extra) ice cube tray, use a muffin tin instead or small jars. For recipe, click here.

I hope you find these links useful as well as both time and cost-saving. There's nothing better than creating and spending time with your kids. They grow up so fast!

Back Green Garden Update

Posted on July 17, 2014 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Well, here they are - photos of our lovely back green garden in bloom.

The lettuce (Lola Rosa) patch is already producing enough for most residents ...

I never knew you could grow your own celery ...

Herbs are my favourites as you can pick, and pick, and pick ....

The rosemary and mint in these clay containers give the garden a distinctly Mediterranean flair, don't you think?

Nasturtiums keep the French beans company.

The little guy loves to play under the trees behind the garden where he makes mud pies but he also loves to water the plants in the garden. This garden has been a godsend for me as I find it hard somedays to keep up with his nibs. So much energy in such a little package. Now we spend mornings in the garden enjoying the sunshine - I get to catch up on my reading and the little guy plays happily by himself or with any of the other kiddies that show up. 

Earth Day 2014

Posted on April 22, 2014 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Good advice from Dr. Seuss as today is Earth Day. If you are wondering what it's all about here are a few resources you can visit to find out what you can do.

Earth Day Canada

Earth Day Organization

UN Earth Day Activities

You can also check with your local city hall/council to find out what your town or city is doing to fight pollution. Get involved, start an initiative in your own home or neighbourhood. I'm trying to get our city council to put umbrella-style covers over street lamps to cut down on the amount of light that is wasted lighting up the sky instead of streets. Putting these covers on street lamps helps migrating birds (who get disoriented by a brightly lite night sky, often crashing into buildings) by decreasing brightly lite night skies while at the same time increasing illumination on streets, making it possible to remove every other lamp post and saving money. So far no luck, although they are changing over to LED lights.  I'm also trying very hard to lighten my load and promising myself not to buy anything unless it can be recycled, reused, repurposed - not just for today but everyday. 

DIY Milk & Juice Carton Recycling - Part 1

Posted on April 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (1)

I know that I promised you a bunch of Easter recycling ideas but I thought I'd take a little break and focus on the real intent of this blog: i.e., recycling stuff. A few days ago, a friend brought over a few milk cartons (the kind with cap and spout) and asked me how she could go about these as she has several kids and ends up with dozens of these cartons from both milk and juice in her recycling bin. 'Are there any ways', she asked, 'I can recycle these?'  'Well, yeah', says I, 'maybe, perhaps - let me think about it.'

So here goes. Let's start with the cap and spout first. You know those pesky packages that stuff like salt, sugar breadcrumbs, or baking soda come in? Whenever I poured anything out of them, they either would just dribble and stop pouring or pour out too quickly. So I decided that if I reused the cap and spout part of a milk or juice carton, I could solve that pesky problem. Here's what I did.



Now I know this is something others have thought of, so I'm not claiming it as my own idea, but if it works, it works. To start, of course, you will need canning jars - new or vintage - for this to work. You can pick up vintage canning jars at any charity shop or church bazaars - I collected a zillion of them at the Sally Ann over the years. Or you can buy new ones at hardware or kitchen supply stores. To replace the canning jar lids, just cut out the cap and spout part of the milk or juice carton and then, using the metal ring of the jar as a guide, trim to fit the jar.

Lastly, pour whatever contents you want into the jar, top with the new lid, and replace the metal ring.

You do know the jar should be clean and dry first, right?