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Archive for the ‘crafts’ Category

Cost and time are always the two main factors when you’re deciding whether you should purchase or make your Halloween costumes.  One other factor to consider is the FUN FACTOR.  Making a costume from scratch is a great way to get the creative juices flowing and also a great way to get your kids to appreciate using their heads and their imagination.  Lots of costumes can easily be made from clothing that’s already in your closet.  The FUN FACTOR comes in with the accessorizing and makeup!

Here are some ideas to help give you a jumpstart:

Scarecrow:
Somewhere in your family closets there is likely to be a well worn, torn and frayed pair of jeans, and an old shirt. You may even be able to find an old straw hat. From that foundation costume, glue some straw under the hat and around the cuffs of the shirt and pants. You might find a bird you can sit on the hat from your Christmas tree decorations. From there, most of your effort will go into face painting and finishing off the overall look.

Pirate: 
A basic costume can begin with an old shirt and cut down old jeans, with a bandana around the head. Your main effort would go into setting up the accessories such as a broad belt and sword, an eye patch, face painting and artificial tattoos.

Basic Outfit to Jumpstart Many Costumes:
Start with a long sleeved turtleneck top and pants (sweatpants or skinny pants).

Witch – A black outfit like this needs only a black cape, a witch’s hat and some makeup and you are ready to cackle!

Animals – Other colors could become animal costumes with the addition of a tail, ears, mittens and some face paint. Some costume shops have partial costumes such as faces, noses, tails and ears available to add these features to your basic costume. For a tiger, for example, some black fabric paint on a yellow outfit could be used to create stripes. A little stuffing under a yellow outfit and you have the beginnings of a plump Winnie The Pooh.

Skeleton/Zombie – Use luminous paint on a black outfit like this to draw a skeleton front and back and you have a very scary Zombie costume. Just add some white fabric around the head and some face paint for a skull.

Tin Man – This beloved character from the Wizard of Oz could be represented by spray painting this basic outfit with a metallic paint. Gloves, old shoes and a hat could also be painted to complete the costume.

By using this approach, instead of spending a lot of time cutting out and sewing fabric, most of your effort in making the costume will go into the FUN FACTOR that your children will take pride in helping with.

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It’s October!!  Time to decorate the house for Halloween.

Here are a couple of homemade crafts you can make with your kids:

Grocery Bag Ghost
Start with a balloon, preferably a white one in keeping with the ghostly theme of Halloween. Blow it up. It’s going to hang from the ceiling of your Halloween party room. If you have the opportunity to blow it up with helium so it can float freely and move around the ceiling that is an advantage, because your ghost will then be able to show up in unexpected places, just like a Halloween ghost.

Next, find a couple of white plastic grocery bags, the kind you get from your supermarket. Cut off the handles, and cut them down the sides to make a large flat rectangle. Cut this into strips, about the width of an adult’s finger. Attach each strip firmly to the balloon with glue or sticky tape. Work around the lower third of the balloon hanging the strips so they hang like the tentacles of an octopus. You may want to discard any strips that have brightly colored printing, or hang them with the printed side inside.

Finally, use a marker pen and draw round eyes and a mouth on the balloon as a ghostly face in the act of screaming. You may prefer to use luminous paint for the face, and perhaps down some of the strips, so it will glow in the low lighting during your Halloween party.

Hang your ghost from the ceiling so your guests get gently touched by the hanging strips as they move around the room, and get the feeling they may have encountered a Halloween ghost.

Egg Carton Spider
Cut out the egg cups to make the body of your spiders. Place them on a sheet of newspaper and paint them black, inside and out. This works best with egg cartons made of recycled paper rather than plastic. When they have dried, make four holes down one side, and repeat on the opposite side. Insert four long black pipe cleaners through each pair of holes to make eight spider’s legs. Bend the legs so they look like spider’s legs.

Add two eyes at the head of your spider. You could use white or luminous paint, or the kind of stick-on googly eyes you can buy at craft shops. Insert a knotted thread through the center of the egg cup, so the spider can be suspended from the ceiling without tilting too much.

Hang your large hairy spiders on their threads in places where they will scare your guests.

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Baby’s first birthday – Can you believe it?  It’s hard to believe that your baby is walking, eating table food, and beginning to speak. Baby has developed a unique personality during this year and is not afraid to express it.

Need some scrapbooking ideas on how to make this 1st birthday page special?

Picture Ideas:

  • You must have a picture of baby wearing a party hat.
  • Snap a picture of baby with each party guest.
  • Randomly take photos of baby interacting with all the new people in the house.
  • Take a picture of the beautiful birthday cake before and after you light the candle.
  • Take a wide shot of all the party guests singing “Happy Birthday” to baby.
  • As daddy shows baby how to blow out the candle, keep the cameras clicking.
  • Baby can help you with the present pictures by ripping the wrapping paper off.

Scrapbooking Ideas:

  • Scrapbook paper with a background of balloons will do. Use a glue stick to make streaks on the sides of the page. Shake birthday confetti on the page and pour off the excess. Crop the party pictures into big squares.
  • Cut photos in the shape of balloons, cakes, or the number one.
  • Create small bows from baby’s wrapping paper and put one on top of each picture to turn them into presents. The title of this page would be “Baby’s First Birthday.”

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Apples are one of the most versatile fruits known to man, and have been for a good part of recorded history.  Apples are so popular in fact; apple pie recipes are often handed down through generations. They are served at family reunions and during the holidays all around the world.

Here’s an Apple Pie recipe you’re sure to enjoy making as much as you do eating.

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Old Fashioned Apple Pie (Save time by purchasing ready-made crusts)

Ingredients:
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts  
7 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples
1 cup white sugar 
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/4 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons butter

Directions:
Preheating oven to 425 degrees F.  In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, flour, and spices, stirring gently.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crusts and dot with butter.  Place the top crust on the pie, and cut holes in the top for ventilation.  Bake for ten minutes at 425 degrees, and then turn the temperature down to 275-300 degrees.  Allow the pie to bake for an additional 40-50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  Let the pie cool and then serve.  Add a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream for a special treat.

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Besides using them in pies, fresh cider, and eaten raw, you may also use apples as a decoration around the home.  After drying apple slices, you may string them on a piece of jute to create a garland, or add the dried slices to a wreath that hangs on the front door.  You can also make ornaments out of applesauce and cinnamon.

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Apple Cinnamon Ornaments

Ingredients:
3/4 cup ground cinnamon 
2 tablespoons ground cloves
1 cup applesauce 
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon nutmeg 
1/8 or 1/4 inch ribbon

Directions:
In a small bowl, mix the applesauce and spices, stirring until the mixture makes a dough.  Roll the dough out between sheets of wax paper.  Using a cookie cutter, cut out the designs you like, and then set them aside.  Roll out the leftovers and cut out until all of the dough is gone.  Poke a hole in the shape to accept the ribbon.  Let the ornaments dry four to five days, uncovered, and undisturbed.  Place the ribbon through the hole and then hang the ornament to leave a pleasant scent.  Store the ornaments in a zip-top bag.

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With over 7000 varieties, apples are one of the most well-known fruits. They can be used in a myriad of recipes and can even be used in non-cooking methods.  Now is the time to get some – cooked or raw, food or craft – apples are truly a fruit to enjoy.

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My friends over at Dine Without Whine came up with these terrific things to do with the kids and they all relate to Dr. Suess books!  Read and enjoy…

What child doesn’t grow up with Dr. Seuss books? We have quite a few of them lying around the house. The kids love the silly characters and the rhymes. The Dr. Seuss inspired recipes and activities that I’m about to share with you have been a great hit in our house. Of course the famous green eggs and ham are included, but there are also quite a few other snack and meal ideas. Create a fun Dr. Seuss inspired afternoon with some of these recipes and of course don’t forget to read a few of the books with your kids. (If you don’t own any, enjoy a trip to your local library.)

Green Eggs and Ham
This has to be the most famous Dr. Seuss inspired dish. Scramble a few eggs, add a couple of drops of blue food coloring to the mixture and cook as usual. You can serve a warmed up slice of ham with it, and if you want to go all out, brush the ham with a little green food coloring.
My kids love either biscuits, or mashed potatoes with this dish. Add a little food coloring (either green, or a complimentary color like red) to the biscuit dough or the finished mashed potatoes for even more fun.

Cat in The Hat Snack
Make the Cat’s Hat for a fun snack. All you need is a few Ritz crackers, gummy lifesavers (preferably in white/clear and red) and a little vanilla frosting. Put the Ritz cracker on a plate. Use a little bit of vanilla frosting to glue the first lifesaver on the cracker. “Glue” more lifesavers on top of the first one alternating between red and white.
These snacks are so cute; you may want to take a picture of your child’s creation before it is devoured.
 
Wiggly Fish
This snack was inspired by  “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”. Prepare several different colors of Jello according to package directions and pour each flavor into a shallow pan. Use a fish shaped cookie cutter to cut the Jello into fish shapes.  (If you don’t have a fish shaped cookie cutter you could also just cut fish shapes with a knife.) You can also add small pieces of fruit to the Jello mixture before it cools. This is a great way to sneak an extra serving of fruit into your child’s diet.
 
Pink Ink for The Yink
The Yink in “One Fish, Two Fish” love to drink pink ink. Make your own version by combining a few strawberries (either fresh, or frozen and thawed) and some milk in a blender. Add a few drops of red food coloring if the “ink” isn’t pink enough.
 
A Fruity Hat For The Cat
How about this for a fun Sunday breakfast? Whip up a batch of silver dollar pancakes and cut up some fresh strawberries. Grab some whipped cream and let the kids assemble the Cat’s hat by stacking pancakes, and strawberries on top of each other using the whipped cream as “glue”.
Enjoy a few of these Dr. Seuss recipes and activities with your family, or invite a few neighbor kids over for a Dr. Seuss party. Either way they are a lot of fun and a great way to bring some of the Seuss stories to life.

Want more family friendly recipes and crafts ideas?  Visit Dine Without Whine for a sample weekly menu plan your entire family will love and www.kinderinfo.com for tons of craft and activity ideas that are sure to keep your little ones entertained. 

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Do you dream of owning your own business? Is scrapbooking your favorite hobby and now you think you’re ready to take this hobby to the next level? If you answered “yes” to these questions…read on.

A colleague of mine, Vera Raposo, the queen of scrapbooking, is going to knock your socks off with her brand spanking new Scrap Venture Coaching System.

This is a 7-week program that will take your scrapbook business to new levels. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s the scoop on what you’ll get during this coaching session with Vera:

1. Laying the foundation for your business
2. Building your website
3. Locating scrapbook products
4. Using auctions as business-builders
5. Marketing techniques
6. Mastering Internet marketing
7. Planning for your future

This coaching package is very exciting! Not only does Vera provide the weekly lessons, but you also get one-on-one coaching with her, a members-only forum, and feedback every week on your completed lesson. Now, where can you go to get this kind of personal business mentoring at such a reasonable price? Nowhere!

I am excited to share this with you because I know there are tons of moms out there searching for legitimate business opportunities. Vera is a trusted and highly respected work at home mom, too, so she understands where you’re coming from. Plus, the advice she gives is backed by years of experience in the scrapbook industry.

If you are considering starting your own scrapbook business, I implore you to grab this remarkable opportunity before you take the plunge. Let Vera guide you with her expansive knowledge about the scrapbook business. Hurry—the first round of coaching begins Monday, June 4th!

Make sure you reserve your spot now.

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There use to be a time when buying Easter baskets was affordable. With the exception of the dollar store variety, it seems everything but the kitchen sink is included, making them a bit high in price.

Here are some tips for making your own Easter baskets using your creativity!

A basket can come in any size and shape. Traditionally, an Easter basket is made of wicker, filled with brightly colored cellophane and, of course, the handle. You can make a basket out of things in your home.

  • How about a gallon milk jug? Cut it right above the handle to open it up. Wrap it with brightly colored cellophane or tissue paper and decorate the handle.
  • Paper plate and ribbon. Make holes on each side of the paper plate; use a bright colored ribbon to insert through the holes; make a bow and you have a basket, similar to one you would use to carry flowers! There are so many designed plates available in your local supermarket. You can dress it up however you choose.
  • How about buying a plain basket at the dollar store and weaving pink or blue ribbon through the basket? You can cover the handle of the basket with ribbon as well. Instead of buying the cellophane grass; line the bottom of the basket with colorful tissue paper cut into strips – make a nest, so to speak. Fill the basket with whatever you choose.

It is doubtful you will run out of ideas, but just in case, check out these links for some other creative ideas!
Paper Bag Easter Bunny
Can Easter Basket

These tips for making your own Easter basket are just the tip of the iceberg. Get your creative juices flowing and start working…if for some reason those juices won’t start, just ask your kids – they are always FULL of creativity!

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