Make Some Flower Power

We made some of these Flower Power Rings and stems to send to my Grandma a few weeks ago when my Grandpa passed away. We wanted to send flowers that wouldn't die and this is what we came up with. They are also perfect for May day and Mother's Day too (and would be a fun sleepover or birthday craft too!)

You might remember that we made some of these little hand candies back in Februrary for Valentine's Day too.  If you want to see how to give them some bling, check out that post HERE.

Here are a couple of ideas for your flower designs.  You can make them whatever size works for your project-some are shown with the middle cut out-but DON'T DO THAT for making this project :)

To make the Flower Power Rings you will need: chenille stems, buttons, scissors, and felt (jewels and hot glue are optional-see Valentine's post above)

After you cut out your felt flowers you will use the scissors to cut small slits on the left and right side of each flower.  Then thread the chenille stem through the felt slit and the button like this:

After you are about half way through, put the stem through the other side of the button and then through the other slit in the felt flowers like this:

Here is what it looks like if you add a green leaf to the ring:

Now just wrap the remainder of the chenille stems around your finger (we did spirals) and there is your Flower Power ring-perfect for welcoming SPRING!

To make them into flowers instead, you only need to cut one slit in the middle of each felt flower.  Thread the chenille stem back down the same slit and wrap the end around the stem of the flower to hold it in place.  

{Little Project Tip:} You can kind of tell from this photo (I tried!) that I thread the green stem down through the felt leaves and then up through the lower one again and pull it tight to hold the leaves in place. Otherwise they slide around and can fall off.

To make a display of your beauties just put some pinto beans in a little pot and arrange your flower power stems.  They will brighten up any room (and can be made to match your color of decor if desired) and they won't die.

Grandma loved This Little Project, hope you do too :)

Making Button Bracelets

I had a blast making these with things I had on hand: buttons, stretchy string, and a few beads mixed in. I must say that I don't like wearing a watch (it stresses me out to see the seconds go by) but I think bracelets are fun to wear

Now that it's springtime and short sleeves allow you to actually see them, I thought up a couple of fun button bracelets...

 Kay is usually is wearing at least one of my ponytail elastics around her wrists.  These are much more fun.  I'll put a few in the store for those of you who don't want to spend the hour making them :) So Kay got a couple too, which she loves. Who knew that little girls just come that way?

Game: Where in the World?

Where in the world is.....?  Where in the world do they speak....?   Where in the world do they eat...?  Where in the world is the capital of.....?

This is a fun game to play with any ball and a map. We used our blow up globe ball.  You can prepare questions ahead of time or just play as you go.

Just say the name of a country and throw the ball to the next person. That person can name the capital or say another country before passing it on, depending on how you play. It's a great way to learn about different places on the Earth. Point them out on a map too before you pass the ball. You can also play it using names of states, cultural foods, or languages.

For other Earth learning ideas, click on the "Earth Day" category on the sidebar. Happy globetrotting!

Simple ways to Preserve and Conserve the Earth

It's been about a year since I had watched "The Story of Stuff." (thanks Mom!)  It's simple. It's profound. And it's certainly timely.  It's 20 minutes of viewing that will change how you view your stuff.

Did you know that simply unplugging your cell phone chargers saves a TON of energy? For more ways to save energy in your home, check this out.  My computer needs to be on a diet!

If you are wondering what is actually in your drinking water thanks to our obsession with stuff, check THIS out.

My sister equates saving money with saving the world. Here are things she does to do both:
1- Buy used toys-keep them out of the landfill
2- Cloth diapers-win-win: better for Earth and baby
3- Cook from scratch-less packaging in the trash
4- Make her own laundry detergent-did you know that lots of the chemicals that go into our water supply aren't taken out?  You can help by not putting them in!  There are lots of great "recipes" on the web.  Here is what she uses:

Dishwasher Detergent:

Mix equal parts Borax and Baking Soda or Washing Soda.

Add 2 Tablespoons for each load.  If you use a rinsing aid or have hard water, replace it with Vinegar.

Laundry Detergent:

1 Cup grated Fels Naptha Soap, Zote, or Ivory

1/2 Cup Washing Soda

1/2 Cup Borax

I used my food processor to grate the soap and mix and chop everything up nicely.

Use 1 Tablespoon for a light or little load and 2 Tablespoons for a big or heavy load.

For some ways to help your kids see what Preserving and Conserving our Earth is all about, see links below:
The Wildlife Conservation Center

Join a local hike with the Sierra Club

Kids can learn what they can do to save energy Here

Check out Spring Outside 2009 at

This quote seems all the more poingant this week:

'There is a great work for the Saints to do.  Progress, and improve upon and make beautiful everything around you. Cultivate the earth, and cultivate your minds. Build cities, adorn your habitations, make gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and render the earth so pleasant that when you look upon your labors you may do so with pleasure, and that angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations. In the mean time continually seek to adorn your minds with all the graces of the Spirit of Christ" (Deseret News, Aug. 8, 1860, 177)."The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come... trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you."
~Brigham Young (nearly a century and a half ago!)

Being a good steward on this Earth is something that is personal.  It truly begins with the beauty you create and maintain in your own life and home.  I find myself more committed and more informed to preserve and conserve the Earth.  It's a Little Project that means a lot.

Earth Day Week Round-up

There are so many little Earth Day projects that we've started around here. I think it is inspiring to see what other people have come up with, so here is a little round up of great ideas.

How-to's for all kinds of great ways to save energy at Instructables.

The city we live in has free recycling. As opposed to the place we lived before. There you paid for garbage. Then paid MORE for your recycling to be picked up. Our new city has it figured out. You want to recycle as MUCH AS YOU CAN when you only pay for what actually gets taken to the dump. Here are some RECYCLING STICKERS to get your bins set up.

It bothers me that every day I pack a lunch lots of plastic bags get thrown out. These reusable snack bags are on my to-do list.

You know the old adage, "Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without." That is Earth Care, if you ask me :) Here is a quick fix that makes "make it do" looks great!

How to Recycle your Crayons (eARTh Day)

We've been doing some eARTh today. Below are directions for 2 little projects that help you recycle your broken crayons.
At Green Talk I learned that millions of crayons are thrown away everyday and that because they are petroleum based it will take centuries for them to biodegrade! These little projects allow kids to help keep crayons out of the landfills (with adult supervision). 

Children really do hold the whole world in their hands. It's up to us to help them learn how to love her.

Of course we started out celebrating eARTh day with these treats. Then we got busy making old crayons into new eARTh creations.

Here are your supplies for the first activity: making worlds with recycled crayons.  You will need wax paper, an iron, crayon pieces, and a pencil sharpener.  A paper bag is a great help too.

The first crayon activity involved shaving the broken crayons with a pencil sharpener. We separated them by color.

Then spread them out to look like the Earth on the wax paper:
Next cover them with a layer of wax paper.  I put an added layer of paper (from a paper bag) over that.  You don't want any wax to get on your iron.

It doesn't take long for the little wax pieces to melt.  Try not to rub your iron around too much.  It makes the wax slide around.  It's better to just touch it down.  You can take the paper off and check as you go to see how it is looking.  Here is how our 2 looked after the iron melted the shavings.

Then just take a round object from the house and trace around it.  I took the top layer of wax paper off before I did this.
Cut it out and hang in the air.  You've made your own little world :)

We used the leftover bits (you can't sharpen the entire crayon) to melt and make new crayons.
The thickness of your crayons depends on how many pieces you put in.  Don't fill it too full or it will spill over the sides.  These crayons were about a half inch thick.  

Just set the oven to 300 degrees and watch them melt.  

When they are all melted, take them out and let the pan cool. After it has cooled, put the pan in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. The new crayons will fall right out!
Here is a song for you-can you guess the tune? (think birthday)
Happy Earth Day to YOU
Happy Earth Day to YOU
Happy Earth Day to YOU
Happy Earth Day to YOU!

Have a great eARTh Day! And since we are making a week of celebrating the Earth at our house, you're welcome to check back for more ideas during the week.

Celebrating the Earth

At our house a party is much more complete with cupcakes. I'll show you how to make some fun Earth Cupcake Toppers for yours.  Above is one side of the cupcake topper, below (scroll down) is the other side.

Click the image below (you may have to right click to open it) and print them.
Here are the other supplies you will need: pen, red marker or heart stickers, toothpicks, glue stick, an extra sheet of paper for the back side, and EITHER a 1 3/4" circle punch OR a paper cutter.  Scissors work too :)

If you have a circle punch, this is how you will want to punch out each topper.  I used a handy little coupon at the craft store to pick one up since I we make so many cupcakes around here :)
If you don't have the circle punch, no worries-notice how I chose a square photo of the Earth for you?  Just cut them out on your paper cutter (or use scissors.)  You will need to cut squares the same size to go on the back of the toppers.

Next, put a little glue on your toothpick and stick the front of the cupcake topper on. 
You will want to draw the heart on the blank side BEFORE you glue it on.  It's easier that way.

Here is what each side looks like:

Let them dry before you put them into the cupcakes, and there you go!  We put them on heart cupcakes and frosted them green since we are working on being more green around here.

We've been reading stories about how food is grown and how we can take care of the Earth.

This is a fun game to play with any ball and a map.  We used our blow up globe ball.

Just say the name of a country and throw the ball to the next person.  That person can name the capital or say another country before passing it on, depending on how you play.  It's a great way to learn about different places on the Earth.  Point them out on a map too before you pass the ball.  You can also play it using names of states, foods, or languages.
Tomorrow is Earth Day...stay tuned for another Earth Little Project.

Teaching Kids to Love the Earth

Tomorrow is Earth Day. We've been prepping for our celebration this past week.  Without even knowing that our Nana just sent the kids these great blankets.  She knows that we love geography around here.  The kids are LOVING them and it's fun to cozy up with the earth this way.

  As great as it is to talk about protecting the Earth I belive the thing that will help us most in our quest to treat the Earth well is to Teach Our CHILDREN to LOVE the EARTH. My sister is studying this very thing in college and turned me onto this book: Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. The subtitle is, "Saving our Chilren from Nature-Deficit Disorder."  I hope every parent reads it!  It is a must read and will change how you view and value your child's participation in nature

Here are a few of my favorite thoughts from the book:
p.10 "Many members of my generation grew into adulthood taking nature’s gifts for granted; we assumed (whe we thought of it at all) that generations to come would also receive these gifts. But something has changed. Now we see the emergence of what I have come to call nature-deficit disorder. This term is by no means a medical diagnosis, but it does offer a way to think about the problem and possibilities-for children, and for the rest of us as well.
My own awareness of the transformation began in the late 1980’s, during research for Childhood’s Future, a book about the new realities of family life. I interviewed nearly three thousand children and parents across the country, in urban, suburban, and rural areas. In classrooms and living rooms, the topic of children’s relationship with nature sometimes surfaced. 
I think often of a wonderfully honest comment made by Paul, a forth-grader in San Diego: “I like to play indoors better, ‘case that’s where all the electrical outlets are.”
In many classrooms I heard variations on that answer. True, for many children, nature still offers wonder. But for many others, playing in nature seemed so ….Unproductive. Off-limits. Alien. Cute. Dangerous. Televised."

p. 44 "…Edward O. Wilson and the ecopsychology movement are on to something. She calls for a common-sense approach, one that recognizes “the positive effects of involvement in nature on health, concentration, creative play, and a developing bond with the natural world that can form a foundation for environmental stewardship.
The idea that natural landscapes, or at least gardens, can be therapeutic and restorative is, in fact, an ancient one that has filtered down through the ages."

p. 120 "We can now look at it this way: Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health. (and also, by the way, in our own)."
Jay and Kay had a great time digging in the dirt with spoons and then planting seeds in these little pots.  Dirt is such a great medium for discovery!

p. 109 "This we know: As the sign over Alber Einstein’s office at Princeton University read, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” We don’t have to wait for more, needed, research to act on common sense, or to give the gift of nature-even when it might seem to be too late."

p.310 "We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories...the adventures we’ve had together in nature will always exist."

“This book is an absolute must-read for parents.” –The Boston Globe

"The simplest, most profound, and most helpful of any book I have read on the personal and historical situation of our children, and ourselves, as we move into the twenty-first century.”-Thomas Berry, author of The Dream of the Earth

I will continue to share some Little Project ideas for celebrating our Earth this week.  It's something we've been trying to do more everyday, not just on Earth day.  At our house Jay enjoys being outside, but Kay THRIVES in the outdoors.  She cries every time we have to come inside.  She sees the beauty of being outside and is a great example for our family.  The earth nourishes her.  It nourishes all of us.  What are you doing to help nourish the earth today? Teaching children to Love the Earth is one thing we can all help do.

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