Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Art Tip for glue

A friend of mine who is a trained Montessori Teacher recommended putting your glue in old fingernail polish bottles.

controling the glue
doesn't make a mess
helps with the pincher grip!
I emptied the bottle, and soaked it overnight with polish remover. I rinsed with soap and water then filled it with glue!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Uses for Baking Soda (& Vinegar)

Do you give much thought about baking soda? Probably not. Other than adding it to recipes to make the batter rise, you probably just let the box sit in your cupboard among your other baking supplies.

But, baking soda, which is also known as Sodium Bicarbonate, is much more than a baking supply. It can actually make your life easier. Not only is baking powder economical to purchase, but it's also one hundred percent safe and natural to use everywhere around your house!

Let's look at twenty-five amazing ways you can use baking soda:

In the Bathroom

1. One part baking soda mixed with two parts of ground oatmeal makes a great scrub for your face. Just mix together the two ingredients and add enough water to make a paste. Gently rub the paste onto your face, avoiding the eye area. Leave the facial on for a few minutes. Then, gently remove it with plenty of cool water and a wash cloth. Your face will feel noticeably soft and smooth!

2. Is your skin suffering from a case of Poison Ivy or Sumac? Or, do the kids have Measles or Chicken Pox? Add a half cup of baking soda to a bath tub full of warm water. Soak the entire body. The baking soda will help relieve the itching and irritation. It will also help to soften skin!

3. There are many teeth whitening products on the market today, but the most natural is plain old baking soda. Simply dip your toothbrush into some soda every time you brush! Not only will it help whiten your teeth, but it will help to clean your breath as well! Baking soda can also be used to safely clean dentures, partials, and other dental apparatus.

4. You can use baking soda just like a dry cleanser to clean sinks, bath tubs, and toilets. It works especially well on chrome fixtures! It rinses off easily and you don't have to worry about scratches either.

5. Hairbrushes and combs pick up not only loose hair, but they also get oily. Clean yours once a month by soaking them in a solution of warm water and a teaspoon or two of baking soda. Scrub them with a soft brush, if needed, then rinse them with clean water and let them air dry. 6. Is your hair dull and dingy? Maybe you have a build up of shampoo, spray, mousse, and other products in your hair. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in with your shampoo the next time you wash your hair. The soda will remove any build up and leave your hair soft.

In the Kitchen

7. A pan with burnt food in it can be cleaned with less effort if you soak it in baking soda and hot water first.

8. To open up a partially clogged drain, pour a half cup of baking soda into it. Follow this with a cup of vinegar. Allow the solution to bubble for several minutes, then run hot water down the drain.

9. Do you love dried beans, but not the gas and bloating they cause? Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda in the water when you soak beans. Oila! No more digestion problems!

10. You don't need a store-bought cleaner to remove dirt and insecticides from your fresh produce either. Just mix a quarter of a cup of baking soda in a sink full of water. Wash your fruits and vegetables in the solution, then rinse with clean water.

11. Baking soda makes an effective cleaner and deodorizer for your refrigerator too! Sprinkle a little on a damp sponge and clean the inside of the appliance as you normally would. Rinse clean, and see and smell the difference!

12. Your oven is another appliance that baking soda can easily clean and deodorize. Mix some baking soda and enough water to make a paste. Use a sponge to spread the paste over the inside of your oven. (Make sure that you don't touch the element if your stove is electric!) Allow the paste to set undisturbed for several hours. Then, scrub your oven clean! In the Laundry Room

13. Do you need to use a laundry booster to help get your clothes clean? Then pour in a half cup of baking soda to every washer load of laundry. You can also use baking soda with bleach too. Your laundry will look brighter and smell fresher!

In the Living Room

14. Carpet and cloth-covered furniture make beautiful additions to your house. But, they do tend to hold body odors, pet smells, cigarette smoke, and other unwanted aromas in your home. To freshen your carpet and upholstered furniture, sprinkle them with baking soda. Allow them to sit undisturbed for a half hour or so. Then, simply vacuum the baking soda up.

15. Fireplaces can also help make your home warm and cozy. But, the soot can also give your house yet another unwanted odor. To help freshen up your fireplace, clean the ashes out, then place a bowl of baking soda in it. In the Bedroom

16. Fill a pair of old socks with baking soda. Tie a knot in the top of each sock. Then, place the socks in a pair of shoes or slippers that you want to deodorize and freshen up!

17. Are there light water rings on your finished wood nightstand? Mix together a paste of baking soda and toothpaste. Dip a soft cloth in the paste and rub the water spots away! In the Garage

18. A paste made up of baking soda and water will clean and polish the chrome on your vehicles!

19. A box of baking soda can make an effective extinguisher if a small fire erupts in your garage.

20. Baking soda works better than one of those hanging pine trees in your vehicles. If your vehicle smells musty or smoky, fill up the ashtrays with baking soda. The soda will absorb the odors and effectively freshen the interior.

21. Corroded battery terminals can make your car, truck, van, or SUV refuse to start. Eliminate this problem by periodically cleaning the terminals with a paste made of baking soda and water. Wipe the paste and grunge off with a clean rag.

Elsewhere Around Your House

22. Does the smell of the litter box in your house announce to visitors that you have a cat? If so, you can remedy the problem by starting with a clean box. Then, pour baking soda in it until it's a couple inches full. Finally, add kitty litter as usual. The soda will help absorb the ammonia smell.

23. Ants in your house? Keep them out by mixing up equal parts of baking soda and salt together. Then, sprinkle the mixture wherever you see the intruders coming in at.

24. Do you need to fill in some nail holes in a plastered wall? If you don't have any spackling handy, you can simply mix together some white toothpaste and baking soda. Fill the holes in completely, then allow the mixture to dry. If you want to match the wall color, add a drop or two of food coloring to the mix before you use it.

25. And finally, many flowers, fruits, and vegetables need to be planted in acidic soil in order for them to grow to their fullest. If you're not sure whether the soil in an area is acidic or not, then perform this test: mix up a quarter of a cup of baking soda with two cups of water. Then, stir in a cup of the soil. If the mixture foams up, then the soil is acidic.

source: http://www.associat/ edcontent. com/article/ 14781/25_ amazing_uses_ for_baking_ soda_youve. html

Also, those with kids still in diapers, baking soda neutralizes the urine smell, so baking soda is great in cloth diaper pails, the initial soak wash for diapers (with vinegar in the final rinse cycle), and for cleaning up pee around the house.

Yep! The baking soda list immediately had be thinking about how useful vinegar is too! This is too long of a list to copy & paste,but check it out: http://www.versatilevinegar.org/usesandtips.html

Best Homemade Playdoh

5 1/2 cups flour
2 cups salt
8 tsp cream of tarter
3/4 cup oil
4 cups water

Mix all the ingredients together. Cook and stir over medium heat until all lumps disappear. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth. Store in an airtight container.

You may add food coloring or pumpkin spice for scented play dough.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fall Ideas

Fall 2006 Handicrafts--

"Week One: Fall Cloth Napkins Skill: sewing a simple running stitch or learn to use sewing machine. Select your choice of fabric: For every two 16 1/2'' x 16 1/2'' napkins 1/2 yard fabric is needed. Cut fabric into 18'' squares. To hem outside edges of the napkins, press all four sides to the back 3/4'', then 3/4'' again. Stitch the pressed edges. Use machine or sew by hand using running stitch.

Week Two: Fall Place mats (quick and easy)Instructions found here:http://jas.familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts?page=CraftDisplay&craftid=10747Week Three: Leafy T-shirts Skill: identify and choose leaves and make an appealing layout.T-shirts go on sale at AC Moore for 5 for $10.00. Or buy larger white t-shirts at Walmart. You could press the different leaves on to the shirt and then when dry, have your kids print the name of each leaf on the shirt.Instructions here:http://familyfun.go.com/parenting/learn/activities/feature/famf48woods/famf48woods5.htmlWeek

Four: Corn Husk Dolls Skill: appreciate a colonial era craft.Save some of your corn husks from your summer bbq's for this project in the fall.Instructions found here:http://jas.familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts?page=CraftDisplay&craftid=10747

Week Five: Draw or Paint Nature Scene for home using 3"X5" or 5"X7" other small standard sized frame. (small work is not quite as overwhelming!)Frames can be found cheap at Walmart. Use whatever medium your child enjoys. Pencil sketches are a good place to begin.Ideas: outdoor scenes, scenes from nature. Can be touched with watercolor if desired.(would need to be done on watercolor paper.)Have child plan out picture, deciding where the light is coming from and how it will be translated in drawing. Encourage proper shading for depth. Always frame even the feeblest attempts!

Week Six: Verse in Calligraphy or Best Handwriting for fridge. Have your child practice writing their favorite verse or inspiring quote, or Charlotte's motto. When they have the hang of the calligraphy pen, mark light guide lines on card stock paper with pencil first, then let them try with the calligraphy pen. Flourishes can be added or floral motifs colored in with marker.

Week Seven: Felt shaped leaves. Skill: blanket stitch.Collect some Autumn leaves. Using fall colored wool felt, cut out 2 of each leaf shape, and stitch together using a blanket stitch (with3 strands of DMC floss). Hang with floss in your windows.Variation: make a pillow: Cut two two squares of wool felt. Put one square aside. Lay out your leaf designs the way you like on the pillow top avoiding the edges. Then applique the leaf shapes onto the pillow using a blanket stitch.Sew pillow squares together(wrong sides together). Turn and stuff with batting.

Week Eight: Learn to crochet a washcloth. Instructions here:http://crochet.about.com/library/weekly/aa041799.htmOnline resource shows how to make a simple washcloth or a doll blanket. These could be made pink or blue for a new baby, or in Christmas colors for a grandparents gift.


Learn to make homemade cards using rubber stamps or black and white clip art that can be colored. Start by just trying one card for a sick person in your church.(this is a time when you can also stress beautiful handwriting in the card---you kill two birds with one stone!)We love take an afternoon and make hand stamped Christmas tags, to which the kids love to add red, green, gold and silver glitter! Old victorian post cards make an awesome front for Christmas tags and many are available free online, so you can copy and print them out.

Week9: Scherenschnitte (paper cutting) Paper cutting is a neat thing to try because it is inexpensive and can yield beautiful results! You could also do silhouettes of your children using this method. Take a photo of their profile, enlarge it to fit a standard frame, and cut out the profile and use it as a template to trace onto black paper. Mount on white or cream paper and frame.Explained here: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Valley/8063/scherenschnitte.htm

3 Free patterns: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Valley/8063/scher_examples.htm (I like mother and child!)Snowflake patterns for young children: http://www.papersnowflakes.com/

Week 10: Pumpkin Centerpiece Skill: To make a centerpiece for the home that mom will enjoy.Hollow out pumpkin by making a round cut around the stem and cleaning out the insides. Fill ½ way with potting soil and then plant a fall mum inside. The pumpkin makes a pretty planter and is a good alternative for those who would rather not carve pumpkins for Halloween.Also, try roasting the pumpkin seeds for a nice treat for your kids:

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds 101When you're carving pumpkins for Halloween, don't forget to save the seeds. Roasted pumpkin seeds have a nutty flavor and are packed with protein and fiber. Pumpkin seeds can simply be salted, as in the following recipe, or can be spiced with cayenne pepper or Italian seasoning. Rinse pumpkin seed sunder cold water to remove pulp and strings. Place pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and coat with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and bake at 325 degrees until toasted, about 25 minutes." -Angi

Friday, August 17, 2007

Egg Shell Chalk

One favorite Practical Life excercise of my children is crushing eggshells using a morter and pestle, but then what do you do? How about making eggshell chalk?

Set out a tray with a toilet paper roll, a bowl of powdered ground up egg shell, flour, Tbls & tsp, mixing bowl, optional is food coloring to be added to the water. Below is the recipe, however I have found that tripling the recipe is not enough to fill the entire tp roll. I also found wax paper works better as a wrap. The easiest technique is to use on of those cylinder shaped ice cube trays that you make for adding to water bottles, make sure to press all the air out.