Minions Duct Tape Pencil Holder

The Minions movie this year inspired us to make this Minions Duct Tape Pencil Holder for the Wee Child.  While he can and likely will use it for school this fall, we love how he could load it up and take it with us on vacation this summer as a durable and fun case for his pencils, pens, highlighters and crayons.  It is super easy to throw together, and seriously a cheap project for kids to make.

Minion Duct Tape Pencil Holder

Minions Duct Tape Pencil Holder

Duct Tape crafts are tons of fun for everyone.  Duct Tape in solid colors as well as crazy fun designs can be found for under $5 a roll in retail stores, hardware stores, craft stores and online.  Since most Duct Tape crafts like this Duct Tape Minion pencil case are almost entirely made from the tape itself, it is also seriously cheap way to entertain kids all summer long.

We grabbed this Minion Duct Tape at our local Michael’s craft store on sale a few weeks ago.  We grabbed scissors and a simple gallon sized Ziploc baggie to create our fun Minion pencil case.

Minion Duct Tape Pencil Holder

The Wee Child loved helping make this, and made it a lot easier to have extra hands on deck.  First you fold the baggie in half.  I secured it with a bit of tape at the top to make the next steps easier.  You want the zippered portion to be a bit higher than the bottom of the bag.

Minion Duct Tape Pencil Holder

Next you take strips of the Minion Duct Tape and begin at the top laying flat on one side of the baggie until covered.  Flip it over and do the same on the back.

Minion Duct Tape Pencil Holder

You can take your time to specifically match patterns, but with the Wee Child involved and wanting to do it “himself”, it ended up we just made sure it was covered instead of working on the pattern for this one.  We added an extra strip of tape across the sides to seal it.

Minion Duct Tape Pencil Holder

As you can see, it is a totally simple, easy and fun craft for kids to make.  Since the Minions movie is coming out this summer, it is a great addition to birthday party crafts, back to school prep or just a fun way to spend a summer afternoon!  I know the Wee Child loved being able to make something all on his own with Duct Tape.  You can grab so many different colors, designs and make thousands of different fun crafts!

Add this Minion Duct Tape pencil holder to your list of fun summer crafts to make this week!

Minion Duct Tape Pencil Holder

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Posted in DIY, Easy Crafts, Kids Tagged with: , , , ,

Little House On The Prairie Travel Destinations

I grew up reading Little House On The Prairie and watching the TV show and movies, so these Little House On The Prairie Travel Destinations are definitely on my must see travel list.  I have gone to visit her final home in Missouri once as a teenager, but would love to go back again.  While my son who is 7 loves to read, he just hasn’t gotten into this series like I had hoped.  Maybe over the next year or so I can get him started on them and we can make the rest of these a fun place to visit.

Little House On The Prairie Travel Destinations

Little House On The Prairie Travel Destinations

The Laura Ingalls Wilder series of books, featuring Little House on the Prairie, is a priceless collection and constant source of inspiration and lessons for children and adults.  From Wisconsin to South Dakota and Missouri, there is a destination for everyone and every type of vacation.  I love how so many of these locations are great for teaching history of the state as well!

Little House on the Prairie Site

This destination is only open to visitors from March to October, so plan for a spring to summertime visit. The home museum is a historical site in Independence, Kansas, which is also filled with historic buildings that are fun to explore. Plan for the annual Prairie Days Festival where you can watch Little House on the Prairie reenactments and try out prairie activities.  For more information about this landmark, a well as the area you can check out the Independence, Kansas Chamber of Commerce website.

Life in De Smet, South Dakota

While it was not the famous house on the prairie, De Smet was the location of five books in the series, including where Laura began her married life. When the Ingalls family arrived in De Smet, it was little more than a couple buildings in the middle of nowhere. Guided tours of the two original homes are available, and then spend some time in the Discover Laura Center. The one room schoolroom where Laura went to school is another great spot for children to learn and explore.

Mansfield, Missouri

Mansfield, Missouri is the town where Almanzo and Laura decided to build a home and life, and where Laura wrote her books. The historic site consists of both houses and museum, with more memorabilia than you will find anywhere else. Like Independence, Mansfield has a festival, Wilder Days, to celebrate the famous resident.  When I visited this home, I was surprised to find it so small, but also all of the counter so low to the ground.  Laura was a very short woman and the house was built for her own personal comfort.  Tons of great books, cookbooks and souvenirs in the gift shop will be a great treat to browse.

Little House on the Prairie Manuscript

If you are on the east coast and want to see the manuscript for yourself, its on display at the Pomona Library in California. There is a room where the book is kept, called the Laura Ingalls Wilder Room and guests can read sections of the book on microfilm after viewing the book where it is preserved under glass. The handwritten manuscript was given to Pomona librarian, Clara Webber, by Laura for the children’s room on its dedication.

Off the Beaten Path

Most Laura fans don’t realize that Laura actually spent some time in and lived in Florida. So if you are near Westville, Florida, stop the Congregational Church in town to visit the cemetery where Laura’s family was buried after she and Almanzo left.

If you are a fan of this author and the books like I have been for so many years, these Little House On The Prairie Travel Destinations will be perfect to include in your next family vacation.

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Homemade Seed Paper

Homemade Seed Paper

Homemade seed paper is the perfect party favor for bridal or baby showers,  tucked into a welcome basket for a new neighbor, or for your own use planted in pots and garden plots.  It is super easy to make, inexpensive, very earth friendly, and the kids love to help! It is also very easy to color to match any event or theme, either use colored paper or add a few drops of food coloring until desired color is reached.

homemade seed paper

Homemade Seed Paper

Supplies Needed:  

6-8 pieces of colored paper- construction or scrapbook,etc.

warm water

window screen

blender

seed packets

seed paper ingredients

Here is how you do it…

Tear paper up into 2″ pieces  and place in blender.

seed paper blender

 

Cover with warm water, replace lid, and blend until a pulp forms.

seed paper blended

 

Stir in seeds, you can add as much or as little as you like, I tend to go overboard, once planted and they begin sprouting it is easy to thin them out. I chose a wildflower seed mix for this batch.

seed paper seeds

So there are all kinds of really cool tutorials to make your own paper screen using window screen, I went the lazy  time and labor saving route and just used an old window screen we had laying around. I just spread my pulp out on the screen with a spatula until smooth and thin. Press down with a towel/paper towel to absorb some of the liquid and cut drying time.  I leave mine overnight.

seed paper screen

Cut your seed paper into strips, shapes, or small sheets. Punch a hole, run ribbon through it and use is as  a gift tag or bookmark if you like. We are going to tuck these in a pretty pot with some garden gloves, a few additional seed packets, and a trowel for a fun gift.

homemade seed paper horizontal

We love making useful upcycled or recycled gifts for our friends.  Not only are they frugal, but thy are better for the environment.  This is one of the most fun craft projects we have made because it serves so many purposes.  Not only does it recycle scrap paper, it is a great homeschool lesson for our children.  You can use it to teach about plant life, recycling and following instructions.  On top of that, it is a great gardening craft for starter gardens for your kids.

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Posted in DIY, Easy Crafts, gardening, Gift Ideas Tagged with: , , , ,

Boys & Girls Club Cyber Safe Futures Keep Your Kids Safe #CyberSafe

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

As most of you know, we are a tech family.  That means our son was introduced to using the Internet for various things at an early age.  From making cards for his grandparents, to doing school projects and learning games online, his safety is important to us.  We are happy to share with you about the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and their impact on cyber safety through the Cyber Safe Futures Program.

Cyber Safe Futures

June was Internet Safety month, and while I am late with this post, I still want to share how important it is to protect our children.  Every day there are dangerous individuals preying on our kids online.  From pedophiles seeking gratification, to the bullies that attack their classmates online where they believe they can’t get into trouble, our children need our protection more than ever.  We should not fear letting our kids do things online.  We should instead educate them on safety and keep open communication at all times.

The Boys and Girls Club of America has invited parents to submit their own questions about cyber safety and bullying through their site CyberSafeFutures.org for help in learning to teach their kids the safest way to interact online.  With new social media constantly coming into play, it’s easy for kids to be swept up into a game with someone they don’t know.  The latest trend of life streaming video on Periscope has been a personal consideration.  My son loves watching videos, and while I can control his Youtube access, Periscope is a new frontier we have to consider carefully.  As of yet, he isn’t old enough to have an account – but when he does I want to know how to protect him and help him understand what is safe and what isn’t.  Cyber Safe Futures as part of the Boys & Girls Clubs Of America is a great place to learn more and find out how to navigate these exciting but sometimes difficult changes in social media with our kids.

You can reach out to CyberSafeFutures.org and ask your own questions!  Not only will you receive great answers to help you keep you kids safe, you will know you have a handy resource that everyone can access easily.  When you submit a question, you are also entered to win one of three iPad minis, and a chance to donate $500 to the Boys & Girls Club of America of your choice!  What better reason to seek out help?

Head over and take the quizzes, ask questions and makes sure that you are keeping your kids safe online!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

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Setting Realistic Weight Loss Goals

Losing weight is tough.  Setting realistic weight loss goals is important no matter who little or how much you need or want to lose.  It’s hard though.  When you are obese, or severely overweight and really want to lose, seeing the scales move so slowly is a real drag.  Trust me. I know this.

Setting Realistic Weight Loss Goals

Setting Realistic Weight Loss Goals

Let’s get honest.  When you have 50+ pounds to lose, you want to lose it fast.  Once you get the mindset to lose and get healthier, you hate the waiting game to see what the scale says each week or month.  You’ll begin fretting over every calorie and every step you make. You will get frustrated when you only lose 1 pound a week. 4 pounds a month just seems so slow.

Here’s the deal:  Your body can’t lose drastic weight fast and not have problems.  It just isn’t healthy.  Sure, people have weight loss surgery, or even go on strict meal replacement diets every day.  Sure, they lose large quantities fast.  Yes, this is reality and it does happen.  However, in the big picture it isn’t healthy. It isn’t the best option, nor the safest option for most people.  Those options are generally only a safe option when there is no other way. Even then – only under constant supervision by you physician.

To set up a good realistic weight loss plan you need to think about safely improving your long term health. 

1-3 pounds is a health weekly weight loss. This has been proven time and again to be the safest overall method of losing weight.  Physicians, dietitians, personal trainers and nutritional therapists will all tell you that slowly losing weight will result in the most long term success.  It is cliche, but true.  You didn’t gain that weight overnight, so don’t expect it to all fall off overnight either.

Weight drops when you have an increase of exercise and decrease of calorie intake.  The two most important factors in setting realistic weight loss goals is to understand that an increase of exercise and decrease of calories are what it takes.  For the average working mom or dad, exercise has to be juggled into your schedule.  An hour each day may be impossible for many individuals.  Even 30 minutes a few times a week can be tough.  Food that is healthier can seem to cost more.  For those who work from home, it is easier to manage home cooked real food meals that are healthier.  However, none of these tings work easily for every person.  You have to do what works for you.  That may mean increasing exercise by taking short 10 minute walks as breaks throughout the day.  It may mean you begin meal planning and portion control even if you can’t always afford the healthiest foods.

Too few calories can make your body store more fat instead of burning it.  Starving yourself to reach an unrealistic weight loss goal will only result in your body shutting down and hanging onto the calories you put inside it.  If it is feeling undernourished, it will begin storing up fat cells just in case it doesn’t get more food.  This is counter productive.  Don’t take the lower calorie intake to extremes.

Make smaller short term goals.  Instead of looking at the larger ultimate goal, look at smaller goals.  If you have 50 pounds to lose, break that down into 10 pound increments.  A smaller goal to reach will help you to stay motivated, while still accomplishing the long term goal.

Understand what you really need to lose for health.  People get hung up on a number on a scale.  There are what are considered healthy weight rangs for your height, age and sex.  These are guidelines.  These are not the only thing you should consider when setting a goal for yourself.  Additionally, your BMI is a number that is used to measure your health, but is often inaccurate if you carry a lot of muscle.  Getting back to your pre-pregnancy or high school weight may not happen.  It simply isn’t always the number on he scale or even size of your jeans that is important.  Discuss with your doctor or a nutrition therapist what is truly healthy for your body and look to that goal.

I’ll be honest, I struggle with setting realistic weight loss goals for myself.  I get discouraged when only 10 pounds lost doesn’t result in visible physical changes for me.  With well over 100 pounds to lose, it can be difficult for me to focus on my health and not just the number.  However, meeting my first 10 pound goal last month showed me that I can do this. Slowly and surely, I can get healthier.

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