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Thursday, April 24, 2014

10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

Earth Day may be only one day a year, but, it can (and should) be practiced every day. You can't be too young to learn about the earth and find ways to help. Your littlest ones can go on a nature walk or create a craft from the recycle bin. Older kids can take control and guide the family. They can implement a plan to reduce their water consumption or make a pledge to turn off the lights. Here are 10 ideas for families that want to celebrate Earth Day every day.
  1. Set up an at-home recycling station. Teach Me Mommy show you how.
  2. Learn about the world around you and go on a nature walk with How Wee Learn.
  3. Pick up litter around your neighborhood with My Nearest and Dearest.
  4. Learn about composting and start a compost pile or bin in your yard with ALLterNATIVE Learning.
  5. Find ways to conserve water in your home with Kitchen Counter Chronicles.
  6. Play a recycling think and sort game with No Time for Flashcards.
  7. Make a log pile home for creatures in the corner of your yard with Rainy Day Mum.
  8. Search your recycling bin for craft supplies. JDaniel4's mom has a great list of recycled crafts!
  9. Challenge each other to turn out the lights, like we did here at Creative Family Fun.
  10. Save a tree with these 7 Ways Kids Can Help Save Trees from Go Explore Nature.
What are some of the ways your family celebrates Earth Day every day?

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day Pledge ~ Turn Off the Lights!

I love Earth Day. It's a great time to evaluate what you are already doing to conserve and find ways to make more of an impact. We already recycle and compost. We've planted several new trees. We use cloth napkins and use environmentally-safe cleaners. But, there was one big thing that we could do better. It was one thing that the girls could do themselves and feel like they were making a big difference. It was so simple. We need to turn out the lights!

According to the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEAA), artificial lighting is responsible for 15% of a home's energy usage. Wow! We can easily reduce that percentage by turning off the lights when we leave a room and using natural light during the daytime. 

The girls were very excited about this idea and wanted to help, but we knew we needed a few reminders. We grabbed a few blank index cards, markers, and tape. The girls made several "turn off the lights" signs, which were the perfect size to hang over (or under) our light switches.

We traveled through the house and hung up the signs in the rooms where we always forget to turn off the lights, especially in the bathrooms and the girls' bedroom. 

So far, the reminders have been working wonderfully. I've been hearing my girls' verbal reminders to each other, "hey, you forgot to turn out the lights!" And, those switches have been flipped to "off" more times than not. 

Earth Day may come only once a year, but you can put into practice earth-friendly habits any day of the year. You're never too young and you're never too old. Show your kids just how simple it is to make a difference and see how they take charge. Hey, all it takes is turning off the lights!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Egg Dye Pour Painting

I've always loved the Easter tradition of dying eggs. We typically do the traditional method of mixing up cups of egg dye made from food coloring and dipping our eggs. We're still going to do that this year. We usually dye eggs the Saturday before Easter. But, I also wanted to do a little egg dying experiment this year. For this project, we spooned our dye over top of our eggs.

I ran across a dozen plastic dye-able eggs at a certain big box store (the one that starts with a W). We used these so we could keep them out all week and use them again next year. But, you can certainly use this technique with regular boiled eggs or blown-out eggs. (TinkerLab has a few great tips for blowing out an egg if you want to go that route.) 

To make these eggs, you can either use a traditional egg dye or liquid watercolors. We chose the liquid watercolors because there wasn't any prep work involved. Turn an extra egg carton upside down and prop your eggs in between the cups. This is a great trick. The egg carton will hold your egg upright for you and you can use both hands for decorating. Plus the egg carton soaks up all the excess dye and keeps it from running all over the table. If you don't have paper egg cartons, put a baking sheet under the eggs to help catch your egg dye.

Once we were all set up with cups of our liquid watercolors, egg cartons, and spoons for each color, the girls got to work. My oldest was very deliberate with her color choices and even managed to make a fun rainbow effect. My preschooler started turning her eggs every which way to get the best coverage. There really is no right way to do this project. Just pour and create.

I love these eggs and I'm so happy we'll have then for Easter decorating every year. Have you decorated your eggs yet? Do you use a traditional dye, natural dyes, or a fun technique?

The Chocolate Muffin tree created similar eggs with glitter liquid watercolors. Awesome! You can see their eggs at this link.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

My Life on Instagram

I love Instagram. I love capturing a moment. I love seeing the details. I love the beauty of the everyday. I love the reminder of the little things. 

These are just a few of the things I've captured on Instagram over the last couple of weeks. 

Now that spring has sprung, our sandbox is no longer under a couple of feet of snow. The sand is at a perfect slightly wet, mold-able state. The girls just can't stay out of it - not that I'd stop them. This is what they've been doing the last few afternoons.

I've been trying to participate daily in the Tinkerlab Sketchbook Challenge. Since we've been spending so much time outdoors, a lot of my sketching has been done on the driveway, like this 1-minute challenge sketch. I haven't been able to participate everyday, but I'm enjoying the chance to draw and stretch my creative muscles.

This, my friends, is my favorite sign of spring. My tulips are poking their way out of the mulch and I couldn't be happier.

Sewing. It's kind of my thing. I've become addicted in the last couple of years and this year I decided to make both girls a new dress for Easter. This is Miss First Grader's. I'm nearing my deadline and I still have one dress to go. Ack!

We've been doing some of the TinkerSketch Challenge together. Drawing on foil day was way too much of a fun idea to do by myself. The girls and I sat around the table one afternoon with my Sharpies and sheets of aluminum foil. This is Miss First Grader's masterpiece.

I've never, ever been able to capture a good sunset pic. Apparently, all I needed was a smart phone. That's what I get for being behind the times! Thank you Instagram for the pic.

If you want to see more of my day-to-day, you can follow me on Instagram at this link. I'd love to follow you too! 

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Egg Carton Easter Basket

I recently found myself staring at a pile of egg cartons and wondering how we could use them. Easter was at the forefront of my brain and it didn't take long until I connected the dots. They would be perfect for making cute little Easter baskets. This project takes very few supplies; it's easy to prep; and it's a lot of fun to make. In fact, you probably already have everything you need to get started.

Supplies Needed:
Egg carton
Craft paint
Sharp pencil
2 pipe cleaners (fuzzy craft sticks) for each basket

We divided an egg carton into sections of four cups apiece. The egg cartons we have tear easily. If you don't have the same type of carton, you may have to get out the scissors. We each took a section of the egg carton and started painting. I got out as many pretty pastel colors of paint as I had, but feel free to paint them any color. Stripes, polka dots, and solid colors all look pretty on the baskets.

While waiting for the paint to dry, we twisted two different colors of pipe cleaner together. Once they were twisted, we curved them into a u-shape.

I used the sharp pencil to poke a hole in each side of the egg carton. We then put the ends of the pipe cleaners into each hole, curving up the ends and twisting it around itself. That's it. You're done!

This project was so simple and fun. We filled them with plastic eggs and added them to our Easter decorations. They're so pretty.

If you find yourself with a few extra egg cartons, turn them into Easter baskets!

Linking up to The Sunday Showcase.

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