2010-04-28

Tutorial: Making Paper Pots

I have a box full of seeds to plant, I am hoping to get them started in pots first (I always fear that I am either going to lose them in the ground or that the large bird and squirrel population will steal them, which has happened in the past).  In stead of buying piles of peat pots, or seeding trays I decided to make my own using the newspaper we have waiting to be recycled.


This couldn't be an easier project, and I think it would be great to do with young kids.

Materials needed:


empty bottle or can (I found a beer bottle works great - look for something with a flat or concave bottom - soda bottles won't work)

scotch tape (I am trying to find a more green option to the tape - there are new organic glues that are eco friendly that I might give a go next year)

scissors

newspaper (1 full page = 4 pots)

You really don't need a ton of workspace to do this project, but you will want a shallow box or tray to put your finished pots in.

Step 1 - cut the newspaper in half along center fold that goes across the page.  (its not exactly in half but works great)  You can cut multiple pages at a time, however many your scissors and your hand can handle





Step 2 - cut the paper again, this time along the large center fold along the long side edge of the paper.  Again you can cut multiple pages at a time.  It is not important that each piece be the same size.



Step 3 - fold the sheets in half the long way.  Basically take the page and hold it so that you can read the writing, fold the bottom up to meet the top and crease.




Step 4 - take a single folded sheet and lie the bottle or can down on the paper so that the fold is towards the top of the container and approximately 1/3 of the sheet is below the bottom of the container.



Step 5 - roll the paper around your container.  make it fit snuggly but not too tight.  (if it is wrapped too tightly you will have trouble removing it later)





Step 6 -  using the smallest piece of tape possible, tape the edge of the paper down onto itself



Step 7 -  fold the bottom of the paper down onto the bottom of the container and again, using the smallest piece of tape possible, tape down the paper to hold it in place.





Step 8 -  carefully remove the paper from the container and admire your work



Thats it!!  I was able to make a tray full of pots in about a half hour, and that's with short and cute distraction.

  
I'm looking forward to filling these with soil and seed tomorrow with my little guys!  And I know they will love watching the new life sprout.

2010-04-27

WW: Boys Will Be Boys

It is never dull here....

Never!!

When Tommy was 2 (remember here) he broke his leg.

It was sad, but oh so cute





Seriously....look at the little foot in that little green cast

And then on Sunday

Jack decided that he needed to be like his big brother

So apparently he jumped off the couch

(actually the story is he jumped on the couch and then bounced off of it...Mommy was not in the room at the time)

And so now....here we are....


He is pretty proud of his new cast, even picked out the color himself!!


 But don't worry it hasn't slowed him down any!!




For more WW fun, please visit 7 Clown Circus and 5 Minutes for Mom.

2010-04-26

My Lists

Happy List

  1. Jack only woke up 2 times last week
  2. Shopping at the consignment sale last week without my kiddos
  3. A fun day at the park then a nap with my boys
  4. Waking up from said nap to an amazing thunderstorm
  5. Hubby came home early and spent the day with Jack and I 
  6. We made the best granola and trail mix ever tonight - seriously, so so so good, I will share the recipe for it later!!

Not-So Happy List

  1. My littlest guy has a broken arm :(
  2. Broken arms do not make bed time or bath time any easier
  3. Have you ever tried to convince a 2 year old they need to take it easy?!
  4. Hubby and Jack came with me grocery shopping...lets just say we went over budget this week!!!


To Do List
  1. Make more felt food (and finish the food I started)
  2. Take Jack to orthopedic tomorrow
  3. Post new aprons on Etsy
  4. Reorganize fabric stash
  5. Organize notions drawer
  6. Find decorations for sewing space - need to make my cave a little homier
  7. Buy fabric for A Frock By Friday Sew Along and cut pattern and fabric (I'm a day behind) {BTW check out Grosgrain - who is hosting this sew along - she is AMAZING!!}

Kids Say The Darndest Things List
  1. Tommy Dammit!!  I dropped my money
  2. Tommy:  Hey Buddy.  I'm going to call you Buddy now
  3. Tommy:  I know I'll have a treat first and then take a bath, does that sound like a plan?
  4. Tommy:  I ask a lot of questions!!  {I'm glad he realizes it too!!}
  5. Tommy:  I think I should become a racecar
  6. Jack: Look Mommy!! Trash Truck!!!

OH...and your to do list:
  1. Check out my giveaway for a Stop & Shop gift card here!!

How Do You....The Groceries Edition (+Giveaway)

I actually love to go grocery shopping (as long as its by myself of course) - its like a game, find the best deals, the best promotions, the best coupons and see how much I can save (verse spend) each week.

Some of my favorite tricks are:
  • NEVER shop hungry!!  Even if this means picking up a quick snack on my way to shop (sometimes even at the D&D counter at Stop & Shop)
  • LIST LIST LIST LIST LIST!!!
  • Plan my meals for the week based on the weekly flier
  • Take the time to match coupons to the flier
  • Stock up on meat when the sales are really good (by doing this I usually only buy meat about once a month - having a chest freezer really helps too)
  • DON'T just buy something simply because I have a coupon for it
  • Set a budget and STICK TO IT
  • Don't take the kids or husband if at all possible (love them dearly, and sometimes I just can't say no when they beg and cry for a special treat or a bag of chips)
  • I try to keep a stash of reusable bags in my trunk.  Not only are they more eco-friendly, but I also LOVE the fact that they hold more and are easier to carry
How do you handle grocery shopping?  Do you set a budget, carry a list?  Are coupons your friend?  Do you split your trip between multiple stores for better deals?  Inquiring minds want to know!!!

    To make my regular shopping trips even more exciting, Stop & Shop is paying homage to Mother Earth by offering you the chance to win one of two 2010 eco-friendly Hybrid cars!  That's right from now until April 29th when you purchase 5 participating General Mills products and use a reusable bag at Stop & Shop you will be entered to win a 2010 Hybrid!!!  

    I can't even tell you how many times I've entered in the past few weeks, between all of the Cheerios and Yoplait we have gone through.  (and I mean TONS of Cheerios, in just about every flavor they make!!)






    Fruity Cheerios





    To make this even sweeter Stop & Shop and General Mills are offering one of my readers a $20 gift card. 

    So now for the important part...

    Enter to win the Hybrid by going to your local Stop & Shop with your reusable bag and buy some great General Mills Products

    Enter to win teh $20 gift card here by

    Mandatory Entry:   
    Leave me a comment and let me know of your favorite shopping tips and tricks.  How do you plan, how do you save money, how do you manage it all?

    Additional Entries: (Leave a separate comment for each item that you do)
    - Follow my blog
    - Follow me on Twitter (@LovingMom2Boys)
    - Tweet about this giveaway




    Thank you to General Mills and Stop & Shop for providing the information and gift cards for myself and one of my readers, all through My Blog Spark TM. 


     
    UPDATE:  Forgot to mention, this giveaway will end at midnight on Thursday - so hurry and get in your entries!!

    2010-04-25

    Random Thoughts And Some Spam on a Sunday

    So I have discovered that lately A LOT of my emails have been going to peoples Spam folders....fantastic....seriously this is really annoying and I have no idea why!!  I have been trying to respond to as many comments as possible lately - I wonder how many haven't even made it to you!!!

    ********

    I have boys...boys are rough, they are tough, and they fall.  And apparently my boys - at just over 2 years old - break things.  Not lamps or vases mind you, but bones!!!  When Tommy was a little over 2 he broke his leg!!  This morning Jack fell off the couch and managed to break his arm!!  Yup....good times!!!  (on the plus side it was only a minor break and they think it will heal very very quickly!!)

    ********

    I suddenly have 4 giveaways lined up to share with you all - I am going to try to spread them over the next couple of weeks.  Its kind of fun - I have been given to opportunity to review a couple different fun items and share them with you!!  {so keep and eye out!!}

    ********

    We were blessed with absolutely amazing, to die for weather yesterday.  Hubby had to get work done, so my MIL and I took the boys to our favorite farm (4-Town Farm) to buy flowers and some veggies to plant in our gardens.  I am so excited I finally got a dahlia (I've always wanted a dahlia) and I'm even more excited that as of today it is still alive (I am so afraid I will kill it!!)

    In addition to the new plants we bought for our gardens, we also have tons of seeds for more veggies and flowers.  I am going to start the seeds in newspaper pots that I have made.  {I always fear that if I sow them directly into the ground I will lose them or the boys will dig them up} I had so much fun making the newspaper pots that I am going to try to put together a little tutorial for those later this week.

    ********

    And last {but not least}  this past Friday my family finally had family pictures taken - I was even able to convince hubby to willingly join in :).  My friend Danielle (over at MazMama) took them for us.  She is absolutely amazing and I can't wait to share all the pictures with you.  Until I can do that, here is a quick preview!!!






    Isn't she amazing?!

    *******

    So for now that's it .  I'm off to try to make some authentic chicken and dumplings!!  Wish me luck!!

    2010-04-22

    365 in 365 Week 16

    365
    Hosted by Chris




    PhotoStory Friday
    Hosted by Cecilyand Pam



    Day 106 (Apr 16)
     A rainy day
    two small boys
    and lots of paint...
    It was a good day :)



    Day 107 (Apr 17)
    Nothing says happy
    Like a toddler licking the frosting
    From his sticky fingers.

    Day 108 (Apr 18)
     So I forgot to take pics at craft night
    But don't worry
    The felt food had a photo shoot
    The very next morning



    Day 109 (Apr 19)
    Taken with my phone
    While exploring our library
    Nothing else to say about this one

    Day 110 (Apr 20)
     This is my chive
    She is 7 years old
    I love my chive
    and I love that this summer
    She will have company again



    Day 111 (Apr 21)
    I have a new sewing space that I love
    So I decided to give some of that space to the boys
    So that they can have a craft space of their own
    I have yet to show them
    I hope they love it!!

    Day 112 (Apr 22)
    It was a gorgeous day
    The boys and I went to the park
    Tommy found a bench
    And sat, and watched
    And thought of things
    That only an almost 4-year old
    Could think of.

    2010-04-20

    A Day at the Zoo

    Last Thursday I braved the zoo with my two little men in tow.  We had a wonderful morning checking out all the animals and enjoying just being with each other.  The boys were amazingly well behaved the whole time....well up until the end when they really started getting tired...but considering we had been there for ~3 hours I really can't blame them. 


    The boys loved this wooden camel.
    I had to bribe Tommy with the rest of my fudge
    to get him to walk away from it.

    The elephant was equally as cool...
    but they weren't nearly as enamoured

    I wish I could remember what animal this was
    It was very cute
    The boys really liked it
    And Jack was convinced
    It was a "doggy"!
    This was by far our favorite
    The seals are always fun to watch.
    We managed to get the perfect spot at the glass
    Where they would do all their little turns and flips
    I could have watched them all day!!

    You know your almost 4-year-old is tired
    when they voluntarily sit down on a bench to rest


    2010-04-19

    My Lists 4/20/2010

    Happy List

    1. I have a nice little pile of new fabric
    2. Craft night with the girls - full of felt strawberries, eggs, eggplants and broccoli (and the orange slices that thought they would defeat us!!)
    3. My new serger....it is the best thing ever!!!!
    4. Upcoming consignment sale, I have a couple things to sell, but mostly I can't wait to find new clothes for Tommy!!
    5. I finally got the lawn reseeded!!!  and Jack had fun helping me!!!
    6. I napped today :)  I love random daytime naps!!


    Not So Happy List

    1. Jack is once again waking at night (usually around 3am) at least once a week if not more, and isn't falling back asleep once he is up
    2. Tommy is working hard to give up his naps, but still really needs them, this is making the couple of hours before bed even more fun!!!
    3. Not taking a single picture at craft night (really?!  I even had my camera with me!!!)
    4. Parents who don't watch their very loud, very hyper little kid at the library and ruin it for my boys


    To Do List

    1. Tag clothes and toys for consignment sale
    2. Start planting seeds in new gardens
    3. Take pictures of boys room w/new decorations
    4. Make a library bag for the boys
    5. Finish sorhing through all the toys still packed in boxes
    6. Finish the felt food I started at craft night but did not finish


    Things to Know About Taking 2 Toddlers to the Zoo Alone list
    1. Accept the fact that sometimes the animal poop is as interesting as the animal
    2. Accept the fact that sometimes the bugs on the ground are as interesting as well (if not more so)
    3. Bring lots of snacks - not for eating as much as for bribing
    4. Layers...its all about layers...the zoo can be an amazingly warm place
    5. They may not like hot dogs at home so much but at the zoo they are apparently the best food ever
    6. Get rid of any expectations of tons of professional quality pictures...seriously it just ain't happening!!
    7. Go early (at least at our zoo) the crowds were light, the air was not so stinky, and the naptime was not missed
    8. Know when to leave, as the crowds are gaining and the pace is slowing LEAVE...beat the exhausted toddler melt down
    9. if you don't have a double stroller, rent one, its great for kids and all the stuff they come with
    10. Be prepared to nap when you get home - you will NEED it {well at least I did!!}

    2010-04-15

    Week 15

    Let me start this by saying this has been a hard week to take pictures...
    No there has been no major catastrophe, life is good right now
    However, I dropped my camera recently
    The nifty little digital screen cracked
    So while my camera still "worked" I had no way to know how the pictures came out until they were uploaded (it doesn't help that my camera doesn't have a viewfinder on it either so it was just an aim and guess type of thing)
    Fortunately today the new screen came in and I was able to fix it {YAY!!!}
    Anyway...if any of my pictures suck...that's my excuse :)



    Day 99 (Apr 9)
    Jack decided that he didn't want to sleep
    Instead he wanted to play
    At Mommy's Desk
    While standing on a paper shredder {unplugged}
    And have Mommy take a picture of him
    As he covered himself in post-it flags

    Day 100 (Apr 10)
     I guess its pretty obvious I didn't take this picture
    Thanks hubby...
    This is me {all frumped out}
    Taking the boys for the maiden voyage
    Did you know
    That ~67 pounds is A LOT to tow behind a bike?

    Day 101 (Apr 11)
    Tommy made a train track out of his wooden blocks
    I guess the wooden train tracks just weren't cutting it anymore

    Day 102 (Apr 12)
     The newest completed apron
    I am in love with this fabric
    and how this apron came out

    Day 103 (Apr 13)
    On a bad morning
    Where little boys are sad
    Sometimes they need
    Shaped french toast

    Day 105 (Apr 15)
    It was beautiful out today
    So the boys and I went to the zoo
    Do you know how hard it is
    To take a 2 y.o. and a 3 y.o. to the zoo, by yourself?
    Its hard....
    But totally worth it to see them sitting on the goofy giant wooden camel!!







    365

    Hosted by Chris



    PhotoStory Friday
    Hosted by Cecily and Mamarazzi

    2010-04-14

    WW: Skipping Stones

    Because every child needs to learn how



    And
    I must say
    once again
    how can I not be happy
    in my new home
    when we can walk here...


    2010-04-13

    My Lists: The Laundry Edition


    So many of you shared with me your laundry plans and routines (or even lack there of).  There were definitely many of you much more organized than I am!!  I figured this week instead of my {almost} usual lists I would feature some of the tips and ideas (check out the comments from that post if you want ALL the ideas that were shared!!)



    The I Already Do This List
    1. Crap, I'm supposed to sort them??  Kelly Deneen
    2. Basically though... I hate laundry. It is the bane of my existence and there is no simple answer  Michele Horne 
    3. Lately, I have just simply been ignoring the laundry! Kelli @ RTSM
    4.  I do whatever is in the house that makes a full load  Lori of I'm no super Mom
    5. Not well. That's how I deal with it, unfortunately Jane Anne
    6. As for folding and putting it away, that's my biggest problem. Sometimes we just dress ourselves out of our clean clothes hampers!! Heather
    7. Laundry is a beast that takes over my home. DysFUNctional Mom



    The I'm Planning To Try These List

    1. I have one of those 3 bin sorter things in the laundry room. 1 for towels, 1 for darks, 1 for lights  LZ  
    2. Target has this new PUMP-style detergent in this skinny bottle by "METHOD". Smells great, works great, and is SO much less room to store!  Rachel
    3.  I separate lights from darks from reds from towels and that is it. Four different kinds of loads. christy rose
    4. I keep one hamper in the bathroom for kid's clothes, towels, and the occasional cloth diaper Marcia Maynard
    5. every other week (usually) I do a load of "delicates" which includes my undies and any of my tops that say "delicate cycle" on the tag. Elaine A. 



    The I Think I Could Try Some of These List 

    1. I try to do one load every other day  LZ
    2. sorting by color and doing whatever pile gets biggest first Michele Horne
    3. I always turn clothes inside-out before washing them. It helps to protect the outside of the clothes from looking too worn, and also keeps clothes from 'pilling' so bad. Beth E.
    4. it really only takes about 10 minutes to fold and put away one load at a time. Life With The Boys!
    5.  I am trying to get to the point where I wash and fold one load a day, but am not quite there yet Kameron
    6. I make my own laundry detergent. King J's Queen 
    7. I do laundry as needed, but try to stick to just weekends whenever possible. Brooke

    The There is No Way I could do this list
    1. One for each of the boys, one of whites, one of colors, one with jeans, and one with kitchen stuff Kelli @ RTSM
    2. Laundry is one chore that I do not mind doing. christy rose



    The Best Idea I ever heard List:

    1. Hubby does laundry on WednesdaysKelly Wolfe { Ok...so yes there was more to this comment but I only focussed on this part of it :)}





    2010-04-11

    Laundry WOW!!

    When I posted my laundry question last week never did I imagine I would get so many helpful answers (both here and on Facebook!!).  I am going to put together a list of all the great tips and tricks you've shared with me, but for now, while I try to put that all together, my sweet friend King J's Queen, is guest posting for me, with her recipe for homemade laundry soap, as well as a few tips and tricks she has learned!!  Thanks for sharing this with us!!

    The recipe I use is a modified version of the one that Queen of Chaos shared on her blog. I've seen it around the web in lots of places and the basic ingredients seem to be the same. The bar of soap runs around $1. The washing soda is about $3.50, and it is the hardest thing to find (I found it at Kroger). The borax is around $2.50.



    1 bar of soap (laundry soap or some bath soaps - I now use white Dial soap and another friend uses Ivory)
    1 cup of washing soda
    1/2 cup of borax
    water
    fragrance/essential oils, if desired (I don't use them.)
    5 gallon bucket with lid
    clean, empty detergent container


    To make the laundry soap, heat 4 cups of water in a big pot.
    Grate the soap with a cheese grater into the pot. (You can also use a food processor, but I find it gums the blades.)
    Cook it over low to medium heat until the soap melts completely. This is the longest phase of the process.
    Once the soap is completely melted, pour it into the 5 gallon bucket.
    Then, immediately pour in the washing soda and borax. Stir until they are dissolved.
    Continue adding hot water to the bucket, and stirring, until the bucket is full.
    Then, put on the lid and let it sit overnight.
    In the morning, you will have a thick gel. Go ahead and stir it again. Then, fill your detergent container with 1 part soap and one part water, leaving a little headroom for shaking.
    You will need to shake this every time you use it. (Small inconvenience compared to the savings).
    If you want to add fragrance, add it to each diluted jug, rather than the 5 gallon tub.
    Use 1/4 cup per load for a front loader, 3/4 cup per load for a top loader.


    If you prefer powder detergent, the soap, soda and borax are the same and in the same quantities. But, the process is a little different. Grate the soap. Stir together the grated soap, the soda and the borax. Then, process this in a food processor until it is very, very fine. Store in an airtight container. Use 1-2 tablespoons of powder per load, depending on the soil level and load size. I haven't tried the powder version, because I haven't used powder detergent in many years. I just prefer the liquid.


    I will share a couple of lessons I learned the hard way. Maybe it'll save you a hassle. Buy a brand new 5 gallon tub and lid. I made the mistake of using one second hand. The detergent took on the odors of the previous contents and I ended up throwing the detergent out after a few weeks. Also, make sure to grate the soap thoroughly. That last little chunk is a pain to grate, and I tossed it in. It did not want to melt! I ended up with a glop from it. Not a big deal, since I only lost maybe a tablespoon of the liquid, but it was worth mentioning. Each time I refill my laundry jug, I use a large measuring cup, fill it halfway with the soap gel, whisk it with my wire whisk, add water and pour it in.


    It's actually a fun kid project, and would probably be something your kids would enjoy helping with. Princess E does some of the soap grating and she gets to put it in the hot water (it's not boiling). Little fingers tire of grating soap before the soap gets small enough to grate the backs of fingers. LOL


    As for the cost of it, each 5 gallon bucket (10 gallons diluted), costs about $1.67 to make. Mine is actually less because my preferred soap is cheaper. The washing soda and borax each last a long time and make many batches. I keep them in Ziploc bags inside their original boxes, just so they don't absorb humidity. A new bucket and lid costs about $3.50 at Home Depot. It's a one-time expense. You can make smaller batches, too, if space is an issue. Just keep your ratios the same.

    2010-04-09

    Week 14


    Day 92
    Teaching my baby boy how to dye eggs...
    Tommy is already a pro!!

    Day 93
    Last weekend at the Audobon
    We went for a long walk
    We saw this frog


    Day 94
    No baskets here
    instead the boys got wagons
    full of gardening tools
    which were quickly replaced
    with eggs full of pennies

    Day 95
    This is my garden
    it was once my garden
    and I will reclaim it
    I just don't know how much work it will take

    Day 96
    Whats better than this
    Big brother
    pushing little brother
    in a socially acceptable way

    Day 97
     Garden number 2
    in its past life it was a gorgeous shade garden
    the contractors took care of that
    I'm just happy my lenten rose survived
    and now I have
    another blank canvas

    Day 98
    Daddy got disc golf discs 
    (try saying that fast)
    we took them to a field
    we threw them
    Jack stood and cried
    When we walked away from them
    to retrieve the thrown discs






    365

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