Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Green Giveaway!!!

UPDATE: 4-25. Congrats to Trenadoll who won this copy. Hope helped pick the WINNING number for me this evening.

In honor of Earth day I’m having a sweet and simple Green Giveaway. You could win a copy of Sophie Uliano’s book Gorgeously Green.

Gorgeously Green

Sophie gives you loads of information on ways to take simple steps in cleaning up your own living environment, keeping it simple, and making the world a better place one step at a time. I’m all about being thrifty, reusing, recycling, and I certainly found food for thought within it’s pages.

Just post a comment Here. And I’ll pick a winner this Saturday. Good Luck and Happy Earth Day!

Recycled Crafts

Happy Earth Day.  I thought it might be fun to share some fun recycled craft and decorating ideas found in blog land.  These are not only earth friendly but something fun you can do as a family. 

We all know those dreaded plastic bags at the grocery store are not the most ideal things to use.  But if your like me and you keep forgetting to take your reusable bag into the store with you, sometimes acquiring them just happens.  So what to do with all those bags.

My Recycled Bags shows you how to make Plarn (plastic bag yarn) out of those bags.  Click Here to see this simple and easy Tutorial.

Once you have your Plarn you can go to town (especially if you have knitting or crocheting skills).

plastic market bag

My Recycled Bags also give wonderful patterns from anything from doormats to Market bags like this on HERE.  Or try Holli Friedland’s tote bag tutorial found HERE.

plarn totebag

Or using the plastic netting found on some produce you could even make scrubbies for your kitchen sink like these HERE.

plastic scrubbie 

The Lucky Ladybird shares this fun tutorial (HERE) on turning your Plastic Grocery bags into a fun basket. 

bag basket

Want to re-use those plastic bags without making the plarn?  Try fusing them together.  Amanda over at Etsy Labs give you a a lesson on fusing plastic bags tutorial HERE.

And once you’ve learned how to do that you can make all sorts of goodies like this adorable creation by  jmesdiylounge found on Craftster.  See her Extreme Plastic Bag Makeover tutorial HERE.

mickey fused bag

Or you could try your hand at something similar to this cute tote by the fabulous Betz White.  This lady is amazing she makes rain hats and much more from fused bags.

 fused bag

I was thinking this technique would be perfect for reusable school lunch bags, hats, possibly even a little raincoat.

Looking for something fun to do without using the plastic?

Making friends dot com has a fun craft your kids will love using a cardboard roll (from wrapping paper) and some tinfoil and popcorn kernels (the unpopped ones at the bottom of the bag if your really into recycling).  See their Rainstick instructions HERE.

 rainstick

Or try this I spy Treasure Bottle craft found over at Family Fun HERE.

I spy bottle

I’m all about re-purposing clothes.  You can do it too.  Make a simple field bag like White Oak School shows HERE.

fieldbag tutorial

Recycled Crafts dot com is a wonderful blog devoted to sharing a variety of repurposed crafts.  Check them out you won’t be disappointed. 

I’m using my son’s destroyed vinyl blinds as plant markers this year because of this tutorial HERE by Julie Finn.

vinyl plant markers.

Other excellent blogs that help you with recycled crafts. 

http://recycledcrafts.craftgossip.com/

http://craftingagreenworld.com/

Happy Green Crafting!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Morning Breakfast Roll

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Make these extremely simple rolls the night before Easter Sunday and your family will enjoy a truly sweet Easter memory.

Ingredients:

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1 package of marshmallows

1 package of frozen roll dough (THAWED).  I used the Rhodes White Dinner Rolls, but only because I was lazy and didn’t want to make my own w.wheat dough.

1/3 cube of butter (melted)

4 Tablespoons of Sugar

3/4 teaspoon of Cinnamon

The Night Before:  mix your cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and then put the bowl to the side.  Carefully open your package of now thawed dinner rolls and separate them.  With your hands flatten each roll out into a small circle.  Place a large marshmallow into the center of each circle.Spring 052

Pinch it closed, carefully making sure the seal is tight.

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Then roll it in your hands to make it more of a ball shape and hide the seams.

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Place it on a large cookie sheet with sides (or cake pan).  While cooking the marshmallow make leak out and you don’t want a gooey mess in the bottom of your oven.  Continue until all the dough is used.

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Melt your butter in the microwave for around 20 seconds.  Then brush the melted butter generously onto each roll.

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Then sprinkle the rolls with your sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Cover your rolls with a plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

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Easter Morning.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the plastic wrap and place your cookie sheet in the oven.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown.

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Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.  The smell will be so good you won’t want to wait too long before the whole family devours them.

What’s special about these Easter Rolls.  Like Christ’s tomb these rolls will be empty.  Their sweetness reminding all of the joy of our Savior's resurrection.

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Have a Happy Easter Breakfast!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter Crafts on a Budget

It’s almost here and I thought I’d share some wonderful Easter Crafts that you can make at home instead of breaking the bank and buying.

Need some last minute ideas that won’t leave you seeing red in your checkbook. Check out what Deborah Taylor-Hough wrote in The Simple Mom about Frugal Easter Basket Ideas. I’m loving the idea of using homemade cookies and candies.

abstract eggs

Cheri’s Fabulous Living has a great post on a variety of ways you can decorate your eggs. (Without a kit). Click HERE to see all her wonderful suggestions.

natural egg dyes

Want to use some fabulous natural egg dyes. Then check out what Better Homes and Gardens have to recommend HERE.

fabric eggs

Tired of your plastic eggs falling apart and the kids losing the pieces. Try this simple, yet adorable tutorial from Retro Mama. Click HERE to see how she made them.

Go the extra step and make some fabric eggs that you can hide treasures in.

fillable fabric eggs

One Inch World gives you the pattern and instructions to make these fillable soft eggs HERE. Just think of the tiny treasure they can hold. And unlike plastic – they will last a lot longer and can be re-used year after year.

felt jelly beans

Want more fun to put in your Easter baskets? Try these fabulous jelly bean beanbags are the creative idea of the multi-talented The Purl Bee. Click HERE to see her tutorial.

Can’t find your old baskets or forgot to purchase them at after Easter Clearance sales last year – then pull out your fabric scraps and try your hand at these charming basket.

fabric basket

Make a Fabulous Fabric Easter Basket by following these wonderful tutorial HERE created by Vanessa of V and Co. over at the Moda Bakeshop.

Need something a bit quicker. Decorate an old ice cream bucket, flower pot, sand pail, or even an upside down Easter bonnet for holding your basket goodies.

easter cans

Or try decorating old food or coffee can’s like BH&G did HERE.

Thrifty Fun readers made some more wonderful suggestions on ways you can save money on Easter. Be sure and check those out HERE.

Happy Crafting Holiday!

Have any more thrifty holiday decorating, or gift ideas? Be sure and let us know in your comments.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Celebrating Easter Week

Make Easter meaningful for your family this year by celebrating it for an entire week, all the while focusing on the true meaning of Easter.

The Holiday Spot gives a brief overview of the different religious days celebrated throughout the world in the week leading up to Easter Sunday. Click Here to see that.

Christianity Today has a wonderful week of Easter Activities that you can enjoy with the entire family as well. Click HERE to see.

One of my favorite resources over the years has been this book.

Christ Centered Easter

In it you will find all the scriptures in the first four gospels dealing with Jesus' life during his final week. Activities for the entire family and even recipes for Passover.

Here are some of the activities our family plans on doing this year.

Palm Sunday - Jesus’ Triumphal Entry

triumphal entry

Scriptures: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-36

Our family tries to take an walk (weather permitting) and find different items that remind us of the Easter week. Palm fronds to remind us of his triumphal entry, thorns – his crown of thorns he was forced to wear, etc.

The younger kids can make these out of green construction paper. Click HERE to see instructions.

palm craft

Monday – Cleansing the Temple

Scriptures: Matthew 12:12-18, Mark 11:12-19, and Luke 19:45-48. We always throw in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 as well.

Cleansing the Temple

We also try to go over the story of Easter with Eggs.

Easter Eggs

An Ordinary Mom has a great post HERE. She gives scriptures and associated small items that will fill 12 eggs and tell the story of Easter. She also links you to several other places that give similar variations of the Easter Story told with eggs.

Tuesday & Wednesday – Parables and Teachings

Scriptures: Matthew 12:19-26:16, Mark 11:20-14:11, Luke 20:1-22:6, and finally John 12:37-50. Our family spreads these scriptures over Tuesday and Wednesday because nothing is mentioned on Wednesday in the scriptures.

Often I do hands-on activities with my kids as we discuss the parables. For example we make miniature lamps out of clay when discussing the parable of the ten virgins. Practice our talents after discussing the parable of the talents or perform an act of service after reading about the widow’s mite.

Possibly you could purchase for your family 30 pieces of foil covered chocolate coins and talk about how Judas betrayed the Savior for thirty pieces of silver.

personalized chocolate coins

An Arizona company can even personalizes foil coins for you HERE.

Thursday – Passover, The Last Supper and Agony in Gethsemane

last supper

Scriptures: Matthew 26:17-75, Ma rk 14:12-72, Luke 22:7-65, and John 13:1-18:27.

As a family you can participate in traditional Jewish tradition of cleaning your home in preparation for the Seder feast.

There are many websites describing the ritual of the passover feast. Here are a couple of them.

Martha Stewarts ‘The Seder Ritual’ HERE.

Get Inspired – Go Higher has a description HERE as well.

Our family has a simple meal that consists of the following:

Zeroa (Lamb Shankbone) Symbolic of the Pascal Lamb and the Savior’s atonement.

Matzah (Unleavened Bread) – you can purchase some from your local grocery store or try this recipe here.

Combine 3 cups flour or Matzah meal, 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add enough water to make dough pull away from the sides of the bowl. If your dough is tacky add a bit more flour. Separate your dough into 2-3 portions and roll each portion out similar to how you would a pie crust. Place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Prick the dough a few times lightly with a fork. Bake immediately until browned, flipping once. Slide the bread rounds onto a towel or rack to cool. Can be made several days before Passover and stored in an airtight container.

Symbolic of Israel’s swift escape from Egypt. Because their flight was so sudden there was not time to wait for the bread to rise, and it had to be baked while still flat.

Haroset (Fruit and Nut Mixture)

1/2 cup almonds (chopped or ground) depending on whether you like a chunky Haroset or a more mushy one.

1/2 large finely chopped apple

3 TB grape juice

1/4 tsp. cinnamon, shaved or powdered.

About 1/8 to 1/4 cup each of Dried apricots, figs, and dates, finely chopped (Optional)

1/4 cup Finely chopped Walnuts or pecans. (Optional)

Sesame seeds, toasted (Optional)

Pinch of ginger, ground (Optional)

Mix together nuts, apple, cinnamon and grape juice. Slowly add one or more of the optional ingredients. I like to chop by hand the ingredients. If you like Haroset with a smoother consistency then process the ingredients in a food processor.

Haroset is symbolic of the building materials used by the Israelite’s while slaves to the Egyptians. The apple and nuts represent the clay, shaved cinnamon shavings represent the straw for the mortar, and grape juice or wine represents their blood that was shed. The sweetness of the dish represents hope for their future.

Beitzah (Roasted Egg) – Place an eggs in a cake pan in the cool oven. Make sure your eggs are free from cracks. Roast your eggs for 1 and 1/2 hours at 200 degrees. Then turn up the temperature to 300 degrees and continue to cook for yet another 1/2 hour. Your eggs are done when small brown dots appear on the shell. Remove the eggs from the oven and cool. Then refrigerate until ready to eat.

The Beitzah is symbolic of the offerings the Israelites sacrificed at the temple during the three Feasts that were held directly before the Temple’s destructions. It is also a symbol of the temple itself.

Maror (Bitter Herb) – We use small romaine lettuce leaves here because they are easier to dip in the Haroset than pureed horseradish is.

Symbolic of the suffering of the Children of Israel under the hands of their oppressive Egyptian taskmasters.

Friday – Good Friday, Jesus Trial and Crucifixion

Scriptures: Matthew 27:1-61, Mark 15:1-47, Luke 22:66-23-23:56, and John 18:28-19:42.

Kim shares with us a wonderful way to tell the Easter story to your children while baking Easter Cookies. Click HERE to see the recipe. I plan on trying this one this year.

You could also craft a crown of thorns using thorny branches found in your local area. Rose bush, honey locust tree, etc. Remember to wear sturdy gloves. OR you could purchase a wreath from a local craft store and glue toothpicks out from it. Like Just Another Day in Paradise did Here.

thorn crown

Turn out your lights for three hours during the evening to signify the three hours that darkness that came when Christ was crucified.

Saturday – The Jewish Sabbath

Scriptures: Matthew 27:62-66, Luke 23:56

Eat a Jerusalem Dinner.

We eat this dinner every April 6th which is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. It’s also wonderful to prepare at Christmas time.

We try and eat this dinner as they would have back then. Sitting on mats of the floor and eating out of a common bowl with mainly our fingers. Candlelight also helps add to the atmosphere. We eat foods mentioned in the Bible as as we eat them we discuss the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Extra bonus if you dress in costume. We serve the food in wooden bowls and baskets.

MENU & SCRIPTURES
Water (John 4:6-15) The woman of the well

Butter and Milk (Gen 18:8) he took butter and milk

Honey (Ex. 3:8) land flowing with milk and honey

Bread – Served in baskets (Matthew 14:17 & John 6:32)-Five loaves and two fishes

Unleavened Bread (Mark 14:22) The Last Supper Jesus’ body is represented by bread in the Sacrament

Corn on the Cob (Luke 6:1) Disciples eating on the Sabbath

Fish (Broiled Luke24:4 -Matthew 14:17)-Five loaves and two fishes & (Matthew 4:19)-I will make you fishers of men

Grapes (Revelations 14:18) her grapes are fully ripe

Honey- we drizzle this on the bread (Matt 3:4) John the Baptist’s diet.

& Locusts (chocolate covered raisins)

Grape Juice -Represents Wine (John 2:7-11) Miracle of Water to Wine – was the beginning of Jesus’s miracles.

Salt (Matt 5:13) Ye are the salt of the earth

Mustard seasoning (Mark 4:31) kingdom of heaven is like mustard seed

Olives (Roman 11:17) or

For those who don’t like fish then I know this one is a stretch but:

Chicken (Matt 23:37) Even as a hen gathereth her chicks

We pass the items around the table one at a time and we talk about stories of Jesus or read the scriptures that apply to the food.

EASTER SUNDAY

jesus at the empty tomb

Scriptures: Matthew 28:1-15, Mark 16:1-12, Luke 24:1-49 and John 20:1-23

We love to eat our Breakfast Easter rolls (recipe HERE) and listen to Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from the Messiah.

Along with a traditional Easter Dinner find a quiet time as a family to review the week and talk about how you can honor him now.

Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christ-Centered Easter this year. What are some of the ways you keep Easter?