Make Dishwasher Safe Glitter Mugs

Perfect for the holidays or gift giving!

Christmas Bird House

Make candy inspired bird houses for your holiday mantel.

DIY Pretend Doctor Kit

Make a functional pretend doctor kit for your favorite little ones.

Farm Girl Apron Tutorial

Turn old jeans into a cute gardening apron with this tutorial.

Glittered Bulb Ornaments

Sparkle with easy but impressive bulb ornaments!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

DIY Grapefruit Vanilla Linen Spray



Many storebought fragrance products for our homes are filled with chemicals and ingredients that are bad for us. From parabens to phthalates, many of these classes of chemicals are linked to hormone disruption activity in our bodies. I don't know about you, but the last thing I need is something messing with my hormones! This delicious sounding linen spray recipe is different. Made with just a few simple ingredients, you can use this spray to freshen sheets, clothing or cloth furniture around your home or even as a quick air freshener.


Supplies

Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 


Directions

Find the directions online at She Knows: DIY Vanilla Grapefruit Linen Spray


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Monday, January 26, 2015

Upcycled Denim Play Crown



Looking for a creative way to upcycle your old jeans? How about a Denim Play Crown! I'm Stephanie from Swoodsonsays.com and I love handmade toys & upcycling so this project makes me so happy. This is an easy sewing project for a beginner and the pattern can easily be adapted for anyone with any size head. 

If you're using thick denim, make sure to use a sewing needle specifically made for denim so it's strong enough. If you're using thin, jegging-style denim, you can add fusible interfacing to the back of one layer to make it stand up better. Use your creativity and scraps up with the embellishments - or let your child arrange and sew them on!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

How to Do Delicious Whole 30 Compliant Coffee

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links.


One of the things people use as an excuse to prevent them from deciding to jump in and start a Whole 30 is this:
I just can't drink black coffee.

Good news friends! Not only do you NOT have to drink black coffee but you can actually have very good, very tasty coffee on Whole 30! No joke.  Now, you may need to do coffee a little differently than you've done it before but the truth is that I'm actually enjoying my new Whole 30 compliant coffee routine more than when I was over sweetening it with sugar.

Start with good coffee
So this might seem obvious - but the number of people drinking bad coffee in this country is astonishing so maybe it isn't. If you are buying cheap, poor quality coffee, what you end up with in your cup will not taste amazing. Period. There are no miracles in coffee. If they cut corners in production you can taste it.

If you've been buying cheap super market coffee like Maxwell House and Folgers, consider expanding your coffee horizons. We like to buy coffee from a local coffee roaster (whom I have confirmed does not sell his coffee online - sorry!). Find a small, local roaster if you can as the attention they pay to the quality of their coffee is usually quite high (look at your local farmer's market or on Craig's List). No one available? My favorite coffees available from big stores include Starbucks' Caffe Verona Coffee which has rich cocoa tones as well as World Market Vanilla Bean Coffee.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

15 Creative Ways to Upcycle Plastic Animals into Something Awesome



We generally try to avoid accumulating plastic toys. Sometimes, though, they are unavoidable. Party favor bags. Gifts from loving relatives. They swore they needed it when they saw it at the dollar store - and then bought it with their own money. These are all ways that plastic animals sneak into our lives. But how to sneak them out again? 

Lucky for parents everywhere, Amy from DIY Candy has assembled a fabulous list of ways you can transform plastic animals into something else - from jewelry to bookends - even planters! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

{Recipe} Chicken, Carrot & Coconut Curry Soup




This recipe was inspired by this Coconut Carrot soup recipe which appears on My Wife Makes. It is warm and creamy and spiced without being too spicy. It's a great way to use leftover shredded chicken but stands well on its own without the chicken if you don't happen to have any in your fridge. It's also a fabulous source of vitamin a - you get more than 150% of your recommended daily value in just one bowl!


Ingredients

  • 4 large carrots, rough chopped*
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, rough chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 quart chicken stock*
  • 1 cup culinary coconut milk
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken*
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach leaves*
*I recommend purchasing these ingredients as organic where available to avoid GMOs as well as pervasive pesticides.

Yield: Approx 6 servings


Nutrition information is approximate and may vary based on the freshness and brand of your ingredients. Nutrition information calculated at: Calorie Count.


Directions

  1. Add carrots, onion, ginger, garlic, curry paste and chicken stock to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer approximately 30 minutes. 
  2. Blend soup using an immersion blender or by carefully transferring the soup to a glass blender jar and blending until creamy and all chunks are gone (do not do this in a plastic blender as both heat and fat cause plastics to leach toxic chemicals).  Return soup to pot if you removed it for blending.
  3. Stir in coconut milk, chicken and spinach. Heat over medium low heat until chicken chunks are heated through and spinach is wilted.


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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fancy Drinks for Valentine's Day (and Personalized Straw Tutorial!)



Do you have a Valentine's Day party coming up? Even if you're not planning a party yourself, setting up fun surprises for your kids like these fancy Valentine's Day drinks (with personalized straws!) is just plain fun. The straw flags are easy to make - you could make enough for a whole class for just a couple dollars.


Supplies

Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Teach Your Kids How to Read - The Easy Way!

This post is brought to you by Reading Eggs.


My son has had a particular inclination toward letters and language from a young age. Once he learned how to talk he would not be quiet unless he was sleeping. When it came time to teaching him how to read, though, we were at a bit of a loss. I'd heard of different and contradictory theories about teaching kids to read and it was really overwhelming.

Last summer, though, we had a chance to try Reading Eggs (and their companion program, Math Seeds). The first thing they did was let K take a quick and fun quiz to see what he knew already. This was great since K could already identify upper and lower case letter and many of their basic sounds. 


What It's Like

If your kids like playing games on your phone, tablet or computer, they will love this. It is basically a huge game with tons of levels. During the initial trial,  K played it on my computer. The only problem is that we only own one computer and, well, I use it to work!

This was okay because once we taught him how to use the mouse, he could play the game almost entirely on his own. This was awesome because it gave him some productive learning time while I did things "helper" free like make dinner.

Kids get to make their own personalized Avatar to move around the game board to play the games and different levels

When our membership expired I wasn't ready to renew since work had picked up and the time K would be able to use my computer was shrinking. As we approached Christmas, though, K kept asking if he could play Reading Eggs. After I explained why we didn't have it anymore (it expired and we had to pay to turn it back on) he decided to make it one of the first items on his Christmas list. You would not believe how excited he was when he found out his grandma had renewed his Reading Eggs subscription for him!

This is a sight word drill. The program tells him a word and he has to tap on the right word in time.
Luckily, about this time I ended up purchasing an iPad. Reading Eggs has a dedicated ap for iPad that lets him play - and in a much more intuitive touch screen environment. Now that he could use Reading Eggs on the iPad, he was more excited to play and was whipping through lessons. He even started singing some of the catchy songs from the game around the house - which helps him cement the concepts he's learning.

It's amazing the difference playing this game can make. When he first started playing, he could suddenly read a nice collection of about 12 words within just the first few days. Now that he's played more, he's gotten quite good at sounding out words as well as identifying sight words like "is" and "the" - he's even started reading whole sentences!

In this exercise, the program reads him a sentence and he has to drag the blocks to the right place to spell it out.
It's really quite amazing to me how much he can learn just by playing games. I have another friend who had a similar experience with her son and Reading Eggs. She told me "he just played the game and in the end he could read. It was amazing!". And I absolutely agree. Who knew that learning how to read could be so easy and so fun? No stress for mom? Tons of fun for kids? There is no losing!

It really is the perfect solution for teaching reading at home or even just reinforcing the reading concepts they are already learning in school.


Try It Yourself!

Reading Eggs is letting me offer an exclusive free trial to Creative Green Living readers. You can try Reading Eggs yourself for a full four weeks for free. When I say free, it is truly free - you don't even have to provide your credit card information. No sneaky charges on your bill - just a chance to let your kid play Reading Eggs to see if it does the same kind of magic for you that it did for us.


**Free trial offer must be activated on or before February 28th, 2015

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Sponsored post disclosure: This post was sponsored by Reading Eggs. All opinions expressed are 100% my own. I genuinely love Reading Eggs and freely recommend the program to all my friends with kids learning how to read. Cover photo is for illustrative purposes only. Reading Eggs cannot teach your child how to read the Greek New Testament. I only endorse products I love and think you will, too. See my full sponsored post and review policy for more information.

Monday, January 12, 2015

{Recipe} Make Ahead Omelette Muffins




We are working on a second round of Whole 30 and some mornings are just so crazy busy it's all I can do to make some scrambled eggs. These muffins are super easy to make and are freezable. Just pop them in the microwave to warm them up and top with some guacamole. Of course everything is better when served with a side of bacon - and these are no exception! If you're not doing Whole 30 or if you're on a modified Paleo diet, these would also be delicious with a sprinkling of cheddar and some sour cream.

Ingredients

  • 9 eggs*
  • 8 ounces cooked sausage* (I used 2 of the pre-cooked organic chicken Italian sausages from Costco), diced or crumbled.
  • 1 small red bell pepper*, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
*I recommend buying these ingredients organic where available to avoid pesticides, GMOs and questionable farming practices.

Nutrition information is calculated per-muffin, is approximate and may vary based on the freshness and brand of your ingredients. Nutrition information calculated at: Calorie Count.


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Mix in diced meat and vegetables.
  3. Line a muffin tin with Silicone Baking Cups and spray with olive oil. 
  4. Fill cups to just below the rim and bake 18-25 minutes.
  5. Serve hot with guacamole or allow to cool completely before removing from baking cups and placing in a large zipper bag to store in the freezer.



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Saturday, January 10, 2015

How to Organize Sippy Cups and Baby Bottles



If you're like me with little ones at home, you probably have your share of bottles and sippy cups. If you're not careful, it's easy for them to multiply like rabbits and get a bit out of control. Case in point?

Here is a before shot of the cabinet we store our baby bottles and sippy cups in. It's admittedly not as bad as it could be but still - it needed a lot of help. Especially since when things get crowded, my husband just starts shoving stuff place where is doesn't belong and the whole thing spirals out of control quickly. (ahem)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Upcycled Valentine's Day Chalkboard Jars


Inspired by some seasonal decor from Jo-Ann's, Courtney from Crafts by Courtney knew she could get a similar look using items she already had a home. Of course, I'm a sucker for both upcycling and all things teal, so I think Courtney's version is even better than the original!


Supplies

Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 


Directions

Find the directions online at Crafts by Courtney: DIY Baby Food Jars Turned Valentine Storage Decor

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Check out more Valentine's Day projects!


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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top 10 Recipes of 2014



We did a lot of cooking in 2014! From healthy juices and smoothies to my absolute favorite blueberry muffin recipe, the most popular recipes of 2014 were focused on real food ingredients prepared in a way that everyone in your family can enjoy. Check out readers' favorites and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so you don't miss more great recipes in 2015.



Most Popular Recipe of the Year:
Sneaky Green Smoothie