Friday, March 20, 2015

Melted Crayon Art Step-by-Step

My kids love anything art related, which makes them completely my kids ;-) This was one of their most favorite piece of art to create and they still fight over who is going to keep it in the room.

You will need

Double-sided tape
Newspaper (or anything to put under your project while you are working on it)
Hair dryer

First place the double-sided tape on top of your canvas. Peel the top side off as well.

Peel all the crayons and break them into pieces. Then stick them to the tape.

Use the hair dryer to melt your crayons.

We started while the canvas was laying flat.

And then we stood the canvas up... Keep pointing the hair dryer at the crayons...

... till you are happy with your finished look.

One of our tops ended up white because we didn't melt the crayons flat at the end. We pushed it all down. If you would like to keep the color all over, make sure to slowly blow dry the crayons flat at the end to keep them. 

You could also use new crayons and not take the paper off. What happens is, the crayons inside will melt but the paper stays empty, taped to the top and you have completely different look - also very cool.

Some affiliated links for you, to make your life easier...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Delicious Coleslaw Recipe

This is one of our favorite side dishes - great with sandwiches, potato pancakes, and any meat dish...

You will need:

1 bag of shredded cabbage
1 bag of broccoli and carrot slaw (I buy mine in Trader Joe's)
1 small onion chopped
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup of Mayo
1/2 cup of Milk
3 tbsp of Vinegar
1/3 cup of granulated sugar

First mix together cabbage and the broccoli slaw.

Add chopped onion to the mix.

In a separate glass or bowl mix the milk and vinegar. It will cause the milk to separate.
Pour it into  the main mix and add the mayo, sugar, salt, and pepper.

Now begin to mix. It will be a bit tough at first but as soon as the ingredients begin to mix, it will become more soggy and it will start resembling the actual coleslaw. 

... and you are finished, it should look something like my picture - easy, right? And pretty yummy!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Wet Sock Treatment

So my lovely and open minded readers... I would like to share with you something really useful today! If you or your kids feel stuffed, are coughing, or have a fever, this remedy will help release the symptoms and it will help you sleep better. You don't have to buy any icky over the counter medicines or decongestants... just trust me on this one. (However, I am not a doctor and all is based on my doctor's recommendation and my own and my friends' many years of experience with this method)

This hydrotherapy technique works for flu symptoms, earaches, soar throats, sinus infections, cold symptoms, upper respiratory infections and anything else related. 

You will need:

Pair of Cotton socks
Pair of Wool socks
Very warm water in sink/bucket (as warm/hot as you can handle)
Very cold water


Make sure that you are comfortably warm, dressed in something you will be going to bed in. Prepare the COTTON socks by soaking them in very cold water. Then put your feet in warm water. The water should be as hot as you or your child can handle. Soak your feet for about 10 minutes. The trick is you don't want the water to cool down so don't stay there longer than 10 minutes. Then pull your feet out and right away dry them with towel. Squeeze all the water out of the cotton socks (very cold/freezing) and put them immediately on your nicely warmed up feet. Put dry wool socks over them and make your way to bed right away. Avoid getting chilled!

Keep the socks on overnight, you will find the wet socks dry in the morning.

So how does the wet sock treatment actually work?

Instead of medicine, your body is doing all the work in healing your symptoms. As your feet cool down, the veins constrict and send good nutrients into your body. And as your feet start slowly warming up, the veins expand and the bad stuff is disposed off by your body. The alternation of hot and cold stimulates your circulation and puts your immune system into a hyper active mode.

Some extra tips:

  • Repeat this therapy for at least 3 days of your sickness
  • When my kids were babies, I used to give them a warm bath instead of the foot bath - it was recommended by my doctor at the time
  • I used cotton socks and footsies for my babies as wool socks wouldn't stay on over night
  • My little kids don't like the feeling of cold socks on their warm feet but over the time they learned that this really makes them feel better and helps them sleep so they now do it without complaining
  • Make sure you go lay straight down as this works best when your body is in horizontal position and is warm
As an immune system boost during the time of sickness I always use echinacea tincture for the whole family.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Spring at the Farm

This past weekend we went up to Wisconsin to visit uncle's farm. It was nice to finally spend some time outside without having to be too bundled up in layers of various clothing. The temperature was rising and the snow was melting in front of our eyes. Kids were coming home muddy with huge smiles on their faces... and everything was the way it was suppose to be.

I thought I would share with you some Spring animal moments from our farm visit. 

Few weeks old lambs are getting into some trouble in the turkey tractor...

Mama goat is trying to see if she can get some treat out of me :-)

Her baby is soon to follow... coming closer but still keeping his distance...

All the kids behaving well because daddy is nearby watching (his head is behind the pole)...

Mommy with her little lamb... only one week old... 

So far we are still dreaming the dream around here and waiting what God has in store for us...

Happy soon-to-be Spring everyone and I hope these images brought you some joy and smiles on your faces!


Linking up with The Chicken Chick!

Friday, March 06, 2015

Yarn Treasures - Gift Ideas

Knitting and crocheting are right now my favorite hobbies... In the next few weeks I would like to show you some projects I recently finished and give you a quick pattern overview together with the yarn I am using. First up is...

Soft Hat

This hat can be very easy and quick to make if you have a chunky yarn and large size needles. I am talking... one evening kind of fast. Here is one I recently made as a present...

 You will need

Yarn: Isaac Mizrahi Craft Sutton (for Michaels)
Needles: US17 size single point bamboo knitting needles
Size: Adult woman!!!

For adult size I casted 32 stitches
Knit K2, P2 for the trim until the piece measures about 2 inches.... (you can make it thicker if you would like to)

Continue knitting the rest of the hat in Knit stitch. To decrease please follow this pattern. (However if you are used to your own decrease pattern feel free to use that. I usually knit the decrease pattern however feels right for the particular hat, so I tried to put it in words for you here. I hope it makes sense.) 

When the piece measured about 4.5 inches I started decreasing this way: 

Rnd 1: k4, k2tog, k4, k2tog - repeat till the end of the row.
Rnd 2: k all
Rnd 3: k3, k2tog, k3, k2tog repeat till the end of the row
Rnd 4: k
Rnd 5: k2, k2tog, k2, 
k2tog repeat till the end of the row
Rnd 6: k
Rnd 7: k1, k2tog, k1, 
k2tog repeat till the end of the row
Rnd 8: k
Rnd 9: k2tog
You will be left with some stitches that you will tie together.

Then leave several inches of yarn and cut... loop it through the remaining stitches and pull... Then connect the sides using the loose yarn and yarn needle, sewing from top to the bottom of the hat to create seam. The seam is in the back of the hat. The finished piece measures 8 inches. 

Here is an example of kids size hat I made using the same pattern, smaller measurements, the same size knitting needles... and Isaac Mizrahi Craft Lexington yarn - I love the colors!!!

I love using the bamboo knitting needles, such as these:

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Egg Salad Recipe

The good old egg salad! The quick go to recipe if I want something to put on my sandwich and don't have much time... this is the way my mom used to make it back in Czech Republic.

You will need:

4 Hard Boiled Eggs sliced
2 tablespoons Mayo
4 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 small onion thinly chopped
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together using a fork... And you are all finished.
Enjoy the salad on your favorite sandwich!

I love using this potato slicer to cut the eggs into cubes:

Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Importance of Reading Aloud

The single best activity that I have ever done with my kids was reading to them aloud since the very first days of their lives. I am talking about the time when they were still residing in my belly... I would sit most nights and read the same book over and over to my son. I heard somewhere that although they can't understand the words you are reading, they sure recognize the rhythm of your voice. When my son was born, I sat every night in the same rocking chair and read to him Brown Bear Brown Bear book by Eric Carle over and over. Sure enough, it was his very favorite book for years.

Night reading became a habit in our home and we treasure it till today. Even though they can read to themselves, they both race every evening to pick a book that I will read to them aloud before the lights go out. We started with picture books but we recently moved to chapter books. Kids are older now and they can sit through longer reading sessions with no problem.

Here are some good points that could help motivate you to spend more time reading to your kids:
  • Reading aloud leads to language development in children
  • Reading aloud helps you bond with your child
  • Reading aloud helps kids build positive relationships with books
  • ... which comes hand in hand with developing love for reading
  • If kids love reading, they will have easier time at school learning
  • Reading aloud also helps kids practice listening
The above points are oh so true!!! I can't stress it enough how much kids benefit from reading... How much knowledge and vocabulary they build by reading books. Reading goes hand in hand with learning. If kids don't have connection with books, they don't have easy time learning. And it all starts with us parents...

As kids grow older, some parents don't see how reading aloud could be beneficial, since they can read their own books... The truth is that there are so many benefits in reading to your children at any age.

Here are some great benefits of reading aloud to your older children:
  • It helps parents and children bond over the topic they are reading about
  • It gives parents and children something to talk about
  • It helps parents to be role models to their older kids
  • It gives them opportunity to spend quality time together
About a year ago, we started reading aloud sessions in the morning by the breakfast table. We start with Bible story, memory verse, and prayer, followed by a chapter book. (Please see the book wheel under this article for the book recommendations based on our experience) I understand that this is not available to everyone and that unhurried morning is one of the perks of homeschooling... but try to choose any time of the day and devote yourself to your kids and a book. You will build treasured moments that will help you bond with your kids ... after all there is never too much time that you can spend with your babies, right?  ;-)

I had people ask me why would I be reading to the kids when they were only few days old... they can't even understand the words and the point of the story... To me it was a bonding activity and a habit that I was creating not only for them but also for myself. Fast forward 8 years later and you will find my kids in the evening snuggled in bed with me or their dad, listening to the book we are reading to them. They love those moments and I know that one day, they will pass it on to their kids.

Have a great time reading, my dear friends!