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Seaweed Art Cards
  • The Fresh Air Fund is still in need of  host families for this summer. If you could help get the word out it would really help us place these wonderful children into a loving host family for up to two weeks of a fresh air experience they will never forget. If you would like to host a child in your home this summer that allows him or her to have an unforgettable experience you can sign up to host a child or donate to the Fresh Air Fund. To learn more about what you can do to help the Fresh Air Fund click here. Spread the word.

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  • Years ago when my children were small, we used to make a lot of craft projects with pressed flowers. At first, we mostly created cards and bookmarks, but eventually we expanded to decorating glass  pickle and spaghetti sauce jars that we used for pencil holders and vases. Eventually this hobby morphed into a family business in which I decoupaged flowers onto olive oil bottles and wine glasses. Before I knew it, I had quite a “blossoming” enterprise.

    Since I planned to sell my wares at farmer’s markets and trade shows I had to search for pop up trade show displays and pop up booths, which I knew would make setting up my travelling store so much easier. It took me a while to find just the right trade show pop up because there are a lot of pop up displays to choose from. I finally found one with a frame that opened up like an EZ UP canopy. It was a life saver. But more importantly, it made the whole experience of selling my glassware with my young children less stressful and infinitely more enjoyable.

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  • I picked up this wonderfully entertaining and delightfully illustrated book at a Scholastic Book Fair a number of years ago and devoured it with my kids. The subtitle, “Green Thumb Magic for the Great Indoors,” says it all. It is chock full of fun gardening related craft projects and science experiments that easily answer the question, “How do things grow?” But that’s not all. There’s legend and lore about a magic turkey that planted the first corn and a mythical dragon that dropped the first peas on the ground. It is sure to inspire your child’s imagination and fascination with nature.

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  • One of the best ways to help wildlife flourish is to plant a special garden with nectar-rich flowers that will attract bees, butterflies and insects. If you don’t have a lot of room, a window garden or pot garden will do.

    The following is a list of flower suggestions.

    • Lace-cap hydrangea has lots of tiny flowers that attract bees and butterflies.
    • Lavender  has a strong scent that butterflies love.
    • Hawthorn is a shrub that attracts insects and birds.
    • Pyracantha is another shrub with berries that birds like to eat.
    • Fuchsia with its sweet nectar attracts hummingbirds.
    • Buddleia often called the butterfly bush has scented flowers that attract both bees and butterflies.

    For more suggestions ask the salespeople at your local gardening shop

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  • To see what things biodegrade, try burying the following objects in separate holes in your garden.

    Materials:

    • Leafy twig
    • Styrofoam cup or container
    • An empty tin or aluminum can
    • Newspaper
    • A piece of cotton or wool fabric
    • An empty glass bottle
    • An apple core

    Make sure you mark where the holes are so you can dig them up a month later. Make a note of what objects rot and those that do not. Discuss which objects can be recycled and how  waste can be avoided.

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  • In anticipation of Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, I will be featuring Earth Awareness Activities every day until then. These are great projects to do with children at home or at school that help raise awareness about our most prescious resources– the air, the water, the land and our children.

    How Dirty is Your Air?

    Materials:

    • Seven glass- jar lids or bottle caps
    • Large piece of white cardboard
    • Marking pen
    • Labels

    Write numbers one to seven on the cardboard. Leave enough space to be able to cover each number with a lid. Stick labels onto the jar lids and number them from one to seven. Lay the jar lids on the cardboard, matching the numbers. Put the cardboard and lids outside in a sheltered spot. At the end of the first day, take away lid number one. Each day take away one more lid. At the end of a week, take away the last lid. You can see how dirty the air is if the patches where the first lids were are darker than the others.

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  • Fresh Air FundThe  countdown to summer is on and it is time for me to promote one of my favorite charitable organizations, The Fresh Air Fund. They are in need of  host families for this summer. If you could help get the word out it would really help us place these wonderful children into a loving host family for up to two weeks of a fresh air experience they will never forget. If you would like to host a child in your home this summer that allows him or her to have an unforgettable experience you can sign up to host a child or donate to the Fresh Air Fund. To learn more about what you can do to help the Fresh Air Fund, click here. Spread the word.

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  • overhead view of a bowl of tomato, red pepper and basil soup witI was cleaning out my refrigerator and freezer one day last week when I discovered several opened, half-consumed bags of frozen and assorted fresh vegetables that, if I didn’t consume them right away, would go to waste. So… I decided to throw everything into a pot and make soup, or as my husband called it, “Hobo Stew.” He said when he was a kid, one of his fondest memories was at summer rec camp when they would go on hikes, build a fire in the woods and everyone would bring a can of something to put into the pot.

    This is a really fun activity to do with your kids because there is no measuring, just pure invention and concoction. You can’t make any mistakes and it is always delicious. For a base I used four 15 oz. cans of stewed tomatoes and 32 oz. of chicken stock (you can use beef, vegetable or water) then I mixed in the following.

    • chopped spinach
    • string beans
    • lima beans
    • squash
    • chopped onions

    I finished with some frozen tortellini (you could add beans or rice)  and topped off with some Italian seasoning.  I let simmer for a few hours, then served with some crusty bread. We enjoyed it for days. Yum.

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  • Now that the kids are out of school you will need fun activities to entertain them and keep them busy and occupied. When my children were small they loved to finger paint, which, as you all know, is  messy. When the weather got warmer, I would put my girls in their bathing suits and give each of them a paper plate “palette” with several  dollops of finger paint colors. Then I would put a  white  shower curtain liner on the driveway and let them paint away. More often than not they ended up painting each other, but I didn’t mind. At the end of the day I hosed them down along with everything else.  They had a blast. It was moments like that, watching my children experience sheer creative joy that I thought to myself, “Do not for one minute ever tell me that you did not have a wonderful childhood.”

    Note: Make sure the finger paint is washable. I have learned from experience that certain colors, like green, don’t always come out. Just in case, make sure you and your kids wear clothing that you don’t mind getting a few stains on. Happy painting! If you try this project, please write in and leave a comment so we can all hear about how much fun you had.

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