Thursday, April 30, 2009

Salt Dough Sports Magnets

If the Dad in your child's life is a sports nut, these magnets made from salt dough are a perfect gift for Father's Day. Simple instructions and easy to decorate you can make extras for Grandpa too! 

You will need 

salt dough recipe (below)
acrylic paint in orange and white
red Sharpie marker
black Sharpie marker
round magnets, one for each
white craft glue

To get the instructions and a printable version visit Salt Dough Sports Magnets on

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Styrofoam Cup Spring Hats : Q&A

Styrofoam cup hats are a really fun craft, but results will definitely vary. Ginger, a FamilyCorner reader, was having some troubles with this craft and asked for advice. 

Q: I need HELP!  I'm having trouble w/the styrofoam cup spring hats. They're not melting w/a brim and I had them in oven 1 1/2 hrs & the cup just keeps shrinking. I went by the instructions 250 @ 3 min. & the cup curled under so I reduced the temp. I reduced the heat to 230 and it just shrank w/no brim on it {do I have to form brim when it comes out?}. What am I doing wrong??? My great nieces would like to make theses for their mom for Mother's Day.

A: I would suggest trying 1 or 2 cups at a time at different temps. Try increasing the temp to 300 and watch them carefully. Usually when I do these I will end up with a bunch that curl up as well. Also, when trying one or two, if they curl up, leave them in a little longer, sometimes they will actually flatten out. But if you pass the 8 minute mark I would say they aren't going to change much after that. Unfortunately, this is one of those experimental type projects as all ovens are not created equal.

Also, instead of throwing out the cups that curled up, turn them over and make them into little mini flower pots! Have the kids make little fingerprint flowers with paint and construction paper and glue them inside, fill the gaps with cotton balls or little pieces of tissue paper :)

If you would like to try your hand at these, get the instruction for Styrofoam Cup Spring Hats on

Pet Adoption Guidelines: Choosing a Pet

The decision has been made to adopt a pet for you and your family. Before heading to the shelter, be sure to consider the following guidelines for choosing your new pet. Remember, you are adding a member to your family that hopefully will grow as your children do, or as your companion after the kids have moved out. Make sure you have considered all aspects.

Don't focus only on purebred animals 
The appearance of being a purebred is no indication that the animal is mentally or physically superior to the mixed breed. The value of shelter animals is tied directly to the pet's capacity to become a loving member of your family. Mixed breed pets are equally likely to be love sponges and they have one attribute that purebreds do not; mutts are one-of-a-kind. For more information about breeds, visit the specific breed's website. 

Shy or fearful
Be cautious about taking an animal that appears fearful or shy, even if the animal is more outgoing when taken to a private adoption area. The safest animal to select is one that is comfortable amidst the din of the kennel and in a quiet area. 

Obvious behavioral or physical issues 
Avoid taking an animal that has an obvious physical or behavioral problem. If you opt for a pet with a physical or behavioral deficit, make a phone call to your veterinarian or a behaviorist to make sure that the pet's problem is not insurmountable. 

Sympathy choices
There is a misconception that by taking a "less adoptable" pet; someone else will surely take the "more adoptable" pets. There are only so many adoptions that are going to take place, and there are far more pets than there are good homes in which to place them. If you take an animal that is unattractive, ill or older to save a life, there is a perfectly, healthy, attractive, well behaved pet that might be euthanized. 

See the rest of these great tips by visiting Pet Adoption Guidelines: Choosing a Pet on

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Coloring Your Hair

When it comes to coloring your hair, there are several questions that people ask or should ask. Whether you are just looking to add a few highlights or completely change your look, we have some great tips for you. Here are some commonly asked questions and their answers. 

Q: How do I know what the best hair color is for me? 

A: The hair color that will give you the prettiest and most natural results is one that matches your natural eye color and complexion (skin tone). You can look good in blonde hair if your natural hair color is dirty blonde or light to medium brunette. If you have a cool skin tone (ivory or ashy), use ash or beige tones of blonde. Girls with warmer skin tones (creamy beige, cafe au lait, golden brown) should consider using golden or straw hues of blonde. If your hair is darker than medium brunette to begin with, overall blonde will look unnatural on you. Instead, if you want some blonde, go for a few light caramel highlights around your face. 

Q: Should I get an all-over dye job or should I just get highlights? 

A: When deciding on what kind of color you intend to use (all-over dye or just color highlights), consider the amount of time and upkeep you are willing to put into maintaining your color. An all over dye will require regular re-dyes to combat different color roots. This can be time-consuming and expensive. Highlights are more natural-looking when they grow out, so you don't have to redo them often. Also, consider why you want to color. If you want a total change of your look and image, an all-over color job is probably what you're looking for. But if you just want to warm or brighten your complexion and add a summery or pretty complement to your hair, then highlights around your face would work well. 

For the rest of these tips and a printable version visit Coloring Your Hair on

Monday, April 27, 2009

30 Healthier Snack Ideas for Kids

When the kids come home each afternoon have healthier snacks waiting so that they don't grab for potato chips or cookies. Our members shared their ideas for fun and tasty snacks that are much better than the prepackaged ones that are so easy to grab. A little forethought will get them eating better and they'll thank you for it. 

whole wheat crackers and toppings - try sliced cheese, cream cheese, egg salad, tuna salad, peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly, or pepperoni. Make your own Lunchables by layering ham or turkey and cheese! 

celery and/or carrots with dip - popular dips among kids may include ranch, hummus, creamy italian dressing, bean dip, cream cheese, and other soft cheeses. Try other raw vegetables too, like cucumbers, zucchini and bell pepper slices. 

fresh fruit - different varieties of melon cut into chunks, whole strawberries and pineapple wedges are fun and colorful. Use rounded toothpicks to let kids make their own kabobs or mix several fruits together to make a quick fruit salad; add a dollop of fat free whipped topping. 

apple slices and dip - use an apple slicer or cut into slices with a knife and sprinkle with a little lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. Serve with peanut butter, fat free whipped topping, yogurt, sugar free caramel dip, or other fruit dips.

To see the rest of our healthy snack ideas visit 30 Healthier Snack Ideas for Kids on

Friday, April 24, 2009

Accessorize With Framed Photos

Matt and I have decorated hundreds of rooms and have found that it is the accessories, or the stuff, as Matt calls them, which put the finishing touches on a room.

Accessories add personality to a room, helping to make the room a reflection of its owner. Matt and I have found that photographs are the perfect accessory to create that personal touch.

Family photos are commonly found in living rooms, family rooms and bedrooms. They help to create a feeling of warmth and intimacy.

But photographs can also be used to produce drama in a space. Matt and I recently used black and white photos to create a wall montage above a staircase. Since the staircase was visible from the main entryway, the montage became a dramatic focal point, welcoming visitors in a bold, but inviting, manner.

Please go to Accessorize With Framed Photos on to read the rest and to access a printer friendly version.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Butterfly Herb Gardens

Have you ever watched a butterfly? I mean really truly watched a butterfly? It dips and swirls through the air in an almost magical way. Sometimes you can almost feel your heart and imagination soaring along with their colorful wings.

All to soon they flit here and there and then are gone. If only they would stay!

They will! You can help them do just that with a butterfly herb garden.

What Do Butterflies Need?

Butterflies need several things in any kind of butterfly garden. Providing those things is up to you if you want them to stay.

Please go to Butterfly Herb Gardens on to read the rest and to access a printer friendly version.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Choosing a Green Pediatrician

Shortly after your labor and delivery, the mixed anxiety and joy of this life experience will be in your past, and it will be time to look forward to the future-to the time when your baby will live and grow in the protective environment that you will create in your home.

As you did when choosing an ob/gyn, you want to find a pediatrician who is top-notch medically. How much better if he or she is also on the journey to an environmentally sustainable perspective on pediatrics!

This may be the first time you have selected a pediatrician; if you already have children, you may have an established relationship with their pediatrician-or you may have inherited a treasured family doc from when you were a child. In any case, here are five representative questions you may want to ask politely to gauge physicians' thoughts on things green:

Please go to Choosing a Green Pediatrician on to read the rest and to access a printer friendly version.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Taking Control Of Your Clutter

We are all familiar with the old saying "There's a Place for everything and everything in it's place".

Everything you own must have a home. When you think about it you are probably about 95% there. Let's face it, when you come home with the groceries you don't just leave them sitting by the door (the way we do with shoes, books, newspapers, mail, etc.) You make a conscious effort to put the meat in the freezer, the milk in the fridge and the bread in the pantry. You must use that type of thinking for everything you bring into your home.

When you purchase something new, whether it be a new couch or just a pair of shoes it usually goes without saying that you have a pretty good idea where it is suppose to go.

Why not start that kind of thinking every time you consider a purchase. If you have to take the time to think about where something HAS to go chances are you might reconsider the purchase thus preventing more clutter.

Now I know you are probably thinking, that's great Paula, but what do I do with the clutter that is already in my home? Well I am here to tell you that there is a solution. However, depending on the amount of clutter you currently have that it might not be an easy undertaking, but keep in mind that the results are far more rewarding than the tangible and intangible costs of dealing with your clutter on a daily basis.

Please go to Taking Control Of Your Clutter on to read the rest and to access a printer friendly version.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Homemade Organizer Shelf & Cubbies

Tired of the clutter laying around? Too many junk drawers? You don't have to spend $50.00 on an organizer shelf with pretty baskets, you can make your own from cardboard boxes, fabric and glue. Perfect for holding bills, small trinkets, car keys, crayons and more!

What you need

shoe shelf
small cardboard boxes
fabric or cardstock in pretty, colorful patterns
fabric or cardstock in solid colors to match
ribbon, twisted paper, and/or raffia
white craft glue
large paint brush
hot glue gun
acrylic sealer spray, matte

Please go to Homemade Organizer Shelf & Cubbies on to get full instructions and to access a printer friendly version.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Edible Crawlies for Kids

Earth Day is all about nature, the planet, and all those that inhabit it. Well who says that learning can't be fun... and tasty too! Try some of these adorable snacks with your kids while explaining the importance of respecting nature and all that live around us.

Note: some treats are not pictures, be sure to FC for all the ideas!

To make some of these treats, you may need some of the following ingredients:

graham crackers, crushed
chocolate sprinkles
snack sized resealable plastic bags
celery stalks
peanut butter
black or chocolate licorice twists
fudge sandwich cookies
chocolate frosting
red cinnamon candies
crunchy chow mein noodles
muenster cheese (or other soft block cheese)
peanut butter
chow mein noodles

Visit to try all the Edible Crawlies for Kids and to get a printer friendly version!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

How to Create a Paper Bag Floor

I remember the first time I saw this article. When the author submitted it to me I couldn't wait to get it posted on FC. What a cool idea, creating new flooring with paper bags! Home decorating is expensive, even when you do it yourself the materials can cost a fortune. Ask me! I just went through it a year ago!

However, this gorgeous floor is not only frugal, it looks great, you are recycling brown paper bags, and will feel a major sense of accomplishment when finished.

To get started, the tools you will need are:

  • Paper bags or a roll of brown Kraft paper from the postal supply aisle (enough to cover your entire floor, with some overlapping)
  • Gallon of water based polyurethane (I recommend Minwax Polycrylic, or Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane)
  • Scissors
  • Old work clothes

Visit for the instructions on How to Create a Paper Bag Floor

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Air Drying Clothes Without A Clothesline

Going green doesn't mean spending more money. Earth Day is right around the corner, and we want to help you find ways to not only save money, but also save energy, thus doing your part in saving the environment. 

Clothes dryers can be pretty hard on fabrics. Shrinking, setting in stains, and where do you think all that lint comes from? Yep, it's the fabric being slowly stripped from your clothes.

If you would like to try an alternative to the dryer, but you either don't have a clothesline, you live in an apartment or your homeowners association won't allow clotheslines, here are a few ways to dry without using one.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Earth Day Eggs

Still have a surplus off eggs from Easter? Whether they are already colored or not, you can make these fun eggs for Earth Day. if your eggs are already dyed, simply run them under luke warm tap water and gently rub off as much dye as you can. This works wonders if you used food coloring, but I cannot vouch for how it works with other dyes. Let us know if you tried it by commenting below!

You will need

hard boiled eggs
blue, green and yellow food coloring
vegetable oil
white vinegar
coffee mugs or other containers
3 spoons
paper towels
newspaper or a plastic disposable tablecloth

To get the directions for this fun activity, go to Earth Day Eggs

See more Earth Day crafts, recipes and ideas at

Monday, April 13, 2009

18 Ways to Reuse Egg Cartons

Recycle and reuse! Earth Day is a little over a week away and I'm sure you have some empty egg cartons leftover from Easter egg dying! Here are several ideas on how to use up those empty cartons instead of putting them into the landfill.
  1. Money Container - Use old egg cartons to store your change for garage and yard sales. Egg cartons are good for this because you can separate all the change and it is easy to get to.

  2. Golf Ball Storage - What a great place to store extra golf balls. Easy to sort by brand and condition and they are stackable so they can be stored neatly.

  3. Travel Helper - Use them to hold small items like earrings, necklaces, sewing notions, etc; weave needle thru the inside top cover so as not to lose it in your suitcase. Hold it together with a large rubber band.

  4. Waste Paper Basket - Make wastebaskets from egg cartons. Cut off tops. Then poke holes on the flap that is used to close the carton. Then take ribbon and tie each carton to the next. Takes 8 cartons to make a circle. The plastic bags from Wal-Mart or the grocery store fit into these nicely. Makes a great waste paper basket.

  5. Craft Helping Hand - When working with small round items, use an egg carton to hold the item while you paint one side, or just as a holder while they dry. It keeps those little round things from rolling away.

  6. Fire Starters - Fill the cardboard egg cartons with dryer lint, and then pore melted wax over the lint. You can tear apart the sections and use for fire starters when you are camping, or in your fireplace. Use left over candle pieces for the melted wax. 

See the rest of these great ideas and get a printable list on

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter Alert: Stop! Don't Buy That Bunny!

It's a common scene each Easter. Parents take their kids to look at the bunnies in the pet shop and end up buying one on a whim. Then the problems start. The poor animal ends up being caged all day long and fed a poor diet of harmful foods, he or she won't play with the children like a dog will, being naturally timid, and the novelty wears off. Rabbits are especially afraid of being picked up and have unintentionally hurt themselves and small children.

When the bunny reaches sexual maturity, he or she will become aggressive, leave droppings all over the place, and may do embarrassing things to shoes or stuffed toys. Male rabbits even spray their owners with urine. Many people end up dumping the poor animal in a park, where predators and illness lurk, or at an animal shelter where he/she will most likely be euthanized due to the overflow of other unwanted pets.

If you are ever in the mood to have a pet rabbit, tick where your answer is yes to these questions and see if a bunny will be a welcome family member or just another irksome chore.

 __ Are you and your family willing to spend a few hours per day quietly on the floor, gaining your rabbit's confidence?

__ Can you convince your children that the bunny is a fragile living creature with feelings and emotions just like they have?

__ Will you set aside time to find out what your new pet requires for food, shelter, and medical care?

__ Can you provide your rabbit with a quiet and cool, but not damp, place to escape from too much attention?

__ Are you willing to find a rabbit savvy veterinarian for your new furry friend?

__ Will you be willing to provide cardboard boxes and other chewable toys for your bunny's entertainment?

__ Are you willing to "bunny proof" your home by covering up electrical wires and phone cords, putting up chew proof baby gates in doorways, and otherwise preventing your fur-clad companion from gnawing on things like furniture?

__ Are you, or your spouse and children, allergic to hay or pet fur?

__ Will you be willing to spend the money when your rabbit requires neutering/spaying surgery as well as any shots and other vet costs?

If you ticked yes to all these questions, you are a prime candidate for a house rabbit. You'll find that your new companion is an affectionate, clean, humorous, and delightful pet. When you give your bunny loving respect for his/her particular needs, you'll have a loyal heartwarming furry friend for 10 years or longer.

Far from being an unresponsive lump of fur just sitting in a hutch, your house rabbit can develop a remarkable personality which will amaze and enchant both you and your family. Your kids may also learn to be gentle with, and caring about, other animals and perhaps even each other.

Article by Bruce Atchison

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Passover Treats to Make

Passover begins on Thursday, April 9th. Try some of these tasty treats to celebrate this year!

Coconut Meringue Macaroons
by Tami Rose

Printable version of this recipe

Passover is a Jewish celebration during which only foods that are kosher are allowed. No foods containing yeast or grains are eaten. This is to commemorate the Israelites who fled quickly into the desert with no time for their breads to rise and were forced to bake the dough into hard crackers in the desert sun.The macaroon is an accepted dessert or snack for Passover. These macaroons are slightly crisp on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. Great for an after-dinner dessert or even a midnight snack.

What You Need

2 Egg Whites
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/8 tsp. Salt
1 2/3 Sweetened Flaked Coconut
2/3 C. Sugar
2" Ice Cream Scoop

What You Do

Beat together egg whites, vanilla, & salt until it forms soft peaks. Slowly add sugar to the mix, and then beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold coconut into the meringue.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Generously grease a baking sheet. Using a 2" ice cream scoop, drop the coconut meringue mixture onto the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until very lightly browned.

More You Might Like:
Cinnamon Sugared Mixed Nuts
Homemade Nuts and Candy
Passover in the Forums
Sweet Treats to Celebrate Passover