18
Sep

Natural Play Dough and Fun Recipes

by Tiffany in Children

Natural Play Dough Recipes -Naturemoms.com

Kids love to get their hands messy and play with good ole fashioned play dough. The stuff in the stores though could have any number of unsavory ingredients. The truth is we don’t know because the major players in the industry refuse to disclose ingredients, claiming that it is proprietary. The uber bright colors are enough to make me worry though because there are lots of toxic nasties in dyes. The powers that be claim are they “perfectly safe”. I say why wonder when you can make your own. Enjoy!

RICE FLOUR PLAY DOUGH
from the Lisa Lewis book Special Diets for Special Kids

1/2 c. white rice flour
1/2 c. corn starch
1/2 c. salt
2 t. cream of tartar
1 c. water
1 t. cooking oil

Cook all ingredients over low heat until you can form a ball.m When cool, store in zipper plastic bag.

COOKED FLOUR PLAY DOUGH

3 cups flour
1.5 cups salt
6 tsp cream of tarter
3 tbsp oil
3 cups water

Pour all ingredients into a large pot and stir constantly over medium heat until a ball forms.  Knead the play dough until the texture matches conventional play dough (1-2 minutes). Add food coloring if you want colored play dough. Store in plastic container.  Should last for at least 3 months.

NOTE:  This recipe is made from edible ingredients it is not intended as a food item.

Peanut Butter Play Dough

18 oz. peanut butter
6 tbsps. honey
Non-fat dry milk
Cocoa for flavor

Mix all ingredients, adding enough dry milk to give make dough pliable. Shape, decorate with edible treats, and eat!

Colored Play dough

1 cup flour
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
Natural food coloring

Mix all ingredients in saucepan. Heat, stirring constantly until ball forms. Knead until smooth.

Simple Play Dough

1 cup flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup water

Gradually add water to flour and oatmeal in bowl. Kneed until mixed (this dough is sticky, but unique in texture.) Model as with clay.

Salt Dough

Equal amounts salt and flour; then add enough water to make it doughy. Dries hard in a couple of days and then you can paint it.

Related recipes:

Earth Friendly Goo

1 cup water
1 cup cornstarch
4-5 drops fruit juice  like blueberry or raspberry (combine a 1/4 cup of the food with 2 cups water, simmer for an hour. Cool, strain, and use as coloring).

Work the ingredients together and let your kids have fun with this gooey concoction.

Natural and Safe Finger Paint

1/3 cup soap flakes melted with 1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water

A few drops juice dyes (combine a 1/4 cup of the colored food like beets, blueberries, or raspberries with 2 cups water, simmer for an hour. Cool, strain, and use as coloring).

Make Your Own Bubbles

1 qt water
8 tbs glycerin, can be purchased at drug stores
6-8 tbs Ivory dish soap
Mix all ingredients together and use outdoors with bubble blowers.

Make Your Own Silly Putty

2 cups white school glue
1 cup liquid starch

Mix together and set aside until dry. Store in an airtight container.

Natural Play Dough Recipes - naturemoms.com

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

5 Comments

17
Sep

How Co-Sleeping Can Help

by Tiffany in Birth & Baby

I am a big advocate for cosleeping. I shared a bed with all three of my kiddos and I found the benefits for both mom and baby to be without measure. This is especially so with infants and babies who are still breastfeeding but the benefits easily extend to toddlers as well. It makes for healthier and more attached and secure children. And another big bonus: It’s free! No need for a pricey crib which might just be recalled a year or two down the line anyway.

For more info check out my article on Co-Sleeping Safely With Your Baby and enjoy the infographic below!

How Co-Sleeping Can Help

Image from http://afterschool.ae/

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

5 Comments

15
Sep

Gorgeous DIY Upcycled Teacup Lights

by Tiffany in Crafts

The following is a guest post from Nikki at Green Moxie. She is sharing with us a DIY, upcycle project that is worthy of a million Pinterest pins. I adore the finished product and no doubt I will be looking for lovely teacups and saucers at estate sales and flea markets for making of my own teacups lights. Enjoy!!


 teacup lights

I grew up in a tea-drinking family and I have always loved the delicacy of teacups. If you have some you particularly like, turn them into these gorgeous teacup lights. It’s not as difficult as you may think and it should only take you about an hour to create these cute little lamps which are just my cup of tea. They also make really great gifts.

What you need

• Cup and saucer
• Pencil
• 1/2-inch diamond hole saw drill bit Upcycling ideas teacup lamp
• Drill
• Chandelier light fitting
• 1/2-inch steel threaded lamp nipple with matching nut
• Wire
• Plug
• Screw driver
• Wire cutters
• Gloves and safety glasses

Turn your cup and saucer over and mark the center with a pencil. Put on the gloves and safety glasses before using the drill. Pour a little water over the bottom of the cup and place the drill bit on your pencil mark at a 45 degree angle. Slowly start to drill into the bottom. Drill slowly and don’t apply too much pressure until you have a hole in the bottom of your cup. Now do the same with the saucer.

This is the kind of 1/2-inch diamond hole saw drill bit I use:

drill  bit

Put the cup and saucer together and slide the steel threaded lamp nipple through them. Use the wire cutters to cut a length of wire and feed it through the steel threaded lamp nipple. Split the wire and strip 1/2 inch of plastic coating off the ends of the wire that are on the inside of the cup. Use the screw driver to loosen the screws on both sides of the chandelier fitting. Wind one wire around each screw and tighten. You can put either wire on either screw. Try to find a light socket that will accept the same thread size and pitch as the threaded lamp nipple, and screw the lamp socket on to one end, the end inside the tea cup.

This is the kind of steel threaded lamp nipple I use:

nipple
 

This is the kind of chandelier fitting I use:

fitting
 

Pass the nut over the other end of the wire and screw it down onto the exposed threaded pipe at the bottom of the saucer. Tighten until the whole lamp fitting is secured. Strip 1/2 inch of rubber shielding off the two loose ends of the wire. Use the screwdriver to loosen the screws on the plug and open it up. Loosen the screws inside the plug. Wrap one wire (either one) around each screw and then tighten. Put the plastic cover back on the plug and tighten the screws.

Screw a bulb into the chandelier light fixture, plug in your light and voila! Great idea!


Like this DIY? Buy the book! Greenmoxie’s Guide to Green Living contains over 80 DIYs, recipes and tips on how to live greener and leaner. Learn to make fun upcycling crafts and furniture, make your own cleaning products, grow your own food and make all your own beauty products from face creams to mascara.

Monday, September 15th, 2014

7 Comments

14
Sep

Amazing Pre-Holiday Deal on a Vita-Mix

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

vitamix3

From now through November you can purchase a Certified Reconditioned Vitamix Standard blender starting at $299. This is a $30 savings off the normal reconditioned price and hundreds off a brand new Vitamix blender.  These reconditioned blenders come with a new container and a 5 year warranty. Free shipping too. This is an AMAZING deal!! Know anyone that wants one for the holidays???

I have had my Vitamix  for about eight years and it is still going strong. I recommend it to anyone hands down as a must have gadget for the kitchen and a great value for the money. This little kitchen instrument is powerful and indispensable. Here are a few reasons why:

Benefits of using a Vitamix

Not only is the Vita-Mix is super easy to use, it has powerful health benefits. Hundreds of people have written letters to the Vitamix Corporation, witnessing their improved health because of their Vita-Mix. Thus, Vitamix can be used to naturally build up a weakened immune system. I got my Vitamix after I was diagnosed with cancer and I used it daily all throughout my fight with the big C. I have used it almost every day since.

The Many Uses

In addition to the many health benefits, it can be utilized in a variety of manners: juicing whole foods, cooking soup from fresh organic vegetables, and making homemade ice cream and sorbets. New mothers who practice green living use their Vitamix for making baby food, from whole foods, for their babies. People with health issues, like high cholesterol, cancer or heart disease, have experienced an improvement in their health after using Vita-Mix for an extended period of time. Why? Because it encourages you eat eat healthy whole foods and makes them easy to prepare!

Vitamix Saves Time

Vitamix is loved by working men and women because it is such a huge time saver. After a long day at the office, you come home worn out, too tired to cook a full meal. With this blender, you can walk in the front door, throw your ingredients into the machine, and in minutes you have a healthy serving, minus all the hard work.

The Vitamix is a heavy duty blender, a food processor, ice cream/sorbet maker, wheat grinder, and so much more all warped in one amazing package. It blends food at speeds up 218 miles per hour. They can be ordered online or purchased directly at store demonstrations throughout the country. It comes with two books including and amazing cookbook with hundreds of recipes for soups, salsas, ice cream, smoothies, dips, nut butters, and hundreds of other things. This machine is so good at blending smoothly you can through fruits and veggies in their whole form into this blender and mix it up smooth.

Likes: I have been using my Vitamix for 8 years now and it is still going strong. I have made hundreds of smoothies, sorbets, ice cream, soup, salsa, tomato sauce, cobbler, key lime pie filling, salad dressing, cookie dough, and even pie crust. I could never go back to using a regular blender after having this machine. I have found that I don’t even need a food processor anymore either. In fact I use my machine so much that is rarely gets put away because I always need it for something!

Dislikes: I don’t really have any dislikes although I have found that purchasing the extra dry grinding container is a good idea if you plan to grind wheat into flour. The regular container doesn’t do as good of a job although I have used it to grind flour before.

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Sunday, September 14th, 2014

No Comments

9
Sep

Plastic – What the Numbers Mean

by Tiffany in Recycle

Plastic - What the Numbers MeanIn recent years there has been coverage and discussion on the dangers of plastics and in particular bisphenol A  or BPA and PVC (polyvinyl chloride).  Recent studies have showed that very low doses of some of these common plastics ingredients may cause genetic abnormalities, birth defects and brain damage.

These plastics have also exhibited the ability to leach certain chemicals into foods that they come into contact with, especially when exposed to high temperatures.

So how do we find out what kinds of plastics are in the materials we touch or use each day? If you take a look at the bottom of plastic bottles, containers or shopping bags you’ll find numbers that can give you an idea of what you’re dealing with.  First you have to know what the numbers mean.  Here’s a brief primer.

#1 PETE or PET (polyethylene terephthalate): used for most clear beverage bottles.

#2 HDPE (high density polyethylene): used for “cloudy” milk and water jugs, opaque food bottles.

#3 PVC or V (polyvinyl chloride): used in some cling wraps, inflatable toys, mattress covers, shower curtains.

#4 LDPE (low density polyethylene): used in food storage bags and some “soft” bottles.

#5 PP (polypropylene): used in rigid containers, including some baby bottles and some cups and bowls.

#6 PS (polystyrene):  used in foam containers with those “claim-shell” tops, meat and turkey trays, and in its rigid form, clear take-out containers, some plastic cutlery and cups.  Polystyrene may leach styrene into food it comes into contact with.  Styrene is also considered a possible human carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research and Cancer.

#7 Other (usually polycarbonate): used in 5-gallon water bottles, some baby bottles, some metal can linings.  Polycarbonate can release its primary building block, bisphenol A—a suspected hormone disrupter—into liquids and foods.

Not all plastic products are labeled with a number.  If you’re unsure don’t hesitate to call the manufacturer directly. Also look on food product packaging for toll-free telephone numbers where consumers can ask questions.

Points to keep in mind:

1. Foods such as cheese and meat are perfect receptors for potentially harmful chemicals that can leach from plastics.

2. Heating food in plastics can increase leaching.

3. For your safety or peace of mind, it is likely best to reduce the use of ALL plastics in food packaging and other products.  It’s also much better for the environment.

When in doubt, just do without!

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

6 Comments