Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Homemade Ice Pack

While I was flipping through the January 2014 issue of Women’s Day, I came across a page listing a few clever ideas for sponges. The one I liked the most was for a homemade ice pack. With three kids running around someone is always bumping into something hard (sometimes another person). The majority of the time they just need a little T.L.C. and attention for a minute. A “boo-boo pack” and some love from Mommy and they are back on their feet and running again.

We used to have a few of those gel packs that we kept in the frig but over time, they cracked or started leaking and needed to be tossed out.

The other day I picked up a package of sponges and thought I would try to make my own.

I dripped a few drops of water onto each one then slid them each into a zip closed baggie. I put one in the refrigerator and two into the freezer.
The one in the frig works fine but it doesn’t stay cold for long (or so it seems to me). The ones in the freezer were nice and cold and stayed that way long enough to sooth a minor bump. However, the frozen sponge wasn’t flexible and made it a little challenging to surround the injured area.

A quick thaw and I used a serrated knife to cut into the sponge some, so that it will be more flexible and able to encircle curved areas.

Do you have any clever ideas for re-purposing a household item?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Cabin Fever

School delays and cancellations, icy roads, mounds of snow, brutal cold, post-holiday slump, winter blues, whatever the reason, it’s easy to feel a little depressed or down in the dumps this time of year. There are a few ways to break that cycle.

One is to get a little sun. Now sure, it would be nice to fly off to some tropical location and sip rum punch with your toes in the sand but not too many people can afford it or fit that into their schedules. Those diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder are prescribed “light therapy” to help boost their mood. Seeing your doctor might be something to consider if you feel you need more than the proverbial pick-me-up to get out of your slump. Natural sunlight would be great but it can be hard to come by and we need to rely on Mother Nature to cooperate.

Another option is to get some exercise. It’s a natural and healthy way to lift your mood. Picking up a winter sport is a good idea especially this winter. However, if being out in the cold is not your cup of tea and part of what might have you down in the first place then swishing down the slopes may not be the best answer for you.

My favorite go-to fix for the blues is to socialize. It’s easy to hibernate and become a hermit when your spirits are low. Isolating yourself can start you on a downward spiral that can be really difficult to climb free from. Socializing can be as easy as calling a friend. Not to cry on their shoulder but ask them all sorts of things about their life. Give them the chance to lean on you. Hearing how someone else is feeling can make you feel less alone and make you feel good about yourself for being a support for another person.

You can take it up a step from there and invite a few people over. This is a great time to have a party. (It only takes three people to call it a party). Get a few drinks and set out some snacks and you’re ready to go. Ask your guests to bring an appetizer over and add a theme to your evening and they’ll be talking about how much fun they had for weeks.

There are so many fun ways to add a theme now. Fight the blues and have everyone wear something blue. Write down some conversation starting questions and put them in a basket to help “break the ice”. (Pun intended). Call all your single friends and host a non-traditional Valentine party. With the Olympics starting, you have a readymade theme. Have your guests dress in red, white and blue or ask them to bring an ethnic food to share. Pull the names of various countries out of a hat and each guest gets to cheer for a different team.

Whatever you do find a way to have some fun, put a smile on your face and warm your heart.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Valentine Theme Party Crafts

With less than two weeks to go before Valentine’s day and I’m busy getting organized for the classroom party. Here are two of the craft projects I’m planning.
The first one is an “I {heart} to read” bookmark.
While looking for ideas on pinterest, I saw this idea for making a colorful heart garland and it inspired me to think of a way to make a valentine themed bookmark.
I have to say the hardest part was getting the paint chips. I feel like they are watching me and they know I have no intention of painting. I’m sure it’s a matter of time before we have to pay a deposit to take these things out of the paint store. There are just too many cute crafts you can do with them.
Since most of the red was already gone, I gathered an assortment of colors. I picked up a little heart punch from the dollar bin at the craft store.
I punched a little heart out of each color on each of the paint strips.  I saved the dark shades for another step in the project.
I printed out a sheet of cardstock that says “I (space for a heart) to read”.

I cut this statement into small tags. Then I glued the colored hearts into the open space and punched a hole at the end of the tag.

I cut some ribbon into 12 inch pieces. During the party, the kids will pick the color paint chip they like, then pick an “I (heart) to read” tag and tie them together with the ribbon. If you have older kids and/or more heart punches I’m sure the kids could do more of the work.

One of the other crafts I have ready to go is a Heart Lei
Thanks again to pinterest, I found this paper wreath project.
I’m using softer paper and stapling rather than hot glue. (I try not to do too much with glue…takes too long to dry) I’m also making mine longer so it’s not round but will hang more like a necklace.
First cute your paper into one inch strips then fold them in half.

To start, open one folded piece and turn it around. Bring the end s together and place them inside the fold of the next piece. Use a stapler to secure the papers together.
 Now take the end of the second piece and bring them down until they touch. Now tuck them into the fold of the next (3rd) piece and staple.

 Continue until you have enough hearts connected. It takes about 14 for a kid size necklace.

Ok, I’m off to see what I can get myself into next…