Activities · Art · Blessed · Crayons · Enjoying life · Family · Kids · Kids activities · Kohls · Life · Moms · Parenting · Recycled · Recycling · Sensory · Wilton · Youth

Crayon Recycling

We recently made recycled multi colored “Elsa” snowflake crayons. To make your own new crayons just follow these easy steps and get to coloring!

Take all of your broken and beat up crayons (even the little pieces) and peel all of the paper off.

Either make little cups out of foil or use oven safe cups like a ramekin. Have enough cups for as many colors as you want to make. You can also put several colors in one cups, just don’t mix them up together.

Place the crayon pieces in the cups in the color pairings you want or alone – please make sure it’s oven safe. The foil makes for easy clean up too.

Melt the crayons in the cups in the oven. I was baking prior to making these, so I just left the oven at 350 degrees.

Keep an eye on the crayons and when they are melted remove from the oven.

For the next step you will need a silicone baking tray. I used this Wilton snowflake shaped tray that I got on clearance from Kohl’s.

Pour the melted crayons into the compartments of the tray. You can layer colors or pour different colors at the same time.

Let cool and then pop out and get to coloring with your kiddos – or by yourself, I have had a lot of fun with these too!

Enjoy!

Until next time,

One Cool Nerd Mommy

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Activities · Art · Blessed · Enjoying life · Experience · Family · Friendship · Kids · Kids activities · Life · Making time · Moms · Parenting · Relationships · Take a deep breathe · Taking time · Thanksgiving · Tree of Thanks · Uncategorized · Youth

Family Tree of Thanks

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I am trying to teach my little kiddos all about thanks. Why we celebrate thanks, what feeling blessed means, the ins and outs of appreciating all that we have and what the important things in life are.

After dinner one night we made a Family Tree of Thanks that simply hangs on our dining room wall among the wedding photos and artwork. It’s simple, but effective and the kids had fun doing it. All you need to make yours is:

  • Construction paper: we used two sheets of brown for the tree and one sheet of red, orange, green, and yellow for the leaves 🍁
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • Marker or pen

Cut out the shape of a tree. I used one piece of paper for the branches and one for the trunk and taped them together (the leaves will cover and lines from where it’s pieces together). Adjust the size of your tree if needed to accommodate more or less family members. Tape or glue your tree together.

Cut out leaves. 🍁 You can either draw them or freehand cut. If your kids are old enough to cut them out, get them involved in the process! ✂️

Go around your table and one at a time say what you are thankful for. We wrote all of the answers down. Everything from our house to chips. The silly answers are just fun and the more serious ones are quite humbling to hear. As the parent, you can also guide the blessings along by providing examples in your answers.

Have your kids help you tape or glue the leaves on and then hang your tree for all to see. Go back and discuss your tree and blessings now through Thanksgiving.

This could also be a great project to do on Thanksgiving with extended family!

Art · Boredom · Enjoying life · Experience · Family · GoodNites · Kids · Kids activities · Moms · Parenting · Relationships · Taking time · Uncategorized · Youth

Easy Stick Puppets

If you are anything like me, you probably try to keep things as simplified as possible. I am always looking for ways to have fun with my kids, but not spend a fortune.

I was breaking down the box from a recent purchase of GoodNites underwear when I got the idea to use the Tinkerbell picture as a puppet.

The steps are easy:

  • Cut out the character (there are several to choose from in both the girls and boys packaging)
  • Smooth out any rough edges with the scissors ✂️
  • Flip the cutout over and tape or glue sticks, straws, etc (something to use as the handle – we used two straws taped together)
  • That’s it! Put on a puppet show, dress your character up with paper hats, Pom Poms, anything you can think of. Let the imagination take flight and watch your little ones have fun!

Feel free to share this post with friends, on Pinterest, Facebook, etc.

*Just as a side note, we love the GoodNites brand in our house. We have been using them for two years now and haven’t had a single leak, rash, or problem the entire time. They slip on and off easy and aren’t incredibly bulky either. Check them out here:

For the ones featured in my blog click here (there is a $3 coupon available on Amazon Prime

http://amzn.to/2gJSUyD

Black Olives · Cucumber · Enjoying life · Family · Feta · Feta cheese · Food · Greek salad · Olive oil · Onion · Peppers · Recipes · Tomatoes · Uncategorized

Greek Salad – A Summer Favorite!

I love fresh vegetables and summer where we are has so many delicious choices right at hand. This Greek Salad is chocked full of good tasting, good for you, goodness. Eat it as a side or as your meal, either way it is delicious and filling.

I'm not one for all of the filler fluff in recipes, so we are going to get right to it.

What you Need:

Cucumber (I used one large cuke) 🥒

Peppers (I used two) 🌶

Onion – yellow, sweet, red, your choice (I used one medium size yellow onion)

1 can of chickpeas drained and rinsed

1 container of feta cheese

1 can of black olives drained (I used the pre-sliced ones)

One pack of cherry tomatoes sliced 🍅

Olive oil – I used Palermo olive oil

Garlic powder

Salt and Pepper

Dried Oregano 🌿

What to Do:

Wash and peel the cucumber, dice it and place in a large bowl

Wash and dice your peppers

Peel and dice the onion

Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas

Add the feta cheese

Add the drained black olives

Add the sliced cherry tomatoes

Add Palermo olive oil (or other brand) to coat everything, mix in garlic powder, salt/pepper, and dried oregano to taste. A spritz of lemon would also taste great and compliment the flavors well.

Mix, chill and serve

Enjoy and as always, feedback is much appreciated along with complimentary ideas.

Until next time,
One Cool Nerd Mommy

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Balance · Boredom · Enjoying life · Experience · Family · Fighting · Friendship · Hokey Pokey · Life · Making it all work · Making time · Moms · Money · Relationships · Take a deep breathe · Taking time · To do · Uncategorized · Youth

The Hokey Pokey Conundrum

You put your left hand in, you put your left hand out, you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around…

We all know the song, but is that really what it’s all about? 

Life is beautiful and beautifully difficult. It’s graceful and clumsy, unique and monotonous. Life is generous and a thief, memorable and forgettable. Life is a story.  Handcrafted, raw, and exclusive. Some parts we write, others are written for us, but when the hard cover exterior closes at the end will you be satisfied with the outcome?

As I am getting older I’m trying to find the meaning of it all. If the hokey pokey is what it’s all about, shouldn’t we follow the lead, put our head in and shake it all about? Literally, I picture myself pinching a nerve in my neck while I shake it all around (spoken from experience with the one time I tried to head bang as a teenager).  Figuratively , I’m trying to think logically about what I want in life. We spend so much of our life making money to pay for the things we need (or think we need) and not enough time doing the things our soul craves. The meaning of life has become so misguided and strangled by monetary holds. Smiles, laughter, willingness, creativity, family, friends, support, and experiences are what we need. Endless hours of work, housework, errands, obligations, and commitments are what we all too often get. I don’t know about you, but my to do list is a self rotating one of laundry, emptying the dishwasher, work, organizing, food shopping, and all of the other weekly chores. On the low end, for the last 15 years at 5 hours a week of just house chores (and let’s be honest 5 hours is laughable when we all know how much time goes into it all) I have spent close to 4,000 hours – over 160 total days – on things that give me no real long term reward. Now I’m not saying that we should all stop cleaning, cooking, etc., but doesn’t that put time into perspective a little?

Time. As children we spend a good portion of our life wishing it away and even as adults we continue the tradition, especially Monday to Thursday. The problem is, if we live weekend to weekend, are we short changing ourselves of all the extra good stuff?  I am desperately trying to hold onto time. Grasping onto the moments while they somehow slip through my unmanicured fingers. 

Reminder: I need to add that to my to do list 😉

Let’s get serious (now would be a good point to cue the sappy music). 
Today is the only today you will get, so instead of wishing it away for tomorrow, why not fill your lungs fully with air and grab onto the next 24 hours rather than lock them away without the key? Furthermore, if all the worlds a stage, then why are we not Meredith and Cristina dancing it out when things get boring, mundane, or rough?  If dancing it out has a purpose in life, then perhaps the hokey pokey has it right. 

If there is anything that I have learned from that old familiar childhood song, it is to put yourself as a priority in your life. Live your life fully, not partially.  Set goals and achieve them, hold yourself accountable and believe them. Be in the moment, don’t live it behind a screen or covered by the dollar bill. We get one chance, one opportunity so put your whole self in, shake it all around, dance it out on your stage, and experience what it’s all about. 

Until next time,

One Cool Nerd Mommy

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Activities · Asparagus · Boredom · Enjoying life · Family · Food · Grilling · Life · Recipes · Shallots · Summer · Take a deep breathe · Taking time · Tomatoes · Uncategorized

Grilled Asparagus, Shallots, and Tomatoes 🍅 

We love, Love, LOVE to grill! I happen to love asparagus as much as grilling, so pairing the two together is an absolute win in my book. The prep is easy, the cook time is short, and the results are amazingly awesome.

What you need:

  • Asparagus (I used two bushels)
  • Shallots (I used three, but you could use more)
  • Container of grape tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Spices/seasonings of choice

Here’s how to do it:

  • Create a tray dish with sides out of aluminum foil and lay your asparagus, shallots, and grape tomatoes in it. For this one, I used two bushels of asparagus, three shallots, and one container of organic grape tomatoes.

  • Add a little olive oil (just enough to cover everything lightly) and some spices. I used garlic powder and a salt/pepper mix. Toss it all gently to evenly cover all of the vegetables. 
  • Spoon out a few tablespoons of butter (I used a vegetable based butter) and lay on top of the vegetables

  • Place the foil dish with the seasoned vegetables on the grill and cook for 8-10 minutes

That’s it! Quick and easy plus super delicious! I hope you enjoy this as much as we do in our house. 


Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Until next time,

One Cool Nerd Mommy

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Activities · Art · Boredom · Enjoying life · Kids · Kids activities · Moms · Parenting · Rainy day · Science · Sensory · Spaghetti · Summer · Taking time · Uncategorized

Dyed Spaghetti Sensory Play

Our weather the other day was unseasonably cool (not complaining and neither is my electric bill) and also a bit rainy. I was trying to think of something different and hands on for my kiddos to do and while I was cleaning out the pantry, I found a partially used box of spaghetti. Box in hand, I set out to try a little experiment and here it is…

What you need: 

  • spaghetti – amount is up to you and based on the size tray or bin you will be using for play. I used a large cookie sheet and the almost full box I had fit great.
  • Large pot to cook a spaghetti 
  • Bowls or bins for each color you want to do (we did three)
  • Cold water
  • White vinegar
  • Food dye (I used gel dyes)
  • Paper towels
  • Large cookie sheet, bin, container, etc for play
  • Scooping items like measuring cups, tongs, etc for play 

What you do:

  • Boil water in the pot and cook spaghetti as directed on the box
  • While the spaghetti is cooking, you can prepare the dyes.  Add cold water to your bowls or containers and then 5-7 tablespoons of vinegar. Put in 15-17 drops of food dye, stir it up and set aside.

  • Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain and divide it between the bowls you set aside with the water, vinegar, and dye (no need to let it cool). Let it sit for the desired amount of time you want. The longer you leave it, the more rich the color will be.

  • When the spaghetti has reached the desired color, drain the bowls and lay it out on a cookie sheet to dry off. I also used a paper towel to take some of the moisture and extra coloring out.

Note: I did not rinse the dyed spaghetti, but you may want to try rinsing to clean off some of the extra dye. My kiddos did have some dye residue on their hands, but it came off easily with dish soap and water.

  • After the spaghetti has mostly dryed, add a very small amount of oil (I used cooking spray) to keep it from sticking together
  • Put it all in a bin, container, large bowl, cookie sheet and play! Scoops and tongs were super fun ways to play with it and I also put down silicone cooking mats for easy clean up. 


I hope you enjoy this activity as much as we did!

Until next time,

One Cool Nerd Mommy

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