habitatathome, howto, crafts, diy, kids

Weekly Breakdown for Summer

In the summer, I am with my children 24/7 as the stay-at-home parent, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.  As we know, camp is very expensive.  But the kids are still little and you need something to do.  So to save money, let's bring elements of camp to the home.  

Despite our best efforts, we know kids may throw us some push back on what we think we have planned on a daily basis.  ... Or, a ton of push-back!  So, let's just know that may happen and not be surprised about it.  It is because of this, that I felt topics being week-by-week, allowed for some more flexibility.  If they don't want to do the project today, well then maybe tomorrow.  

Nothing is ever rigid with kids, but having a plan can help to ease your own mind if nothing else.   Each week I've developed here, has a topic with little field trips set, projects to do and academic skills woven in to suit the theme.  Some weeks are more intensive and some lean more toward self-guided activity to break things up.  My hope is that if you too, get anxious about summer, this might help jog the mind for ideas to do with your own family.  

20 Easy April Fools Day Ideas

April Fools Day.  Who can think of anything funny enough, honestly?  We mull it over for five minutes and give up on the concept.  There are far more pressing matters to worry about.  Our busy lives, filled with the usual rat race of things to do.  We've gotten so speedy now, that experts are telling us to be more mindful.   Slow down and smell the roses, they say.  Well, I will say that drumming up a good prank, carefully orchestrating it, then patiently waiting for the demise of our victim..... might just be the mindful moment we've been looking for.   It's a good spin anyway. ; )

Are we going to let a nationally-approved day to mess with our families, go right by us?  No! This is a day where your name being bellowed through the house with furious anger, is a zealous victory!  Our inner little demons have been given a pass to play, with the simple words "Happy April Fools Day".  Let's use it!  (What happens when she needs to itch that nose?!).

A take away from the Japanese Breakfast

Typically, in Japan, a breakfast might consist of an egg over rice, vegetables, a broth soup and perhaps some fish.  Warm, wonderful and full of nutrients.  This is a quicker take on that concept.  It just takes minutes to wilt down a few dark greens, fry some mushrooms and poach an egg.  This breakfast is light and yet fills you with a great energy to start your day.  

A fresh take on the Bibimbap

Here, I have a fresh take on the traditional Bibimbap.  The traditional Bibimbap is a Korean dish, typically served with rice, vegetables, chili pepper or soybean paste and a raw egg or sliced meat on top.  The hot dish is mixed together thoroughly before eating.  It is delicious!  I have had it at restaurants, and it is quite a wonderful indulgence. 

Making it at home, I decided to take a slightly lighter approach to the dish.  Aside from leaving out egg and meat, one of the bigger fresh factors was leaving the zucchini raw to really add an extra brightness and texture.  It was delicious and felt very clean and healthy.  For some color interest, I used purple cauliflower.  I would suggest carrot too.  

Broccoli leaf, Pear and Lentil Salad

My first time vegetable gardening was a summer of much learning.  Plenty of misses, but a few surprises too!  The growing season is now over ... or so I thought.  Just when it seemed the broccoli didn't work out, it is now displaying huge plants with very impressive leaves; in November!  We have been nibbling away at the broccoli heads as they come in, but I just had to try those leaves as well.  It turns out, they taste great!  How very underrated they are.  A quick sauté, and not tough at all.  Just right, actually.  Better, I dare say, than the ever so popular kale.  Yes, it's true.  It's not quite as bitter as kale.  Why this isn't all over the supermarket shelves, I don't know.  But, certainly use them if you grow them!!! 

 broccoli leaf, pear and lentil salad

Wax-Stamped Thank You Cards

 wax resist watercolor thank you cards

Thank you cards are so often the forgotten chore.  We love to receive them, but sending them is easily neglected.  Not to fret, it is never too late to send a Thank you card!  In fact, this is the prime opportunity to create something with a little more personal charm.  There are usually far fewer cards to write, so why not make some fun out of them.  

For me, watercolors, are my go-to for this sort of project.  The medium is quick, mistake-friendly and usually charming.  I am always looking for ways to keep my kids entertained as well.  So, I thought dipping cookie cutters in wax would be fun for them.  This process was inspired both by Batik fabric dying (also a project I long to do), and easter egg dying.  Simple and fun!  

If you are artistically inclined, you could make these more interesting by using free-hand brush-strokes to create an image, with a broader variety of color.  If I hadn't had kids with me to watch over, I would've have given it a try!  For next time; these are some inspirations I would use for a more sophisticated wax resist watercolor project.

1. 2 cups soy wax flakes
2. Watercolors
3. Cookie Cutters
4. Watercolor paper or cards
5. Washi tape to hold down the paper

Christmas Candy Garlands

 candy garlands

I love candy garlands for Christmas.  It really brings to life the spirit of children, during this festive time.  Making them, is a part of the wonderful experience.  You really need to slow down and take your time with these.  So, gather the kids, put on the Christmas music, and enjoy a fun and productive afternoon of  Christmas in the making!  What a delight for the kids, to gobble up a couple of sweets, when the parents aren't looking!!  Their eyes light up with mischief and excitement!  

The process is straight forward. There are a few tips to be aware of, to help you avoid problems, which I will lay out here.  

Kids Crafty Christmas Tree

kids cardboard christmas tree

We did it!  
We built our very own cardboard Christmas tree!  It was totally fun, totally messy, and totally worth it!!  Taking the kids outside to play was not happening today.  It's gotten way too cold for my liking.  So, I got my creative thinking cap on, and thought, let's build a Christmas tree!!  I knew it could go completely wrong, but I wanted to try anyway; and I'm glad we did!  We love it.  
It looks like a risky idea for those with littler ones, I know.   But the moments when they're just walking around the tree a million times with yarn; or sticking a million bobbles or stickers on, one-by-one, it's really pretty manageable; as those steps take so long.  Clearly, there is no exact science to this, but I'll show you how we went about doing it.   It's more simple than you might think.  

Intensely Moisturizing, Honey Butter Bath Melts

These DIY honey butter bath melts are luxurious, intensely hydrating, and easy to make.  I recommend them highly for those who suffer from very dry skin, and for those who have seasonally dry skin.  They are made from 4 beneficial ingredients.  The shea butter is a very powerful moisturizer, known to have exceptional wound healing properties for the skin.  It is known to help with skin allergies, insect bites, eczema, sunburns and even frostbite!  Cocoa butter not only provides a deep hydration, but also contains antioxidants.  It is recommended for the prevention of stretch marks, and as a treatment for chapped, burned or itchy skin.   Honey also has antioxidants and is known to be a great healer.  It is believed to protect the skin from the elements and give the skin elasticity, helping to prevent premature wrinkling.   The soy wax is added, primarily to hold the melts in shape.  It is also rich in vitamin E, and can help with skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, cracked skin, heels and cuticles.