Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose with Goodwill

What do you do with old stuff you no longer need or want? Hopefully you donate it! Lucky me, I have a Goodwill that’s walking distance, but even more conveniently it has a drive-through donation center. Drive up and the workers grab your stuff! You don’t even need to get out of your car! So easy!

Did you know that donating one bag of clothing and one box of books can equal up to 2.3 hours of on-the-job training for someone in your community? Add to that a used lamp, a dusty computer and perhaps a box of DVDs and CDs, and that number nearly doubles to 5.2 hours. Calculate your own donation impact here!

Goodwill’s mission is to provide job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face other challenges to finding employment. In fact, Goodwill is the leading nonprofit provider of job training programs and career services in the United States and Canada!

But if you’re only donating to your local Goodwill, you’re missing out on half the fun! I can’t help but take a peek at what’s in stock after making a donation! I’ve scored lots of books and clothes for the little guy and myself (interview suits for less than $10 each!), and other odds and ends.

And if you’re feeling creative, check out these crafty projects you can try by upcycling Goodwill finds!

Christmas Crafts & treats

Christmas Treats

Tis the season to see magazines and Pinterest boards filled with gorgeous and decadent holiday desserts.

But let’s face it, if you have young kids, cover-worthy desserts are probably not going to happen.

And that’s okay, we can leave the hard work to the Marthas and Bakerellas of the world and instead have fun getting messy with our kids.

Here are a few simple and less involved Christmas treats shared by moms around the web that the kids can help with and will love.

1. Pretzel Buttons. If you haven’t made these sweet and salty treats before you are really missing out! They are so simple and kids can do most of the work themselves. If you can’t find the round pretzels, square ones work just as well. Oh, and Hershey’s makes holiday colored kisses too so you can get creative with your color combinations.


2. Painted Christmas Cookies. How fun is this idea? Make edible paints with evaporated milk and a little food coloring and then let the little ones PAINT their cookies. Melissa shares her tips and a sugar cookie recipe too.


3. Cinnamon Roll Christmas Tree. Here’s an easy-peasy one for you. Pop open a couple cans of cinnamon rolls and bake them in the shape of a Christmas tree. You could even make it more festive and let the kids sprinkle on some red and green sugar.christmastreet_cinnamonrolls


4. Gum-drop cookies. Not many kids will turn down cookies or candy so cookies + candy has surely got to be a winner. This is probably the most complicated treat on our list but if you can handle chocolate chip cookies you can do this one. Sue used a Paula Deen recipe but shares a good tip to get the job done easier.


5. Christmas Tree Rice-krispy Treat Pops. This is your basic rice krispy treat recipe jazzed up for the holidays. Amy assures us that these pops are deceptively easy to put together with little helpers and provides step-by-step directions.


6. Christmas Tree Cupcakes. We loved the simplicity of the cinnamon rolls above so couldn’t help but include a cupcake version of the idea. Make your favorite cupcakes (no judgment if you use a box recipe), line them up in the shape of a tree, and then let the kids go to town decorating their edible tree. Get creative and use whatever candies and sprinkles you have on hand. Many kid cereals would even make great decorations!


(Originally written and published on Philly Kids Things)

Easy paper plate Leaf Wreath Craft

I got it in my head that I needed to do *something* crafty for Thanksgiving with the little guy. I really wanted to do a felt hand print turkey but didn’t feel like running to the store for materials.

So I needed another idea and since we are blessed (cursed?) with tons of trees in our little yard I thought a LEAF WREATH would be perfect and easy. So off we went on a scavenger hunt for beautiful Fall leaves.

From trees to bushes we found leaves of all shapes, sizes, and colors. We even clipped a cluster of dried out hydrangeas that turned out to be a perfect accent piece on our wreath.

Un-pressed leaves will shrivel up.

If you don’t have a backyard to “shop” from this is a perfect excuse to get outside and visit a local park.

After you have your leaves you are going to have to press them so they don’t completely shrivel up in a crunchy mess like ours started to do. Oops!

At this point, I went looking for a paper phone book but then remembered I’ve taken to throwing them out as soon as they are delivered. Darn it!

Press leaves in a book so they dry out flat.

Ideally, you should let the leaves be for a week or so.

Flying by the seat of my crafting pants, I only let ours sit for a night.

It’s been a few days since we made our wreath and some of our leaves are curling up but overall it’s still a door-worthy wreath.

Next step, grab a paper plate and cut the center out of it.

Start with the biggest leaves first and begin gluing all around your paper plate wreath base.

Then it’s as simple as layering on other leaves from biggest to smallest while using your artistic license to mix up the colors and shapes.

We used tacky glue (my favorite for crafting) for the most part, but the the pine sprigs and hydrangea required me to bust out the glue gun.

Finally, what’s a good craft without some glitter? We globbed on different colored glitter glue and then spread it out with a paint brush to give our leaf wreath a little shine!

This is a craft that can be done with a large age range that will result in a wreath you’ll be proud to hang on your door! And best of all, it’s super easy¬† and inexpensive with the biggest hurdle being the part where you should plan ahead and press the leaves.

Easy DIY Father’s Day Card

Inspired by something I saw on Pinterest last night we made this Father’s Day card today!

Simple and cute…

Step 1: Print Poem on paper
Step 2: Paint bottom on Dad’s shoe with washable paint and stamp over poem
Step 3: Paint bottom of child’s foot and stamp over shoe print
Step 4: Glue on piece of construction paper for a bright border.

We also did a really quick photo session outside with my son wearing his father’s shoes and doing daddy-like things. We’ll use one of the photos and make a cover for our card on another sheet on construction paper and then tie them together with yarn.

Here is the text of the poem:

Walk a Little Slower Daddy

“Walk a Little slower, Daddy.” said a little child so small.
I’m following in your footsteps and I don’t want to fall.

Sometimes your steps are very fast, sometimes they’re hard to see;
So walk a little slower Daddy, for you are leading me.

Someday when I’m all grown up, You’re what I want to be.
Then I will have a little child who’ll want to follow me.

And I would want to lead just right, and know that I was true;
So, walk a little slower, Daddy, for I must follow you!!
– Bobbie Norman

St. Patrick’s Day Crafts – Shamrock Shells & Rainbow

On Sunday we took advantage of the early Spring weather and visited a local playground.

Clam shells everywhere!

This playground is in a park with a creek. The creek must be prone to flooding because it’s not uncommon to see shells strewn about well above the normal tide line. On Sunday, the park was completely littered with these freshwater clam shells. (Side note: after a little google sleuthing I’m pretty sure this is Corbicula fluminea – an invasive species originally from Asia.)

Serendipity whispered in my ear and I got an idea for an easy St. Patrick’s Day craft!

So we set about collecting the little buggers in various sizes. It didn’t take long at all!

The next day, we washed and dried them. Then we painted them in different shades of green! After going a little paint crazy, we cleaned up our mess and let the little shells dry overnight. Note: washable kid paint will work but doesn’t cover very well so I ended up busting out my big girl acrylic paints. Acrylic doesn’t take very long to dry but using them in your living room with a toddler may wrack your nerves. ;)

Freshwater clams - washed and ready for crafting!

The next day, we glued them to a large sheet of paper:

Invasive species turned into fun Shamrock Craft!

We also made a rainbow out of little squarish scraps of colored construction paper. A lesson and craft in and of itself!

Can’t forget to color the paper and add stems (though I’m partial to the simple white background version above). Also, it’s fun to slip in a lucky four leaf clover or two. My 2 year old didn’t take long to notice and thought it was funny – in a “that’s wrong, mommy!” kind of way.