Archive for the ‘Kid tips’ Category

Repurposeful wrapping

I’ve posted on this idea before, but I wanted to bring it up one more time. Child artwork makes great wrapping paper. Not only does it help clear out your cabinet full of salvaged artwork, but it’s a money-saver (no need to buy a new roll for a special occasion), it’s unique and thoughtful, and of course, it’s a green solution for wrapping a package.

Photo by hoyasmeg.2104152944_27eb8892b1


Smaller packages work best when using artwork as wrapping paper. However, if you have several larger pieces that are color coordinated (from the last paint session where your child created 8 different masterpieces), you can easily tape pages together to wrap a larger gift.

Turn it into a project! Gather several pieces of large paper and spend an afternoon creating wrapping paper for the upcoming gift-giving season. You’ll be giving your kids a constructive activity while making cheap and one-of-a-kind wrapping paper.

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Halloween and the thrift store

If you’ve never stepped foot in a thrift store, now’s the time of year to do so. Why? Because Halloween costumes, decorations and accessories abound. Why pay for a brand new costume off the rack (either for yourself or your kids) when you can get a majorly discounted costume at a thrift store? I just stopped into my local shop today and there were several racks stuffed full of Halloween costumes.


Photo by epsos.de.3767729028_6278b420ea


And if you can’t find the pre-made costume you’re looking for, a thrift store is also a great place to find the various pieces to make your own costume. For example, I found a red and gold Christmas table runner in the thrift store today ($4), which is going to make the perfect royal robe for my son’s king costume — his idea, not mine. I plan on going back (without children in tow — thrift store shopping is NOT fun with two kids under 3) to search for a gold belt, material for a white fur collar, a crown and something that would make a good tunic.


I encourage you to make this Halloween repurposeful! Sift through your own closets first and then hit the thrift stores!

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Have you caught wind of the hype on upcycling adult t-shirts into shirts, dresses, onesies and pants for kids? I just love this idea! Now, if I was more skilled at sewing, I would attempt this project. But in reality, I’m not and currently, I don’t have the time to try. Thank goodness for the crafty folks over at Etsy!



smarTEE pants baby wear makes and sells the cutest pants from old t-shirts. And for those of you who are more adept at sewing, she also sells patterns!







il_430xN_81328252TheJumpOff makes onesies, pants and cute little dresses out of recycled t-shirts and t-shirt scraps.







And again, for those of you who want to try your hand at sewing your own, one of my favorite blogs, Lil Blue Boo, has a pattern shop for her adorable tee dresses and outfits on Etsy. il_430xN_83204097

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Before you jump to conclusions after reading the title, let me explain. Of course you have to label your kids’ school supplies — it’s practically the law! Not to mention, it helps prevent lost lunch boxes, backpacks, etc. The problem, however, is that when you use a permanent marker to label your child’s name on a lunch box or backpack, it can’t be passed down to a sibling or to another family (if you sell or donate it). Not very repurposeful!



Instead of marking up a backpack or lunch box with a permanent marker, consider this:


To label a lunch box or backpack: Take a small piece of scrap fabric from your stash or from an old white t-shirt and cut out a rectangular strip large enough to write your child’s name on.  Use a permanent marker or to write your child’s name. You can attach the strip either by stitching it directly onto the backpack or lunch box with a needle and thread, or by looping it on a handle and stitching the fabric closed on one end. If the thought of needle and thread scares you, you can take a small safety pin and attach the fabric to the inside of the backpack or lunch box, in a spot that won’t be touched by little hands.


I’m adding this post to We Are That Family’s Works for Me Wednesday (WFMW) series. This week’s theme is back-to-school. Go check it out to find more helpful tips!



Photo by D Sharon Pruitt.

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Baby monitors can come in handy long after the days of listening to the sound of sweet little baby whimpers (I can say “sweet” because I no longer have a little baby). Before you sell it in a garage sale or give it away on Freecycle, consider the other ways in which you can use a baby monitor.


Sick child. If your child goes to bed with a fever, upset tummy or other illness, put a monitor in her room before she goes to bed. Often, when kids are sick, they may talk in a more quiet voice or not recognize when they need to call you in for help. With a monitor in the room, you’ll be able to hear quiet cries for help, a coughing fit or [worse] vomiting, which you may not have heard otherwise until later.


Guests. We’ve had a lot of babies come through our house recently. It’s nice to have a monitor on hand when guests bring little ones. That way, adults can peacefully enjoy some downtime in another room or outside without worrying about hearing their children.


Somethin’ in the oven. Like many of you, I’m a multitasker. So it wouldn’t be unusual for me to pop something into the oven then head outside to do some yardwork while watching my kids play in the back yard. And, oh yeah, maybe I would catch up with my Grandma on the phone too. Which means, of course, that I would most likely forget about whatever I threw in the oven. But… if I turned on the oven timer and plugged in the monitor in my kitchen, I could take the portable receiver outside to hear the timer. Et voilà, no burned cookies!

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A while back I wrote about this awesome organization, Terracycle, that pays non-profit organizations for collecting recyclables like food wrappers, yogurt containers and plastic bottles. In turn, Terracycle upcycles the products into usable goods like bags, containers for green cleaning agents, office supplies, fire logs, etc.


Last night, as I was cruising the aisles of Target (everybody has their vices; strollling the aisles of Target late at night is one of mine), I noticed that Target carries back-to-school supplies made by Terracycle. Too cool! I saw pencil bags and notebook folders for as low as $1. Now, of course, if you have older children, you may have to contend with the “what’s hot” style du jour, but if your kids are younger, or simply hip to the idea of recycling, I would much rather (as a parent) purchase an item that is made from post-consumer goods rather than “virgin” materials, even if it meant spending a couple dollars more.


Happy back-to-school shopping!


I have not been paid or compensated in any way by Target or Terracycle, I simply like their stuff and think Terracycle is a worthy organization to support!

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Never in a million years would I have thought that marshmallows could serve any other purpose besides the gooey guts of a s’more, or of course, the topping on sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving. But in the world of repurposeful living, marshmallows can do so much more.




Keep brown sugar soft. Pop a marshmallow into your bag of brown sugar and it will keep it from becoming rock-hard.

Make s’mores cookies, no campfire needed. This recipe looks dangerously delectable.


Keep birthday candles from dripping onto cake. Before inserting birthday candles on a cake, stick a marshmallow on the bottom of each candle. That way, the wax will drip onto the marshmallows, not the cake.


Make a marshmallow gun/shooter. I imagine that one day, I’ll come home to find my husband creating something like this — you know, “for the kids.”  


Prevent ice cream drips in sugar or waffle cones. I love a pointy sugar cone as much as the next person, but there are times when the bottom hole drips out ice cream, which is a) annoying and b) it wastes my precious ice cream! But, if you stuff a mini marshmallow in the bottom before filling the cone, you’ll have no more drips.


Impromptu cupcake icing. A minute before your cupcakes are done, pull them out of the oven and place a large marshmallow on top (or several minis), place the cupcakes back in the oven for a minute and ta-da, instant icing! No spreading necessary!



Photo by John-Morgan.

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So, this little tip isn’t exactly repurposing (you’ll need to use brand new tape, but most people keep this on hand, so you probably won’t need to go out and buy it), but it’s an excellent alternative use for clear packing tape.


Do your children play with toys that are entirely too loud? Or, perhaps if you are a grandparent/aunt/babysitter, maybe kids bring over toys that make you ears bleed. Either way, clear packing tape provides a perfect solution. Cut a piece of clear packing tape and apply it to the speaker portion of any toy. Voilà! Instant peace.


Here’s to having a nice and quiet weekend with the kids!

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Most all little kids like to eat food with dip. Whether it’s ketchup, ranch, barbecue or chocolate syrup, there’s something about dip that makes food more appealing to little kids. Here’s a tip to make the dip-eating process more fun and neat. The next time your little one asks for ketchup with their potatoes/chicken/steak/broccoli, use a jar lid as a container instead of pouring it on their plate. The jar lid helps contain dip in a nice and neat little spot.

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