Spit That Out! The Overly Informed Parent's Guide to Raising Children in the Age of Environmental Guilt by Paige Wolf
Blogging about green guilt, eco-anxiety, and finding practical, reasonable ways to keep our families safe and healthy.
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"For a book about all the mom-things that have been stressing me out, Spit That Out actually de-stressed me. Paige gives simple, reasonable, 'you don't have to do it all' suggestions, which make me feel like a slightly less horrible mother."

– Vicki Glembocki, author of The Second Nine Months: One Woman Tells the Real Truth About Becoming a Mom. Finally.

How to Make Despicable Me Wine Cork Minions

September 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: crafts, how-to 

The only movie I’ve gone to with my four-year-old is “Despicable Me 2.” So when we had to chose a birthday party theme it was a pretty simple choice. Since then I’ve been going a bit minion-crazy!

I got the idea for these little wine cork minions after seeing a “pin” about making regular wine cork people. We don’t drink a lot of wine here but fortunately our babysitter works in a restaurant. My minions are a bit sloppy because my ideas are often better than my execution – at least craft-wise.

I don’t really think this “how-to” necessitates any real directions – the photos should suffice.

And of course I had to have a bit of fun with Vine:

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How to Make Recycled Crayons from Broken Crayon Pieces

August 7, 2013 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: crafts, how-to 

I always loved the idea of recycled crayons and every year for my son’s birthday party favors I have bought recycled crayons from Crazy Crayons or on Etsy. Little did I know I could save some money and easily make these on my own!

crayons

All you need are some silicone candy molds or plain muffin tins with paper liners. The trick is to use just a couple complementary colors for each crayon so you don’t end up with a big brown mess.

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees and fill the molds with crayon pieces. Put them in the oven for about 8 minutes, checking regularly to see if they melted. When you take them out you can use a toothpick or similar to create a little swirly. They will harden best if you stick them in the fridge for a few minutes.

I was so excited with my first batch I asked the moms at preschool to leave their broken crayons in Sam’s cubby! I even told them to let their kids do the paper peeling if they were so inclined – that is the only hard part depending on your children’s willingness to help. I used to send my crayon pieces to the National Crayon Recycling Program but now I have created my own recycling program!

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Giveaway: Eco Kids Art Supplies and Maggies Naturals Food Dyes

August 24, 2012 by · 21 Comments
Filed under: crafts, food + water, giveaway, review, toys 

I don’t usually bake with food coloring – but, then again, I don’t really bake much apart from bread. I have, however, tried to use vegetable juice to dye my homemade play-dough, but that didn’t turn out so well – it was just a terrible mess of beet juice and bits of beets staining the kitchen. So I was excited to learn about  Maggie’s Naturals, a food coloring made from all natural and organic plant, fruit, and vegetable extracts.

Maggie’s Naturals  believes you should know the food that you ingest is safe, know the ingredients on the label, and trust the companies that make them. And it’s easy to trust this same company that produces eco-kids, a line of art supplies using non-toxic, natural ingredients and environmentally friendly packaging. We love the finger paints, play-dough, and even non-toxic crayons and  glue for crafts.

Maggie’s Naturals is available in six colors including blue made from Green made from green gardenia extract, spinach, and parsley and Pink made from beets and sweet potato.The set costs $60 for six colors, but could probably last for an entire childhood of cookies.

Two lucky readers will either a Maggie’s Naturals 6-pack of Food Colorings ($60) or an Eco Dough + Rolling Pin set ($30). Contest closes 9/10 and winners will be randomly selected.

Disclosure: This company gave me a sample for review. Regardless, my opinions are honest. See my full disclosure here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Guest Post: 5 Summer Green Crafts Projects for Kids

May 29, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: crafts, guest post 

5 Summer Green Crafts Projects for Kids

Guest Post by Becky Striepe from Glue and Glitter and Crafting a Green World

Temperatures are heating up, and before you know it school will be out for the whole summer! Are you looking for some ways to keep the kiddos entertained without breaking your budget or compromising your eco-sensibilities?

Getting crafty with your kids is a great way to keep them busy on those lazy summer days, but many conventional craft supplies are far from eco-friendly. Rather than hitting the big box store for craft supplies, next time you’re getting crafty with your kids, try one of theses green crafts projects instead:

1. Plant a Seed. Growing food, even if it’s just a few herbs in containers, is a great way to get your kids more interested in healthy eats and teach them a bit about nature. Grab some organic seeds, and spend an afternoon with the little ones making seed starter pots! Here are some ideas for making your own natural pots for plants or seedlings.

2. Painted Rocks. This is a great way to get the kids out in nature! Head out to the woods or even to your own backyard and collect a bag of big, smooth rocks. Just heat them up in the oven, and let your kids draw on them with crayons. They melt like magic, and I bet that the kids will be begging you to take them out to collect more rocks when this batch is all colored up.

3. Create Mini Notebooks from Junk Mail. Teach your kids about crafty reuse by showing them how to turn collected junk mail into little notebooks! They can use them for coloring or take them out into the woods or on a walk to use as a nature journal.

4. DIY Magnets. Do you have a bunch of those ugly, promotional magnets on your fridge? Whip out some scrap paper and the hot glue gun and your kids can turn them into cute, custom magnets. Just make sure you supervise, because hot glue guns are what they say they are: HOT!

5. Homemade Peanut Butter. Get crafty in the kitchen! Seriously, making your own peanut butter is sort of like magic. Just toss roasted peanuts into the blender and blend. First, you’ll get a coarse meal, then a fine meal, and then if you’re patient, a miracle occurs and voila! Peanut butter! Your kids will love watching the transformation.

Do you have any green crafts in store for your kids this summer? We’d love to hear your ideas, too!

Image Credits: Newspaper Pots by Julie Finn, Junk Mail Notebook by Becky Striepe

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How to Make Your Own DIY Tomato Cage

I like to think I’m crafty, but I have more of a creative brain than nimble fingers. I can’t cut in a straight line and my hemming with a needle and thread looks like it was done by a toddler.

But I hate to pay even $20 for something like a Tomato Cage when I think I can do it myself. I knew it didn’t need to be pretty – it just had to keep the plants from toppling over. So I took some wire hangers I’d be thrilled to upcycle anyway and twisted them into a contraption with some random extra wire that probably came with a picture hanging kit.

Again, it’s not beautiful. But it works. And it was free!

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Hipcycle Partners with Funky Junk to Launch U.S. Distribution of Cambodian Upcycled Fair Trade Home Goods

May 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: charity, crafts, recycling 

In developing countries, where garbage collection services are minimal and environmental awareness takes second place to basic survival, plastic bags are everywhere: clogging drains, choking animals, and blighting already difficult lives.

Funky Junk Recycled is an innovative social enterprise based in Cambodia – making beautiful, functional, long-lasting items from used plastic bags reclaimed from streets and fields.

Hipcycle.com, the leading purveyor of upcycled products on the web, is partnering with Funky Junk to enter the North American market. The project is utilizing crowd-sourced fundraising through indiegogo.com to raise $20,000 for a new e-commerce website and increased capacity at the Funky Junk Center in Cambodia. Hipcycle has also partnered with the Center for Vocational Rehabilitation to pack and ship Funky Junk orders.

Funky Junk Recycled aims to provide sustainable income for a group of local people without a major investment in technology, equipment, or capacity building. By creating a self-sustaining enterprise, they use best business practices as a means of improving peoples’ living environment, while helping them to gain a source of income and a sense of self-worth.

All products are made from discarded plastic bags, collected by trash pickers from the towns and countryside, and delivered to the Funky Junk center. Here they are washed, disinfected and dried in the sun before being sorted by color. The bags are cut and made into yarn, which is then crocheted into a product line ranging from floor cushions to handbags to patio chairs. Supporting Funky Junk means contributing to a cleaner environment and providing fair trade income, training and community benefits for its local producers.

Learn more about this program and watch the video here.

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