Archive for the ‘ DIY ’ Category

Stuck at Home with Kids? Try This Cute Craft from ‘Yellow Owl’s Little Prints’

Monday, December 30th, 2013

As a new mom herself, author Christine Schmidt wrote a beautiful little book called Yellow Owl’s Little Prints: Stamp, Stencil and Print Projects to Make for Kids. She believes everyone should be able to create cute crafts.

Doing fun little projects is especially important and rewarding when you’re stuck home with the kids. (You know, not stuck–it’s just that these holiday breaks are long! Here are a few more crafts from Parents editors.) Christine came up with ideas that don’t require a lot of equipment or time to achieve but are still covetable. Readers will learn skills such as carving a personalized stamp that can be used on stationery, baby blankets, tote bags or bed linens; painting a rug to perfectly match their child’s bedroom décor; and making a keepsake box that will become a family heirloom.

Christine (left) says these are great for baby showers, too. Here’s one she says you can start on right now:

Alphabet Block Rubbing

Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Love: Spelling our kid’s name or a favorite quote with a simple technique that anybody can master.

Set of wooden alphabet blocks
Large rubber band or elastic tie
9″ x 12″ sheet of vellum
Colored pencils

1. Arrange alphabet blocks face up to spell out the word or name.
2. Rotate extra blocks so the flat side is up and place them around the perimeter of the word.
3. Secure the blocks together with a rubber band.
4. Place vellum over the blocks. Put on hand on the blocks to secure the paper to the blocks. Use a colored pencil in the other hand to rub the raised surface of the blocks.
5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 as needed for additional words or names. Align the paper below the first line and rub with the nib of a colored pencil.


Upcycled Bumblebee Craft: How-To Video
Upcycled Bumblebee Craft: How-To Video
Upcycled Bumblebee Craft: How-To Video

Add a Comment

‘Fold Me Up,’ Satisfies Your Need for Paper Fortune Tellers–and Gives You a Good One for Free!

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Were you obsessed with making and playing with paper fortune tellers when you were a kid? Did your fifth grade teacher send you into the hallway because you made a whole bunch and passed them out to your class during reading time? Oh, that was me.

I’ve already made these with my kids, and now a new book takes the whole fortune teller phenomenom, also known as cootie catchers, to colorful and epic new levels. The book Fold Me Up: 100 Paper Fortune-Tellers for Life’s Pressing Questions by Michelle Taute might be for grown ups, but the kids and I made a few together anyway. We giggled. You’ll find fortune tellers that help you decide whether to have another cocktail and make important decisions based on what Mr. T would do. (Mr. T from a show called The A Team–you know that, right?)

Below, the authors created a custom fortune teller just for readers. It’s called, Have You Lost It? I already know the answer to this question, but I’m going to print this out (see below) and play with it anyway. Why spend my morning working when I can solve all of my problems while having fun?



Add a Comment

Chick Out This Plucky New Chicken Memoir ‘Once Upon a Flock’ by Lauren Scheuer

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

It’s my birthday soon, and I hope my husband reads this post. I really, really want chickens. My kids and I could bond this spring while tending to some feathered friends.

Luckily, author Lauren Scheuer has just written the most delightful and plucky family memoir that’s part how-to guide. Here’s what Lauren has to say about her book, Once Upon a Flock based on her popular Scratch and Peck blog.

Dear Husband, read this. Here’s why Lauren (these are her illustrations of her girls) thinks we should buy some hens:

“These days it’s harder than ever to pry our kids off of the electronic gadgets and shoo them outside for some fresh air and sunshine. If you’re trying to find a way to get your family back outdoors, chickens might just be your perfect answer.

A few chickens in a backyard coop add far more color and adventure to a backyard than a sandbox or a jump rope can. Chickens are certainly more interactive than a video game, and it’s possible that both you and your kids will find them to be just as addictive.

Chickens are comical characters with a quirky kind of charm. Their distinct personalities make for fun interactions, and they can be quite social with their humans. Children are naturally drawn to these curious creatures, and chickens are often drawn to kids as well.

A small flock is a practical, useful addition to almost any backyard setting. Popular reasons to start a flock include the promise of fresh eggs, an educational opportunity for the kids, or the wonderful compost their manure can provide for your family garden. Once your flock moves in, however, it doesn’t take long for these personable characters to peck their way into your hearts.

From a mom’s point of view, chickens truly are the perfect family pets.

They’re easy to keep: Just five or 10 minutes a day is all they require for general feeding and maintenance. They don’t ask you to take them for a walk, and they don’t hog the sofa at night.  Chickens won’t gnaw on the kids’ toys or shred your favorite upholstered chair, and they’re not likely to dig through the trash.

Out in the sunshine, you’ll find that every child has a unique way of interacting with chickens.

And don’t forget the eggs!  Most kids enjoy the daily thrill of skipping out to the coop to retrieve fresh clean eggs. There’s a beautiful bit of education that comes along with that, when a child realizes where food comes from.

No matter your approach to backyard chickens, be warned. Your kids might just step outdoors into the sunshine voluntarily…. and those electronic toys are going to collect a bit of dust.”

Add a Comment

Barbara Reich Share Tips from Her New Book ‘Secrets of an Organized Mom’

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

I consider myself organized, but then again, my Christmas tree was still up in February. That’s why I need author Barbara Reich in my life. You might have seen her yesterday on the Today Show talking about her new book, Secrets of an Organized Mom. She’s awesome. Her book covers everything from bills to blanket catalogues to–gulp–holiday decorations. Here’s a guest post she wrote for me that includes three of her Commandments of Organizing.

“In my book, Secrets of an Organized Mom, I compare the lives of mothers to one big game of Whac-a-Mole. Just when we’ve smacked down one problem or responsibility, another one pokes up its stubborn head. Let’s face it; life as a mother is inevitably unpredictable. Just when we think we have everything under control, a child breaks a leg, a partner gets a new job (in another state), or a roof springs a leak. So much rests on our shoulders that it’s easy to see why we’re all running on a treadmill to stay still. It’s a classic catch 22. If we could just find the time to get organized, life would be calm and peaceful. But life is never calm and peaceful, so there’s never time to get organized.

Moms often ask me for the single organizing tip that will make the biggest difference in their lives. In Secrets of An Organized Mom, I talk about the “Ten Commandments of Organizing.” Although all of these commandments are important, there are three tips that, taken together, can help busy moms conquer the organizational challenge
once and for all.

1. Routines work. If you always put your cell phone in the same pocket of your purse, you’ll always know where it is when it’s ringing. If you always put the bills in the same place, you won’t lose any bills. If you always take medication at the same time in the same place, you won’t forget to take it. When things are done the same way every time, the behavior becomes rote. You don’t have to think about what you’re doing. This is the fool-proof way to avoid misplacing items or forgetting anything again.

2. Group like things together, and designate a place for everything. This is the only way to know how much of something you have and when you need more. You’ll also always know exactly where to find what you’re looking for. This applies to everything in your house, from black sweaters to magic markers to batteries. This will help you avoid having too much of one thing and not enough of what you really need!

3. Store things where you use them. Keep school supplies where your kids do their homework, keep your reading glasses next to your bed where you read at night, and keep tote bags in the closet where you store sports equipment. It’s easy and convenient!

Where do you fall on the organization spectrum? I’m deluded. I think I’m a solid 9 or 10 when I’m more like a 4. And that’s on a good day. I need this book!


Add a Comment

10 Books I Can’t Wait to Read in 2013

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Bookworms will love the lineup of parenting memoirs and advice that are scheduled for release in 2013. I know I am. Here are the books I can’t wait to read in the New Year. Stay tuned for my write ups about them on this blog.

The Heavy: A Mother Daughter Memoir
by Dara-Lynn Weiss
Did you hear about the mom who put her 7-year-old daughter on a strict diet and wrote about it for Vogue? Author Dara Lynn-Weiss caused such a stir that she got a book deal. This memoir tells the story from start to finish–how the doctor labeled her little girl obese, and how this mother decided to take care of it. The book is supposed to be brutally honest, and Lynn-Weiss claims that her insights will help other parents in the same situation. (Jan. 15)

Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye: A Family Field Trip to the Arctic’s Edge in Search of Adventure, Truth, and Mini-Marshmallows
by Zac Unger
In this memoir, one dad takes his family to Antarctica–Churchill, Manitoba to be exact. In the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” he examines a faraway place that’s one of Mother Nature’s last strongholds. A seasoned writer, he observes the human relationship with the great bears. And he took his wife and two kids there! (Jan. 29)

The Food Allergy Mama’s Easy, Fast Family Meals
by Kelly Rudnicki
The author runs the helpful and popular blog, The Food Allergy Mama, and she also wrote the companion book The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking BookShe has five kids, one with severe food allergies. All recipes are free of milk, butter, cheese, eggs and nuts. She uses easy-to-find, inexpensive ingredients to make dishes like oatmeal fudge bars. (Feb. 5)

The Secrets of Happy Families
by Bruce Feiler
Popular New York Times columnist and best-selling author promises another warm and helpful book. He often writes beautifully about religion (Walking the Bible), but this one focuses on innovative ways to connect as a family. He didn’t go to psychologists for advice but instead to Silicon Valley execs and folks on the set of Modern Family. Some of the surprising advice in this book will be to ditch the sex talk, don’t worry about family dinner and let your kids pick their own punishments. (Feb. 19)

The Still Point of the Turning World
by Emily Rapp
Rapp’s books (Poster Child) and articles are beautiful to read, but her piece in the New York Times called Notes from a Dragon Mom was particularly heartbreaking. In it, she writes about the short life of her young son Ronan who is diagnosed with Tay-Sachs. In her trademark way, she gently takes readers on her family’s difficult journey. (March 7)

French Twist: An American Mom’s Experiment in Parisian Parenting
by Catherine Crawford
For readers who were into in the controversial book Bringing Up Bebe, this book offers another intimate look into the secrets of French parenting. Instead of going to Paris to immerse her family in French ways, the author brings French attitudes to Brooklyn. She writes about her European hands-off approach and how it worked magnificently–most of the time–with her two kids. Now they eat lamb chops! (March 12)

Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives
by John Elder Robison
Diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 40, this dad writes about the adventures he has raising his son Cubby. Irreverent, hilarious and a little dark, this book is gives readers an inside look at what it’s like to be a person on the autism spectrum. He hopes to inspire his readers to embrace and celebrate misfits and geeks. If you’ve seen or read Running with Scissors, you might have met John–he is Augusten Burroughs’ brother. (March 12)

Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures
by Amber Dusik
Hiliarious Parents’ writer Dusik finally gets to crack readers up with her own parenting book, and yes, the pictures are really bad. She’s a popular blogger, but in this book she delves into life with kids while sharing stories. Silly ones like the time her child asked if clowns will throw pies at her at the circus. She’s aiming for a funny run of stories and essays along the lines of Jenny Lawson’s Let Pretend this Never Happened. (March 19)

The Object of My Conception
by Elisabeth Rohm
Rohm, best known for her role on Law and Order, blogged about her infertility for, and she was overwhelmed by the positive responses from women who were going through the same thing. In her memoir, she tells the story of her fertility issues, her IVF treatments and her successful journey into motherhood. (April 9)

Learning to Listen: A Life Caring for Children
by T. Berry Brazelton
Fans of this caring and famous pediatrician will be interested in the story of his life. From growing up in Texas to heading to Princeton and Harvard to diving into research on newborn babies, this book tells the story of a great man in his own words. You probably know his seminal book Touchstones, a handbook for all parents of babies from birth to age 3. (April 9)

Add a Comment