We drove over the river and through the woods and yep, we're at Grandma's house! All the presents have been wrapped (in dishtowels!)...
the cookies have been baked...
And now it's time to go sledding! There's 18 inches of snow at Grandma's house - a true winter wonderland!
Here's what I'm planning to make for Christmas breakfast tomorrow morning: Streusel-Topped French Toast Casserole from the November issue of Cooking Light magazine. It may not be healthy but it sure sounds delicious! Do you have any special recipes you make during the holiday season?
I'll be taking a little break from the blog and social media so that I can spend some good time with family and friends. I'll see you back here in the New Year, OK?
Wishing you a very merry holiday week and a grand start to the New Year!
We've been having fun with yarn around here. Fluffy pom-pom kind of fun! When our friends at MightyNest gave us a sewing & knitting kit to try out, I figured it was about time to teach Liam how to make this fun craft activity that I remember making as a kid.
Yarn pom-poms are very simple to make. An older child can make them by themselves. A younger child may need some help but they still get the satisfaction of doing a lot themselves.
What you need:
Yarn (any kind, any color)
Cardboard (we used an old shipping box)
How to make a pom-pom:
Start out by cutting out 2 circles of cardboard - with a notch in each for getting the yarn through.
Begin winding the yarn around the circle. Wrap over the loose end of the yarn to keep it in place. Keep wrapping until the whole circle is full. The more yarn you use, the fluffier the pom-pom. Use more than one color yarn if you would like. Better yet, wrap 3 colors at once for really fast pom-pom making!
Once the circle is fully wrapped, trim the end of the yarn. Using a scissors, carefully cut between the 2 cardboard circles. Be sure to hold on to the yarn as you cut to keep it from falling off the circle.
Next, pull a new piece of yarn through the 2 cardboard circles and tie it in a tight knot. I typically tie it a few times to make sure it is secure.
Now you can pull off the cardboard circles. Trim the pom-pom as desired. You can leave a long string on it if you are planning to attach the pom-pom to something.
Liam came up with a whole bunch of uses for pom-poms:
play catch with it
put it on your ice skates
use it as a Christmas tree ornament
attach it to a headband
use it as a cat toy
put it on top of a gift
Have you ever made pom-poms? What is your favorite thing to do with them?
Dolphin Organics is one of my preferred brands for kids personal care products so I
was thrilled when they decided to become an advertising sponsor of Mindful Momma! If you are not familiar with the brand, read what I had to say in a past blog post about Dolphin Organics. In a nutshell they are a safe and effective brand from a neat little parent-run business that you can totally trust!
Dolphin Organics has put together some really cute gift sets for the holiday season. The set shown at the top of the post includes full sized bottles of the tear-free Baby Shampoo & Body Wash, Conditioner, Bubble Bath, Hypoallergenic Lotion and the SPF32 mineral sunscreen. Get it in the Simply Citrus fragrance or in Fragrance Free if you prefer. The set also comes in the Norfolk Lavendar scent without the conditioner.
Dolphin Organics also has a new line aimed at teens called Do Naturals. Choose from the basic Do Naturals gift set with 5 products including the Just Berry Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash, Moisturizer and Detangler.
Or go all out with the Do Naturals Diva Set that also includes a reusable drink tumbler and tote bag. An awesome gift for a teen girl, don't you think?
A Giveaway and a Coupon Code!
Dolphin Organics is offering a $50 gift card to one lucky Mindful Momma reader! Just use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. The giveaway will run through midnight on Thursday, December 20th, 2012. Good luck!
Want to place an order? Use code MMFIVE for $5 off your order of any size.
With 40% of annual retail sales happening between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my guess is that a similar percentage of disposable plastic bags are being let loose into our system during that time as well. That makes it a good time of year to get on my reusable bag bandwagon. If you need convincing, here are a few hard facts about plastic bags from the folks at Factory Direct Promos:
An estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed each year worldwide – this
works out to over 1 million bags per minute.
A million sea birds and 100,000 animals such as whales, dolphins, turtles and seals die from
plastic bags and other waste each year.
Americans throw away about 1 billion plastic bags a year, which is equivalent to dumping nearly
12 million barrels of oil.
Retail businesses spend about $4 billion each year on plastic bags.
In the United States only 8 percent of the total plastic waste generated in 2010 was recycled.
The United Nations Environment Program estimates that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter
floating in every square mile of ocean.
Maybe your city or community is ahead of the game and has already instituted a plastic bag ban or bag fees (check this interactive Plastic Bag Ban Map for ban activity in your area). Here in Minnesota plastic bags are still going strong (except for yard waste where we have to use compostable bags).
A Few Favorite Reusable Bags
My reusable bags have been out in full swing lately for gift shopping, grocery shopping and everything in between. Here are a few in my rotation:
Baggu - These super roomy, workhorse bags (shown in photo at top of post) fold up nice and small. Buy the set of 3 which comes with a zippered pouch to store them in.
Esse - I've been praising their Carry All Tote for years but the new handy Clip It bag made from recycled bottles can be clipped to a keychain, backpack or stroller so it's with you whenever you need it.
BB Begonia - Big enough to hold 2 grocery bags but stylish enough to carry around town. Empty bag rolls up easily to fit in your purse.
What's your favorite reusable bag?
This post is part of the Give the
gift of a Plastic-Free World This Holiday and Join the Plastic Bag Ban Movement! blog carnival, hosted by Factory Direct Promos. Check it out for more info about banning plastic bags.
(Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. Any purchase you make contributes a small amount to this blog. Thank you!)
One of the biggest challenges I find in this gift giving season is finding gifts that my two boys (ages 8 and 12) will love but that do not lead to endless hours sitting in front of a TV or computer screen. Rather than encouraging them to be couch potatoes, I would much rather give them the gift of creativity and imagination.
My blog sponsor MightyNest has done an especially good job of curating a selection of gifts that engage kids in creative and imaginative play - or what they call gifts that are unplugged.
Sewing & Knitting Kit
This adorable sewing & knitting kit from French company Moulin Roty has everything you need for hours of sewing and knitting projects, all packed up in a cute suitcase box.
Yesterday 8 year old Liam and I dug in to this kit to see what inspired us. Since neither of us know how to knit (we plan to get a lesson from my mom when we visit her over Christmas), we decided to make yarn pom-poms. Have you ever made them? They are so fun and
easy! Look for a tutorial on pom-pom making coming soon on my blog!
The fun part about this kit is that the child has their very own sewing supplies including metal sewing scissors, a thimble, a tape measure, a French knitting dolly and more! The easy to hold wooden knitting needles look like the perfect way for a child (or grownup!) to start learning how to knit.
Artterro Craft Kits
Artterro kits contain everything you need to make a fun craft using natural and recycled materials. I love that the company was founded by a couple of art enthusiasts in my home town of Madison, Wisconsin!
Liam and I have made the Bubble Wand kit - something that MightyNest does not carry right now but this Wire & Bead Art Kit is similar and even cooler! This type of free-form crafting is the type that my boys seem to like best. Bend the copper wire (available in 3 gauges), then add glass or wooden beads, shells or marbles to make whatever creation (or creature!) you want!
This wooden tool box complete with tools is very tempting. It comes with 6 real tools sized for smaller hands - a ruler, saw, hammer, philips screwdriver, regular screwdriver and pencil. Everything is packed in a sturdy wooden box to keep everything safe for years to come.
If you want to really go all out, spring for the 14 piece tool set that has a Square Ruler, Ruler, C-Clamp, Philip Screwdriver, Regular Screwdriver,
Chisel, Mallet, Plier, Plane, Sanding Block, Gimlet, Hammer, Hand Saw
and a Spirit Level.
To make your holiday shopping a little easier MightyNest is offering 10% off to all Mindful Momma readers. Just use code MINDFUL10 at checkout.
What are your favorite ways to encourage your kids to unplug?
(Disclosure: I received a free kit from MightyNest in exchange for my honest opinion.)
What's better than giving a thoughtfully chosen gift to a friend or family member? Giving a gift that gives back! The awesome folks at Abe's Market asked me to curate my favorite gift ideas from their website that give back - either to the environment, to people in need or that helps the world in some way.
My favorite pick is this orange blossom scented, shea butter based Hand in Hand soap. For every bar of soap purchased, this Vermont based small business donates a bar to child in need. Be sure to jump over to the feature page on Abe's Market to see my other better gift giving suggestions.
20% off Coupon Code!
Abe's Market has provided a special coupon code for Mindful Momma readers so that you can get 20% off your entire order! Just use the code mindfulmomma20 at checkout (good today through Friday, Dec. 7th). Plus they have Free Shipping on all orders through the end of the year. Time for some seriously good shopping!
What are your favorite ways to give back during the holiday season?
(Disclosure: Abe's Market is compensating me with a gift certificate in exchange for my honest opinion about their products. There are affiliate links in this post. Any purchase you make helps keep this blog in business. Thank you!)
Don't have time to get all Martha Stewart and make homemade gifts for your friends and family this year? Don't fret - you can still give handmade even without getting out the sewing machine or the craft glue. Artisans selling their fabulously creative wares (and let's face it - probably nicer than anything you could make yourself) can be found all over the place these days. Here are a few resources to get you started on a handmade shopping spree...
Local Gift Shops
We're a bit spoiled here in the Twin Cities (that's Minneapolis and St. Paul, yo!) since we have a whole slew of fun and funky gift shops, many which specialize in local, crafty stuff. A couple of my favorites are Digs Studio (right in my 'hood) and i like you up in North Minneapolis. Later this week I plan to check out Paper Hat, a relatively new shop in South Minneapolis. Do you have a favorite local store for handmade gifts?
By far the best way to see the most handmade choices in one place; craft and art fairs are abundant at this time of year. Keep your eyes out in your neighborhood and city newspapers or community websites. Find them at churches, schools, malls and even the local VFW.
My only issue with craft shows is that it's way too tempting to buy things for myself! Like these pretty repurposed tin earrings that I found at the Handmade MN show recently. Does your community have a craft fair or two during the holiday season?
Let's face it, there's really no better place to shop for handmade gifts online than Etsy. Whether you are searching for something specific or just browsing around, you are bound to get lost in the pure thrill of it all. I'm seriously awed by all the creativity out there and available for sale on Etsy! Just today I found these adorable needle felted mushroom ornaments. Teacher gift, perhaps?
Have you bought any handmade gifts this year? Where are some of your favorites places to shop handmade?
Just in the nick of time for the holiday season, I'd like to introduce you to my newest blog sponsor: Zenoobi!
Zenoobi (zen you be) is an eco web-store started by two families with young kids who wanted to offer a range of natural, organic, and eco-friendly products all under one roof. So they rounded up the highest quality, stylish, environmentally and socially sustainable products they could find and started up a website.
Their carefully culled collection contains all types of products from clothing to body care to furniture and home decor. The company stands behind their eco-values by being a member of 1% for the Planet (donating 1% of sales to a network of approved environmental organizations) and partnering with American Forests to plant a tree for every sale.
What I appreciate most is that they sell some unique brands that I haven't seen anywhere else. Like these beautiful organic cotton pillows from ferm LIVING:
Plus they sell plenty of well known eco-brands like Think Baby, Kate Quinn Organics, Bambu, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Preserve and more...
To help launch their business, Zenoobi has offered to give one lucky Mindful Momma reader a $50 gift card to use for anything on their website! I personally would put it toward one of the ferm LIVING pillows. What would you choose? Let me know in the comments and use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. The giveaway will go through midnight on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012. Thanks and good luck!
Just because you hosted the big meal, doesn't mean you should keep all the leftovers for yourself. Send your guests home with a care package in these reusable containers made from recycled plastic. Just remind them not to use the containers in the microwave!
Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
(Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. Any purchase you make helps keep this blog in business. Thank you!)