Friday, April 20, 2012

Recycle, Reuse, Reduce!

Earth Day is this weekend. I hope each of you has something in mind to reduce your own carbon footprint and give back to Mother Earth (and not just on Earth Day). Our family tries to do our part as well. I absolutely love that my kids not only help with recycling but argue over who gets to put something in the bin. Many of the craft projects I do use items that are recycled or repurposed. The cool term is "upcycling."

One of my favorite things to upcycle is toilet paper rolls. We've used them in Christmas trees, turkeys, monsters, binoculars, and today I'm going to show you how to upcycle into bird feeders. Thanks to my friend Mandi for the idea for this craft. It's a variation of the pine cone feeders, but using products from the home. Please note, there is peanut butter in this craft which may not be an option for all kids because of allergies. Here is what you need:

Cardboard Tubes
Peanut Butter
Bird Seed
Knife or Spatula
Plate or Tray
Yarn or Pipe Cleaner
Hole Punch

You can see I didn't use standard toilet paper rolls. I use a lot of tulle in my house. I have two girly girls and I love to make tutus. :) Those are the rolls on which the tulle comes. I prefer them to toilet paper rolls because they are thicker/sturdier and they have a nice base so they can stand up. Keep in mind you can use any toilet paper roll. I also punched 2 holes opposite each other in the top of the tube so the feeder can be hung.

Start by putting a giant glob of peanut butter on a plate. I gave each kiddo a plate and a plastic knife and a roll. Showed them how to spread it on the roll and let them go. One of the kids ate more peanut butter than she put on the roll. No biggie. Cover the entire tube in peanut butter.

Then, put some birdseed on a plate and roll the peanut butter covered tube in the birdseed. Sprinkle on the seeds to cover all the PB.

At this point you can put the tube back on its base (if you have one) and be done. Otherwise, you can thread yarn or pipe cleaners through the holes punched at the top for the feeder to be hung. Easy peasy, right? The kids loved this and we hung one of my girls' feeders out right away. There's not a lot of variety of birds here in Montana, but we already have a bird house feeder in our back yard, so the finches and robins know where to come for a snack. One of the great things about this craft is once the birds eat all the seeds, you can toss the tube into the recycle bin. Happy Earth Day everyone! Recycle, reuse, reduce!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's my 6th month birthday!

Wow! I can't believe it's been 6 months since I started this blog! It was a work in progress before the first post and it continues to evolve every week. As with most of my friends who keep a blog, I wish I was able to post more frequently. Some of my posts have been quite popular, others less so. I'm learning what works best for reading material by what is read and/or shared on Pinterest.

My original plans for content have changed. I thought I would share mostly crafts I did with my kiddos with other things added from time to time. I've found that although I love the kids crafts, it's not nearly enough to fill a blog. I'm always searching for new recipes to try on my family and share with you. I'm forever grateful to Pinterest to help inspire crafts, recipes or home projects.

As always, I have plans for a few posts in my head that I need to refine and write. I'm happy to take suggestions from my readers on potential posts, crafts, recipes, whatever! I've been a guest blogger on Strive for Progress and Mae has guest posted here. My friend Marj from go-Go-GROW! will be posting in the future as well. If any of you are interested in guest posting, please let me know.

My goal is to build my readership (is that a word??). I've started a corresponding Facebook page for Mama in Montana so please become a fan. I would appreciate sharing my page and my blog with your friends. And continue to Pin what you like for Pinterest. If you're a reader, please consider becoming a follower. You have and will see some visual changes to the blog, too. I was lucky to have access to every design program at my last job and now my designing is limited to Picasa. I'm learning what I can and can't do in there and hopefully I'll be able to do a few more things with the images. I'm no professional photographer, so you'll have to bear with me on that aspect. :)

If you are a blog writer and a reader, I'd love to help promote your page if you'll help me promote mine. Just post a comment and we'll get in touch.

Thanks again for taking the time to read my posts. This blog is something fun for me (which is why I'm ok with not posting daily). I'd love to expand my readers, but knowing there's folks out there who might check out something we do in our home makes me smile.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Checking In!

I can't believe it's April already! This year is going by fast, although I hope it slows down as the nice weather arrives. These spring days make me so happy. We spent some time on Saturday in the front yard chatting with the neighbors and watching the kiddos play Red Rover. Is there a better way to spend an afternoon? The kids are just itching to go outside every day and can hardly wait until the sun warms it up for them. We've had a little snow, rain and even hail so far, but it's just a typical spring in Montana.

I've been very busy around here. We took a mini-vacation early in March to take our kids to Disney On Ice. It was a surprise for them and they just loved it! The next day we went to the indoor waterpark. It was a special treat for the girls and great for them to see their Papa and Uncle.

We also took a trip to Idaho to visit my husband's side of the family. We haven't been able to get everyone together in nearly two years! It was a lot of fun and a lot of activity. There were 28 of us altogether! My kids have a blast with their 13 cousins. There's always someone to play with. My oldest was sad leaving them. :( We took family pictures and I can't wait to see how they turned out. I'm going to need more wall space for all our pictures.

Pinterest continues to bring me inspiration and ideas every week. If you're not already a follower, please join me on Pinterest. Comment below if you need an invitation! Nearly every recipe I've tried has been delicious (I delete the few that weren't a hit). It's helped me in getting ready for my youngest daughter's 2nd birthday. There are some great cakes and decorating ideas that I've been busy working on. It seems like every free minute I have is being taken by one project or another.

I'm also in the middle of another kid's quilt. It is a single irish chain pattern with a minky back and will be perfect for snuggling. I'm going to make a tutu and a fleece tie blanket for my daughter's birthday, too. My Carlia Creations business is keeping me busy moving into the spring and summer. If you haven't already looked at my page, you can find me on Facebook or on my Carlia Creations blog. I have chosen to make everything special order this year (as opposed to making and keeping inventory), so you can contact me if you are in need of something!

Lastly, I will be doing another guest blog spot for Mae on Strive For Progress. It is a kids' Easter craft that is simple and will give them hours of things to do! Watch for my next post on Friday. If you like what you see, become a follower on Mae's blog.

Enjoy the sunshine friends! Visit Srive For Progress on Friday. I've got a few more recipes I'm planning on posting in the next few weeks as well as pictures of my Minnie Mouse party.